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Uncommon Report #7 – Invasion Block

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Invasion Block

Invasion has a special place in my heart. Prior to the Invasion prerelease, I had never played in an actual Wizards-sanctioned event, nor had I ever played any Limited at all. One of the big stories leading up to the prerelease was the fact that the full spoiler was released ahead of schedule. I printed it off and was reading over all the cards repeatedly in between classes in High School. It was the first "tournament preparation" I ever did. At the event, I opened a Darigaaz, the Igniter, and managed to steamroll most opponents, right up until my last opponent. They also had a Darigaaz, and better support cards to go with it. Second place in my first-ever release tournament was definitely something I will always remember and thus, my fondness for the set.

The next set in the block was Planeshift. My second ever prerelease went nowhere near as well as my first. My brother, however, got second place at this one on the back of Phyrexian Scuta and proceeded to win a Planeshift deck box with the Phyrexian Scuta art on it. Apocalypse, The last set in the block,  also happens to be one of my favorite sets ever, behind Urza's Saga. It's the first set whose prerelease I attended after moving away from the only home I'd ever known. While I didn't do particularly well in the event, I pulled both a Spiritmonger and a Pernicious Deed. I used these cards to trade into 2x Gaea's Cradles for my G/W Elf/Lifegain casual deck. What a trade that turned out to be in the long run. I could write an entire article just reminiscing about my love of Magic during this timeframe, but let's dig into the financial aspects of this wonderful block.

Value Targets When Picking Bulk

As I've mentioned in previous installments of this series, I go through a lot of bulk and it is very important when doing so to know which cards are worth picking out and setting aside.  I set my target on uncommons whose TCG Market price exceeds $1.49. Knowing that I'm not the only one in this position, This series allows me the opportunity to inform QS readers and refresh my own knowledge. So what does Invasion block have to offer?

Invasion

There are currently 5 uncommons that meet my $1.49 or greater TCG Market value requirement.


This Commander all star is absolutely an auto-include in any creature-based deck that can play it. It has only one reprinting, the original Commander decks back in 2013, so its price of nearly $11 is heavily influenced by scarcity.


Another Selesnya enchantment from this set, the recent reprinting in Modern Horizons 2 as well as a judge promo has quickly tanked this once nearly $20 card down to around $5. I fell in love with this card back when it first came out as a way to protect and search out one of my two copies of Angelic Chorus for my previously mentioned G/W Elf/Lifegain deck.


While most copies of Fact or Fiction, or FoF, as it was known back during Invasion Standard, are worth only around $0.25, the original printing has additional demand thanks to many players' love of the "retro" look and the card's addition into Modern with Modern Horizons.


Fog with a built-in Sleep, you essentially get 2x Fogs for the price of...well two Fogs, but only one card. This card has never been reprinted in a tournament legal form. The only technical reprinting was in one of the World Championship decks.


The first printing of this card and the only version with the beloved brown artifact frame, this printing of Chromatic Sphere currently goes for 2x its other versions, most likely due to its frame.

Invasion-Watchlist


While skipping your draw step is a relatively high cost, losing a game due to mana screw is one of the worst feelings. Elfhame Sanctuary essentially reads "draw a land instead of another card any turn you would like" and happens to provide a safety net against mill strategies. It has only the single printing and fits well in most landfall-based Commander decks.


This is essentially a Goblin Recruiter for basic lands. Anyone who has played against a Goblins deck that has stacked its whole deck against you knows just how potentially broken that is. Scouting Trek has no reprints, and should it ever combo with some new card, it could easily be a $10+ card.


Enchantments are good in Commander because there are some colors that have almost no way to remove them, making them quite powerful against the right decks. Teferi's Care acts as a great answer to enchantments as it can eliminate those that have already resolved and can stop others from resolving. Admittedly, it has a high cost for both abilities, but Commander decks like flexible solutions to problems.

Planeshift


This is a nice two-drop artifact that can add multiple colors of mana but does require you to run a fair number of basic lands to make it operate. Unfortunately, this goes against what most multi-color Commander decks that would want the effect actually want to do.




I'm actually amazed that these are worth a little bit of money. They serve as a good example of "power creep" as back in 2000 in order to get a land to produce more than two colors it had to have a pretty significant downside. Nowadays we get uncommon tri-lands similar to this, and all you have to do is let them come into play tapped.

Planeshift-Watchlist


This card's only reprint was in Eighth Edition as a rare. The effect is very powerful and combos brutally well with Cyclonic Rift.  I feel like the only reason this card doesn't see as much play is because bouncing permanents tends to be a lot less effective as a source of removal in slower multiplayer games.


Back before cards like Painter's Servant existed, if you wanted to abuse cards that punished you for playing a certain color, you had to play cards like Shifting Sky which didn't affect lands. While I wouldn't go and buy up a lot of these, I suggest keeping this one in mind should any color-hosing commander ever get spoiled.

Apocalypse


This card's value is heavily tied to the "Death" side, acting as a slightly more expensive Reanimate that can only target creatures in your own graveyard. It was a Friday Night Magic (FNM) promo and was reprinted in Duel Decks: Izzet vs. Golgari.


This was one of Standard's (or Type 2 as it was known back in 2001) best catch-all cards and was played heavily in the Urza's Rage-based control decks of the day. Fire // Ice has a fair number of reprints, none of which carry much value save for the original and the FNM promo.


This card gets more powerful with every multi-colored creature printed. Thanks to creature power creep the last 20 years it's significantly better now than it ever was in 2001.

Apocalypse-Watchlist




Goblin Ringleader and Sylvan Messenger are easily the more well-known and powerful of this series of four mana creature-specific card drawers. These other three have the benefit of one reprint, in the case of Tidal Courier, or no reprints in the case of the other two. I especially like Grave Defiler right now because the current set and the next one to follow both take place on Innistrad, where we're almost guaranteed to have a surplus of new zombies.

Conclusion

I enjoy looking back at sets created before the Commander format was a thing. It's cool finding cards that when originally printed may have been underpowered or not worth the cost when playing one-on-one, but now have a lot more promise in a slower multiplayer environment like Commander. One last fun fact about the Invasion set, it was the first set that was released on Magic: The Gathering Online (MTGO) and one of the hardest to find in an MTGO set redemption box. I hope you enjoyed my report on Invasion Block as much as I enjoyed strolling down memory lane to write it. If you have any suggestions, feedback, or thoughts on the block as a whole please feel free to comment below or message me in the QS Discord.

Previous Uncommon Reports

  1. Kaladesh Block
  2. Return to Ravnica Block
  3. Innistrad Block
  4. Shards of Alara Block
  5. Zendikar Block
  6. Theros Block

David Schumann

David started playing Magic in the days of Fifth Edition, with a hiatus between Judgment to Shards. He's been playing Commander since 2009 and Legacy since 2010.

View More By David Schumann

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