With COVID-19 forcing many players to stay inside more than they already do, picking bulk is a great way to justify re-watching Tiger King on Netflix while actually making money, instead of just staring in disbelief at the adventures of Joe Exotic. This week on Picking Pioneer, we take a look at four picks from one of the highest power level Standard sets in the last five years from War of the Spark.
Formats: Modern, Standard, EDH
While this one-mana black aura may seem pretty low-power at first glance, it really shines when enchanting creatures with enter the battlefield effects that Reanimate permanents to the battlefield. This creates either an infinite loop to outright win the game with Blasting Station and Renegade Rallier via infinite damage or enough value to bury your opponents in card advantage with cards like Sun Titan, Iridescent Drake, Cavalier of Dawn.
The card certainly has all the makings of a role player in multiple formats, as a result of being an uncommon effect that is fairly undercosted. With that in mind, Kaya's Ghostform is a solid pick with limited reprint risk based on the name and low risk of becoming obsolete via a lower mana cost or better effect. That said, the current buylist options are somewhat soft as Trader Tools does not show any vendors looking to pickup more than a playset. Unlike some of the other cards on the list, a pick-and-hold strategy should be fruitful with pretty much zero downside over the next 6 to 12 months. It could pay dividends as printing an effect similar to Blasting Station in Pioneer would spawn a unique combo deck able to go off at instant speed once established with an adequate backup, midrange plan.
Much like the other Proliferates cards printed throughout Magic’s history, Guildpact Informant has a fairly innocuous effect that when used in combination with high impact counters (Infect, Loyalty, Soot, Charge, Time, etc) prove to truly be powerful. Though there are certainly better proliferate cards in a vacuum Guildpact Informant is one of only seventeen Proliferate cards that has a repeatable effect. So while it might not be in the first tier of Proliferate cards (Contagion Engine, Inexorable Tide, Atraxa, Praetors Voice, or Viral Drake) decks that want the effect are usually looking to max out on cards that either power the engine or keep it going (which this blue common certainly fits the bill).
It is not a must-have in any specific deck based on EDHRec, but has solid numbers for some popular commanders Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound at 9% Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive and Roalesk, Apex Hybird both at 10%.
Guildpact Informant might not be the strongest card in your infect or superfriends deck but has very strong buylist demand with consistent listings at $0.10 with peaks of as much as $0.24. This along with having a less than 75% spread for an in Standard common shows strong demand since release. Both the name and text box limit opportunities for a reprint so a pick and hold strategy is low risk, but most would do well to pick and ship to lock in an easy dime apiece.
Formats: Modern, Pioneer, Standard
This sloth-like friend sees play across multiple constructed formats for the simple fact of being a one-mana Explore. In Modern, the card is a perfect fit in Amulet Titan with the downside of the land coming into play tapped as boon rather than a burden when combined with Amulet of Vigor. This combo supercharges lands like Simic Growth Chamber and Gruul Turf to power out early Primeval Titan’s.
As a green creature, Grazer is also a target for Summoner's Pact when you just need another land drop to trigger Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle or Field of the Dead. In Standard and Pioneer the one mana beast is the only one mana land ramp options available and pushes out cards like Hydroid Krasis in Bant Midrange Decks and Slyvan Scrying in Lotus Field decks.
Less than a 50% spread on a Standard common is a rarity, especially when the card buylists for consistently more than a dime and sometimes as much as a quarter. Grazer also has the highest constructed pedigree of commons from War of The Spark so gains should be stable over time. Cards that fill a similar niche in Amulet Titan decks have crept up to more than two dollars (Sakura-Tribe Scout). That said, the name and the effect are fairly reprintable so a hold could have some risk, though I do not see a better version of this effect anywhere on the horizon.
Any card that can deal with let alone exile nearly any permanent at instant speed goes a long way even in the two colors most prepared to deal with everything. It should be no surprise that Despark is one of the most popular cards from War of The Spark appearing in a whopping 19% of all decks on EDHRec and the most popular Orzhov card in the whole set.
This makes sense given that it cleanly answers 90% of the Top 10 Commanders of the last month with only Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow dodging a one-way ticket to the command zone. While some of the big hitters (Dovin's Veto, Ashiok, Dream Render, or Narset, Parter of Veils) will rarely be leftovers after drafts or tossed into bulk this $1 Vindicate without a home in 60 card constructed decks certainly will be.
Wizards has been reluctant to print cards that reference Planeswalkers at common or uncommon outside of War of the Spark so Despark should be well insulated from reprint risk with a somewhat plane specific name and effect. With a 60% spread the card is poised for growth in addition to a very stable asking price of $0.15 to $0.25.
It is rare for a single set to impact constructed in the way War of the Spark changed the landscape for every format. That said War’s impact on Magic is by no means complete with high power level cards waiting to be pushed over the edge with every new set. These four cards are bulk today but the future looks bright for each in their respective formats. As always comment below with predictions or anything you think I missed in the comments section. If you are not where to get started with buying and selling bulk check out my Bulk to Bayou Series only available at Quiet Speculation.