Insider: The Hidden Gems of Magic 2012

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Digging through spoiled sets for under-the-radar cards has become something of a ritual for me, and Magic 2012 definitely has some cards that fit the bill. Today I’m going to find some potentially sweet, but currently under hyped, cards from M12 that offer a ton of upside to the savvy trader who’s stocking them.

To clarify that statement, there is a huge amount of cards good traders carry around that offer nearly pure upside, either because they’re inexpensive but in-demand, or because they represent a niche. Cards like Go for the Throat or Archive Trap are not powerhouses and certainly don’t carry a hefty price tag, but you can easily trade these for two or three times what they’re worth if you find the right trade partner.

In recent years, this includes thing like Ball Lightning and Honor of the Pure. Angels and mill cards also fit the bill. Check out the pricetag on Mind Funeral if you don’t believe me.

While some of the cards I’m going to highlight may see substantial price increases after the initial release, it’s more of a list of cards I think offer you a great chance to trade up than a list of the best investments price-wise. Finding the right audience for Swiftfoot Boots will score you a sweet trade, even if the card’s price doesn’t go insane.

With that in mind, let’s begin.

Swiftfoot Boots

These are preselling at $3 on SCG, a price that will likely be correct in a few years, but you should be able to pick these up at a dollar or so in trades at the prerelease. This neo-Lightning Greaves is not as amazing in Commander due to actually having an equip cost, but it’s still a very good card in (at least) that format and chances are you’re going to find players who need one for each of their Commander decks.

Archon of Justice

Since the original is from Eventide, a set that was severely under-opened, this guy could hold down a better price than most reprints. It has seen a small amount of Constructed play, but the Archon really shines in casual and Commander formats where his versatility shines through.

Oblivion Ring

A good trader can never have too many O-rings. The huge amount of versatility makes this card a star in every format it’s legal in. Great trade sweetener to keep on hand.

Timely Reinforcements

If the Red decks are as good as expected post-M12, then this card could possibly see solid sideboard play alongside Kor Firewalker. It offers a non-trivial amount of lifegain and gives you enough tokens to trade with a Goblin Guide or Ember Hauler, netting you a virtual two-for-one (if you believe six life is worth a card from the Red deck).

In metas dominated by red, this can be great trade bait at your local FNM.

Jaces Archivist

Pick these up at a dollar in trading if you can, because I think it will trade easily and the possibility exists for it to be broken, especially with the influx of Graveyard-based cards Innistrad will bring.

Lord of the Unreal

I don’t think there’s going to be a huge demand for this card, and Illusions are obviously not the most popular tribe ever. That said, someone at your local shop is going to make an Illusions deck, and you stand to profit by having the Lords he needs.

*Non-financial aside*

I want to call out Wizards for really punting the design of this card. I get that they want to show off Hexproof and all, but Hexproof is a terrible nonbo (that is, NOT a combo) with Illusions.

From what I understand about the “casual player” Wizards tries to design for, there are plenty of people who will try to Giant Growth their Hexproofed Illusions. If they're playing with the other Illusions from M12, I don’t think they’ll be very happy when they find out that it actually kills their creatures. What’s wrong with regular old Shroud?

*End aside*

Phantasmal Image

Here’s a card I think is genuinely underpriced. It’s got such a powerful effect that I think the drawback is worth it, especially when you consider that most of the things in Standard that target it (outside of Inferno Titan) would kill it anyway. I can definitely see this finding a home in a Bant Birthing Pod deck.


This card is insane, and is likely only going to get better in a graveyard-centric Standard after the release of Innistrad. Pick it up from people who dismiss it as an Uncommon.

Vengeful Pharaoh

Speaking of cards that combo with Smallpox, this is actually quite the engine when used with Smallpox. I just see too many ways for this card to be good in the next year to not pick them up now for a dollar.

Goblin Grenade

Pick these up from the “it’s only an uncommon” crowd. Goblins is going to be a real deck and this card is insane in it.

Hunter's Insight

Another Uncommon that provides an insane amount of value with Hexproof creatures. Pick these up if you can, because they will either rise in price in the next year or at the very least be easily tradable.

Quicksilver Amulet

Another casual/EDH favorite. These shouldn’t be too difficult to pick up as bulk rares and trade them off for great value down the road.

Solemn Simulacrum

Unfortunately you’re unlikely to find many people undervaluing this card, but after the initial price drop this is going to easily hold its value over time. Not only is it likely going to be very playable in Standard (at least in Pod decks), but it’s obviously a casual and EDH favorite.

Buried Ruin

I wouldn’t go crazy trying to get these, but make sure to keep any you pull in your binder, as there’s a ton of different decks and formats where these will be good trade bait.

We should have the full spoiler by this time next week, and I’ll update then if there are any more cards fit for this list. Until then, keep these cards in mind when you’re trying to fill in gaps in your trades at the prerelease. All these cards give you the potential to turn them into solid trade-ups.

Prediction Tracker

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I’ll be back next week with a progress report on the Prediction Tracker to date and hopefully some more saucy new cards to look for at the Prerelease.


Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

2 thoughts on “Insider: The Hidden Gems of Magic 2012

  1. Just a small note, I’ve seen Jace Beleren misspelled quite often on this site as Jace Beleran, like in the Prediction Tracker in this article.

    I think you should maybe have added some detail on why the Giant Growth kills the Illusion (if you are referring to those that get sacced when targetted, only 4 exist, out of 68 illusions in magic, not counting the changelings). Also, do you realize Quicksilver Amulet is not a new card and therefore can’t really be an EDH card in the making? (Because it pretty much already is one).

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