Amonkhet has been one of my favorite sets in years. I love the flavor of the plane and the interesting mechanics it has brought us. Hour of Devastation seems to expand on some of those awesome things as well as bringing its own uniqueness as well. There are some really neat build-around-me cards as well as interesting staples. Let's discuss:
Let’s start out with in interesting land cycle in Deserts. Shefet Dunes, Ipnu Rivulet, Ifnir Deadlands, Ramunap Ruins, and Hashep Oasis may give us some troublesome names to say, but this land cycle seems amazing. You may be saying, "But the abilities seem so irrelevant!" At first I glossed over these new lands as well, but one aspect about them popped out to me this morning. Unlike the cycling deserts, these lands don’t come into play tapped.
What that means is that these are basic lands with an upside. You can still get colored mana from them, which is great, but their mediocre abilities allow you to gain some value from your lands later in the game. Any time you can add value without taking up card slots, you’re increasing your ability to win games. This is why man-lands are so great.
In addition to the single-color deserts, I think some of the colorless ones are sweet too. As an Eldrazi player, I think Scavenger Grounds seems amazing, and I’ll be hunting for foil copies this weekend. Eldrazi already includes cards like Relic of Progenitus, so Scavenger Grounds seems like a natural inclusion in the archetype.
Financial Value of these lands shouldn’t be much at all, but the competitive value is high. Even if Eldrazi adopts the Scavenger Grounds, I think it will still be a bulk rare, but it’s possible that demand will increase the price.
Hour of Revelation is one of this set's great sweepers. This one is getting a lot of hype, because it not only gets rid of creatures, but also vehicles and planeswalkers as well. Previously, we didn’t have anything to fill that need, so sweepers were pretty bad. Players could just cast Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Heart of Kiran with no fear other than single-target spells. I’m not sure how easy it will be to trigger the cost reduction with ten non-land permanents in play, though. You could easily have Walking Ballista and Filigree Familiar to help boost the count. Oath of Liliana or any of the Oaths could help as well, but you’d probably rather keep those around than sweep them away.
Hour of Revelation is preordering just above a dollar, basically as a bulk rare. If a control deck emerges that utilizes this wrath effect, I expect it to jump to at least $5, so picking up a couple early on seems extremely low risk.
Oh, how I wish Hour of Eternity was an instant. I don’t think this Hour is going to be making an impact on Standard any time soon, but it seems amazing in Commander. You can have a million mana as well as creatures you put in your graveyard on purpose. Technically, this could be used as a bad reanimation spell in Standard, but I think there are better options than that. It would let you get two creatures for seven mana, however. That’s a good thing to keep in mind in case there are any combos printed for the format.
Unsurprisingly, this is also a bulk rare, but it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a couple foil copies. The multiplier should be decent, and if not, they should catch the Commander players' eyes.
Hour of Glory doesn’t seem necessary at all except from a flavor point of view. Financially, this is a sideboard card at best. Four mana is a lot for a removal spell these days, and I don’t expect this to see much play.
Hour of Devastation is the third sweeper I’ve covered in this and part one of the Hour of Devastation spoilers series. We haven’t had a good red sweeper in a while, but this one is great. Most red cards like this are cheaper and deal at most three damage. The ability to deal five is amazing, but the fact that it goes against planeswalkers too is crazy good. Keep in mind this will take out gods too because they will lose indestructible.
I’m not sure this will see much play in Standard, but it is definitely a Standard-playable card. Commander players will love this as well because red doesn’t have many good cards like this. I could see the price dipping below its preorder $3 price, but it doesn’t have much space to go down.
What an interesting card Hour of Promise looks to be. It’s a ramp spell that rewards you for having Deserts in your deck. As I said above, the single-color lands are basically basics, and you have more options for deserts as well. Ending up with three deserts in play might be tricky, but getting two Zombies as a reward might make the hassle worthwhile. My question is what are we ramping to? I guess we could ramp to Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, but I’m not sure that’s going to be a valid competitive strategy.
Much of the value of Hour of Promise hinges on its success in Standard. If there is a deck that plays this as a four-of, we will see it spike. Otherwise, it should stick around as a bulk rare. This is another minimal-risk investment, though.
Of the legendary creatures, Razaketh, the Foulblooded is my favorite. Many players have mentioned building a horse army with Crested Sunmare, but I think it seems too slow. Unesh, Criosphinx seems like a great Commander card, but unlikely to break out financially. Neheb, the Eternal possesses the critical trait of being a Minotaur. Seriously, is it just me or do other people sell Minotaurs all the time? My second place goes to Majestic Myriarch because it appears to have a lot of potential, but it’s probably one of those cards that will never get sleeved up. I might play it in Red-Green Gods if I ever get around to working on that list, but there’s probably something better like Glorybringer.
That brings us back around to Razaketh, the Foulblooded. Maybe it’s just me, but this is one of my favorite cards in the set. I think he screams "break me!" This is a creature I think will be awesome in Cube, but could also be a competitive player as well. Razaketh is big enough and has a sweet enough ability that he would be worth investing your time and resources into getting into play. Maybe the tools aren’t there for this style of deck to be viable in Standard, but he’s worth brewing for.
Unfortunately, the price of these mythics is really low. Razaketh, the Foulblooded is the highest of the cycle and at $7, he’s one of the highest cards in the set. The others will be lucky to keep their $3 tags for long. If any of these legends see play in Standard, though, expect them to drastically jump in price. This set is eager for a couple more double-digit cards.
Overall, the price of this set is quite low. That usually means that this set isn’t very good for competitive play. The other possibility is that there is more potential for breakout cards. Nothing stands out to me except maybe Razaketh, the Foulblooded, because it seems breakable. Time will tell. Does anything stand out as a potential spike? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time,
Unleash the Force!