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Insider: Avacyn Restored Prerelease Primer

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It’s that time again! I’m pretty excited to write this article for a few reasons. The first is that this set looks awesome, and Cavern of Souls is (for now) a card I really like. Angels vs. Demons seems like a cool concept, and I’m particularly interested to see how the sealed environment plays.

The second reason I’m excited to do this primer is that I scored a home run with my Dark Ascension Primer. I called nearly all of the relevant cards from the set and hopefully made us all some money in the process.

For those of you not familiar with how I do set reviews, I start by giving you all a little credit. I don’t go card-by-card through the entire set and waste thousands of words telling you that obviously bulk rares are, in fact, bulk rares. Instead, I try to hit on the cards drawing the most hype as well as those I feel like you need to have on your radar for one reason or another, whether they be sleepers or casual hits and so forth.

I take these reviews very seriously, just as I do reviewing my picks later on. I’ll use Star City Games prices as usual since those are the most likely numbers you’ll hear tossed out on the trade floor.

Let’s jump in.

Cavern of Souls

There are a few things to know about this card. The first is that it is actually insane in any format where people play creatures. It’s that good, and is probably a 4-of in any deck that wants it (which is quite a few).

The second is that everyone inside Wizards of the Coast knows this. That means, while the $22.50 pre-sell price is probably going to actually be correct moving forward (think of a better Inkmoth Nexus), I wouldn’t be surprised to see this pop up in an Event Deck or a Planechase product or two, which will exert some downward pressure on the price.

By the way, this thing is going to be an absolute hit among casual players. Throw in the fact that this set will only be drafted for a few months, and it’s a perfect storm for an absurdly high price tag. Pick your playset up and hold on to them, and demand a premium for any you get past that.

Angels

This set is an Angel Collector’s wet dream. Pretty much every Angel in this set is worth at least stashing away in a box, and the Mythics (Avacyn, Angel of Hope and the three two-color Angels) are going to lead that charge since they have some significance to the story and feel more “epic.” Foil versions of these will be especially expensive even if none of the Angels see any play.

Divine Deflection

This is pre-selling for a dollar, and if Red decks become a Real Thing in Standard, there’s a lot to like here. This prevents a big Shrine hit or other things along those lines and even doubles as a removal spell.

Entreat the Angels

LSV says this is huge in Esper, and I can’t imagine he’s wrong. Most importantly, it’s a Mythic so the upside is going to be there, especially in the first few weeks of the set being released. It's $6 right now, and a spike to over $10 is not going to be at all surprising if it shows up at the first tournament post-release.

Restoration Angel

People have been talking about this, and I think it’s going to live up to the hype. It’s at $5 and it’s the release promo, so that will hold the price down. That said, I think this is a pretty safe target during the prerelease weekend, especially if you can get value on the regular one by the fact that there will be fancy prerelease copy easily available.

Temporal Mastery

I called this Time Reversal 2.0 on the latest episode of Brainstorm Brewery. As we discussed on the cast, that’s not quite true, since EDH players will want this and it’s actually somewhat playable across formats. But with Mastery selling at $40 right now, it’s an apt comparison.

When all is said and done, this is probably $8-14. It may take a while to fall to that point, but if you don’t think it will get there, here’s a little story from testing. I’m playing RG Werewolves because it’s fun, and my opponent is playing stock Delver with a playset of Masteries. He proceeded to Miracle cast all four Masteries against me, taking four extra turns and doing his thing with Delvers.

I won that game.

Favorable Winds

Better than Honor of the Pure in Lingering Souls decks? Grab foils for free at the prerelease, since you never know.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

Preselling at $40 on SCG, which feels high to me. I think this card is pretty solid, but its place in the upcoming metagame is still a little unclear. Does this play well with Gideon? Can your deck handle two five-mana Planeswalkers? These are questions I legitimately don’t know, but I think it’s safe to say Tamiyo will be $18-25 in a few months.

Appetite for Brains

I’m not sure if this is better than Despise or not. If you figure you need to be nabbing Titans, I think Despise is better because you can also hit Planeswalkers, whereas the Hungry Zombies only hit the Titans and miss basically any other threat. Still, grab the foils if you can.

Exquisite Blood

Take a look at the card text of Sanguine Bond, since I assume you need to read it. Then look up its price. Spoiler: it’s a solid $5 anywhere, and that’s clearly only driven by casual players. Safe to say the same players will want this thing. Perfect throw-in target over the next six months to put away for a year or two.

