Insider: The Future of Enchantments is Now

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Read your alerts? Good. Enchantments are a thing in Theros. Ideas about specing for Modern, Legacy and Vintage are expected thanks to the other format (Commander) spiking card prices. If you want to take advantage of spikes in pricing it is easier to do that playing Standard, if only because the card pool is smaller. People seemed to enjoy my last article. Awesome, lets mush two ideas together so I don't get bored while trying to make use of its ideas.

Lets make a sample, Enchantments Are Coming, MtG portfolio. Looking over the previous article it looks like we are looking for at least 20 cards at roughly the same value. Rather than picking up 20 cards that happen to be selling for the same price lets pick your favorite card from the set. Let me think... that is easily Garruk, Caller of Beasts for me. Lets call Garruk a $15 card and make sure the next 19 enchanting instruments are worth about the same.

Making the Picks

Angelic Accord plays nice with a hot mythic and appeals to casual strategies: life gain and token generation. Let add 38 copies to the fund and put it near equal weight with the jolly green giant. 

Adding 37 copies of Barrage of Expendables does the same thing. This card is no where near Goblin Bombardment in terms of power level, but Bombardment has to have fans in Modern and Standard earning its weaker cousin a nod.

Not too sure what to make of Burning Earth. It is probably great in any Standard Red Deck Wins thanks to Shocklands and a mana-starved environment but it will compete with the new Chandra for a spot. I am going to call this a $2 card, as acquiring 8 copies at that price or better seems more reasonable than using tcg's actual low.

Domestication is a reprint and that makes me a little nervous adding it, but it does grab and hold plenty of the Standard four-of finishers. The price is also right. +37

Sanguine Bond is another reprint in M14 I'll be adding. It interacts with the whole gain life thing and has proven to be a popular casual card since its first printing in M10. With new copies as low as 30% of the original price, I am tickled pink to add at least 6.

I don't see a home for Primeval Bounty in Standard, but I'll be adding 3 anyway as it looks like another card with tons of casual appeal. Thankfully it hasn't seen print before and that probably means it gets tested.

Path of Bravery is another (conditional) anthem for white that gains life for its controller. I think it's too cheap now considering the quality of attacking white creatures in Standard. The interaction it has with Archangel of Thune could easily see this to $5 before Theros. Adding 10 at $1.50 while I can.

Some Oldies Too

Moving into RtR, and being a fan of the card for awhile, Deadbridge Chant looks like a solid addition. Playing nice with Scavenging Ooze and Deathrite Shaman is a good thing. +7

While I like Legion's Initiative less than Chant, it is a very unique effect on a relatively cheap anthem. Nearly 50% off of its highs, adding 4 copies at $3.50 adds another cheap and playable mythic to the fund.

Blind Obedience is base-lining. After once commanding a $5 price tag, Imposing Sovereign has helped drive down this 2cc enchant to sub $2 pricing. Can you tell me what this can do that the Sovereign can't? (trigger mythic angel) +8

Underworld Connections should get better with Doom Blade. Drawing cards gets better when Snapcaster and flashback leave Standard. 58 copies for $15 folks. I like the risk/reward on this one. Also, losing life when there is a ton of reasons to play life gain seems better than ok.


I need to add some cards to this fund that bet against control, enchantment and/or life gain. Otherwise I risk finding 20 cards that will fall together as they compete for space in a narrow deck archetype. Bring me 2 play sets of Burning-Tree Emissary and at least that many copies of Young Pyromancer.

Lets also get 2 copies of Scavenging Ooze around $10 a piece (overwieght) with a similarly priced Mutavault (underweight). From the Vault: Slivers could be a thing and the Ooze will find a home in many formats - Steam promo seems like the play.

Do not buy Shadowborn Apostle. Grab them as throw ins at FNM. These things are not quite Relentless Rats, but they have a neat trick attached AND play well with Sphinx of the Chimes. Buy these at bulk where possible. Hoard them. +100

Do what the email says. Opalescence is a card that loves enchantments and while it won't be in Standard unless we see a reprint, it is a great bet when you expect good things to happen to the card type. +10

Lifebane Zombie is a decent play under $5. It has evasion and plucks at hands. It is nuts in today's Standard thanks to a plethora of targets but still hasn't broken out in price. After M13 and with Theros you are still looking at a very playable efficient beater at 3cc. +4

Ring of Three Wishes is not playable outside of Commander. It is good with proliferate, and at $1.50 a pop I'm comfortable adding 7 copies of this new mythic (underweight).

