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Insider: Brooding over Born of the Gods

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With the Prerelease Primer (aka the set review) just a week away, it’s time I looked back at my predictions from Born of the Gods. I was fairly certain when the set came out it wouldn’t do too much to shake up Standard, and that prediction proved to be mostly correct. While it certainly didn’t change the top decks, it did open up the field slightly, giving us a better, if not great, format.

Before we get to the cards, I want to ask if there’s a better way you guys think I should handle set reviews. I typically aim for SCG prices (the number most quoted to me in a trade), 3-4 months down the line. This is good because it gives me a hard deadline to predict for, but it’s not great at showing success or failure on cards that move in the interim. I’m open to suggestions here.

Now, let’s get to the review (of the review).

Astral Cornucopia

Then:

“$2 now, and that’s probably correct long-term. I know the idea is that this is “kind of” like Chromatic Lantern, but I’m pretty sure it’s just worse. It matches up poorly with all the other effects like this in Commander, so I don’t really see this taking off, even long-term.”

Now: 75 cents. This is one of those that, in retrospect, looks like an easy call. But in reality, this really did have people talking beforehand, so it’s worth following up on.

Courser of Kruphix

Then:

“This card’s abilities are actually pretty cool, and certainly powerful. That said, I don’t think it makes the cut right now, so the $4 preorder is too much for a few months down the line. But if it does make some moves early I could see it going up before it comes down.

Keep an eye on this one in Block, though. If it does see some Block play, it feels like the kind of card with just enough upside across the board to appear in Standard next season. That said, while I like the card I’m not suggesting going deep on them right now.”

Now: $10.

Definitely my biggest miss of the set, and one I’m kind of kicking myself over. I was a big fan of this card when we did the set review for Brainstorm Brewery, and I talked it up. That said, I didn’t expect it to really take off the way it did, or I would have actually given a real endorsement. I recognized the card was good; what I didn’t recognize was that it was so good it would make an impact even before rotation.

Eidolon of Countless Battles

Then:

“So here’s the deal with this card: It’s an archetype pick, and one that needs a critical mass of similar effects to work. Stuff this in a theoretical deck full of bestow guys, and it’s powerful. But unless you have enough of those you’re just going to end up with a 2/2 or 3/3.

But with another set of bestow cards coming out in a few months, this is one to keep you eye on when it falls from its current $3 to dollar-rare status. If the right (cheap) bestow creatures come along before the end of the block, there could be enough pieces to make such a deck work.”

Now: Still $3. With the new B/W god making white wennie strategies where this can fit even better, I actually don’t hate picking these up for the next few months. The ability on Athreos is powerful enough to keep it a contender for a while.

Fate Unraveler

Then:

“I’m pretty sure $1 is just wrong. This card won’t do anything in Standard, but it has to be a Nekusaar staple in Commander. Love trading for these this weekend.

Even if the card stays at a dollar or whatever for the next few months, I have a feeling this will trade out well to the casual crowd and randomly pop up on buylists for more than you expect.”

Now: 50 cents, basically bulk. I’m not sure if I’m wrong on this being a sweet Nekusaar card or if that alone isn’t enough to move it out of bulk territory. Considering how much we’ve seen the new Commander move the prices on other cards, I’m a little perplexed, to be honest.

Fated Intervention

Then:

“I also like picking this up at a dollar in trade this weekend. The card is certainly not absurd or anything like that, but my interest in it is this: green has a lot of flash effects right now. Boon Satyr on three, Advent of four, this one on five–-that’s a lot of instant-speed creatures.

What goes well with instant-speed creatures? Blue cards. Counterspells and Prophet of Kruphix. I have no idea if something like this is or could be viable, but only one piece of the puzzle rotates out in October, and when it does you can actually cut the white from this theoretical deck.

This is probably kind of a long shot, and I doubt this would be a four-of so its price wouldn’t go crazy anyway, but I think it’s worth keeping an eye on and grabbing some as dollar-rares this weekend.”

Now: 50 cents; bulk. Again, not like anyone lost anything here, but I have to admit I’m surprised Advent of the Wurm strategies don’t see more play right now. Like I said above, it’s something to keep an eye on at rotation, but I don’t have high hopes.

Fated Retribution

Then:

“This will likely see some Standard play, but probably very little. It’s going to be a Commander all-star, though, so I really like picking up foils over the next few months when they seem to bottom out. Same for Fated Return.”

Now: $1 and $4 for foils. Like I said, look for the bottom here and don’t be afraid to grab cheap foils, because I still like it long-term in Commander.

