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Insider: 13 Origems

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The bad news is that Magic Origins is a core set, but the great news is that Magic Origins is the last core set ever.

Core sets get a pretty bad wrap for a number of reasons. First, they come out during the summer which is the least exciting time for a Magic release. Second, they are not attached to a block so they lack lots of really cool mechanic-driven cards. Third and most importantly, they have a reputation for being filled with reprints and boring vanilla cards.

All these things considered--Origins isn't actually a terrible set. In fact, as far as core sets with new cards go it ranks pretty high up there on my list. At least they didn't reprint the "Soul of ____" cycle at mythic again, right?

My methodology for speculating is to look for cards I think are being undervalued and thus have room to rise in value over time. I'm not one to turn away good value, but generally speaking I'm not specifically looking for cards that are "quick flips" unless they are really obvious to me. In most cases, I'm looking for cards that I believe are genuinely "good" and "unique" Magic cards that there will be a high desire for over time.

Magic cards don't just get magically assigned dollar values. Context is always the driving force behind supply and demand. The context is always "decks." In order for cards to be desirable they need to have decks to go into. It doesn't matter what kind of deck, it doesn't matter what format, it doesn't even matter if it is a tournament format. In order for cards to rise or sustain a value there have to be decks that want to use them.

Keep in mind that "casual" decks are still decks. If a card is good or desirable in kitchen table decks or Commander decks it still counts.

As I said before, I'm not all about the quick flips. I'm not looking to buy $25 Liliana, hoping that it jumps to $30 for a week so that I can dump it before it drops to $20. The "quick flip" is an art-form and can be profitable if it is done correctly.

Sure, I'll be down to trade for any copy of the new Nissa from anybody at the prerelease who wants to get rid of it but what I'm really looking to do is get my hands on as many copies as the undervalued cards as possible. I assess how good I think a card is and then bet on whether or not that card will go into a popular deck at some point in the next year.

Animist's Awakening

$5 - SCG: July, 5

I think this card is an absolute slam dunk in every way possible. First of all, I'd bet on it solely as a Standard card. It is a great ramp spell that can allow a player to get multiple lands ahead for limited cost. It also ramps nonbasics which is great. In addition, it has a kicker clause which allows those lands to conditionally enter the battlefield untapped so that we can use them right away.

If there is a ramp deck in the next year it will almost assuredly play this card.

Not only that, but I would 100% play this card in any green Commander deck that I built from now until the end of time. Why wouldn't you play it? It's a ramp spell that is going to net you card advantage when you do it correctly and make mana the turn you play it. Also, don't forget that this card is tailor made for Tiny Leaders as well. Its CMC is only one, but the X allows it to be an expensive spell.

I also can't rule this card out as a possible Modern staple. I wouldn't mind playing something like this in some sort of Valakut deck or possibly a Scapeshift deck.

The other thing that I've been thinking about is pairing this card with Amulet of Vigor. Obviously, Amulet Bloom is a better deck that is already good but what if, for the sake of argument, Summer Bloom got banned? Playing this spell and getting to double untap all of the lands that just got ramped into play is pretty wild.

It's a powerful card and I can see playing it in a ton of different decks. I think this is a solid pickup.

Gilt-Leaf Winnower

$2 SCG: July, 5

Gilt-Leaf Winnower has the look of a mediocre bulk rare but I think that it will be a solid player in Standard moving forward. Particularly in Abzan mirror matches, this card seems like it could really shine. It actually Shriekmaws a lot more creatures than you would think: Siege Rhino, most of the Dragonlords, Courser of Kruphix, Master of Waves, and tons of other stuff.

The 4/3 body hits really hard and also has pseudo-evasion which requires a double block. I think that once people start playing with the new set there will be quite a bit of this creature getting cast by black decks.

I think there's a good chance it will overcome its $2 starting price and gain value at some point in the near future. Remember, it is also a core set card so even if it doesn't pick up right away, if at any point it gets "good" and demand spikes it will have a decent price tag.

Hallowed Moonlight

Hallowed Moonlight has Eternal Staple Card written all over it. The card is immediately portable into Vintage and Legacy where it has awesome applications as a cantripping hoser against anybody trying to put a creature into play unfairly. Dredge zombie tokens, Oath of Druids, Show and Tell, Reanimate, and the list goes on and on.

