Once again, it is spoiler season, and as always, that means it is time for me to throw my hat in the ring and pick out the gems from the bulk. As I started a few sets ago, I will be sticking to cards you want to act on quickly this week, which means from the time you are reading this article until the first major event or two. With this in mind, I will be covering the long-term picks in a later article. This is a smaller set, so I may focus more than usual on a few cards, as there is not a ton that has much room to move.
Voice of Resurgence certainly seemed possible, and the frontrunner was Brimaz, King of Oreskos.
Brimaz certainly demands attention and is being compared heavily to both Voice and Hero of Bladehold, though for different reasons. This being said, after finishing the podcast set review, I am not fully convinced there is the lack of value everyone assumes, and instead, I am looking at the set as a two-action process. The first step is to move almost every mythic. Brimaz has potential to move upward and will probably see the play to do so, but if you can get locals to snag them at $30 or more, take that—even if they rise to $50 or more, as some are speculating, the buy list will probably not follow as quickly. This happened with Voice, but the amount of play it was seeing at first negated that, as no one sold, making it rise higher and finally dragging the buy list up. This card, however, does not seem Legacy-playable to me, which makes a huge difference in the immediate price—and, eventually, where the card stabilizes. Brimaz may see Modern play to offset this effect, but unlike Voice, I do not see Brimaz showing up in multiple decks, which means the Standard need will not be as high, therefore dropping the interest and filling some buy lists. This is not to say the card will go down immediately, or ever, but do not expect a high buy-list percentage after a few weeks pass.
As for Eidolon of Countless Battles, I want to like this card so much. Coupled with the mono-white powerhouse that seems to be emerging, this could fit. After a closer look, though, all I can see is a slow enchantment that will probably not be bestowed often paired with a Crusader of Odric; I am left unimpressed. I want this card to be good, and I don’t feel it is a terrible buy for your play set, as I expect it to hold a buck or two, but I don’t think it will settle at much over that unless this somehow edges out all the other 3-drops.
Fated Retribution will probably be a one- or two-of in some control variants over the next year. Pick up your personal set for sure, and if you trade for some at just over bulk, that will probably turn out fine if you don’t mind holding them for a while. This card certainly has potential in Commander as well, making it a fine choice for a long-term spec, but I will be covering most of that in a later article, so let’s move on.
Hero of Iroas feels a lot like Kor Spiritdancer to me and may even find a home in a deck alongside her, and that leads me to believe even if the competitive crowd does not take to him, the brewers out there will be tinkering long enough for him to hold a steady price. I feel this card will not drop much below the current $1.50 and has an upside I believe will be discovered down the road. I would trade for these when you can, but given that it may take a while to go up, I would just grab my personal set and sit on them in case a deck does ever pop up. I feel that a number of cards in this set are like that, and that is not a bad thing. It just means the presale was on target and that there is no action needed.
Plea for Guidance will be a sweet foil grab and really has no downside at the bulk price, so grab these where you can. Commander will drain the market eventually, and playable tutors never really lose favor.
Silent Sentinel is bulk. See, look how many cards we hit before we found one . . . maybe this set isn’t so bad.
Spirit of the Labyrinth is the hype rare from the set that most of the Eternal players are interested in. Though it is already $8, I don’t see that price as completely incorrect; however, if there are not some solid showings within the first few Legacy tournaments, I don’t believe Standard can keep this price afloat. It certainly has potential to grow if it turns out to be as good as everyone is hoping, but I would sell them, imagining a time when they could be $3 to $5 down the road and I can snag them back up.
Arbiter of the Ideal is bulk—not a strong start for blue.
Fated Infatuation is another card that I wanted to be good, but honestly, Cackling Counterpart is better, and that had way more options for abuse. This card is probably nothing exciting and should end up bulk.
Perplexing Chimera is bad—fun, but bad. This does not mean it won’t be slightly above bulk and foils won’t go up, but I don’t expect that to be immediate, so we move on for now.
