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By: romellos, A. Atasoy
Jul 15 2015 12:00pm
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Hello everyone and welcome to the final part of my Magic Origins financial review series. Today, I will start my article with a few speculations about a possible card mechanic to use the graveyard theme as a reverse source in the Battle for Zendikar set.

Khans of Tarkir block showed us how redundant cards in our graveyards can matter with the Delve mechanic. And, in order to balance the scales, we might see the return of either; Threshold, Flashback or Unearth. Instead, we might also get a brand new graveyard mechanic that depends on the cards we hold in our graveyards. In that regard, I believe Magic Origins also gave us some tips with the Spell Mastery mechanic and the new Jace card about what is to come. In the end, this will be just a pure speculation based on a few deductions, until the spoiler season of Battle for Zendikar starts. 

Now, let's stay on the road and continue to evaluate the rest of the cards...

Sigil of the Empty Throne

I had big expectations in Theros block for an enchantment matter. In the end, we get few powerful cards and a flavorful God cycle. And to be honest, I was a little disappointed. Now, it seems Magic Origins will close that gap and will become a bridge between Theros and the enchantment support we're looking for.

Sigil of the Empty Throne is a big and a powerful win condition for the Modern enchantment decks. In that regard, Sigil of the Empty Throne can achieve the same success in the Standard with all these enchantment creatures during this short period until the rotation. I expect to see Sigil of the Empty Throne as a 1.00 to 1.50 tix card in short term. Then I expect it to decrease to 0.25 to 0.40 tix ranges in the mid-term.

Swift Reckoning

Swift Reckoning is one of the most powerful uncommons of this set. Basically, this is a two mana Assassinate. Once we achieve the spell mastery requirement, if will turn into a Doom Blade without any restriction. I expect to see Swift Reckoning in many Control decks that can support spell mastery requirement.

Harbinger of the Tides  Tidebinder Mage

Evaluating cards becomes a more easy process when we have past references that we can compare with. In that matter, Harbinger of the Tides is paired to compete with Tidebinder Mage. Both of them are at two CMC and do very similar jobs to disrupt the opponent's tempo.

In Modern, Tidebinder Mage's Encase in Ice ability is very relevant against half of the top creatures in that format. That limits his priority only to a sideboard section.

On the other hand, Harbinger of the Tides has no color restrictions and its flash option gives us a huge advantage over the board and the tempo as a Man-o'-War with flash. Yet, it is a one shot solution.

Wrapping up, Harbinger of the Tides will definitely see play in both Modern Merfolk and in Standard Blue devotion decks. Who knows, maybe we will also get some extra love for Merfolk cards in Battle for Zendikar? We did last time. I expect to see Harbinger of the Tides with a price range around 0.75 to 1.00 tix.

Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy  Jace, Telepath Unbound

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy might seem like a Merfolk Looter. In reality, he is much more with the combination of card filtering and the Flashback advantage. As a creature, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is a worse Sigiled Starfish that can be only relevant to block 1/1 tokens. Once he flips into his Jace, Telepath Unbound side, he will be a total value with his second ability as a repeatable Snapcaster Mage. I know, Jace's minus ability can only be activated at sorcery speed. That's more than enough for most of the Control or Combo decks to flashback spot removals, sweepers, discarding or card drawing spells.

In my opinion, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy is the best flip-walker for Modern, Legacy and Vintage formats. He is quite cheap (two cmc) and can achieve what every blue deck wants. In Standard, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy can easily see play in Jeskai Combo, U/W or U/B Control and Sultai Whip decks.

My short term price expectation for Jace, Vryn's Prodigy will be around at 8.00 to 10.00 tix ranges. And based on his performances in Standard and Modern formats, we can either see 4.00-5.00 tix or 14.00 to 16.00 tix levels, during the mid-term.

Psychic Rebuttal

Psychic Rebuttal is a Modern level cheap and effective Negate variant counterspell. I think its spell mastery bonus is worth it to test, at least with one or two copies in sideboard.

