Insider: The Secrets of Shadowmoor, Pt. 2

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Welcome back to another week of scouring old Magic sets for big dollar cards! Last week, we started with Shadowmoor and checked out hits like Greater Auramancy. This week, we'll get into the second half of Shadowmoor. The Lorwyn block is quietly full of awesome money cards that people will give away because they don't know the casual value. This week, I'll show you some great finds to rescue from the junk bin as we take a look at the rest of the set!

Mana Reflection


The cat's out of the bag on this casual hit, but I'm surprised that it's not more money. People like Mana Flare effects and when they're limited to you, like Mirari's Wake and this card are, they're even better. You can jump way ahead in Commander games with the Reflection and it also does really cool things with cards like Gilded Lotus (get six mana) and filter lands (net three mana!). I'd earmark this card for a possible base set reprint, but it holds its value very well as it is.

Mystic Gate


Here's something that will surprise you: this blue filterland, in the best color combination, is this cheap. All the on-color ones are, for that matter. I was shocked to find that out. People are speculating on these cards for Modern, and I think that's worthwhile, but that's not driving these numbers. I think the big factor in why a UW dual land is this cheap compared to Twilight Mire is that we have a surfeit of UW dual lands. Take your pick of Seachrome Coast, Celestial Colonnade and more. These are low on a player's priority list for their casual deck. If you want to make a deck for Glissa, the Traitor, though, you've got a much smaller pool to work with; the filters are likely to be your best non-Bayou option.

Oona, Queen of the Fae


I remember when Oona was a buck - that's when I picked up my Japanese copy. These have steadily risen, thanks to casual play. Oona is a decent Commander general; she sucks when you play her the third time, but for six mana, Oona is an insane dragon-level card. Think about it - you could get Keiga, which will steal a dude, or you can get Oona, a mobile aircraft carrier that operates at instant speed and sucks up all your extra mana. She'll eventually mill someone out and plays well with infinite mana combinations. If you want to alienate your friends, she's a good centerpiece for a Faeries deck. I like Oona a lot and I think she and Wurmcoil Engine are probably the best things to do with six mana in Modern. Oona is one of those cards that makes me giddy when she survives the opponent's turn. When you untap with Oona, it's pretty hard to actually lose the game.

Oversoul of Dusk


I remember Oversoul seeing decent play in Standard, simply because it had Protection From Being Removed. It's a giant wall if you are being attacked - it plays Magus of the Abyss pretty well. When you want to go on the offensive, there's nothing that really stands in its way. I remember when Oversoul was spoiled, too - it was hype-creating simply because we haven't seen that much protection tacked onto a guy before.

Painter's Servant


Painter is a big-ticket item, though it's banned in Commander. Combine with Grindstone to mill a person to death. Tooth and Nail for Painter and Iona and lock everyone else out of the game. Painter is absurdly powerful if you combine it with the right color-specifying cards. I'm bummed that there are so many great options for it that it has to be banned in Commander. I wanted to name Black with it and then use Altar's Reap and Compost. Is that too much for a man who loves card advantage to ask for?

On a serious note, Painter gets misvalued a lot because people don't think it can be worth this much.

Prismatic Omen


Prismatic Omen is like the Painter's Servant of land themes. You can combine it with Valakut, Scapeshift and zero Mountains to murder people with one spell. I like it with Ajani's Last Stand; why not get a dozen tokens, draw a pile of cards and gain a bunch of life? Omen fixes shaky manabases too, but I think that's a bad reason to run it. If you don't draw it or it gets blown up, you're stuck looking at Academy Ruins and staring at an Etched Oracle, wondering how you'll get Sunburst. I lean heavily on Coalition Relics in most of what I do and even I think Omen is unreliable if all you're asking it to do is make a bad manabase less bad. I love the card, though, and it's clear that other people feel the same way.

