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Speconomics : Avacyn Restored Set Review

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Finance, Magic Culture

It’s always interesting when a new set comes out. Everyone knows that early prices are wrong, but buying and selling behavior never changes. As someone who likes making money, I enjoy breaking down cards from a new set based on whether or not I want to buy some of them now, later, or possibly never. As such, I don’t work from theoretically exact future prices as that is less relevant to making profits than correctly guessing whether a card will simply spike or tank. It’s still a good exercise though, as it’s necessary to keep some context for our cards. I also consider how I think cards will play out and compare that to consensus thinking. It is easy to say that a card is good and will see play. I try to avoid that trap and instead I ask “Is this card better than people suggest, and will it see more play than initial set discussions imply?”

I will group card evaluations into three categories:

Bulk

You know what bulk is. I won’t waste your time expanding on anything that’s truly bulk.

Shoe box

These are cards that I can’t see making any impact on competitive, Constructed formats but that have casual/EDH appeal. They are likely to rise slowly over the next 5 years. They are “safe” investments but not ideal speculation targets since the expected rate of return is pretty low. Think of them like bonds, whereas competitive cards are stocks. I call them “shoe box” because I imagine being very happy finding a box of these five years from now in the bottom of a closet. Foil shoe box cards tend to rise disproportionately as they age. For shoe box cards, I’ll list three prices:

1. Current price

2. Short-term bottom – the price I expect the card to reach before M13 comes out. This is the price that I’d look to pick them up at over the next couple months to put in a shoebox somewhere–maybe the bottom of my closet.

3. Shoe box price – the price I expect to get for the card four years from now when I find the box in my closet.

Competitive

These are the cards that you might be chasing after if you’re playing Standard, Modern or Legacy competitively. Here is how I break these down:

1. Current price

2. Short-term future – the price I expect it to hit before M13 comes out.

3. Rotation direction – the price direction of this card when Scars Block rotates out of Standard. I don’t use a target price, just a direction and a modifier to signify whether I think the card’s price will increase or decrease on rotation out of Standard in comparison to its abstract power level. If the direction of the card relies on some specific condition, I’ll note that. If I say “up because Titans oppress it,” don’t hate me if Return to Ravnica has 6-drops that make Titans look like bulk.

If you think I brush past something that deserves more attention, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to elaborate. Set reviews grow quite long and I want to focus on evaluations before the release.

White

Angel of Jubilation

Current price: $2.99
Short-term price: $1.99
Rotation direction: down/neutral

I can’t imagine this card becoming big. At 1WWW (yes, 1WWW, not 2WW), Jubilation forces you into heavy white. This makes it tough to run alongside Moorland Haunt and Lingering Souls (the two cards it would most like to compliment). Further, it’s a 4-drop and already has a lot of competition from cards like Hero of Bladehold and Restoration Angel. I’m not sure I want a triple White mana cost in current Standard when running two or three colors is so beneficial (e.g. Lingering Souls, Moorland Haunt, etc.).

Post-rotation and post-Hero, there’s still Restoration Angel to contend with in the 4-drop slot. That’s not even counting non-white options like Huntmaster of the Fells, Hellrider, Garruk Relentless and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. Plus, we’re going back to Ravnica soon. Ravnica suggests a gold-card-heavy block, making a WWW card even less appealing. However, if we get mana fixing on par with the Filter Lands or a Shockland/Fetchland combo (a man can dream!) then maybe we’d be due for some Jubilation.

I don’t think the Angel’s abilities are particularly relevant. Griselbrand is still a 7/7 flying lifelinker with his draw ability turned off. Likewise, Birthing Pod decks are equipped to function without Birthing Pod on a regular basis anyway. The Angel does nothing vs. the current tier 1. I wouldn’t hold my breath in Standard.

