Prophecy... the set is the butt of jokes about worthless sets. It's like all the good cards were just used up in the previous sets and this is the chaff we have left. However, there's money to be made in the unlikeliest of places, including Prophecy. This article will be a little longer than you think, since some of the Prophecy foils can catch big dollars. Let's start looking!
editor's note: yes, we realize that Nemesis hasn't been covered yet. Doug's mind was so clouded with the mediocrity of Prophecy that he submitted this one first. Expect the better follow-on set next week!
Our first card is, perhaps, the most puzzling to me. The Avatar has been played in zero real decks. It looks like a dragon, behaves like one, but doesn't even have the correct type line! My best guess is that Dragon collectors still want to have it. Since it's not patently awful as far as Dragons go, and since it was only printed in PR, it commands a bit of a value. It's good to know about because these are the kinds of cards you can scoop up as throw-ins or shark from dealer boxes if you're fortunate enough to find them. Just don't expect to trade them off easily!
The only reason I mention this clunker is that some people apparently really want it in foil (and also get down to 3 life often enough to need it).
$12.00 (with the caveat that it only appeared in two Ebay auctions)
The Avatar is great for casual players: easy to understand, great in multiplayer, and cool rk post art. It's sometimes outclassed by Visara the Dreadful, but it still reigns for fans. Though it's been reprinted in Time Spiral, the Avatar retains a bit of its value. However, don't expect the $15 tag it used to command. They are tradeable to EDH players and casual crowds, and you'll find ready buyers online.
The Avatar seems to hold a special place for a lot of players; it was the first of its kind to offer truly unbridled creature-kill, and it's a combat monster to boot. It's no wonder folks love it.
Though Plague Wind has been reprinted, the PR printing remains the only black-bordered copy. People love their black sweeper spells in Commander (see Decree of Pain's price) and this is a superb one. In the big-mana format, playing the Wind isn't a challenge, and the advantage of clearing away opposing creatures for an alpha-strike is pretty good.
Again, this card is also driven by casual players. Prophecy's notable Contructed cards were things like Chimeric Idol and... um, Ribbon Snake, and those cards don't sit well outside of that specific Standard environment. Rhystic Study is the best of the Rhystic cycle, which was basically “hope your opponent taps out all the time or your cards are blank.” This card, reminiscent of Mystic Remora, lets you draw unfair piles of cards early in the game, and any other time an opponent would forget to pay for it.
$1.00, about $15.00 in foil
We've gone through the “people love Squirrels” phenomenon before, and this guy is a fan favorite. Though it isn't as good as Deranged Hermit, it does serve as a repeated Squirrel factory (and can pump them, too). What I find really interesting about it is that the foils have almost no markup over the regular copies, which leads me to believe that Squirrel fans don't like foils. I don't know that you can move this quickly, but there are people who want them.
So, in short, I apologize that Prophecy was such an awful set that most of its money rares could be used as coasters to no ill effect. The mechanics were pretty flawed; I get that they wanted lands to matter, but when it sits in the same block as Rishadan Port, you won't get people trimming spare lands often. If they wanted things to matter more, they could have riffed on the kind of things that Dragonspeaker Shaman and Temple of the False God relate to. They could have devoted the block to it. They could have put in lands that matter in Prophecy. As it is, the set is mainly oriented to making use of a resource that isn't easily returned and that people don't pack surplus of in their decks. Then they go and make a card like Troubled Healer to ruin limited.
I promise, readers, that next week will be Nemesis and we'll have more to talk about.