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Insider: What’s Worth What in Worldwake (besides Jace)

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Worldwake is most iconic for Jace, The Mindsculptor, so let's get that out of the way at the beginning. WWK has so much more going for it (okay, beyond just Stoneforge Mystic). Worldwake has several good-value rares and mythic rares, and thanks to how it was drafted, those cards will be worth more because so few were opened. Here's what happened: when Worldwake and Zendikar were around together, they were both drafted. One pack of Worldwake was getting opened. When Rise of the Eldrazi came along, the set was triple-drafted, so that means that draft tables are no longer opening Worldwake packs. "Sure," you say, "but everyone started tearing into it when Jace got popular!"  Let's take a history lesson at the Black Lotus Project and look at their Jace graph. You'll note that it looks like a big plateau over time. Jace is sitting at $40 for two months. He starts ticking up around the end of April, which is when Rise comes out. Jace was bonkers at $65 in September, but that's because Scars of Mirrodin was to be published the next month and everyone knew that Jund was rotating out. Jund was, by the way, a deck that would run roughshod over any UW list, pitching their Bloodbraid Elf into Jace while cackling. So people started cracking WWK then, but the set was about at the end of being printed - two more sets were standing in the way of more WWK print runs! This short print run and little initial demand means that the rising tide of scarcity lifts all boats in the set.

After that explanation, let's get in.

Abyssal Persecutor

$4.00

Such promise, such work. People immediately wanted to string this up with Cabal Therapy and Diabolic Edict, but it's not exactly that simple in Eternal formats. Persecutor didn't answer anything that Black needed fixed; chiefly, it does not draw cards, which is what monoblack needs. It's killable easily enough and plenty of people paired it with Jace in Standard so that they could bounce their Persecutor when the opponent was at negative life.

I don't know what the lifespan of this card will be. Four dollars is a lot to ask for a card that casual players won't flock to and that hasn't made an inkling of movement in Modern. Without Dark Ritual or Chrome Mox to move this along, Abyssal Persecutor must contend with cheaper Tarmogoyfs and better Wurmcoil Engines. I would get rid of mine if I had copies.

Admonition Angel

$1.25

This has Commander written all over it. You'll never be able to make her work the way you want her to in Modern (couldn't in Standard either), but she's so political! The Angel bump makes this card worth a little something, but this is mainly an example of how cheap an unplayed Mythic can be.

Avenger of Zendikar

$2.75

Avenger was a total bulk rare until the ramp decks started showing up. Suddenly, hitting seven mana wasn't terribly difficult at all. On top of that, Primeval Titan made sure that you hit those extra landfall triggers, making your Saprolings huge and ending the game. Avenger was unloved until this point, and then it shot up into the double-digit range (and it's worth noting that Kelly called the card's rise).

Avenger sees a bit of play by wrecking otherwise-fun Commander games, but his days of ramp-fueled glory are mostly over. I have been tampering with monogreen ramp decks (seriously, watch Vernal Bloom) for Modern and I'd much rather cast Eldrazi than this guy. I think that's the best indicator of Avenger's casual future.

Basilisk Collar

$3.00

R&D rightly guards the Deathtouch ability pretty closely. Being able to give it to whomever you want means that the Cunning Sparkmages can grab hold of this Collar and murder anything that gets in their way. Indeed, that was one of the premiere anti-aggro strategies in Standard from the sideboard. Collar is still hugely popular with the casual crowd and I am sort of surprised that it's still so cheap. This is an EDH staple for years to come because it's just so darned cheap to use. It won't make a giant of a creature, but it makes the smallest weenie into a stalwart blocker. I wouldn't be surprised if this card got some love in Modern, possibly alongside Mortarpod.

Celestial Colonnade

$1.75

A colonnade, by the way, is a walkway lined with columns.

This card reminds me of Serra Angel in the old control decks. You'd need a flier to quickly finish them off and this certainly does the job. Colonnade presents a really interesting shift in how we look at manlands. A card like Mishra's Factory will readily soak up an extra mana and crank in for some damage. Colonnade requires a full-blown commitment to getting in for an attack, though. You've got to spend the entire turn doing it. This isn't some incidental "might as well" play, this is the equivalent to tapping out for big spells. In that way, I think Colonnade was more of a late-game value play from a UW dual land. You were not depending on it, but if you were ripping cards off the top, then Colonnade was a fine land to have in play. I foresee these lands holding their value and ticking up a bit. They are very comfortable in most EDH lists, where wasting a turn without playing a spell can be a big deal.

