Magic finance sometimes reminds me of the wild west. It’s not like it was before the internet or smart phones, but more like overlords moving into an area and taking it over.
That's how I feel every time a seemingly random buyout happens. This week’s overtaken territory is Gaddock Teeg. The internet is nearly sold out of the fringe Modern player. This is the kind of card you think you have a bunch of extras of in a box somewhere, but when you go looking for them they've elusively disappeared.
Some vendors managed to dig a couple out, but at the time of writing this, I can only see maybe a dozen copies for vastly inflated prices.
I bring this up for a couple reasons. First of all, knowledge is power. Second, Magic finance is in an era of opportunities for profit, so do some research and watch the trends. Finally, there has to be some reason behind this buyout, which leads me to my next topic.
December Fools Day joke? End of the year prank? The Spaniards brought a gag gift to the Christmas spoiler exchange this year. If you’re interested, here’s the originating web site which you can Google-translate if you want to see where it started.
My first thought was that the Gaddock Teeg buyout was initiated due to the possibility of a Stoneforge reprint. There have already been rumors about an unbanning that surfaced mostly based on the announcement of the GP promo for next year. The price of our friendly neighborhood equipment dealer is heading upwards, and the spoiler trickery didn’t slow its ascent much, if at all.
More (Real) Spoilers
So if Stoneforge was a hoax, what’s the final mythic in Oath of the Gatewatch?
Linvala? Really? What about Emrakul or Jace? Both of those guys are supposed to be there. Jace is all over the art in this set as well as the story. Where is he? Did he run away from Zendikar instead of helping fight the Eldrazi? If so, he should have been left off of this sweet Game Day playmat.
Although Linvala is a really cool character, and her art is amazing, I’m still left questioning her inclusion along with some of the other mythic choices. We would have been better served by a Linvala, Keeper of Silence reprint to bring down the ludicrous $35 price tag. The card we got is definitely interesting though. That art is truly stunning and it’s paired with some interesting abilities.
Linvala reminds me of a creature version of Timely Reinforcements and you likely want to play her similarly. She seems like a decent control finisher. Set up in the early game by keeping the board clear, and then follow up with Linvala and the angel friend she brings to the party, all while gaining some of the lost life right back. That’s a solid combination of abilities.
Our Preserver here has some tough competition with the Dragonlords, but her unique combination of abilities might secure her spot in the metagame. Keep an eye on foil copies of this card because they should be quite valuable.
Call the Gatewatch
What a breathtaking new addition to the tutor team. This prestigious staff includes many banned faculty members from the Modern school such as Birthing Pod, Green Sun's Zenith, and the previously mentioned Stoneforge Mystic.
Like the banned cards above, Call the Gatewatch also has narrow search parameters. But planeswalkers rank among the most powerful, high-impact cards out there, and plenty are worth tutoring up. Let's look at the potential targets in Standard:
We also have the newly added Nissa, Voice of Zendikar and Chandra, Flamecaller that I talked about last week. There are some powerful targets for Call in Standard and we'll have even more options over the next year to consider.
My first thought is to build around this card. In the past, planeswalker control decks have been a competitive part of the metagame and this spell seems suited to reconstruct that same archetype once again. Another avenue would be to go all-in on Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and just set our deck up to cast that card turn four every game. That doesn't sound half-bad either.
The stock options on this rare should be solid as well. Cube and Commander players will want their foil copies and some players will hold onto the card just for the sweet art. Assuming this tutor sees play in Standard, there may be opportunity to make money here, just like I suggested for Nissa last week.
Dubbed Snapcaster Goblin by the internet hivemind, this Buy-a-Box Promo definitely has potential. I find it intriguing that we're seeing a shift of various abilities from blue to red, with Abbot of Keral Keep, Dualcaster Mage, and now Goblin Dark Dwellers. I couldn’t be more excited. These cave creatures are bringing us some valuable gems from the depths of the mountain that are filled with wonder and possibilities.
