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Insider: New Sets, New Specs

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There's a lot on the horizon for Magic. Eternal Masters, Eldritch Moon, and now Kaladesh block all dangle out in front of us like fabulous shiny gems locked just away from sight. We all know these sets are going to have exciting cards and that there is speculation money to be had---if only we knew what to spec on!

In today's article I'm going to get a little meta. I'm going to provide some spec targets across a wide array of formats that could see nice gains, provided the stars are right, and provided some of my educated guesses about these upcoming releases are correct.

Emrakul Is the Shadow, the Eldritch Moon

Considering the biggest, baddest and most famous Eldrazi of them all sat out during the latest Zendikar (aka Eldrazi) block, I think there is a pretty high likelihood this is definitely happening! One thing we know about the Eldrazi is that we haven't seen them come alone before.

What do I mean by alone? Well, I mean that there are always other Eldrazi cards besides the legendary mythic rare ones. So, if Emrakul comes back are we going to see even more awesome Eldrazi cards in EMN?

I would assume so. You know what that means. Eldrazi cards will undoubtedly continue to get better in Standard, Modern, and possibly even eternal formats!

Let's start with the crème de la crème:


TKS came out of the gates rich and has steadily dipped in price. So, typical. The price almost always dips on Standard cards the longer they are in Standard. The players who play them have them and demand continues to decline, all things equal, unless they become more popular, or better in another format for one reason or another.

The possibility of more Eldrazi cards means Thought-Knot could see more play, especially in Standard. I think it is also safe to assume that any deck, from now to forever, that is interested in Eldrazi is going to play Seer. It is the best Eldrazi ever printed.

The other thing going for Thought-Knot Seer is that it's approaching a floor. The card is great in all the old formats from Modern through Vintage---which means it can sustain a fairly high price point over time even after it rotates from Standard. The trajectory for cards like this is to bottom out and then continue to gain over time into the foreseeable future.


I think Matter Reshaper is criminally underplayed in a lot of formats. The card is such extreme value, in a great tribe, and has good combat stats. Matter Reshaper is a card that I actively want to play with and include in my decks which leads me to believe it will have its moment to shine.

The card is trending down right now but a card like this can only go so low. It is pretty clearly, in my estimation, a Constructed-playable card of a high caliber. If Reshaper gets some new Eldrazi friends it could become part of a staple deck in Standard, especially after Dragons of Tarkir and Origins rotate.

Kaladesh (And What It Could Mean)

The other big revelation from last week was the confirmation that the next block will take place on the plane of Kaladesh.

While we don't know a ton about Kaladesh, we certainly know a few things: firstly, it is the home of Chandra and her parents. Secondly, it has a "steam punk" theme and a lot of thopter/artifact stuff going on. If we know there will be artifacts we can do a little bit of speculating.

First off, artifacts are colorless which bodes well for things that might team up nicely with our Eldrazi friends from Zendikar!


I noticed that this impressive mythic rare has dipped waaaaay down to the $5 range which seems much too low for a card like this. I will certainly be cashing out store credit at some local stores to purchase a nice little nest egg of Kozileks if anybody is willing to sell them for $5!

Foils are still over $20. Yes, it is the kind of foil that carries a premium because it is flashy, but the 4x foil price is a good indicator that non-foil versions are likely a little underpriced at the moment.

The card will have value because it is powerful and unique, but there is also a good chance the card could find a place in Standard at some point which would really drive the price up.


Here's my super spice pick of the week. It will not be rotating when Kaladesh comes out. Kaladesh has artifact stuff going on. Equipment are artifacts.

I wrote about a R/W Equipment Aggro deck on ChannelFireball during SOI spoiler season. The deck was close to being Standard-playable. It was fast and powerful. It doesn't lose much with a rotation and it could gain some insane equipment in Kaladesh.

Considering Outfitter has approximately no value at the moment I think it is an enticing spec target. If Outfitter fails in Standard and there is simply never a deck for it, I still think it will appreciate in value just based on the kitchen-table casual appeal. People love to build equipment-based decks in casual and Commander and I'm pretty sure Outfitter is an auto-include in these decks. The Commander appeal makes foil copies especially appealing.

