Hello everybody! What’s up? It is Casey here with the first edition of A Market Monday Response, here on RogueDeckbuilder.com! For this week we’re going to have a Rogue Market: Top~ no? Too derivative? Oh, okay then. I’ll have to come up with my own little greeting for these sorts of things eventually, but I will consider this a sufficient for the time being. Go easy on me, this is my second post.
Before we delve into Kevin’s list once more and thoroughly pick apart his thoughts laid out in the video, there is a little bit of housekeeping I would like to address. I originally had plans to do a simple piece about my experience in GP Indy not too long ago; talk about my experience meeting UnsleevedMedia and the Professor, as well as a general overview of the events I played in and how those went. However the Professor always seemed busy when I saw him, and the one time I got to talk with him he seemed hasty to end the conversation, even more so when I asked him about the “Jeremy Situation” that was happening that weekend.
As for Jeremy, we had a pleasant, but brief meetup on Friday where he promised me a drink just before I was about to make an hour drive to my sister’s house in Bloomington, Indiana, and when Saturday rolled around when I was ready to cash in that rain check and maybe get a real in depth discussion for the website, Jeremy was impossible to get in contact with and I had no idea where to find Bancon because the address was “emailed to ticket holders.” Yeah Jeremy, I get that you were working real hard that night to make your event successful for those that paid to attend, but were you not able to check your Twitter DMs often enough to make good on a promise to a nobody writer for a website owned by the guy who didn’t use the plane ticket you bought him? Was your event so secretive and exclusive that you couldn’t accept Walk-In attendees? I don’t know, but the entire weekend in Indy was a spur of the moment plan and a lot of little things went wrong in a similar fashion to the Tolarian Community College and Unsleeved Media “interviews” that it is probably for the best that I leave it as a short afterthought here instead of manufacturing an article from insufficient data.
I’m new at this whole journalism thing, so I hold myself responsible for not getting anything worth publishing this time around. I’ll try harder to be on top of things next time I attempt on-the-ground reporting. For the time being, let’s pick at Kevin’s list here.
Market Monday: Top 10 Cards to watch for at Pro Tour RIX – Published: January 29th, 2018
#10 – Vithian Renegades
With Magic: the Gathering coming up on a 25 year anniversary, us players have a vast library of cards at our disposal that borderlines on obscene. To the uninitiated, the archives on Gatherer is an ocean of chaos, sprinkled with the seeds of potential scattered about. What even determines the playability of a card? Like for real… I would not had considered a bad Reclamation Sage to be playable in a format like modern. However that’s the funny thing about metagames and brewing. With the right context, Vithian Renegades isn’t a bad Reclamation Sage, it is a HUMAN Reclamation Sage. And that’s how it should be judged.
It has the key benefit that got Rec Sage into sideboards, being a removal spell on a creature with a CMC that synergizes with Collected Company and all. And while it lacks the ability to remove enchantments, it is far more powerful and aggressive than Sage, effectively being an on curve vanilla, and most importantly there is a niche that specifically wants its Human subtype. That really is all it takes for some card that appears to be strictly outclassed to suddenly have a demand. Us brewers have to really stay on top the newest trends to catch these anomalies before they hit mainstream. Lantern Control and Amulet Titan were two decks I exploited to build my collection, and hopefully it isn’t too late to get something out of humans.
The most important thing to remember with Renegades is that the value of this card comes primarily to the abundance of Human decks and the scarcity of Alara Reborn compared to the post RtR sets. Once Wizards decides that reprinting this card is a good idea, the price will revert back to where it is now, if the spike happens, or it will never have the opportunity to spike in the first place. I’m not hugely confident in this card, but Wizards reprint policy is unreliable at best and cards of a similar fashion to Vithian Renegades have spiked due to their scarcity alone. Never doubt the market’s ability to spike a Narwhal. That’s all you need to take away from this.
#9 – Oblivion Stone
Considering that it wasn’t too long ago that Oblivion Stone became reasonably affordable, I am far from comfortable with the possibility of it spiking back up in value so soon. I honestly can’t blame it if it does though… This card is the the most powerful colorless board wipe in the game. It has the ability to destroy any nonland permanent, making it better than Nevinyrral’s Disk, isn’t bound to color restrictions and CMC like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, doesn’t become an insufferable reset of the entire game like Karn Liberated, and is easily recursive unlike Perilous Vault. On top of that, it has the side benefit of passing over anything with a Fate counter on it. Besides the effectiveness in competitive formats like modern, Oblivion Stone is a casual favorite for being best in its class and an intriguing factor in multiplayer games. Who says that prejudice can’t have positive benefits?