Yet, Angel of Jubilation is a sweet casual card, especially in mono-White EDH decks. I’d be happy to stash some. If you can pick these up at $1 after people try them in Standard and fail, you could be well positioned as it creeps back up in value years out.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Current price: $9.99
Short-term price: $6.99
Shoe box price: $11.99-12.99

Or, Avacyn, Angel of Casual Appeal. She isn’t a real reanimation target. Griselbrand wins that one (even if Avacyn wins an actual fight between the two). She’s flashy, though. I’d be willing to pick up foils of these pretty aggressively (relative to shoe box cards) once the pre-release hype wears off. People will want these for years to come, no matter how little (zero) competitive impact she will have.

Divine Deflection

Current price: $0.99
Short-term price: – $0.75
Rotational direction: up if Red replaces Black for removal

Shining Shoal was a solid card, but it also had the free clause. Redirections occasionally find a way to see play and I want to mark this as a “watch.” If you’ve paid attention to the current Block metagame online, Red/White and Red/Green are the two best decks. Brimstone Volley and Geistflame (and soon Pillar of Flame and Bonfire of the Damned) are contextually stronger than Black’s conditional removal. Tragic Slip needs Morbid to kill big things. Dead Weight doesn’t kill Hellrider. Victim of Night doesn’t hit Huntmaster of the Fells. Sever the Bloodline is slow. If that remains true in Standard, then I would consider this card for some maindeck/sideboard play. That’s a big if, since Core Sets give us our Doom Blades and basic Wraths. If Red has the go-to removal of choice or is an unusually strong color then keep this card in mind. I won’t call it a sleeper, but I will say that the context looks good for Divine Deflection to be relevant.

Entreat the Angels

Current price: $19.99
Short-term price: $14.99
Rotation direction: up, unless it manages to make a big splash in this Standard

Cat’s out of the bag. Patrick Chapin and LSV both like the card. It’s a strong finisher. The best comparisons are White Sun’s Zenith and Decree of Justice, but with some key differences:

  • Top-decking this turn 4 or later doesn’t automatically suck.
  • It’s a Sorcery.
  • It makes big, flying Angels. Flying is more relevant than usual because you have to deal with Moorland Haunt tokens and Delver in Standard.

In a world without Mana Leak (see: Rotation), this becomes a very good Control finisher. Unfortunately, people are already on to this card. I don’t think it can go much higher than the $20 price it jumped to already. It should come back down as the hype settles. If it falls back to $10, I’d look into picking it up. Granted, this depends on if it’s back to $10 based on people selling them because “it’s a money card” or “because it flopped.” That can be tough to discern. I think the best play on it has already been missed. If it comes back down, watch for it to make a splash and act on it if it does. We already know it has a pretty wide range for potential movement.

Restoration Angel

Current price: $4.99
Short-term price: $3.99
Rotation direction: neutral/slightly up

I’m not as high on this card as some people are, being a release foil. That didn’t stop Hero of Bladehold from making a splash, but Hero was a mythic rare. More importantly though: people are very optimistic about cards like this. That makes me thinks that there are a lot of people buying these in anticipation. I’m not sure it will live up to the enthusiasm It may be good and subsequently see Blade Splicer-like levels of play, but I don’t think that would affect the price. There are so many 4-drops right now that it’s hard to imagine this Angel becoming dominant enough to warrant a massive price jump.

Silverblade Paladin

Current price: $3.99
Short-term price: $3.50
Rotation direction: neutral/slightly up – at the very least it will replace Mirran Crusader in Humans

My initial impression is that this card isn’t going anywhere, but a lot of people seem to really like this card. The Paladin is a reasonable three-drop; especially post-rotation, without Mirran Crusader. But, it doesn’t scream home run to me. In the event that Humans does become an awesome deck running 4 Paladins, you’re still competing with the mana base and cards like Champion of the Parish/Hero of Bladehold. I expect this card to remain stable. It should be a fine card in a fine deck with some casual appeal, but that doesn’t make it a great speculation target. I prefer my buys to have a lot more potential upside than “it’s fine.” If you want to use the card, I don’t think you’ll get hammered on its price any time soon.

