Insider: Initial Look at Dragon’s Maze

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Dragon's Maze (DGM) is fully spoiled at this point, but there is no event data to analyze and no MTGO pricing data to look at either. All we can do is analyze what's available and do some thinking of our own. At this point, it's hard to see which rares in particular will be the breakout cards from this set. Most of the initial observations I've read indicate no obvious powerhouses and that the power level of many cards will only be revealed in context. Below is a rundown of the cards I am interested in at the moment and ones I consider worth keeping tabs on.

Keep in mind that for any DGM card the third set effect will be present. Prices on cards from the third set of a block have tended to reach the highest prices in the following year. Recent examples from MTGO include Bonfire of the Damned and Sword of War and Peace, both of which surpassed 40 tix. In terms of in-print rares, the all time high for a non-foil was reached by Restoration Angel, also from a third set.


Council of the Absolute

With the potential to be a 4-of from a 3rd set, we might be looking at a future high priced staple. If this card starts out at a reasonable price, say 4-7 tix, I won't hesitate to start building a position. Early tournament results which favor this card would be a strong signal to stake out a larger position.

Ral Zarek

No surprise that the planeswalker of the set is on the list, however expectations are probably too high at the moment. The untapping half of the +1 ability seems to have few powerful options within the block, so it's more likely this will see stronger interactions in Standard with something like Gilded Lotus. Keep your eyes out on this one for a price bottom; I'll be more interested if it falls into the 10-14 tix range.

Voice of Resurgence

This card was identified early as potentially powerful and carries a paper price tag to match. Its strengths include a resiliency to mass removal and an effective deterrent to anyone trying to play instants on your turn. I expect that this card will be priced too high at the outset and that a period of experimentation will be followed by disappointing results, leading to price declines. Although not a huge body for Standard, I strongly suspect this card will have applications in Legacy and Modern. If that turns out to be the case, it could be a strong buy in advance of Modern season next year.


Advent of the Wurm

The rate on this card is good, but the prevalence of Thragtusk in Standard might keep it from being fully appreciated. If Thragtusk does not get reprinted in M14, this would probably be good a bet to gain in value after Fall rotation. Once it finds its price level, this is a buy.


Lots of writers identified this early on as having potential in Modern. Both Intruder Alarm and Cloudstone Curio have seen price increases in the last couple of weeks. The easy money has been made on these two cards, but as rares from older sets both are in short supply on MTGO. Further price increases are possible so pay attention to what the Modern brewers are doing. Either card could go to 5+ tix if Beck meets the early expectations of powering up a new combo deck in Modern.


With any of the new split cards, the ability to cast them both using fuse should be seen as a bonus. For this particular card, Catch is a fairly unique effect that has not been seen at 3cc before, and Release has no precedent although I am reminded a little of Jokulhaups. I anticipate this card going to bulk or near-bulk, but Release has build-around potential so I will be stock piling these when prices settle down.

Lavinia of the Tenth

This card should make an impact on Block Constructed, so it might hold a higher price online than other DGM rares. If it does, but doesn't see equivalent play in Standard, put this down as another card to pick up this Summer prior to rotation.

Obzedat's Aid

Brewers such as Travis Woo are already hard at work on this card, seeking to maximize its potential to put an Omniscience into play. This will probably start out as an expensive rare, but Omniscience still has some room to move up. Players and brewers on MTGO tend to be short-sighted and won't look to buy the cards they need to experiment with Obzedat's Aid until prereleases have started. I'd expect further price increases on Omniscience and possibly on Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker.

Ruric Thar, The Unbowed

Sometimes you really want a monster that smashes things. This guy tangles with most large creatures in Standard and comes out on top, and he's also costly to remove with spells. I think he will be played, but might be inexpensive early on since people will dismiss him as a big dumb monster.

