Welcome back to my Guilds of Ravnica financial set review! If you missed the first part, check it out here. Today's installment will cover all the cards that were previewed last week, plus my overall thoughts on the set now that we know the identity of all 259 new singles.
But first, let's take a look at what has changed since my last article:
Price Shifts From Last Week
- Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice - Up $3 from $12 to $15
- Chromatic Lantern - Down $3 from $8 to $5
- Beast Whisperer - Down $2.50 from $5 to $2.50
- Mausoleum Secrets - Down $2 from $7 to $5
- Arclight Phoenix - Down $1 from $5 to $4
- Blood Operative - Down $1 from $2 to $1
- Erratic Cyclops - Down $1 from $2 to $1
There haven't been too many major shifts in value over the past week, which speaks to StarCityGames' solid hit rate on setting their pre-order prices correctly. Chromatic Lantern and Beast Whisperer pretty clearly needed a price reduction, though, and it's nice to see them getting more affordable. Additionally, Mausoleum Secrets is a powerful card that doesn't seem to have a home yet. Its price might continue to drop over the next couple of months, though I'm still pretty bullish on the card's long-term future.
On the other end of the spectrum, Aurelia's upward shift was likely because a bunch of really good Boros cards were previewed this week, starting with Tajic, Legion's Edge. I'm now far more confident that Boros is going to be good straight out of the gate, which means that Aurelia might end up peaking in the $20-$25 range at some point over the next few weeks. If you want to play Boros right away, grab your copies of Aurelia ASAP.
I'd also like to reevaluate Runaway Steam-Kin and Swiftblade Vindicator, two cards that I've changed my tune on since last week. Swiftblade Vindicator is far better now that Tajic, Legion's Edge is a thing, and I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up as a four-of in the good Boros deck as well. As for Runaway Steam-Kin, I've heard a lot of love from pro players I respect, like Jim Davis and Gerry Thompson . Based on their analysis, I now feel as though the card is underpriced based on how much play it's likely to see. Grab your copies if you want them.
Onto the cards we haven't discussed yet!
Divine Visitation - $12.99
By this point, you probably know just how much I dislike expensive cards that don't do anything the turn they enter the battlefield. Anointed Procession was good enough to see play in Standard, though, and Divine Visitation is at least reasonably comparable to that previous token generator. Guilds of Ravnica is full of good enablers, too, so it seems reasonable to run Divine Visitation as a two or three-of in a Selesnya deck. That's enough to get this card into the $5-$6 range, but let's not forget just how popular cards like this are with the casual and Commander crowds. I don't think Divine Visitation has a ton of upside, but I could see it kicking around the $6-$10 range for the next year or so regardless of how much play it sees in Standard. Buying in now if you need them is fine, but there are far better spec choices for anyone who wants to go deep on Guilds singles.
Mnemonic Betrayal - $7.99
Mnemonic Betrayal is a cool card. It reminds me of Yawgmoth's Will, one of my favorite spells ever printed, and I get why it's a mythic rare. Unfortunately, I don't think that Mnemonic Betrayal will see any play in Standard. It might show up as a one-of here and there in Legacy or Vintage, and Commander players are going to want a copy, but that won't create enough demand to keep this from being a future bulk mythic.
Thousand-Year Storm - $7.99
Boy, I hope jump-start is good enough that Thousand-Year Storm ends up seeing competitive play. Wouldn't that be awesome? Unfortunately, six-mana enchantments that require you to follow them up with multiple spells in a single turn before you can even start to accrue value are …well, they're for Commander, not Standard or Modern. Future bulk mythic.
Chance for Glory - $5.99
Final Fortune hasn't been Standard-legal in a very long time, but it wasn't very good the last time it was around. Chance for Glory adds an indestructibility element to the equation, but the fact that this card is only good when you're racing full-tilt toward the end of the game means that it'll be a sideboard play at best. Boros decks might toss a few of these into their sideboards for aggro mirror matches or other situations where you feel like a single extra turn can win you the game, but I'd rather have another threat or piece of removal most of the time. Future bulk mythic.