Talent of the Telepath  Mind Sculpt  Memory Plunder

Talent of the Telepath is a combination of Mind Sculpt and Memory Plunder in one package. I don't expect to see anything serious from Talent of the Telepath in constructed environments. Maybe a few copies in sideboard against Control mirrors can be good. Otherwise, this is a bulk rare with 0.05 to 0.15 tix value.  

Despoiler of Souls  Ichorid  Bloodghast

My first thought about Despoiler of Souls, is how close this is to Ichorid.  Both have the same bodies and Despoiler of Souls can pseudo resurrect itself with a huge downside.

In Standard, Despoiler of Souls can easily see play in aggressive Mono Black decks with the warriors. But, I can't say the same for the Modern.

Bloodghast only requires a landfall trigger instead of paying two BB and exile two creatures from our graveyard. Bloodsoaked Champion comes back just for 1B cost. In some cases, even Nether Traitor seems like a better option than Despoiler of Souls.

My price expectation for Despoiler of Souls will be fueled from its Standard potential, with an estimation to 0.50 to 0.75 tix ranges.

Gilt-Leaf Winnower 

The Elf tribe is clearly on the winning side of any Magic Origins tribal competition. They got various good and cheap creatures with a lord support. They also got an effective G/B color combination to utilize spot removal; Bile Blight, Hero's Downfall or Ultimate Price and creature card advantage with such spells like Collected Company and Chord of Calling.

In that regard, Gilt-Leaf Winnower seems like a good high end card in an Elf tribal deck.  It could serve as a Shriekmaw to destroy a non-elf creature with non-equal power and toughness numbers.

Gilt-Leaf Winnower might be good in such a deck, still its monetary value will be a bulk rare at 0.05 tix.

Eyeblight Massacre  Shaman of the Pack 

The current Modern Elf deck's mana base is mostly green, splashing for white to cast Path to Exile and Burrenton Forge-Tender. With the Magic Origins update, I see a trend toward to G/B side to utilize Shaman of the Pack's new win condition. With black, the elf deck can get access to Abrupt Decay and the new sweeper Eyeblight Massacre.

Eyeblight Massacre can be a great sideboard option for elves against Co-Co or Zoo decks. Shaman of the Pack can present a faster clock.

Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen  Rhys the Exiled

Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen is our elf lord for the Standard Elves deck. She has a classic lord's boost for our other elf creatures, reach for defensive matters and a life gain advantage against the aggressive decks. Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen is like a swiss knife for different situations.

I think Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen also has a chance to see a play in Modern Elf decks, in the sideboard to hose Burn decks.  You can test Rhys the Exiled instead of her, but an extra lord will be more handy.

My price expectation for Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen will be at 0.15 to 0.25 tix range.

Dwynen’s Elite  Sylvan Messenger  Gnarlroot Trapper

Dwynen's Elite and Sylvan Messenger will be another great addition for the Standard Elf deck. Basically, Dwynen's Elite is a two to one with an extra 1/1 body and Sylvan Messenger can be the second pair of Collected Company with tutoring.

Sylvan Messenger will be a value card in Standard but I'm not sure about its playability in the Modern version of the Elf deck. That deck's structure is quite different and it depends on finding the key combo pieces with Collected Company and Chord of Calling. Sylvan Messenger seems a little slow in a matter of tempo. 

Gnarlroot Trapper will be our new exclusive Elvish Mystic for the Elf decks only. Its mana acceleration and giving a deathtouch to an attacking elf abilities are both very relevant. I just wish that Gnarlroot Trapper's mana ability wasn't restricted only to cast elf creature spells. Otherwise, it would easily see some play in the Modern Jund decks.

Nissa, Vastwood Seer  Nissa, Sage Animist

Nissa, Vastwood Seer is one of the top flip-walkers, just for the Standard format. She will fix your land drops (basic forest) as a Borderland Ranger. Once we manage to get our eighth land, she will continue to be relevant as a planeswalker, even during late game phases. Nissa, Sage Animist's all three abilities are very useful in various cases and she will definitely give us an advantage.

