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Insider: M13’s Impact on Card Values

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After a slightly longer spoiler period due to the combined marketing of the newest Duals of the Planeswalkers, we finally have the complete list for M13. While I am personally less enthusiastic about this core set than I have been with the previous couple, there are still some noteworthy cards worth discussing.

My counterparts here at Quiet Speculation are getting quite skilled at reviewing relevant cards in a new set and identifying their price trajectory. Rather than potentially contradict or, even worse, write redundant information, I choose instead to evaluate the impact the cards are likely to have on others’ prices.

I enjoy this topic a lot more because it is a somewhat unique approach, as many other writers spend countless words on set reviews and value predictions. Let's get to it.

M13 Spoilers – My First Reaction

It’s actually instinctual for me to consider impact on other cards before I think about potential value of the spoiled cards themselves. M13 was no exception. My initial reaction to the set’s complete spoiling - no Noble Hierarch!!

This was not a surprise to some, but it was apparently enough of a surprise to the general MTG population. I say this because of the impact rumors have had on the Human Druid’s price (chart from blacklotusproject.com).

With rumors alone, the card’s value dropped from a peak of $17.75 to a trough of $15.25. This is a drop of about 14%, which to me is an indicator that enough players believed in the reprint rumors enough to fear their validity. You can see the trend turns positive again this past week, and I see the card price increasing again until it hits the $18 level as before. In fact, I’ve already noticed the upward trend on eBay.

Next Reaction – Impact on Standard

My next reaction is to browse the forums discussing some broader metagame impacts of M13. One prevailing theme I have observed is the de-clawing of some of Standard’s dominant cards, particularly with the printing of cards like Ground Seal.

I am not particularly interested in the enchantment’s value trend – I am instead looking to what it means for Standard staple Snapcaster Mage. It seems Wizards of the Coast recognizes the Human Wizard was a tad too powerful, and they have taken measures to weaken the card in Standard.

Price-wise, Snapcaster Mage already began a slight decline recently. The printing of Ground Seal will not help the card’s price one bit (chart courtesy of blacklotusproject.com). This is not a cry to sell all your copies, but it is a suggestion to unload excess copies soon with intent of re-purchasing them at a lower price.

It’s not just Snapcaster Mage that will possibly weaken. The fact that Wizards printed some powerful non-blue cards such as Rancor, Vampire Nighthawk and Thundermaw Hellkite means blue Delver decks may be destined to fall off their mighty pedestal.

Financially speaking, this could spell price drops in other classic Delver cards. Geist of Saint Traft is still a powerful card, but I am not sure how powerful it will be in non-Delver decks. I will maintain a hold recommendation on this one, as its price appears to have stabilized for now (chart courtesy of blacklotusproject.com), unlike Snapcaster Mage.

I’ll also mention that U/W lands may be impacted as well as the metagame may shift towards other color combinations. Of course, no one with financial savvy should be holding their Seachrome Coasts this late in the Standard season unless they are winning tournament prizes with them. Even Glacial Fortress will fall slightly out of favor, and of course the M13 reprint increases supply to infinity practically commoditizing the land.

Cards With Potential

Rest assured not all beloved Standard cards will drop in price due to M13’s printing. As long as the format remains popular, demand will simply shift to other cards driving their prices up.

The printing of powerful white cards Sublime Archangel, Serra Avenger and Oblivion Ring should not be overlooked. Add in Restoration Angel and all our favorite token generators and we have the core of a competitive deck.

Of course I am no Standard expert and I will leave it to the pros to brew up new viable strategies. Instead, I’ll focus on recommending some puzzle pieces I feel will remain relevant with M13’s printing.

My top speculative play these days is Restoration Angel (chart courtesy of blacklotusproject.com).

When this card was initially released, I immediately bought two copies for my Angel collection at a price of $4 each. Little did I know this would turn into a financial boon and that I should have bought dozens more. Since release, the card has doubled in price and they are difficult to find for less than $9 on eBay.

Yes, I know this card was a release promo and it has a price cap. At $10 it’s difficult to recommend a strong buy here. What I can guarantee is that this card will remain relevant in Standard and Modern, and that the card should be easy to move in trades even near retail pricing.

I only own one extra playset of the card because I recognize the hard price ceiling, but I certainly don’t mind picking these up in trades from people who still value it at $7.