It draws a card which keeps it flexible. I also like the fact that the creature gets exiled when you cast the spell. So, if they put their Reanimate on the stack targeting their Griselbrand you can respond with Hallowed Moonlight and exile the Griselbrand to preempt further shenanigans.

I think that this card is the real deal as far as eternal niche sideboard cards go. It is also possible that the card is absolutely stone cold great in Modern. It stops Goryo's Vengeance cold and I hear it isn't bad against Collected Company either...

$5 is a lot for a sideboard hoser but if it ends up being a Standard card against Collected Company decks it could hold that tag. Likely it will follow a path like other eternal mainstay sideboard cards like Grafdigger's Cage and Rest in Peace, where they start high, get cheap, and steadily grow over the top again.

I really like getting in early on foil copies of this card. I think they have a lot of room to grow as this card has the potential to be a very popular and heavily played eternal card for a long time to come.

Harbinger of the Tides

$5 SCG, July 5

Once again we are presented with a card that will immediately see Modern, Legacy, and Vintage play because it already has a deck tailor-made to go into: Merfolk.

I'm aware that going into Merfolk decks won't catapult this card into the stratosphere or anything but it is a pretty good card, generally speaking. It offers an effect that those decks want and is going to be an auto-include in some quantity.

I also think there is a good chance that Mono-U Devotion could see some serious play over the summer. The deck has been missing a solid two-drop since RTR rotated and this card is very solid to pair up with Thassa, God of the Sea, Shorecrasher Elemental and Master of Waves.

It also seems like a great foil to pick up and hold onto. Eternal cards tend to have this quality.

Herald of the Pantheon

$3 SCG July 5

Herald is likely a quick flip type of card as it is going to be made or unmade based on how it plays in Standard. The downside is that Theros block is going to rotate in the fall and that set is full of the enchantments that I'd want to play this card with.

I could see a G/B Devotion deck with Doomwake Giant being a great foil to all of the people who are eager beaver to play with their Goblin Piledrivers. Herald is so good against these aggressive decks. It is a mana dork that triggers constellation later in the game, that also just so happens to arbitrarily gain you a bunch of life for doing what you were doing already.

Eidolon of Blossoms is still a thing in Standard as well and I can't imagine a better card to pair it up with than Herald. There was already a deck (granted it has fallen out of favor) but that isn't to say that it couldn't make a comeback in the short term.

At $3 it seems hard to go wrong trading for this card in the short term. Somebody is going to want it from you at some point. It also has casual appeal which is nice. The kitchen table is a great place for enchantments and life gain.

Jace's Sanctum

$1 SCG July 5

Jace's Sanctum has Johnny Combo Player written all over it. It makes all my spells cheaper and lets me do a bunch of scrying. It has basically gotten lumped into the bulk rares but I would never bulk a card like this off. In fact, I'd be happy to trade for this card all day long and just hold onto it.

Since there are no more core sets it is very unlikely that we'll ever see this card again in print. It is the kind of card that people love to put in their Commander decks. It makes mana, looks at cards, and doesn't die to a Wrath. I like the prospect of getting foil ones as well.

The other thing that is cool about this card is that it could very easily go into Commander style decks that are actually full of broken cards. We all know the individual who has the super busted combo Commander deck. The people who build those decks actively like to foil them out and this foil could have some real value at some point.

It is for sure a long-term spec but I'd keep an eye out for Jace's Sanctum as a throw-in in a close trade.

Kothophed, Soul Hoarder

$1 SCG July 5

Kothophed is clearly better than a bulk rare in my estimation. First of all the card is actually crazy powerful. It is a 6/6 flying for six mana with an ability that just randomly draws you free cards.

If it never sees play in Standard (and that is a very big "if" for me) it will be an awesome mono-black Commander card that will see tons of play.

I think there is a very real chance that this card could see some Standard play as well. It is bigger than everything without Dragonlord in the title and is great in a deck that is packing lots of removal. It's also kind of cute that fetch lands trigger the draw from him. He also blocks Dragonlord Ojutai, which is pretty awesome.

All of these considered I'm actively going to be picking this card up.

EDIT: I preordered the card. It is just too good to pass up. At a buck I don't think it is possible to not make money.

Nissa, Vastwood Seer

$20 SCG July 5

I don't typically like buying into $20 mythic rares right off the bat but I'm fairly certain this is the best card in the set. I've played with Civic Wayfinder a ton in Standard and this card is about a million times better.

