When a new set comes out, about 95% of the rares and mythics will drop in price as supply begins to meet demand. The purpose of this financial set review will be to estimate the value of each card in 1 – 2 months from now by calculating what the demand will be for the card. This way you can decide if you want to pick the card up right away or if you should wait for the price to drop.

Before we begin, let’s lay out the factors that will affect the supply and demand model.

1. Will this card see play in multiple formats?
2 Is this a card that will see play in multiple decks?
3. Is the supply increased because it is also being circulated as a promo?
4. In the decks that this card sees play in, how many copies is most likely?

 

Celestial Archon:
There are better options than this at both the 5-mana and 7-mana spots on the curve It’s also one of the 5 prerelease promos. Bulk rare

Chained to the Rocks:
That fact that this is not instant hurts its playability a bit by not being able to deal with a creature that has been blood rushed by Ghor-Clan Rampager, but it’s still a powerful effect for 1 mana. It obviously fits in a red-white deck best so that the mountain clause is easily satisfied, and there it will be competing for removal slots with burn. Control decks would like to use the card, but those will most commonly be blue – white. Splashing Sacred Foundries and Steam Vents will make it playable by providing 8 mountains, but probably not as a 4-of for fear of them clogging your hand. Cheap removal spells combine nicely with Sphinx’s Revelation, so people will keep trying to squeeze them in. I think this will make it most likely a 2-of in control decks and up to a 4-of in red – white aggro and midrange decks. It will see some play, but not ubiquitous.

There are too many creature combo decks that require instant speed removal in Modern and Legacy for this spell to be played. Path to Exile in modern and Swords to Plowshares in Legacy beat this card out.

The card appears very powerful and playable on the surface, so it will take a while before people give up on playing it a lot and will thus take longer to go down.
$2 – $3

Elspeth, Sun’s Champion:
This version of Elspeth operates pretty similarly to Elspeth Tirel. The fact that this Elspeth gains loyalty for putting 3 tokens into play instead of losing 2 loyalty gives it inevitability, making it more appealing to control decks than Tirel did. She helps you stabilize if you are behind and can win the game on her own which is a good sign. Most control decks include blue, and that means competing with Aetherling for the slot. Aetherling dodges blockers, defends its controller, and is even more difficult to kill, but doing so ties up your mana. Is that an issue if it wins you the game in 3 turns? I don’t think it is, and I think Aetherling wins out over Elspeth. I can see lists running 2 Aetherling and 1 Elspeth, but that will not help Elspeth retain value. She will be popular in casual formats though, namely commander. I think once people get over her potential power and agree that Aetherling just does more, she will drop to around $15. Expect this drop to take a few months to happen though.

Fabled Hero:
The obvious comparison is Mirran Crusader. Protection from 2 colors is much better than Fabled Hero’s heroic ability though. I also expect Magma Jet to see a decent amount of play, and this card does not match up well against it. $1 – $2

Gift of Immortality:
This card has appeal to both casual players and Johnnies for some combo potential. Even if this card is successful though, the deck would be a narrow archetype that few would play limiting its price to a maximum of $2.

Heliod, God of the Sun:
I have something to share with you about the gods of Theros, and I don’t think you’re going to like it. They aren’t as good as you think they are for constructed formats. I’ve seen a lot of speculation on how best to turn on their creature status from Boros Reckoner and Burning-Tree Emissary to Nightveil Specter and various merfolk. It’s good that these creatures are playable on their own, but creature removal is about to get a lot better. Thragtusk, Huntmaster of the Fells, and many other value creatures that made removal bad are rotating. I expect less creature slug fests and more pinpoint removal spells. This will make turning on the gods a lot more difficult, so how good are they as just enchantments, and how acceptable is it for them to not impact the board on turn 3 or 4? To me, not good enough. They do provide some blowout potential if the opponent doesn’t have the removal. They also make instant speed removal that much more important since they could be turned on during the opponents turn and then attack.

The foil versions of the gods have been selling well at various sites on the Internet, leading me to believe that the casual appeal is higher than the standard appeal.
Niche player: $5 – $10

Hundred-Handed One:
If there had been more 4/4 creatures in this set, I could see this card seeing some niche play. But with there being some 5/5s in the environment that will see play, this will be relegated to bulk rare status.

Soldier of the Pantheon:
If a White Weenie deck exists, this will be a 4-of. Aggressive red-white decks are going to have to make a choice. Do they want to be base red or base white? I say this because the mana to support both a turn 1 white creature or a turn 1 red creature will not be reliable due to the mana base. Only Sacred Foundry comes into play untapped and capable of casting a red or white creature on turn 1. I think red decks will get the nod at first due to a better selection of creatures, and control decks don’t want this. That leaves its roll in a base white creature deck. The ability is powerful enough, but it will not see play in multiple aggressive decks keeping its demand down.
$2 – $4

Spear of Heliod:
The power level of this card is acceptable. Both abilities are useful for the same cost as Glorious Anthem. But what percentage of the metagame will want these effects? Control decks probably don’t want this card just for the effect to destroy creatures that have dealt damage to them . Mono white decks should be happy with 2 or 3 copies if such a deck exists. Red and white decks are more likely to be aggressive and include more burn and less creatures, and a green-white deck would rather cast another Loxodon Smiter. With a white creature deck being the only home, the supply will far outweigh the demand and probably send this card to the $2 stack. The card might see some casual appeal, but eternal formats are out of the question.

