This week I am going to talk about the banning of Splinter Twin in Modern...
On second thought, everyone, their grandmother, their dog, their talking horse, and their Tickle Me Elmo doll has been talking about the Splinter Twin ban all week. So instead let's talk about which cards are over-hyped and under-hyped from Oath of the Gatewatch. This way you'll know which cards to pick up and hold onto and which cards to get rid of while the price is still high.
First up, the easiest slam dunk of the set:
The Creature Lands
$2 - Wandering Fumarole (Rare)
$2 - Hissing Quagmire (Rare)
$1.50 - Needle Spires (Rare)
The Worldwake creature lands were printed about six years ago and these are their current prices:
$20 - Creeping Tar Pit
$16 - Celestial Colonnade
$15 - Raging Ravine
$1 - Lavaclaw Reaches
$1 - Stirring Wildwood
That's $53 total for five creature lands, which still amounts to more than $10 each on average, even accounting for two of the five only being worth $1. You can currently get a playset of each of the three Oath of the Gatewatch creature lands for around $20 combined. I would recommend doing that as I expect all of them to see play in Standard, Modern, and Commander. I would also recommend picking up your playsets of Shambling Vent (currently $3 each) and Lumbering Falls (currently $.50 each) from the previous set while prices are still low. If you purchase four of each of the five creature lands from Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch it will cost you around $36 total. That's a little less than $2 each on average. I suspect that in a few years they will be worth more than double this price. The creature-land cycle wins my "most likely to succeed" award of the set.
The colorless Eldrazi have a lot more room to lose value but show nearly as much promise of seeing play both in the short term and the long term.
The Colorless Eldrazi (not to be confused with Ali Aintrazi)
$16 - Kozilek, the Great Distortion (Mythic)
Much like with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, when you cast Kozilek, the game is basically over. I expect this to retain long term demand across multiple formats.
$14 - Thought-Knot Seer (Rare)
It's hard knot to pick this card as the best card in the set, or at least best non-mythic rare of the set. Four-drops are very good in Modern, so the competition is steep, but I think this has enough going for it to compete. In Standard it's a slam dunk, even though it doesn't match up well against Siege Rhino (unless it comes down first and takes the Rhino). It's already the most expensive non-mythic rare in the set though, so I'd probably hold off unless you need it for your deck.
$5 - Reality Smasher (Rare)
Powerful, will see play, but reality is that it is not on Thought-Knot Seer's level. It only attacks and blocks, although it yields card advantage if the opponent tries to kill it. Keep in mind only spells trigger it. So if Ob Nixilis Reignited kills it, the opponent does not discard a card.
$5 - Matter Reshaper (Rare)
This one is overhyped, but that doesn't matter. Yes, it's playable, but in Modern it's worse than Kitchen Finks for a similar effect. And in Standard the body doesn't match up well against all the midrange creatures of the format.
$1 - Eldrazi Mimic (Rare)
I'm not huge on this one, but I'm a lot bigger than $1 on it. It's one of my sleeper picks for the set. Here's something you can do with it in Modern:
YOLO! #MTGOGW #Modern pic.twitter.com/JdcU0A2wD5— Craig Wescoe (@Nacatls4Life) January 20, 2016
More realistically, replace Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Inverter of Truths with Vile Aggregate and a red-producing land. This way you still attack for 20 on the second turn but do not deck yourself if something goes wrong.
While the colorless Eldrazi as a whole look great, the colored Eldrazi are really hit or miss.
The Colored Eldrazi (it's ok to confuse these with Ali Aintrazi)
$6 - World Breaker (Mythic)
This one has potential, mostly because it triggers Kozilek's Return. It's hard to kill without an exile effect, and if your exile effect is Stasis Snare or Quarantine Field, the second World Breaker will unlock the first. Probably not a four-of and only goes in one deck though, so I wouldn't break the bank to stock up on World Breakers.
$3 - Eldrazi Displacer (Rare)
Of course I would like this one - it's the only Eldrazi that requires white mana to cast it! The ability is pretty powerful. It nerfs opposing tokens and Hangarback Walkers or just effectively taps their creature. And if you play creatures in your deck with abilities that trigger upon entering the battlefield, it gains even more utility. Knight of the White Orchid, Elvish Visionary, Thought-Knot Seer, and Wingmate Roc come to mind. You can also protect your creatures from removal. Venser probably wants one of these for his Commander deck too! I'm buying on these.
$2 - Inverter of Truths (Mythic)
The newest installment of Abyssal Persecutor. The truth is the cost is likely too high. The key would be to turning the drawback into an advantage to get a Doomsday type effect. Maybe throw burn spells at the opponent then cast this guy and draw burn for the rest of the game?
