The last, and final, chapter of my Innistrad review has finally arrived. Thanks for sticking with me along the ride. I do have to provide you some full disclosure: Green is my favorite color. It has always been, and always will be, so some of my comments in today’s review may be somewhat biased. I always perceive Green cards being more powerful than they actually are. It’s a weakness of mine, and at times I think I need to go to some sort of support group. Does anyone else feel this way or am I alone in this mad world of Magic that we live in?
Well enough about Green and onto me. If you haven’t seen the Twitter contest I am having, check out my last article here. I will be giving away a foil Rhys the Redeemed or other possible prizes if I make it to 100 followers before my friend @tylerthefro makes it to 100. Check it out and don’t forget to follow us!
After the obligatory plug and my Green obsession confession, let’s get onto what you have been waiting for: hyperbole about Green for the next couple of pages!
This is the closest that Green has ever had to a real piece of playable removal. Two casting cost removal is sort of the borderline that divides [card Terror]format staples[/card] and [card Dark Banishing]role players[/card]. I was excited when Winged Coatl came out, but was disappointed in it's performance. Two colors was one reason, but the other reason really was its converted casting cost. With the decrease in quality of the land based color fixing the format now has, I think mono-colored decks may have a leg up in this meta due to their natural consistency. If a competitive mono-Green deck does actually exist, Ambush Viper will most certainly be a key part to that deck. There have been rumblings that this is playable in older formats as well so to hedge my bets I will be grabbing a foil set off of eBay once the preorder dust settles.
That said, it really shouldn't be played in Commander, at least not widely. I could really only see it played in a mono-Green deck as it fits a whole in that archetype so well.
Llanowar Elves is an eternally playable card. This incarnation of the original is no different. The major difference of this card is not the color it produces; it is the card’s creature type. Not being an Elf is a big difference as this will not be showing up in any Elf Ball decks, or other type of Elf combo decks in any format. It's a shame because White is often splashed in Elf decks to give them access to Ranger of Eos and Burrenton Forge-Tender. However, it will get the nod in any deck that needs white mana more than green. It could go hand in hand with Noble Heirarch, acting as an extra few Heirarchs if a deck really needs the white. It is a solid card but nothing too spectacular. Because it is not an Elf, I doubt there will be any reason to get foils of this card. I would not set my sights on them unless you find them lying around, or get them as a throw in with no other options available.
I am a little surprised that no one is talking about this card. I don't want to compare it to Tarmogoyf but in the right deck it can play exactly like or better than Mr. Goyf. I know that it only counts creatures in your graveyard, but if your deck is built properly this is an easy 3/3 or more creature. That already decent deal for 2 mana. I think foils of this will be decent to hunt down as it is pretty good in Commander and if it makes a splash in any other format you should double up your value easily.
Creeping Mold is one of my favorite cards of all time, and Bramblecrush is an almost strictly better version. Foils are going to be a huge pickup from players who have no idea of the value of Commander. I heard they sold out on SCG for $2.99 and I wish I bought them all out at that price. I think it's an easy $5 card, and could even go up to $10 due to how popular it will be. I think it could actually be playable in Standard in small numbers as a good answer to Planeswalkers for Green.
This is another awesome Commander card that you should look for in a foil. It is almost like a better or at least more playable Praetor's Counsel. It could also be good in any deck with a commander and/or creatures that have power and toughness equal to the number of cards in your hand. There have also been rumblings of this card being a potential card in a combo deck full of artifact creatures and Heartless Summoning. I have my doubts for that particular deck, but all it needs is a way to turn playing all these creatures for free into profit and it can go from a fun combo to a format defining combo.
Daybreak Ranger // Nightfall Predator
I love the fight mechanic. Even though for this specific card you need Red to help along in the fight, the fact that they have key worded it means it will be showing up on more cards. It has been a big wish for a lot of Green mages that this mechanic show up more often as it is something very flavorful for Green to gain in its section of the color pie. With Green specializing in fighting, it now has more of a presence on the board and now does not have to depend on overrunning opponents with multiple creatures while walking into sweeper effects. Will this card see play in any format? Most likely not, but it is an amazing card in Limited.
