Insider: Innistrad Prerelease Primer

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Spellskite. Dismember. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Phantasmal Image.

What do all these cards have in common? Besides being awesome cards, they’re all things I’ve managed to get ahead of recently in this column to make money for you guys. This isn’t a #sickbrag, because many good Magic finance-seers were on the bandwagon for a few of these. The point is, I set a high expectation for myself when I work on a prerelease primer.

I’m particularly fond of my call on Vengeful Pharaoh, as some dealers are already buying at a dollar and more and more ways to make him good are showing up. He’s going to continue to rise, as well as Caged Sun, a card Ryan Bushard and I have been on since its spoiling. It’s quietly up to a dollar apiece on Ebay already and isn’t going to do anything but keep rising.

The speculation has been flying all around, and I’ve seen many dissenting opinions regarding a number of the new cards. Where I differentiate from some others is that I’m looking to focus on the important cards and peg cards that are going to trade well to certain groups of players, rather than just tell you what cards are going to be good. This is a financial review, not a complete set review (though we have a few good ones of those already up on QS).

Let’s dive in. Follow along with a spoiler here until the card tags start working.

Angelic Overseer

Selling at $6 presale on SCG, I see that being not too far off from where this cards goes. It’s a Mythic and is an Angel, so there will always be some demand. The real question is whether this thing can top the curve in a Human-based deck that is actually good. If it does, it will spike early, but this set is going to be opened for a very long time, and it will come back down to Earth.

Champion of the Parish

I’m pretty sure this guy is just worse than Hada Freeblade, but is a Rare because of the Human theme they are pushing. I really don’t think Humans are that far off from being playable with either Black or Green as the supporting color. There are some legitimately powerful cards in the archetype, and they have a few ways to gain card advantage, though they seem weak to Gideon and Wrath. If the deck is real, it will need a 1-drop, and this guy could rise from his $2.50 pricetag to $4-5.

Divine Reckoning

Like Monomania, I don’t see leaving your opponent with their best card being a good thing. This could see play for a few reasons, though. It does a reasonable job of clearing out the board on Turn 4 and then doing so again on Turn 7 after you have a Sun Titan out. Flashback cards like this can be hard to evaluate, but I’m not betting on this outclassing old-fashioned Wraths.

Fiend Hunter

Now here’s an uncommon with some potential. It removes a blocker for the Human deck to bash, and it has the more important 3-toughness thing going for it, with Bolt leaving. Pick these up off the draft tables.

Intangible Virtue

Seems like another uncommon could hold some casual value. Make sure to hold onto yours.

Midnight Haunting

I’ve seen rumors of Neo-Caw lists running this. It provides bodies for Swords and can be flashed back later with Snapcaster. Keep an eye on it.

Stony Silence

While this answers Pod decks, it’s not like they won’t have a fair number of cards to draw that can naturally deal with it. I think there are probably better hate cards than this, though its compatibility with Null Rod can’t be overlooked in older formats. Hold onto yours, but don’t go too deep here.

Dream Twist

Yes, it’s just a common. But check out the price on Memory Sluice. Just letting you know not to throw yours away.

Mirror-Mad Phantasm

The only time this is ever going to do anything is probably in a combo deck; it’s just so slow to play and protect. Move yours quickly.

Skaab Ruinator

This is one of the big ones, so let’s dig into it. It’s never going to be cast on Turn 3, and at this moment appears to only have a place in Pod decks. That said, it’s pretty solid there as a 1-2 of, since you will be able to cast it from the Graveyard in the late game. I’m pretty certain it is not a $20+ card, though I can see up to $15 holding for a while.

Snapcaster Mage

Yes, this card is awesome in Eternal formats. Yes, it’s probably playable in Standard. No, it is not a $30 card. Rares just don’t hit this point from current sets. Even Stoneforge Mystic never went this high.

Snapcaster will likely stay high for a while, then slowly come down to a normal price. I don’t see this thing being more than $13-16 by the time we’re done busting Innistrad packs, and more likely will be in the $9-12 range. From its rotation from Standard on, if it continues to be Legacy-playable we will see its price inch back up over time.

Zombie Cards

Let’s lump these into a group, and I’ll hit on some individual cards as I see fit. Casual players love the Zombies, and I expect the mythic Zombie cards to hold value decently in the vein of Nirkana Revenant another casual Mythic most people don’t know about being valuable.

Army of the Damned

Preselling at $3. While that price will probably be correct going on down the road, supply of this won’t be unlimited due to its rarity and picking up a few to flip to casual Zombie/EDH players will pay off for you.

Bloodline Keeper // Lord of Lineage

Speaking of popular casual cards, check out our buddy Vampire Nocturnus and get back to me. Stock a few of these at all times.

Endless Ranks of the Dead

Damn, that artwork is insane. No, this card is not playable.

