Core 2019 Financial Power Rankings: Mythic Edition

You’ve been waiting to read it, I’ve been waiting to write it, and now it’s here! Welcome back to my financial power ranking series, where cards duke it out to see which is most worthy of your investment dollars.

Remember, this series highlights an integral part of my investment strategy—buying cards from a set when the set’s value is at its lowest point, in the hopes of selling the cards three to nine months later when the set is at its peak. Fundamentally this is an investment strategy intended to blunt some of the risk involved in speculating on individual cards. This is also an investment strategy that is not about quick flipping—I fully expect to sell Core 2019 cards from November through April. Check out my Calendar Guide to Investing on MTGO for a fleshed out explanation of this investment strategy.

The window to invest in Core 2019 opened much earlier than usual, and prices have already risen to $70. This took me by surprise, and in fact as of this article’s writing I’ve made only a modest investment into one card on this list (the card I rank #1, it turns out). I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled over the next month for card prices to dip.

A brief refresher on the categories:

  • Risk: Relative to its current price, how much room is there for this card to fall? How much concern should you have that you’ll be unloading this card at a loss in the future?
  • Potential: How much room does this card have to grow? Growth in an absolute sense (dollars and cents) and growth as a rate of return (percentage) are both important factors, and I weight them equally.
  • Chance of Success: How likely will this card be a successful speculation? Is it a surefire bet or more of a dark horse?

The Bad and the Ugly

Bone Dragon
Liliana, Untouched by Death
Arcades, the Strategist
Apex of Power

Core 2019 offers an abundance of horrid speculation opportunities. There are just as many pure Fs in Core Set 2019 as there were Ds and Fs in Dominaria. These five are particularly bad because they have room to fall and definitely aren’t going up.

11. Sarkhan, Fireblood

Sarkhan, Fireblood

Risk: High
Potential: Limited-moderate
Chance of Success: 15%

Sarkhan, currently worth $7.80, is a powerful planeswalker that is already seeing a lot of Modern play. The problem is that it’s very difficult for a new card not seeing play in Standard to hold that value. I think its Standard viability will become nonexistent once Glorybringer rotates in the Fall, and at that time it will be worth picking some up. I’m only interested in Sarkhan below $4.

Verdict: D-

10. Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire

Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire

Risk: low-moderate
Potential: Limited
Chance of Success: <5%

Even though this creature has wings, it will never be better than Carnage Tyrant.

Fun fact: Wizards has never printed a vanilla 6/6 flyer for 6.

Verdict: D-

9. Crucible of Worlds

Crucible of Worlds

Risk: low
Potential: Limited
Chance of Success: 5%

Now is a good time to pick up your copies if you need them for eternal play, but I have a high degree of confidence that this card will be mired at its current $2 price for a long time. Something truly astonishing would have to be printed in the next few sets for this to become a worthwhile investment.

Verdict: D-

8. Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner

Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner

Risk: low
Potential: Limited
Chance of Success: 5%

Palladia-Mors is the first card on this list that has the look of a Standard-playable card. The problem is that Carnage Tyrant will be in the format for the entire time that Palladia-Mors will, and that makes it hard to envision it ever seeing play.

Verdict: D

7. Tezzeret, Artifice Master

Tezzeret, Artifice Master

Risk: Low-Moderate
Potential: Moderate
Chance of Success: 40%

Tezzeret is a powerful planeswalker, and its generic power level will likely improve once Goblin Chainwhirler loses metagame share. Two things hurt its potential. (1) Ravnica is not an artifact plane; and (2) Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is generally better.

As with Sarkhan, I expect this card to lose some value at rotation, and I think it might be worth picking some up at that time. $4 is a tad high, but something closer to $2.50 would make Tezzeret an attractive speculation opportunity.

Verdict: C-

6. Nicol Bolas, the Ravager

Risk: Moderate-High
Potential: Moderate-High
Chance of Success: 40%

It’s hard to know where to put Nicol Bolas on this list. Right now Nicol Bolas is going for $15.50, and that just seems awfully high for a card that likely won’t be seeing much play after rotation. Six to nine months from now, though, I could see Nicol Bolas commanding $25 as a playset in Standard’s best deck. My recommendation is to wait—keep your capital liquid!

Verdict: C-

5. Scapeshift

Risk: Low
Potential: Limited-Moderate
Chance of Success: 75%

I regret not having already invested in Scapeshift. I should have treated Scapeshift’s reprint as a Masters set reprint, buying in a few weeks after Core 2019‘s release. It has slowly been going up ever since, and I expect that to continue over the coming year. Lesson learned for next year’s Core Set reprints.

Verdict: C

4. Resplendent Angel

Risk: Low-Moderate
Potential: High
Chance of Success: 30%

There’s stiff competition at the three-drop slot in white: History of Benalia is better overall, and Benalish Marshal will likely be preferred in most decks.

That Resplendent Angel is going for $5.50 despite seeing minimal play signals that investors believe strongly in this card. Short of a Thragtusk reprint, however, I don’t think this card will breakout over white’s other stellar options. If it does, it would likely shoot up to $15 as a small-set mythic, so the potential is real and alluring.

