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Insider: Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Primer

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It’s that time of the year again. The loved (or hated) set financial review!

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 to have on your radar for one reason or another, whether they be sleepers or casual hits and so forth.

If you want to hear some financial thoughts besides mine on the new set, make sure to check out the latest episode of Brainstorm Brewery when it comes out on Friday at GatheringMagic.com.

You can also look for my retrospective on Gatecrash picks in a few weeks, but in the meantime we have a lot of stuff to get through in Dragon’s Maze, so let’s get on it!

Blood Baron of Vizkopa

At a $12 preorder on Star City Games, there’s not much to like here. I think the card is powerful, of course, and it will likely compete with [card Obzedat, Ghost Council]Obzedat[/card] for that 5-drop spot once Thragtusk rotates. I have no idea right now which of those will win out, so there may be an opportunity down the line, but it’s certainly coming down from $12.

If this does reach near-bulk status I like picking it up because it’s a legendary vampire at the mythic rarity. That’s good for its long-term prices.

Deadbridge Chant

This is, by far, the card I most like at its $4 preorder price, for a few reasons.

Firstly, Standard. This card provides so much value I can see it immediately becoming a two-of in Jund decks. That may not do much to its price, but it doesn’t exactly have far to drop either. Secondly, Block and/or Standard decks that start with four Abrupt Decay, four Putrefy and some number of Vraska the Unseen/Chant are probably a thing.

And on top of that, it’s a very solid Commander card for any reanimator deck or simply a one that likes value. With all of that in mind, I highly suggest picking this up at your prerelease this weekend.

Legion's Initiative

No way this stays $12. Even if its played I don’t think it will be played a ton, so something like $3-4 seems more right in a few months.

Ral Zarek

I’m sure this surprises no one, but this card is insanely overpriced at $35. It’s hard to imagine common scenarios where the first ability is something you actively look for, and while the second ability is really good and people obviously want to take extra turns, I’m just not sure that translates into a lot of Standard play.

The guy obviously does have a following though, so I expect Ral to end up at something like $8-12 four to six months down the line. And I expect Jace, Architect of Thought to be the 4-drop Planeswalker of choice and rise in price accordingly from the $10 it’s at right now.

Savageborn Hydra

When I first saw this card, I got excited about it's casual potential down the line, a lá Primordial Hydra. Then I saw it’s $8, which I think is absurd because the card is unlikely to see any real competitive play, at least before next year.

Let this drop down to near-bulk and scoop them up then.

Voice of Resurgence

This is one of the cards people are really divided over. Some think it’s the best thing ever while others are pretty “meh” about it and its $20 preorder price.

I’m somewhere in between. I think the card is solid but don’t see it going nuts any time soon, and leaving behind a 1/1 isn’t exactly the best Wrath defense we’ve ever seen.

In summation, then, $6-9 card.

Aetherling

I’m addressing this one (preselling at $6) because I’ve heard a few people say it’s going to be the next big control finisher. Personally, I don’t see that at all. In order to protect it you have to play it at seven mana, and then attack with it at least five turns in a row to win.

That’s too much for my tastes when the alternatives have a larger impact on the board. As such, I don’t really see much hope for this card, and I think it’s $2-4 down the line.

Beck

Rumor has it there’s another half to this card, but it’s pretty much irrelevant. I also think $4 on the preorder for this Modern combo-enabler is probably not terribly incorrect. It’ll likely settle to $2-3 and then go back to $4 if it’s played next Modern season.

Breaking

Another split card with a meaningless second half. This isn’t Glimpse the Unthinkable, but it’s not that far off either. I’m not sure many casual players like split cards, but I have to imagine this won’t go too much lower than $2, so I really like trading for them at that price and hoarding.

Notion Thief

This is the Dragon's Maze card most akin to Boros Reckoner in my opinion.

What I mean by that is it could see a large spike the first week or two it’s out because I’m pretty sure this will be big against the Sphinx's Revelation decks. Obviously we all know this, but people jamming this in the first week could easily spike it to $10+ from its current $6. I wouldn’t expect it to stay there though; chances are it comes back down to $5 or so.

Sire of Insanity

This is already up to $3 from a buck, but I don’t even hate trading for it at that $2-3 price point this weekend. A solid showing next weekend spikes this to $5+, and you’ll have no problem outing them at that time for a nice double-up.

I don’t see it ever being a 4-of, though, so it will likely settle to $3-5 even if it does see play, and more like $1-2 if it doesn’t.

