Welcome back for some more Pioneer speculation this week! The last article was rather aggro heavy, and this one is going in a similar direction. We have three creatures and two non-creature spells to keep an eye on going forward. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Getting things done with token and creatures
To start with, we have a complementary piece to any Selesnya styled brew. Emmara, Soul of the Accord is a bargain at its current price, with non-foil copies coming in at $0.50(TCG Player), $1.08 for the foils, and $1.33 for the promo. There is a Gameday promo, but I could not acquire a price for it. Keep that in mind if you have any on hand to just hold onto them!
With white overall being used rather heavily in the format, this has a spot if Selesnya starts to garner attention. For starters, it is an elf, belonging to a sneaky tribe that always seems to find a build somewhere. Some may argue that Golgari would be a stronger color splash with cards like Shaman of the Pack, but in time, Selesnya tokens/elves might become a thing. Being able to tap this using other cards makes this quite intriguing. A little jank synergy combo using white would be using Pressure Point on it during your opponent’s end step. This not only gives us a token, but card advantage. Overall, this should be one to grow in value over time and could easily see a $2.00 - $3.00 non-foil price tag.
Next on our list is a white weenie that should be considered for white weenie decks. Hanweir Militia Captain // Westvale Cult Leader should be in contention for a mainboard slot given the upside at any point in the game. The current price is $0.84 for non-foils(TCG Player), $1.68 for the foils, and $1.90 for the prerelease copies.
The biggest upside here is mid to late game using this with white weenies. Once it transforms, it not only gets buffed due to creatures but produces creatures as well! We can use this in any token or creature heavy deck. However, referencing the current meta weenies would be where this would fit optimally. As a solid two-drop, this could easily rise to the $3.00 range regarding the non-foil copies.
Turning up the heat with creature ramp
Garruk's Harbinger is the next card we are going to discuss. The copy to target with this one will be the showcase foil copy. In previous articles, the subject of showcase cards affecting prices has been brought up. This one however is at a steal for the price. At just $0.90 avg(TCG player) for the foil this is a bargain.
This is a card that would benefit any deck that utilizes green. Ramping into creatures is what we want to use this thing for. The other upside is that it has hexproof from black. Seeing as Mono Black Aggro is a thing, this is something to slam onto the board without having to worry about pesky black removal spells. Playing devil’s advocate, there are two major downsides to this card: you must deal damage to trigger the ability, and its toughness is at the three-level. However, those cons do not outweigh the pros for me.
Having a power of four is fantastic for a three-drop creature. Synergy is something everyone needs to look at with this for another pro. In a past article, we discussed how Gruul can utilize a new red spell in Unleash Fury. In an optimal situation, using both Unleash Fury and Temur Battle Rage together would be an insane turn-four play. Not to mention if our opponent was not dealt lethal from that, we would then potentially get a creature put into our hand. Overall, if this card gets utilized as it should in green, the foil could easily hover around the $4.00 range long term.
Getting huge gains in the card draw department
Village Rites is our next card that needs to garner attention. The current price is at $0.25 average for the non-foils and $1.99 for the foil copies (TCG Player). Both versions have to room to grow, as this will most certainly be utilized outside of Pioneer format, mostly likely in Pauper. We've been eyeing Pioneer cards that have potential in this article, but we must not ignore where else this can be utilized. A Pauper sacrifice strategy will almost auto-include this in any black build, and we have seen how this format has a tendency to affect foil common prices.
Going into Pioneer, this will again be almost an auto-include to any black build going forward. Any one-drop that has this kind of card advantage is powerful! We must sac a creature as an additional cost, but that is not going to deter anyone from using this spell that is looking to put creatures in the graveyard or produces incidental tokens. At only one black mana and instant speed, it has the potential for greatness. Seeing as this is the sole printing, this can surely creep up to the $1.00 range for non-foils and maybe upwards of $5.00 for the foil copies.
Wrapping things up, I'll say that we need to keep an eye on a slew of Core Set 2021 cards in general, but Pioneer is the format that benefits the most at this point. The cards in this set seem to be raising the bar on how powerful cards will be with a lower mana cost. The power creep that has been going on with cards in newer sets is undeniable.
It seems like the Standard card design is gearing towards speed instead of a solid split of strategy and speed. One could argue that it has been this way for a while, but I personally feel that the past couple years of Magic have highlighted this. I hope that you all enjoyed this article and be sure to come back this way for the next one!