Unlike Kevin, I’m going to ignore the outlier that is the $72.99 price spike, because Oblivion Stone quickly settled back to around $30 and was on a decline up until its final reprint. However I do believe that $10-$11 is a little low for the older versions of the card, and if classic Tron ever takes off in modern again, with the combined demand from that and casuals I would expect a jump to a reasonable price around $15 minimum, especially as supple dwindles for Iconic Masters.
#8 – Nahiri, the Harbringer
I really do appreciate the fact that Kevin mentioned this card, because I’ve been waiting for a flatline in value for Nahiri since rotation. Apparently that happened way back around the release of Ixalan, so that goes to show how on top of the market I am. I suppose if I my livelihood was bound to Magic the way Kevin’s is, I’d be more keen on these sorts of things, but there are a lot of cards on my list and Nahiri has not been the biggest priority on that list. Still, the stabilization in her price tells me that the window is now available for picking up my playset and that her uncharacteristically flexible abilities for Boros will keep her in demand, if only for the novelty that her uniqueness offers. The bitch may have ruined my favorite plane and killed off the most aesthetic minor character in Magic, but damn if she’s not a powerful card to have in your collection.
#7 – Matter Reshaper
(Also Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher)
Special mention goes to the stars of Oath of the Gatewatch; Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher, that despite sharing the same rarity with Matter Reshaper, have long outclassed the humble 3 drop in value solely due to being a strong removal-spell-on-a-stick and a hard-to-answer threat respectively. Matter Reshaper however is a curious little value engine card. Not a splashy and showstopping powerhouse, but a vital piece to transforming a deck of cards into a well-functioning machine. Due to its 3 mana 3/2 status, it is an easily killable creature, that normally would be a feature that makes it unplayable, however with Matter Reshaper, it wants to die. It wants you to set your Aether Vial on three, play it as a surprise blocker or as a consistent source of damage that sooner or later has to be dealt with. Eventually it die and filter through your deck a little. If you’re lucky, you might even ramp with that land sitting on top of your deck, or if RNGesus really favors you that day, get a free Flickerwisp to get more ETB triggers off a Lone Missionary or a Thought-Knot Seer if you are so inclined.
The point is, the card is flexible and so easily included anywhere that wants its larger brethren. And like many on this list, Matter Reshaper is not just bound to its modern application. It is criminal for Matter Reshaper to be the cheapest of the three because with all the mana rocks and utility lands that characterize Commander, Matter Reshaper fits in any commander deck as a card that is almost as good as Solemn Simulacrum. Reality Smasher is a laughable threat compared to the other cards in that format, and Thought-Knot Seer often gets outclassed by other discard creatures and spells that affect more players. I only see it in decks that seek to flicker and exploit the card in some fashion, rather than just a run-of-the-mill commander. Matter Reshaper however is always on the table for at least some consideration; whether as filler or as a key piece. That’s really the point, isn’t it? Matter Reshaper is just really good filler. Where ever the mana allows, it is at least playable, and some day the market will reflect that. Faster or slower depending on how quickly people like Kevin can destroy all the nice things for the rest of us.
#6 – Tireless Tracker
Hey! A value-based green card that easily fits into any commander strategy? Where have I seen that before? Or rather where haven’t I seen that before? In my last article I briefly mentioned an observation I have about how green/white value decks in commander is something that has reached levels of parody with the immense volume of “auto-includes,” but I feel that I should address how I can still harp on this card for being an “auto-include” filler, when I just praised Matter Reshaper not even 100 words ago. The answer boils down to the uniqueness of Matter Reshaper’s ability combined with the universal application of it. In some color combinations, there is no substitution for Matter Reshaper if the effect you are looking for is land-based mana acceleration in some sort of Coiling Oracle/Nissa, Sage Animist fashion, which if you’ve played commander, is a massive edge that green has from the previously mentioned, to Oracle of Mul Daya, to Descendant’s Path. The options are there, and the design space is just sickeningly overused in green.
That said, I actually really like Tireless Tracker. It has three major advantages that make it an immensely fun card to play. 1)Artifact; 2)Tokens 3)Draw a Card. I really like the way that Wizards is starting to make token strategies that don’t revolve around creatures, it started with clues, and now with treasures, and I’m just thrilled to see where they go to next. In modern, this card is quickly proving itself as a mainstay in many Green/Black attrition strategies, including my own Worm Harvest brew. It is a hard sell to not have a card that can replace itself and then some just by playing a single fetchland. Not only that, but if it sticks around, it goes from having Matter Reshaper’s stats to growing into something far more formidable. A $5 minimum is where the true value of this card will be without reprints, but depending on tournament results, the ceiling is to-be-determined.