Nissa, Vastwood Seer is a steady and consistence card and I expect to see the same performance at the price range as a 12.00 to 15.00 tix card most of the times.

Evolutionary Leap  Survival of the Fittest

In my opinion Evolutionary Leap is the BEST card of the Magic Origins set. Evolutionary Leap may not be on the same power level as Birthing Pod or Survival of the Fittest. Even with the random results, Evolutionary Leap will provide card advantage with creatures like; Kitchen Finks and Voice of Resurgence. And during midrange phases, we can always turn our Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch into something more relevant. Evolutionary Leap will also give us an upper hand against any spot removal spells to nullify them with an extra creature card bonus.

The old Birthing Pod shell manages to survive with the support of Collected Company. Now, we might be on the edge to see its next generation with the coming of Evolutionary Leap.

My price expectation for Evolutionary Leap is that it will start as a 1.50 to 2.00 tix card. Based on its Standard and Modern performances, Evolutionary Leap might easily see 4.00 to 5.00 tix ranges.

Herald of the Pantheon 

Herald of the Pantheon is a strong enchantment support card that can easily see play in any G/B constellation decks. I like Herald of the Pantheon, but in the end it's a niche card with a limited deck application.

I expect to see Herald of the Pantheon as a 0.35 to 0.50 tix card.

Woodland Bellower  Chord of Calling

Woodland Bellower is a Chord of Calling for three on a stick that can only summon a non-legendary green creature with a 6/5 body bonus. Woodland Bellower is clearly a double value card with its specifications. There are various green creature cards that we can fetch with it. I believe, we are going to see this bear with antlers a lot, especially after Genesis Hydra rotates out.  

Woodland Bellower is a good toolbox enabler and my price estimation for it will be at 3.50 to 4.50 tix ranges.

Managorger Hydra  Taurean Mauler

I'm a huge fan of Taurean Mauler for its tribal side. I saw many times how things can get out of control easily when playing against an active Taurean Mauler. In that regard, Managorger Hydra will be an improved version of Taurean Mauler with trample and +1/+1 counter for each spell any player casts. This is a dream card of every casual player.

Unfortunately for the constructed playability, Managorger Hydra faces the well-known 2.5 cmc dilemma. Managorger Hydra would be too much powerful at two cmc and it's unplayable at three cmc.

My price expectation for Managorger Hydra will be 0.15 to 0.25 tix.

Nissa’s Revelation  Outland Colossus

Nissa's Revelation and Outland Colossus will be bulk rares with 0.05 tix price. Both of them can easily find a place in the Commander format. I doubt, we will see them in Standard. Especially when Shamanic Revelation is a better option over Nissa's Revelation.  Much like Whisperwood Elemental over Outland Colossus.

The Great Aurora  Warp World

Long story short, The Great Aurora is a green Warp World that will only see play as a casual card. The Great Aurora is going to be a bulk mythic card with 0.25 to 0.50 tix value.

Bounding Krasis 

Bounding Krasis is a good potential card for Modern Temur Twin decks as a replacement over Pestermite or a budget alternative for Deceiver Exarch. Bounding Krasis can't tap opponent's lands, but its 3/3 body is relevant enough to be considered for URG Splinter Twin decks.

Hangarback Walker 

At first glance, Hangarback Walker reminds me of Arcbound Ravager with its double value function. On its own, Hangarback Walker is a Chronomaton that can grow itself quickly in the right deck. The best part is killing Hangarback Walker won't solve our problem, but will make it worse.

Hangarback Walker might see some rogue play in Standard within the U/R artifact shell. Its true destiny may come in the Modern format within Affinity decks, where we can fully utilize Hangarback Walker's potential with the support of Arcbound Ravager.