Tajic, Legion's Edge - $3.99
Tajic, Legion's Edge is one of the best Standard cards in Guilds of Ravnica. Heck, it might prove good enough for Modern Humans as well . Gerry Thompson thinks that it's the best card in the entire set for Standard play , a recommendation that should not be taken lightly. If you want to know why Aurelia jumped in price this week, look no further than Tajic.
While Tajic might eventually settle in the $4 range due to the overall power level of Guilds, there's a real shot that this card ends up spiking in the $10-$15 range on week one if Boros is the fastest deck out of the gate. Worst case, $4 is a totally reasonable buy-in for a card that's almost assuredly going to see play in some Standard deck with potential to see play in Modern as well. Grab these at current retail-you won't be disappointed.
Thief of Sanity - $3.99
There was a six-month window back in 2014 when Nightveil Specter was a $10 card and a four-of in the format's best deck. Thief of Sanity has a similar amount of upside, though I haven't seen much hype surrounding this one yet. The format will have to be conducive to slow, flying 2/2s, which probably won't happen right away thanks to all the crazy-good Boros cards that were previewed this week. Don't be shocked if Thief of Sanity has its day in the sun at some point during its run in Standard, but don't run out and buy these at $4 unless you have a plan for how to use them.
Unmoored Ego - $3.99
I don't see Unmoored Ego doing much of anything in Standard, where Lost Legacy could already hit almost every card you'd actually want to hate away. It has some game in Modern, though, where the fact that it can hit artifacts and lands(!) gives it game against several decks where Lost Legacy wasn't going to do much.
While I feel like Unmoored Ego is going to make an impact in Modern, that won't stop it from dropping down to the $1 range or even lower over the short-term. Supply is going to massively outstrip demand unless Unmoored Ego finds a home in Standard as well, and I just don't see that actually happening. If you can hold off on buying these until November, you should.
Charnel Troll - $2.99
They say not to feed the trolls, but Charnel Troll is the exception to that rule. A 4/4 with trample for three mana is pretty darn good, but you can't actually play your Charnel Troll on turn 3 unless you've perfectly set it up with enough fodder to keep it alive for a while. And that's not even taking graveyard hate into consideration.
I can certainly see a world where Charnel Troll ends up headlining an excellent Standard deck, but the risk of this card busting out entirely is too great for me to consider buying in. I'd rather target the next card on this list, which is somehow pre-ordering for the exact same price.
Pelt Collector - $2.99
Pet Collector is outstanding. Good one-drops are so important, and you don't have to do much to make this one pay off. Experiment One was a playable card in its day, and Pelt Collector might actually be better. It's the sort of card that could end up as a four-of in multiple tier one decks, too, which gives it $15 upside. I'm not saying it'll get there for sure, of course, but it's one of the best spec targets in the set at just $3. If you're going to buy any of the cards I write about today, make it either Pelt Collector or Tajic.
Risk Factor - $2.49
Oh boy. Every time a punisher card comes around, there's a big kerfuffle between the "punisher cards are always a trap!" folks and the "the mystery box could be anything. It could even be a boat!" crowd.
I tend to side with the anti-punisher folks about 90% of the time, but Risk Factor actually seems good to me. Browbeat was a competitive card in its day and getting it at instant speed is a heck of an upgrade. You obviously aren't going to want to play this in any deck where you aren't trying to burn your opponent out, but if your opponent can't just take four to the face, your consolation prize is getting to draw three cards, one of which you can pitch to jump-start your Risk Factor for a second time. Yeah, I think this one's worth $2.50 if you're going to play red. This card is better than people think.
Etrata, the Silencer - $1.99
I keep reading Etrata as "errata," which seems fitting considering how complex a card it is. Etrata is a fun flavor win, but I don't see how it ends up seeing any competitive play. It's essentially a very slow removal spell that can be disrupted at any point, which is not my idea of a great time. Future bulk rare.