#5 – Geist of Saint Traft
Do you think Slippery Bogle are good? How about bogles that cost 2 extra mana for 1 extra power and the ability to create an evasive 4 more power on attacks? Well, then get yourself a Runechanter’s Pike and let’s talk about the nightmarish potential that Geist of Saint Traft displayed back in Innistrad. My entire history in Magic has ingrained within me this idea that Geist of Saint Traft is a worthy $25 card. Format warping in its time, a delightful Voltron commander, and still one of the best tempo threats in Jeskai modern decks whenever the format is favorable to the classic Jeskai stratagem. If there was ever a card that taught me the meaning of price memory, it was Geist.
Back when the Duel Deck came out, first off I was disappointed that the design of the deck was not favorable to the strengths that made Geist what it is. Sure they have to balance things out with the opposing deck, but a simple 2x Drown in Sorrow or something in the Zombie deck would had been a great method of dealing with Geist along the hoarde of Spirits that was the focal point of that deck’s theme. It wouldn’t had been too big of a chase card to derail the hype train around Geist or Mindwrack Demon, but it would still be a semi-playable uncommon that also would balance out throwing an Aqueous Form or Runechanter’s Pike or something that would pay homage to the legacy that card offered. Wizards always seems to get the worst interns to design their Duel Decks… And they wonder why they aren’t selling. I’ll tell you now that if they had a little more creativity in their designs and theming, the product would not be discontinued today.
#4 – Goblin Rabblemaster
Speaking of Duel Decks, can I complain for a second about the design of Merfolk vs Goblins? This deck is a host of missed opportunities. A couple of disheveled piles of crap that did not properly mirror one another in a meaningful way. I may have bias here, but I think it comes down to the insistence on them reprinting Master of Waves. They took a Red vs Blue duel deck and put a pro-red merfolk in one deck, but somehow thought they couldn’t slide a Goblin Piledriver in as the response? Instead they cobble together a bunch of bizarre and ungobliny colorless damage spells just so that the silver bullet they gave merfolk also appeared in the goblins as well. Who taught Goblins how to harness Ghostfire? That’s the real question. Kevin and I were talking about how dumb this one is, because I was personally upset that the “safe” investment of devotion cards like Master of Waves was undermined by this duel deck and he mocked the inclusion of Goblin Charbelcher. At least Charbelcher has Goblin in the name! At least it has that.
Ahem~! So yeah. Goblin Rabblemaster was also reprinted in that Duel Deck. That’s cool. Interstingly enough, this card has been so flatlined for so long that this reprinting barely had a scratch on the overall price. It is stabilized around $3 for a card that is easily good enough for $5. Depending on where the supply goes from here, and how well Bushwacker decks and Goblin decks and Skred decks play out, There could be a real demand that eventually outstrips the supply. Rabblemaster is an icon of Tier 2 Red strategies and dethroning the Master will not be an easy feat.
#3 – Etched Champion
Remember the worst packaging and card quality in a Wizards product ever? No, I’m not talking about right now, I’m talking about back when we still had faith in Wizards to make a proper product. I’m talking about Modern Masters 2015. I hate every single card out of that set. No, not the reprints of Tarmogoyf or Karn, Liberated, I mean the cards themselves. The cardboard was terrible. The ink often got scratched, foils curled, and there was some overly glossy texture on that particular set that sticks out in my collection in a way that makes me utterly cringe whenever I do a side by side comparison. Personally I’ve relocated most of my MM2015 cards into a trade binder, or a space shuttle. Let someone else have these crappy reprints, and I’ll have the original.
So why did I go on that little tirade? Well as you can see, Etched Champion was one of those cards in MM2015. Not only was it in the set, it was the featured card on the box. Three years ago, Wizards hyped up the set by taking this established affinity staple that was encroaching $10 and reprinted it into crashing down as low as $3.00. With it being $3.50 for the original at the writing of this article, I’d hedge your bets on the fact that the Silver Soldier is the one you want to invest in. Leave the Golden Turd behind and buy the original Etched Champion. It actually has a noticeable curve in its market price. Goldilocks has flatlined. Turns out the bed wasn’t “just right” afterall.
If you want Etched Champions, I say now is a good time. If you want to invest in affinity for speculation, I am hard-pressed to find another card with as much growth potential as this one does. Time has only further morphed Affinity decks towards leaning on their Etched Champions as a win condition. Resilient and evasive and doesn’t fold to Stony Silence. The only thing I can imagine ruining Etched Champion’s day(within typical Modern parameters) is Walking Ballista. Otherwise what, you got what? Reality Hemorrhage and Pyrite Spellbomb? I think Walking Ballista is just a tad more powerful than those two. Besides, when is the last time you saw that janky sideboard tech?
