This week I talk about which cards to buy and which to sell from Magic Origins.
First I discuss the Top 10 and Top 20 highest demand cards in the set, listed in descending order by current price, and then I discuss which low demand cards I expect to have the highest sleeper potential.
Market trends are unpredictable, but sound reasoning often increases the likelihood that your investments payoff. The goal of this article is to provide as much insight as possible to inform your investment decisions. The best way to use my advice is to compare it to your own intuition. If you're not convinced by my reasoning for or against a certain card, then it's probably better to trust your gut; But if we're on the same page, then there's a good chance we're both right and it's worth acting on. Also take into consideration the expected value you gain by playing with the card, even if it ends up dropping in price over time.
Now, starting from the top...
Liliana, Heretical Healer = SELL
Liliana is a really powerful card and has the potential to see play in Modern and in Standard. In Modern there are lots of ways to sacrifice creatures (Aristocrats) and lots of creatures that are ok with dying ( Kitchen Finks). Sacrificing Voice of Resurgence to flip Liliana and then immediately getting Voice of Resurgence back with her -2 ability sounds really great. I'm just not sure it's better than simply combo killing the opponent. In Standard there are fewer ways to flip her but the unflipped body is more relevant, as is the token when she finally does flip. I think she'll see a decent amount of play, but I'm not buying her as the most expensive card in the set. Sell.
Nissa, Vastwood Seer = BUY
I think Nissa will very likely be the highest demand card in the set. She is not color intensive, provides good value immediately and great value late. I don't expect her to see much if any play outside of Standard, but I expect her to be a major player in Standard for the next couple years. I would buy a play set now but not more than that. They will eventually drop in price and will likely not be worth much by the time they rotate, so get your use out of her now.
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy = SELL
Michael Majors believes Jace is the best card in the set. I don't agree. It will certainly see play, but likely only in one or two decks. Sultai Whip is the most likely home, so if that deck takes off again I can see Jace holding its value. Otherwise I expect the price to drop. Given that we're only talking about holding value rather than spiking in value, I cannot recommend investing in Jace. It's possible it spikes but I find it unlikely. I will at least grant Jace the title best two-mana planeswalker ever, though the competition wasn't exactly fierce ( Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded). Sell.
Kytheon, Hero of Akros = BUY
There has never been a one mana planeswalker until now. It takes some set up to flip into Gideon, but there are lots of ways in both Standard and Modern to make it happen. When it was first spoiled a month ago I wrote an article talking about a bunch of ways to use it. Savannah Lion hasn't been good in Standard lately, but times are changing and I expect Gideon to be a hit. I can see it now, "I expect Gideon to be a hit" – says Craig Wescoe, to absolutely no one's surprise. Admittedly I may be biased, but I'm buying.
Day's Undoing = BUY
This is one of the most powerful cards in the set, is easily splashed, and is good enough for both Standard and Modern. Last week I talked about a White Weenie deck that combines this with Spirit of the Labyrinth to effectively Mind Twist the opponent. It's also just a great way to refill the hand, whether you're a weenie deck, a burn deck, or a Modern Affinity type deck that can quickly empty your hand. I see a lot of upside. Buy.
Archangel of Tithes = SELL
It pains me to say it, but I'm selling on Archangel of Tithes. She's great in White Devotion and may also be the best curve topper in a Monowhite Aggro shell, but in order for her to live up to her current price tag, one of those two decks has to become tier 1. If anyone can make it happen, I'm probably the best man for the job, but I just don't see it happening yet – maybe after rotation when things slow down a bit. I'm buying my playset, but only because I'm Craig Wescoe and I have an unhealthy obsession with white creatures, not because I think it's a good investment.
Goblin Piledriver = BUY
Half price Piledrivers for my legacy deck? Deal! Without Goblin Ringleader, Goblins still doesn't have what it takes to compete in Modern, but maybe Sylvan Messenger is a sign that the ringleader is also on the horizon? The Piledriver is very playable in Standard, especially if Blue Devotion makes a return. This is one of the safer investments to make. Buy.
