Today I'm going to tell you which cards to pick up now, which cards to wait on, which cards to sell, and which cards to burn in a fire if you ever think about putting them in your deck. Since I always get several comments asking about cards I left out, this time I am going to cover every single rare and mythic in the set. My comments will be brief since there are over 70 cards, but this review covers everything!
I'll start with the big mythics, then the small mythics, and then all the rares. At the end I will provide a quick recap for ease of reference.
Archangel Avacyn is the marquee card of the set and is super hyped. Will she live up to the hype? I picked her last week to be the highest-impact card in the set for Standard. She certainly has the stats to compete, but the question is where best to play her? It's hard to go up in price when you start out tied for most expensive card in the set, but if she dominates the early weeks of Standard, there is plenty of room to climb. After all, look at Jace, Vryn's Prodigy!
There are a number of cool wolves and werewolves in this set and enough synergies to make the Wolf Token relevant if you want it to be. There are also plenty of worthwhile Lightning Bolt targets for a transformed Arlinn Kord. I expect her to see play, but I'm skeptical she will outperform Sorin, Grim Nemesis as the highest-demand Planeswalker of the set.
A powerful controlling Planeswalker. Her color restrictions will work against her, but her ultimate comes quickly. I suspect in three months when the next set is released she will spike. Buy into the rumor hype! #Eldrazispiracy #ThereWereThree #Kozilek #Ulamog #Emrakul
While we may have to wait six months for Nahiri, the Harbinger to realize her full potential, the wait will likely be six months for Jace, Unraveler of Secrets. There's less priority on Jace, Unraveler of Secrets since it's essentially the same card as Ob Nixilis Reignited, but the real reason not to play Jace, Unraveler of Secrets is because it cannot coexist on the battlefield with Jace, Telepath Unbound. After Magic Origins rotates out of Standard in six months I expect the secrets of this blue 'walker to begin to unravel.
She's the reason to play vampires and also plays well with dragons. Vampires is easy enough to beat if you want to beat it though, so I suspect she won't be skyrocketing in price anytime soon.
Relentless Dead — A cost-effective and resilient body, but depends on if there is enough support for zombies to be Tier 1. The odds are stacked against it.
If this doesn't end up being the chase Planeswalker of the set, I will be surprised. It dominates midrange matchups, catches up on life against aggro, and is in the same colors as Languish and Anguished Unmaking.
The Git Rekt Monster will likely see play in older formats, and Ali Aintrazi has high hopes for it in Standard. I do not see a place for it though — too much Reflector Mage, Anguished Unmaking, and other point-and-click removal floating around.
Sigarda, Heron's Grace — Could see play, but her color requirements are narrow and she is competing with Archangel Avacyn for the five slot. I don't see her increasing in price.
Behold the Beyond — With Omniscience? Sign me up! Without Omniscience? Vomit.
Sinners REPENT! Slow but powerful. Exiles weenies, Deathmist Raptors, Dragonlords, and Eldrazi. If you fill up your graveyard it leaves an Angel. Competes with Sorin, Grim Nemesis at six mana, but I'm buying.
Master or Piece (OS)? I'm going with "master." Works great with mill cards and delirium and five mana to cast is reasonable. Attacks through World Breaker and doesn't die to Chandra, Flamecaller or Kozilek's Return.
Goldnight Castigator — Good with Always Watching or Doran, the Siege Tower. Otherwise he castrates your own life total. Sell.
Mythic demons are usually awful, but enabling delirium is no easy task in Standard and Mindwrack Demon is one of the best at it. An undercosted flyer with a drawback that can be turned into an advantage? Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
Seasons Past — There is a season for every purpose under heaven. This card's purpose is to break open control/midrange mirrors. I'm selling, but I expect to see 1-2 copies of this in green sideboards.
Startled Awake — Playing this card in your deck is like having one of those dreams where you think you're peeing into a toilet. You'll suddenly wake up and things won't be what you expected.
