Holiday Gift Guide 2019
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Grab Bag: Running It Back


This week’s article comes to you from the middle of nowhere Ohio as another floor trader and I traverse the States in search of treasure . . . and treasure we have found. I am a little scatterbrained this week after traveling for three days straight and calling over a hundred stores, but as always, I want to bring you the information directly from the source.

This week, I was debating what to talk about—between the slew of new spoilers and the shop crawling, I have a lot I can discuss, so I believe it is time for another grab-bag article. I had a lot of positive feedback when I did the last one a few weeks ago, and I think this is the perfect opportunity to run it back . . . so here we go!

Road Trip

Let’s start with the trip—I imagine very few people actually have any idea what I am talking about. A business associate and I decided a few weeks ago that we wanted to attempt a large scale shop crawl across a significant part of the United States over the course of a few months, and this is the beginning of week one.

So far, we have hit about a dozen shops, and although most have been attached to their stock, a few we have hit have been home runs. What exactly do I mean when I say shop crawl? A shop crawl is similar to what you would see on the television show American Pickers if they were after Magic cards. We have called dozens and dozens of stores asking about potential overstock they may want to unload for a reasonable price, and we can then sort and profit from that stock. This is a great method for any up-and-coming traders who are looking to move up in the world—it gives you access to a large amount of stock without having to buy a multitude of collections.

We bought around three hundred thousand cards from one of the stores alone, and although it was all commons and uncommons, once picked, it should prove to be a wealthy endeavor. The key to this is patience; you can’t afford to buy out every store—many of them have enough local players to turn over product quickly. If you do, however, have shops locally that do not have large player bases, many times they are looking to move at a reduced rate large quantities of overstock from older sets that did not sell while they were in Standard.

If you have the time and energy to then take those cards and sort out the bulk, what you are left with can many times double or triple your initial investment. This process is far less risky at times than picking up individual collections online—you can find out exactly what you are buying before you ever go to visit one of these stores. Many times, shop owners become so overwhelmed with inventory that the opportunity to dump some of it, even at a low rate, can seem enticing just to be able to clear out room for stock they know they can sell with little effort.

We have taken this process a step further and decided to make a few one- to two-week trips, allowing us to travel across multiple states and creating a path between stores. Calling ahead is, of course, the key here, ensuring that we’re not wasting multiple days on the road only to show up to a shop and find they have nothing or that what they do have they move well. This process is among the most grueling and tedious tasks among things I do, but at the end of a week, you can stand to make thousands if you approach it correctly. I will update next week with how I have been doing and how much we spent compared to how much we made this week.

Scouring Spoils

Now that I have thoroughly bored you with what I have found to be one exciting quest, we can move on to the new spoilers we have this week. Since last week, almost a hundred new cards have been spoiled, among which a few gems can be found. I am just going to discuss the cards that I can see making a major impact on Standard or Legacy for now, and at a later date, whether in this article or through my podcast, I will give a better breakdown of the set.

[Editor's Note: You'll need to open our handy Avacyn Restored spoiler until the card tagging backend is updated with the full set!]

Entreat the Angels

Everyone of course knows how good Decree of Justice was, and this card can make just as much of a splash given the right deck. I don’t see a solid home for this card yet, and unlike Decree, you can’t just cycle this card away in a tight spot, but given the potential to suddenly amass an army, I can’t overlook its playability. Of all the miracles I have seen, this is by far the one I have the most faith in for control. I see this settling in the $5 to $7 range if it sees play—it will be unlikely to see four-of play.

So far, that’s all I have seen in white that really catches my eye. I expect some of the other rares to see some play, but few should break the $5 range unless the casual crowd takes off with them.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

I don’t have as high of hopes for this card as some do, but she certainly may find a spot in place of Jace in current control builds. I don’t see her holding her price tag, and she’ll probably settle down to $15 after a while—and possibly as low as $10 if she doesn’t see much play. It’s certainly a powerful ultimate attached to a solid +1, but her cost will probably hold her down.

Devastating Tide

Although I am not sure if this card will actually see play, it certainly has a fair cost even without the miracle added in. I don’t see this rising to extreme levels due to how narrow it is, but I can certainly see it rising to a few dollars if it finds the correct niche deck. It’s a solid pickup next weekend at the prerelease if you can find them for cheap.