Until we get any noticeable results from Hangarback Walker, it will continue to be a semi-bulk card with 0.25 to 0.40 tix value.

Sword of the Animist

Sword of the Animist may not be at Sword of X and Y power level, yet it's very close enough to provide continuous value with ramping and thinning our decks. Especially, Sword of the Animist will shine in the mono colored aggressive decks with high end curve at four or maximum at five cmc range, such as RDW (with Dragons), Black aggro, White Weenie, Elves, Goblins, Warriors, etc.

Personally, I really like Sword of the Animist and I think it is the best playable equipment we have gotten since the New Phyrexia set. I hope to see more equipment with the Battle for Zendikar.

My price estimation for Sword of the Animist will be at 0.50 to 0.75 tix range.

Helm of the Gods  Ethereal Armor

On the other hand, Helm of the Gods is more suitable for the Modern Bogles decks as an artifact equivalent of Ethereal Armor. In the end, Helm of the Gods will be a contradiction in an Aura themed deck. 

Helm of the Gods is a card with niche playability and I expect to see it as a 0.10 to 0.25 tix card. Unless, we see the second wave of Umbra Auras in the Battle for Zendikar.

Mage-Ring Responder

Mage-Ring Responder seems like a limited all-star with a little Standard application. Its seven cmc is within reasonable limits to see play as a sideboard card during midrange mirror games. Still, this possibility is not enough for saving it to be a 0.05 tix bulk rare card.

Orbs of Warding  Witchbane Orb  Leyline of Sanctity

Orbs of Warding is the latest attempt to give us an option for hexproof (or shroud) against player targeting spells or abilities. In that regard, Leyline of Sanctity is still the king of this kind of protection effects in Modern and Eternal formats. Besides Leyline of Sanctity, some MUD decks in Legacy and Workshop decks in Vintage are also utilized Witchbane Orb as a colorless option.

Orbs of Warding is a bit overcosted than both of these cards, yet none of them can hose Deceiver Exarch with an active Splinter Twin. Joke aside, Orbs of Warding is going to be a bulk rare card with 0.05 tix value. 

Finally, here is my top five favorite cards from the whole Magic Origins set in an order; Hallowed Moonlight as fifth, Day's Undoing as the fourth, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound as the third, Goblin Piledriver as the second and Evolutionary Leap as my top favorite card.  

              Hallowed Moonlight  Day’s Undoing  Jace, Telepath Unbound

                                               Goblin Piledriver  Evolutionary Leap

With this last rank assessment, we came to the end of Magic Origins financial review series for the MTGO world. My next MTGO financial articles will be about the financial underdogs of the current Modern format. Prior those series, you'll see me in the Kumagoro's interview article for the 2014 Tribal Wars season within a few weeks. Thanks for reading and see you next time.

2 Comments

Sword of the Animist is a by Rerepete at Thu, 07/16/2015 - 00:01
Rerepete's picture

Sword of the Animist is a bomb in limited though.

I don't exactly understand by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 07/16/2015 - 05:16
Kumagoro42's picture
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I don't exactly understand why you say Sword of the Animist will be good for decks whose curve tops at CMC 4-5. You can't attack with the Sword before turn 3, which means you're going to untap in turn 4 with 5 lands, if all goes as planned, which is merely a 1-turn acceleration you could achieve in many better ways. And it also means you need necessarily to have had a turn-1 drop for it to work (and you spent the entirety of your first 3 turns setting up that attack), a creature that either will probably die in the attack (turning it into a Sakura-Tribe Elder, essentially), or was already a mana dork, in which case the Sword's acceleration is semi-pointless.
I think it's more of a card for midrange decks with curve-topper at 6 or 7, or for landfall decks (it's very likely landfall will be back in Battle for Zendikar, it seems they're setting up for it everywhere).

I'm not as excited as you are about Jace. Instead, I share the same enthusiasm Mike Flores and Patrick Chapin showed in their podcast about Nissa, that they called the best card in the set by far. She surely should be in the top 5.