Terminus

Current price: $3.99
Short-term price: $4.99
Shoe box price: $7.99

Terminus is another card that I don’t see moving for a while. I don’t think it’s the best sweeper in Standard. It can be clunky but it does hit Thrun, the Last Troll, Geralf’s Messenger, Gravecrawler, Strangleroot Geist and more. I can see it mixing in with the current set of Wraths in small numbers. It’s probably the most playable Miracle independent of its Miracle cost. If you like playing Wx Control, I’d make sure to get 1-2 of these at least. Wraths don’t tend to spike much even when they’re good for a time (see: Slagstorm). Generally, the price is caught by the flashier cards: the finishers and new mythics such as Huntmaster or possibly Entreat the Angels. I like the card’s prospects in EDH/Casual as another Hallowed Burial in all the White decks that already run Hallowed. That makes me incredibly bullish on its foil prospects. Shoe box + competitive play? This is a card I wouldn’t mind complaining about having 50 or 100 of by the end of Avacyn Restored’s draft run.

Bulk

Angel of Glory’s Rise

Cathar’s Crusade

Herald of War

Riders of Gavony

Blue

Devastation Tide

Current price: $1.49
Short-term price: Bulk-$1
Shoe box price: $1.99

I really wish I could call this a bulk rare. I REALLY do. I expect the card to see no competitive play as it’s not an instant like Evacuation, doesn’t bounce everything like Upheaval, and doesn’t cost any less than a Wrath (more than Day when non-Miracled and less than Terminus when Miracled). Casually, this seems like a cool card, but Evacuation and Upheaval aren’t exactly Casual gold mines at this point. Nothing makes me think this will be either. It should stay pretty much where it is (maybe falling down to $1). It won’t be bulk, but only barely.

Lone Revenant

Current price: $0.49
Short-term price: $0.49
Rotation direction: up – might be the best Blue Control finisher we get

You read that correctly. I am NOT putting this in the bulk section. “But it’s terrible.” When we’re talking Titans, that’s true. Once you factor out Scars Block and M12, it begins to look a lot more like a good control finisher. Revenant may be similar to Sphinx of Jwar Isle in the pre-Caw UW lists, only much better. This is another card I’d keep an eye on to see how it stacks up against M12/Return to Ravnica Ux Control finishers. At bulk prices, I wouldn’t mind picking up a bunch of these. It’s pretty hard for it to fall below bulk.

Misthollow Griffin

Current price: $3.25
Short-term price: $3.99
Rotation direction: up, when we still have Moorland Haunt but no more Vapor Snag

In the interest of full disclosure: this is my favorite card of the set and the only card I preordered. It is a Mythic rare with potential applications in the best deck in Standard (Moorland Haunt) while being a blue card that infinite combos with Food Chain in Legacy. Misthollow even likes getting pitched to Force of Will. Will this card see play? I’m not actually sure. I know it has a chance. A lot of people are very down on this card: “It’s worse than Dungeon Geists” or “It’s too clunky.” This makes me think the upside of it is even higher in the event that something happens with it. I could see Delver sideboarding this in some very grindy matches and just winning via infinite attrition. Griffin does something new that is potentially abuseable in multiple ways. And it’s only a $3 mythic? I’ll buy these.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

Current price: $29.99
Short-term price: $22.99
Rotation direction: neutral, Lingering Souls isn’t rotating

You say Tamiyo, I say Tamiyo (this joke doesn’t work very well online). Tamiyo is a strong card. You read her. You know that. Unfortunately, she has two big weaknesses: Hexproof and Lingering Souls. Also quite unfortunately, both of those things are VERY good in Standard right now. On the plus side, we saw Cavern of Souls printed as a reaction to Snapcaster Mage. If Lingering Souls is viewed as similarly problematic, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect M13 and/or RTR to contain cards that help fight Lingering Souls. In that case, Tamiyo may become significantly better. That isn’t something to act on now, but it’s worth keeping in mind. I don’t want to throw my money on the day coming where Lingering Souls isn’t good anymore.