Elder of Laurels
I doubt this will see any play in Standard, but I think it could work in Commander. It is an excellent late game card to push through damage in stalled game states. Another great use for this card would be getting 21 damage in with your commander for the win. However, with only Commander backing this card, it is pretty much a bulk rare. Only foils of this card will even be remotely worthy of placing in a trade binder.
Essence of the Wild
Another card that could see play in a mono-Green deck. Seems like a theme here and hopefully it actually becomes a deck. Turning all your late game mana birds or elves into 6/6 fatties seems decent. It’s almost like a Rampaging Baloths, but for creatures. Not sure if this card really deserves a spot in this dreamy mono-Green deck ,but I'd like to think it could fit in one at least to top out it's curve. This will be a bulk Mythic, but the casual players will love it. Know your customer, and don’t lose value trading this to the wrong player.
Full Moon's Rise
For the life of me I don't know why this didn't have any effect on the transformation of your Werewolves. Maybe it would have been too powerful, but I'm pretty sure the Werewolf tribe in its current state is not overpowered. Flavor wise it's just such a huge miss. The card itself is decent but unexciting until Werewolves becomes a tier 1 strategy.
Garruk Relentless // Garruk, the Veil-Cursed
Garruk is my friend. We've been buddies for a few years now. This incarnation of my friend is a great one. He is splashable, and at worst he gives you a creature every turn with the option of killing one. I don't think he is format defining, but there is no reason why he won't show up in some sort of deck. Add in his flipped side and it's basically all gravy. Tutoring, removal, and a finisher are all ingredients to this wonderful Black-Green sauce.
I do think he is valued a little high, but I see him hovering between $20-$30. I could be biased because well, he's my friend. Foils will be highly sought after because of the double faced card aspect of the card. Like I said in part 1, DFC foils will all be worth at least a little bit just because they are DFC foils.
I really like the idea of playing this Garruk in Commander. Constant stream of creatures and a tutoring powerhouse are going to make him a staple in most decks. The only limiting factor for his worth is what decks he can be played in: those with Black and Green.
I would call this a bulk rare, but playable in Commander in less competitive groups. Slimes are a creature type that some people love, like Tom from Monday Night Magic. Foils of this are the only version I would bother even considering hunting down.
The Human deck does look like it could be possible in some form. Especially when you look at what other [card Grim Lavamancer]creatures[/card] are Human from other sets. They have several conditional lords to help out their tribe but, as I said in the first part, this does not solve their weakness to Day of Judgment. Hopefully the tribe gets something to combat sweepers otherwise we will hear zero from this tribe in a few weeks.
This is a good creature to consider for Pod decks. I was very sad to see Obstinate Baloth not reprinted in Magic 2012 because it was an integral part to the Pod puzzle. It gave the deck legs versus aggro decks and at least made the Red match up bearable. It allowed you to go aggro early if needed, and was all-around exactly what the deck needed as a second option to Vengevine.
When I played Pod this past season, I was very aggressive with my Acidic Slimes so I wouldn’t mind having another 5-drop to go along with Acidic Slime as I found I quickly ran out of 5-drops. Financially I doubt this creature will do anything in any other format or deck, but it should not be thrown away like some other useless uncommons.
I think this card is unplayable in Constructed, but some may try. To me it seems like a poor version of Hero of Bladehold, and even Hero of Bladehold isn’t the most powerful card. I would call it more of a role player, and I think at almost any time I would rather play Acidic Slime as a 5-drop in any deck that can cast either card. If the token archetype does end up being good this card goes from unplayable to a role player in that deck so just keep an eye out on that archetype and buy them up from reputable dealers once you see it taking down SCG Opens.
Make a Wish
I think if you wanted this effect for Commander Restock is better because you actually have control of what you get. Graveyards in Commander could get full very fast. I'd stay away from this one. There are so many other options that green offers that you will never find a reason to play this card in Commander other than card availability.
Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha
This is the Prerelease promo, and strangely this time it is a Rare. Both of these factors will severely decrease the potential price ceiling of this card. Even if it becomes a playable card, and I think it has a lot of potential as a card, it will never be worth more than a couple of bucks. Even though it is a Werewolf, surprisingly it's best in a Human deck. It is a solid lord for Humans that can turn into a wolf-making Werewolf in a pinch. The only version of this you should keep your eyes open for is the regular non-Prerelease foil. It is the only version of this card that will be worth trying to make a buck off of.
