Insider: Gatecrash Prerelease Primer

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It’s that time again! My prerelease primer, or set review, is something I take very seriously. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone losing money.

I’ve been fortunate enough to fare well in my set reviews since I started them. My biggest mistake from RtR was missing Sphinx's Revelation and overestimating [card Niv Mizzet, Dracogenius]Niv Mizzet[/card]. I caught onto Revelation a little late, though still before it reached $20+, and I still have some hopes for Niv. Outside of those two, I was pretty successful with the shocks, [card Jace, Architect of Thought]Jace[/card] (a good trade target at his current $16), Angel of Serenity and Rakdos's Return. Let’s see if I can do a little better this time around with the added benefit of not having to predict a brand-new format.

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 on your radar for one reason or another, whether they be sleepers, casual hits or something else.

So let’s get started!


Aurelia's Fury

The community seems to be split on this card. This strikes me as one of those situations where in a year people will be like “oh yeah, I knew it would be XX,” forgetting that there was once a big debate about the card.

For what it’s worth, I think this card is pretty solid as something like a 2-of in certain decks. It’s sometimes just a Silence with upside, but it’s also sometimes a one-sided board sweep or a Fireball that ends the game. That’s a lot of versatility.

That said, it seems like it can’t really be worth more than Sphinx's Revelation. Even if it spikes, I see this settling somewhere between $10 and $15.

Aurelia, the Warleader

There seems to be some renewed hope about this card, and the power level is certainly very, very high. I don’t think it goes in the aggressive Boros deck but I do think the UWR decks could make use of it, since curving [card Thundermaw Hellkite]Thundermaw[/card] into this ends the game. Pre-ordering at $15, and I could see it spiking higher than that, but I do think $10-15 is where this will settle as well.

Domri Rade

I’m not as big on this card as Ryan Bushard is on our podcast (, but I do think it’s solid. That said, so is something like [card Ajani, Caller of the Pride]Ajani[/card], and that sees basically no play. Unless I’m way wrong on the power level here, I imagine this will be a $8-12 ‘walker that sees some fringe play, certainly not the $25 retail it is now.

This is something to keep an eye on down the road, since after rotation it’s still going to be a powerful turn two play.

Duskmantle Seer

This is actually a pretty sweet card, and he’s a good beater in an aggressive deck. That said, aggro is hard to do in these colors and there are many better four-drops out there. And since I only think this guy is good as the top-end of an aggro deck, I expect it to come down to $5 or so and maybe even a little lower, though having the Dark Confidant ability will help buoy it some.

Gideon, Champion of Justice

Speaking of overhyped cards, I have a hard time seeing Gideon do a ton. I think he’s got enough versatility to work in either a control or midrange deck, but I don’t see him being so insane as to impact the format right away. Retailing at $30 right now, I expect this to come down to $10-15.

Obzedat, Ghost Council

This guy is good. He’s Thragtusk after Thragtusk rotates. Which means, even if he sees some play now, he’s going to come down to $15 or maybe even a little lower in the meantime.

But the power level is definitely there on this card, and he dodges pretty much everything in Standard right now. He’s going to be good, even if it isn’t for a while, although the tough casting cost could be an issue.

Prime Speaker Zegana

We’ve seen with Revelation how good card draw can be, and Zegana certainly does that (and she’s a merfolk!) That said, she’s certainly good with a Restoration Angel or ‘Tusk out, but so would anything you’re paying six mana for. Bant decks could use her, perhaps even some midrange deck in the grindy mirrors, but I don’t think it’ll be in great numbers.

Preselling at $15, but probably more like $8-10 down the road.


Did you know that only fifteen rares from RTR retail for $3 or more, and only five for $10 or more, with Deathrite Shaman the most expensive at $18?

Knowing that, we can get a good idea of where Gatecrash will be three months from now.

Assemble the Legion

Here’s the thing about this card. It’s retailing at $1.50 right now, which is practically bulk. I don’t hate it as a throw-in target because this thing gets out of control pretty quickly, although it doesn’t seem to have a good home yet.

But the power level on this card is high. It could find a place either in a board-control deck, winning on its own if left unchecked without requiring additional mana, or in a midrange deck as a recurring source of creatures against said control decks. Not necessarily expecting big things from this, but the power level is there, so there are worse cards to target on the cheap.