Ulvenwald Hydra — Might see play in Eldrazi Ramp over Conduit of Ruin, but I'm not optimistic about the Turtenwald Hydra.
Wolf of Devil's Breach — The artwork on this card is reminder text: If you ever think about putting this card in your Constructed deck, burn it instead.
A Clone designed with Commander in mind.
Sleeper pick! The card is great with little humans, Archangel of Tithes, and/or Dragonlord Ojutai!
Angel of Deliverance — This angel certainly does not deliver.
It's one of the more expensive non-mythic rares of the set, but it's worth it. It's super flexible and in the same color pair as Shambling Vent and Sorin, Grim Nemesis to regain that three life back.
Playable in B/R Vampires, but likely nowhere else. Maybe good in older formats if you want extra copies of Dark Confidant and you empty your hand reliably. Also maybe in 8-Rack.
This feels more mythic to me than Wolf of Devil's Breach. My prediction is that R&D pushed this for Constructed and didn't want another $50 Bonfire of the Damned, so they made it rare and made the dog-on-fire mythic. Sleeper pick!
Brain in a Jar — Kind of like AEther Vial and Birthing Pod but for spells. Those cards each took a while to catch on. Maybe this one will too? Whatever, I'm still selling.
Burn from Within — Kind of like Avacyn's Judgment but a thousand times worse. If Wolf of Devil's Breach's reminder text is in its artwork, this one's is in the name. Burn it!
If spirits ever become a thing, I'm on board. It might also just be good enough on its own. The stats are pretty reasonable and as Conley Woods pointed out in his video set review Tuesday, it fits nicely into a Collected Company shell. It's also currently only $.50. It has enough going on that I'll call it a sleeper!
Format staple. Will drop in price by a couple dollars in the first month once everyone picks up their playset.
Confirm Suspicions — My suspicion is that this is a "win more" cards when it's good and useless otherwise.
Corrupted Grafstone — Good card in delirium decks alongside Duress and Traverse the Ulvenwald. Not a lot of decks will want this though.
Cryptolith Rite — I'm guessing the hype on this card is for its casual appeal? Earthcraft with summoning sickness is still playable in Constructed, but not nearly enough to justify its current price.
Leaf Gilder and Beastcaller Savant are basically what this shirtless dreamboat is competing with. I pick him to win out most of the time.
The price is right on this one. Great premium removal spell that will see play.
Devil's Playground — There are much better things to do with six mana. The devil is in the details, and in this case the details are pretty crappy and uninspiring.
One of the few incentives to play the zombie tribe. Zombies are popular casually, so even if the deck proves too weak for Constructed, I would be surprised if the price dips down too far on this one. I would invest heavily long-term if these ever drop below $1.50.
Drogskol Cavalry — Unbeatable in limited, unplayable in constructed.
I'm buying. Sacrifice to rebuy World Breaker and then pay to return the land. Or end of turn pitch to Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and return to the battlefield. A well-designed and solid card.
Works great with enters-the-battlefield and leaves-the-battlefield abilities and to dodge sweepers, but the best card in the set (Archangel Avacyn) is already good at dodging sweepers. Maybe the best way to use this is to cast it on your opponent's end step, then untap and play your own sweeper. You kill all the opponent's creatures and then yours return safely on your end step. Ghostway is also a $5 card due to its casual appeal. Buy.
Elusive Tormentor — Reasonable card, but unlikely to play a major role in Standard.
Engulf the Shore — Good for bouncing tokens and works with Prairie Stream and Sunken Hollow. Still, I doubt this will see play in a format where you can play Languish instead.
Epiphany at the Drownyard — People seem to be in love with this card, but I don't see it. My guess is that people just really want blue card draw to be good again and it simply isn't.
This is much better than Season's Past. I expect this to see a decent amount of tournament play. It's the most impactful big reanimation spell printed since Unburial Rites. Currently less than $1, looks like a sleeper to me. #RelationshipGoals
Falkenrath Gorger — Great in the B/R vampires deck and unlikely playable anywhere else. Outside of Jace, Vryn's Prodigy there aren't really enough madness outlets to make it good. Lightning Axe is good, but it's a one shot.
