It’s that time of the year again! The time for… grading our picks!
For those who maybe don’t know what I’m talking about, I write a “prerelease primer” for every set. In these I talk about the cards I see as relevant and make my predictions as to where the prices will end up.
This season I’m putting a bit of a twist of things. Instead of reviewing my own picks, Chad is reviewing my set review and I’m reviewing his.
There are a few reasons for this. To start, let me get on my miniature soapbox for a minute.
When I first started writing, it really was the Wild West of MTG finance writing. There were a lot of people getting into the game, and there was basically zero accountability. I saw numerous articles in which writers would claim, “I told you to buy XX, look how good at this I am!” without listing any of their buy recommendations that didn’t pan out.
That’s why I first started the set review, and to my knowledge I was the first to do so. I think it was a big step as far as accountability was concerned, but any self-analysis falls prey to the issues of self-bias.
And that’s why we’re changing it up this time around. Let me know what you think of this approach.
With that said, let’s dive in! I’m pulling info for the calls from Chad’s articles in September and early October.
This is the card I’m most excited about thus far. This is an extremely awesome piece of artifact ramp and fixing all in one, and I expect it to see some significant play in both Commander and Standard. I wouldn’t be surprised if it made cameos in older formats like Modern too. Joiner Adept's ability on an artifact is much more resilient than a 2/1 creature and the Lantern itself taps for mana. This will be the cornerstone of any 3+ color control deck, which by the looks of the cards spoiled thus far, is not out of the question at all.
Allowing control decks to jam a large number of multi-colored spells, including charms, into their deck will give them a wide variety of cheap answer cards [and] granting the ability to finish the game with the most powerful card they can find is no joke. The fact that every 3+ color Commander deck will want a copy of this is another huge factor. This card is pre-ordering at $5 on StarCityGames.com and I think that’s a steal. I’d like to see this card hit $10 fairly quickly after it releases.
Lantern is now sitting at $3.50 on SCG. To my knowledge, it never went higher than $6-7 on SCG, so this was a bit of a miss in that regard. I do think Chad is right in that this is a great pickup, especially at the price it currently sits at. I’m a bit surprised control decks aren’t jamming it yet, but that may change as the rest of the guilds release and there’s more incentive to stretch the mana. And there’s always that Commander value.
“Meh,” was my first thought when I read this spoiler. I’ve forced myself to try and be a bit more open minded about this card, but I’m still not sure I like him. His first ability may be relevant if a token deck exists, but with cards like Intangible Virtue in the format, they can counteract his ability fairly easily. His 2nd ability is undoubtedly insane, but paying four mana to use it once is not exactly value. A deck that likes this Jace would also likely play Tamiyo. In connection, they do stuff, kind of. Jace requires that they attack with all their creatures for less damage, while Tamiyo can tap their largest creature or draw cards from all their attackers. Tamiyo is really the strong card in this combo, but if a heavy blue control deck exists it may play some number of this Jace, but I don’t expect it to stabilize much more than $12.
Now: $18 on SCG. While I was much higher on Jace than Chad was, his analysis is fairly solid. He certainly nailed the fact that Jace plays well with [card Tamiyo, the Moon Sage]Tamiyo[/card], which saw a spike a few weeks after release.
Of course, Jace also saw a spike to $40 or so before coming back to Earth. Chad undershot the target on Jace a bit here, but in this day and age coming within $6 on a planeswalker named Jace is not bad at all.
Abrupt Decay is a card that is getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so. Unfortunately, its pre-order price of $15 is a bit prohibitive to make a move. This price is pretty spot on, in my opinion. It’s such a cheap spell with a powerful, uncounterable effect. It will see play in older formats as well. Maelstrom Pulse, the closest thing we’ve seen to this card in Standard for quite some time hit as high as $17 during its Standard tenure, and I expect we’re looking at something quite similar, despite the additional demand from older formats. When this card was pre-ordering around $10 I liked it, but at $15 there’s too much risk with far too little reward.
Now: $7 on SCG. I’ll also note that Chad updated his price point to $12 a few weeks later. I’m pretty sure I also predicted this card to be worth more than it is. While it hasn’t been an all-star in Standard, the card is making solid appearances in Modern as a part of Jund and has found a home in Legacy as well. Still, discouraging people from buying in at $15 was the right call, even as some financial-minded people I know were suggesting getting in at that price.
Still, as it stands today Chad overshot the target here, since much of Abrupt Decay’s cost was based on the GB Zombies deck that didn’t stick around for very long. This is the biggest miss in this list, but it’s certainly one I understand, as I made the same mistake myself. I do think it's a fine trade target at its current price, for what it’s worth.
Speaking of cards that I’m personally excited about, Cyclonic Rift. This card is my kind of card. It’s clearly meant for the control player, and has unrestrictive color requirements. We could slot this into a 4-5 color control deck as a haymaker. While it’s preorder price of $4 is likely too high, it’s a card that will be on my radar in trades as prices start stabilizing. Most control decks wont play more than one or two of this card, and it’s unlikely to see play in older formats with the exception of Commander, where it will be amazing. Overload is a great mechanic for multiplayer as it scales well for large games without an additional cost.
Now: $2.50 on SCG. Chad called this one perfectly. Everything he said about the card is true, and he correctly called the $4 preorder price as too high.
Shocklands have shot up in pre-order pricing. Initially sitting at $10, some have risen to $15. This is insanity in my opinion. $10 should be the ceiling for these on a whole, while there may be one particular shockland that sits just above once we know what the format looks like. Being a second printing, there are a ton of these around. They also aren’t hidden in boxes, they are out and around in trade binders and fairly easy to find.
Perfect call here. A couple of shocks are sitting at $12 on SCG, while the rest are $10. I believe most everyone on this site who weighed in came to about the same conclusion on the price of the lands, which is a good sign, and it looks like we were right.
With that said, now is the time to start picking these back up. Prices can go a little lower, but not too much. And remember the fetchland lesson – cards don’t always go down when they rotate from Standard. Getting in on shocks cheap is going to pay off a few years down the road.
That’s it for the Return to Ravnica stuff, but I want to point out a few other solid calls Chad made. He suggested picking up Stromkirk Noble at $2 (now $4), Tamiyo at $15 (now $25), he predicted [card Bonfire of the Damned]Bonfire[/card] to go down (it did) and Innistrad lands to go up (and we all know they did).
All in all, I have to give Chad pretty high marks for this spoiler season. While he missed entirely on Deathrite Shaman, most of us did. That happens from time to time, and while predicting cards to go up is important, it’s just as important to note which cards not to buy into, which Chad did well last season.
Thanks for reading,
@Chosler88 on Twitter