Insider: Commander Value in Hour of Devastation

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Many people will write the new set off as another Dragon's Maze but I don't see it that way. While the EV of Hour of Devastation is quite low right now, I don't expect we're going to look back at this set with nearly as much disgust as people look at Dragon's Maze.

That was a set with only one card (Voice of Resurgence) that appealed to anyone. This set has plenty of cards for Commander players—they just aren't the type of player that rushes out to preorder too many copies at once.

I believe Hour of Devastation will be a stellar set in a few years. Today I'm going to take a look at my favorite specs from this set for the long-term.

Bulk to Dollars

These are the kinds of cards you will find in bulk in collections or maybe in some draft trash. I wouldn't spend a ton of money on them unless they're close to like $0.15, but I also wouldn't buylist them for anything less than a dollar.

Djeru, With Eyes Open


Djeru, With Eyes Open looks pretty bad. And it kind of is, if you play competitive Magic. Your first comparison is probably to go look at the price of Call the Gatewatch and try to tell me this is a card doomed to failure.

I don't blame you, honestly. The thing is, Call the Gatewatch doesn't really synergize very well with planeswalkers. Djeru is more like Eternal Witness in this regard. Creatures with ETB abilities always have the ability to get more value than instants and sorceries because your ways to interact with creatures are so much more numerous than spells. You could Fork Call the Gatewatch to get two planeswalkers, but that doesn't really do a whole lot to protect them.

Without going too deep into "Magical Christmas Land," Djeru is great with a lot of existing cards he can fetch. Venser, the Sojourner, Nissa, Vital Force, Liliana, the Last Hope, Liliana, Death's Majesty, Kaya, Ghost Assassin, Saheeli Rai, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets are all much better with a creature than a sorcery.

The other ability that prevents damage is just icing on the already pretty delicious cake. It's not insignificant against token-based Commander strategies. Ultimately I think this will take a while to catch on (as most Commander cards do) but it will also be the kind of card that makes you say, "What, that's $3 now?"

Torment of Hailfire

torment of hailfire

Torment of Hailfire has every competitive player's least favorite mechanic on it, the punisher mechanic. Your opponent gets to choose how much trouble they are in—that's always going to be the worst for you!

That's really the wrong way to think about this card. It's more like Death Cloud that doesn't affect you. Black decks can easily find an unreasonable amount of black mana with the popular combination of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers. It's not the kind of spell players are going to cast for numbers that don't kill everyone at the table. Oh yeah, it affects all of your opponents, which means it gets better and scales in larger games.

Swarm Intelligence

swarm intelligence

Commander players love cards that have large affects and aren't symmetrical. Cyclonic Rift is the poster child for this. Nobody plays Devastation Tide but everyone loves Cyclonic Rift. According to EDHREC, it's the most popular blue card by a large margin. It's in 13% more decks than Counterspell.

Swarm Intelligence is kind of like an Eye of the Storm that doesn't get out of hand for your opponents. At any rate, there will be some number of Izzet commanders that are going to want this style of card and it will be popular in years to come.

Fraying Sanity

fraying sanity

I'm not usually big on mill cards these days because there are so many, but this is rather unique as it doesn't actually do anything by itself. It's like a mill support card. That being said, I'm still not a fan. It has some things going for it like it being a Curse, but the fact that it only mills one person and does it rather slowly makes me think it won't be as popular as a lot of other mill cards. The non-existent movement in most mill cards since Consuming Aberration really makes me wary of buying them.

Overwhelming Splendor

overwhelming splendor

This is basically a bulk mythic and it's really expensive, but there are some weird ways to cheat it into play (like with Enduring Ideal, Academy Rector, Bitterheart Witch, Curse of Misfortunes, etc.). It's particularly brutal because it shuts off other abilities of cards like fetchlands, cycling, and eternalize (among other things).

Humility is a Reserved List card that can be difficult to obtain, so Commander players are likely to spend a few extra mana and a few less dollars on this. I'm game at picking these up for $1.

Bigger Fish

The Gods

locust god scarab god scorpion god

I'll lump all of these gods together because I think it's pretty clear already that they're quite good. It's possible they never fall below their current prices. If they're good in Standard you may need to wait until rotation to pick these up, but I would expect Athreos, God of Passage to be the closest-to-best-case scenario. That was a small-set mythic from the summer that wasn't opened a ton, now a $15 retail casual card that's only four years old.

Personally, I think The Scorpion God is the most unique, and will drive the most price movement (it already caused a spike in Kulrath Knight) because the other red-black legendary creatures are pretty bad or lame outside of Vial Smasher the Fierce. I would be ecstatic to get any of these for sub-$5, but I will probably end up buying my personal copies if they're below $7.

Razaketh, the Foulblooded


This card reminds me a lot of Griselbrand, and he got banned very unceremoniously in Commander. It's possible Razaketh could also get banned but if it's not I don't think it will take a long time for it to pass Rune-Scarred Demon as the most popular Demonic Tutor creature.

It's not terribly difficult to generate a lot of useless token creatures to feed to this. I would be surprised if it didn't end up being pay 10 life and tutor five cards to win the game. Much like the Gods, I don't think this will be a Standard or Modern staple that could influence its price, so I would rather get in under $5.

Hour of Promise

hour of promise

Man, this card is just the best. It's the most important part of Primeval Titan without the 6/6 for one less mana. I expect that is enough to keep it from being banned, unlike the Titan. What is the most important part of this is the fact that it can search for any lands and put them onto the battlefield.

It's rare enough to see a card that can search for any land, and most ramp spells only put basics or lands with basic land types into play. This can get Gaea's Cradle and a Deserted Temple, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers, Thespian's Stage and Dark Depths, or any other great two-land combo.

What might make this a bit awkward to pick up now is that it can also search up two Shrine of the Forsaken Gods in Standard for the next three months, which lets you cast an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger the following turn. I've pre-ordered a few copies for $1 each and I don't expect it ever to get that low again. If it does, this seems like a no-brainer pick-up.

Joining Quiet Speculation

If you've never seen my writing before, you may not be the only one. I am joining the Quiet Speculation team as a player of the game first, and a financier second. I feel like my point of view is different enough to cover some of the great casual cards that slip under a lot of people's radars because they're not exciting. Hopefully you enjoy my content and if you have any questions or suggestions I'd love you to leave some feedback below!

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