Temporal Mastery

Current price: $27.99
Short-term price: $14.99
Rotation direction: nowhere

I’m going to channel fireball my inner PV and start off with: “REAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYYY?” Plenty has been written about this card. None of it is flattering. This card has a crazy price tag. StarCity is only paying $15 on the card despite pre-selling it at $40. This card is going to fall very hard and very fast. It is the most hyped card of the set and it can’t deliver on THAT much hype. It would need to break the format to do that, and it’s hard to imagine how anyone could be interested in this card. Ironically, I like flashy Mythics that people are incredibly negative about. Just not when those Mythics are already priced-as-broken.

Bulk

Arcane Melee – if you ever see a good deck with this, buy them, because somebody broke it.

Captain of the Mists

Deadeye Navigator

Infinite Reflection – Like Arcane Melee, if it gets played, somebody broke it. Wait until that happens before racing to buy them.

Lunar Mystic

Spirit Away – but foils seem likely to run spirit away and become EDH money in 5 years.

Stolen Goods

Black

Dark Imposter

Current price: $0.49
Short-term price: $0.49
Shoe box price: $1.99

In my mind, this is the epitome of a bulk, shoe box rare. It’s a Vampire. It has a cool effect. It’s absolutely terrible in Constructed. It may take a very long time for these to rise, but it’s hard to imagine these won’t be worth something to someone in a few years. I’m a fan of these shoe box cards because they’re easy to get as throw-ins to a trade and put in a box for a couple years. What’s the worst that happens? It took up space?

Demonlord of Ashmouth

Current price: $1.25
Short-term price: bulk
Rotational direction: marginally up, maybe back out of bulkland

I’m mentioning this because it’s not currently priced as bulk even though I think it should be. In case you haven’t realized (which it seems like a lot of people haven’t), you need to sacrifice a creature a second time when it comes back with Undying. If you didn’t, I’d consider it borderline Constructed playable once Vapor Snag is out of the picture. As it is, it does have some application in Zombies where it combines nicely with Gravecrawler and Geralf’s Messenger, but I don’t think this is what those decks want. Even if they do, I don’t think it would be a 4-of. In the event that those decks to become awesome, and this card does see play, the majority of the price jumps would probably be caught by the Dark Ascension Zombies that are more central to the deck. It’s pretty bad right now in Snagland (formerly called Delverland), so maybe it will have some application post-rotation. It doesn’t strike me as a “hallmark card” to jump.

Descent into Madness

Current price: $0.75
Short-term price: $0.75
Rotational direction: neutral unless there’s an exile sub-theme, then up

Currently a bulk Mythic but with a powerful effect. It’s Smokestack, but not as good. Regardless, powerful, symmetrical effects are always worth keeping in mind. Symmetry can always be broken. Specifically, between this and Misthollow Griffin, I’m beginning to wonder if Return to Ravnica is going to have some crazy exiling shenanigans. I wouldn’t do anything with this card until getting an idea of the mechanics in RTR, but it’s not a card to forget about. It’s also possible that this just exiles instead of sacrifices because it would have been too strong with Gravecrawler/Undying. It’s a bulk Mythic for now. If we get something that breaks its symmetry, it could become a very good card.

Griselbrand

Current price: $11.99
Short-term price: $13.99
Rotation direction: up, especially as a lot of the good Reanimation targets rotate

Griselbrand is sweet. He has Legacy Reanimator/Dread Return applications. He’s an awesome target in Frites. He’s a potential nut Control finisher despite the cost. He also has a ton of Casual appeal. Sign me up. I consider this to be the most attractive Mythic in the set just because it appeals to multiple groups. How appealing will it be? That remains to be seen. But it’s still very strong and it’s only $12. I would have believed you if you told me this started preselling at $40 instead of Temporal Mastery. I’d say it was massively overpriced, but I’d still believe it. Foil Grisels are bound to have infinite Legacy/EDH appeal. Pick them up aggressively. This card feels very similar to Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite in terms of appeal and applications. While it is starting at a much higher price than Norn did, I still think it has a lot of room to grow. More importantly, I think its floor isn’t much lower than its $11.99 price tag just because its appeal is so widespread.