Herald of Torment

Then:

“My pick for the most underpriced card of the set at $1.50. This thing destroys Nightveil Specter in combat, and while you don’t get to randomly steal cards like you can with Specter you do randomly get to bestow it on something for the blowout. But I think there’s no way Mono-Black (which is getting even more tools this set) won’t adopt this card.

The most powerful Standard deck gets a new card, and it costs a buck fifty? Sign me up. That said, the Modern Pro Tour is going to steal some of the spotlight, so the upside probably isn’t quite that high. But this will see $5 if I’m right.”

Now: $3. Definitely scored on this one, and it’s not done seeing play. Both the Dredge deck it’s in, as well as the R/B Aggro decks, get a lot of help from Mana Confluence, and the power level on this guy is still super high.

Pain Seer

Then:

“Most overpriced card of the set. It’s not bad, but it’s not Dark Confidant and it’s not $12 good.”

Now: $3. Please, please tell me you didn’t think this was the next Bob. $3-4 sounds exactly right for a card that sees fringe play in one deck.

Spirit of the Labyrinth

Then:

“This is the real deal in Legacy, although the $7 pricetag feels a bit high. Once this set has been drafted for a bit, it’s probably like a $3-5 card, much like Thalia.”

Now: $3. Interestingly, Thalia has spiked since I made this comparison, but I think it still holds true. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Spirit follow the same path and get a bump in a few years from Legacy play, but for now it’s not going to get there.

Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Then:

“This guy is super powerful, and I wouldn’t even be surprised to see him in Modern. I know people (Jason in particular) like to bring up Voice of Resurgence and say this will be $30+, but I’m not buying it.

The theory is this. Voice was the only good card in a bad set, so it has to carry more value to make up for the lack elsewhere. It’s a sound theory, I just don’t think it quite applies here, mainly because Dragon’s Maze was opened for less time than Born of the Gods will be, and we were all ready to jump into Modern Masters right after DGM came out, so we didn’t mess around with it for long.”

Now: $30 and trending downward. Honestly, this has no business being $30. It sees less play than something like Stormbreath Dragon, which has been opened more but is also $10 cheaper. That’s a big gap, and I feel like the downward trend on Brimaz will continue.

Gods

Then:

“In short, I think they’re all overpriced right now. Ephara is $10 and needs a lot of work to find a deck she fits in. She’s powerful, but I think she’ll fall before she rises, if she does.

Karametra and Phenax are just casual cards, and will drop hard before rising steadily over time with what I’m terming the “Eldrazi effect.” They’re big, flashy, fun Commander cards that are unique, but I don’t see either of these getting a ton of Standard play.

Mogis and Xenagos are both very good, sitting at $20 and $25 respectively. Considering how much play Thassa sees and where it sits, I have a hard time seeing either of these stay over $20. I imagine Mogis will end up $10-15ish and Xenagos $15-18ish.

Both aren’t the worst trade targets this weekend just to have them for the bustle of the first few weeks, but I don’t think they’ll cost more in a few months than they do now.”

Now: Ephara is $7, as is Mogis. Xenagod is $12. Off by a few bucks but nailed these overall, and I expect their prices to continue to bottom out before we reach rotation, at which point it’s time to stock up on these for both Standard play and the long-term “Eldrazi effect” I described above.

Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Then:

“Finally, my merfolk planeswalker!

Unfortunately, she sucks. Fun abilities, good in Legacy Lands or Standard Maze’s End and decent in Commander, but unlikely to make enough of an impact in any of those to make her $25 pricetag sustainable. $10 is in the future for this wavewalker.”

Now: Still $20. $10 may be the future, but then again it may not be. She’s definitely better than I initially gave her credit for, but the truth is she’s still a two-of planeswalker in one fringe deck (Bant Control). Is that enough to hold $20? I’m not sure, but the price has been fairly sticky there. As things stand now, I’m not sure it’ll drop below $15.

Wrap-up

Overall, I’m fairly pleased with my initial assessment. No set review is ever 100 percent right, and my misses on Courser, and Kiora to an extent, aren’t the worst thing considering I hit on some other stuff.

Overall, I would say I did middle of the pack in terms of my past set review. I hit on a few underpriced cards and called out most of the overpriced ones, but I did miss on the biggest gainer of the set in Courser, and that stings a bit. I also predicted all of the new scrylands to stay $5-6 but Temple of Enlightenment has stayed strong above that price.

Next week it’s time to take a Journey Into Nyx, and let’s hope I can improve!

 

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

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