A few sets ago, I started dividing the set during release time into two categories: long-term cards and cards to move on immediately. Cards such as Herald of Torment and Courser of Kruphix are great examples of cards to move on immediately, as they begin underpriced, while the cards I want to talk about today fall into the second category. A few people always ask me why I don’t mention certain cards during release time or may disagree about a card going down, but understand that many cards—though good and probably undervalued—have a step to go down before they begin that long-term rise. Many of the cards I mention today will be ideal for grabbing for the next six to twelve months, when their prices may fall even more, while some are just undervalued in the short term; the difference usually has to do with competitive playability versus playability in casual formats such as Commander.
Astral Cornucopia is the first card I see worth moving in on, and at the current price under $1, I believe you can’t go wrong. Though the window on this may be six months to a year for any movement, these will be great to stash—these effects are popular, and it has the added benefit of playing well with proliferate. It has an outside chance to see Standard play, but it seems Chromatic Lantern will shut it out for the moment, which leads me to believe you have plenty of time to move in slowly.
Brimaz, King of Oreskos has a lot to show to make the current $35 price tag stick, but if he sees any play this weekend in Modern, expect a small boost. Either way, I would not feel bad getting out of these now, as I believe they have stagnated and will probably decay from here if he does not see a large boost in popularity.
Champion of Stray Souls has been much more popular than I anticipated—I sold out on these very quickly. I have not seen any upward price in what is to be the “bulk” mythic of the set, but I believe it has more long-term potential than I expected. Pick these up under a buck if you see them, but I would not target them specifically.
Chromanticore has, by and far, been the most popular casual card out of the set, and I instantly moved all my copies when the set released. This one may have a smaller window than most, as any chance at a five-color deck will probably attempt to rock this as a four-of given its nonlegendary status. Even without the competitive bump, this card will always be a casual hit, driving the price up from the current $2.
Fate Unraveler has now hit bulk, making this the time to buy in. I don’t know if this will see a bump in the short term, but this is certain to be a few dollars over the next few years—potentially faster. Either way, there is minimal risk involved, and these would be a great pick to leave in the closet for a few years.
Fated Conflagration had me interested at first, but the more I look at the card, the more I feel there are just better answers, and with the current reprint, this may be the next Char—you want it to be worth something, but over the years, you give up hope.
Fated Intervention, Fated Retribution, and Fated Return, on the other hand, will probably all gain value over the next year just based on the casual appeal. All of these effects are awesome at instant speed, and given that all of them have a fringe chance to see Standard play, I can’t see a reason to not buy into these at the next-to-nothing price they are at. These are the types of cards, much like the Commands from Lorwyn, that slowly go up over time. Unfortunately, none of these will see anywhere as much play as Cryptic Command, but a few dollars, nonetheless, is not unreasonable to expect.
Felhide Spiritbinder is another card I really want to see in action before I decide what to do with it, but the effect seems like a draw for the Commander crowd, and though I do not expect to see him showing up at a Grand Prix anytime soon, I believe he will never truly be bulk just because of how reasonably costed his effect is. I would concentrate on trading for these, but snagging them as throw-ins seems like a great plan.
I believe I mentioned a while ago—either in my article or on the podcast—that I did not like Flame-Wreathed Phoenix, and though that held true for his $10 presale price, I am warming up to the $4 he can currently be found at. I do not know that he has a place now, but this is one of those cards to keep an eye on, as the format may warm up to a deck that can support him after rotation, and he could easily spike to $10 or more. I believe these have a little ways to drop still, but I do not believe they will stay as low as I originally anticipated.
Gild . . . So I read this card wrong approximately a dozen times at least, as I believed up until the other day that it gave your opponent the mana; I was wrong. Though I do not feel that change makes this card much, if any, more playable in Constructed, it is cool in design and certain to be worth money down the road. After reading it correctly, I really do not hate the card, and I would love to see a Standard environment that made it playable—but using this to ramp into Elspeth, Sun's Champion is not where I want to be right now, so I will stash those plans for later.
Herald of Torment was my primary spec in Born of the Gods, and so far, it has yet to disappoint. I believe, given the Magic Online price, that it has more room to grow in paper. Many times in Magic, online prerelease prices skyrocket as people are grabbing at the cards they need to play Constructed while they are still brand new. This creates a huge inflation in the overall price of the set that takes a few days to settle. Cards after that settling that remain above bulk usually indicate playability factors—in this case, it’s probably in Standard. The fact that Herald of Torment spiked to $5 and settled down between $2 and $3 means it is seeing a fair share of play for a rare. If this price does not drop much more, expect results over the next few weeks to support this and, in turn, expect a rise in the price of paper copies. I may not move in at this point, as I do not believe they have enough upside to spend cash at $2 each, but trade for them if you can, and if you are a player, feel free to pick up your set, as they probably are not dropping anytime soon.
Heroes' Podium is not bulk, and I believe it has great potential, specifically foils, to hit in the next year or so. Any sort of Anthem effects have to be given a good look, and this one comes with a conditional draw engine, making it twice as tempting. Even if the card takes time to gain, it will certainly see the light of day again above $1, and over time, it will creep up toward $5—as many casual cards like it have in the past.
Karametra, God of Harvests had a ways to drop from her initial price, but now that she is in the $3- to $4-dollar range, it seems only correct to start snagging them. With Primeval Titan and Sylvan Primordial both banned in Commander, these repeatable Rampant Growth effects are becoming harder to come by. This one comes with a 6/7 indestructible body once you hit the late game, and that, I believe, will slowly allow her to grind back up in price over the next few years. Though she is unlikely to see much, if any, Standard play, it is probably best to pick up a play set now while she borders on bulk-mythic status, and pick up as many as you can if she goes down any further.
Perplexing Chimera offers a unique effect, allowing it to stand out among the casual cards from this set. I expect this card to break bulk over the next year and never look back as many blue mages jam this in Commander as a way to stop threats like the Eldrazi or even uncounterable spells and creatures. Foil copies have even more to gain, so snagging those is an extra bonus if you can find them.
Phenax, God of Deception I believe deserves a little more credit than originally given; this card is good and can end games very quickly. Not only does it have the casual drive, it also has a competitive home already and will probably be tinkered with throughout its Standard life. At some point over the next two years, this card will be the primary finisher for some control deck and could see a spike to $15 or more. I would certainly trade for these at the current $8, as the casual appeal creates a safety net to keep the price from ever really crashing—barring an unlikely reprint.
Plea for Guidance has also achieved bulk status, making this the time to buy in for the long term. In the past, almost every tutor has risen above bulk, and over time, some, such as Idyllic Tutor, cross over from the better-than-bulk stack to the worth-money pile. I don’t expect this to be instant, but feel free to buy as many of these at bulk as you can, and don’t forget the foils.
Spirit of the Labyrinth has now fallen below $3, which begs the question, Why is this card so cheap? I don’t believe we have seen enough coverage for this card to have tanked this hard, and I can easily see a quick rebound to $6 or more over the next few months. If this sees any Modern play this weekend, expect an immediate bump, meaning if you don’t have your set already, pick them up now.
That is all I have for this week. If you are wondering why cards such as Xenagos, God of Revels were left off, it is because I feel their prices have not had enough influence yet from the coverage crowd to move one way or the other, which means they will probably stay stagnant for the moment. Most cards from the set that are in the $10 to $20 range will drop some initially, but as always, expect the staples of the format to waiver based on current playability. Thank you as always for reading, and if you have something to add, please feel free to do so in the comment section below.