Looking Forward

Cards like Sphinx's Revelation and Obzedat, Ghost Council were both available at relatively low prices prior to their respective release events ending. There's always a few gems in the rough, but it's hard to tell at this point which ones they could be. After release events have started I will start monitoring the prices of mythic rares and attempt to identify any value that might be present, as well as any cards that are overpriced and due for a fall.

Portfolio Update

This is a brief rundown of what I am buying, selling and watching in the market.


  • Jace, the Mind Sculptor has seen a recent price bump to over 60 tix so I took the opportunity to sell a play set. It looks like this card is taking a breather and MTGOtraders has 13 copies in stock currently, a relatively high amount for them. With DGM the focus in the short term, expect further price weakness. I'll consider rebuying at 55 tix as the long-term outlook on this card is still positive.
  • I've almost completely sold down my stock of Jace, Architect of Thought and Rakdos's Return. I've got a hunch these will both be pushing down to sub-10 tix during the coming weeks and if that's the case I'll look into rebuying then.


  • A few Gatecrash cards have seen some price strength this week, probably due to the next MOCS event being Block Constructed and the DGM spoilers dampening enthusiasm for GTC draft. Obzedat, Ghost Council, Domri Rade and Boros Reckoner are cards I continue to buy when I can find a good price, though Domri Rade has bumped up in price in the last few days.
  • Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker and Omniscience are two cards which could see play with Obzedat's Aid. I have bought both this week. I'd expect Omniscience to get to 8-9 tix after the DGM prereleases start due to players experimenting, and if the deck is viable it will hit 10+ tix. Nicol Bolas is a bit more speculative, but on the plus side it is closer to a price bottom.


  • I'll be paying attention to paper tournament results once DGM hits to get a sense for how the Standard metagame might shift.
  • GTC boosters have fallen to 3 tix or below and it's reasonable to expect further price weakness. The upcoming week of Cube drafting and then the DGM prereleases will shift attention away from GTC booster drafts. Demand for tix will increase as both Cube and prerelease prizes cannot be used directly to reenter events. At the same time, GTC boosters will continue to be awarded from Standard and Block Constructed. All told, I have stopped buying GTC boosters for the moment and will start buying again during DGM prereleases.
  • Putrefy is a card I would expect to see prices higher than 1 tix during prereleases and can currently be bought for 0.24 tix from Cardbot. In his most recent article, Reid Duke considered this to be a necessary card for Jund in Standard. Be sure to sock away a few copies of the original version in order to sell during the initial period of high demand and short supply.

6 thoughts on “Insider: Initial Look at Dragon’s Maze

  1. Good article, as usual. The portfolio update is very helpful.

    Don’t see too many strong constructed cards in DGM, but something always breaks out…

  2. I agree, the Portfolio Update is fantastic.

    I am sold on Council of the Absolute. Azorius just feels strong and reliable for the upcoming Block.

  3. Great insight!

    What’s your opinion about the timing? I was reviewing the AVR charts and for most (80 to 90%) of the rares and mythics the bottom was after about 1 week of release. To the exception of Bonfire which constantly rose after that 1st week, the others cards stayed at the bottom for several weeks until the release of M14.

    My point is: It looks like there is no need for rush to buy? And especially if we target severals cards (5 to 10) there’s great chances of missing lowest than missing THE HIT if we precipitate our buys?

    1. Prices from a set are generally low when a set is being actively drafted. The switch to core set drafting is usually when prices start rising. The curveball this year is that Modern Masters is coming out in June, and we don’t know how this will affect DGM drafting.

      As a general principal, timing the market on mtgo is hard, and even if you time it perfectly, the bots will react to aggressive buying by raising prices. This means that you might not be able to build up a large position if you wait for the bottom. Last year I was waiting on Restoration Angel, and by the time I started buying, I only got 15 copies before it started going up to prices I wasn’t willing to pay. I was going to go 100+ copies deep, and that would have been a nice spec, but I waited too long.

      My general rule is to look for the approximate bottom during release events, and start buying the mythics that I think have value. Regular rares will often continue to drift down in price, so I am not so keen on buying these during release events.

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