Languish = SELL
It's great with Siege Rhino, Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Erebos's Titan. And it's better than Crux of Fate against aggro decks. I just don't see it being worth it for most decks. Crux of Fate clears the board much more effectively while also not killing your Dragonlord Ojutai. Or if you're Abzan, you would much rather have Crux in many scenarios to just kill the opponent's dragons while not killing anything of your own. Drown in Sorrow is the better sideboard card against aggro decks. I don't think it's the second best non-mythic in the set, so I'm selling even though it will see some play.
Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh = BUY
I'm buying on Chandra. She's the least flashing of the five planeswalkers, but she is surprisingly easy flip and has one of the strongest back sides. For example, attack with Chandra and before blockers cast a burn spell or Crackling Doom to get rid of the opponent's blocker. Chandra untaps from the red spell being cast and connects for two points of combat damage. Then you tap her to ping the opponent for 1, flipping her. Then you activate her plus ability to deal two more damage to the opponent. That's five damage and a powerful planeswalker for just three mana. Buy.
Erebos's Titan = SELL
It's good, but the question is how good? It will really only fit into Black Devotion decks because without benefiting from the black intensive mana cost, the card isn't quite worth it. It's very good against creatureless control decks like UB Control and it survives every wrath effect as long as the opponent doesn't have a creature. I like the card a lot; I just don't think the one deck it will be played in will be good enough to merit investing at $10. Sell.
Woodland Bellower = BUY
This mythic is not as flashy as the planeswalkers, and it will be competing with Genesis Hydra for a similar spot in green decks, but as soon as rotation happens in a few months, I expect this to be one of the most powerful cards in Standard (and even before then if someone figures out how best to use the beast). I would(land) buy on this fellow.
Starfield of Nyx = SELL
I expect this card to see some amount of play alongside Eidolon of Blossoms and all the Banishing Light effects. If the deck takes off, this mythic rare will shoot up in value. If not, it will be next to worthless. I'm not convinced the deck is good enough, but keep your eye on this one and be ready to buy if it spikes a tournament, especially if that tournament is SCG Chicago this weekend.
Avaricious Dragon = SELL
Maybe it ends up in a monored deck as a curve topper? Thunderbreak Regent is better in most matchups, and being a dragon is only relevant if you have other dragons in your deck. Every dragon costs as much or more to cast than Avaricious Dragon though, which means you'll be discarding all your other dragons from the 'discard your hand' clause. Yeah, I'm selling on this one.
Evolutionary Leap = BUY
I expect this card to see a lot of play. It's pretty bad against aggressive decks, but it's very good against any deck that aims to go long, which happens to be just about every deck in Standard except monored. Evolutionary Leap occupies a similar space to that of Mastery of the Unseen. It's cheap enough to get underneath a counters, and then it makes all your other cards so much better. I'm buying.
Exquisite Firecraft = SELL
Three mana for four damage at sorcery speed is decent but not great. Being uncounterable will be a big plus against Esper Dragons, UB Control, and any other blue control deck. Not as good as Roast against heavy creature decks or as good as Stoke the Flames against, well, anything. But it is welcomed in a heavy burn deck that wants its spells to deal large chunks of damage. It will see play, but it's currently the fourth highest priced non-mythic in the set, and I'm selling at that price.
Sword of the Animist = SELL
In order for this card to work, you need an early creature to equip it to and you need something to do with all the extra lands you search out. Not many decks have both these things together, and the ones that do would rather do something else than cast an equipment and attach it to their attacker. If landfall returns with the new Zendikar set, I could see this one making it into a Relic Seeker deck, but not before then. I'm definitely selling.
Harbinger of the Tides = BUY
I'm buying. It fits into Modern Merfolk, which has been gaining a lot of popularity lately, since it works great with Merrow Reejerey. It can also fit into Legacy Merfolk to bounce a Tarmogoyf and has great synergy with AEther Vial (flash in to bounce an attacker). It is also the best two-drop for Blue Devotion in Standard if that deck makes a return. I see lots of upside on this one. Buy.