This is a green version of Karmic Guide for Commander. It isn't as good, it costs more, and it is a random reanimation. However, having something like a Scavenging Ooze to control your graveyard could make it extremely playable. It's casting cost is pretty high, but for long multiplayer Commander games this creature would be a fun way to possibly break the stalemate.
I would get my foil playset of these just in case a real transform deck appears. I don't say a Werewolf deck specifically because it actually transforms all Humans. This could be very relevant depending on what other Human Transform cards end up getting printed. It's also a good hedge to get a foil playset, because if Werewolves end up being a good deck this will be a key component to the deck. It can also be used as a regular fog effect in you guessed it, Turbo Fog.
I have a sick affinity for Fog decks. It's not as bad as my affinity for the color Green but it is close. I do understand that there have really been zero Fog decks that were actually good so at least I acknowledge that it is an unreasonable obsession. However, I will admit that they are good at attacking very specific formats. Will this Standard season come to a point where Turbo Fog is the number one feared deck? Only time will tell, but I am sure Moonmist along with Fog will be part of that deck. Fog, or not the best part of this card is you get to yell "Transform and roll out" when playing it.
Even though this is half of a Doubling Season, it is still half of an amazing casual card. It is arguably the better half as well as it is the half that affects the board in a more important way. At first I estimate it will hover around $1-$3. But once Innistrad stops being drafted, around the Magic 2013 release, it will start to slowly climb. I see this capped at around $8-$10 when all is said and done. It's a long wait for it to get to that point but the initial investment is so small that I dont think it's a bad play. I bet you if you try hard enough you could find playsets on eBay for less than 50 cents each. Foils for this on the other hand are what the real casual junkies will be looking for. It is currently $7.99 on SCG. I can see it dropping slightly from that price, maybe to $4.99 but after that this foil could easily go up over $10. I wouldn't invest on these for the long haul because the initial investment will be big and the gains won't be as big, but if you have access to a good foil playerbase then I could understand an argument to go all in on them.
Combos with Phyrexian Obliterator aside, this card is only a little of what Green wanted in removal. Ambush Viper is better in my opinion just for the fact that it has flash. With Prey Upon, you can't really be sneaky in the combat phase. White should still be best at combat tricks, but I think Green and Red should be on par in that aspect of Magic.
Could this be a Commander hit? I am not sure but I think it is a valid addition in some decks. Nothing too flashy but flying creatures do become a problem late game most of the time, and this seems like a perfect solution.
This is the other 'goyf of the set. The Trample is actually very relevant and it also dumps creatures in the bin on its own. I don’t like it as much as Boneyard Wurm but I don't hate it either. I am pretty sure the one mana difference makes Splinterfight better but at the moment, pricewise Boneyard Wurm has a better shot at making you money. If there really is a self-mill strategy I think Splinterfright will be a vital part of it. It will also be a pretty decent Commander beater, but in the end it is still just a beater. I am not in a hurry to get these but I am keeping my eye on them.
Tree of Redemption
This is one of my favorite cards of the set. I don't think it is overly powerful or anything like that. I think it's just such a unique card. and an amazing twist on how to do lifegain. The one thing that I do not like about it is if you run it in a Pod deck you can't go up the chain twice in one turn without losing out on its value as a life gain card. I am not sure if this is even that important but it is something to think about. It is currently extremely undervalued at $4 for a Mythic that may see play. I would pick these up all day long if you can find them at that price, as that is basically the lowest I see it going. It’s probably not worth the trouble in Commander unless you have a way to give your guys near infinite toughness, but I am sure there will be someone crazy enough to attempt it.
A Green version of Graveyard Digger is going to see as much play as Graveyard Digger has: only on the tables on draft nights around the world. I doubt there is any reason to run this anything, even Commander. There are so many better options in Commander that this card is easily going to be cut for something better.
Wreath of Geists
Insert the obligitary "get foils for Uril, the Miststalker decks" here. Could see play in a hexproof deck if it exists, but if all of your guys have hexproof your graveyard really shouldn’t be filled with creatures right? Yeah, erase that last thought from the record.
For most sets this section is really the Commander section, and Innistrad does not disappoint.
