I spent all weekend at the SCG Open in Syracuse and am exhausted. I didn't even play the main event—three drafts yesterday and the Standard Classic Sunday—and it's Monday morning and I'm still exhausted. Tournaments are crazy! I should've worked from home today, and I'm not just saying that because I originally left my work laptop at home and had to go get it and come back.

Let's do this Top 10 and then take a nap.

#10 Growth Spiral

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Instant-speed Explore! Growth Spiral is a lot more obviously good than the average card, and it's a perfect precursor to a Nexus of Fate.

#9: Pteramander

Pteramander's good everywhere. That's probably fine, right?

#8: Guardian Project

Cool! Still have no idea why this card is here or what it's used for, but I can say with some degree of confidence that it is neat.

#7: Shadowborn Apostle

Oof. I hope I didn't remind anyone this card exists.

(I highly doubt I had anything to do with its spike in sales this week)

#6: Mox Amber

The price tag on Mox Amber was dwindling steadily since the Dominaria release right up until about Valentine's Day, when its price started increasing by about 50 cents a day, give or take. It's not clear what caused the spike—the card's utter lack of presence at the Mythic Championship should've quelled any further speculation, but it didn't. Today, the Market Price on Mox Amber is $13—a far cry from its $30 price tag when Dominaria hit, but still worth noting. This feels like a spec on a WotC reinvestment into Brawl, but who knows? It could just as easily be a spec on the word "Mox" meaning something to players in five years. Kind of a dumb bet, considering Lotus Vale's $18 despite being 22 years old and on the Reserved List, but whatever.

#5: Traverse the Ulvenwald

Outside of Ryan Overturf's team win in Baltimore last month, Traverse the Ulvenwald hasn't made much of a dent in anything. This feels like a spec based on the hope that something in Modern Horizons will make Traverse the Ulvenwald playable.

#4: Body Snatcher

In 2007, Body Snatcher won a Legacy Grand Prix as the part of a convoluted combo that allowed players to put a combo piece into the graveyard if it happened to be in their hands. I'm not explaining why the thing needed to be in your graveyard because the combo's really convoluted, and also, it's more or less irrelevant now; the combo's one-piece lynchpin, Flash, got banned immediately after the Grand Prix, but I could see this card appealing to the casual crowd.

Either something probably got printed that's good with this (though to be fair pretty much anything is good with Urza block cards that let cards go from zone to zone at minimal cost, that block was nuts) or speculators are betting that it won't be reprinted in the short term; as of now, Body Snatchers has only been printed in Urza's Destiny, which celebrates its 20-year anniversary this year. Make sure you say happy birthday to the expansion with the most broken cards per capita at some point this year.

#3: High Alert

Now this is my kind of card. High Alert is the ideal Magic card: effective build-around in Limited, devious trap masquerading as a build-around in Constructed. Between High Alert and Arcades, the Strategist, Standard's got plenty of fuel for a wall deck.

#2: Skewer the Critics

Skewer the Critics goes great in a burn deck. Who could have guessed????

#1: Persistent Petitioners

Yeah! So last week I mentioned that despite how annoying it is to see this garbage card week after week after week—in spite of the fact that putting lots of copies of Persistent Petitioners in your deck is more likely to actively decrease your odds of winning a game than increase them—speculating on this card was ultimately likely to pay off.

Last week, Jeff Cunningham touched on how ill-equipped consumers are at discerning between what they want and what they need. This applies to Magic, and because of this, consumers (in this case, players buying cards) are often easily duped into purchasing cards because of the promises the cards implicitly make. I can mill my opponent out? I can win more coin flips? All I need to do is get my opponent to 10 life? It's worth noting that the more inexperienced the player, the more likely they are to be hooked by the bizarre appeal of cards like Persistent Petitioners. Magic has no shortage of landmines for players to accidentally step on.

One of the intended functions of articles like the ones this website hosts is to be a sort of consumer advocate, advising buyers which pieces of cardboard to invest in. I worry that we don't do a good enough job telling players what not to do with their money, though. I understand that the trying to mill someone out with Persistent Petitioners is a fun puzzle to try and solve, but my concern is with the new player in 2022 who looks up mill cards on 2022's Scryfall equivalent (I hope it's still Scryfall, but who knows what the future holds), discovers Persistent Petitioners for the first time, and buys 20 of them... at $3 apiece. Admittedly I don't monitor many markets, but the rate at which players seem to buy into Magic card price spikes is bonkers.

Normally players create demand for a card, but what is there to stop an entity from speculating on as safe a bet as Persistent Petitioners? One possibility is to make sure new players know all the different ways a common printed in 2019 can hit $3, I suppose.

Jon Corpora
(pronounced ca-pora)
@feb31st