Gruesome Menagerie - $1.99
Gruesome Menagerie is sort of like Collected Company, if it cost five mana instead of four, was a sorcery instead of an instant, needed you to set up your graveyard, and had much stricter requirements about what could and could not be put out. Yeah, I'll pass on this future bulk rare.
Citywide Bust - $1.49
While it doesn't appear that Citywide Bust is an effective answer to most of the best Standard decks in…well, pretty much any iteration of the format, three-mana sweepers are always worth a couple of extra looks. I don't think Citywide Bust is going to end up being a major player in Guilds Standard, but the buy-in is low enough and the upside is high enough that I might grab a set anyhow.
Experimental Frenzy - $1.49
Are any of these wacky Izzet enabler cards going to pay off in Standard? So far, I haven't seen any indication that they will. It's possible that the mana reduction for Experimental Frenzy vs. Future Sight will create some sort of payoff in Modern or Legacy, but that's a bit of a long shot. This card is likely a future bulk rare.
Assure - $0.99
I love the flexibility of Assure, but I don't think that either side is powerful enough to justify running this card in a competitive deck. It's a lot closer to being good than most of these $1 rares, though, so I don't blame anyone for wanting to take a flier on it. Personally, I'd rather buy another 1/4th of a copy of Tajic.
Bounty of Might - $0.99
Back in high school, I killed my fair share of kitchen table opponents with Might of Oaks on a Thorn Elemental. Bounty of Might is certainly a better card-you won't get blown out by a single removal spell-but I can't imagine it's good enough for competitive play regardless. Future bulk rare.
Camaraderie - $0.99
Despite Camaraderie's similarity to the last card we talked about, I'm not sure it's quite as unplayable as Bounty of Might. I'd like it quite a bit if it were an instant, and I could use it as a Selesnya-based Sphinx's Revelation, but even as a sorcery I can imagine a world where it finds a home as a midrange mirror-breaker. It's never going to be more than a $2-$3 card even best-case, though, so it's only worth buying in if you're really excited to run it.
Chamber Sentry - $0.99
I want to look at Chamber Sentry and see a slightly worse Walking Ballista, but instead I see a card that isn't very good even if you're running a three-color deck. It might show up if the format ends up being conducive to, like, a five-color jank-mo-tron deck, but I doubt that's going to happen. Bulk rare.
Dawn of Hope - $0.99
Dawn of Hope seems a bit too slow and fiddly for competitive Standard play, but lifegain payoff cards are always worth considering. I like Legion's Landing quite a bit more, though, and it's not like that card is setting the world on fire at the moment. I'll be keeping an eye on Dawn of Hope, but the most likely scenario for this one is that it remains a bulk rare.
Drowned Secrets - $0.99
I don't think we're anywhere close to a competitive Standard mill deck at the moment. Solid mill cards rarely end up being true bulk, though, so Drowned Secrets will probably kick around the $0.75-$1 range for a while before eventually ending up as a $3-$4 rare. We're years away from that, though, so you can safely ignore this one for now.
Hatchery Spider - $0.99
Light of the Legion - $0.99
Light of the Legion is a pure Limited card. It'll win you a draft here and there, but it's a bulk rare that will not see any Constructed play.
Uncommons to Pre-Order
While most rares and mythic rares are never more expensive than they are during the pre-order period, most of the best uncommons actually increase in price as the format shakes out. If you aren't going to be heavily drafting Guilds of Ravnica, I recommend you pick up your playsets of the set's key uncommons relatively soon.
Chemister's Insight - $0.75
Circuitous Route - $0.50
Explosive Vegetation variants are always going to have Commander demand, so make sure you snag a couple of foils while they're still just $3.
Conclave Tribunal - $0.50
50 cents (and just $2 foil!) is a bargain for what is likely to be white's premier Oblivion Ring-style effect for the next couple of years. Convoke makes Conclave Tribunal a lot better than it looks, so get your copies ASAP.
