Speculating on War of the Spark and Modern Horizons

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War of the Spark is still over a month away. Spoiler season hasn’t started, but what little information we do have has been enough to have a major impact on the market.

It was revealed that planeswalkers define the set, with 36 new planeswalker cards, and one appearing in each booster pack. This fact has sent the market into a frenzy, from Commander and casual players who have new toys to play with, to Standard players that could see a metagame defined by powerful planeswalkers.

The Chain Veil has doubled in price since February, now over $30. Its ability to use planeswalkers multiple times a turn makes it a must in the planeswalker-centric Commander decks sure to pick up in popularity.

A Commander card with Standard crossover is Mox Amber, which could be elevated to serious competitive playability with the release of cheap new planeswalkers to enable it. It grew to nearly $20 this week, but has fallen back to the mid teens.

I believe this growth is based on hype that’s unlikely to translate to Mox Amber becoming a top-tier Standard staple. I can’t recommend buying in at this price, which is double the $8 it sat just a few weeks ago.

Another card that goes hand-in-hand with planeswalkers is Oath of Teferi. It hasn’t been a serious card in Standard yet, but it could be in a deck with multiple cheap planeswalkers. A new planeswalker appealing to blink with Oath of Teferi’s secondary ability could be enough to push it over the top. It has more than doubled to over $1.50, but there’s a little room to grow and a low long-term downside given its casual appeal.

Legendary sorceries from Dominaria benefit from new planeswalkers to help enable them. Two in particular play well with planeswalkersL Kamahl's Druidic Vow, which can dig into them, and Yawgmoth's Vile Offering, which can both reanimate and destroy them. Both have shown signs of growth, growing about $0.10 each, but are still well-under $0.50—a potential bargain given their uniqueness and long-term potential.

Much of the Standard growth related to War of the Spark has been planeswalker hosers, which will become more important when planeswalkers take over the metagame. The prime example is The Immortal Sun, which shuts all planeswalkers off completely as the ultimate hoser. That has driven the price up over $25.

A more accessible card, in terms of both mana and current price, is Sorcerous Spyglass. It’s a great sideboard answer to planeswalkers for nearly any deck. It’s also growing as a staple in Modern in the Whir Prison deck. Massive online growth from around 0.1 tix to 0.7 could indicate some imminent growth in paper, where its price has sagged to $2, the lowest it has been since spiking from $1 to $5 last May.

Another good answer to planeswalkers is Bedevil, which has shown lackluster performance so far relative to expectation. It’s not for lack of being a quality card, and if a ton of new targets enter the metagame then Bedevil’s stock will surely rise.

It has grown from around 0.1 tix to over 0.3 this month. A rise from $3 to $4 could head higher, but its gold nature will keep it from hitting a price over $10 like the more accessible Vraska's Contempt.

A very creative way to kill planeswalkers is Vraska, Golgari Queen. It can only kill a couple of current planeswalkers, but if War of the Spark contains many low-cost planeswalkers as expected, then Vraska will become a very useful tool for taking them down.

Vraska, Golgari Queen also comes with the benefit of being a planeswalker, which War of the Spark might make more important with various support cards. This planeswalker focus brings to attention the ones we currently have in Standard.

Jace, Cunning Castaway is notable for being cheap to cast, and it’s a bargain at just a couple dollars. As a blue Jace planeswalker, it also has decent long-term prospects, or at least a high floor that should keep it from ever becoming bulk status.

One of the most interesting specs on War of the Spark is Court Cleric, from the M19 Planeswalker decks. Each of these decks has a creature that benefits from having a planeswalker of a given name, and War of the Spark means new planeswalkers.

Court Cleric is the most promising of these creatures, not a terrible card by itself but actively great with an Ajani. It already has one Ajani to use—a new one that costs three or less mana might push Court Cleric over the top into a real playable. Who knows what that would do to the price, because so far no Planeswalker deck card has ever broken through as a real staple. Its online price has grown from 1.2 tix to 1.6 in the past few weeks, so there’s definitely interest.

Modern Horizons

Modern Horizons is still a few months away, but it’s also having an impact. The biggest has been on the price of big staples that we know won’t be reprinted, specifically the enemy fetchlands. There also seems to be movement on allied fetches, which as cheaper alternatives might be better spec targets.

This week there was a spike in the price of Sphinx's Revelation online, more than doubling from around 0.4 tix to 1. My theory is it’s based on speculation over the reprinting of Counterspell, which many have theorized will be included.

This reprint would certainly elevate blue strategies like Azorius Control, and could bring about a surge in decks playing cards like Sphinx's Revelation. The current price around $3 is an all-time low for the card, so there is room to grow.

I’ve noticed Jace, the Mind Sculptor has been steadily on the rise online, starting in January independently of any Modern Horizons announcement, but something like a Counterspell reprint would only accelerate this growth. Its paper price has been growing just as steadily. After bottoming out at around $80 in August, six months after the Masters 25 reprint, now it's up to $110 and shows no signs of slowing down.

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