Taking Stock

I hope this run through has been useful and I look forward to running the portfolio against my reader's creations. When constructing your own fund remember to clearly identify your objectives. In this case I want to capitalize on my expectation of an enchantment themed block.

Pick investments that offset each other. Appealing to different archetypes but maintain card type is probably enough. Above, both Sanguine Bond and Barrage of Expendables appeal to combo. Barrage also fits nicely along side Legion's Initiative and Path of Bravery in aggro. A life gain theme is included, as I think this core set demands. I made a straight "enchantments are getting better" bet with Opalescence and could have easily included Ajani's Chosen to capture a similar effect in Standard. Control could finally make use of Underworld Dreams thanks to more removal and the aforementioned life gain.

Of course, you'll noticed I did include stuff outside of the box. If you like something better than the rest, include it! I am not going to let a theme get me away from Shadowborn Apostle, Garruk, everyone's favorite Ooze and Mutavault. I suggest you keep similar company. Your best ideas with the best themed ideas is a fine way to play things.

14 thoughts on “Insider: The Future of Enchantments is Now

  1. I don’t want to be hypercritical or anything, but the only thing on this list that seems like a good buy is Opalescence. Let me break down why I feel this way:

    “Enchantments Matter” has _kinda_ happened before: Both in Rise of the Eldrazi, and Urza Block. This was a block that was overwhelmingly infatuated with enchantments, and were it not for Tolarian Academy, I don’t think people would’ve been as dismissive of that aspect of the block.

    Starting with Urza Block, we can see that the most creative way they had to make auras not suck was the Rancor Cycle(s). Replenish is an expensive spec, but with only a potential $3 loss on each (per you’re not doing awful (I know you were mostly looking at standard, but then you moved out of it)…

    There are two similar effects that are modern legal: Retether, and Open The Vaults.

    The former actually seems insanely powerful in the event that there are myriad auras in Theros.

    I think it’s also important to remember that they’re going to explore new design space. Living Weapon for Auras? It’s been talked about since before living weapon was a thing. Licids coming back? Doubtful, but not impossible. I don’t think buying enchantments up willy-nilly is the move to make money on speculating for theros, because the likelihood isn’t that enchantments that already exist will get better, but that Enchantments in theros will BE better.

    That doesn’t mean _anything_ for a card like Sanguine Bond, or Blind Obedience, but it means a LOT for Sigil of the Empty Throne, Mesa Enchantress, and Kor Spiritdancer.

    Enduring Ideal, copy enchantment, auratog: all get better with each new enchantment printed. Greater Auramancy, Zur, Verduran Enchantress… those are the _kinds_ of cards you’d want to pick up in my opinion (even if not those cards specifically).

  2. they need an edit function.

    if you want to play enchantments in standard you have to chose from a limited pool. that was a basic assumption in the formation of this thing and might help you make sense of why only opalescence seems playable outside the format.

      1. yes. a portfolio i’d like to see is a cube one. card changes are smaller, but the format has a lot of room to grow. modern isn’t bad either.

        if you want to make a play in standard you find cards that typify the format today and cards that attack or run counter those trends. i think the white angel producing enchant does the latter and i like that card at today’s prices.

        also, why wouldn’t you want apostles on the cheap? while i agree the premise behind the portfolio is weak (theros enchants) you are both undervaluing any portfolio’s greatest strength : forcing you to make enough bets. we have our best ideas and hopefully the best ideas when we make a portfolio and those are not always the same thing.

        i think i lay out good reasons to play theros enchants in standard: “If you want to take advantage of spikes in pricing it is easier to do that playing Standard, if only because the card pool is smaller.”

        David rejects that premise off the bat by choosing cards outside of standard. i don’t think he’s wrong to seek out cards that get better with more enchantments being played regardless of format legality but that is outside of the bounds of this example.

        if you were looking for a card to do something similar in standard then you want the white event deck 3/3 that makes tokens when enchants are played.

        i wasn’t being dismissive of his comment, rather looking for another portfolio.

        if you thought your idea was better, what better way to measure it than to put it against mine anyway?