District Guide - $0.50
I'm not sold on District Guide in Standard, but this is a very solid Commander card. $2 is a fine deal for foil copies.
Goblin Cratermaker - $1
At a dollar, you're not getting much of a discount on Goblin Cratermaker. It's going to see play, though, and the fact that foils are just $3 is pretty incredible considering the fact that this card is going to see play in Legacy Goblins.
Integrity - $0.50
I'm not sure that Integrity ends up over $1 at any point considering you need a Boros deck to run it, but it's worth noting that this is going to be a solid Standard playable that you should at least throw in your trade binder over the first couple weeks of the set's legality.
Status - $0.75
You can pretty much copy the Integrity paragraph and paste it here. A cheap combat trick that turns into a versatile removal spell later in the game? That's some pretty solid value for Golgari decks.
Overall Thoughts on Guilds of Ravnica
Like I said last week, Guilds of Ravnica is a very good set. Because of its high power level, you're probably going to see a Khans of Tarkir-style evolution of card values over the next couple of weeks: Prices will increase over the short term as the new metagame establishes itself, followed by a large price decrease as more and more boxes are opened and the EV of an opened pack begins to fall in line with the cost of a sealed pack.
The trick with sets like this? Open packs or speculate on singles early, but make sure you flip your extra cards ASAP. Focus on getting relevant Standard pieces from Dominaria, Core Set 2019, and especially Ixalan block. If Guilds of Ravnica ends up being as good as most people seem to think it is, there will be a lot fewer of these older cards floating around simply because fewer people were playing Standard back when they were being opened.
Key Guilds of Ravnica Cards I Feel Great About
Key Guilds of Ravnica Cards I Like, But Am Iffy About
Key Guilds of Ravnica Cards I Am Fading
This Week's Trends
- There weren't any major Standard gainers this week, but believe me-that'll start to change, and change soon. I have my eye on Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, History of Benalia, Search for Azcanta, Carnage Tyrant, Vraska's Contempt, and Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants, all of which stand to gain a lot from Guilds of Ravnica and a resurgent Standard market. I'm also seeing some slight upward movement from Bone Dragon and some major movement from Core Set 2019 uncommon Stitcher's Supplier due to their potential value in a new Golgari deck.
- The Modern market has been fairly quiet too. Jace, the Mind Sculptor continues to climb, as do Jund staples like Blackcleave Cliffs, Tarmogoyf, and Liliana of the Veil thanks to the printing of Assassin's Trophy. We should know soon how legit the Jund resurgence actually is, but I'm bullish on these cards over the short-term regardless.
- Remember how we talked about the potential of Phyrexian Dreadnought last week due to Lazav? Shock of all shocks, this weird Reserved List rare spiked quite a bit this week. While I still don't think this combo is actually good enough, Reserved List cards tend to stay fairly high regardless. Don't expect this one to end up back at $20 again.
- Is Brawl dead? Not quite, but the nascent format is certainly circling the drain after WotC pulled all their Brawl events off the schedule on Magic Online. While I don't think that the loss of Brawl will impact the finance world at all-it's not like anyone was actually playing it-I'm still kind of miffed that WotC actively ignored all of the homebrew "Eternal Brawl" formats that popped up over the past year. The Standard card pool was just too small for Brawl to work correctly, but an Eternal variant could have been a great goofy alternative to the increasingly streamlined Commander format. Ah well.
- Lastly, WotC announced that a small number of Guilds of Ravnica: Mythic Edition sets would be available for pre-order and pick-up at upcoming Grand Prix. This seems to be WotC's fix to the fact that the Hasbro Toy Shop will not ship internationally, though you're still out of luck if you're an international buyer without an upcoming GP in your country. I'm not sure whether or not these copies were printed on top of the Hasbro Toy Shop stash or whether they were simply siphoned off of that supply, but it's starting to look like the supply of Mythic Edition is a little larger than I'd been thinking. At this point, I'd suggest only buying a set if you're okay with the knowledge that you may not ever be able to move these foil planeswalkers for a profit.