Tromokratis is surprisingly bulk. Blue, what are you doing to me here?
Whelming Wave is bad and certainly not a contender in a format with Supreme Verdict. Well, Blue, you appear to be the worst color in the set. That’s right: There’s not a single card that will probably break $1 in the foreseeable future. I started with high hopes and am feeling a bit down at this point. There is certainly more to come, however, so let’s see if we can get back to the gems.
Champion of Stray Souls. Again with the bulk bin, and a mythic at that.
Eater of Hope continues the trend with what seems to be no end in sight—bulk it is.
Fate Unraveler seems so underpriced to some, but given that it won’t see Standard play, it will be a while before this ever climbs above the $1 it is currently at.
Fated Return is probably one of the most awesome cards in the set. Indestructible seems to be a very strong addition to a Zombify effect, flavor-wise, and it may even see small amounts of play in control down the road. I don’t see that being immediate, though, so you can trade for these this weekend knowing they have a strong chance of inflating, but don’t expect any immediate returns.
Gild is cool. Cool, however, does not mean “good,” and though you can kill Gods with this, there are much more efficient ways to do so without ramping at Sorcery speed.
Herald of Torment is my call for the set over everything else. This card stuffs Nightveil Specter and can make a Gray Merchant of Asphodel a sudden threat late-game. Curving this into Desecration Demon seems to be a recipe for a quick win, and I can easily see this topping $5 given enough play and barring a promo. Pick these up for $1 all day, and trade for them at up to $2. There is far too much upside here that very few are seeing.
Pain Seer, on the other hand, may be the most overpriced card, and it already has a confirmed promo. I don’t like this card at all, but that does not mean it will not see tinkering, which will at least hold the price higher than the $2 to $3 it should be worth. I cannot see a scenario in which this can go any higher, and that means move these as fast as you can, and don’t look back. So black held a bit more promise than blue, but it was nowhere near as strong as white. But now we are about half way through and haven’t touched multicolored, so my hopes are back on the rise.
Flame-Wreathed Phoenix does not feel like the card that is going to answer red’s prayers, and I feel cards like Mogis, God of Slaughter will just outperform the bird. It cost too much and lacks haste against the decks you need the tribute from, and that means it will probably never be what you want. Without haste, a generic 5/5 flyer for 4 seems pretty underwhelming against cards such as Desecration Demon. Currently, these are right around $10, and I feel anything you can get over $6 is just fine. I may be wrong here, but 3- and 4-drops require a lot more than they did even two years ago, and this card feels like something that may have thrived then but certainly not now.
Fated Conflagration does seem to be a strong removal spell against the field, but it truly begs the question of when this is ever better than other options you may have. Granted, the scry can be helpful, and I really do like the card, but I just can’t see it jumping too much. If you have any brews that involve this card, please buy in now, though, as they probably won’t go down from a buck, even with no real showing.
Felhide Spiritbinder seems to be a great concept card, but again, it begs the question of when you would ever want this over all the other 4-drops. As the trend continues, I can never really see a point leading me to believe this card isn’t also bulk. I hope I am proven wrong on this one, though, as I really do like what the card is trying to do.
Forgestoker Dragon is a fine casual trade card, but it will do nothing for a price hike, and that leaves it at bulk.
Oracle of Bones is cute, and, of course, there are some cute cards to cast, but this card is bulk and will not get enough done to make it otherwise in Standard at 4 mana, so, once again, we continue in search of more gems.
Satyr Firedancer is certainly a Searing Blaze on a stick, but the setup this requires and the hope that your opponent does not remove this in response to fizzle the ability seems like too much to wish for and still be competitive. I cannot see this holding the $3 it is at, and it will probably end up bulk in the near future.
Whims of the Fates is cute in Commander and will remain bulk like so many similar effects before it.