Another card I have my eye on is Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells. With the aforementioned printing of powerful red and green cards in M13, I don’t see this card becoming less relevant. While its two-colored casting cost is somewhat prohibitive, it should still remain powerful and playable (chart courtesy of blacklotusproject.com).

I cannot guarantee the card’s price will shoot up in the near term. But we do know this is a Mythic Rare from Dark Ascension, an underdrafted set. Any consistent demand should keep this card’s price up, and increase in demand should send the price higher.

Looking at other top performers in recent Star City Games tournaments, I see that Birthing Pod decks have recently increased in popularity. Unfortunately, we will see this card’s rotation very soon and this will keep its price down regardless of M13’s card list.

Long term, however, I see the card remaining relevant in Modern. I would recommend sitting on the sideline a little longer and then swooping in and purchasing a couple sets at price bottom, preferably below $2.

Finally, I can’t help but discuss the possibility of a mono-black deck. The newest Liliana Planeswalker, Vampire Nighthawk, Mutilate and Vampire Nocturnus all lend themselves to the possibility. Casual players love mono-black, but the deck always seems to fall short of Tier 1 status.

I would not necessarily buy heavily into any of these cards, but other mono-black cards are worth considering. The problem is, I’m not exactly sure which other black cards would be worthy of the deck. For example, would Demonlord of Ashmouth be any good? Could the six-mana bomb Mikaeus, the Unhallowed finally shine? I wouldn’t go deep into any one card in particular, but grabbing these as throw-ins in trades couldn’t hurt much. Especially Mikaeus, which is especially cheap for being a powerful Mythic Rare from Dark Ascension (chart courtesy of blacklotusproject.com).

Wrapping It Up

There may only be a couple financially relevant cards in M13 itself. Players will be testing all the Planeswalkers to see if any of them merit their super-inflated preorder prices. Sublime Archangel will likely make its impact and deserve double digit value.

But when considering the set’s financial relevance, we should focus externally. I presented some theories on which cards are likely to drop and which are better suited to hold value or even increase, especially as rotation rapidly approaches. I would encourage you to consider these ideas and even recommend theories of your own.

Generically speaking, powerful Mythic Rares from Dark Ascension are worthwhile considerations because of their smaller quantities. A card like Mikaeus, the Unhallowed is a prime prospect, and with the possibility of a mono-black deck, who knows what the price ceiling may be.

Finally, I want to mention once more that Innistrad Duals are solid pick-ups if priced well. Based on my theories, the window to acquire these cards at the optimal price is rapidly closing. Once Scars block rotates and we are left with M10 Duals and Innistrad Duals (plus, supposedly, Shock Lands in Return to Ravnica) in Standard, I believe Innistrad Duals will slowly disappear from trade binders and increase in price.

Like all predictions, time will tell.

-Sigmund Ausfresser
@sigfig8

16 thoughts on “Insider: M13’s Impact on Card Values

  1. Somehow a player in my group has both been consistently opening Restoration Angel and valuing it far too low. I've been getting 1-2 copies every trade I made with him recently :). It's exactly the kind of card I love to play.

    Interesting to see the Hierarch heading back up. I still sort of believe in Snappy for the long term, don't think he should be lower than the Hierarch unless reprinted.

    1. Your player is very lucky for opening Restoration Angels left and right. I didn't have time to trade at the M13 pre-release, but the only person I tried to trade with wanted my extra Restoration Angels. These are very popular and very playable right now. But some still undervalue it…for now.

      I believe in Snappy long term as well. But I am glad to have unloaded them for now. While Snappy is played in older formats, I believe its use in Standard is a key driver of the higher price. If he sees decreased play in Standard, he may pull back to the $15 price range depending on the degree of change. But long term it will go back up again assuming no reprint or what have you.

  2. With blade splicer leaving the format and snapcaster being nerfed, it's hard to see restoration angel maintaining its level of play considering that those 2 cards are its best buddies.

    1. You don't think a 3/4 Flash Flier with ability to counter removal spells is still playable? I feel like it'll find a home somewhere. There's bound to be creatures with good come into play abilities in RTR as well. Seems statistically likely. How about a Naya build with Huntmasters?

      1. I'm definitely not saying that its unplayable or anything even close to that, I'm just saying that 2 of the cards that are highly synergistic with it right now are either leaving the format/ won't be as powerful (no cheap cantrips/ leak). Like you said, also dependent on what comes with RTR but as of this moment, I'm not too optimistic.