The dark goblins should find great success once they climb out of the spoiler shadows and into our collections. We have some pretty great cards to flash back right now like Exquisite Firecraft, Hordeling Outburst or Kolaghan's Command, to name just a few.
This card might even be powerful enough for Modern. Jund in particular has typically played a high-end value card like this and if the meta is right for that deck, I think the power level is there to back up the inclusion. Goblin Dark-Dwellers is definitely on my short list of cards I want to brew with from this set.
Some time has passed since the last time we had a Man-o'-War in Standard. Reflector Mage is definitely an upgrade from the M12 Aether Adept. As a bonus for paying white mana, we get an additional toughness and a temporary Meddling Mage ability.
I don’t think we can ask for much more on a creature like this, especially at uncommon. If there's a Standard deck that's interested in this kind of tempo play, Reflector Mage seems like it offers just enough value to be interesting.
Jori En, Ruin Diver
Let those eyes peer into your soul for a mere moment and ponder what she sees. I bet she is showing you her future as a Commander all star. She may be whispering possibilities of red-blue tempo and luring you into her den filled with dreams of two spells every turn.
Is it too much to ask for her to cost two mana? Either way, I think she's on the edge of playability. She will probably jump on a casual team but maybe there’s room for her in Standard. I would definitely pick up cheap copies of her to stick in your spec box though.
Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
Stoneforge Mystic is in the set after all! We shouldn’t have faltered for a second about that banned card being in Standard again because we already have another version of her right in front of our eyes. Unlike Jori En, it seems the powers that be here have decreed all these abilities get to come packaged on a two-drop.
The problem with this future planeswalker is that her abilities are so unique that it’s hard to find a use for them. It’s doubtful there will be a life gain deck in Standard. Soul Sisters was a onetime thing and our tools right now are quite underwhelming to say the least.
We have the seldom-played-in-Limited crew of Defiant Bloodlord, Kalastria Nightwatch, Malakir Familiar and Nirkana Assassin. The only two that are semi-decent are Serene Steward and Bloodbond Vampire but signing a deck list with those creatures on it is like volunteering your defeat in advance.
Sadly, Karlov of the Ghost Council is only a Commander card. That’s a card that would have been interesting to see in Standard. Don’t worry though, if for some reason we do get the tools, all the black mages will have Tainted Remedy to sideboard against us for laughs.
We might see Ayli get some use as an additional sacrifice outlet for Rally the Ancestors decks or just as a solid value creature in any of the black-white decks like Warriors or Esper Tokens. She is definitely one we want to keep our eye on once we have the full spoiler, and over the next year.
Sea Gate Wreckage
Start stockpiling your Sea Gate Wreckage into one huge pile of rocks in the corner because this colorless land will be scattered throughout all sorts of decks. Many different types of player will want this card for multiple reasons. There will be a price ceiling due to the second wave of Expeditions, but a colorless land that can draw a card has only happened once before, and Scrying Sheets is still $5 and the foil is $20.
That land doesn’t always draw you a card either like the new one from Oath. Just like Reliquary Tower, this land will be shoved into lots of decks, so make sure your pile includes foils because those will be desirable as well.
Finally, we have what I’ve dubbed “the Colorless Crew,” fleshing out the devoid mechanic a little bit more. Flayer Drone in particular has the appearance of a build-around-me card, but Eldrazi Mimic and Ruins of Oran Rief to go with them are quite intriguing. It’s uncertain whether this archetype of Devoid Aggro will actually be playable, but at this point it seems more likely than Allies.
We know Catacomb Sifter is good but Eldrazi Skyspawner and Forerunner of Slaughter saw a brief moment in the sun as well. Devoid will likely turn into another generic aggro deck that wasn’t good enough, but we are getting some tools that hint at the deck being viable. If nothing else, these cards will make for some sweet Limited decks.
To finish up, the flavor and design of this set, like Battle for Zendikar before it, are a home run in my opinion. Eldrazi are the best villains, the Avengers of the Magic world are summoned to defeat them, and we get to go on way better expeditions than the last time around!
Until next time,
Unleash the Force of the Gatewatch!
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