Fevered Visions — Goes straight into every Turbo Fog Owling Mine deck.
Flameblade Angel — Wolf of Devil's Breach and Burn from Within have company. The flames are ablaze with fires of unplayable rares!
Format staple and slots right into the B/R Vampires deck as a four-of, giving it a small edge over the others that might not readily have homes as full playsets right off the bat.
Forgotten Creation — Neat synergies with zombies that care about the graveyard or with From Under the Floorboards' madness cost. If zombies are good, this may play a role in its success. Unlikely to garner the casual appeal of Diregraf Colossus though.
Staple. You will need it, but you will likely save a couple bucks if you wait a few weeks.
Powerful card that I expect to see play. Might also make it in Modern B/W Tokens. Discard this to Liliana of the Veil? Sure man, it might be a thing. I think this whole cycle is a sleeper.
Format Staple. Like the others, I expect the price on this two drop to $3 or so by the end of April.
Geier Reach Bandit — He hits hard and fast and has a powerful backside in a werewolf deck. I don't have high hopes for that archetype though.
Hanweir Militia Captain — Likely best in a Green/White Tokens deck with Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Secure the Wastes, and Westvale Abbey. That color combination has lots of good two-drops though, so I wouldn't invest too much stock in this guy.
Harness the Storm — Feels like a combo card but unlikely good enough for Modern Storm. Probably just junk, but it has a unique enough effect that I would not be surprised if someone figured out a way to use it.
Inexorable Blob — One of the best payoffs once you have delirium, but I want my payoff card to be less fragile and more impactful in the late game. To make Inexorable Blob good you not only have to work to set up delirium but you also have to clear the way for a pair of 3/3 creatures to attack. That's asking a lot, though admittedly there is overlap between these two goals.
Invocation of Saint Traft — Feast of the Unicorn is back! Because Geist of Saint Traft certainly isn't!
Markov Dreadknight — Awesome, another rare that is unplayable in constructed and unbeatable in limited!
Nephalia Moondrakes — Back in my day I just had to get Wonder into the graveyard to give all my creatures flying. Now we have to get the card into the graveyard and pay six mana for one turn of flying.
Odric, Lunarch Marshal — He tries so hard and comes so close, but I doubt the stars will align in such a way that causes me to put this card in my deck over Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Archangel of Tithes. Like I said though, it is at least close. Honorable Mention.
Staple. Will drop to $3.
Prized Amalgam — Good in zombies. Questionable whether the deck has enough overall power to compete.
Rattlechains — The best spirit by a wide margin. The spirit tribe packs more of a punch than people may realize. Ultimately unlikely. Spirits really need a Drogskol Captain or Lingering Souls to push them over the top.
Sage of Ancient Lore — I once heard a myth that this card is playable. Myths aren't necessarily false, but in this case I'm pretty sure it is false.
Scourge Wolf — Reasonable stats and a somewhat reasonable creature type. My guess is that the double red in the mana cost will keep this from seeing play in any deck capable of turning on delirium, but maybe if Silverfur Partisan and Zada, Hedron Grinder become a thing and we just need more wolves in a red/green deck, it will happen.
Second Harvest — Pretty cool card, but falls well below the bar in terms of power level for constructed purposes.
This card is sweet, I'm buying! It's among the biggest reasons to play wolves and werewolves. It has built-in card advantage that forces the opponent to two-for-one themselves right away to deal with it. Otherwise you untap and can start going to town with Titan's Strength, Expedite, Slip Through Space, or whatever other ways to draw cards and make wolves. That's a lot of upside for a three drop creature! If Brian Kibler hasn't already started building a Temur deck around this card, I'm sure he will by the time Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad happens.
Sin Prodder — Three mana for a three-power menace creature is reasonable and his ability is very good as long as you have burn spells and aggressive creatures to punish them for whichever mode they choose. Also good at simply getting lands off the top of your library and keeping the spells coming. I think it is good enough to see play, but the price on this one means it won't climb any higher unless it proves to be as good as Boros Reckoner was. That is a very high bar to reach on a creature that dies to a sneeze without leaving any residual benefit (unlike Boros Reckoner).