Reflecting Pool


The price on Pools varies widely. I use a lot of them in my Modern decks and I think people have forgotten about them. Combined with filter lands, Reflecting Pool is a fantastic resource. I prefer the Tempest ones, but the price does not vary between editions that much. I tend to think that about ten bucks is the highest they'll go. Pick them up if people undervalue them or you see them marked lower in stores. It's really tough to catch a break on the price of Pools, especially since they are Commander all-stars.

Rhys the Redeemed


Fact #1: Rhys is a Welsh name.

Fact #2: Generals in Commander used to have to cost 6 mana or more; that rule has since been lifted.

Fact #3: That's a good thing, because people love the heck out of their Rhys decks in Commander. This guy comes down on the first turn if you want him to! He's got Doubling Season built into him! Rhys is a nice general because he's always there to soak up some extra mana. I always found it too challenging to manage serious numbers of tokens, but people manage better than I do, apparently. This is another card where I'm sure you'll find people who undervalue it.

Runed Halo


I like Runed Halo a lot and I simultaneously have a hard time spending two dollars for a copy. It seems like a narrow card, and it certainly is. It's a white Duress in some ways and a Swords to Plowshares in other ways. It's kind of like casting Eradicate on a creature or Quash on a spell. If the Martyr-Proclamation decks pick up more in Modern, I think they'll flock to Runed Halo as an extra level of protection from things that could still get through their piles of lifegain.

Spectral Procession


These still reliably sell for a dollar. Dig them out of your boxes and flip them!

Sunken Ruins


Even with the UB land, historically the most valuable combination for casual players, we're only looking at five dollars here. Like I said, all the allied filters are much cheaper than the off-color alternatives.

Swans of Bryn Argoll


Swans have seen a bit of combination play. You usually pair them with some red spells to shoot at them; Lightning Bolt becomes Ancestral Recall, for example. Eventually, you draw something like Seismic Assault and dump piles of cards into your Swans, drawing a big grip and then throwing them at the opponent to kill them. It's a playable combo in Modern, especially with Punishing Fires around for the time being. Swans are a good card to sit on because there's the possibility that a Swans deck breaks out during the Modern PTQ season. At a little over a buck apiece, you can afford to sit on a couple of these eggs.

Sygg, River Cutthroat


Sygg is a solid UB general because he triggers whenever someone loses three life; with four opponents, that can be a lot of cards! People also tend to ignore little old Darth Sygg and leave him around to draw you four cards before someone wipes the board.

Vexing Shusher


Some people really don't like getting their spells countered. The right way to play this, by the way, is to only spend the mana reactively. If they bite and counter something, you respond by making it uncounterable. In no way is this a Force Spike or Sphere of Resistance for the player using it if they know what they're doing. Shusher used to be decent in Goblins sideboards in Legacy because it beat Counterbalance decks. However, I think it tends to see its value mostly from casual players who want to play their spells and not be bothered.

Wheel of Sun and Moon


On one hand, this is a way to beat all the people who use milling decks on you. On the other, it's a near auto-win against Dredge decks. Wheel is an all-around utility card, making sure you can keep drawing your one bullet over and over (if that's what you want to do). Because it is cheap to cast, I think people run it a lot in casual Enchantress decks. I definitely don't think it should be worth two dollars, but it is.

Wilt-Leaf Liege


If people could make this their Commander general, I'm sure they would. The fact of it is that Green and White are the best colors for token generation. Combine something like Selesnya Guildmage with this and you've got a machine to make Elephants. It doesn't hurt that this is a Knight and also fights black discard decks.

Wooded Bastion


Another on-color filter land. It's important to note that G/W has a more than the usual number of really good dual lands, thanks to cards like Horizon Canopy.

Woodfall Primus


I had no idea that this card passed two dollars. Talk about a sleeper! Primus gets all of its attention from Commander play. People love to combine it with Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, Heartmender and anything else you can think of that lets them cheat out more Desert Twisters. These seem to go up and up - it's nearly tripled in price since last year at this time. Pick these up off guys like me who didn't know that they had climbed!

That's it for Shadowmoor, but we'll take a look at Eventide next week. That set has enemy filter lands, enemy cards and legendary enemies in general! I can't wait!

Until then,

Doug Linn

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