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Speculation of the Gods

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As always, as soon as spoilers start, rumors fly of what will see play and hold or gain and what will be left in the bulk bins. I will be throwing my hat in the ring, as I always do, in the next few weeks, but this week, I want to focus on potential cards to watch that are already in circulation. A few of these picks are already on their way up and may be too late to buy in as a trader, but plenty of cards have room to hold or grow enough to make it worth grabbing your set to play with now.

Freed from the Real
To start, I want to focus a bit on Modern, as that is where some of my more off-the-wall calls are going to be. To start, I believe Freed from the Real could randomly hit buy lists in a big way. Though the card certainly presents cute interactions with inspiration, it may still be a bit too underwhelming to see any competitive play. No matter, I believe the card will see enough increased demand for dealers to sell enough that they’ll show on the currently nonexistent buy list. If Freed from the Real does see any competitive play, I can easily see this shooting up—similar to the next card I want to talk about: Paradise Mantle. With the price memory imbedded into our minds, we all unfortunately remember Paradise Mantle above $10. Though that seemed extremely overpriced, it showed how much a showing on camera can do for a card that, although not extremely rare, is still hard to find. Even with the reprint, I could see Paradise Mantle seeing that demand again, as dealers have cut their buy prices due to the overabundance of Modern Masters copies. With this number through the floor and lower than it was even before the card rose the first time, it seems likely that, if we see this on camera again, it will probably rise, not to $10, I don’t believe, but even to $3 or $4. The card has always been a casual hit, and if the market responds to inspiration as I believe it may, it will probably slowly gravitate toward that price regardless. Both of these cards seem like extremely low-risk, high-reward pick-ups and can be purchased in large quantities for relatively nothing, and that makes them perfect for the person looking to spend $50 or so on his or her first call. Even the seasoned veteran can find these easy pick-ups a quick flip on a buy list if any immediate interest arises.

Looking at Freed from the Real made me start looking at other combos—not good ones, mind you. My playing days are almost behind me, but brewing is still a bit of a hobby. While looking through Modern, I saw a couple of other cards that have not risen in a while, and given the nature of this game, Staff of Domination seems to be an eligible candidate. Staff has already gone back up to the original price before being banned, and though it may not have the same impact on Commander as it used to, it is also much harder to find these days. I don’t really fear a reprint any time soon, and this card could easily see $15 as it joins the ranks of Glimpse the Unthinkable and Doubling Season. I don’t believe you want to be buying into these, but if you ever feel like playing what, in my experience, is among the most enjoyable Commander cards to toy with, you should probably grab at least your one copy now.

Kor Spiritdancer
One card that I feel is certainly risky but could pay off is Kor Spiritdancer. Though already in the $5–$10 range, it could have a strong boost with the new set, and even the Planechase copy does not scare me out of believing this could see $12 or more. This may not seem relevant now, as it is such a small rise, but if Bant Auras or a shell like it sees too many more cards, I can see the spike leading right into Modern. This would probably solidify that price or even see a further spike if the deck has strong showings. If you do not believe you want to play this deck, I would stay away, but if the new spoilers get you itching to try that shell out in Modern, snag these now.

Moving away from my brewing, let us move on to some more reasonable Standard cards that will probably be on the rise. The first and most obvious is Heliod, God of the Sun. I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy is already on the way up by time you read this, but anything below $5 seems like a no-brainer given just the hype alone of mono-white. Craig Wescoe has already been brewing, I am sure, as this seems like the time to shine for that archetype. We may see an eventual evolution to two-color—even then, Heliod should still get the nod. I don’t expect him to be a four-of, but even as a two- or three-of, we will probably see a strong push for this archetype in the beginning, and that means Heliod can easily see $10 even with mediocre showings.

Advent of the Wurm
Another card that follows suit with Heliod in gaining some friends from this set is Advent of the Wurm. With the new Fated Intervention, I can see G/W tokens with Trostani, Selesnya's Voice seeing some real play, and if the field is full of aggro, I expect it to be a top player. Both mono-white and G/W have a few obstacles to tackle before cementing themselves into the format, but given that both have seen moderate play already, it seems safe to say that this set should give them that push they needed to break into a few Top 8s. Advent of the Wurm has been something not only I, but a number of other people, have been talking about since the release of Theros, but I feel we may actually have enough just from what has already been spoiled to see a skeleton form.

Another safe bet for Standard brings us back to the uncommons in Burning-Tree Emissary. Currently, devotion for those two colors has already begun to rear its head here and there, but with new tools in the form of Xenagos, God of Revels and his Fanatic of Xenagos lead me to believe we will be seeing much more of these decks soon. Given the versatility of this card in a number of devotion decks, I can see this card spiking to $4 before it goes lower than the $2 it is currently sitting at. Even if you don’t see them in trades, it may be best to buy your set now if you feel you may have any interest in playing either devotion deck over the coming months. This card may not hold the value after rotation, but it probably won’t be any cheaper in the coming months either.

Paradise Mantle
As I mentioned before, over the coming weeks, I will be focusing mostly on new cards, and as we will have the full spoiler before my next article, I will be giving my initial review of the higher-end cards and what you should be targeting next weekend at the prerelease. Most of the good cards will probably be overpriced, as usual, but this set will hold some surprises, as it seems most people have been relatively unimpressed so far with what they have seen, and that means, if nothing else, we will have at least a few cards that will be in demand enough to break $20 and hold if the rest of the set turns out to be long-term money or no money at all. As with any set, the value will even out it is just a matter of spotting what needs to go up or down before the rest of the market adjusts. The older cards are usually the ones to target right off the bat, as they are not currently being opened to draft or prerelease, but we will dig for some gems in this coal mine.

I am curious what older cards you guys think will make any sort of splash given the new set, if any. I had a hard time evaluating most of this set for older formats, and given my time restrictions as of late, I have not had my usual days of brewing with obscure and odd cards, so I am anticipating what you guys think. Leave any suggestions or comments below; or, if you prefer to keep them under wraps, send them to me, and I will use them in a future article if you spot something unique. As always, thank you for reading, and check in next week for the beginning of the set review on what looks to be an interesting set for the casual market and a few spicy cards thrown in for the competitive crowd as well. If there are any cards you want me to concentrate on in particular as they are spoiled, please feel free to leave a comment below. I will be checking in all week leading up to my next article.

Ryan Bushard

@CryppleCommand


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