Those are some fun Guilds of Ravnica cards, right? Preview season is great because it's full of hyperbole and how X card is going to make Y deck great. Heck, even I've done that with one of my decks that I haven't touched in years (But will obviously update in a few weeks). However, even though the set looks fun, at the time of this writing we haven't seen it all. There is no card in the set that is making me feel like John Travolta at the end of Grease.
Assassin's Trophy is great and all, and at the moment one of the best cards in the set for Commander, but it's a removal spell in pair of colors that have a bunch of removal spells. That's the type of card you throw in a deck, not try and build around it (What, are you going to throw Isochron Scepter in your deck?). Boy, Golgari is getting a bunch of fancy new toys this time around. Hey, let's finish part two.
(Cut to: Title Sequence. Theme Music: "The End is the Beginning is the End" by The Smashing Pumpkins)
Last time I talked about Kaladesh cards that were rotating out of Standard and whether some of them might be good pickups for Commander in the future based up criteria, including the chance of reprintability. As you can assume, this is part two where I look at the other block rotating out of Standard, Amonkhet. With this desert plane we get -1/-1 counters, and graveyard shenanigans. Remember, I'm also basing this off of what EDHRec.com has for the most seen cards in Commander decks from those sets.
Here's the fun thing with this block: there are a bunch of Commanders that are worth more than $1 here, which is in stark contrast to Kaladesh, which is why I just glossed over them last time. We'll start with them first and go from there.
Non-God Commanders (Hapatra, Samut, Neheb, Temmet):
While these are all under $1 currently, I feel two of them will eventually become more sought after because of their uniqueness and their inability to see reprints: Hapatra and Neheb. Wizards doesn't make -1/-1 counter themes all that often, but with them shifting to a single set block, we might see it more than in the past. Here are all the sets that had new cards that reference -1/-1 counters:
- Amonkhet/Hour of Devastation (2017)
- Scars of Mirrodin/Mirrodin Besieged/New Phyrexia (2010/2011)
- Shadowmoor/Eventide (2008)
- Time Spiral (Timeshifted sheet), two cards (2006)
- Torment, one card (2002)
- Mercadian Masques, one card (1999)
- Tempest, two cards (1997)
- Weatherlight, one card (1997)
- Visions, two cards (1996)
- Mirage, one card (1996)
- Alliances, one card (1996)
- Fallen Empires, two cards (1994)
As you can see, it's very rare to see -1/-1 counters, but we've seen seven sets in the past 10 years use them as a theme. And this is where Hapatra's value will come from: people will want her in the next time another -1/-1 counter set happens. She can't really be printed in anything that has +1/+1 counter theme since Wizards has said they don't mix those type of counters in the same set (save the craziness of Time Spiral) and they certainly wouldn't do that in a casual product such as their yearly Commander decks.
Neheb is the lord of a tribe that sometimes gets love: the Minotaurs. The same logic applies here, he'll see more demand the next time a bunch of Minotaur cards get printed.
Verdict: Grab those two foils if you can (since players love to have foils of their Commanders). If either of these two look interesting to eventually play around with, grab them within the next year or so before Wizards announces the next block (could be either Phyrexia and -1/-1 counters or Theros and Minotaurs). Samut and Temmet seem like prime reprints in Duel Deck replacement product or Commander decks.
Do players love indestructible Commanders? I love they love playing them but maybe not against them. Current Standard/Modern meta aside, here's how I rank them for Commander: White/Black/Red/Blue/Green. They'll be popular, but these also can seem more like role-players than true Commanders, which may hold them up more as time goes on.
Verdict: I believe they may all get reprinted at sometime. You can pick them up as Invocations if you want to go the full "Top Shelf" look, even though you can't read the card names. It's because of this that Hazoret the Pervert will be the most expensive one because of font (Disclosure: I have opened a Hazoret Invocation and am planning to use her as my Commander. But in case why you were wondering why she's a $70 card, that's why).
The Land cycle:
What's really cool about this cycle is that it has the basic land types, much like the Shocklands third reprinting. These are more interesting in Commander from my perspective because you can cycle them away if you draw them late game as well as you can tutor to your hand then discard to thin out your deck. You have all the fetching as the Shocklands, but are much easier on the wallet.
Verdict: I like these more than some people. Eventually they will be reprinted since they have names that could be used on any plane (or hopefully in Commander decks). We'll eventually see the enemy ones (most likely when we return to Amonkhet). No need to rush out and pick them up anytime soon unless a Modern deck breaks them.
One of those cards that player will always want to break but might not get there. It's not Aether Vial.
Verdict: No rush.
This is the type of card that you expect to get reprinted at anytime, then wonder why it hasn't seen a reprint more than nine years. I'm not saying it's as good as Oracle of Mul Daya, but I can't think of a reason why this hasn't been in any reprint set or even the Jund Commander deck that saw print a few weeks ago. It's a $35 card, and there's no reason why it should be.
