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Insider: Digging up the Plants

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Knight of the Reliquary.

Stoneforge Mystic.

One turned out to be one of the best three-drops ever printed, and the other turned out to be so good it had to be banned in two formats and is still warping another.

What did both have in common?

Besides both having been great investment opportunities, they share another thing in common – both were plants for their respective “natural” blocks. In Knight’s case that was Zendikar, with its Landfall and fetchlands. For Mystic, it was obviously Swords and Batterskull, and we all know how that one turned out.

With Innistrad previews starting next week (and I am seriously psyched for this block), now seems like the perfect time to look at the “plants” from Scars block that will find a home among Innistrad’s denizens, and will hopefully present us with a good investment opportunity.

Let’s get right into it.

*Spoiler Alert*

For reference, here’s what we know about Innistrad. There will be a heavy graveyard theme, with Flashback confirmed as a returning mechanic. The set will have tribal components, and there’s some sort of Day/Night mechanic going on that was spoiled on Thursday (but not fully so).

So here’s what we’re looking for while searching through Mirrodin and M12. I’m going to focus on Rares and Mythics, unless there’s a particular Common or Uncommon that seems worth mentioning.

-       Graveyard-based cards

-       Tribal-based cards

-       Cards that interact favorably with a full graveyard

-       Discard outlets

-       Sacrifice outlets

With that established, let’s dig in.

Scars of Mirrodin

Geth, Lord of the Vault

Being 6 mana, the main question is whether or not Geth competes with Grave Titan. Instinct says no, since it’s too small to tangle with Titans and requires additional mana to activate, meaning you can’t do so the turn it comes out.

That said, once it gets going, Geth is the real deal. I don’t think there’s much competitive potential here, but if he did take off, he would move quickly, being a Mythic. At near-bulk Mythic status at this point, there’s no harm in picking some up as throw-ins in trades.

Verdict: Watch, pick up as throw-in

Memoricide

The fact that this handles problematic cards in graveyards as well as the hand and library adds a level of usefulness in the presumed Innistrad environment that this card doesn’t normally carry. That said, it’s never going to be more than a sideboard card, so I wouldn’t go out of your way to pick these up other than as throw-ins.

Verdict: Watch, pick up as throw-ins

Necrotic Ooze

Having three toughness is going to mean a lot more once Lightning Bolt rotates, so Ooze could actually see some play if the pieces are there for him. He’s more likely to show up in a combo deck or a Conley Woods deck than he is a “typical” deck. Not a ton to love here, as four mana really is a lot, but there’s no reason not to pick some up at current super-cheap prices.

I’m not telling you to trade down for a pile of Oozes, but we all have those trades where we’re looking for something cheap to even it out. These are the types of trades I like to pick up speculative or casual cards like Archive Trap, and these are the trades I suggest getting Oozes in.

Verdict: Watch, target in trades

Kuldotha Forgemaster

Once the decks that naturally prey on Tezzeret/Forgemaster builds (Valakut, Blade) rotate along with Into the Roil, I think Forgemaster into One Shot the Robot has a chance to regain some viability, and Forgemaster already interacts favorably with cards like Ichor Wellspring. As both a sac outlet and a combo finisher, Forgemaster will likely see an uptick in play.

Nothing insane likely to happen here pricewise, as he still dies to Dismember, but a safe card to move on.

Verdict: Watch, target in trades

Mimic Vat

Yup, this seems pretty insane both in and against sacrifice-based decks. Vat has already seen Standard play, and when the format becomes less powerful with the loss of four sets, slower card-advantage engines like Vat get a chance to shine. I don’t know if Birthing Pod decks have room for Vat post-rotation (snap-guess is no), but the card provides enough advantage to merit testing, and that gets it onto our watch list.

Verdict: Watch, target in trades

Molten-Tail Masticore

The Masticore has been such a trap so far, as he seems so good in a vacuum, but underperforms in real games. The Discard and Exile clauses work against each other here, which makes the card an awkward choice in decks trying to use him as a discard outlet. I think he’ll tick up in playability immediately post-rotation due to sheer power level, but I don’t think he’ll stay there. Have to make the note that he’s a Mythic, which can do crazy things to prices in a hurry.

Verdict: Watch, pick up as throw-ins.

Sword of Body and Mind

There’s a few things happening here. Obviously milling your opponent is bad if they have a graveyard-based deck, but making Wolves could actually be relevant since Werewolves are being pushed in Innistrad. It’s criminally low-priced for a Sword, so I’m pretty sure it’s time to buy in here. Even if it doesn’t make waves in Standard, it’s price is only going to increase over time, since it actually sees more play in Legacy than either of the other two new Swords.

Verdict: Buy

Mirrodin Besieged

Gruesome Encore

Might actually have an application, since getting rid of something like a Vengeful Pharaoh for three mana plus value might actually become relevant.

Glissa, the Traitor

I don’t know what to think about Glissa. Elves doesn’t lose much after rotation, and if there’s a way to reliably splash Black into the deck, she certainly does some powerful things. I don’t think there’s much here, and being the prerelease promo hurts her cause, but she’s still a Mythic so it’s worth mentioning.

Verdict: Watch

Bonehoard

As the format presumably slows down a little after rotation, a graveyard-based deck gets a lot of work out of Bonehoard. Pretty cheap to pick up, and not much to lose here.

