Normally, I’m all about opening boxes and profiting from the results. When I started kicking up my game in Magic finance, I used store credit from selling cards to start a chain of buying boxes and building my collection back up from when had I sold it in the past.
Once in a while, though, a set comes along that doesn’t provide significant power leveling and therefore becomes a money sink when you crack packs. I thought we were past the Saviors of Kamigawa and Alara Reborns of Magic history, but then we got Hour of Devastation.
Now normally, I open a case of each set and break down the value per box so you guys get a sense of exactly what can lie behind the plastic packaging of the the box and wrappers. Let’s just start out with my best box and then go from there.
Hour of Devastation Box Report
Valuable Cards of Note
- Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh $19
- The Scorpion God $5
- Uncage the Menagerie $2
- Solemnity $5
- 2 Fraying Sanity $4
- Nimble Obstructionist $2
- Ammit Eternal $2
- Torrent of Hailfire $2
- Hour of Devastation $7
- Rhonas's Last Stand $1
- Mirage Mirror $3
- Foil Ramunap Hydra $2.50
- Supreme Will $1
- Abrade $1
- Claim // Fame $1.50
Box Total: $58
A total of $58 doesn’t even cover a dealer's cost for the box. With this being the best box I opened, I’m not confident in this set just yet. As it stands right now, without opening a Masterpiece, it seems unlikely you’ll cover the price of your box. Don’t get me wrong, when your box does have one of these extremely rare cards, you’re in for some amazing profits, but the majority of boxes won’t have one of these unique-art cards waiting for you.
So where does that leave us?
Well, unlike the previous sets that have bombed, I think Hour will have its time to shine. That time is not just yet, but the allure of Masterpieces plus the interesting flavors of cards contained within should turn things around. There are many cards that are waiting for their breakout moment as well as a bunch, like the gods, that have high casual appeal.
Depending on what happens at the Pro Tour, this set could immediately turn around as well. For now, let’s take a look at the cards already making an impact from the set.
First up, we have the most exciting part. Nicol Bolas in a winning deck list! This is every control players dream come true. The deck may be named Four-Color Control but it’s basically UR Control splashing for Nicol Bolas and a couple white cards. I’ve seen other versions of this strategy playing as many as three copies of Nicol Bolas! That’s exactly what we need to happen for his price to increase in the coming weeks.
Additionally, the uncommons from Hour made a strong showing at SCG Cincy. Abrade was one of the most-played cards at the event. Even with a full-art printing, this versatile removal spell should have some value. The other card I’m excited about is Supreme Will. I wrote about how amazing a counter/card selection spell would be, and it’s already seeing play here. I expect its play time to increase as well once the pros get a hold of it.
Four-Color Control had the most new cards, and though some of the other decks had new cards as well, minimal changes were made to existing strategies. This is to be expected any time a new set comes out. That said, here are a few cards I observed picked from the top eight deck lists on MTGGoldfish.
The great thing about these new cards is that their prices are super low. That means they have great potential to grow in price once other players adopt the changes into their own builds. Check out what I found:
Both Four-Color Emerge and Temur Energy both included the new Careful Study with legs, Champion of Wits. Last week, I was uncertain whether this card was positioned well enough in Standard to see play. As it turns out, the answer is yes. I think now that we’ve seen this card be successful, we could also see it adopted in other archetypes as well. So far, the price is trending up just a little, but for the most part it’s sticking around the mid-$2 mark. With more play, especially in multiple archetypes, this could jump up a couple bucks any time. Keep an eye on this one at the Pro Tour for sure.
Unexpectedly, the overcosted 1/2 for three mana, Dreamstealer, made an appearance in GB Energy this weekend. The effect is great, but with few removal spells available to get it through, I’m surprised it was included in this build. However, if Four-Color Control takes hold of the format as the premier control strategy, Dreamstealer could be a great counter. I remember back in the day, I destroyed control players with Headhunter. Dreamstealer is like a lower-power version of Hypnotic Specter, but all these cards fill the same role. This creature is currently bulk and is a great pickup because it can’t get lower than that.
Lastly, Mono Red saw a lot of camera time at this event, and the fun new card from Hour this deck picked up was Earthshaker Kenhenra. This efficient threat is also a bulk rare, but I suspect that won’t be for long either. Honestly, I’m surprised none of these cards I’m discussing have risen in value yet.
In addition, after the Pro Tour, I’ll be revisiting this box report topic to see how the overall prices of the set are doing with the innovations the pros bring to the format. I’ll of course have the sweet blend of competitive and financial reviews from that event as always.
Until next time,
Unleash the Force!