Last week, I covered the Mythic Rares of Gatecrash, but this week I’m going to walk through the Rares. I won’t touch on every rare, and the ones I skip you can assume my opinion is that the card is not relevant enough to consider speculation.
Of note before I cover the rares, I want to talk about how the bannings in Modern. With Seething Song and Bloodbraid Elf banned, I expect Storm players to shift to Splinter Twin and Jund players to switch to Junk. Splinter Twin shares a significant number of cards with Storm, and it will be easiest for players to make this switch. That being said, watch the Rare staples like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Splinter Twin, especially on MTGO. Many people played Storm for low cost entry-point, and shifting to Splinter Twin isn’t much more expensive (aside from the Kiki’s). Jund, losing BBE, really doesn’t have a reason to play Red anymore, and I’d be expecting a shift to Junk, possibly a Doran variant. I’m not as certain of what that new build will look like, so I’m more hesitant to make a move here.
On to Gatecrash!
This card has little to no hope of seeing Standard play, but I think years down the line might be worth a fraction more than its pre-sale price of $1.50 as it’s the type of card that casual players will love. By no means would I be buying in now, but if it falls to bulk prices over the next few months (which I expect) I might pick up a few for long term hold.
This card has the Johnny in me smiling. Cards that have the text “Win the Game” on them are certainly worth seeing if they can do their job. While I don’t know that there’s a realistic way to make him work in any format, people will be wanting to try it. If a deck appears with even moderate success, people will want to play him. I think $1 is a bit too low, but not something I want to make a move on. Again, if he were to come down a bit after release, I’ll be getting a set at a minimum.
At $10, I’m not willing to buy in, but he’s certainly a potent card I expect to see quite a bit of play. Depending on the types of removal people are playing, he’s surprisingly difficult to deal with, and may single handedly decide how Control decks are shaped throughout the course of the format. If there becomes a shift where decks build to beat him, and his price drops to the $3-4 range I’d want to get in. I think long term this is a $5 card, and his current $10 tag certainly can’t hold.
This is another card I’m interested in. At $5 I’m not sure it has much room to grow, but I expect this price to hold for some time. While most decks have a wide variety of X spells to choose from in the burn or removal department, this one has a ton of utility and will likely grace many Commander decks as well. I haven’t yet been impressed by any R/G midrange decks, but if a good one is out there, it may want this card. That being said, filling a utility role in a single deck isn’t going to shoot a Rare above $5.
This is a card I’m having trouble putting my finger on. At $6 I feel it’s too high, but it’s certainly powerful. The last repeatable Lightning Helix was Ajani Vengeant, and that’s certainly nothing to scoff at. However, at 4CMC it has a lot of competition, even in a dedicated Boros deck. Hellrider has haste, and likely will deal 3 or more damage to your opponent when you first cast him, without waiting a turn. While he can’t kill creatures or gain you life, it will be interesting to see which is more important to the Boros decks. Naya decks also have access to Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells, which in my opinion is a bit easier to start getting value out of.
While currently competing with Terminus and Supreme Verdict, I think this Wrath of God has legs. Firstly, when Terminus rotates, Eviction will be the non-destroy sweeper of choice, and while I expect this set to be opened a bit more than Avacyn Restored, I think $3 is extremely low. Also, the other modes of removal that this can fill prove to be really important to Control decks. Without having to sacrifice deckbuilding or sideboard slots for other types of removal, we have a maindeckable catch-all. I think the floor for this card is around $5, and might end up higher post-rotation.
This is another card that is tough to predict without seeing more of the format. While more efficient than Increasing Confusion on first cast, not sure that you can beat the combination of Confusion with flashback. That being said, mill cards with such a high power level often see some amount of play, so I’d like to think this card appears in Standard, but even still, $4 is awfully high for a Rare that will mostly see play in casual circles.
At $2 I’m not ready to move in yet, but I think this is another card that will dip to bulk-ish pricing and come back up a while down the road. This is a sweet card for decks that want to use the mana doublers like High Tide or Caged Sun without being actually mono-colored decks. I don’t know that there’s a deck in competetive constructed formats that can make use of this guy, as if he does have a relevant role, he’s too fragile to lean on for fixing.
In the previous weeks, I talked about my strategy for Shocklands. Get in on the RTR ones now as they’re cheaper, as they’ll likely increase as we draft GTC. I still find this to be accurate despite the new announcement that all 10 shocklands can be found in Dragon’s Maze packs. Especially, with the relevant detail that shocklands will appear at a much lower frequency (half as much) in Dragon’s Maze as in the other sets in the block, and the demand for these lands will remain high for at least a year, I don’t know that I am changing my position on them much, other than prices may depress even further to pick up sometime this spring. I’d still expect these to be fairly pricey, especially next year when Modern Season comes and it’s been several months since RTR block had been drafted. This does however change their pricing after they rotate from Standard, but we have plenty of time to prepare for that.
If there are other Rares I didn’t talk about, but you want my opinion, I’ll be happy to comment on them here. Further, if you disagree with any of my positions above, let me hear it!