Hey there! I've returned from Grand Prix Hartford, alive and intact. Shoutout to the northeastern part of the country for bringing us a multi-day ice storm in the middle of April! Hopefully your neck of the woods is having better weather than us, and hopefully those sunny days extend to this weekend for the Dominaria prerelease! This set is looking to be a lot of things for many different types of players – a nostalgia hit for those who have been on hiatus, a higher power level for the consistent Standard grinders and a legendary-packed dream for the typical Commander player. Dominaria looks to have something for everyone including me, the treasure hunter/bulk digger/lover of dimes and quarters.
If you've been tuning into this series for an extended period, you might recognize this type of article from the title. While Constructed set reviews aren't hard to find on the Internet and financial set reviews going over the rares are pretty common, my brand of set review is going to focus less on what the next Rekindling Phoenix is and more on the cards you'll find on the draft table when the event is over. Determining which commons and uncommons are actually worth slotting into your binder pages is an excellent way to build value in your collection, trade up towards higher value cards, or avoid paying too much for low-value cards on the day of an event. Instead of looking into a Crystal Ball and guessing wildly for price predictions, we're going to use the TCGplayer "Best Seller" feature to show which non-rares are experiencing the most demand in the preorder season, which ones are going to fall off quickly and a couple of my personal picks for longterm gainers that you'll be happy to dig out of bulk a year or two down the road. Let's get started!
I don't think any competitive player is surprised to see Damping Sphere at the top of this list as one of the best-selling commons and uncommons in Dominaria. When the FAQ was leaked and we ended up getting a bunch of rules text previewed, everyone assumed that this was a rare on power level alone. Being an uncommon is going to be a huge factor in its price, but it's going to be impossible for a card like this to hold $4 in the short term. An uncommon has to be Fatal Push to maintain $5, while this is going to be relegated to Modern sideboards and nothing more. If you're patient enough to wait a month, you'll be able to pick these up at a much more reasonable price; you could also just crack a few in packs in that timespan!
If you're a less competitive player who opens this card at the prerelease or your first booster box, you're going to want to try and move them as soon as possible before the overwhelming supply hits and pulls down the price.
It's always interesting to see the type of Doom Blade variants that Wizards comes up with. Go for the Throat is a powerful one from back in the day, and we've seen them less aggressively costed further in the past through Rend Flesh and Eyeblight's Ending. Generally, this effect sees play when it only costs two mana (see Ultimate Price and Victim of Night, both quality cards from their respective Standard formats), so this could easily be a role player in the upcoming Standard. Even without any data on what the new Standard format looks like, I'm calling this a pick early. Try to get $1 each for them on prerelease weekend, when players are putting together their lists for week one!
It's no secret that I looooove Rats. Not in real life, and not shuffling decks full of Rats, but they're a gold mine for vendors like myself. Anyone ordering Relentless Rats always orders at least 10 or 15 at once, and cards like Locust Miser, Nezumi Graverobber and Swarm of Rats have always been buylistable picks. Rat Colony joins the fray as a card I'm always going to be pulling from bulk, even at common. Have you checked the price of Shadowborn Apostle lately? That last line of rules text on this little furry friend is a financially savvy players' best friend. Pick 'em and hoard 'em, especially months down the road when drafters have tossed it into their bulk lots. This little guy is going to get shrugged off by all the competitive players, and those are the best kind of picks. Raaaats.
Journey to Nowhere and Stasis Snare had a baby, and it's competitively costed for Standard. This is going to be a staple in non-aggressive white decks until Dominaria rotates, and I don't think that's a take that you need a Pro Tour level player to tell you. Just like Aether Hub and Abrade were obvious from the start, Seal Away is going to be an often pre-pulled but welcome surprise to find in bulk. Definitely keep these in your trade binder for the foreseeable future; owning zero copies could have you paying $1-2 on the floor of a GP if you're not careful.
We've reached the most frequently preordered non-rare legendary creature in the set, and it's Raff Capashen. He's an echo of Shimmer Myr, but also helps flash in your planeswalkers and sagas, for whatever that's worth. With a market price of only $.30 though, I don't expect him to be frequently appearing on buylists enough to be worth pulling out of bulk. These preorders are likely people who are going to slot him into the 99 of their existing Superfriends or artifact decks, but that demand will dry up quickly. This set has a ton of legendary creatures to compete for value, and even popular mythic commanders like The Gitrog Monster end up being bulk fodder once supply of the set peaks out. While legends often feel nice to collect and throw into the binder, I don't think Raff will hold up as a pickable casual commander card.