Blind Obedience

People have been slowly catching onto this (after us in the forums, I believe). It slows down the haste decks, provides incremental advantage in extort, isn’t dead in multiples and also stops some of the combo decks in Modern.

That’s a lot of good things, but $5 is still too high. $3 seems more likely.

Boros Reckoner

I’m not sure Standard play alone will keep this at $4, but the card is solid. It will probably see play even if it’s only in the sideboard, and will be pretty dang good in Boros mirrors or against any non-Wrath deck. I can see this moving up in price when people realize this, even if it doesn't stay that high forever.

Also, Spitemare buylists for a quarter. Random fact, sure, but the Reckoner is the only card with the same ability we’ve seen since, so it’s something to keep in mind. I like this as a trade target at $2-3 or lower.

Crypt Ghast/Mind Grind

Ghast retails at $3 and Mind Grind is out of stock some places at $4. Both are going to be casual all-stars at the minimum for years to come. See Nirkana Revenant, Glimpse the Unthinkable and Mind Funeral for context.

You’ll be able to get these at a buck or two in trade, and it’s a bet that will pay off, even if it’s not for years.

Frontline Medic

The $6 preorder price actually feels pretty correct to me, though this could spike higher in the short-term. It obviously has a ton of utility and beats well. Will be played in the same decks as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, so it can’t go past her price, which is why I think $4-6 seems correct.

High Priest of Penance

This card is sweet, and casual players like B/W and they like Vindicate. This isn’t that good, but it’s certainly not bad either. It has some applications in Standard, from Angel of Glory's Rise decks to a speedbump for Esper decks.

Probably $3-4 in a few months, not the $6 it’s preselling for.

Thespian's Stage

This isn’t a great pickup at prerelease, but it will be once set redemptions start and the price begins to fall.

Besides 16-Post, this is an absolute house in EDH. This set’s Parallel Lives, possibly with even more upside. Foils under $7-8 in a few months are going to be a great long-term play, and I expect regular copies to drop fairly hard but rebound quickly in the next few years.

Shocklands (Especially Breeding Pool)

Trade the new ones for RtR shocks and stock them away. I made this call two years ago for fetchlands, and just sold my position in them for $1400. That’s a big game. Shocks won’t be as profitable, but if Magic continues to grow at its current rate they’re going to make you money. They won’t get cheaper than they are right now.

In three months we can do the same with Gatecrash shocks. And I want to call out Breeding Pool especially. Because people are disappointed with Gatecrash and because of the natural decay of a second set, there will in all likelihood be less Gatecrash opened than Return to Ravnica. This fact alone doesn’t mean too much, but it does when combined with the next one.

Breeding Pool was in Dissension, along with Hallowed Fountain and Blood Crypt. Because the original Ravnica block had the regular set structure, way less Dissension was opened than the other two sets. This led to Dissension shocks costing significantly more than their counterparts.

Of these three shocks, only Breeding Pool is also in Gatecrash, which will be the lesser-opened set this time around. That means, from a pure supply perspective, that the ceiling on the card is higher than any of the other nine shocks. While these prices will always be influenced by playability in Modern more than anything else, this is a very important note to keep in mind.

Well, that’s it. I’m excited to see how Chad thinks I did in three months when he reviews this!

Oh yeah, and have fun at the Prerelease!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

9 thoughts on “Insider: Gatecrash Prerelease Primer

  1. I’d be careful about drawing too many paralles from price trends in RTR and GTC. Reason I think they’re significantly different:

    1) RTR was a 6pack PTQ Sealed format

    2) There’s a season that will have RTR undrafted while we draft triple gatecrash. We’ll see some upswing as a result of RTR prior to drafting the block as a whole. GTC won’t off the draft tables until Coreset.

  2. Good points, and I didn’t realize that about High Priest, that does limit his ceiling.

    The thing with Shocks is we’re basing it off of Zendikar fetch trajectory. If the game continues to grow at its current pace, they’re a great investment. if it doesn’t, they’ll be more mediocre but still fine. But it’s an unlikely set or circumstances that makes it a bad investment at this point.

  3. I think Aurelia\’s Fury is the most overrated preorder card since Time Reversal, and all I hear out of its proponents is \”nuh uh, it\’s the best card they\’ve ever printed!\”

    I am bearish on Fury as well

    1. you want to buy shocks that are less than 1/2 the cost of the associated fetch. steam vents, overgrown tomb and the reprint breeding whatever u/b are all excellent choices. i’d buy marsh flats over its companion shockland

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