One again, we find ourselves approaching prerelease weekend. Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) looks to have significantly more impactful spells than Battle for Zendikar, and there's a lot I'm excited for. The set is sure to shake up Standard, and there are definitely cards you'll want to get your hands on quickly.
Pre-order prices are usually at least a little inflated, though a few cards can slip between the cracks. Today I'm going to look at the cards that are significantly overhyped, as well as the ones I believe are poised to increase in value.
This card is guaranteed to see Standard play, and will probably be a four-of in at least one deck. It also shows potential as a sideboard card against token-based decks. That said, buying in at $20 sounds crazy to me.
The card is a good tool for Eldrazi Ramp to beat up on Atarka Red, but its inclusion will either move to push Atarka Red out of the format or just not be good enough to swing the matchup. Either case inevitably leads to a decrease in already limited playability.
If the Ramp deck just ends up being great and absolutely plays four copies all the time then $20 sounds like a reasonable long-term price, but I don't believe this to be the case. Even if it is, I'd be floored if the ceiling was much higher.
Part of the reason people advocate Kozilek's Return is they think it will be a big player in Modern. I'm lukewarm on it in Modern at best, as the only reason you really want it at all is to beat Etched Champion. Such a narrow application does not entail significant demand.
If the Eldrazi deck is great it might take a couple months for the price to cool off, but if it doesn't put up results with 4x Kozilek's Return quickly, then you can fully expect this price to tank.
I feel like Matter Reshaper is being treated like an artifact when it's actually a spell that requires a splash. $8 is a lot to spend on a regular rare, and in the short term there's no way that this card has a ceiling significantly above that.
The card could find a home in multiple decks, but it's not Hangarback Walker. Maybe post-rotation we'll see a significant uptick in this card's presence, but most competitive Standard decks don't want any piece of this at this point in time. I expect this card to cool off significantly as packs are opened, though I would be interested in moving in when it finds a floor.
Chaz liked this card when it was $5, and I didn't even like it then. Somebody give me an argument for what this card actually does for Constructed, and why you would play it over the myriad other colorless lands.
I admit the Commander appeal is probably real, but the price is way too high for a new casual card. You should absolutely wait on Mirrorpool.
Bearer of Silence
What if Gatekeeper of Malakir had flying? Then an already great card would be better! This card is preordering for $1-2, though it could easily be $4-5 with a little tournament success.
I'm curious about the potential of a devoid aggro deck, though without testing I can't say that I'm absolutely confident in its prospects at this point in time. There are a lot of great cards for the deck, but it just might not be well positioned as of now.
I would be amazed if Bearer of Silence didn't see play somewhere post-rotation, though for now it could be one of those great cards that is initially overlooked. I like the idea of picking up a set to hedge, and then investing more if the card doesn't see initial success and makes its way to bulk.
Linvala, the Preserver
I don't know exactly how this card is going to break, but I'm seeing it sell for $5-6 on eBay. That is either slightly too high, or way too low.
If this card is a Standard player, and many believe it will be, then it will minimally double from that. Before Theros rotated there were a bunch of good six-drops, but only one Elspeth, Sun's Champion. As of right now, people aren't really playing six-drops, and an exceptional one could definitely shake things up.
The interaction with Painful Truths, the preferred card draw spell in Standard, is worth paying attention to.
Nothing is certain when it comes to six-mana spells, but there are definitely worse bets to make. This is a mythic rare angel from a small set, so if you pick up a set at $5 each now you really can't miss by much. I wouldn't be surprised if preordering Linvala paid off in a big way.
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
It's strange saying that arguably the most anticipated card of the set is underhyped, yet here we are. I've been saying this is a great pickup at $15 since it was spoiled, and you can still snipe eBay auctions at $15 a pop. Compare that to SCG being "sold out" at $30.
Gideon pre-ordered for $15 for a minute too, and you can still buylist slightly above that. If you were on top of buylisting them, you also had a window to buylist up to 900 copies for $30 each as well. Not to mention that the card is poised to increase in value in the future.
Don't miss on Nissa. If you get a chance to buy them at $15, you will make money. It's a three-mana planeswalker, and it's great. You don't need me to do the math for you. Gideon was profitable for the same price, and he was in the large set. Interestingly, Gideon will help drive the price of Nissa given just how well the two play together.
Oath of Jace
Historically, the Magic community has been great at undervaluing things with "Jace" in the name. Oath of Jace doesn't have a tremendously high ceiling, but the fact that I preordered a set for a couple bucks seems off to me.
Comparisons to Compulsive Research and Painful Truths are the primary factors keeping Oath of Jace down. It's not as good as Compulsive Research, which makes it look bad, and many compare it unfavorably to the available option.
Discarding cards isn't always great, but not paying life generally is. When I first saw Oath of Jace, my biggest complaint was that you had to play a second copy to get the first in the graveyard, as delve was the mechanic immediately on my mind. I don't care about leaving Oath of Jace in play, but I do think that it has a lot of potential as a draw spell for a control deck featuring some delve spells, such as Murderous Cut or Dig Through Time.
Painful Truths provides great card advantage at a cost, whereas Oath of Jace is more of a velocity card for a delve-heavy deck. I definitely expect it to see Standard play, and I recommend picking up at least a set. I definitely like these as trade throw-ins.
Finally, we come to what I believe is the biggest card for the ramp decks. As a seven-mana Eldrazi, it triggers both Kozilek's Return and Sanctum of Ugin. Not to mention that it comes with some disruption, brawls with Siege Rhino and Mantis Rider, and even has some built-in recursion.
You have to pay $20 for a Return, yet you can get these for $3-4. These two cards are going to see very similar amounts of play, so there's no way this price differential makes any sense. If you're confident in the Eldrazi Ramp deck, then the best way to invest in your confidence is to pick up World Breakers.
Oath of the Gatewatch is an awesome set, and I'm very excited to see what the overall impact it has on Standard will be. Best of luck to everybody at the prerelease!
Thanks for reading.
- Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter