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The Unsung Heroes of Kaladesh

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Hey there! This article is going to be live on Thursday, September 15th, giving you around 10 days before the prerelease. I use a very similar introduction style for every one of these articles, but that's because of how important I believe them to be. The fact is most other #mtgfinance writers on the various websites you read are going to be writing thousands of words about the newĀ Kaladesh InventionsĀ from theĀ Masterpiece Series. What's their financial future? How will these reprints affect the current prices of those cards? What are some of the futureĀ Masterpieces we can expect in the next few years? IsĀ MagicĀ ruined forever?

Stable, they won't, I dunno, and No. Those are my answers to all of those questions, respectively. The reason I write about bulk and non-bulk commons and uncommons (henceforth referred to as c/u) is because it's a niche in the community that few others choose to fill. While Moneybags Mcrich over there aggressively trades for everyone'sĀ InventionĀ pulls, you can subtly make note of the non-rares that you believe will see future play in Constructed formats, and pick them up for mere pennies. It feels so good to trade off a playset of Gray Merchant of Asphodel for a pair of Rest in Peace at $2 just because all the vendors at the PTQ are out of stock on the former. While we only have 134/264 cards spoiled so far, I'm going to give you some of my hot pickups that you want to get at throw-in prices. While we don't have empirical data from Trader Tools to tell us exactly what stores will buy from us, historical trends and good card evaluation skills will go a long way.

Kaladesh Common/Uncommon Cards to Watch

fragmentize

We don't have the full spoiler yet, but so far we only have two Ā Naturalize/Shatter effects in the set. While we usually get the nuts and bolts commons this coming Monday, it'll be worth keeping your eye out to see if this is the only white version of the effect we get. While it can't kill Gearhulks or Skysovereign, Consul Flagship (a card that I'm happy I picked up at $4, but wouldn't be as excited buying in at $6), this could easily see play as a 2-3 of in Standard sideboards depending on how the metagame plays out. Pick out a couple for yourself, but don't pick hundreds expecting to be able to buylist them to the micro-lists a month after release.

aerialresponder

This card looks oddly similar to Mantis Rider; move a bit of power, swap one keyword and add a couple colors around and you've got an uncommon. Okay, so I don't really expect this guy to see Standard play like Rider did, but I expect most of the demand for this to come from casual players looking to build a 60 card tribal Dwarf/Vehicle deck. While competitive players shirk away from tapping a guy with three keywords to power a vehicle, the non-competitive players could easily be attracted to drawing lots of cards with Depala, Pilot Exemplar. This is no Vampire Nighthawk, but it's not something you should ignore either.

glintnestcrane

I really miss casting Augur of Bolas. The last Standard deck I really had a passion for played 4x Duskmantle Seer, and Augur was an all-star at blocking and drawing cards. While this is a different format completely, I can't see this effect being bad. The raw stats are there, and we even get flying on top of it. If you play Standard and are unsure of what you want to be casting in two weeks, I'd make sure you at least had a set of these before you go on SCG and end up begrudgingly ordering a set for $5-6.

ceremoniousrejection

If you play any form of Constructed Magic (or have done so in the past), this card needs no explanation. Its power level will likely be felt across a multitude of formats, but remember how high of a print run this set will seeĀ Because of its expected performance I wouldn't expect to find these hanging around after drafts too often, but I'd also avoid overpaying and overvaluing the card; I don't think this will ever be more than $1 in non-foil; at least not for its duration in Standard. Foils will be a different story entirely, but I'm not here to talk about those. Don't buy 'em at $1, eventually you'll find your set for cheap.

essenceextraction

It looks like a lot of the C/U in this set are tailored to be playable in Standard, which is interesting. I'm used to seeing a lot more non-competitive cards, but we've only gotten a few vehicle-related commons or uncommons yet. Energy is also a mechanic that doesn't seem to have a whole ton of casual appeal, making me wonder what type of mechanics the casual players will latchĀ onto this set. Artifacts matter? We'll find out. Anyway, this could see play in Standard. Probably buylistable for dimes down the road.

