Welcome to Part 2 of my BFZ evaluation! Part 1 can be found here.
Next up, we have the rares of the set. This was fairly challenging because this set will likely be opened a lot in search of Expeditions. Rares in this set will have to do some heavy lifting to maintain any of these prices, let alone increase. With a relatively normalized EV in the 90$ range, this is likely KTK all over again. I don’t like the idea of using this caveat to come off as negative or overall devaluing this set, but it is a hard truth. That being said, like the Mythic section of my evaluation, I do think there are opportunities here.
I feel like a broken record at this point, but it’s really how I feel about the situation. If Expeditions weren’t in this set, then maybe we’d be having a different dialogue. I just look to a lot of solid rares in Standard (I love using Mantis Rider as an example) and see an overall depression of value. This is ultimately great for us as players, but not so much if you're trying to make some extra money on Magic.
My methodology that I post with all of these evaluations doesn’t really lend itself to a set like BFZ because it’s not a normal set. We’ve never had this situation of Expeditions before. Even with future cards being printed that make any of these BFZ rares better, it still might not be enough to create an increase in their prices.
The Tier System
Breaking down the cards into a tiered list makes it easier for me to look at what will hold the majority of the value in the set. I will most likely use this methodology going forward in evaluating future sets. I also wanted to do it this way because I don’t feel like attaching a future value to any of these cards. I feel like that method is a little inefficient and doesn’t take into account future printings that could potentially make these cards better.
So, I wouldn’t want to attach a low value to a card that’s potentially powerful like I have in the past. The truth is while a card may look terrible right now, we don’t know the future and how this card could interact with future cards. Cards can move between tiers as new information comes and goes.
- Top Tier is reserved for the cards that will most likely hold the majority of the value in the set. Commonly known as the “chase cards”.
- Middle Tier is reserved for the cards that aren’t necessarily bad but may be overshadowed at this current point. These could easily jump to top tier in the future, or vise versa.
- Low Tier is reserved for the cards that will most likely be near bulk. Like Middle Tier cards, these could get upgraded to a higher tier, but it will be more difficult for that to happen. I don’t think these are necessarily bad cards, but my analysis is that these will be the cheapest and least desirable cards in the set.
These tiers are built primarily for Standard, however if a card has clear implications in Modern or beyond, it will also appear in a higher tier. Commander and casual appeal are not factor heavily into these ratings.
Top Tier Rares
First and foremost we have Fathom Feeder. I wanted to highlight this card because it's been talked about extensively here at QS. We've covered it on the forums, the QS Cast, and in my column (where I've been transparent about my pre-orders of it).
Opening pre-orders came in at $0.49 on StarCityGames, it has come up considerably since then, now near $4. From day 1 through the final release of the full BFZ spoiler, this has been the card that's interested me the most. Quite frankly, it still seems like a strong candidate as “best bang for your buck”.
If you were one of the people that bought into this at a dollar or less, I wouldn’t blame you for trying to lock in your profits now. I think there’s still a short window to wait to see where this ends up after the first release weekend, or you could wait until just after the Pro Tour. If the hype has diminished or the card doesn't see play, it will be painstakingly obvious. At the same time, Fathom Feeder could continue to be a great card but just end up having a sharp decline anyway (which I anticipate happening along the same lines as Mantis Rider).
Current price: $4.00
Bring to Light has a lot of hype coming out of the gates, and that’s why it’s in Tier 1. I have some concerns about this card, but I can’t deny it’s inherently powerful, and can do some cool stuff. It has very intricate interactions with other cards, and I do think it will remain as one of the best rares in the set. I look at most rares in this set and ask, "can this do more powerful things than Bring to Light?" and in most cases, the answer is "no".
Its implications across multiple formats will need to be established, and quickly, in order for Bring to Light to hold its current price. Without adoption in Modern, an $8 price tag is far too high.
Current price: $8.00
This is quickly becoming the go-to sweeper in the early days of BFZ. After some solid playtesting sessions, this has shown its merit. It’s doesn’t seem as good as it’s predecessor Anger of the Gods but, it’s actually much easier to cast, and converging 3 colors isn’t really that hard in current BFZ Standard. This has grown from a paltry $1 during pre-sales and will likely be able to be traded/sold in the 3$ range for at least a short while. I would recommend selling and/or trading during said time, and move these into better things. For as good as this card will be, the price will come down considerably after supply isn’t as constrained as compared to demand.
I'm placing this card in Tier 1, with the caveat that it will likely decline in price regardless.
Current price: $2.50
Mid Tier Rares
This was probably the hardest card to evaluate. I ended up placing it here to be safe, but I understand there has been some attention on this card. It is by no means a bad card, and I do think it can have some success early on in Standard. It is a candidate to move up a tier if conditions are right. I prefer to err on the side of caution from a financial standpoint because, like any rare in BFZ, this must exceed expectations and see play across multiple archetypes to justify a higher rating. It's not a must-play in Green as Polukranos, World Eater often was, but it's clearly very strong. It just needs the right context.
This was another card that was difficult to assign to Tier 2. The card is objectively powerful but that doesn’t always translates to financial relevancy. It's as good as any other high mana card to ramp into or cheat into play with See the Unwritten. There's a heated forums discussion about this card, where some Insiders are arguing that it's got the potential to dominate a game, Sun Titan style. Whether that’s enough to bring it above $1 remains to be seen, but I like placing it here in Tier 2 because it will have plenty of time to prove itself. At the very least it’s not an intro pack rare, right?
Current price: $1.00
We round out the "tough cards to evaluate" section with Brutal Expulsion. When this was initially spoiled there was some hype surrounding this, and it has moved around in pre-order price, and ultimately trended upward. The hype has died down since then, and that’s precisely why I will leave it in Tier 2. I don't think it's a bad in the least, and it could end up seeing play (albeit fringe) in Modern. At the same time this card is going to compete with the likes of Ojutai's Command, which appears more powerful.
Considering how Ojutai’s Command interacts with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound and to a lesser extent Fathom Feeder, Command might end up winning out over Brutal Expulsion. I’ve seen discussions on this card as somehow climbing to the 8-9$ range, and while I wouldn’t completely rule it out, I’m just not super optimistic at this juncture. A lot needs to go right for any rare from this set to reach, and maintain, that price target.
Current price: $3.00
Much like Thopter Spy Network this lends itself to be played early on as a very reliable token generator with the upside of grabbing an Eldrazi card. I’ve spent plenty of time talking about this card, but put this card in this tier with very high upside of hanging out in the $5 range should it see success early on. Looking back at Spy Network, I’m optimistic that it has potential.
Current price: $3.00
Low Tier Rares
There’s not much to say here, as usual. Some of these have more upside than the rest, but after looking at the Intro Pack deck list and recently revealed Event Deck, the upside on reprinted cards is very limited. Now that Wizards releases so many of these cards in intro packs, event decks & prerelease foils, there are fewer good, cheap targets for speculative purchases. Compounded by the assumed glut of rares due to the hunt for Expeditions, mediocre rares just don't have a whole lot of upside.
Here are a few that might:
Before I go, for the sake of transparency here is what I pre-ordered this time around:
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to comment or message me via social media. Hopefully this list his helpful in deciding what to target over release weekend, and going into the Pro Tour