Most Modern Merfolk masters are already nodding fervently at the sight of this card. It's got the flexibility the archetype is known for, while providing a ton of tempo at an affordable body. Of course, this isn't going to be a hidden gem; it's a known gem that's likely going to be tested in the Modern deck and could give fish some new legs once rotation gets rid of some of its nemeses (The Scarab God and Hazoret the Fervent). Competitive cards will often be picked out by competitive players, but I've found stranger things in bulk before. There's a reason this one is an early power seller on TCGplayer's helpful list.
This is a card I'm confused to see on this list, because it doesn't appear to be inherently powerful or strong in a casual setting; I suppose it helps fill out a mana base in Standfard akin to Prophetic Prism or Renegade Map. Maybe this is going to see some Standard play, but I highly doubt that this one-mana common artifact is going to be popping up on buylists unless you're the kind of person that likes to ship 400 copies of a single three-cent card to one of a select few buylists. (If you are that kind of person, it's nice to know that I have at least one kindred spirit!) Don't worry about this one too much, it's a $.10 retail card in a few weeks.
If one of these sees play, it'll likely be paired along with the other. I expect Wizards to appear as a "FNM playable not top tier deck" in Standard – kind of like Dinosaurs and Merfolk – and I'll be pulling these out as playsets and selling them at FNM to supply that kind of behavior. Any extra copies of Wizardcounter and Wizardbolt will be getting shipped to buylists for dimes, but don't expect to be caring about these post Standard rotation; they're not powerful enough to see play in Commander and there are several better options available in that format.
Speaking of Commander, Slimefoot is all the rage these days. It's stowing away into the best sellers list, though I don't expect him to be a valuable pick in the medium or long term. As we've discussed previously, cards like The Gitrog Monster, Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, and Nekusar, the Mindrazer are never worth any money themselves; it's the older/lower supply cards that tend to increase in value when a popular new Commander is printed. That goes even further for an uncommon legendary creature that will be opened by eleventy billion people.
Let's not forget about one of Magic's oldest cards coming back to a format where it'll see a lot more demand, and with new art/templating to boot! If you've got some old Llanowar Elves in a box, on the floor, or outside in the dumpster, now is the time to dust them off and jam a set or two into the ol' trade biner. If you draft, set aside the ones you pull. There will be some who want to jam older art, but there will also be a ton of new players looking to complete matching sets. I'm not saying that the card itself will be worth more than $.05 on a buylist again, but the resurgence of demand will be there, and you might be able to get quarters in trade for them or turn them into bulk rares that you think could increase in the long term.
So far, it looks like the bulk of Dominaria bulk will be made up of Standard staples sprinkled with a few casual cards. I'll be curious to see where some of the uncommon legendary creatures pan out as the months and years go by. While I don't believe most will ever climb up from bulk, there might be a few that gain based not on their legendary status/eligibility as Commanders but their actual abilities.
I don't think we've ever seen a Ghostly Prison effect not be worth money. From Norn's Annex to Koskun Falls, putting up a wall of taxes has been a popular casual effect in Commander. I don't think you scoop up Bairds now, but I think he's one of the better uncommon legends in the set to find in bulk two years down the road. If you're patient, toss these in a box and forget about them.
Quest for Ula's Temple has always been one of those cards that I enjoy finding in bulk rare bins because it quietly buylists for $.50 or more. While I expect most of those decks are currently being led by Wrexial, the Risen Deep, this might be an addition to that deck that slowly creeps up over time because of its unique tribal affiliations. We're going deep here (heh), but noticing the most subtle of trends can be important in extracting every penny from your collection when going through bulk commons and uncommons.
Did you have any non-rare picks from Dominaria that you feel will end up as hidden gems once the dust settles? What about competitive staples that are hiding under the radar right now, not showing up on the Best Sellers list? Let me know in the comments below, and I hope you enjoy your prerelease weekend!
- DJ Johnson