Blue has a good number of commons and uncommons that have chances of seeing play, but there’s nothing close to Lingering Souls, so I would not expect much money in them.

Descent into Madness

I can see a deck popping up with this card as its core over the course of its Standard life span, and that could mean a potential profit if you can pick them up early and sit on them. In a Pox-style deck, this card can completely shut down control while keeping aggro at bay as long as you have a number of recurrable cards or permanents. If a deck pops up, this could hit $8 to $10 given the facts that it’s mythic and will probably be a four-of in the deck.

Treacherous Pit-Dweller

I am not sure where this guy would fit, but the body is certainly powerful enough to take a second look at. I don’t like him in the current Zombies build because he completely brings you to a halt when he dies, but if there is some way to abuse his low cost while minimizing his negative effect in the future, he could see a price hike as high as $5 to $7. I don’t see him hitting Gravecrawler or Messenger prices due to how narrow he is, but Zombies has been looking for a 2-drop, and if they can handle his ability, he may just fit the bill.

For this being a set emphasizing Angels, I am finding a lot more worth in the dark colors thus far. We have yet to see a lot of cards, but given that Zombies is already an archetype, if we see any more solid 2- or 3-drops, it may just become the deck to beat given the tools to take over Delver.

Reforge the Soul

Now, here is another miracle card I can get behind, and it’s not just because it has that mechanic. I have noticed the cards that seem the most enticing with miracle also have fair costs on their abilities. Giving red a quick way to reload and even possibly use flashback at the same time could prove to be exactly what that deck needed to make another showing in the coming months. Though it’s not always best to refill your opponent’s hand for him, many times, you will find the resources you net allow you to quickly end the game before he can take advantage of it.

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

I really don’t know how I feel about this guy yet, but as the first 2-mana ’walker we have seen, it seems Wizards decided to under-power him just to be safe. Only time will tell if he will find a home, but we will have a better idea as we see more from the set, so for now, I am going to say he is a bit of a dud, but I reserve the right to change that when the set is fully spoiled.

Vexing Devil

Possibly the chase rare of the set, Vexing Devil, allows Red the chance at a 4-damage spell on turn one. Though he may not be the best play later in the game, he will still provide a solid body that forces your opponent to make awkward decisions. I am not sure he deserves quite as much hype as he is receiving now, but I definitely believe he is on par with Goblin Guide in the mono-red burn decks all the way from Standard to Legacy.

Ulvenwald Tracker

Out of all the green cards spoiled thus far, this is the only one that really stands out to me. At 1 mana, you get a Human—which is extremely relevant—that allows your Champion of the Parish to play king of the castle with your opponents’ creatures late game. I don’t know that the Tracker would see maindeck play, but as a solid answer in green to Delver, I certainly don’t think he should be dismissed.

Undiscovered Territory

I don’t want to talk too much about the lands this week since they haven’t been confirmed, but I can certainly see almost all of them spoiled thus far seeing play. The R/W land gives aggro so much reach in token strategies while also making every top-decked creature an instant threat. The U/R land is possibly one of the best lands I have seen in a while outside of dual lands—it allows you to turn those late-game excess lands into real threats while at the same time discarding cards with flashback to gain significant card advantage.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Cavern of Souls . . . is this card for real? I mean seriously . . . is it for real? So many people are clamoring about its price currently, but the worst part is I feel that may almost be too cheap. Very rarely does Wizards produce a card that is so degenerate that it can possibly shut out entire archetypes. This card allows tribal decks to flourish while at the same time forcing Titans through in two-color control.

Any deck playing creatures for the next year and a half will probably have this in the seventy-five because it is just that good. Even if you look past the uncounterable part, it is still mana fixing. This card would have been playable if you had to choose a color, but as it is, I don’t even know a ceiling on this thing. I would say we have the new Snapcaster on our hands, but that would just be wrong; this card is better . . .

And That's It

While I am sitting here recovering from my current state of shock, I hope that everyone else is poring over the spoiler in search of the next sleeper. By time this article goes live, there will probably be a good number more cards spoiled, and in turn, even more speculation.

Join me next week as I talk more about the new set and do a recap of the trip so everyone knows where I have been and exactly what I have been doing. Until then, keep speculating, and let me know if there are any cards I skipped over that you think just may have some potential in the new Standard.


Ryan Bushard