Zhur-Taa Ancient

It’s impossible not to like this thing because it’s 50 cents, or actual bulk, on SCG right now. It’s a freaking Mana Flare!

I get that it’ll never see Standard play, but EDH players are likely to want these, and people don’t mind global effects like this as much in that format because of politics. That means this will easily trade at more than 50 cents, and since it can’t really get any cheaper it's a good pickup this weekend.

Wrapping Up

That’s pretty much it. This set has a lot of “meh” cards in it, which honestly is fine with me. Not every set needs to push the power level so much that it obsoletes something else. It does make for a smaller-than-usual set review though. Anyway, the lower prices across the board mean that the good targets will stay good as less overall product may be opened, and it helps the prices on shocklands hold.

And by the way, I’ll still be trading for every Return to Ravnica shockland I can this weekend, and will do the same when the Gatecrash ones get to that price point as well.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

11 thoughts on “Insider: Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Primer

  1. I would say that you are not fully grasping the full potential of aetherling. Play it, and protect it, then attack for 3 turns and they are dead. Unblockable, and +4/-4 still leaves you with mana to protect it if need be.

    1. That’s a lot more work than other win conditions at SEVEN mana. I mean, the flicker ability is certainly strong, but it’s hard to believe there’s not a better option. It COULD be the win-con in the Sphinx’s Revelation decks, but even so I think it comes down in price long before it goes up.

  2. Deadbridge Chant – It costs too much mana and the effect is random. I’d rather be casting a finisher or winning the game at 6 mana.

    Breaking // Entering – The 2nd half is not useless, there are people testing Cascade Reanimator with this in Modern. Still, it’s also a promo, so I agree with your price assessment.

    Notion Thief – Sideboard material only. Costs too much mana to be good in Legacy or Modern. Not worth running the cute combos with Whispering Madness, Reforge the Soul, or Otherworldy Atlas because those combos are garbage.

    Agree with everything else. Thoughts on Renegade Krasis, Skylasher, and Obzedat’s Aid (they seem like they might be playable)? Any commons/uncommons you think would be worth picking up in foil? I’m thinking these might see play:

    Rubblebelt Maaka – Uncounterable pump for RDW or R/x aggro decks.

    Weapon Surge

    Carnage Gladiator – potential Hellrider/Falkenrath Aristocrat replacement for Rakdos decks

    Drown in Filth – Reanimator enabler

    Gruul War Chant – potential Pyreheart Wolf replacement

    Putrefy – will obviously see play

    Spike Jester – Jund/Rakdos aggro card

    Unflinching Courage – functional reprint of Armadillo Cloak, could see play in Bant Enchant

    Warped Physique – Solid removal spell for control

    Zhur-Taa Druid

    Far // Away – similar to Tribute to Hunger, which has seen play here and there

    Turn // Burn

    Wear // Tear – potential sideboard card

    1. I mean, sure it’s not “useless,” but it’s also largely ineffectual in regards to its price. I’ll probably spend next week hitting on some of the other stuff you mentioned to round out the targets for the first few weeks.

  3. Deadbridge Chant – I have to agree with Corbin here. I am just waiting for more vendors to race to the bottom on pre-sale prices before I start moving in. Even if this becomes a bulk mythic rare you can pick these up at $3 on ebay/TCG with limited downside. SCG had this card priced at $7.99 for a while before they dropped it down to $3.99. At least they think it’s not an immediate bulk mythic rare.

    Deadbridge Chant is a MUST in June ControlMidrange since it lets you have (passive) card advantage after it gets into play, puts creatures into play for free (and I’m not sure, but you’re not CASTING the card so it can’t be countered? Not sure on the ruling), and you can still have Ground Seal in play and it won’t hose Deadbridge Chant since you are not targeting anything with Deadbridge Chant. I don’t mind the random card effect since you pull random cards from your library anyways. What do you want, an enchant that will let you pull target cards from your graveyard into your hand or directly into play every turn? That would be an absurd card.

    1. The creature’s can’t be countered…this is similar to Elvish Piper/Quicksilver Amulet/Sneak attack in that it puts the creature directly into play, thus it would trigger ETB abilities, but not “when cast” abilities.

    2. It’s just so much value. It’s card advantage in non-Sphinx’s decks. If it said “at upkeep look at top card of library, if it’s a creature put it into play, if not draw that card,” would you play it? I think it would certainly merit consideration, and you have more control over this than you do the top of your library.

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