Griselbrand

$10 presale. This is high, but it will be a solid pickup once it drops. It’s a huge EDH and possibly Legacy card, and foils of this ($35) on SCG should be your target.

Killing Wave

I initially liked this in UB Zombies, but further testing has been disappointing. It’s selling at $2.50, and I don’t think you need to move on this. It may take a little time to find the build and that’s not guaranteed to happen, so I’d stay away. This card feels like a trap in the current incarnations of Zombies, so I’d hold off for now.

Treacherous Pit-Dweller

Torpor Orb, here we come! Just joking, this card is bad, don’t move on this. It’s only a dollar right now, and that’s probably where it’ll stay forever.

Pillar of Flame

Foils of this are the way to go. It answers Gravecrawlers and Messengers permanently on the cheap.

Vexing Devil

$15 is way too high. Think Goblin Guide. Like the Guide, it will have a place in Standard and probably find a home in Legacy. Unlike the Guide, it has to compete against Timely Reinforcements. Guide was $6-8 for its life in Standard, and this won’t be higher.

Zealous Conscripts

Probably the most underpriced card in the set at a dollar on SCG, and the only one I would even think about buying for cash. Get in on this thing this weekend; it’s going to be in Standard. This thing will easily fit into Red decks and, more likely, will be huge in RG Ramp mirrors. $4-6 is not at all out of the question.

Grab these all weekend, and you won’t regret it. It represents nine points of damage at least with a Primeval Titan or 12 with an Inferno Titan. Probably going to be the most important card in the mirror, and I’ll be stocking up.

Champion of Lambholt

I like this card, but I have to imagine a world where Slagstorm is back with a vengeance, and I don’t love him in that metagame. Worth keeping an eye on but probably not moving on. It’s a buck fifty, and that seems more or less correct.

Triumph of Ferocity

I see this card mentioned a lot. I guess people really want to draw cards in Green.

Ulvenwald Tracker

I  like this thing, especially once Titans are out of the metagame. It’s a very imposing one-drop, and worth grabbing early. It’s $2 on SCG, and while I’m not sure how much upside there is at this point, I think it will trade hot on the floor once the metagame reaches a point where it’s good, which I believe will happen sooner or later.

Sigarda, Host of Herons

The power level on this card is definitely there. Once again, like everything else in the upcoming metagame, I feel like we’re back to the Titan test, which it fails.

That said, the power level on this card is insane, and there will definitely be a time when it makes its impact on the metagame. It’s pre-selling at $15, but chances are it will look something like Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells, where it dips below $10 and then spikes when it hits, even if we have to wait a while for that to happen.

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I think that covers the important cards. If I were to call anything a sleeper in the set, it would be Zealous Conscripts, and it’s a very easy target to pick up this weekend. The usual Prerelease rules apply wherein you generally will want to trade your new cards away for more stable, older things before prices come down while at the same time targeting low-risk cards like the Conscripts.

Good luck at your Prerelease, and I hope you all enjoy whatever comes out of the Helvault!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

10 thoughts on “Insider: Avacyn Restored Prerelease Primer

      1. I get the feeling SCG is a subscriber, and bumps prices accordingly. Not saying you're in cahoots or anything, but it seems like EVERY time there's an article with strong praise, they bump prices very shortly afterwards (too quickly to be in reaction to increased demand from QSers). You should test this with praise for something REALLY janky, lol.

  1. Remember that Zealous Conscripts is an Intro deck foil which will supress its foil value slightly. It also contains a cathar's crusade and maybe the best Intro pack to get if you like opening first run booster packs.

    1. I'm not sure yet. It's a very difficult card to evaluate, which is the problem. I assume it fits best into a Burn deck or a Graveyard deck, but Burning Vengeance hasn't been a thing up until now.
      The fact that it's a hard card to figure means it likely won't find a home until a few weeks in, if ever, meaning there will be plenty available if it does make a jump.

      1. I should clarify, I meant across all formats, not just Standard. I can see this being the nuts in some sort of Storm build with Past in Flames (replacing Ad Nauseam), moreso in Legacy/Vintage than Modern (since we don't have access to Rite of Flame and some of the other Rituals and fast mana) and perhaps being used in Belcher as well. Then again, this could be the Miracle card Wizards was talking about preemptively banning at PAX. It is a draw 7 after all.

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