$1 - Bearer of Silence (Rare)
I wanted to stay silent on this one, but in her article earlier this week Melissa DeTora let the Eldrazi out of the bag. It makes sense why this would see play. I like that it kills Dragonlord Ojutai even if they have the Silumgar's Scorn. It also pressures planeswalkers with evasion. It's similar to Den Protector in that it's an evasive body that can be cast on the second turn or later for more value. I'm buying at $1.
$.50 - Dimensional Infiltrator (Rare)
I suspect the only thing this clown will be infiltrating is the bulk bin, but at least it sets up processing, which is not the easiest thing in the world in Standard right now.
$.50 - Eldrazi Obligator (Rare)
I'm obligated to say something about it since it's a colored Eldrazi, but I don't have high hopes for this one.
$.25 - Vile Redeemer (Rare)
Much like when trying to redeem sets on Magic Online after paying the redemption fee, the rate of return is vile. All your creatures are cashed in for Eldrazi scion tokens. *vomit* The silver lining is the keyword flash and the not terrible rate of 3/3 body for three mana. I'm not even buying at a quarter though.
The Oaths on the other hand, those I'm interested in buying!
The Planeswalker Oaths
$5 - Oath of Nissa (Rare)
$1 - Oath of Gideon (Rare)
$.75 - Oath of Jace (Rare)
$.25 - Oath of Chandra (Rare)
Most of the Oaths are pretty sweet! Oath of Nissa is hard to evaluate. Like Serum Visions or Ancient Stirrings, the card selection is provides is big. It lets you cheat a bit on lands in deck construction since it will usually find you a land if you need it, but if you are set on lands and just want more action, it will help you find that instead. The ability could also be relevant in a multicolor planeswalker deck. Patrick Chapin shared an interesting take earlier this week on five-color 'walkers with all four Oaths.
Oath of Gideon is also powerful. It works best with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar (I know, shocking, right?) since it allows you to get an emblem off Gideon immediately without losing Gideon in the process. I wrote about a Green/White Tokens deck last week that I'm excited about. I think it's the real deal!
Oath of Jace is the least impressive of the four to me, given that Painful Truths is a card that exists in Standard, but the two most expensive cards ever printed in Standard are Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Jace is the new Yawgmoth. Anything with Jace's name on it demands respect.
Oath of Chandra is my #1 pick for sleeper of the set. It's crazy to me that an obviously playable rare would only cost $1 for a playset. It's Lightning Strike, but instead of being instant speed it has long term value. It helps win planeswalker fights, gets triggered by flipping the little kid walkers into adult walkers, such as Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, and can help incidentally clock the opponent in a resource fight.
I'd go ahead and buy a playset of all four of these for $7 each. Oath of Nissa is the one most likely to see play, but the others show enough upside to be worth the small investments.
This set doesn't really have a breakout chase mythic yet, but in addition to Kozilek, the Great Distortion there are a few other potential candidates lobbying for the title "chase mythic of the set."
Higher Demand Mythics
$20 - Kozilek's Return (Mythic)
It will see play in Standard just as a cheap sweeper, but will be most powerful in a Green/Red Eldrazi Ramp deck. It curves well. Turn three you wipe their weenies, then later when you cast your World Breaker you wipe all their Siege Rhinos and whatever other nonsense they're trying to attack you with. That deck is really looking annoying to play against and this card is a big reason. Double wrath? Geez.
$16 - Nissa, Voice of Zendikar (Mythic)
Although I think Thought-Knot Seer is likely the best card in the set, Nissa is my early favorite. She grows plants, which appeals to me, and she makes the plants bigger. She's basically a gardener and a perfect match for Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Here's the deck I built for her:
$9 - Chandra, Flamecaller (Mythic)
Fool me once, fool me twice, but you can't fool me a half dozen times. Koth came once and was a big hit, outclassing every instance of Chandra. Chandra consistently disappoints. She's like the Detroit Lions. Even when she's good ( Chandra, Pyromaster), you still know she's not going anywhere. Trade this hot garbage to some unsuspecting new player with a red mana symbol on their deck box. At least she's more impressive than Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded. I'll give her that.
$6 - Mirrorpool (Mythic)
The cost of a tapped colorless land seems high for Constructed. Maybe this will have Commander appeal? My confidence is low though since this is not the type of card that I ever play with. I'm not buying, but I defer to others on this one.
$6 - Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet (Mythic)
I like this a lot right now in Standard since it's great against Rally the Ancestors. It also does some good work against red decks. If they don't Roast it or Exquisite Firecraft it immediately, they're going to have a bad time. I'm thinking this will find its way into Abzan's 75 and also probably into Black/White. Keep in mind this is also a Warrior, which has relevant tribal implications.
$4 - Linvala, the Preserver (Mythic)
Luis Scott-Vargas summed up my opinion about Linvala when he said he's unsure how much actual play it will see but it will certainly change the way people play in Standard. It's the kind of card that can really punish someone for forgetting that it exists. With that said, Wingmate Roc is a lot more appealing to me.