This card got everyone excited because of its awesome flavor, but it actually may be good as well. I could see it making its mark on Standard if the metagame is right. It is a good out to legendary creatures as well as decks that rely on only a few to win their matches. Isn't this amazing in Control matchups? I also see this as a huge card in Commander and it’s $3.99 for the foil on SCG at the moment. I see this at $5-$8 in foil down the line. Depending on whom you trade with, what you play, and how much you want to sit on cards, this could be a possible pick up for your portfolio.
Geist of Saint Traft
This is probably the most debated card of the set. Some people think it is utter trash while others think it is a $15+ card. While I don’t think it will be worth over $15 I do think it is a good card. It fits right into almost any type of UW deck that exists at the moment. I think people are underestimating Hexproof and over estimating that this creature dies to clones and sweepers. It is hard enough getting a regular spell through versus a control deck. Trying to get something through that is going to kill their win condition is even harder. I see this guy hovering around the $10 mark as I don't think it will be played in huge multiples or in huge amounts of decks.
Watch out for Angelic Destiny though, as that is the best card to pick up if you think Geist is going to be a format defining card. As for Commander, do I even have to point it out? UW Voltron anyone? Seems like a perfect fit. Watch out for insanely priced foils. The price is already high, and it may even go higher. If you want it for Commander you might as well grab one now. If it blows up in Standard the foil may go higher, if not I think it will stay around its current price anyways. The people who think this card is trash will value the foil low so use this to your advantage. For Commander alone this foil should be worth $10-$15.
All the makings of a cool commander. It has two interesting mechanics both very helpful in Commander. A free sac outlet is always welcome as well as repeatable removal. Add on the growing portion of both abilities and you have a very good card. Get him in foil if he drops to $5 as that's probably close to the bottom of his price scale.
Odd picture aside (look at "her" "knee" and both of "her" feet), Olivia is an amazing commander. She offers so much flexibility. She can kill creatures, she can steal creatures and she can make herself larger. The activation costs of her abilities are fair, and neither requires a tap to activate. She also only costs four mana! On top of all that she flies so you can possibly get commander kills with her depending on how much you pump her using her Red ability. She is an all around amazing card for Commander and because she is costed so aggressively I think there is a chance she can show up in Standard as well. She will probably drop in price for the first while but I could see her creep back up to the $10 range eventually. Her foil price could be closer to the $20 range if she actually shows up in Standard. Do not let this creature sneak out of your collections without getting a premium price for her.
Is this card only a limited card or will it be the biggest underdog story of this Standard? I won’t reveal it yet but follow me on twitter where I will hopefully talk about how this card helps me take down FNMs in the next few weeks.
Grimoire of the Dead
Someone will put this in their Commander Proliferate deck. Otherwise, I think this is too slow to do anything important. Get foils only if you can get them cheap.
In the right deck, Runechanter’s Pike could be a kill condition. A bunch of ramp, a bunch of card draw, and you pretty much have a huge reusable Howl from Beyond. Still a bulk rare, but don’t just throw these away.
This card seems like a strictly limited card to the untrained eye, but this is actually very playable in Commander. Snap pick up any foils of this as throw ins. They are worth at least a few quarters.
All of these are very easy to predict price wise. I think they will hover from $4-$8 in their existence while Innistrad is drafted as triple INN. Their prices will go up and down within that range depending on which is most played at that point in time. If one sees zero play the bottom of the price scale is about $2 but it really has to see no play whatsoever to get to that point. After that they will slowly start to creep up in price as supply starts to dry up. Once Magic 2013 comes out they could all be $6+. I don’t see them going over $10 as they are not that good but they are solid role player lands that fill the void when there are no other options. They are also playable in Commander so foils are a safe bet to get. I am confident these will eventually be reprinted in a core set with subtle enemy color themes. I just hope Shocklands get reprinted before then.
In my earlier articles I doubted the tokens archetype, but as more brewers are getting actual time testing with the cards it seems I may have been wrong. If the token deck does become a big part of the metagame, Gavony Township with be a very popular place. It is not a 4-of because of the colourless mana it produces but any number less than that could be possible. Being a key card in a single archetype will probably set this card around $3.