Bulk

Demonic Rising

Dread Slaver

Exquisite Blood

Gloom Surgeon – if only it were a Zombie…

Harvester of Souls – maybe a shoe box card, but only a couple dollars if that.

Killing Wave

Treacherous Pit-Dweller

Red

Bonfire of the Damned

Current price: $10.99
Short-term price: $9.99
Post-rotation price: $13.99

Unfortunately, presales were sold out in a lot of places early into the weekend. Especially after Tom Martell tweeted that Bonfire is real. It’s a Marsh Casualties that occasionally goes nuts. It’s a very strong card and might cause Control decks to move to Red for removal instead of Black. At $11, it’s pretty fairly priced. Sweepers aren’t usually big money cards but can still be worth a good amount. Especially as a Mythic. It has the potential to become a lot better post-rotation when it doesn’t even have to compete with Whipflare, Slagstorm, and Black Sun’s Zenith for the role of non-White sweeper. The card has a lot of potential, but it’s also not a snap-buy because it does have a lot of downside in the event that it busts. It’s a dangerous play either way, but if you like to gamble then the potential is there.

Malignus

Current price: $1.25
Short-term price: $1.25
Shoe box price: I have no clue

Malignus is almost a bulk Mythic. I’m surprised the card isn’t getting much EDH love. If you play multiplayer EDH a lot, it seems like a pretty reasonable 5-mana red giant. Obviously, it has no competitive advantage and maybe it doesn’t do enough cool stuff to be an EDH favorite. But the foils might be worth something. I’ll leave that one up to you to decide. It’s got such obvious EDH potential, yet nobody seems to care about it. I’m not an EDH expert, so I’ll leave it at that.

Reforge the Soul

Current price: $2.99
Short-term price: $1.99
Rotation direction: neutral

I don’t understand the love this card is getting. 5-mana Wheels have never been spectacular. 2-mana Wheels are at their best when you get to do busted things with your hand (combos, Moxen, etc.). If I’m able to use my entire hand in a mono-Red deck, they’ve got to be pretty close to dead. In that case I’d rather just have more gas. If nothing else, I see it having potential in Modern Storm decks. But there the Miracle is awkward because doing it in your draw step would make it much harder to Ritual out. It also feels like people look at this as a “draw 7” and forget that it’s also “your opponent draws 7.” I’m not sure about you, but I wouldn’t want to be playing Mono-Red and spend turn 5 casting this only to have my opponent draw into double Timely Reinforcements before I can use my new hand to kill them. Not sure where this card fits. My inclination is nowhere, so I’d stay away just out of lack of interest.

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

Current price: $14.99
Short-term price: $11.99
Rotation direction: ???

I hope that slaying Tibalt here doesn’t get me exiled from fair Verona LegitMTG. Tibalt is unique. Tibalt is interesting. That doesn’t necessarily make him good. More importantly, that doesn’t make him a good buy. If we were living in an era of draw-go Control decks, Tibalt would be dangerous. Against aggro decks, he’s easy to kill and can’t protect himself. Against Esper control decks, Lingering Souls and Celestial Purge can keep it in check before it gets out of control. Tibalt is at its best against UB. But UB isn’t the best control deck right now. If you want to run Tibalt in control, then you’re probably on UR which then gives you access to burn as an ansser to opposing Tibalts. He’s a role-player and maybe he will end up good. He’d need to be reasonable in order to keep his $15 price tag. If he’s bad, he’ll only fall. Unless you can seriously see Tibalt becoming a major player, it has no real upside from $15.