Lower Demand Hopefuls
$2 - Crush of Tentacles (Mythic)
Will it see play in Modern Scapeshift? First turn Search for Tomorrow, second turn Farseek or Sakura-Tribe Elder, third turn unsuspend Search for Tomorrow (which casts it for free), play a fifth land, and surge Crush of Testicles, clearing the board and leaving a giant 8/8 Octopus behind. That's a giant kick to the tentacles if I've ever seen one!
$2 - Goblin Dark-Dwellers (Rare)
Some people have been suggesting this card, but I'm not super big on it. There's a lot of powerful stuff to do in Standard right now, especially for five mana. I guess rebuying Kolaghan's Command for free is good, but I'm trying to envision a scenario where I would want this over Wingmate Roc of Ob Nixilis Reignited. Maybe to get Exquisite Firecraft?
$2 - Sea Gate Wreckage (Rare)
This is the type of card I can see having long term value. It's colorless, so it can go in a lot of decks. It has a powerful ability (reusable card draw). And it plays well with cheap cards. There are a lot of good colorless lands available, but this one looks powerful enough to see play. I plan to at least pick up my playset.
$2 - Sylvan Advocate (Rare)
Early it blocks Zurgo Bellstriker, then later it blocks Siege Rhino. I think this one may secretly turn out to be an all-star, though even if it does, it likely won't jump all that much in price. Siege Rhino is currently $2 and sees play everywhere. I would therefore not advocate buying into these too hard.
$2 - Sphinx of the Final Word (Mythic)
These flying, hexproof, giant blue creatures always have to get the final word in! Even if this sphinx ends up being the new Pearl Lake Ancient, it will never be as famous. Kenny defeated a rooster in Cock Magic by playing Pearl Lake Ancient. Did you know this? True story.
$1 - Jori En, Ruin Diver (Rare)
It's a merfolk and a legend, so it has some things going for it, but my guess is the only diving Jori En will be doing is into the junk binder.
$1 - Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim (Rare)
What's the deal with every card in this set sounding like Ali Aintrazi? Seriously? I mean, don't get me wrong, I've had my share of cards sounding like me too: Rootbound Crag, Barrenton Cragheads, Battering Craghorn, Crag Puca, Crag Saurian, Cragganwick Cremator, Crested Craghorn, Vivid Crag, Stormcrag Elemental, and my personal favorite Wind-Scarred Crag. But geez, whoever designed this set must have been captain of the Ali Aintrazi fan club.
...oh, right, Ayli is playable as a one-of in Rally and possibly in Modern with Martyr of Sands. She's decent but she's no Ali Aintrazi.
$.50 - General Tazri (Mythic)
General Tso's meets Tzatziki sauce. Sounds delicious (as long as it's the vegan version of both), but this card is not good enough to see play. Worst mythic of the set.
$.50 - Stone Haven Outfitter (Rare)
I like this one and I hope it's good. It could see play alongside Stoneforge Acolyte in Standard or alongside Puresteel Paladin in Modern. Here's the deck I've been working on with it in Modern:
$.10 - Hedron Alignment (Rare)
There has to be someone out there who will not be able to rest until they make this card work. There are so many combinations of things you can do to "get there" that surely someone will figure out a way to pull it off. And it will be glorious when it happens! The stars must align and all will bow down before the great Hedron Crab!
Commons and Uncommons with Long Term Value
$.40 - Reflector Mage (Uncommon)
Man-o'-War with upside is too good not to see play. This could end up being one of those cards that people look back on and say "Geez, that card was Uncommon?" It has some stiff competition, but I think it is also playable in Modern alongside Restoration Angel, Collected Company, and/or Chord of Calling.
$.10 - Flaying Tendrils (Uncommon)
Buy these now! Remember Drown in Sorrow? It was $.50 to $1 through most of its life in Standard. This one is good against Red decks and also against Rally the Ancestors decks. It will see play and you will be glad you bought as many as you could get your hands on for $.10. I would not be the least bit surprised if these sell for $1-2 in a month.
$.06 - Reckless Bushwhacker (Uncommon)
It's playable and hard to evaluate. Get your play set now for a quarter while they're cheap!
These are the cards with the most sleeper potential and in my opinion worth investing in for profit:
- The three Creature lands
- The four Planeswalker Oaths
- Eldrazi Mimic
- Eldrazi Displacer
- Bearer of Silence
- Stone Haven Outfitter
- Hedron Alignment
- Flaying Tendrils
Additionally, these are the cards I believe will be tournament staples and are worth picking up if you plan to play them in your deck:
- The 3 Creature lands
- All the Colorless Eldrazi
- World Breaker
- Kozilek's Return
- Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
- Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
And of course the mantra of all sets featuring Chandra:
- Sell Chandra! Always sell Chandra.
Which cards are you investing in?
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