Welcome to the last installment of my Financial Value of Oath of the Gatewatch series. In today's article, I'll take a look at the cards that I feel will maintain value between now and Shadows Over Innistrad, discuss which foil cards have significant value over the non-foil versions, and hit on the new manabases of Modern.
The majority of cards in a set go down after release due to the influx of supply from release-week pack opening plus set redemptions a month later. Generally, mythics hold value better (due to lower supply), with the occasional high-yield rare shooting up (rather than down) in value.
For a mythic to go up in value past release, it needs to become a Standard staple. For a rare to go up post release, it needs to become ubiquitous in Standard, or be a multi-format all-star. Right now, prices tend to be at their high due to hype – but there's always cards like Jace, Prodigy of Vryn or Hangarback Walker that have a much higher ceiling than current pricing.
So, here are the rares I believe will maintain value, or go up in price post-release:
Matter Reshaper: Throw this in the category of being played in both Modern and Standard. As it's colorless, it'll be able to be splashed in a variety of decks (thanks, painlands and filter lands).
Oath of Nissa: Cheap enough (and powerful enough) to get played in Standard, Modern, and potentially Legacy.
Reality Smasher: Five for a 5/5 haste, trample creature that generates card advantage when targeted. Again – going to be played a lot in Standard (across many decks) and probably a bunch in Eldrazi decks in Modern.
Thought-Knot Seer: This is going to end up being the chase rare of the set. I think it was a mistake to essentially print Vendilion Clique as a colorless creature that also drops on turn 2 or 3 reliably in Modern. This card is going to be everywhere in Standard, and likely a major player in Modern as well.
I expect all other rares from this set to drop in value between now and Shadows Over Innistrad.
Mythics I believe will maintain value or go up in price post-release:
Kozilek's Return: I don't like that this is mythic, but given that it's a staple red sweeper for the format with a bonus upside (the Eldrazi clause), I can't imagine this will go unplayed.
Kozilek, the Great Distortion: Will likely follow the same price trajectory of Ulamog – will stick at $20-$25 while in Standard.
Sphinx of the Final Word – Currently undervalued, and likely to be the finisher of choice for decks that the control-oriented players play as a metagame deck once the first few weeks of Standard have been established.
A Word On Modern Manabases
So let's talk Modern lands. The Eldrazi deck is going to be insane in Modern, so I expect that Eldrazi Temple, Eye of Ugin, and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth are going to continue to climb in value. I've spoken to many people, and the general consensus going into the Pro Tour is that WotC pushed the Eldrazi “colorless” cards in this set too far, and that they expect one or both of Temple and Eye to be banned sooner rather than later.
Along with those cards – we are going to start seeing players use painlands and filter lands in place of fetchlands and shocklands in Modern. It's not going to be universal (fetch/shock combinations fix mana for three+ color decks better), but the power of some of the Eldrazi/colorless cards (especially Thought-Knot Seer and Matter Reshaper) would outweigh the loss of consistency for some of these decks.
Foil Cards of Note
Crumbling Vestige – $1 - Great land for three+ color Eldrazi decks in Standard.
Natural State – $1.50 - Cheap removal and playable in Vintage, Legacy, and Modern. Has room to go up in value.
Reality Hemorrhage - $1 – Standard starting value for Standard-playable burn spells.
Wastes - $10 – Same value range of higher-demand full-art foil basic Zendikar/BFZ lands. #184 is going to be the more in-demand artwork.
Flaying Tendrils - $3 – Probably a little low as a playable mass-removal spell, could hit $4-$5.
Reckless Bushwhacker - $3 – Playable Goblin.
Reflector Mage - $4 – I think this is going to be played a ton in both Standard and Modern, and possibly in Legacy. I think it's going to end up being a $6-$10 foil by the middle of the year.
Spatial Contortion - $4 – Also low right now. Will be played in Urzatron decks in Modern, and in a ton of decks in Standard.
Warping Wail - $10 – If this ends up being Legacy-playable, we're looking at $20-$30. If it's Modern playable (which we'll find out by the end of the Pro Tour), we're looking at $15-$20. If it's Standard-playable only, we're looking at the price halving.
Rares and Mythics of Note (Extraordinary Value Beyond Non-foil Version):
Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim: Currently at $5. Will be a heavily-demanded commander, in addition to being Standard (and possibly Modern) playable.
Mina and Denn, Wildborn: From $1-$1.50 for the regular version, to $8 for the foil version. I think the foil version will go down, but will still be 3-4x the price of the non-foil version.
Mirrorpool: Will be a Commander staple. Every deck that foils out will want one – I expect it to hit $25-$30 for the foil version, even if the non-foil version ends up being a Constructed flop.
Reality Smasher: Probably will hit $20 if it's a Standard staple.
Sphinx of the Final Word: $15 (It's a fantastic Commander card or one-of for various Constructed decks) versus $3 for the regular version.
Thought-Knot Seer – I wouldn't be surprised to see the non-foil version start hitting the $30-$40 range if this ends up being a Modern and Standard staple.
Thank you all for taking a look at my Financial Value of Oath of the Gatewatch series – hope you have a great Prerelease event!