Hello, readers! We move ever deeper this week into the fairy tale of Lorwyn with its expansion, Morningtide. These two sets were supposed to be the "light side" version of fairy tales - giants, dwarves, toadstools with faeries sitting on them and more. The next two sets, Shadowmoor and Eventide, took things in a dark turn. We'd never before seen a big set-little set-big set-little set series made intentionally before in Magic. It made for a rich and deep Standard pool, especially with Time Spiral still in the mix. Unfortunately, a few power cards dictated the script for Standard and we saw a bit too much of Faeries for most peoples' liking. That said, there are still a lot of money cards to be mined in Morningtide, so let's take a look!
Bitterblossom was the scourge of Standard. Turn 1 Ponder led into this card on turn two, then a Scion of Oona or Spellstutter Sprite soon followed. It was death of a thousand cuts as the little fliers absorbed big attackers and just kept punching through. Bitterblossom made a lot of people rage-quit Magic, especially because Wizards did nothing about the card and instead, just tried printing stoppers like Volcanic Fallout. I like to think they've learned their lesson now, especially looking at how Stoneforge Mystic and Big Jace got nailed when they became dominating.
Faeries was certainly an exciting theme deck for people, but I am unsure of why the price remains so high. This card is, I promise, never getting unbanned in Modern. Even casually-popular lords, like the Elf suite, don't rise into double-digit prices. My guess is that a lot of people still look at this card and think it's worth the $15 they traded to get them in the first place, so that's what's keeping the price up. Maybe people just love rogue decks.
I like this guy, even though everything I said about Mirror Entity being the best creature in most categories still applies. Chamillionaire is really cool - he easily gets giant, he's protected from removal and his Changeling ability saw a lot of actual, creative use. For example, in the Doran decks, it would come out with Treefolk Harbinger and sometimes turn on Murmuring Bosk. When you pump eight mana into this dude or double him even once with Loxodon Warhammer on him, you know cool things are just around the corner.
This sees a moderate amount of play in Legacy in both Aggro Loam decks and red Ancient Tomb Aggro decks. He certainly gets big in a hurry, but lose a land in play and you may never cast another spell again. It's a good Terravore kind of card, for sure.
Door of Destinies
I first saw Door pop up in an Allies Commander deck and I realized that it was the set promo. I saw just how quickly this card gets out of hand. Think about it - two tribal dudes hit and now everything gets +2/+2. Another hits and it's instantly a Durkwood Boars or better. Any token generation, like Summon the School, and things are absurd. It's easy to see how this card fetches so much money, even though there are more copies of it than any other Morningtide rare. What a monster of a card. This is the sort of thing that can sit unchecked for a single turn in Commander and just go bonkers in an instant. Remove this on sight!
Casual players must really love this effect. The Thief is pretty terrible in actual constructed Magic, which makes me think people just want to combine this with something like Mind Over Matter. Dig these out of junk boxes and things you'd sell for a dime to a dealer, because these are worth cash!
This is another Commander card that keeps going up and up. It has a crossover appeal for people who play Enchantress decks and also folks who want to get power enchantments for their 100 card decks. I've used it before to pull up a Palliation Accord (seriously nuts) or a Holistic Wisdom in Commander. A few months ago, these were two bucks, and the market keeps driving them higher and higher.
The Goat-Knight, despite its art, is a serious card for casual Knight deck players. The double-strike means that your guys effectively get at least +2/+0, being as most knights aren't puny. This, like Orcish Oriflamme of old, can conceivably seal up the game when the opponent least expected it. Again, this is a card to pull out of your junk stacks. People, amazingly, pay real money for these.
Lorwyn has something for a lot of casual tribal deck assemblers, and this is a good example. I don't know why you'd play a treefolk deck (the mana curve has to start at what, eight million?), but this guy lets you cheat them right into play. Combine with Sensei's Divining Top to make a bad card slightly less bad!
This has seen a little bit of Modern love, since it makes three colors of very useful mana. I don't know if there will ever be a Doran deck, but this is an integral 1-of, at the least. I pack one in my Melira deck, since it can occasionally be useful to have a Grand Coliseum in the deck. I don't think its price is justified, but it could easily start ticking up if GWB is a real combination in Modern.
The Mishra's Factory redux drew a lot of attention when it first came out and it continues to see a lot of love. It's been reprinted as a promo, which has done nothing to the value of this card. Mutavault simply says "are you playing a Tribal deck? Wanna make it a hell of a lot better?" It makes more faeries for Spellstutter Sprite, it picks up Lord of Atlantis bonuses, it triggers Goblin Piledriver and more. I'd love to see it reprinted, since people love this kind of card. Unfortunately, Changeling is a pretty set-specific word, which means Mutavault is going to stay at over twenty bucks for a long time. Huge numbers of these change hands on Ebay, so they aren't that hard to move. If you are value-trading, then these will always bring you love.
Why is it that, of tribal decks, the "profession" decks are never as good as the "race" decks? We don't really see Clerics burning up the top tables, but Faeries, Kithkin and Merfolk all had good runs. Even Wizards were just a flash in the pan! There have got to be some die-hards trying to make it work, though, since this guy is worth a bit of cash. It's this kind of card that makes me love writing this series, since I see someone getting this guy as a junk toss-in for a trade and grinning all the time.
I'm actually surprised that Reveillark is this cheap. It's a seriously fun card and people can build half-decent Modern decks with it. Fun fact: Kitchen Finks was actually improved by adding a power point so that you couldn't bring it back with Lark! I'm sure Shriekmaw got the same treatment. At it is, you'll have to be content with bringing back Mulldrifters and Body Doubles for infinite shenanigans. Most decks with white cards in Commander can benefit from this flying Elemental, too.
Braggy time: I remember Steve Sadin writing "this thing could be good with Valakut"when the land was printed. I ended up buying a bunch at a quarter, then blowing them out for four bucks apiece. That was before people actually started talking to each other about speculation, which tells you how young the field actually is. I think that was one of my first calls with Kelly. Sadin was right and Scapeshift started tearing it up in Extended. You can't make the combo happen in Modern, so it's only a few dollars, but I wouldn't put it past someone to try and make the Tron with this card. It's a one-spell insta-Tron if you've got the lands laying around.
Here's another card that keeps ticking up in price, bit by bit. The Giant is a lot of fun in Commander, where you can dig up Helm of Kaldra and the rest of the set, or simply punish people with Swords. The Vigilance is a really cool touch. You can attack in with the Giant, then tap him so he can go dig up a piece of l00t to use. Maybe he'll get a trident this time!
I really hate that these things are so expensive. Clique does a moderately useful thing, but the flash is what makes it so good. Yes, it obviously lets you burgle a card in the opponent's draw step - no more Life from the Loam! But that instant speed also lets people sit back on Clique and then flash it in at the end of the turn when they don't have to hold up counterspells any more. Maybe that Planeswalker you're so proud of is about to get killed by a trio of pests. Clique is simply good utility, so I'm bummed to see that it's over twenty bucks. Modern has been driving its price a lot, since Clique shot up from $8 a few months ago. It can act as combination disruption and an alternate kill in Twin decks, but the presence of Punishing Fire really holds Clique back from being too obnoxious.
What a huge set review! There's a lot of cash to be made by mining Morningtide. I hope you'll join me next week as we get into Shadowmoor!