Insider: Magic 2013 Prerelease Primer

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Here we go again. Today we’re breaking down M13 and making my financial predictions for the set.

I’m going to assume everyone here is familiar with my set reviews and how I do them. If not, here’s the cliff notes. I take these very seriously, and in the past I’ve done very, very well at making people money with these. To me, that’s not bragging, that’s accepting responsibility. I act on my own predictions and make money doing so; I expect other people to do the same. That means I won’t be giving you a half-assed review. This is my trading strategy for the Prerelease, and I hope you can make money from my calls as well.

I assume you know that a bulk rare, is in fact, a bulk rare. Or close enough to it to not be worth mentioning. Unless you hit on a sleeper (like I did by calling Zealous Conscripts at 50 cents for Avacyn Restored), you can safely ignore most of the rares you’ll see at the prerelease.

AVR was pretty good for us. I correctly called the spikes in Restoration Angel and Zealous Conscripts, pinpointed Cavern of Souls and Temporal Mastery with my only incorrect call being Disciple of Griselbrand, a move that caused me to trade mine away at $5 under its current retail value. I also missed the spike in Bonfire, which was unfortunate, though I did later correct my call on it before it moved past $15.

All in all, I’ll take it. Let’s hope I can do as well here.

Core sets are a little different animal to call. The biggest problem is that, more than any other set, you have to be able to see both how it fits into the current metagame as well as a post-rotation metagame. With so little time in between the core set release and the Standard rotation, this isn’t always easy.

Let’s get started.

Ajani, Caller of the Pride

This cat is going for $40 on SCG, and that’s definitely high. I see him in a Liliana-type role. He’s very good, but doesn’t slot into every deck that shares his color. That said, there will be plenty of games where you lose the dice roll and have one land in play, facing down a 5-loyalty Planeswalker. Normally you don’t evaluate the ultimate to determine power level of Planeswalkers, but as early as this guy comes down it’s relevant enough that his ultimate is something to be scared of.

I see him setting around $25, give or take five bucks either way, unlike the next Walker on this list.

Liliana of the Dark Realms

Preselling at $30, which as you would expect, is too high. It’s possible Liliana finds a home in Standard, but I can’t imagine it’s going to be a nice one. She basically just doesn’t do anything. Hitting your land drops is nice, and I understand it can “fix” your mana with Shocklands, but in the end she’s just not that threatening.

Still, there’s EDH demand along with whatever playability she has, so I see a $10-15 price tag holding up down the road. It may take a little while to fall that low, but a year from now she’s going to be all but forgotten.

Rhox Faithmender

It’s worth noting that this won’t ever be bulk. Casual players like Lifegain, and as far as “worthless” rares go, this isn’t the worst to nab as a throw-in. I expect it to crop up on buylists for a dollar down the road, and it’s selling for $2.50 on SCG. Obviously there’s nothing huge here, but it’s worth mentioning.

Serra Avenger

I think it’s incredibly awesome they’re reprinting this card. I also don’t love it in Standard, as crazy as that might sound. Since you can’t play it until turn 4, it’s a virtual four-drop, where it will compete with Restoration Angel and the new (gives) Exalted Angel. That’s some stiff competition, not to mention it loses in a fight with Resto. All of that means the $3 pricetag is about right.

Sublime Archangel

This is a really difficult card to pin down for me. A lot of times attacking with one creature is worse than swinging with the team, but there’s still a lot to like here. For starters, it trades straight-up with Restoration Angel, which is a good test to pass. Secondly, it has pseudo-haste since it will provide a huge pump the turn it comes into play, much the way Rafiq of the Many did. And there are a ton of Hexproof guys running around right now, meaning you’re even less likely to get blown out in combat.

It’s out of stock at $20 on SCG, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some upward movement from there. I don’t think it can go much higher than $25 for very long (if at all), but it also will have a difficult time going below $12-15. I’m looking at Geist of Saint Traft levels here, between $20-25, especially since the pair will go in many of the same decks. Geist is played more in older formats, but the Angel is well, an Angel, and won’t be opened as long as Geist was, so it should mostly balance out.

War Falcon

Grab foils. I have no idea if this will see any play, but it’s a pretty damn good answer to an early Delver and curves perfectly into Thalia.

Battle of Wits

You better believe this will trade well early in the set’s release, even though it’s a meager 50 cents on SCG.

Augur of Bolas

This guy is playable. He’s not going to be a super expensive Uncommon, since only a few decks want him, but I do expect him to see play. Means you should be on the lookout for these in draft leftovers or foil versions.

Master of the Pearl Trident

Merfolk! Merfolk! Merfolk! (Listen to the latest cast of Brainstorm Brewery for more context). Presells at $5 is probably a few bucks too high, but I do think this will help to revitalize Fish in Legacy, where they were already on the upswing, as well as possibly pushing the deck into Modern. Look for gains in the peripheral Merfolk cards from older sets.

