Chandra, Pyromaster, Desecration Demon, and Jace, Architect of Thought have already seen significant price increases this month in anticipation of the release of Theros (and of course Innistrad block’s rotation). Today we’re going to look at which cards are likely to follow suit as well as few that aren’t worth holding on to.
I know she’s not Standard legal for much longer, but Liliana of the Veil is the first card I can remember that went up in price two weeks before it was set to rotate. GP Detroit caused it to jump from the mid $30s up to the low $40s and I think that’s the cheapest we’ll see her for the foreseeable future barring a banning. She’s a dominant multi-format allstar that will only get more expensive as the game grows and wizards does its best to make Modern accessible. I think Liliana will be $80 by next Modern Season and the only real downside I see in investing in her is that June is 9 months away.
Mizzium Mortars is the easiest bet in Standard and while the card is certainly good on its own, it’s important to understand the effect the Red and pseudo Red cards of Theros will have on the format. Anger of the Gods, Chained to Rocks, and Purphoros, God of the Forge (possibly Steam Augury as well) are too good not to see play, and will likely be bringing some number of Mortars with them.
Mizzium Mortars was already seeing play in various Domri Rade and Jund strategies despite some competition from the rotating (thankfully) Bonfire of the Damned and its very easy for me to envision a Standard where most of the decks have copies in their 75. Admittedly that’s not very likely, but this card is still going to be played a ton due to how good Red is in the new set and how easy it is to cast. I think it will more than double over the next month to $6 with the potential to hit $10 leading up to Standard PTQ season.
The Boring One:
Sphinx’s Revelation is as close to lock as it gets. My only concern is Anger the Gods being printed will allow control decks to veer away from the U/W/x shell that has been prevalent for nearly a year (Supreme Verdict being the only consistent early board wipe had a lot to do with Revelation’s dominance and price). I think it’ll hit the $25 or so by November but I doubt it goes above $30, which makes it a trade target rather than something you should buy into, but its a safe investment that won’t lose you value and is easy to get out of.
Blood Baron of Vizkopa by itself has everything I want. Its a Mythic from Dragon’s Maze that’s likely to be very well positioned in the new Standard while being relatively easy to cast, we even get Temple of Silence to go with it! There’s one big problem though, most of the Orzhov cards are bad. The next best (or best) card in Blood Baron’s colors is Obzedat, Ghost Council which is its biggest competition and besides Orzhov Charm there isn’t much else. Think about how well the some of the Azorius cards work together and how much of a difference that make’s in the demand for and subsequent price of Sphinx’s Revelation. The lack of good support is the biggest risk to consider before betting on Blood Baron, everything else is there, and if he hits I think he’ll be $25+.
Scavenging Ooze is back down to $15 TCG Mid and $12 on Ebay, after a brief climb into the high teens. I think Ooze is going to see a ton of play in Standard this fall, and unlike most cards will continue to see heavy demand year round because of its prevalence in Modern (likely maintaining any price bumps it gets along the way so long as its not reprinted). The biggest risk I see with Ooze is the potential to get the Thragtusk treatment, its a candidate for an event deck printing for its entire time in Standard due to its rarity and flexibility (This is what makes buying into Mutavault scary, it could be in ANY event deck and is honestly a more logical card for Wizards to put into multiple decks a la Thragtusk than ooze). Assuming nothing goes wrong, I think Ooze could hit $20+ this fall which means you should be trading for them rather than buying them but they’re still a great pick up.
Despite being in an intro pack I really like Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch, her circumstances are nearly the reverse of Blood Baron but she’s also less than 1/10 the price which more than makes up for the increase in her supply. Rakdos aggro has 12 potential 2 power 1 drops if its base black, a ton of removal/burn and a really powerful top end in Hellhole Flailer, Lifebane Zombie and Exava herself. If this deck or something like it puts up results I could see her hitting $5 which is an amazing return on your investment. Its possible we’ll have to wait for the B/R Temple to be printed in the next set for the mana to work properly, but at Exava’s current price point I don’t mind waiting.
Going a little deep:
Prophet of Kruphix was a Commander Allstar the moment it was spoiled, but I wonder if it could be more? It dies to almost everything, but if your opponent was tapped out the turn you play it you’re in pretty good shape and even if they’re not, sometimes they just don’t have an answer.
If the Prophet is good enough for Standard the first cards that come to mind are Prime Speaker Zegana and Progenitor Mimic (which both happen to have great casual appeal), they’re dirt cheap right now, $2.75 and $4.50 TCG Mid respectively.
A split makes sense if we’re betting on the Prophet and while I don’t really like hedging, both of these cards will rise in the long-term due to Commander even if they strike out in Standard which helps mitigate the risk. I’m not sure what the correct split is, but I could see Zegana at $8 and Mimic at $10+ if this works out.
Going so deep I actually can’t see anything:
Into the Wilds. I know… I know, please just hear (read?) me out. This card is actually free in trade unless the strange look people give you for asking about terrible bulk rares still costs you something. It seems insane with scry, particularly Thassa, God of the Sea, and is probably pretty good in a Maze’s End shell. Its not often we can buy in to a potential build around me card in Standard that doesn’t cost a million mana for less than $.50.
Things to get rid of:
Desecration Demon has already done its job by quadrupling in price over the summer. It might still have some room to grow, but its lost much of its appeal and I’d rather have my money elsewhere (demon is in no man’s land right now, not enough upside to justify the risk, and not safe enough to justify the limited upside).
Garruk, Caller of Beasts got no support in Theros and was already dropping before we got the full spoiler. I’m not sure how steep the fall will be and am hesitant to compare his price curve to something like Sublime Archangel at this time last year (which retained much of its value despite having almost no competitive success). Sublime still saw some play at the local level that I’m not sure Garruk will, but then again he’ll have significantly more demand from Commander players. Regardless of how he drops going forward, I believe he is going to continue to do so and recommend recouping what value you can.
Theros – All of it. Some food for thought:
The moment packs start being opened the value of a set begins to drop. Trade all of the Theros cards away that you can this weekend, as a whole they’ll never be worth more. For that matter, trade your prize packs as well, you might be surprised what someone will give up for another chance to rip a foil God.
Because it feels weird not to:
If I was forced to keep some Theros cards, or perhaps even actively acquire them, they’d be: Hammer of Purphoros(I really like the upside of trading for it at $1.5 TCG), Steam Augury (can’t tell if its horrible or the basis of a U/R/x control deck), and Underworld Ceberus (this card might be insane).
The part where it ends:
I know its more exciting to try and find the next Boros Reckoner rather than trading for cards you’ve already been staring at for months, but for Theros in particular I think this is the safest strategy (even more so than other sets). The design philosophy of the set (Cards heavily influenced by top down design are harder to evaluate than normal cards, because they tend to do unique things, or at least do things differently than we’re used to) along with the fact that eight of the Mythic slots are taken up by Planeswalkers or pseudo Planeswalkers (Gods) that are traditionally hard to evaluate and this set feels like a stay away to me.
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