It is also very playable in Commander and should keep a similar price till the end of time. When everything settles after the preorder madness and the meta stabilizes, foils could range anywhere between $6 and $10. It all depends on how good the Standard deck is. If it sees no Standard play Commander can sustain a $5 price tag on this foil.
I love this reprint because I think every format should have a similar effect to this. This also means Tectonic Edge could come back one day and I loved my double activations of Tectonic Edge while they are at 4 lands much more than the next person. This also combos very well with Leonin Arbiter. I personally have bought a bunch of Arbiters just in case. It’s a very low risk investment that could easily double my money or more. I would stay away from getting foil. It is bad in the two formats that mainly dictate the price of foils, Commander and Legacy.
Kessig Wolf Run
Quiet Speculation’s preview card! I have high hopes in this card. It gives Primeval Titan something worthwhile to tutor up,and give me hope in the mono-Green deck even more. It is also really great in Commander, so I see this card staying around $2 in regular and about $4 for its foil. I don’t know how big of a component it will be in any future Werewolf decks but either way that will only help its price.
This is by far the best of the cycle. It would have been even better with Squadron Hawks filling your graveyard. I am sure there will be many Snapcaster Mage’s exiled with this card. $4-$6 is where I put this at as it will show up in low numbers because control decks really need their colours to be right even late game. Commander alone could sustain this card at $4. Foils will be where the real money is the Moorland Haunt. 1/1's seem like they are so unimportant ,but in Commander there are so [card Skullclamp]many[/card] [card Rhys, the Redeemed]cards[/card] [card Glorious Anthem]you[/card] can use to get [card Umezawa’s Jitte]more[/card] [card Sword of Fire and Ice]value[/card] out of them. Because it will be known as a good card for Standard it may be hard to get one of these in foil at a good price but if you see one pick it up. They are not going below $10.
Is this a sleeper card? Some seem to think so but I don’t have much faith in it. It costs too much and mills too slow to do much good in my opinion. Hedron Crab would mill 6 most of the time without eating away at your mana for the turn on a regular basis and that is why it is a good card. It is a land however so it does have dual usage. $2 seems like a fine price because it is a mill card but I wouldn’t pay more for it. If you can find undervalued foils, less than $2 I would pick them up just in case it does show up in Legacy Dredge.
Sadly I have to end the article on a sad note. This is the most disappointing of all the lands. It just costs way too much to activate. I would have even been fine with it doing 1 damage and costing 2 or 3 to activate so you could actually use it as a Bloodthirst enabler but at 5 to activate plus tapping itself it has next to no chance filling that role. It has next to no chance doing anything meaningful in Commander.
Well, there you have it everyone! This set is dripping with flavor, and I'm excited. Without flavor we would be battling with simple 2/2 and bland 1/1 stopping your game winning X starting point decreasing card with a stop and react card. I am pretty sure I would not have fallen in love with this game way back way back in Fallen Empires if it were not for the flavor that jumps out of Magic as a whole. There are a few hits and a few possible sleeper cards in this set. On the surface the set seems like it will be low in value, but remember, do not underestimate the power of the casual market. A set full of above bulk rares is very good for the financial speculators out there.
Don't miss out on my Twitter contest I talked about in my last article. Here is the recap just in case you missed it.
Here are the details to our twitter battle:
-First to 100 followers wins
Winner gives out his prizes to a random lucky follower.
-If I win I personally will be giving out a foil Rhys the Redeemed, ready to lead a token Commander deck to victory. Depending how well this goes I also have a few other foil commanders available for the taking. Foil Akroma, Angel of Wrath from Time Spiral, foil Scion of the Ur-Dragon, or foil Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur. Rhys is the most expensive but if the winner would rather another one I would be fine with switching up the prize to keep my followers happy.
-If Tyler wins check out his blog and his twitter feed for any updates to his prizes.
-If I lose, and I'm not because Tyler is going down, I will be giving away something fun, possibly some signed cards or random oddities I have in my collection. I'll update you along the way.
I will be tweeting almost exclusively about Magic through my Twitter account. I say almost because I am sure I may pipe in about a new show I am watching. More people need to watch stuff like Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead (read the comic too!),and Spartacus. All great shows that in my opinion most Magic players would love. As for Magic, I will mainly be sharing financial advice as new hot trends start to manifest themselves. So if you want to get a leg up on the financial competition follow me and you wont be sorry.