I'm going to guess that it will be $30 by the time that the prerelease rolls around which makes it a much less enticing pick-up. It is certainly a great card and people are going to need it for their decks. I'm basically just rubber-stamping that this card is very good.

It also has the Commander and Tiny Leader angle working for it. So, foil copies are going to be a solid thing to hold onto as well.

Pia and Kiran Nalaar

$3 SCG July 5

I might just be blinded by the fact that I think this card is sweet but I think it is legitimately a good Magic card. Last week I mentioned that I'm very excited to pick one up for my Danger Room stack.

I'm going to pick this card up but I'm also ready to be wrong about it. I just can't shake the feeling that this card is really good. Two fliers and a 2/2 with the ability to cast two shocks for 2RR? How is the card not insane?

Yeah, yeah. Siege Rhino. I know.

But there will be a time when Siege Rhino is out and this card is in Standard. So, maybe it'll get a chance to shine.

Starfield of Nyx

$5 SCG July 5

I think this is a slam dunk at $5. It's a mythic, has potential for constructed play in Standard, and it will see tons of casual play.

In short, Starfield of Nyx is the kind of card that a lot of people actively want to play with.

It doesn't hurt that it also gets Hearld of the Pantheon that I discussed earlier in my review. I'd have no problem trading for this card and sitting back and waiting. It could easily be a short-term winner but when you are in it for the long haul it's hard to lose on cards like this. Five years from now it'll be $10.

These are exactly the kind of cards that go up long-term. True, it may well go down in the short term and settle in at $3 when the new set comes out if it gets no help in Standard. The thing is, I'll still be picking them up at $3 to hold onto six months from now. I'll trade for them at $5 and I'll trade for them at $3.

A good card is a good card. However, if there is actually a Junk Constellation deck and it does well out of the gate this card will easily double in price. So, there is also some short-term incentive to buy in as well.

The Great Aurora

$3 SCG July 5

It's mythic and it is the dream of every Timmy on the face of the planet. It also has a fantastic name. I mean, who doesn't want to cast "THE GREAT AURORA!"

It is a casual build-around-me card that real people would actually want to build a deck around.

This card is going to have value because game stores and websites are going to sell the hell out of it and actually have to pay for it on their buylists eventually. Stay ahead of the pack and pick them up when you can from anybody who doesn't appreciate a good casual spec and is willing to flip it for a Silumgar's Scorn to finish off their Standard deck.

This is a very solid pick-up at $3 for the long haul.

Willbreaker

$1 SCG July 5

I think this card is pretty sweet. It is extremely powerful and capable of just taking over a game all by itself. It has kitchen table hero written all over it.

Once again this is the kind of card tournament grinders think has no value, but which actually has quite a lot to the right people.

Willbreaker + Opposition?

It's just a good Magic card in the abstract. I mean, would you ever want to play against this card in Limited? I should think not. Generally speaking, whenever a card is something that I'd never want to play against in Draft I can be fairly certain that it isn't a junk rare to be cast off for a dime.

Woodland Bellower

$5 SCG July 5

Just in case Polukranos, Whisperwood, and Deathmist Raptor have taught you nothing: Good mythic rare green creatures are not $5 cards in the short-term.

Woodland is a very good Magic card in the abstract. It let's you tutor through your deck and get something and play it for free. It is going to be a slam dunk for Commander and likely will have its moment in the sun before it rotates out of Standard.

At that price it would be very hard to go wrong and very easily to get paid off yet again on a green mythic creature.

All things considered Magic Origins looks pretty decent for good cards--well for a core set anyway... It's no Khans of Tarkir. With that being said we have to do the best we can with what they give us. It's possible that the set isn't going to get opened in earth-shattering numbers, which will insulate the prices on some of the cards a little bit and makes buying in a little less risky.

It's the last core set ever so enjoy it!

P.S. The Goblin Piledriver reprint makes picking up goblins for Modern a pretty enticing prospect. Goblin Chieftain is pretty much sold out and I still like Krenko, Mob Boss.

3 thoughts on “Insider: 13 Origems

  1. This article suggests that Herald of the Pantheon is also an enchantment. I don’t see that on the card.

    Also, card art would have been really helpful. I was toggling back and forth between two sites to see what the cards actually did.

    I like the picks, though, and am looking forward to doing some trading.

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