This Eldritch Moon review focuses on finance, but I'll also offer plenty of strategy in my explanations of why I predict each card's demand will increase or decrease. I'll be using current TCGplayer.com mid-prices as my price points of analysis, though I suspect that by the time Kaladesh is released in October, the new market price point data will be available and I'll be able to use that instead. For those unfamiliar, this new market price point is the average recent price a card sold for rather than the current mid-price of available copies of the card for sale. In other words, if you use TCGplayer.com as a price guide for trading, selling, and investing, market price will be even more accurate than the mid-price.
For this review I break the set down into three categories: Top 10 overhyped cards (i.e. cards I predict will decrease the most in value), Top 10 under-hyped cards (i.e. cards I predict will rise the most in value), and then Top 10 correctly-hyped cards (i.e. the ten highest-demand cards not on either of the other two lists).
This category is a list of cards I would not recommend investing in unless you absolutely need the card for your deck right away. I expect these cards to drop the most in value compared to the rest of the cards in the set.
Currently selling for $3, I expect the bottom to fall out on this one and it ends up as a bulk mythic under $.50. I tried it in Constructed and I'm convinced it is unplayable. Yes, it will likely see play in exactly one Commander deck, but that is not enough to demand to merit $3. The only thing I'll watch about Deploy the Gatewatch is its price plummeting.
This card intrigued me when I first saw it, so I tried it out. It didn't take long before I deemed it unplayable. The problem is that you need to play enough auras/equipment to make it effective enough, but then you also need to play enough creatures to make the auras/equipment good enough. This leaves little room for Sigarda's Aid, which is not actually that powerful of an effect even when everything lines up and you draw a creature, Sigarda's Aid, and the equipment/auras. And this all assumes the creature lives!
If you're buying Splendid Reclamation at its current price of $4, you might want to consider reclaiming your sanity. It's a ramp spell with upside, I get it. You could live the dream and mill a bunch of lands into your graveyard and then get them all back. But what kind of deck are you playing now? A self-mill ramp deck? What if you don't draw the Splendid Reclamation in this deck? What if it gets countered or Duress takes it out of your hand? Sweet strategy of milling yourself while holding giant uncastable monsters in hand! I'm sure that will pan out nicely for you. Did I mention Spell Queller can target it?
At just under $5, it's already one of the cheaper mythics of the set and I think it's actually playable, but I suspect it will end up under $2 before long. I doubt it will see rampant play. It might see fringe play as a tutor target for Eldritch Evolution or something, but that's about it. This is NOT Huntmaster of the Fells. More like Huntmaster of the Smells.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what $4 mythic dragon will I be able to find in the $1 box next month? It doesn't take a magical mirror to Foresee that Mirrorwing Dragon is a fail. All it takes is a reflection – or rather, a Reflector Mage! I'll stick to my Goblin Dark-Dwellers instead, thank you very much!
Dreams of Triskaidekaphobia have caused people to be overly ambitious about the playability of Tree of Perdition. It's essentially a four mana wall that can't even block fliers. Is this better than a Planeswalker? Better than Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet? Better than Collected Company? Not a chance! If this sees any play at all, I'll be surprised. It would be better to heed the voice of Sorin and stay away from this tree. According to legend… "Then Sorin, Lord of Innistrad said to Nissa, "What is this you have done? Did you eat from the Tree of Perdition that I said not to eat from?" And Nissa replied, "The Noose Constrictor deceived me, and I ate!"" (Genesis 3:13, Multiverse Translation).
I have this card ranked in the Top 10 cards in the set. It seems great in Modern, turning a Kitchen Finks into a Thragtusk or a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror-Breaker. It can also turn a Voice of Resurgence into a Murderous Redcap or Siege Rhino. In Standard I expect it to see some play, perhaps turning Elvish Visionary into Mindwrack Demon or Matter Reshaper into Reality Smasher. It is especially brutal to get countered by Spell Queller though since sacrificing the creature is part of the cost to cast Eldritch Evolution, so I expect the existence (and prevalence) of Spell Queller to significantly hinder this card's potential. Siege Rhino saw rampant Standard play and also some Modern play and still only ranged between $3 and $5. There is no way Eldritch Evolution maintains its current $10 price. Consider this the newest installment of Thing in the Ice, a card with similar potential that currently sells for $4.