Disciple of Bolas

This is my pick for sleeper card of the set. At $3 pre-sales, I’m not sure how much upside there is, and I don’t like a cash buy. But I do like aggressively trading for it at two bucks on Prerelease day. This guy doesn’t fit into a possible Vampires deck since the 4-spot is full, but if Zombies is looking to complement Falkenrath Aristocrats at the 4-drop spot, this guy is great. He eats a Messenger for infinite value, and even chomping on a Gravecrawler isn’t exactly bad.

Interestingly, the foil version of this guy is sold out at $10 on SCG.

Vampire Nocturnus

This guy is rightly expensive, sitting at $13 on SCG. Thanks to this reprint, his days as a $20 card are over, but we could see a spike to that level if the big guy busts back into Standard. The Vampires deck is about two cards away (another 1 and 2-drop) from being really good. I expect this guy to trade extremely well during his second run through Standard.

Thundermaw Hellkite

They wanted a Baneslayer Angel in Dragon form, and they found it here. He’s out of stock at $20 on SCG, and there are only 2 copies of foils at $50! This Dragon is the real deal. Even if Vapor Snagged he’s going to do some work, and the only problem is how many competing options RG has at the five-drop spot now with him, Thragtusk and Silverheart. Hellkite is a definite beating, though, so I expect him to stay over $10 without a doubt, and probably settle in the $13-15 range, with even higher numbers possible if he becomes the go-to five-drop.

Flinthoof Boar

This is the best Constructed-playable piece of the cycle. Nab them from draft tables and scoop up foils.

Ground Seal

A respectable Green answer to Snapcaster. These should move around pretty well in your trade binder for being basically free right now.


Now this beast is truly, well, a beast. Says no to Vapor Snag and helps stabilize immediately. I don’t like how splashable he is, but that’s just my design complaint, not a dismissal of his power. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few Cavern of Souls name Beast just to make sure this bad boy hits play.

As just a rare, and another five-drop, $10 is probably high. I see him on the Silverheart level of $7-8 instead, but you can’t really go wrong trading into this guy at the prerelease.

There are a ton of casual favorites in this set, from Gilded Lotus to Akroma's Memorial to Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker. This is going to drop the price of these cards across the board, but they’ll still be good throw-in targets since all are EDH or casual staples.

That’s it! Let me know what you all think of my calls. Too far out there? Am I missing anything?

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

6 thoughts on “Insider: Magic 2013 Prerelease Primer

  1. Liliana's constructed value hinges entirely on whether or not MBC is playable. If not, then I think you prediction of 10-ish is spot on.

    1. I figure even if the deck is fringe-playable she has a hard time going past 15. People have been trying forever to make MBC a thing, and every year it falls short. Have to imagine the same happening here.

  2. How do you rate Odric, Master Tactician? Basically I play Boros or GW Descendants Path Human and currently my 4 slots are filled with Hero of Bladehold & Resto Angel. But the deck is so vulnerable to sweepers that it does not function properly right now.

    I think for 2 euro, this is a sleeper as well. Yes it is a rare in an intro or event deck but so is Zealous C & Wolfir Silverheart. 3 other creatures is not hard in Boros or G/W as this is the final card you curve out

    I like your call on Disciple as I found it strange as well he is preselling so low atm in Europe (2 euro)

    1. Yeah, I'm with Carl. He seems like a lot of fun, to be sure, and he's a respectable body, but Hellrider and Resto are a lot of competition in the four-drop spot. I see him being better in probably just a few matches where the board could get super gummed up. There may be a little upside here, but as for the foreseeable future I think there are just better options.

  3. Hey Gerv: A little off topic but I’ve actually been using a 3x of fresh meat in my g/w sb because my meta is packed w DoJ. T1 bop -> t2 Blade splicer -> t3 hero then just hold fresh meat for when they doj on T4 to wipe your board and you’re still attacking for 12 (4x 3/3). Weird little card, but I was having the same probs as you and this has been a blowout because it lets you overextend. Lol once I got 3x BoP and 2x Pilgrim DoJ into 5x 3/3 EoT because I only had 2 lands and 1 card in hand (the fresh meat!) and they thought that killing my dorks was gg

  4. I also find Odric too situational to be any good. Hero / Hellrider seem much better in Boros because they’re ALWAYS good vs Odric who may win you a game here and there, but the planets really have to align for him to “work”. Resto angel in your g/w IS what you play AFTER a DoJ on THEIR EoT to keep up your tempo next turn. If you weren’t running a human version I’d also suggest Wolfir Avenger. 3/3 flash EoT after doj AND can regen. He’s also good to bait a counter their EoT to try and resolve hero etc on your turn ;). Just my 10 cents lol.

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