Verdict: C

3. Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants

Risk: Low-Moderate
Potential: Moderate
Chance of Success: 50%

I think Ajani is the most underrated card in Core 2019. Although it ostensibly doesn’t generate value on its own, the -2 should be a way to generate value on an empty board if your deck is built to take advantage of his +1. Ajani looks like a $7.50-$10 planeswalker and is an attractive speculation between $3.00 and $5.00. Sadly it’s still north of that, currently at $5.96, and I’m unsure how I’m going to proceed.

Verdict: C+

 2. Vivien Reid

Risk: Moderate
Potential: Moderate-High
Chance of Success: 50%

Vivien Reid is the most enigmatic card on this list. A few years ago I would have said, “Obviously a $5-$10 card. Just look at Liliana, Death’s Majesty or Ob Nixilis, Reignited.” But then Vraska, Relic Seeker and Carnage Tyrant came, both spiking above $15. Vivien will play in that same space (a sideboard staple of Tier 1 green decks), with far less supply to go around.

I’m hesitant to be a buyer at her current $9.50 price, but I fear that hesitancy is rooted in old prejudices formed from old price patterns. Green would have to be pushed out of the metagame for her to settle below $9 or $10, and I think spikes above $15 are likely. She’s just plain powerful.

Know that there is some risk here and that past precedent is very mixed on planeswalkers like her commanding such a high price.

Verdict: C+

1. Chromium, the Mutable

Risk: Low
Potential: Moderate-High
Chance of Success: 75%

Chromium is a premier mirror breaker, and a better one likely won’t be printed during its time in Standard. Rosewater noted that Chromium was created specifically as a mirror breaker for Standard (Play Design noted that Standard needed one), and so this should be the next incarnation of Sphinx of the Final Word.

Sphinx of the Final Word spiked to $12 during its life in Standard, and I think it a safe bet that Chromium will at least double its $2.00 price tag. The only reason to be worried is that it is three colors, but Teferi’s presence in Standard alleviates that concern for me.

Verdict: A-

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Kyle Rusciano

Kyle Rusciano

Kyle started playing Magic with his little brother when they saw some other kids at a baseball camp playing. His grandma bought them some Portal: Second Age decks, and a hobby was born. Kyle played from Weatherlight through Invasion, then took a lengthy break until 2013. Now a PhD student in the humanities, the Greek mythology component of Theros compelled Kyle to return to the game. He enjoys playing Pauper and Limited as well as focusing on MTGO finance and card design. Follow him on Twitter at @KangaMage!

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11 thoughts on “Core 2019 Financial Power Rankings: Mythic Edition

  1. Wow, really ? Lillian and Omniscience as “bad and ugly” ?

    Sure Liliana has some room to fall, but I would consider it a slam dunk at 3-4 USD (it’s at 6-7 now).

    For Omnisicience, it’s already retailing at 5 USD. That’s cheap in my view for a card that used to be worth 30 USD and is played in Commander and Legacy…

    I guess we will have to agree to disagree, but I would like to have some explanation as to why it’s so bad: maybe I just do not see the problem ?

    1. Never mind, this is an article about Standard… I understand now.

      Thank you for the article though, it always helps.

      1. It’s not just a “Standard” article per se (some of these cards have modern potential, especially Scapeshift and Sarkhan Fireblood, and I’m considering those in my rankings).

        The confusion stems from it being an MTGO finance article, not a paper finance article. Planeswalkers, casual cards, and Commander cards always have more demand in paper than online.

        Looking at things from the vantage point of paper, these rankings would have to shift in a big way. Omniscience and Liliana would both be a lot higher on the list, as you noted.

        It’s also worth remembering that Core 19 is going to be opened (and redeemed) less than most sets in recent memory on MTGO, so there will be less supply of these mythics in paper. That makes Liliana in particular a very attractive speculation for paper.

  2. It’s not at all clear if this article is strictly about MTGO or paper. The only reference to MTGO is in the beginning, where you reference another article that is about MTGO.

    The prices you’re quoting here don’t appear to reflect paper at all, but the embedded images and price graphs don’t reflect MTGO at all. I’m very confused.

    1. I’m not sure why the paper graphs were added. I didn’t include them in the article when I submitted it and they’ve never been included in my power ranking articles. I just removed them and will replace some of them now with MTGO price graphs. This is an MTGO Finance article and I understand why that could be confusing.

    2. Ok, I added a few MTGO price graphs for the top cards in the rankings. Hopefully that clarifies things. Sorry for the confusion.

  3. I like the new Liliana, especially after seeing the upcoming Guilds of Ravnica mechanics regarding graveyard manipulation. Liliana dumps cards to the graveyard, so I’m giving her a strong look.

    Regarding the whole paper vs. online thing, perhaps at the beginning of articles, every author in the title or description should mention whether their article is targeted towards Paper or Online, since yea the two price strategies can vary wildly. Plus, it would help filter content: I only care about paper, so yea… lol.

  4. I agree about Liliana being a sleeper hit. The golgari have zombies, such as lotleth troll, so I think zombies can still be a thing, and thus liliana.

    Regarding the confusion over paper and modo, I think Kyle should start referring to prices as tix, such as 2.66 tix or .30 tix. That way, I think there’s no room for doubt about what the article is about.

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