en_0kuihjf3gr

My "blueprint" senses tingle whenever I see an uncommon board wipe. Sacrificing an artifact could be a relatively high cost if you're trying to sweep everything away, but I don't want to rule out the possibility that this sees Standard play. I wouldn't expect it to be anything more than a dime, but I would pick out my set for play (if I played Standard). Otherwise, IĀ wouldn't worry too much about it.

harnessedlightning

I've seen some complains that this should be able to be aimed at the other players' face, but two mana burn spells with the potential to do 10+ damage are very risky to design. I'm happy with the power level of the card now, giving players an option over Incendiary Flow if they don't care about the exile clause. It's neat that you get the energy and then can choose not to use it; if they happen to pump their guy with Blossoming Defense, you just keep all the energy and let the rest of the card be useless, saving up for your next Harnessed Lightning. Unfortunately for this card, Flow is a $.50 buylistable card because of Eldritch MoonĀ having a low print run and it being one of the only options in the format. This will have a much higher print run, so don't pick these expecting more than quarters on a good day.

startyourengines

This lets Johnny materialize his dream of bringing the second Transformers Movie into Magic. While there's no way there will be enough vehicles for a competitive Standard list, this card just straight up wins the game in the casual 60-card NASCAR deck as a 4-of. I honestly think this is one of the more unsung gems of the set because Standard players will throw it in the trash, so I highly recommend picking these out of bulk. Even if they don't end up on a microbuylist on Trader Tools, this is the card you want to trade off at .25 each for bulk rares at .10 each.

armorcraftjudge

This seems really strong in Standard, but you probably knew that. Thalia's Lieutenant and Tireless Tracker will likely make sure this sees Standard play. I'm excited to see this in Commander lists as well; Ghave, Guru of Spores, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, and several other Commanders can make great work of this. It goes great with my Pick of the Week on Brainstorm Brewery, which was Solidarity of Heroes. Card is good, pick 'em.

blossomingdefense

This is going to find its niche in Modern Infect according to the rumor mill, but even that's a small niche and definitely not as a 4-of. Pick 'em, but not super confidently. I'd be happy moving them to anyone who wants them at the prerelease, because non-foils will get lost in the crowd as huge amounts of the set are opened. Foils will be something to look out for though, because that art is just freaking beautiful.

voltaicbrawler

This has the benefit of being worth casting even if you don't have any other energy support, and it's the 4-of that casual players to flock to once the full deck possibility emerges with Aether Revolt. I don't really think it'll see Standard play, but you might as well pick 'em just in case. I'm more confident about the casual support for this card than Standard possibilities.

filigreefamiliar

The flavor text is accurate. This little critter goes in anything, anywhere. Everyone needs 'em. It's just a solid value creature that slows aggressive decks, helps with Emerge, and is easier to cast than Matter Reshaper. Very low casual appeal, but it fills a lot of roles from delirium to looking amazing in foil. Pick them and have them on hand for when friends are building decks at FNM, because you can turn these into bulk rares real fast.

aetherhub

Damn, they just made Tendo Ice Bridge obsolete thanks to this uncommon. That's good, because that card had very few reasons to be $10+, and this has the added benefits of saving the energy for later if you want to bounce or blink the land without using it beforehand. Ā I don't even know if an energy deck is the best place for this card, compared to something like Eldrazi that lets you cast and abuse Eldrazi Displacer. Either way, it's a powerful non-basic and you should pick 'em. This might end up being one of the more valuable uncommons just because it replaces a Modern rare that was already scarce.

End Step

Several of you have been following my content since I started on brainstormbrewery.com in 2013, and I wanted to thank everyone who's followed my financial endeavors in one way or another. Your comments, constructive feedback, and suggestions have helped cultivate my writing and encouraged me to continue. I've been frequently guesting on Brainstorm Brewery, and I'd appreciate if you gave that a listen as well. Let me know what you think!

Next week, I'll be going deep into the tank on the differences betweenĀ Battle for Zendikar bulk versus the current "best bulk,"Ā Shadows over Innistrad. There have been several articles and explanations circling the internet of how Expeditions tanked the value of Battle for ZendikarĀ rares and mythics, and I'd like to see if the same holds true for the commons and uncommons of the set. WhileĀ KaladeshĀ has a solid collection of Standard playable non-rares, I'm not confident in their abilitiy to hold "high" prices compared to some of the buylist values on Shadows. Stay tuned for more next week!

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