Artisan of Forms:
The fact that you can copy a creature at instant speed is interesting, but it’s still not worth the effort to make its ability happen. Bulk rare up to $1

Bident of Thassa:
Control decks don’t want the card, and if a blue aggro deck exists I don’t know why they would want to spend 4 mana for this effect. Jace, Architect of Thought has the same mana cost; wouldn’t any deck that could play the Bident just play Jace instead? It’s also the release promo card. Bulk rare

Curse of the Swine:
This is not a sweeper. This is a pinpoint removal spell that can hit multiple targets. If you target all of your opponents creatures with this in a control deck, they are still going to swing at you with X 2/2’s. This functions more like a less flexible Beast Within. You are really just downgrading 1 or 2 of your opponent’s creatures. If you can turn your opponents 2 best creatures into swine while you have a Carven Caryatid or something to block them with, then you’ve made an acceptable use of the card. I don’t see that situation coming up often enough to validate using it over a single removal spell, so outside of cool flavor I have to call it a bulk rare.

Master of the Waves:
Master of the Waves has some potential power. It’s reasonable to expect having 2 devotion for this card before it comes into play, giving you a total of 4 2/1’s for the price of 4 mana. Not bad. How many decks will want this effect? Control decks will play Jace, Architect of Thought. If there is a blue creature deck, he seems like a good inclusion, but how popular will that deck be? It’s not likely to be a tier 1 deck, so I don’t think it will have enough demand to maintain its current price tag. Considering the protection from red ability looks out of place, I think R&D determined that it was dying too much in the future future league and losing all the tokens. They probably decided to give it some help with sticking on the board. That might be a clue to its true power level.

How playable is this card in a Merfolk deck in modern or legacy? His tokens don’t receive the anthem affect, but he does. You really don’t want this guy dying because if he does the tokens go away. 4 mana is a little pricy, but it does fit the curve for topping out the aether vial. My guess is people will be trying this out as a 1-of or maybe a 2-of, but ultimately decide that it just isn’t worth it. It’s kind of a win more card anyway considering you have to already have some bodies in play for it to be any good.
$5

Meletis Charlatan:
Can only see play in casual formats, which is not enough demand for this card. Bulk rare.

Prognostic Sphinx:
This card isn’t that bad. You get a decent body for the cost and some decent abilities, but there are so many quality cards in this set that will have higher demand that I think everyone is going to forget about this card. Without a significant role to play this will be a bulk rare.

Shipbreaker Kracken:
Even if this did see play in constructed, it would be as a 1-of. Most likely this is a casual only card and will not see much demand. It’s also one of the 5 prerelease promos. Bulk rare.

Swan Song:
The card I compare this to is Spell Pierce, but for control decks instead of aggro decks. Aggro decks intend to end the game more quickly, so they don’t want to give the opponent a free 2/2 flyer that blocks their Delver of Secrets, while control decks intend for the game to go long and are don’t like the chance that their Spell Pierce will become dead. Control decks are already in the game to beat creatures, so a 2/2 flyer isn’t the end of the world. In standard, Negate seems worth the extra 1 mana, but in eternal formats, 1 mana can make a big difference. A lot of the blue decks in eternal formats are Delver decks though, and giving your opponent a free 2/2 flyer is not in your best interest. Swan Song might see a little play in legacy or even modern, but not all blue decks will want it. I do like the additional option of countering your own spell to get a 2/2 flyer, especially if your spell was being targeted by an opponent’s counter, but I don’t see that being enough to make the card see more uniform play.
Role player: $2 – $3

Thassa, God of the Sea:
Due to the mana cost, this is the only god I like. It’s scry ability helps you find more devotion to turn it into a creature, and it’s activiated ability to make a creature unblockable is pretty useful making sure that even if it is outclassed as a 5/5 it’s still relevant. Will there be a deck played that has enough devotion to justify running her? There are some interesting options available. Outside of Nightveil Specter, you also have the more difficult to remove Detention Sphere helping out. Jace, Architect of Thought is a possibility, but you probably need something that impacts the board a bit more if you just spent your 3rd turn not impacting the board. I can see Thassa being played as a 2-of for a while. It may not work out, but people will try.

She is a little better than Master of the Waves in an eternal merfolk deck coming down faster off of an Aether Vial, so she might see play as a 2-of there.
I think there is enough demand to justify her hanging out around $20

 

Come back tomorrow as we look at part 2.