Welcome back! While you can find a financial set review pretty much anywhere these days, I take pride in my niche of common/uncommon finance. When a new set releases, thousands of players across the world will be cracking boxes hoping for Invocations, watching for foil copies of Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, and praying that they don't pull any Samut, the Tested. Most of the time, commons and uncommons are tossed by the wayside, with the exception of the obvious (Fatal Push, Aether Hub, et al).
If you're a Standard or Modern player, this might mean you end up having to spend 50 cents or even a dollar per copy of a random uncommon that you need the night before a tournament. This column exists to help this type of player set aside specific playables that I predict will be worth selling from a retail perspective, and shining some light on which cards in the set will be "blueprintable," or worth shipping to a buylist like CardKingdom.com or MTGBlueprint.com.
Finding the nickels and dimes in your collection that have gone unnoticed and sold as bulk by friends and colleagues can help alleviate shipping costs and fill out the rest of a 1,000-count box with value. Let's get started!
It's about time the Gatewatch got slapped around for once. We've seen effects like this in sideboards of Standard decks all the time: Celestial Purge, Combust and I remember picking Dark Betrayal during Theros block. I would hold onto a personal playset of each just in case, although I don't really expect them to buylist for anyuthing reasonable. Maybe one or two of them will sell to Card Kingdom or Card Advantage for a couple of dimes.
This and the following card are expected to see play in some number in the New Horizons deck. While it wasn't stellar at the Pro Tour, the budget cycling list has been a really easy entry point to Standard for newer players. There's at least three or four people at our LGS who built it because it was really cheap to throw together, and they'll probably be needing some number of these for the sideboard. Buylistable? Probably not, but you can throw four copies into a single binder sleeve, and get a couple bucks in trade for the playset that you pulled out of bulk.
You can pretty much copy-paste the previous paragraph into this card's rating as well. Nobody is going to pay five mana for this in Commander, but this curves out real nicely from Weirding Wood into New Perspectives. Again, just throw a few into your binder or keep them on hand, and there'll probably be a budget Standard player at your LGS hunting down a set for the janky Standard combo deck.
This is more than likely the most powerful blue uncommon in the set. I can certainly see it filling a lot of roles in Standard decks, although I doubt it will be as buylistable as Aven Mindcensor. The fact that Aven Mindcensor curves perfectly into this, and that both can be used offensively or defensively, makes me think we'll see a lot of decks that include both cards as a four-of. This is a slam dunk pickup on the draft tables, and you'll easily out these at 50 cents in trade or quarters to buylists.
There have been rumors of this card being tested in Vintage, although I wouldn't put any stock in non-results just yet. It's definitely a good enough rate for Standard, and it'll probably see play next to copies of Harnessed Lightning. This is similar to Wayward Servant, where it'll be more of a niche card in Standard but you'll still probably get buylist offers of 25 cents for it. It's not the next Harnessed Lightning, but it will stay around longer in Standard.
This card was a powerhouse in my Sealed event, winning games on its own when board stalls went long. If the Standard meta slows down, I could see this being played as a one- or two-of in control mirrors as a way to grind out advantage over time without having to spend additional mana. For a second boon, non-competitive players have shown to love this type of effect. Dash Hopes and Browbeat are two wonderful #breakingbulk picks, and this card is kind of in the same vein. While it will obviously have a much higher print run, it's something to keep in mind when discussing deck archetypes with less competitive players. It can also be found with Curse of Thirst in Commander. All of these theoretical applications probably won't change the fact that this card will buylist for nothing, but it's worth keeping in mind that it's designed as more than a pack-one-pick-one bomb.
I've seen a lot of Hapatra players excited about this card, and with good reason. It's a win condition when combined with Flourishing Defenses, but its utility is pretty limited outside of that deck. It doesn't have the stats to compete in Standard, so I'm just going to pick a few out to have them in stock for the store, then skip over the rest. It's not going to buylist for anything, even if the card is sweet.
This is currently the most expensive uncommon in the set, primarily driven by its theoretical modern applications in Death's Shadow decks. I certainly don't think that's worth an equivalent price to Aether Hub or being twice the price of a Harnessed Lightning. If you open this and see someone interested, I'd try to ship these for Hour of Promise immediately, considering how that's a card that could easily see a price increase to $4 or $5 after the first couple weeks of results. I don't want to hold these any longer than necessary based on theoretical hype, and I'd wait to buy in as a Modern player unless you really need multiple copies ASAP.
If you follow the free content on the right side of the homepage, you've seen the #Hareruyawayfinder" brews being posted by Chaz. One of the more unique lists is a blue-red mill list that takes advantage of Fraying Sanity, and the particularly fatal three-card combo with Startled Awake // Persistent Nightmare while copied by Geistblast. That's 52 cards milled, and it makes the Johnnys of the world light up with excitement. Heck, my wife is considering getting into Standard because she really likes mill, so I'll end up pulling four copies of this out of the case that I pre-ordered. The fact that this land comes in untapped makes me enjoy it as a longer-term pick, but those same casual players really dislike paying life for mana... hmm... I'll still pick these out of bulk for the long term, just in case.
Overall, this set looks relatively weak for blueprinting and buylisting from the perspective of someone looking solely at the commons and uncommons. Claim // Fame is currently the most expensive silver symbol in the set.
That's not to say that the set itself is bad overall (it's certainly not great, but that's not the point), but it's possible that we'll see one or two uncommons be harder to find throughout their Standard lifetime, because this is the last "small" set for the foreseeable future.
The EV for a box right now isn't great, and that's compounded by the fact that you can't really expect to open anything insane in the uncommon slots like Fatal Push or Aether Hub. Both of those are multi-format all-star four-ofs, and I don't think the black-red aftermath spell stands up to snuff in this case.