Liliana of the Veil

In my limited testing, Liliana has been insane. She comes and edicts a player, then sticks around to accumulate value as you make them discard things they care about while you pitch something like a Vengeful Pharaoh. She probably won’t be staying at $35, but I see her staying pretty relevant as we move forward and price increases are possible. I’m interested in picking up as many of these as possible for reasonable prices.

Morkrut Banshee

We’ll see if Black becomes a viable color for Pod decks (I expect it does), this Uncommon could make some waves.

Reaper from the Abyss

Pretty sure this guy is actually just insane in Pod decks, and it will trade with a Titan (or just fly over it). Seems like the real deal here, and it’s a Mythic. It’s $5 right now, and keep a close eye on it as tournaments start rolling in, because it could explode quickly.

Past in Flames

If and when this hits, it’s going to do so in Legacy, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem getting it cheaply from Standard players. No reason not to do so.

Reckless Waif // Merciless Predator

This guy is no Goblin Guide, but he’s not embarrassing either. I’m not sure how playable Red is going to be, since Timely Reinforcements and the new Plant in town (more on this later) make it tough, and the deck becomes more and more reliant on Hero of Oxid Ridge. But this guy is good.


This has a lot of playability in several different formats. Another uncommon, but another one worth picking up.

Full Moon's Rise

I really hope that Werewolves get their shot in Standard one day. This card will be a part of it when they do. It provides built-in Wrath protection and is more than fine in multiples. I also expect a fair number of casual Werewolf floating around, so this will have some value regardless of whether or not the Wolves make it to the big time.

Garruk Relentless // Garruk, the Veil-Cursed

Not impressed. The idea for a flip Planeswalker is cool, but this guy does very little. If the meta becomes a ground-based board stall, Garruk is pretty reasonable, but the problem is going to be flipping him and then untapping again. Making deathtouch wolves is probably great in some matchups, but he’s just not high-powered enough to be Tier 1 in a lot decks. If the meta evolves right he'll be very good on Turn 3, but his raw power level just isn't there. $20-25 in the end.

Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha

This guy is very good, but being a promo will keep his price down. Still, I’m in favor of trading aggressively for this guy on the cheap.

Parallel Lives

It will be very interesting to see if this catches on casually as Doubling Season did. There are going to be a lot of copies floating around by the end of next year, but once it bottoms out this is a pretty low-risk investment that could see some big gains in a few years.

Tree of Redemption

This card does literally everything you want against Red except block against a Hero of Oxid Ridge-led team. It blocks all day against anything else, and eventually gives you 8-10 life and leaves you with a small blocker. A very popular Pod target, it’s possible that his $4 price tag is too low, though I suspect it will be about right. It all depends on how much aggro infiltrates the format.

Geist of Saint Traft

I think there’s a lot to like here. A lot of naysayers are saying “Well, I’ll just block.” This is misunderstanding the deck the Saint is going in. It’s going to be followed up by a Sword, an Angelic Destiny, or something else to take advantage of Hexproof. The question, then, is whether or not a UW deck can tap out and turns 3 and 4 without dying. It’s a pretty aggressive slant for UW in the post-Hawk era, but this card will be good if such a deck exists.

$15 seems high, but $6-9 sounds reasonable if he finds a good home. Being legendary hurts him as well, but Hexproof is a powerful enough ability that it can be abused in the right deck.

Olivia Voldaren

As many have said, this is going to be a hugely popular card for both casual and EDH players, and $8 sounds pretty reasonable in the short-term, though I think $4-6 long-term is more likely. Foils, on the other hand, are going to be pretty nuts as she catches on as a Commander.


Like the Fastlands from Scars, I see the M10 Enemy Duals (Dueling Duals?) dropping down to $2-3 in trade before coming back up some later. These will, however, be in pretty large demand as the format develops, so I see you being able to move these quickly.

As for the specialty lands, the best one seems to be Moorland Haunt. If anything resembling UW Caw with Swords is Tier 1, this card is going to spike. It’s basically “Free” in a two-color deck and eventually provides you a very steady stream of Sword carriers. Nephalia Drownyard will probably have some casual appeal, and the whole cycle minus the Drownyard could see some serious Standard play.

That’s all for the primer. These are the  cards I’ll be keeping an eye on as I go to the prerelease, and don’t be afraid to trade your Innistrad cards off for other goodies as well, since all the Innistrad cards will be overvalued for a few weeks. I expect I’ll be picking up a lot of Fetchlands at the prerelease by moving Innistrad stuff.

Until next week,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

4 thoughts on “Insider: Innistrad Prerelease Primer

  1. Josh Rayden did some testing last night and has also concluded that Geist of Saint Traft is a worthy inclusion in most decks.

    "Six you" was what he kept saying. 🙂

  2. My current front-runner for a Standard deck involves 4x Geist of St Traft, 4x Angelic Destiny. "Ten Ya!" is even better. The best part? You get to play that Mono-Wrath thing. I guarantee their best card is not as good as the Holy Trinity

    1. Yeah, I think Ten You might become common. The question is if there are enough Hexproof guys and a critical mass of playable enchantments/equipment to get there.

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