Hour of Devastation is here. A whole new Amonkhet block-themed set packed full of awesome and exciting new cards and strategies. The key question: "What the heck should I trade for?"
My basic strategy for speculation and MTG finance is to buy in on cards that feel underpriced and hope for them to find their mark. Week one is difficult with a new set because we often lack context but it is often the best time to make a move because everybody lacks context. Obviously, nobody knows exactly what the Standard metagame will end up looking like once the PT rolls around, but good cards are good cards and identifying cards with low prices and potential is a great way to spike some picks.
Another thing to keep in mind is that while it is extremely difficult to get a bead on what Standard is likely to look like after the Pro Tour, there are lots of future moments for spikes as well. What will the next Standard look like? The one after that? Picking good cards with modest price tags is smart because these picks can (and typically do) pay off at some point during a card's term in Standard.
So, let's get to the picks!
Abrade is a big-time Magic card, especially for Standard. One whole block, Kaladesh, is artifact-themed and there are a lot of powerful and impactful artifacts that get answered by this card. On the other hand, three damage for two mana is efficient enough to make the cut anyways.
It's like a charm with two great modes. Two really great modes...
9. Ammit Eternal
I played against this card at the prerelease and was extremely impressed. It's powerful and provides a brutal clock for a low cost. I also think that this slots nicely into the Zombie shell. It's just a powerful, efficient beater with a very low casting cost.
It currently has a medium price tag but I could see this being one of the stronger Standard creatures in the set. There is a lot of competition at the three-drop spot but this card packs a unique punch.
8. The Locust God
The Locust God is a sexy card. It's powerful and it does the kind of things that players like to do. It encourages you to draw cards and it makes oodles of stuff, 1/1 flying haste Insect tokens.
I think it has an outside chance to be a Standard-playable card out of the sideboard from a Izzet Control deck. I also think that it will be extremely popular with casual and Commander players. It feels like the kind of card that will constantly be sold out at the LGS. It is the kind of card that tends to have a high demand. I think it's a sleeper.
7. Oketra's Last Mercy
This is a powerful card. The ability to gain a ton of life for three mana (with the "lands don't untap" drawback) is the kind of thing that can wildly impact the game against aggressive decks. In particular, this could be an anti-Burn sideboard card for Modern. I could also see it as a neat card for Commander. Maybe it's bad, but it's also unique and likely could be better than a bulk rare.
6. Wildfire Eternal
Wildfire Eternal is a powerful card that has a very high payoff in a deck that wants to cast really powerful spells. It's hard to block (afflict 4) and if it connects it can do some truly wild things.
It is certainly a "build around me" kind of card but it's so unique that I think it could easily find a home. It also strikes me as a potential Commander creature.
5. Razaketh, the Foulblooded
I don't think it is super likely that Razaketh becomes a Standard card, but I think it is a slam dunk for Commander. The card seems absolutely absurd in that kind of format. The fact that it is repeatable and doesn't require mana to use makes it truly abusable.
It has a medium price tag but I think that price is sustainable and could go up over time. If it sees constructed play somewhere (and it could) I think it spikes.
4. Ramunap Excavator
Ramunap Excavator is one of the cards I'm most excited to play around with in various formats. I'm a big fan of Crucible of Worlds and this is a Crucible on legs. You can Collected Company into it, which is also sweet. It just feels like an amazing value creature, especially in Legacy where it can recur Wastelands.
I would play this card in Commander as well. I just think the card is simply A+ and will be highly coveted by players from all formats and skill levels. A big-game card.
3. Champion of Wits
Champion of Wits is a card that I may have a little bit of inside information about... I think that Control is coming back in a big way in Standard and this is a mirror-breaker. It's a cheap threat that can pressure early and generate some card selection. A 2/1 that casts Careful Study when it enters the battlefield isn't insane. But the big upside is the eternalize, which cannot be countered and nets you two cards.
On that draw-go mirror breaker technology alone, I think this card is better than a bulk rare.
2. Hour of Promise
I'm not sure about the constructed viability about this card at five mana, but it should be in literally every green Commander deck ever. The ability to tutor directly into play any two nonbasic lands is absurdly awesome. I really can't fathom not playing this card in a green Commander decks—it's like Prime Time, which is banned.
There is the possibility that there could be some kind of a Desert ramp deck in Standard (which puts the two-Zombie clause into play). Ramping from five to eight also puts Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh into play, which is worth noting. It's just an awesome Commander card that will be universally played. Not a bulk rare!
1. Hour of Devastation
The best, most underrated, most undervalued card in Hour of Devastation in my estimation is: Hour of Devastation!
The card is unbelievable in Standard and will help shape the metagame moving forward. It gives control decks a fantastic answer to both creatures and planeswalkers. Most importantly, it gives the UR and Temur Control decks a solid answer to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which they sorely lacked before. Sure, it could be countered, but if it came down it ended the game.
Another aside: it makes all permanents lose indestructible which means not even an Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier can save those opposing creatures!
I think this card is going to be a major player and will start attracting some major buzz in the coming days. So, pick these up quick while they are cheap!
Hour of Devastation (both the card and the set) look pretty fantastic! I am seriously looking forward to battling Standard and Limited. These picks feel solid to me right now. These are the cards I'm going to be looking to add to my "hold onto" box. Enjoy the new set, and happy trades!