Vexing Devil

Current price: $12.99
Short-term price: $6.99
Rotation direction: neutral, depends entirely on the quality/style of Red in RTR

Do people always go crazy over every Red one-drop? Yes, Goblin Guide was awesome. Figure of Destiny was great. But Stromkirk Noble and Vexing Devil? I don’t get it. I expect Devil to settle around $6-7 because it’s bound to have some appeal to the people who are committed to playing Mono-Red for as long as Red is a color (which will be longer than Blue if R&D does what they want). It’s a slightly better Lava Spike when they can’t deal with a 4/3, and a 4/3 vanilla when they can. I’m not the first to point out this dilemma, but Standard is severely lacking a critical mass of burn to encourage something like Vexing Devil. Current Mono-Red is more creature-oriented with Shrines and 4-mana finishers. Vexing Devil doesn’t play too well with that. It may have a place in Modern where there is a critical mass of cheap burn to make it good. The rest of the Red cards in AVR aren’t nearly aggressive enough to support the Devil, so talk to me when the Modern PTQ season rolls around. I’ll pretend to be interested.

Zealous Conscripts

Current price: $1.99
Short-term price: $4.99
Rotation direction: down, down, and further down. Goodbye Titans. We won’t miss you.

This is another card that I really like. This strikes me as a real 5-mana card that Red might actually want to play. Why pay 5 mana to draw 7 cards when you can Threaten a creature (or Walker), get a 3/3 haste and kill them? It’s good in Titan mirrors where mana isn’t a constraint and Act of Aggression/Traitorous Blood are real options. If you listen to people about Cavern of Souls, there are bound to be a lot of Titan mirrors. It’s a versatile 5-drop in Pod decks and also a viable sideboard card in RG against Ramp. I’m not sure it’ll be more than a 1- or 2-of, which will hurt its price possibilities. I could definitely see wanting to sideboard 2 or 3 where your plan against Ramp becomes “let them play an uncounterable Titan, then kill them with it.” Unlike most cards in the set, I think this might actually be hurt post-rotation by the absence of Titans. In the short term, I’m pretty bullish on its possibilities. At $2, I see it having the potential to become a $5-6 rare if this “Ramp Scare” comes to fruition. It’s a pretty safe buy as I think its low end would be $1.50. I’ll be amazed if it hits a bulk rare.

Bulk

Archwing Dragon

Burn at the Stake

Dual Casting

Hound of Griselbrand

Rite of Ruin

Tyrant of Discord

Green

Champion of Lambholt

Current price: $1.49
Short-term price: $1.25
Rotational direction: neutral

I will like this card more as Lingering Souls becomes bigger. It’s dangerously prone to blowouts (Gut Shot or Snag+block your creatures) and it’s really slow vs. Ramp. It could be a reasonable 1-of in Pod or maybe RG, but that doesn’t do a lot for its price. One-ofs that aren’t big and Mythic don’t tend to move much when they see a little play. Being terrible in multiples will prevent any significant price jump. At $1.49, it’s reasonable but it’s not “good.” I don’t think this one is going anywhere.

Craterhoof Behemoth

Current price: $1.49
Short-term price: $1-1.49
Shoe box price: $3.99

Because Magic doesn’t have enough giant fatties that will never see competitive play, right? This card is worse than other available 8-drops (see: Griselbrand). If you think it’s seeing Constructed play, I will call you crazy. Yes, some people like this. And some EDH decks will really like it. That makes foils reasonably appealing. And at $1.50 for regular ones, it’ll drop to $1 at most. That is still 33% though, so I can’t advise buying it. If you’re picking it up in small quantities, it can’t be a terrible pickup. It has the potential to be a shoe box card, but it’s certainly not letting you quit your day job any time soon.

