Eldritch Moon is fast approaching, and as the second set in a block it means that some adjustments need to be made to our Standard portfolios. We don't have a lot of information about what will be in Eldritch Moon yet, though we do have some actionable data points.
For starters, it seems clear that Emrakul, the Promised End is intended to be a flagship card for the set. This is the current big bad of the Magic universe, and to assume otherwise would be naive. The card is designed in a way to play well both with Nahiri, the Harbinger or in a deck committed to hard-casting it.
While a number of players seem disappointed in Emrakul, I have yet to see a high-profile player make the claim that she is anything but excellent. If you can get all seven Standard-legal card types into your graveyard and cast Emrakul on turn six for six mana, it's clearly just nuts. The cost-reduction ability on Emrakul heavily suggests that there will be continued exploration of the delirium mechanic or something similar.
Some cards with multiple card types or even just leaner playable cards of varying types would go a long way. Enablers to supplement or even replace Vessel of Nascency and Gather the Pack are high on my watch list for Eldritch Moon.
Of course, you're here to read about cards of value, not Standard-legal common and uncommon cogs. A few mythic rares immediately come to mind when it comes to mapping out potential Emrakul decks. Let's start with the obvious:
Nahiri, the Harbinger
Being able to use Nahiri to find the new Emrakul isn't as exciting as finding the old Emrakul, though Standard power level doesn't have to be on par with Modern power level. I could definitely see Nahiri being great with Emrakul, the Promised End not just because of the ability to tutor up a 13-ball to the opponent's dome, but also to rummage through cards to enable a discounted Mindslaver. Honestly, a cast of Nahiri, Tormenting Voice, Magmatic Insight and Pyromancer's Goggles sounds like a great starting point for a deck.
I think the notion of $50 Nahiris is kind of absurd---she's in the current limited format and her applications, despite being great, are also niche. Nahiri is going to continue to see constructed play on and off, and I like owning a set, but I don't see it as a tremendous spec. I wouldn't expect gains higher than 50% in the short term unless Nahiri completely dominates the next Pro Tour, and I believe those gains are ambitious to being with. I am definitely more interested in Nahiri as a player than an investor.
With a body that can tussle with Archangel Avacyn, Mindwrack Demon isn't that far from constructed playability. Reflector Mage is a serious problem, though an efficient deck with some good delirium support could easily support a turn four Demon into a turn six Emrakul. The fact that Demon helps to bring your opponent in range to die to Emrakul and also provides another huge blocker for the Mindslaver turn is pretty serious upside.
As a bulk mythic barely on the outside of Standard playability, you can do a lot worse than buying a few sets of Mindwrack Demon. The Duel Deck promo is prohibitive of the potential growth of the card, but it's the sort of card that you'd play four of. It's certainly undervalued at current prices if that starts happening.
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
Jace has plummeted in value since fetchlands rotated out of Standard, though the card still sees some Standard play and stands to gain a lot if enabling delirium starts to matter more. A lot in terms of viability, not necessarily a lot in terms of value. I expect Jace to be a long-term gainer, though his time in Standard is coming to an end.
I think I like extra copies of Jace more than I like extra copies of Nahiri, though the risk here is something to be aware of. I don't know if Jace's floor is lower than $20, and he's a lock for continued relevance in eternal formats, but if Jace just continues to miss in Standard you are losing $10 by buying now instead of later.
By and large, this is the time to be formulating a plan to move off of any Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins cards with value driven by Standard. Some will see some short-lived hype with the next Pro Tour, though they're definitely gambles relative to investing in cards with longer shelf lives. I also envision Den Protector being a strong candidate for increased play, though am not in love with picking it up either.
With regard to Emrakul, the other place she is likely to see play is in a regular ol' ramp deck. You don't need a ton of card types in your graveyard if you're just accelerating your mana anyway. Emrakul is likely to come at a discount relative to Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger while being at a comparable rate and more devastating than World Breaker.
The greatest fear for such a deck is getting run over, and I imagine one of the best tools for a less graveyard-focused Emrakul deck will be Kozilek's Return. Goggles Ramp with Emrakul could actually just be nutty.
The "Expedition effect" is definitely something to be aware of when investing in cards from Oath of the Gatewatch and Battle for Zendikar, so I wouldn't recommend going terribly deep on this one. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is seemingly at an all-time high for both Standard play and format dominance, being featured as a four-of in the de facto best deck. That said, his price is concretely under $20 at this point in time. So I see the potential future of value of Kozilek's Return being somewhere in the $10-12 range.
As Eldritch Moon approaches, I think the question will be how people are Emrakuling rather than if. As more of the spoiler is revealed we'll get a better idea, though I think it's important to already be on that page as spoilers pour in. What we know now is that Emrakul is great in the right shell; what we have to figure out is what undervalued cards will fit into that shell, and also what other new goodies we'll be getting.
Thanks for reading.
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