Slayer's Plate — I could see this working alongside Puresteel Paladin and Mortarpod in Modern. This is Doomed Traveler's best friend. The cost is steep but the effect is powerful. I can't think of a good way to reduce the cost enough in Standard to make it playable though.
Soul Swallower — At least it tramples, but this doesn't feel like enough payoff for setting up delirium.
Tamiyo's Journal — Adrian Sullivan will probably sideboard this card in to win a control mirror match, but my guess is that's the only time this card will ever see play. Entry 435: Why are there so many copies of my journal in the $.25 box? –Tamiyo
Now this is a card I can get behind! A Champion of the Parish that can pump the team later on? Deal! It probably won't go much above its current price, but we all know I am prepared to pay any price for my playset.
Currently by far the highest demand non-mythic of the set. It will definitely see play in older formats (Legacy/Modern) where powerful spells to unfreeze the Kraken are cheap. It's still debatable how much impact it will have on Standard. I can see this being an unprecedented rare that they made "a little too good". Every inch of my financial sense tells me a playset of any rare for $50 is outrageous, but my intuition tells me there will come a day when people rejoice to see this card reprinted in Modern Masters so they can get their playset for under $100.
Tireless Tracker — Not an unreasonable card. Synergizes with Thraben Inspector and is a human, so has a decent supporting cast around him. The clues draw more cards, which find more lands, which make more clues. The cycle repeats itself unless you draw a series of action spells, which probably means you're doing even better. Play it on the fourth turn and immediately play and sacrifice Evolving Wilds right afterwards to get two clues. I'm not going to call it a sleeper, but I wouldn't be surprised if it sees play.
To the Slaughter — Ari Lax calls this card a trap and I agree. It has a high ceiling, for instance killing a Dragonlord Ojutai and a Sorin, Grim Nemesis, but it also has a low floor – killing a Thraben Inspector for three mana. It will see play in some controlling delirium decks though. It happens to also win the award for my least favorite flavor of the set. #GoVegan!
This is already one of the higher-demand rares of the set, as it should be. It's one of the best cards in the set and I plan on picking up my playset sooner rather than later. Fixes both kinds of dual lands early and remains powerful in the late game.
Triskaidekaphobia — Cool flavor, but not playable. The artwork was thoughtful enough to have 13 instances of everything in it though, which is a nice flavor touch. Bob Ross would approve!
I think this card is good! I basically like all three of the madness cards of this cycle (From Under the Floorboards and Avacyn's Judgment are the other two). I know everything is good with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, but this cycle in particular regularly generates three-for-one card advantage. All three cards are fine on their own too even without a madness outlet, which means they not only have high ceilings but also high floors. Having a high floor especially comes in handy for the black one since it comes From Under the Floorboards.
Last but certainly not least. I like this card a lot. It feels legendary but isn't until it transforms. It makes colorless mana, which is relevant for Eldrazi. It makes tokens, which eventually sets itself up for transformation. Most of all, however, it represents a very powerful effect that can happen at any moment that forces the opponent to play in suboptimal ways in order not to die to it all of a sudden, all at the small cost of playing a land in your deck. This is a high demand card already and is colorless, so it fits into several decks. I'm going to pick up my playset anyway because I think it will be worth it.
Biggest Winner Mythics:
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
Sleeper Big Ticket Mythics:
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets (pick up in 6 months)
Nahiri, the Harbinger (pick up in 3 months)
Sleeper Low-Demand Mythics:
Descend upon the Sinful
Rares Worth Picking Up Early:
Declaration in Stone
Thing in the Ice (despite the price tag)
Traverse the Ulvenwald
Bygone Bishop (at $.50)
Diregraf Colossus (long-term casual)
Eerie Interlude (long-term casual)
From Under the Floorboards
Welcome to the Fold