Last week, players caught a glimpse into War of the Spark. The tl;dr: Each pack will have a Planeswalker, and there will be 36 total Planeswalkers in the set. Most if not all of the Top 10 today are buys, on spec, of completely useless cards worth relatively little. They're Magic's equivalent of penny stocks. You're going to see lots of cards with the word "Planeswalker" in the text box in this week's Top 10, and that announcement is why.
Spoiler seasons are a fun time at TCGplayer HQ. During Oath of the Gatewatch previews, lots of my coworkers heralded Oath of Nissa as "the green Preordain" and I gleefully told them the card was unplayable. The truth, as it turned out, was somewhere in the middle. Oath of Nissa ended up playing a facilitator role in a Pro Tour-winning deck that wound up being The Best DeckTM in Shadows over Innistrad Standard. It wasn't unplayable, as I suspected, but it wasn't ubiquitous either.
At first I thought Immolation Shaman was a clever answer to taxing Planeswalkers. Then I read the card; its text box excludes Planeswalkers. So I have no idea why anyone bought them.
No idea why this card suddenly sold a bunch either.
I've been thinking a bit about customer reviews lately. They feel really antiquated, but Amazon still uses them, and somehow they're worthwhile. I wonder how they parse through all those user-submitted reviews. I know users up and downvote them, but I don't think that's the whole picture.
How would user reviews apply to Magic cards? Let's take Serum Visions as a level zero example—how do you review it? Using other cards as a benchmark is a fine place to start, but Serum Visions is much worse than its analogs: Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain. It digs deeper than Opt, but it's a sorcery. It potentially digs deeper than Sleight of Hand, but the card you draw is random. At some point it's less of a product review and more of an exercise in reading the text box aloud.
What I'm getting at here is that Pteramander is really good for totally obvious reasons, and explaining what makes a Magic card good is one of the least straightforward things ever.
I have Disallowed a Chandra, Torch of Defiance ultimate and had my own Chandra, Torch of Defiance ultimate Disallowed, so you could say I've experienced the full range of emotions that Disallow can trigger. It's a neat card.
Hoo boy, this one's really reaching. If you expect Impale with slightly more text to ever do anything, I've got some magic beans to sell you.
Red's in a tricky spot in Standard at the moment. There are a few reasons Bedevil isn't seeing anywhere near the amount of play as Hero's Downfall did in its day despite identical text boxes and converted mana costs. The main reason is that the best red cards all point towards an aggressive strategy that's heavy on direct damage—these decks typically don't care about Planeswalkers. It's also worth noting that the Standard-legal Planeswalkers aren't nearly as good as the Planeswalkers floating around when Hero's Downfall was legal (with the lone exception of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria—the fact that it can tuck itself is a bad design oversight). Elspeth, Sun's Champion is the standout, but those Standard formats had a massive density of Planeswalkers that spiraled out of control if left unattended for too long. Let's list the rest!
• Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
• Xenagos, the Reveler
• Jace, Architect of Thought
• Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
• Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
• Garruk, Apex Predator
• Nissa, Worldwaker
A truly obnoxious list. This Standard format has plenty of good Planeswalkers, but with the exception of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and maybe Vraska, Relic Seeker, you're not going to lose the game on the spot if an opponent untaps with them in play twice. Red Standard decks, with their low mana curves and Abundance of direct damage, invalidate Planeswalkers altogether. So red deck's aren't really in the market for Bedevil. Maybe that changes with War of the Spark, though.
Quicksilver Amulet for Planeswalkers! Among all the dumb specs in this week's column, Thran Temporal Gateway stands out as a genuinely good idea. Maybe that has more to do with my love of Elvish Piper when I picked up Magic in 2001, but I think Thran Temporal Gateway's got some angles.
This stupid card. Heart of Kiran is the "hope springs eternal" Rorschach test for speculators. First it was a Frontier spec (lol), and now it's back in the #mtgfinance brain trust's periphery because it has the word Planeswalker on it. Don't fall for this one.
Oh yeah. pic.twitter.com/aTMIbO0dST— jon corpora (@feb31st) June 30, 2018
Didn't play the Oath of Teferi, won that draft. See you next week.