        1. I think going with a portfolio is a good idea, minimize risk and diversify. But by choosing only standard cards you’re doing the opposite of diversifying… If you only pick standard cards that might gain value because of new enchantment themes, then you’re putting all your eggs in the “enchantment matters having an affect on standard competitive play basket”. I don’t think its a good idea to buy a bunch of standard junk and hoping that new cards come out to make them good ((37 copies of barrage of expendables?) You’re better off picking up things from all formats, especially staples in formats where “enchantments matter” is already popular like EDH… Because there’s already a demand for this niche of card and any new good enchantments are just going to make demand for the old staples even greater. Idyllic tutor, Serra’s Sanctum, Kor Spiritdancer, Detention Sphere would be on my list of things to pick up. Forget shit like mana bloom and legion’s initiative.

        2. I think the meat of my point is that if we’re just speculating with a “fund” of stuff that could be affected by Theros, Standard legal cards just aren’t the way to go. Especially with rotation coming up, none of the cards that matter with regards to enchantments are going to be in short supply. None of them are mythics. The only one that I think goes up (potentially a lot) in standard is like foil/foreign foil ethereal armor, and I still think you’re probably making a risky bet there (you’d basically be hoping for some insaneo hexproof enchantress in standard that’d see play in Legacy & Modern too, not saying it’s not going to happen, but enchantresses are rare). That being said, we do have a precedent. We got a random enchantress (Mesa) in FS, and the last two times a set was enchantment-centric we got one too (Saga, and ROE). So it might be worth it to hope for this.

          Also, I think your argument about diversifying is a little bit flawed. As someone else pointed out, sticking with Standard legal cards isn’t diversity. Moreover, diversification has diminishing returns, as it negatively correlates with exposure.

          Something to think about.

          1. with less than 30 positions, i have a real hard time buying diminishing returns mattering. if you’ve read my previous article, you’d know i have a keen understanding about the dangers of over diversification. i actually quote studies that demonstrate the diminishing returns you are talking about.

            you can still be diversified and specialized. hosing standard cards that don’t move in tandem for a standard portfolio is probably all the diversification you’d need.

            still no competing portfolios makes me a sad panda.

              1. Right now I have:

                9 Kor Spiritdancers

                1 Foil Kor Spiritdancer

                18 D spheres

                8 Serra’s Sanctum

                6 Idyllic Tutors

                So I’m not nearly as deep as you are, but a lot less less risk I’d say…

                The spiritdancers have been gaining for months. They went from bulk to $4 long before it was spoiled that Theoros would have enchantments. Barring a reprint, will almost certainly keep gaining as people start building casual and EDH decks with new Theoros enchantments. Bought these all for like $1 – $1.50 this winter. The foil one was 2.49

                The D Spheres have little to no risk, have a good chance of gaining even if enchantments aren’t relevant in standard (o ring is leaving and blue/white has a lot of other good cards to play this with). Picked these up in trades and bought collections.

                Got the Sanctums for around $16 each after the enchantment theme was spoiled… Reserved list so almost no risk. I could see these exploding in price if enchantments become popular in EDH.

                Idyllic Tutor is probably the riskiest of my picks because a reprint seems probable but I got them for buylist prices after enchantments were spoiled but I’ll gladly trade or sell these into the hype soon because I don’t want to have to worry about a reprint.

                1. this looks good, d-sphere is solid. to compare gains we can only choose price @start date and price at fixed future dates. theros release date looks like at least one good checkpoint, if you want to add feel free, you can virtually hold positions- it would be easier to compare returns if we start with portfolios of similar values.

                  1. Ok, sounds fun. I tend to do a lot of bargain shopping to minimize risk and maximize reward… And also buy collections and sell what I don’t want and keep cards that I think have potential to gain. But sure I’ll compare retail prices of specs for fun. I have some other stuff I forgot to mention too…

                    9 winds of rath. This has already been gaining steam from the EDH audience, and if enchantments become popular in EDH this will blow up. Got these at 1.50 each.

                    4 Enchanted evenings… this has potential and is cheap. Picked them up as trade throw ins and kept one or 2 from collections bought.

                    1. yeah, i know these portfolios won’t reflect real returns thanks to good mtg finance habits. when first deadline hits (release of theros) i’ll make an article comparing the two. we can cover shortcomings of methodology then in the comment section.

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