Demonic Pact = SELL
There's something about my own card telling me "you lose the game" that is unappealing to me. The effects are certainly powerful and the card functions similar to Outpost Siege. It doesn't do anything the turn it's cast though and will kill you if your way to Remove it gets thwarted (e.g. a single Counterspell). I just don't see it being worthwhile. Sell.
Pyromancer's Goggles = BUY
Five mana artifacts are usually pretty junky, but the goggles are really Mirari with a smaller activation cost. They work great with Shrapnel Blast, Temur Battle Rage, Hordeling Outburst, Roast, or Tormenting Voices. If someone solves the puzzle, this could be Constructed playable. If not, I still expect it to garner enough casual appeal to retain long term value. Buy.
Alhammarret's Archive = BUY
I don't expect to see this winning any tournaments, but I do expect it to show up frequently in Commander decks. Gaining life and drawing cards are two of the best things you can do in Commander, so a card that makes all your life gain and card draw spells twice as good sounds awesome! Can you imagine casting Sphinx's Revelation with this on your side? Yeah, that's going to be a fun one. Buy.
Disciple of the Ring and The Great Aurora are the two mythics that didn't make it into the Top Twenty and I expect them to remain outside of the Top Twenty. Sell on both.
Sleepers Under $2
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
This is my pick for best card under $2. It's on the power level of Thunderbreak Regent and better in some decks. It has synergy with Hero's Blade, Alesha, Purphoros, and any anthem effect. I'm not sure how best to use it, but it likely involves Foundry of the Consul.
Despoiler of Souls
I'm not sold on this one being great, but a lot of people have been talking about it and I think there is a good chance it finds its way into a popular deck and doubles in value.
This one is not as good as I hoped it would be because renown can actually be pretty tricky to pull off. I haven't given up hope yet though since it's a great card if you can pull it off. Keep an eye out for an equipment for this guy. So far Hero's Blade is far and away the best one.
I like this as a sideboard card against sweepers. It can also be a reasonable maindeck inclusion if you can take advantage of the flying body. Single white mana makes it worse for devotion strategies but better in Elvish Mystic strategies. For instance, Mystic into Wingmare into Surrak is a big opening.
Eidolon of the Great Revel into Scab-Clan Berserker essentially grants all your creatures the Thunderbreak Regent ability against opposing removal spells. I can see this one being good enough.
Sleepers Under $1
Helm of the Gods
Besides Hero's Blade, this is next in line for best target for Relic Seeker. The Blade requires a heavy legends theme while the helm requires a heavy enchantment theme. There are lots of enchantment creatures in Theros Block to use in this strategy, so it's possible that everything comes together to make this one good.
Two mana to counter a Dragon Fodder or Hordeling Outburst is a good deal for blue, and paying 3-4 mana to bounce a red deck's whole board (and kill their tokens) is even better. It may not find a home or be quite worth it, but it's a small investment and the card has some strong applications.
This is a way to clear a board down to just your one creature. It's also good in tandem with Hornet's Nest or against opposing insects after a nest gets broken. This is a subtly powerful wrath. It also has great synergy with lifelink creatures and damages the opponent in the process.
Hixus, Prison Warden
I have yet to hear anyone talk about the biggest upside of this card, namely that it's a white way to deal with Stormbreath Dragon. Sure, we have Celestial Flare again now, but I'd much rather get a 4/4 out of the deal. It can also exile multiple creatures to completely swing a game in your favor.
Last but not least, I could see this one catching on. It's similar to White Sun's Zenith and may be better than Mastery of the Unseen or Pearl Lake Ancient in creature light control decks, at least in post-board games after the opponent boards out all their Bile Blights. I just feel like...
Any card that puts 4 indestructible copies of @ReidDuke onto the battlefield has to be great, right? #MTGORI pic.twitter.com/YyNNa3tE7Q— Craig Wescoe (@Nacatls4Life) July 13, 2015
@Nacatls4Life on twitter