Descendants’ Path

Current price: $1.99
Short-term price: $0.99
Shoe box price: $2.99

Welcome to the Casual Corner where everything is sweet and prices don’t move! I lied. I expect this one to bounce anywhere from $2 to $1 as long as the set is being drafted. I don’t think casual demand will sustain how many of them will be opened in the immediate future. Like all shoe box cards, I can see it crawling up over the years (again, especially foils). Unfortunately, I don’t think it has any upside in any reasonable time frame. I figure you have another 3+ years before Parallel Lives hits $5, with this potentially going the same way. It’s good filler/throw-in material if you want to lock it away somewhere. Since it’s not actually bulk, trading for them as real cards is unexciting.

Primal Surge

Current price: $1.49
Short-term price: $0.99
Shoe box price: $4.99

The ultimate casual card! No, seriously, this should cause everyone to have a primal Timmy surge. This is the kind of flashy thing that Casual players will love for a pretty long time, and that makes it a shoe box card. I’d be more willing to pick them up semi-aggressively because there’s no doubt in my mind that in a few years, there will still be people who want nothing more than to cast this and do crazy things. It obviously has no Constructed applications, but the Timmy of it should smack everyone on the face. If you enjoy long-term, pick-me-up Timmy cards, this one’s for you.

Ulvenwald Tracker

Current price: $1.49
Short-term price: <$0.99
Rotation direction: neutral

Tracker doesn’t strike me as a good card. It’s a 1 mana 1/1 with an effect that’s only relevant against creature decks and assumes you already have a sizeable board position. It’s mana-hungry in a deck that needs to have a lot of creatures to be more than a 1/1. It dies to Gut Shot and gets hosed by Vapor Snag without doing anything relevant. I don’t see a deck that’s aggressive enough to use this but slow enough to want it. Its best attribute is eating mana dorks when you’re on the play. That said, I’d rather just be Gut Shotting and using my mana to cast better cards.

Bulk

Druids’ Repository

Revenge of the Hunted

Somberwald Sage

Soul of the Harvest – potential shoe box card, but “non-token” is a killer.

Wild Defiance

Wolfir Silverheart – attractive for a bulk rare, but still a bulk rare.

Gold

Bruna, Light of Alabaster

Current price: $2.99
Short-term price: $1.99
Shoe box price: $4.99

Bruna is by far the worst of the Powerpuff Girls. But she’s still a giant, build-around-me Angel with a lot of casual appeal. Expect foils of these to remain worth quite a bit. Regulars may fall down to $2 from $3, but more likely staying stable. Unless you want these or know you have the ability to turn them to interested casual players, I wouldn’t bother picking up non-foils. Not because it’s bound to tank, but just because it isn’t going anywhere.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

Current price: $5.99
Short-term price: $4.99
Shoe box price: $9.99

Blossom is a lot more awesome than people give her credit for. While not as aggressive as Buttercup, she does have potential as a 7-drop in a post-rotation Red/White Control deck with Entreat the Angels and Bonfire of the Damned. Remember that the better 7-drops (Elesh Norn and Karn) will be gone. I’m not counting on this, but her effect is pretty powerful and she’s good at keeping you from dying the turn you drop her. She also kills very quickly. But she’s still 7-mana and just “dies to Doom Blade.” Casually, she seems like a goldnightmine. She’s incredibly flashy, she bashes for a lot of damage, and she looks sweet. Like her Chemical X-created counterparts, I expect foils to be long-term value-holders.

Sigarda, Host of Herons

Current price: $12.99
Short-term price: $8.99
Rotation direction: up, especially when Phantasmal Image leaves

Buttercup – the badass. She’s intimidating, but a bit overhyped. She makes an interesting top-end in Naya lists, and I expect she’ll see at least some play. I’d definitely give Sigarda a nod in a world without Titans. Maybe Sigarda will be unimpressive until rotation (like Thrun!), but I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t have her day in the sun. Unfortunately, also like Thrun, I expect her day in the shadows to come before her day in the sun. I think she’ll fall to $9 before finding a home, at which point I could see her “climbing back” to where she is now or even moving into the $15-20 range instead.