Verdict: It will start creeping up in a few years. Again, it should be reprinted but for some odd reason won't. But when it does, it will drop like a rock in price. It's not a Green staple, but if you're playing a Green based creature deck there should be a reason why you aren't running it.
The Monuments: Even though they are uncommon, they're still very useful.
Liliana, Death's Majesty: With the SDCC ones out, the non-foil will be the great budget grab.
Nissa, Steward of Elements: With Nissa seemingly out of the Gatewatch, we may not get more cards of hers for a while. Again, has a SDCC to keep this price under control.
Harsh Mentor: Why isn't this seeing more play? This is the type of effect Red should get to help with their long game. Open name/creature type, may just get reprinted anytime.
Hour of Devastation
Neheb and Razaketh are leading the charge for the highest priced non-God mythics. They're both used in more decks than the Commanders, and that's where I see they'll get their value. Neheb as a mana generator and Razaketh as a reusable tutor are both very playable in Commander. Unesh and Djeru are, well, cute. Unesh's mini-Fact or Fiction is great for flavor for the tribe but the natural high-casting cost of Sphinxes will make this a support card. After all, why not use Esper colors for your Sphinx tribal decks?
Verdict: Neheb only sees play in Commander and the Afflict may not play well with supplemental products. Razaketh seems like the perfect reprint a few years down the road in a Commander deck. Both of these should be picked up soon if you need them. Unesh and Djeru can be picked up whenever you're a couple cents short of an order to receive free shipping.
Two out of three ain't bad. The Scarab God is one of the most powerful multiplayer Commanders printed, and The Locust God can see play in any deck. However, The Scorpion God suffers from the same issue as Hapatra from up above. While they can both make -1/-1 counters to trigger their effects, they both work well when other cards can make the -1/-1 counters.
Verdict: Wait for The Scarab God as it'll continue to drop post rotation. The Locust God has the feeling of being reprinted when the product needs to make a splash. But poor Scorpion will just feel bad and become a bulk mythic.
A Crucible of Worlds on legs, it's got the name of a place on Amonkhet which means that if it sees a reprint it won't be until a return to the plane or in a open flavor product (like a Masters or Core Set). It didn't break Standard when it was around and maybe WotC will see it as an alternative to Crucible of Worlds going forward if they're looking to have that effect.
Verdict: I could easily see this in a Core Set. Crucible is still the Standard card for serious competitive play in older formats.
I guess people really like this card. Usually when that happens it will see a reprint in a few years. It can be reprinted in any set or supplemental product.
Verdict: Not much to say. I figure it will drop for a while then pick up steam until it is reprinted sometime.
This is my favorite card in the set for Commander. It can go in every deck and it's useful in almost any situation. This should be a staple for any Commander deck. The go to example here is Darksteel Plate. It sat at couple of bucks for a few years and then slowly rose a while until it reach $10 earlier this year. Then it halved when it was included in the last Duel Decks product.
Verdict: Hopefully it will drop in price so I can pick some up. While it's prime for a Commander reprint sometime down the road, it just may not for some odd reason.
Uncounterable, colorless, mass graveyard exile effect on a mechanic that may not see print for a while (Desert)? Sign me up. Every so often we get a snow card in a supplemental set and it doesn't seem too out of place (Adarkar Valkyrie).
Verdict: You should hopefully have some time to pick these up before you're looking at what it is now.
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh: Everybody loves Nicol Bolas, but his three colors means he can't be played in too many decks. You can wait.
Solemnity: Modern/Legacy will eventually find a way to abuse this card. You've got some time to pick up your copies.
Supreme Will: This will be a few dollars apiece a few years down the road. It's just a good card. Though it's the most likely original card in the set to be reprinted in any set in the future.
Crested Sunmare: It's a fun casual card. I don't like horses in general and I love this card. People will always want to play lifegain.
Nimble Obstructionist: Unique effect that non-rotating formats are catching up to get this card. Now's the time to jump aboard.
Hopefully these two articles have given you some things to think about for the future. Again, I don't have a crystal ball and I don't play the speculation game myself to the extent that I think something may go up so I might acquire a playset. I'm very much in the Zoidberg "Sandwich-Heavy Portfolio" mentality when it comes to buying and keeping cards through rotation. Cards that are always good: powerful removal, powerful counterspells, powerful draw, creatures that do something and lands. Keep those in mind when you're looking for cards to find in a month or two when you pull that hot new card from Guilds of Ravnica that that person at you LGS is looking for.
Join me next week when I take a look at the full Guilds of Ravnica set and what it means for Commander. Have I decided to replace one of my Commanders already?