Insider: Pre-Gatecrash Speculation

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I know some people were initially disappointed with what Gatecrash had to offer, and I can’t say I blame them. I’m still incredibly disappointed by Simic and the lack of merfolk, but the set as a whole is looking better and better as we move deeper into spoiler season.

I’m having a hard time deciding where stuff is going to fall price-wise in the new set, and I don’t want to present my thoughts on that until we get to my usual set review. But, like Jason has been advocating, oftentimes the most money to be made when a new set releases is not in the future (Gatecrash), but in the past (everything else).

And for that reason, today I want to look at some of the specs that Gatecrash makes attractive, and a few that it does not.

Champion of the Parish

This is the spec I’m most excited about right now, for a few reasons.

First off, I don’t think this is a great cash buy. Looking back at all the rares from Innistrad, this is already the most expensive at $5 outside of the lands and Snapcaster Mage.

And let’s be clear, this is no Snapcaster, so $20 plus is out of the question.

But remember that even Innistrad, while it may still seem fresh to us, is now out of print. That means the ceiling on these cards grows higher by the day. I’m not convinced Champion is going to hit the level Silverblade Paladin has at $12, but it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to see this thing hit $8-10 in the next few months as Boros enters the metagame.

Because Boros is good. I cannot overstate this. From the Charm that provides Wrath-protection and a burn spell all in one, to the Comet Storm that also A-Buy Your Silences, to the strong battalion cards, I think Boros decks are going to remain popular, even if they don’t turn out to be insane.

For that reason I think you can’t lose picking up Champions at $4-5 in trade right now, and the prospect of doubling up is not unrealistic.

Better mana is also going to help here, so Ash Zealot is also a solid spec for Boros.

Stromkirk Noble

I’ve been on this vampire ever since it dropped to $2, and we’ve already seen gains since then. With its success in mono-red as well as a possible inclusion in R/W aggro in the next few months, I think this could also easily hit $6-8.

Master of the Pearl Trident

This one appears to be a bust so far after I bought in. That said, I bought in at $1.90 and the top buy price is currently $1.65, so I’m not stressing out about this one.

But I do think there’s still value in trading into these. We’ve been told that merfolk are a big part of the Ravnica storyline, and if you believe the conspiracy theorists (there’s actually something to this) the Guildgates reveal that “the guilds of Ravnica will destroy each other.”

Given that we were also told by Mark Rosewater that merfolk played a large role, it's possible the seeds of merfolk are in Gatecrash but will be further explored in Dragon’s Maze. That could give us more fish and more opportunity for this spec to pay off quickly.

I realize this is a very tenuous thread. But the bottom line is getting in at $2.50 or less in trade is a no-lose situation because it’s still an Eternal-playable lord that has been printed once. $2 is the floor.

Slayer's Stronghold

I mention this one only because it’s so cheap right now, coming in at under a buck. Because of the harsh color requirements for the best creatures in these colors, I don’t expect this to be a four-of. That said, it’s going to trade above its retail price most of the time, just like the other spell-lands do, so stocking up on these now is a safe move.

Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha

Retailing for just $2.50, a double-up on this card is also a strong possibility. Naya Humans is a real deck, and this guy is a part of it. The pre-release promo version makes this one less of a sure thing, but since it’s so cheap right now it’s an attractive option.

Clifftop Retreat

I put this one on here not because it’s going to increase a ton in price, though it may appreciate some, but because I expect it to be in higher demand soon. That means that while you may not make money on the retail movement on this, you’ll have a chance to make some on the trade because it will be in demand.

Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells

I have to admit I'm not positive about this one. This has been creeping up for the last few weeks, but I’m not entirely sold yet. As more and more efficient four-drops enter the metagame this guy looks more and more clunky. That said, if the aggro decks are going to be as good as they look, the lifegain and two bodies here could still be relevant, so I’m not giving up my position just yet. If he does stay in favor and remains popular we could see jumps past $30.

Cards I'm Not Excited About

Geist of Saint Traft and Thundermaw Hellite

I’m not convinced the new “hexproof hate” card, Glaring Spotlight, is actually going to impact things, but I’m also convinced that Geist has to be at or near its ceiling.

The card pretty much can’t get more popular in Standard than it is right now, and it’s doing what it’s always going to do in Legacy. That said, what can it do right now that it isn’t already doing? It’s the same thing with Thundermaw Hellkite. I’m not saying the cards are going to go away or even go down in price for a while, but I don’t think they’re going up either. It’s the same logic I used when Bonfire hit $40, and it paid off then. I expect it to do the same now.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

15 thoughts on “Insider: Pre-Gatecrash Speculation

  1. Great article with some well thought out points. My only disagreement stems from Stromkirk Noble, not that I disagree that it’s an undervalued card (it is) or that you can make money off of it because of that (you can), but having played a lot of R/B (splash) aggro I’ve honestly prefered Vexing Devil to the Noble, solely based on the fact that a turn 1 devil does 4 to the opponent…it takes Stromkirk until turn 4 to surpass that. It’s also unfortunate that the turn that he does..your opponent can flash in Resto angel and kill it..whereas Devil trades with Resto.

  2. Thanks for the article! I think we should keep in mind the ‘Event Deck’. This time it will be announced ‘Boros and Simic’. Event deck usually include a Innistrad or M13 dual land and some hot std rares. Some Boros cards have potential in the deck since there is no hot rare on Simic guild. It seems WOTC care about single market with event deck like printing Thragtusk

  3. “Given that we were also told by Mark Rosewater that merfolk played a large role, it’s possible the seeds of merfolk are in Gatecrash but will be further explored in Dragon’s Maze.”

    Dude, give it up.

  4. champion and ash zealot are definitely strong pickups.

    stromkirk noble is not a human and gets even more mediocre with things like 1-drop evolve running around. the red decks were running it out of necessity more than it actually being good. takes 3 hits to match a rakdos cackler, etc.

    and yes give up the merfolk man, its over. master as a long term 2$ buy isnt bad thats for sure though.

    slayers stronghold was never even playable before not so sure its playable more than a 1-2 of now just because boros is a thing. probably stick at 1$ forever dont see much upside here.

    couldnt disagree with you on geist more. you dont mention modern at all, where the card is blowing up big time, and modern is driving most of the crazy price bumps these days. once it hits 30 again, then you dump. but i’m a very strong hold on these at the moment.

    thundermaw might take a dip but m13 as a set is completely void of any money other than thragtusk (event deck) & sublime archangel (casual allstar i guess). i dont see him ever going below 25-28 until m14 hits.

    1. I’m with you on those calls, but are the cards going any higher? That’s the point. If there’s not real upside on them (and I don’t think there’s more than maybe another 10-15%, Modern season has already happened as far as price bumps go), then it’s better to out them for cards that actually have upside or cashing out now at the ceiling (or near-ceiling).

  5. ya i wouldnt be picking up any geists atm. wasnt the card an easy 30 a month ago? it just feels more like geist is bottoming out again instead of at a ceiling? inn is relatively week and this card is still seeing a lot of 4 of play across all formats. not to mention rwu being a pretty insane deck with it coming up (fury, boros charm) just basing my opinions on playability and overall set worth. there could be other factors im not considering.

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