Creeping Tar Pit

$2.25

Trivia: this was Quiet Speculation's preview card, back when Kelly ran the whole thing from a bunker on Blogspot.

The Tar Pit is a very convenient planeswalker killer, which is a huge deal for UB. That color combo has a wretched time getting through to an Elspeth, for example, because their creatures are weak and the Dimir color combo rarely plays lots of little guys to get through. Tar Pits, though, let you seal up a game quickly and take out frustrating Jaces.

I see this card rising in value, as well. UB is the most popular casual color, after all. This is an inexpensive land to activate, and the damage is guaranteed. On top of that, the man it turns into is immune to a lot of Black's removal. All in all, a solid "hold" for the future.

Dragonmaster Outcast

$4.00

I will occasionally look at this casual card for control decks. Look, I tell myself, you could play this on turn six or seven and just start grinding out Dragons. what if they can't answer it? You don't even have to tap out! Dragonmaster hasn't panned out that well for me, but I keep him in mind when I build sideboards for decks that go to the long game. This is the sort of thing I expect to come out of a Mystical Teachings deck in Modern and surprise-kill a lot of grumpy mages.

Eye of Ugin

$1.50

Eye was the hint card for Rise of the Eldrazi. It went from zero to $6+ when ramp decks took off, because it let you run only one copy of the giant pasta monsters and still reliably cast them. You could even run a single Eye and get it with Primeval Titan! Eye can conveniently fetch up colorless creatures in EDH, which means that you can go find Solemn Simulacrum and Duplicant with it. Not terrible, but still a fringe card.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

$47.00

We all knew that Magic would eventually see the busted Mythic, the overpowered Planeswalker. I suppose I'm happy that it was Jace and not something more devastating. Don't get me wrong, Jace will still kill you easily, but at least it feels like you're playing real Magic against him most of the time. He's not blowing up your lands or Mind Twisting you. Jace's existence means that R&D takes a pause whenever they drum up an idea for a new Planeswalker and ask themselves if it's going to be another Jace. Speculators (and the horde of people who want to be speculators) consider every Planeswalker to be the next Jace. I don't think we'll see anything on the power level of this guy, nor will we see $100 Mythics for a long time. Jace had a profound chilling effect on what we could get in a Mythic Planeswalker.

Joraga Warcaller

$2.00

We move from a card that's universally recognizable to something you might pass up in the quarter rare box! This elf scales with the silly mana ramping that Elves are known for. Its scaling ability is even a Lord-pump ability! If there weren't so darned many good elf pumpers to vie with it, I bet Warcaller would be $5. As it is, this is something that you should keep your eye out for in trading. Bulk junk like this can surprise you.

Kalastria Highborn

$1.50

This reminds me a lot of Disciple of the Vault. It gives a Vampire deck a good deal of reach, if you can feed it enough. I've seen casual games where someone sends their army back to un-death with a Bloodthrone Vampire and finishes the race with a Kalastria Highborn. A Highborn and a sacrifice outlet (especially like Bloodthrone Vamp) makes for a tense combat round.

Omnath, Locus of Mana

$2.50

I have seen a lot of Omnath decks in Commander that look like Omnath, 80 Forest, 20 ramp spells. If you just want to turn Magic into keeping track of your mana pool, this is a potentially devastating general. Omnath can routinely be so big that he'll kill a person with General Damage in one attack. That makes the goofy 80 Forests deck actually something to respect. I don't know that Omnath makes for great long-term game play in Commander - if you play him, let me know what you do to keep things interesting!

Stoneforge Mystic

$6.75

How fitting that we end on the other dynamite card from Worldwake. This lowly Squire was a hit the day she was printed - people just didn't realize it yet. It took Brian Kibler and Co. to pair her with Sword of Feast and Famine to usher in a scary new era of UW Control. These weren't the old "instants and Wraths" UW decks that went to time every other round. They would get a Stoneforge out, grab their Sword and do things like play Jace, attack and untap with mana open to counter whatever the opponent did. Stoneforge was so dominant that it got the axe. I was quite surprised that it took so long to hit the $15-20 mark, too. It wasn't exactly a secret that this girl would get better with time. Now she grabs Batterskulls in Vintage and Legacy and shows no signs of slowing down. Thank the stars that she's not in Modern.

That's it for Worldwake this week; expect a dip into the giants next week when we tackle Rise of the Eldrazi!

Until then,

Doug Linn

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