Courser of Kruphix is another card I can see breaking $5 if anything comes of a ramp deck, but 4 is also a lofty number for a rare, and similar to cards like Boon Satyr, this card may just not see enough play to hold these sorts of prices. Boon Satyr started higher and quickly ended up lower, so the price of this card will very much rest on the first or second major event. If you are speculating on them, it is best in trade and to be kept limited. Keep an eye on the market, and if no one is selling them and the price stagnates, get out.
Fated Intervention joins Advent of the Wurm to create what could be a tokens deck in Standard. At nearly bulk, I like picking this card up, as even if it does very little at first, G/W tokens is almost always popular enough to at least keep these cards from hitting bulk.
Hero of Leina Tower is another card people think may hit big, but I just can’t see it after looking at the card further. I expect this to hover just above bulk for most of its time in Standard.
Hunter's Prowess is bulk—end of story.
Nessian Wilds Ravager is cool and may have seen $1 or $2, but being the prerelease card means it will take time to increase if it ever does.
Scourge of Skola Vale is an interesting card, as it certainly has utility. Even beyond Standard, I expect this card to be a strong casual hit, and being complete bulk means there is no harm in picking them up. If this card sees play, I will be surprised, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities, so even outside of the casual appeal, there is further upside.
Astral Cornucopia has some of my favorite words on it for eventual value: charge counters. With proliferate and adding charge counters otherwise fully available, I feel this card has more going for it than most people give it credit for, but it probably has no competitive life. That being said, I think this card will hold a solid $1 or $2 through Standard and grow from there over time. Trade for them if you want them, but they’re probably not good enough to buy into.
Heroes' Podium has a very legendary feel to it and surprised me when it wasn’t mythic, but nonetheless, there will not be enough demand for this card to gain any time soon.
The Temples will all ebb and flow through Standard, and if you know you need them, they are fine to pick up at $4 or so now, but there is no real room to make any money.
Chromanticore is everything I wanted out of a Magic card as a kid, and as such, I expect this to be a huge hit down the road with it being very unlikely for reprint, but don’t expect anything soon, and sell out at $2 to $3 if you can.
Ephara, God of the Polis certainly has potential, but it is fighting with Heliod, God of the Sun for that spot. I can see this as a two-of in any deck that would want it, which means $10 is too high and that now is the time to get out.
Karametra, God of Harvests certainly doesn’t stand a chance at $10 if Ephara doesn’t, so selling now would be optimal.
Kiora, the Crashing Wave is, I believe, better than most people are giving her credit for, but that does not mean she is in the $25-range good. Move these now with the intent to reacquire them if the price ever drops below $8 to $10.
Mogis, God of Slaughter was one I was not sold on at first—like many, I compared it to Blood Clock. After reevaluating the set, though, I believe this may get the nod at the 4-drop spot of Rakdos Aggro, as it is much better than I initially gave it credit for. That does not mean it will remain at $20, however, so sell out while you can, and hope to pick them up on the south side of $15 in a few weeks. How far under $15 will depend on coming results.
Phenax, God of Deception certainly has people brewing, but as with most mill cards, I just don’t believe this stacks up. Even if the card does see fringe play, it will probably drop from the current price regardless, so sell out the first weekend while there is still buzz.
Xenagos, God of Revels certainly seems powerful, but regardless of how much play he sees, the current presale on the north side of $20 is absurd, so move these now, and reacquire when they are $10 cheaper in a few weeks.
Whew, that stacked up a little better than we started off, and that brings us to the second stage of this process. As you can see, all the mythics are overpriced for the most part—other than potentially Brimaz—so move the hot cards into the underpriced rares, and sit on them for a few weeks. I think this is a fairly straightforward set that will bring very little as far as new archetypes, and that means the cards to focus on are those that enhance existing ones.
I hope everyone has a great time this weekend and maybe takes away a brighter outlook on the set after reading this. Until next week, as always, please leave any comments or questions about this article below. If you have any differing opinions, please feel free to chime in. I am always interested in opposing views. Thanks again for reading, and enjoy your sleep-deprived prerelease.