#2 – Bedlam Reveler
If you know the history of Chandra planeswalker cards, you’ll know that she’s been mocked for not having a playable card until Chandra, Pyromaster and not having a good card until Chandra, Torch of Defiance. Those people clearly do not have the unhealthy obsession with Wheel of Fortune effects like I do. Bedlam Reveler is a love letter to the under appreciated Chandra Ablaze, whose ability to absolutely ruin decks that exploit unlimited hand sizes while giving you a fresh start made it one of the things mentioned on the Command Zone that I could actively support. While the Reveler doesn’t mess with your opponent, it instead comes with a 3/4 Prowess body that can be cast for as cheap as just RR. AND on top of that it gives you the same miniwheel that made Chandra Ablaze one of my favorites, just in case that wasn’t clear enough already.
The fact that Reveler is barely over $1 is crazy to me. This card is Legacy powerful. Of everything on this list, this one is probably the absolute safest for price point and potential return. My personal list, if I were to rearrange everything on here, would have Reveler at #1. No, I do not have my biases showing, stop looking!
#1 – Spell Queller
Oh Kevin… Dear sweet, sweet Kevin. You really need this card to spike, and because of that, I’m certain that there was nobody in your audience surprised to see this card as your #1.
Anyone that’s been following Rogue Deckbuilder on the regs lately probably saw this one coming. Kevin is desperate to see some returns from this card, and the longer it takes the more certain he becomes that day will finally come. But what is it that makes Spell Queller more than just a delusional pipe dream? Honestly? I was actually under the impression that this card would sink lower than its lowest of $4.49 for a long while after its standard hype died down.
Sure it sees play in multiple modern decks, it comes with the blue premium, and is affiliated with the Spirit tribe whose popularity has been rising steadily since the first Innistrad… But I don’t like the card as an investment. At the peak of its standard play, the best it got up to was $15.39. And at that time it had pressure from two competitive formats. On top of that, just as Kevin loves to bring up when investing in Eldritch Moon; there is not a lot of supply out there in comparison to the sets surrounding it. Despite being the best draft format since Dragons of Tarkir… The only other market that could potentially tap into Spell Queller at this point is probably commander.
Somehow EDHRec has it featured in almost 800 different decks on the website, so apparently there is a fair chunk of players that think Spell Queller is playable in the format. I am inclined to say that they are wrong. A hardfast rule I keep for multiplayer commander is the more open-ended the text on a card is, the more playable it will be. This is a different philosophy to how I approach a competitive 60 card deck, where I find the thing that is the absolute best fit for the niche I need filled, and to utilize that card. Spell Queller has that ability. It is a three mana 2/3 Flash Flying that can capture any spell off the stack that you are likely to see in a competitive setting; ie. CMC 4 or less. The opinion on cards like Kitesail Freebooter[/mtg_card, [mtg_card]Tidehollow Sculler, and Spell Queller has shifted drastically in the past couple years as many Magic: the Gathering players are more accepting of the drawbacks of the removal being attached to a vulnerable creature body, in exchange for the highly beneficial tempo advantage they provide. It feels bad though when you have three Quellers each holding a lightning bolt and then your opponent plays the 4th and your entire board just gets wiped out as you watch your wobbly foundation cave in underfoot.
Would I personally invest in Spell Queller? No. This is about Kevin finally making a return on his high risk decisions. I’m not going to risk my investment money in Spell Queller. However his confidence and adamancy does make me weary that I did go ahead and pick up my playset, because yes it does not look like it will be getting any cheaper in the foreseeable future. I would caution others to do the same. That being said, while I am remiss to believe that Spell Queller will spike drastically out of the blue, and that I wouldn’t move in on this card for a quick investment. This does have steady growth, at least doubling back to where it was at once before. If you are willing to risk Wizards not producing a meaningful reprint of this card in that time, then you may as well join the hype that the guy I write for is drumming up. Cards that see play always rise in value over time. Cards that see a lot of play are targets for potential reprints. If you like those odds, that’s on you, boo. I’m just going to sulk over here with my Master of Waves and wait for Worm Harvest to attract pro attention.
And that brings us to a close to another Top 10 response article here on RogueDeckbuilder.com Feel free to follow me on Twitter @fatalaryia and message me about how I did this time around. There is more to come, at least some of it will be more than just responding to things that Kevin does. But I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here and that I was able to contribute something meaningful to your MtG experience.