  3. Geist of Saint Traft is actually more playable with m13. Him and mirran crusader/silverblade are filthy with exalted. Since you decide when the trigger goes on the stack he will get exalted before the angel token hits play. Remember he was used in haunted humans at the beginning of the season.

        1. I think white aggro will be a deck post rotation and geist is a strong card to splash for. Of all the cards in innistrad, geist and snapcaster have seen the most consistent play. When looking at the top cards of the block I see snapcaster, geist, lingering souls, restoration angel, delver, bonfire, and huntsmaster. This is in no particular order. one thing of note, phantasmal image rotates leaving clone and evil twin as a far less effective ways of dealing with it. The current delver as we know it will no longer exist, however giest, snapcaster, and delver are still amazingly strong cards that often will see play in the same decks. Geist also sees slight play in modern and legacy. I am personally looking to acquire for the long term.

  4. Mono-Black has to be a deck no? If so, I assume the following cards might become interesting:
    Appetite for Brains
    Barter in Blood (?)
    Blood Artist
    Bloodgift Demon
    Bloodline Keeper (?)
    Curse of Death's Hold
    Disciple of Griselbrand (?)
    Falkenrath Noble (?)
    Geralf's Messenger
    Gloom Surgeon (?)
    Gravecrawler
    Harvester of Souls (?)
    Heartless Summoning (?)
    Killing Wave
    Liliana of the Veil
    Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
    Reaper from the Abyss (?)
    Sever the Bloodline
    Skirsdag High Priest (?)
    Tribute to Hunger (?)
    Wakedancer (?)

    I am not a deck builder, but come one… So many cool cards! 😀

    1. It's definitely goign to be tried. In that list, the only one i'd say is a guaranteed inclusion is Barter in Blood for mono black control. THe remainder are all goign ot depend on the exact numbers of all the cards included. I expect Mutilate to be a big staple in a MBC build.

      For Mono-B aggro, cards like gravecrawler and Surgeon are the ones to look at. Obviously Lili (both varieties) will likely make an appearance in either aggro or control builds.

  5. Bloodgift Demon has been mentioned in the forum. Almost at bulk now…
    I'll be on the look out in my future trades for Bloodgift Demon, Barter in Blood, Killing Wave, Lilianas and Mutilate the coming weeks 😉

    1. I really hope Mono Black has a home in new Standard. But I am SO skeptical just because it's been tried so many times and it never really seems to pan out. Mono black lacks answers (no counter-magic, no artifact/enchantment removal) and it's usually too 1-dimensional. That being said, I'm definitely maintaining tepid hope!

      1. I like mono black going forward. With cavern coming into play and no manaleak, creature kill is going to be more important. Duress is no counterspell, but disruption can be a strong alternative to counterspells. Why I really like black control is Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis. Being able to the wipe the board and follow up with a finisher is that keeps you from playing creatures is going to be very strong post titans. If it turns into a aggro based meta black control will be well positioned as a alternative.

  6. Sig- I normally am in your camp with regards to riding the Dual land cyclees in standard, in which the innistrad duals really will see a spike right around time for States. But i think Shocklands will do interesting things to this typical cycle. Until we know how/when the shocklands will come out (either all at once, or spread over the block) it will be hard to say, but there will be (in theory) 10 shocks and 10 other duals (core set +innistrad). THe coreset lands are already super cheap, but the innistrad lands may not see quite the spike that the scars lands did last year. They may see a small bump, but i'm not too pumped on them.

    1. It's possible the reprinting of shock lands will cause deviation from previous trends on mana-fixing lands. I can certainly grant you that. But won't Innistrad duals be even stronger with Ravnica shocks? And aren't off-colored decks likely with Ravnica block? I remember one of the strongest guild was Boros a few years ago.

      What I am certain of is that the metagame will be in flux, and people will be playing various color combinations in Standard. If any off-color combination becomes Tier 1, the respective Innistrad Duals should be a price bump. And they are mostly so cheap right now, downside seems limited (besides Isolated Chapel perhaps).

      I don't own dozens of each Innistrad Dual, but every time I see one under-priced at $3 I pick it up. I have maybe 6-8 of each except for Isolated Chapel. I'm not one to go deep on any card, but for these I feel relatively confident they will be safe bets. I suppose time will tell!

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