I like that the card is completely under the radar. Since everyone is discounting it, if it becomes good at some point the price will spike really high as players clamor to find copies.

It also draws an immediate comparison to Stoneforge Mystic as a 2cc, white, equipment-matters creature. Obviously, it isn't in the same universe with regard to raw power level, but any card that makes people think of Stoneforge, even subconsciously, means they'll be willing to pay for the card if it's playable.

Stone Haven Outfitter is one of the few artifacts-matter cards that will remain legal in Standard post-rotation, which makes it a really sneaky spec target with a potential artifact block upcoming!


Same logic. Bone Saw could be a better-than-bulk common moving forward. Is it so crazy? I did $1 each in trade on Bone Saws when my LGS was sold out and I was trying to build my R/W Equipment deck!

Also, the randomly "being sold out of Bone Saws" also tells me something... Zero-cost cards are grand. I wouldn't expect to make tons on regular copies, but foils may be a good move.

Modern Weekend

Aside from the catastrophic disaster that was Grand Prix Charlotte when the tournament software crashed and created a four-hour delay, Modern weekend was a blast. If anything it showcased everything that is great about Modern: lots of decks, cool innovation, and a dynamic and evolving format.

The Eldrazi were bad press but I think the format has rebounded nicely. The cool thing is that there are like a zillion decks and players can play whatever they want. Do you want to combo? Do you want to be a control deck? Do you want to bring with the beatdown? All of these are things that are perfectly great in Modern.

The biggest surprise for me was that Ad Nauseam combo won one of the GPs! Talk about out of nowhere. The deck has always been considered "pretty good," but this weekend it showed that it's a force to be reckoned with. I actually played the eventual champion of the GP in round 7! (Spoiler alert, he beat me.)


I think this card at $2 is still a great deal to be had. The card is actually really powerful. Obviously because it interacts with Ad Nauseam and Spoils of the Vault---but just in general. It is kind of like a Fog that gains 10 life! It is the kind of card that could end up being played in other combo decks that just want to stall for an extra turn or two.

While a lot of the Ad Naus cards have already jumped up a bit, we can maybe profit by looking for cards that are good against the deck.


They cannot go off with Canonist on the board. Period. The card is also kind of cheap for one reason or another right now. It's seen Legacy and Vintage play in the past.

Canonist is also a combo with:


Erayo had multiple standout performances at Bazaar of Moxen and hasn't really risen too much in value. Considering it has never had a Modern Masters reprint and is so unique, I'm really surprised it hasn't gained any value in the past two weeks. I'll basically pick up every copy I can trade for---it could certainly see some peaking interest with GP Columbus being Legacy.


Okay, back to Modern and Ad Nauseam hate cards. Eidolon is pretty much the same principle as Canonist except it costs one more mana and doesn't die to Lightning Bolt. The fact that it lives through Bolt makes it much better against various Izzet decks as a tool for beating Snapcaster Mage.

Last but not least for Modern specs of the day:


Merfolk won the other Grand Prix in Los Angeles and Mutavault is a huge part of why that deck works. Everybody knows that creature lands are amazing value in Magic and Mutavault is one of the most efficient ones ever printed. The card is actually Legacy- and Vintage-playable!

Eternal Masters

I've been trying to envision a world where Eternal Masters actually encourages somebody who doesn't play Legacy to start playing Legacy. I've written about EMA before and my snap conclusion was that as long as dual lands are hundreds of dollars each, reprinting cards doesn't make Legacy more accessible for most players.

The one exception I thought of was Merfolk. That may be a deck people could jump into the format with. It doesn't need duals and both Force of Will and Wasteland have already been confirmed as reprints.

If that's the case it would strengthen Mutavault as a spec since it also appears in the Legacy and Vintage Merfolk decks. Of course, that's assuming Mutavault doesn't also get reprinted in Eternal Masters!

~

So many new sets on the horizon and so many options to explore. Everything always changes---just not always as fast as it seems to lately! Try and keep on top of it all and good luck with your picks.

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