Journey into Nix financial review
Ajani reminds me of Garruk, Primal Hunter. His first +1 ability adds 3 power to the board, but in a different way. It’s not as useful if you have an empty board state, but it’s better at punching through with a creature. Its ability to split the bonus among multiple creatures can also make your board state a nightmare for your opponent to where he can’t profitably block. His second +1 ability is also quite good, allowing you to impulse into several options. It won’t draw you a fist full of cards like Garruk, Primal Hunter did, but its gain in loyalty is a huge bonus making it far less likely to be a suicide play. 5 loyalty is a lot to punch through, and honestly, how often could you play all of the cards you drew with Garruk, and how many of them actually mattered?
Right now Ajani has a lot of competition for a similar role in standard. Domri Rade and Garruk, Caller of Beasts both ask that you build a deck full of creatures. I expect Ajani to see some winning experimentation in the next few weeks, and come rotation he should be a strong player. I think $20 – $25 is the right range for him right now, and I think he is stronger than Kiora. If he dips to around $10 any time before rotation, I highly recommend that you make a move.
Athreos has generated the most excitement in the set, and being a fan of BW myself I can see why. He is a solid enabler of a weenie decks and offers a bonus if you can find a profitable way to sacrifice creatures. Cartel Aristocrat comes to mind, and Xanthrid Necromancer offers more synergy for those looking to abuse. Personally, I like him with Cartel Aristocrat and Doomed Traveler in Modern, but that’s because I’m a BW junkie that likes to do silly things.
I’m sure Athreos will see play, but it’s difficult to say what success it will have in the metagame. It feels pretty solid against mono black, but how will it fair against control decks? Even if it fails to put up a high finish, expect Athreos to hold at least $15 for a month or 2 as everyone experiments with his cool ability and low mana cost.
I personally cannot get behind this card. For a total of 6 mana I would rather have Elspeth. It’s just too expensive to basically make the creature unblockable. And if your opponent shows you a piece of removal that’s a pretty big tempo swing. It’s an interesting effect, but one I think will prove to be ineffective.
Even if you never turn this god on, his abilities seem quite good to me. He allows you to relentlessly attack your opponent as an aggressive deck and force them to have more defense than would otherwise be necessary. For 4 mana you are getting the best part of Gruul War Chant and the indestructibility offered by Frontline Medic with battlecry. That’s probably at least 5 and most likely 6 mana worth of abilities, and throw in the chance at a hefty 7/4 body and I’m sold. If I’m building a red and/or white aggressive deck, I’m going to include at least 2 of these. I expect his value to maintain at least $10 for several months if a deck puts up at least a little success.
The ability is quite strong, but I don’t think there’s much going for Keranos. First of all, control decks are UW right now, and Keranos fits best in a control shell. Secondly, if you’re in a control shell, you probably aren’t going to be turning on his devotion. It’s possible that mono blue devotion adopts this guy by adding some red, but is he really better than Thassa? Would you want more than 4 gods in the deck? I think he will have a hard time finding a home before rotation, but come rotation Sphinx’s Revelation, Supreme Verdict, Detention Sphere, and Azorius Charm rotate, while UR has some potential playables in Theros block. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Keranos dip to $6 in a few months, but be ready to pounce if you see potential in September during spoiler season.
Kruphix seems a little unexciting as an Omnath and Reliquary Tower stapled together, but the fact that he is blue and green opens up another color for commander players that want access to blue and to play Omnath as their commander. I don’t think we will see much out of Kruphix in standard unless we see a surprise pairing with Dictate of Karametra, but apparently the commanders are on board considering foils are going for a minimum of $28 on TCG. (SCG is sold out at $25).
Although there has been some talk of redeeming qualities in Pharika, I don’t think it will overcome its shortcomings in the abilities department. If it does see standard play, it will likely be primarily for the 5/5 body that can occasionally add to your board presence with a token. I expect Pharika to settle around $5.
I think there is a lot going for Prophetic Flamespeaker. The comparisons to Warren Instigator are not very useful because Warren Instigator is only useful in a dedicated goblin deck and if you have cards in hand. The Flamespeaker can fit into many more decks and does not require you to have cards in hand. It’s true that you still have to play the cards that are revealed, but how bad is that? If you hit 2 lands and play one of them, now you don’t have to draw lands for the next 2 turns. If you hit 2 spells and can only cast one of them, you just cast Impulse for 2. If you really whiff and hit 2 spells that you can’t play, then you saved yourself from 2 dead draws.
