Insider: Early Picks Relative to Eldritch Moon

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In a lot of ways, Eldritch Moon reminds me of New Phyrexia. Shadows over Innistrad was a neat set with pretty normal mechanics, and now EMN looks kind of nuts. I suppose it makes sense that the Eldrazi invasion is somewhat like the Phyrexian invasion with regard to telling a story with a block. There's even a nutty cost reduction mechanic!

decimatoroftheprovinces elderdeepfiend

If you don't read Michael Majors, you're missing out. I recommend checking out his article about these wonky new monsters. I don't know how serviceable his lists are, but I agree with him about the potential for these cards. Elder Deep-Fiend is going to feel very close to Time Warp that trades up one of your creatures in a lot of situations, and that power is worth exploring.

Matter Reshaper is a card that I haven't been especially pleased with in the past, but I agree that it is a strong role-player in decks trying to cast these new monsters. Reshapers are pretty cheap right now with some copies available for under $2, and I could easily see them doubling or more as they start to fill an actual role instead of mostly being value/filler.

With Deep-Fiend being a regular rare, speculation is going to be more about finding the support cards that already exist that could spike due to its printing, though I do think that Decimator of the Provinces is actually worth looking at as a spec itself. A good mix of tokens and some four- or five-mana creatures to sacrifice to the Decimator will lead to some very fast games. Not only is the overrun effect very powerful, but leaving a 7/7 with trample behind is also nothing to scoff at.

It's true that Decimator doesn't really have appeal in non-Standard competitive formats, but with pre-orders being $5-6 a competitive Standard Decimator deck would certainly lead to a price increase.

Another soon-to-be format-defining card is Spell Queller.


This card is stupid. I'd be very interested in reading the design file here, and don't see how this wouldn't be a widely played Standard staple. The initial tempo gain from a flash threat that exiles a spell, especially one with such a solid body, is huge. Even when this creature dies, it will still often have a significant impact on the game.

Further, a second copy will do a good job at preventing the first from dying, and Rattlechains compounds this issue. I fully expect to see an uptick in Rattlechains in competitive Standard decks, and as such I like buying in right now with the price being about a buck.

Rattlechains is already seeing some movement and the best prices have already passed, but even as high as $2 will end up saving you money if you're just looking for a set to play with. This card will easily be $3-5 in short order, and could theoretically go higher. The one barrier is that it's totally justifiable that there will be Spell Queller decks that don't feature Rattlechains, though at least for now there is hype building as we approach the set's release.

If Spirits ends up being the way to go, then a card I really like is Bygone Bishop. Spell Queller enables a more creature-heavy, efficient tempo deck that Bishop would serve as the Tireless Tracker for. It doesn't quite beat down the way that Tracker does, but it keeps the value coming and is a nice evasive threat for attacking planeswalkers and opponents alike. Bishops are currently sub-$1, and it's not hard to see them becoming a $3-5 card as well.

If you've been paying attention, you noticed that Relentless Dead has spiked in a big way. There is some potential heavy-black and graveyard stuff on the way from Eldritch Moon, and people are willing to gamble on it. With Relentless Dead back around $13, I don't think that's a great place to park your money, though there is a related position that I am interested in.

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Whether it's Relentless Dead or Gisa and Geralf, it's looking like there could be an uptick in creatures returning to the battlefield from the graveyard. Relentless Dead is a shoe-in for a deck trying to play out of the graveyard, and has already established itself as a staple in any Modern Dredge deck.

Prized Amalgam has already gained a small amount of value, though with the card still being sub-$2 I believe there is room to grow. The card is unique/quirky and a role-player in Modern, and as such it's a solid position. It's a better trade target than a buy at its current price, though I'd want to own at least a set.

Another card to pay attention to along these lines is Diregraf Colossus. Zombie cards have a large casual following, and while a buck is steep for a long-term casual position, there is a chance that Eldritch Moon offers more zombie tools to make the Colossus a Standard hit. The card offers grindy value, which is a very important thing in Standard, and it belongs to a tribe with some solid grindy-value support that is just missing one or two pieces. The problem is that the deck has too many threes and fours and not enough ones and twos.

Gisa and Geralf are cool and all, but the deck simply needs more efficient stuff. The strongest glimmer of hope for the deck is Cryptbreaker.


It's a mana sink and a discard outlet for excess lands or Prized Amalgam, and it brings the curve down for the deck. Being a madness enabler is pretty interesting as well. While madness has been more geared towards vampires to this point, there are still a few synergies worth exploring.

I'm not especially enticed by the $3 pre-order for Cryptbreaker, but it's a potentially notable card, and more cheap zombies or good madness spells will start to make buying into zombies be less of a hype thing and more of a real deal.


Eldritch Moon is really delivering to this point, both on potentially budding strategies and abstractly good cards. Assuming there are any playables left in the set, it's looking like Standard should see some good shake-ups, and hopefully at the end of it Bant Company and Tokens aren't just the best decks. Let's get some more zombies and Emrakul synergies!

Thanks for reading.

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

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