Artifacts

(It’s All) Bulk

Conjurer’s Closet

Gallows at Willow Hill

Moonsilver Spear

Otherworld Atlas

Land

Alchemist’s Refuge

Current price: $1.49
Short-term price: $1.25
Shoe box price: $3

I really like this card in formats where getting a lot of mana isn’t a problem (EDH). It’s way too mana-hungry for competitive formats. Ramp decks are already pushing their limits with colorless lands. The flash effect is definitely attractive when that concern goes away. I think in general the utility lands are good long-term buys. You’ll often want them in the EDH decks that can play them. Like always, that makes me strongly prefer foils to regulars.

Cavern of Souls

Current price: $22.99
Short-term price: $16.99
Rotational direction – strongly down

Let’s get this out of the way: no. Cavern is a good card. It isn’t ruining spell-heavy formats where Wasteland/Strip Mine exist. It’s just not happening. I’m sorry. As for Standard…will the metagame change around it? Probably. That doesn’t make Cavern of Souls a snap-buy. Instead, the buy would be to figure out what Cavern does to the metagame and buy the cards that become good. Is Ramp the new best deck? I’d rather be buying Titans than Caverns if that’s the case. Cavern is already an expensive card. Even if it lives up to the hype, it’s not going up much further, if at all. Other than wanting to play with it, I don’t think there’s a good reason to buy Cavern. It’s a bad speculation target, even if a good card. Post-rotation, I think it’ll only get worse since it was designed to counter Mana Leak. Leak will be gone when the blocks rotate. I wouldn’t want to be holding Caverns when that happens unless Counterspell comes back (not happening).

Desolate Lighthouse

Current price: $2.49
Short-term price: $3.99
Rotation direction: up, assuming R replaces B as the Control go-to

This card is very good. It probably wrestles with Moorland Haunt for the best utility land. If my review hasn’t suggested it yet, I’m definitely interested in Red’s potential control applications coming out of AVR and going into rotation. This card only adds to that. Any deck with Blue cards and Red cards should end up running this, and I’ll be amazed if this settles at less than $4 in its Standard lifetime. If I’m right about the potential for UR control, then this could move to $6. It’s a freeroll, and freeroll lands tend to get a lot of value once people still want to play them and they’re no longer being drafted (see: manlands, Scars lands). This is probably the card I’d deem most obviously a “buy” from a pure strength/price comparison.

Slayers’ Stronghold

Current price: $1.99
Short-term price: $1.99
Rotation direction: up

If you check out MTGO block results, RW Aggro is a real deck. That gives Stronghold a logical place in Standard, at least after rotation. I’m reluctant because mana isn’t the best and you probably can’t afford more than 2 colorless lands. Furthermore, the price rise would also be caught by things like Hellrider, which are 4-ofs and integral to the deck. At $2, it has some room to grow. But there are other plays I’d rather make (Hellrider, specifically) that not only expose me to RW becoming huge, but any other Rx aggro deck that does so instead. It’s not a bad buy, so I’d get them now if you plan on using them. I think it has a bit more upside potential than downside.

Final Act – The Conclusion

(I hope things go differently for me even though I did kill Tibalt)

This is a very Timmy set. It’s only going to be drafted heavily for a couple of months. I expect foils of all the flashy cards like the Angels to gain a lot of value over the years to come. I’m not as enthused about the set’s constructed prospects, but think it will have some interesting cards to go back to once we get an idea what M13 will change and how Return to Ravnica might look. A lot of my calls are more conditional, because I think that this set is pretty poorly positioned for the current Standard. I do, though, think it has abstractly worthwhile cards. Hopefully you agree with that though. Let me know what you think. Comments, criticisms, disagreements, and open debate points are more than welcome in the comments. Until next time.

~ Joe ~

@FoundOmega on Twitter

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