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Insider: Finishing the Maze

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Let’s start with a brief aside. You’d think that after three years of Magic writing for several websites (and a weekly podcast) one could run out of things to say, and I guess some people do. I won’t deny lacking for inspiration from time to time, but a lot of the time, in this column in particular, I feel like I don’t have enough time or space to say everything I want.

Last week was an example of this. I did my Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Primer, a tradition before every new set. In many ways it’s a set review, but more than that it’s also a game plan for the prerelease event, which can mean more than just putting a price on every card. I try to talk only about hyped cards or ones I feel strongly about, and due to space constraints that means some stuff can be left off.

In the comments of last week’s articles multiple people listed some other cards that I didn’t get a chance to talk about, so I want to use this week to address some of those cards. I’ll round up my Dragon’s Maze coverage the week after that with the “Casual Hits from…” series, and then follow that up with my retrospective on the Gatecrash review.

That’s my plan, at least. Let me know what you all think of that outline. I’ve followed a loose path similar to it in the past, but the reflection I opened this column with above made me decide that a little more structure could be useful to normalize things moving forward. What I’m most unsure about is whether the previous set retrospective (in this case Gatecrash) should be done the week before the prerelease or several weeks after as we’re doing this time around. Let me know what you prefer.

Anyway, enough housekeeping. Let’s get to it!

Deadbridge Chant

When I talked about this card last week I said it was one of my favorite targets, and it could be had for around $2-3 online. Since then it’s crept more toward $4 in many places, and I think it’s one of two cards to watch closely in the next few weeks.

Based on my testing, I’ve actually cooled just a little to the card, at least in Standard. I feel like it occupies the same space Sphinxs Revelation does in that it’s your big “take control” card in the Control decks where you turn the corner. I understand that they aren’t played in the same decks, but in my testing I’ve felt like if you’re playing the control deck you’d rather just have Revelation since you want to be in Supreme Verdict colors anyway.

That’s certainly not a death knell for the Chant. What it does mean is that it likely fits better as the top-end of a strong midrange deck like Jund along with the next card on this list. I still think this is a great trade target at $3 or so and a good weekend in the next 2-3 weeks could cause a big spike.

Sire of Insanity

Another way that Chant could become the go-to control finisher is if enough Revelation hate becomes played. Notion Thief, Frontline Medic and this card all fit the bill.

Sire has an extremely powerful effect and plays great with Chant, leading me to think a control-ish version of Jund with both of these could become a player. If such a deck happens in the next week or two, this could also experience a spike from the dollar you can pick them up at now in trade.

Skylasher

Where was this thing a year ago? This is basically the perfect anti-Delver card and had it been printed instead of Thragtusk we’d have a much-less warped format than we do now.

With that said, this card is basically just a Geist-stopper now, and while it’s good at that role, it is a bit narrow. This is also good sideboard material in older formats, but it’s narrow there too so I don’t expect much of it moving forward. Look at the near-bulk Great Sable Stag for context.

Obzedat's Aid

I think this is a great financial play once it gets cheap. I don’t expect much Standard play, and it’s a very long way from Unburial Rites. That said, I do expect a fair amount of EDH and casual play, and some fringe Standard play is possible, so this is an attractive target for me once it gets below $2.

Renegade Krasis

This is about a buck now, and I don’t expect it to really ever be more. Sure, it’s a really powerful effect, but there’s just not a ton that works with it for constructed play. Experiment One and Cloudfin Raptor are good and all, but I don’t think the dedicated evolve deck is going to break out in Standard any time soon. That means this isn’t going anywhere.

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch

I think chances are high this becomes cheap, at which point we pick them up, and then next year doubles or triples in price to hit $4-5, which is easy if unexciting money.

Commons/Uncommons/Foils

This is a major reason why I’m wanting to make this “second-week” column part of the regular rotation, because the C/U/Foil section is an important one to have, and one that is usually clearer after seeing the cards in action.

Gruul War Chant

I don’t think this is exactly Fires of Yavimaya, but it’s a powerful top end. It’s possible an all-out Zoo blitz deck could make use of this at the top end after rotation, so it’s worth grabbing off draft tables if not much more.

Putrefy

This card doesn’t really see much Eternal play anymore, but foils are still probably a good choice for this do-it-all removal spell.

Another note about this card is that digging up your old copies is suddenly worth it, because there is a real percentage of players who like to have the original printings.

Spike Jester

I mean, this guy does bring the beats. Attacks for five on turn two with Rakdos Cackler, which is something you can’t ignore. You’ll find these all day in draft leftovers.

Turn // Burn

One of very few cards, if not the only one, that can keep a Thragtusk from leaving behind a buddy. Even without fusing, both halves of this are acceptable, so this is a prime target for keeping in the binder and foiling out.

The same goes for Wear // Tear, which is likely playable in older formats.

Debt to the Deathless

So this says “each opponent” and has an X in the casting cost. EDH fodder here folks, foils are the play.

Guildgates/Cluestones

I’m leaning towards not even boxing away the regulars because I don’t think they’re ever really going to get there financially, but foils are a very solid play. These have several advantages over similar dual lands in cubes, and cubers love these in foil. These are a safe bet to be worth more than you’d expect a ways down the road. The same goes for the cluestones.

And That's All

That should do it! Let me know if there’s anything I missed and I’ll be sure to address it in the comments, and I appreciate any feedback you guys have about the rest of the stuff I discussed.

And, as always, thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

18 thoughts on “Insider: Finishing the Maze

  1. I agree with you about Deadbridge Chant. If I want to recur removal spells and put creatures into play from my graveyard for free, I\’ll just stick to using Sphinx\’s Revelation.

  2. Sire of Insanity for a dollar in trade? That sounds pretty sweet 🙂

    Thanks for the updates. Other foils I feel will be pretty good at Uncommon would be Far // Away and Sin Collector.

    1. Carnage Gladiator seems pretty solid as a 4-drop as well, I like it to replace Aristocrat/Hellrider as the Rakdos 4-drop over Exava.

  3. I really enjoyed the article and agree with your statements regarding Deadbridge Chant…awesome EDH card…much less awesome standard card…Foil copies will trade very well in the upcoming years. One thing you might want to add to your section on the Guildgates…is that they are different artwork in DGM…while that doesn’t seem super relevant…it’s still a difference that might imply a long term price difference between the two (of course not much given how many there are…but I can see a 10 cent or so difference).

    1. Dammit, I can just tell Deadbridge Chant is going to be the next Seance. It was ridiculous in our testing, we\’ll brew a deck and top 8 states with it and everyone will say \”fuck you, the card\’s bad\” without testing it and it will stay bulk. I really wish the people who played this game didn\’t lack imagination.

  4. Deadbridge Chant is good but its basically Saff of Nin. 6 cost non blue card drawing engine. Staff might be slightly better because it’ll net you 2 cards by the time chant gets you 1. Chant does let you put creatures directly into play which is a plus though.

    Too much of a niche card to ever be worth anything. Nobody is going to need 4, and only a few people are going to need 1 or 2.

    1. Staff of Nin draws a card Best case scenario. Deadbridge Chant draws a card worst case scenario. It\’s a Grisly Salvage on steroids. It does things people are doing already with weaker cards.

  5. I think Deadbridge chants streangth lies that your going to play it in a control deck. getting to recast your Abrupt Decays etc is a big plus. And I really hope in the next set there will be some sort of Nekrataal type creature (or M14) because Mark rosewater loves creatures. and last I feel if you can control your grave yard this will be really strong.

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