Is it Monday again already? Don't worry—you're not stuck in a Groundhog Day loop, and Garfield's worst nightmare hasn't come true. Instead of having to wait a week to read my financial overview of Hour of Devastation, we've decided to break it down into bite-size chunks that will be delivered on a mostly daily basis. As long as the previews keep flowing, so will my content. Excited? Me too!
The Scorpion God - $9.99
There have been Standard formats in the past where The Scorpion God would be absolutely dominant. A midrange threat with a sizable body, a built-in ping, and a recursion ability that triggers automatically? Holy crap. In a game where you have loads of time and plenty of mana, The Scorpion God is going to perform like an MVP.
It's unclear if such a format will develop in the near future, though. I've seen some Olivia Voldaren comparisons, but that card had a cheaper ping, a lower casting cost, and an evasive body. At five, this also competes with Glorybringer for space in your deck. WotC appears determined to get us back into a world where The Scorpion God is good, but it's more likely to end up as a sideboard card against slower strategies. There's $20-$25 upside here if everything breaks right, but I'm not chasing it. The most likely outcome is that The Scorpion God ends up as a $5-$7 role-player.
Ramunap Excavator - $6.99
I have no idea how good Ramunap Excavator will be in Standard, but there's a chance that it'll be a top-tier playable. Hour of Devastation gives us a new set of cycling lands, and paying three mana for a 2/3 that allows you to cycle them away and then play them might end up being a solid deal. Evolving Wilds is still in the format, Grim Flayer is still hanging around, and The Gitrog Monster lurks in the darkness. These are all longshots to end up as Tier 1 strategies, but stranger things have happened.
I have less trepidation about how Ramunap Excavator will play out in other formats. It's an instant staple in Commander, and I can imagine it finding a home fairly quickly in both Modern and Legacy. Eternal play alone might not be enough to justify a $7 price tag on a current card, but the casual interest is there, too. If it ends up seeing play in Standard, look out.
I don't like speculating on expensive rares during the preview period, but this is the kind of card I like to pre-order for my own collection. Best case, it's a $10+ card basically forever. Worst case, it only goes down to $4 or $5 before ending up at $10+ a few years from now when the set goes out of print. Can you imagine a time when there isn't strong demand for Ramunap Excavator? Exactly.
Pride Sovereign - $3.99
Could G/W Cat Tribal be a real deck in Hour of Devastation Standard? I don't see it yet, but it's not totally out of the question, right? If only they'd banned Saheeli Rai instead of Felidar Guardian…
Financially, I don't see any reason to buy Pride Sovereign at $4. Even if there's a place for this in some sort of Standard tokens deck, the narrow nature of this card means that the price will top out in the $5-$6 range. More likely, it'll end up at a buck and become a solid long-term casual spec.
Hour of Revelation - $1.99
Don't pay too much attention to the "ten or more nonland permanents" clause—Hour of Revelation is Planar Cleansing with a slight upside. That's okay, though—Planar Cleansing is good! It saw play in a Tier 1 control deck the last time it was legal.
As a reasonable Standard sweeper, Hour of Revelation probably won't drop below a buck. If you want to mess around with it, buying in at $2 is totally fine. It could hit $5-$6 if it ends up as a staple in a Pro Tour-winning brew, but $2-$3 is a more realistic expectation. This is a solid role-player that should stay above bulk but will never be all that expensive.
Adorned Pouncer - $1.99
While I feel like I have a good grasp on how Hour of Revelation will perform, I have no idea what will happen with Adorned Pouncer. 1W for a 1/1 is awful. 3WW for a 4/4 double-striker is also not good enough. Put them together, though, and maybe you can end up with a playable card?
Really, it all comes down to the format's available pump and Equipment. If an aggressive R/W or W/G deck can turn that 1/1 double-striker into a reasonable early threat that also provides late-game reach, it might end up being a powerful card. I also hesitate to sleep on any affordable rare with a low casting cost—that's where a set's biggest spec opportunities lie. Right now, I just don't see enough support to make Adorned Pouncer work. If that changes in the future, I'm ready to buy in. This one could end up being a real winner.
Oketra's Last Mercy - $1.99
Oketra's Last Mercy might be a good enough sideboard card for Modern, though I'm not sure it's better than Timely Reinforcements against those hyper-aggressive decks. Skullcrack and Atarka's Command both deal with it fairly easily. I do expect it to at least be considered, which is all you want out of your $2 spec.
In Standard, a true control deck could certainly take advantage of a massive lifegain spell like this. I haven't seen a deck like that do well for quite some time, but it's not entirely out of the question. I'm not high enough on this card to buy in, but it has a chance of seeing some real play.
Grind - $1.99
Grind's future depends entirely on how many one-toughness creatures end up in the format. If this can reliably kill something in the early part of the game while giving you a six-mana spell that exiles two or more creatures if you draw it later on, we might have something here.
I'm not buying in. Walking Ballista is already keeping the number of one-toughness creatures low, and the fact that you need both black and white mana in your deck to take advantage of this card limits its upside considerably. It might end up as a $2-$3 role-player, but it's probably a future bulk rare.
Wildfire Eternal - $1.49
Jokes aside, your opponent gets to make too many choices for Wildfire Eternal to be good in a competitive format. There will be times when four damage will be close to killing off your opponent and you've got a splashy spell in your hand that you want to cast for free, but in those cases, almost every four-mana spell you could cast will win you the game. The rest of the time, you're paying four mana for a 1/4. Future bulk rare.
Dreamstealer - $0.99
I'd be more bullish on Dreamstealer if the discard was at random, but even that would make a 1/2 for three a hard sell. There are certainly games of Magic that this card would dominate, but you'd win most of those already. Future bulk rare.
I'll be back with more in the coming days!