Liliana is strong, but not $25 strong. I would pay $10-15 for her tops unless I absolutely needed her for my deck right away. She looks good in delirium and in zombies, her +1 ability is reasonable against humans and against spirits, and her -2 ability is good against midrange and control decks. Overall solid card that will see some play, but it will take every last hope to make this investment pay off.
Gisela is no caw blade. Her stats makes her vulnerable to Ultimate Price and Grasp of Darkness from black (and Languish), Fiery Impulse, Fiery Temper, and Incendiary Flow from red, Declaration in Stone or Stasis Snare from white, and also gets iced both Spell Queller and Reflector Mage. Did I mention Ishkanah, Grafwidow also easts her for breakfast? She just matches up so utterly poorly against every card that sees play in Standard. Until she gets that blade fixed, I'm passing on Gisela, the Broken Blade. Baneslayer Angel this is not!
Tammy, Tammy, you've been trying to make the socks with sandals combo hip since Kamigawa block. When are you going to give it up? Granted, that thing you do with your hair is pretty cute, but make up your mind – are your feet hot or cold? Clothe them accordingly! In all seriousness, Tamiyo, Field Researcher is great when you have creatures on the board and are ahead, but so is just about every other card in Magic. How good is she when you're behind? Draw two cards and gain five life? Pass. Tap down two creatures and hope to re-establish a board with my Planeswalker on three loyalty? I can't imagine running this over the other four-mana options in Standard, but I'm sure someone will do it. Planeswalkers are notoriously overhyped. In this set Tamiyo, Field Researcher is not even in the Top 10 cards in the set and Liliana, the Last Hope only barely is if at all. Neither will be the chase card of the set, especially not 3-color barely-playable Tamiyo, Field Researcher.
Listed in reverse order of how much I expect each card's value to change, these are essentially my sleeper picks of the set. These are the cards I would invest in sooner rather than later as I expect each of them to go up in value.
If zombies ends up being a deck, then Dark Salvation will be a four-of in that deck. If Zombies does not end up a deck, then none of the zombie cards will be in high demand. The fact that Cryptbreaker is $2.50 and Dark Salvation is $.50 makes no sense. One of them is wrong. My guess is that Dark Salvation is under-hyped because it's a complicated card that is not as easy to see the power of as the other rare zombies. I would therefore invest in this card if you plan to invest in any of the zombies.
Gisela is $25 and Bruna is $1.25, but I'm not even convinced Gisela is the better of the two! Sure, she's the mythic half, but Bruna is much more durable against the removal spells of the format. And she doesn't just buy back her sister when she enters the battlefield. She can also buy back Reflector Mage! Gisela, the Broken Blade may be smaller and flashier, but Bruna, the Fading Light possesses that inner kind of beauty that doesn't fade with time.
Everyone seems to agree this is a solid sideboard card, so then why is it only worth $.50? It's literally the best card in the format against Emrakul, the Promised End and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, and it's also the best answer to all the emerge creatures! I'm buying at $.50 for sure! In summary, don't dismiss this one.
Turn two Grasp of Darkness or Ultimate Price your creature. Next turn cast Oath of Liliana, making you sacrifice your next creature. Next turn play Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, making a 2/2 Zombie Token and a 2/2 Knight Ally Token. Next turn play Ob Nixilis Reignited, making another Zombie Token, -3 to kill your creature and attack for 9 with my Gideon and two other creatures while still having the second zombie back to block if needed. It's not the #1 card in the set, but it is a great addition to W/B Control and certainly won't remain under $1 for long. I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind when he warned never to take an oath.
Are you ready for the white weenie mirror? You're not if you don't have Collective Effort in your deck! Kill your Always Watching, kill your giant Thalia's Lieutenant, and pump my whole team, all for just three mana. Which side of that exchange do you want to be on? At $1.50 I'm buying my playset and not looking back. I suggest you do the same.
This is the only non-rare on the list, but for good reason. People aren't even putting this in their W/U Spirits decks yet (which is a huge mistake) and that is why they are only $.10 right now. It's an uncommon staple four-of in a soon-to-be Tier 1 deck. Buy these by the bucket-load and turn your dimes into dollars.
