Let’s evolve our understanding of the new set, Hour of Devastation. With all the daily breaking news, spoilers from this new set are sneaking out right underneath our feet. Some of these cards have been spoiled for much longer than Wizards intended, but we haven’t talked about them yet, so let’s dive right into the exciting conclusion to the best block in years!
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
Let’s start with the biggest villain in the Magic universe's second iteration as a planeswalker: Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. This is another four-ability planeswalker, which makes sense given his seven mana cost.
The first ability is basically the same thing as Gonti, Lord of Luxury and is a way to gain card advantage. It’s like drawing an extra card, except you know it won’t be a land. I’ve found that Gonti is great because he gives a black deck access to cards it shouldn’t be able to cast. That sounds obvious, but it creates board states that are unreasonably powerful. Think things like Mono-Black Zombies having access to Nahiri, the Harbinger as well as tons of other crazy possibilities as well.
The second ability helps minimize what your opponent can do to interact with what you are doing. By the point in the game that you cast Nicol Bolas, your opponent shouldn’t have very many cards left in hand. You might strip the last few cards remaining – and then they will be playing off the top of their deck.
The third ability is where I start getting disappointed. The first two are strong abilities for any board state. This third ability, though, costs you four loyalty, which is a ton even from starting at seven. This huge cost nets you seven damage to a creature or player. It doesn't even get rid of every creature! I’m disappointed with this ability for sure.
Just like with the majority of cards up for preorder, Nicol Bolas should follow suit and lose some value as copies are opened. I think this combination of abilities is good but not great. If you are able to keep the board under control, I could see this planeswalker seeming quite strong, though. As of right now, he’s sitting at almost $30. Once this set is released, he should start his decline towards $15.
Samut, the Tested
Is it just me or would you also rather have the unawakened Samut, Voice of Dissent? The set up of this planeswalker clearly shows she is made to be paired with creatures. The first ability gives double strike, which is definitely good. The second ability is Fire (not as in the hip word for cool), but also quite useful. The ultimate is decent as well, allowing you to take two creature or planeswalkers from your deck and put them onto the battlefield.
The combination of these abilities feels so middle of the road to me. Samut seems like a medium-strength planeswalker that will be glossed over in Standard. Maybe double striking creatures every turn is broken, but I think your opponent will just kill your dude and that ability will be wasted.
Even the $10 preorder price is way too high for this combination of abilities on a planeswalker. We should see Samut show up costing $5 at most. If the Red-Green Gods deck ever takes off and utilizes this planeswalker, we could stick around the $10 mark, but that’s a lot of ifs.
The Locust God
I wish we didn’t have Torrential Gearhulk in Standard, because The Locust God is the coolest win condition with the best flavor. We might see this god slot in alongside the gearhulk as another way to win.
The Locust God is like Bitterblossom, but it’s also a 4/4 flyer itself, and it’s abusable. You should be able to chain card drawing spells into an army of 1/1 flyers. The next step from that thought process is trying to include this six-drop in the UR Zombies deck. With The Locust God in that deck, you can truly utilize the alternate win condition, and it's already playing tons of card draw.
The Locust God is preordering over $20 right now. He would have to see tier-one amounts of play to keep that price, but with the Masterpieces being less desirable overall, maybe that price tag is sustainable. It's most likely not, however, and I expect that he will drop down to the low teens. I could see this card breaking out down the line, though, so once it bottoms out, picking up a few copies seems like a solid idea. Foils should have a good multiplier too. This seems like a super fun general to play in Commander.
I had to mention the coolest cat on the block, Pride Sovereign. I love lions – and this art is sweet. A player at my shop has a tribal Cat deck called Thundercats and this will be a potent weapon for it. Outside of fun, fringe-playable Standard decks though, I doubt we will be seeing Pride Sovereign shaking up the format.
Wow! $9!? I’d give that price tag a strong heck no. This should be a basically a bulk rare once everything settles. The only exception to that would be if Always Watching actually creates an exert strategy in Standard. GW Aggro is usually a decent way to attack, but it doesn’t seem good enough against the other aggressive options in the format.
Bontu's Last Reckoning
So, I can pay three mana to Wrath of God now? Since when? Since Bontu's Last Reckoning is going to be printed, I guess. I think skipping your fourth turn to be allowed to cast this on turn three is a perfectly fine cost. What I’m worried about is that late in the game, you will have the rest of your lands to utilize and the three mana board wipe will allow you to have a bunch of mana available the next turn. That makes this spell crazy good in my opinion.
Now this is a price tag I can get behind: $8 seems just right for this card, and I could actually see this increasing as long as one control strategy adopts this efficient spell.
Solemnity is the card everyone is talking about. There are so many combos with this enchantment that I’m not even going to try to list them all. I can’t think of any in Standard, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. In Modern, though, it combos with so many things.
As of right now, there is no preorder price listed. My thought is that it will start out at $8 and quickly bump into double digits to try and capitalize on the hype from all the combos. I think the right price range should fall under $10 though, so don’t jump on the hype train just yet.
We need Abrade. This card will hopefully save the format a lot of grief. We finally got our power-creeped version of Shatter. Abrade is the removal spell, like Dromoka's Command was before, that we need for the format to compete with the diverse array of aggressive threats.
Even with a Game Day promo, I’d still expect Abrade to be one of the top priced uncommons from this set. I think it won’t be Fatal Push good, but it should still fetch $1.50 and be worth looking through draft leftovers for.
Alright guys, that's all for today. Hour of Devastation is shaping up to be pretty amazing. I love this plane and the cards that have come from it. Hopefully we keep getting more cool cards spoiled to add to these I've covered today. Let me know your thoughts about my financial projections as well.
Until next time,
Unleash the Force!