Verdict: Watch, pick up as throw-ins

Gruesome Encore

Joking.

New Phyrexia

Chancellor of the Spires

There will have to be some serious degeneracy for this to be a card, but it’s a third-set rare, so any effect on its price will be more pronounced.

Verdict: Watch

Surgical Extraction

Like Memoricide, this functions primary as a sideboard card, and usually a fairly mediocre one at that. With a shifting focus to the graveyard, this could actually become a fairly important sideboard card. On another note, I never have any trouble trading these off at a high price, casual players seem to love this effect.

Verdict: Watch, target in trades

Birthing Pod

Not exactly a surprise here, as the price on Pod has slowly been creeping up for a while (and it’s been on the Prediction Tracker for longer!). While Pod decks lose some bullets with Zendikar rotating, they stand to gain more from Innistrad by sacking creatures that enjoy being in the graveyard. On a related note, I expect Bant Pod to take over as the premiere Pod strategy post-rotation, and I think it’s a real player. This means pick up the third-set Mythic in every Bant Pod deck – Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite.

Verdict: Buy

Phyrexia's Core

Easy call here with no downside. Pick them up for free or from draft leftovers, and it’s possible you can move these to a dealer at $.50 to a dollar at the right event next year.

Verdict: Watch, pick up as throw-ins

Magic 2012

Jace, Memory Adept

Planeswalker from what I gather has been an unopened core set (compared to M10 and M11), and figures to be playable post-rotation. Also, check out the price of Glimpse the Unthinkable, then check Jace’s second ability. His price is too high to make me want to buy in, but there’s no reason not to trade for these as the price continues to come down.

Verdict: Watch, target in trades

Jace's Archivist

Another powerful effect that is likely too slow for Standard but could see play in a combo deck of some nature. There are lots of possibilities with this card, and people seem to love the effect regardless of its playability, so there’s not a ton of risk here.

Verdict: Watch, pick up as throw-ins

Lord of the Unreal

Don’t know how relevant this will be to Innistrad, but what currently under-the-radar deck loses basically nothing after rotation? Illusions. As I talked about when the card was first spoiled, you won’t have trouble moving these even if they don’t see a huge jump in price.

Verdict: Buy

Phantasmal Image

This guy is also insane, and fits into basically anything, but especially tribal decks where he’s copying Lords. The price is a bit high for me to suggest buying in hard, but certainly trade heavily for this guy.

Verdict: Target in trades

Visions of Beyond

This card started out high on speculation, and has since come back down to Earth. To me, that means it’s time to move on it. To me, this is the closest thing we have to the “obvious plant” of Knight and Mystic. I picked up Knights before the price jump, but didn’t do the same with Mystics. I don’t think this will be as good as Mystic, but I’m not making the same mistake twice. Get these in trade now and I don’t see you losing money on this later.

Verdict: Target in trades

Cemetary Reaper

Kelly’s been suggesting this card for a while, but I’m not sure I’m on board. It’s a reprint, the casting cost isn’t ideal, and it’s really expensive to activate and everything it does is negated by a Wrath. If enough playable Zombies are printed I’ll reconsider, but for now I’m not on board. I’m not going to suggest actually selling them, since they aren’t worth anything right now, but I’m definitely selling the card in the metaphorical sense regarding its Constructed applications.

Verdict: Watch

Smallpox

I’m not sure what it takes to make this card good enough if Bloodghast and Grim Discovery didn’t get the job done. The rotation of Squadron Hawk will probably help, though.

Verdict: Watch

Vengeful Pharaoh

A very close second to Visions for “most obvious plant.” I think the dead mummy is going to find a home somewhere, due to how powerful his effect is. It also trades with Titans and comes back to talk about it again. It’s a good EDH card to boot, and casual players eat these up. I’ve been picking these up aggressively.

Verdict: Buy

Adaptive Automaton

A very popular casual card, as we said at the beginning of M12. With the addition of tribal synergies to Innistrad, he might even turn out to be more than that. Due to the ease of moving this guy, I’m looking to pick him up in trades and hold onto a few.

Verdict: Target in trades

Buried Ruin

Another easy call. Not only will this play nice with Graveyard themes, it also fills the “Colorless Land” void left by the rotation of Tectonic Edge. You’ll see this as a 1 or 2-of popping up alongside Inkmoth Nexus in the future.

Verdict: Watch, pick up as throw-ins

Top 5 “plant” cards to target:

5. Lord of the Unreal

4. Surgical Extraction

3. Phantasmal Image

2. Vengeful Pharaoh

1. Visions of Beyond

That’s all I’ve got for this week. Make sure to let me know if I missed anything you think should be on this list. I’m fairly confident that there is a breakout card or two somewhere on this list, and as we get more information on Innistrad we’ll find out more about what it might be. Moving fast on this is going to net you a profit, so stay on top of prices as spoilers begin rolling out.

Thanks,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

5 thoughts on “Insider: Digging up the Plants

  1. Slag Fiend is one I have been accumulating on MTGO; a junk rare I use to even out my bot purchases. There are lots here I hadn't thought of, great work!

  2. The profit margin is different in that people will randomly completely undervalue foils. Other than the Mythics, I don't love going for foils, as Standard-only foils are generally pretty weak since so few people can foil out standard decks. Eternal and casual formats where card slots change less often are the place to pick up foil playables.

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