Currently the fourth least demanded mythic of the set (out of 14) and selling on the low for $3. Discarding cards can actually be advantageous in this format, let alone killing all the opponent's creatures and planeswalkers with a single card for only 2R. This might not be Bonfire of the Damned, but Bonfire was a mythic that started at $3 and jumped to $50 once people figured out how good it was. I feel like Nahiri's Wrath is being similarly misunderstood at this stage. I don't expect it to hit anywhere close to $50, but I'm certainly taking the over on $3. FYI I also said to buy Bonfire when it started at $3. Just saying.
An absolute four-of in W/U Spirits and one of the best one-drops printed in years! It will redefine Standard and be a constant pain in the thorn of every instant and sorcery on the stack. It combos with Rattlechains and also Ojutai's Command (getting it back at instant speed), and it's strong enough on its own to see play outside of W/U Spirits too, if there is reason to even play something else! I expect it to also see play in Modern! Currently selling for $2, I'm buying. Truth be told, you had me at Judge's Familiar. <3 <3 <3
People are sleeping on Robodog, but I'm gonna throw you a bone and say to buy your playset now while they're on the cheap. Currently selling for $1.25, I expect Robodog to be taken on more walks than opponents can handle. Works great with all the discard outlets in Standard and the tempo swing of a two-mana 5/5 is backbreaking in a Standard format defined primarily by tempo. I haven't even begun talking about how good Robodog is with Tormented Thoughts.
5-for-2 Mind Twist turn 3. Get 3/4 of delirium. Turn on other Lupines. #Robodog pic.twitter.com/7U8kwK7lV3— Craig Wescoe (@Nacatls4Life) July 11, 2016
Robodog will fetch you profits.
As much of a great investment as I think the previous few cards are, my #1 pick for sleeper of the set is spider woman herself, Ishkanah, Grafwidow. She will redefine delirium. She blocks Gisela, makes four blockers (including herself) that collectively are more than capable of holding down the fort against an army of spirits or humans. She works exceptionally well with Nissa, Voice of Zendikar or Gideon, Ally of Zendikar too – producing 10 power and 15 toughness, all with reach! All for just five mana! There is currently only one mythic rare in lower demand than Ishkanah, Grafwidow: Mind's Dilation. I feel like this is almost exactly backwards! Of all the mythics in the set, there is maybe only one that I am more likely to have in my deck. Buy your playset now while the (graf)window to buy is still open.
For this category I will go in reverse order of current mid-price, ending with the current highest demand card that I predict will stay approximately where it currently is. All ten of these cards are fine investments if you plan to use them in your deck, but I don't predict any of them will spike or Plummet in price. For sake of brevity, I will be extra concise.
Cryptbreaker: staple in zombies, correctly priced at $2.
Distended Mindbender: excellent card, but requires setup and won't fit into every day. $3 is about right.
Bedlam Reveler: will see play in Modern delver-type decks and maybe some in Standard too. $3-4 might be a tad high, but not much.
Gisa and Geralf: excellent card in zombies and may also play a role in delirium. $4 mythic sounds about right on this one.
Decimator of the Provinces: $5 mythic might be a tad high, but will see some play as a finisher in some capacity in a few decks.
Elder Deep-Fiend: one of the best cards in the set, but requires some setup. $5 is a lot for a rare, but I expect it to live up to the hype.
Thalia, Heretic Cathar: If the format becomes all about tokens, Collected Company, and Spirits, Thalia will shine like none other! $6 is steep for a non-mythic, but I'm on board.
Spell Queller: arguably the best card in the set - put me on the bandwagon! I'm buying my playset at $7 each and I'm happy about it! Staple in W/U Spirits and Collected Company decks. Also playable in Modern, but rares have a ceiling on their price and Spell Queller's pricetag is already in double Siege Rhino territory.
Grim Flayer: Ishkanah, Grafwidow's best friend! Efficient delirium enabler early, large body on the cheap later, and provides card selection. That's a ton of value for just two mana! I'm not sure whether to buy at $9 or sell, so it is definitely a four-of, so it will either jump up or drop down depending on how much play the deck sees.
Emrakul, the Promised End: Chef Emrakul Lagasse is cooking up Mindslavers this time around. She's no Dave Williams in the kitchen, but she's the best tutor target for a Nahiri, the Harbinger ultimate and likely the best win condition in control decks. The hype is just about right on this one — $15 for a staple mythic that will mostly see play only as a one- or two-of in decks that want her. As promised, this is The End.