So the ability seems good, but how likely are you to connect with Prophetic Flamespeaker? The 3 toughness allows you to attack into creatures like Burning-Tree Emissary, and just having a creature in play that opponents must block or kill will push the game into your favor. Daxos of Meletis clearly failed the test, because he could not get through against many decks and easily dies to removal. Prophetic Flamespeaker dies to nearly all of the same removal, but being in red is a huge boon to its playability. Daxos doesn’t have a lot of friends in blue white to add pressure and overload the opponent’s removal. Red has that in spades.
I expect Prophetic Flamespeaker to be a consideration for many decks for its time in standard, and if you have the opportunity to pick some up you should. With some good finishes it could easily be $20.
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Sage of Hours
This is clearly a casual card created for players that love to take extra turns, but is it worth all the extra effort? Lighthouse Chronologist is far more powerful and asks far less of you. Having said that, there will be brewers that try to combine the other heroic enablers with Sage of Hours. In the end it won’t work out, and Sage of Hours will be a $2 mythic.
This sorcery Mindslaver doesn’t have anybody excited. The design is uninspired and the card doesn’t fulfill a desired role. On the off chance that the metagame warps into control decks vs control decks with a lot of targeted spells, this could come in from the sideboard, but I just don’t see today’s current design team letting that happen. Perhaps if a monoblack player is concerned with the mirror they could sideboard a copy or 2 for the mirror, but that will not bring the price of Worst Fears out of bulk mythic rare status.
Aegis of the Gods doesn’t offer an exciting new ability like Spirit of the Labyrinth did. We’ve seen this ability before, and that’s why there isn’t sufficient hype to drive this to the heights that Spirit of the Labyrinth had. $2.50 seems about right for this guy. Even though True Believer hasn’t been standard legal for over a decade, the amount of protection he offers is about the same if he was around today.
Had this guy discounted auras too, I’d have been more enthusiastic. As is, he is primarily just a strive enabler. The more spells they print that stand on their own the better he becomes. Lightning Strike for 1 mana less is pretty good, but we would need a lot more redundancy to make this guy worth running. It’s possible that more desirable spells will come around in the future, but for now I don’t expect this guy to pan out. When he drops to around the .50 range, it might be worth picking up a few play sets.
This card will remain high until everyone has a few copies for their sideboard, but as supply meets demand the price will drop off to around $2.00. We aren’t likely to be seeing as many new enchantments during the next block, but I expect gods will be played until they rotate out of standard.
Grave pact has been printed 5 times and still commands a $10 price tag. This dictate feels like more of a sure thing than any of the other 4. Any commander player that plays Grave Pact is definitely going to consider running this as well. It’s a sure hit in commander, and if this sees any play in standard as well its price could explode. I definitely have my eye on this one and intend to be picking them up en mass if they reach between $1 and $2.
I imagine this was the first of the cycle that was designed since flash actually fixes a symmetrical issue of a previous card: Howling Mine. It seems like the other 4 were an obligatory filler to complete the cycle. Howling Mine is a popular card, and despite a ton of printings is still worth $3. Dictate of Kruphix only goes in decks with blue in them, but its effect is quite appealing as is its scarcity come a year or 2 from now. Foil copies are running a 4x multiplier, but give it a few months and it could drop to a 3x multiplier. I would personally like to stock up on these should they ever reach a dollar, and you should do the same. If these shows up in a standard deck, even one that doesn’t perform, expect people to flock to it as it will be a lot of fun to play.
This Eidolon is a bit of a long shot, but if there are a critical number of enchantments in standard a new archetype could be born. Banishing Light is a step in the right direction, and Font of Fertility would be another solid inclusion, but what would the win condition look like and is there enough consistency to put the deck together? If Wizards reprinted Sigil of the Empty Throne it would certainly get the train rolling, but without an appropriate win condition this will just be a novelty. Eidolon of Blossoms is also the buy-a-box promo, so don’t expect its value to ever skyrocket.
This seems to me exactly what a red aggressive deck would want. It doesn’t do everything, as it still leaves you vulnerable to a Supreme Verdict, but it certainly seems like a strong candidate for inclusion in the 2-drop slot. Even if it doesn’t find a home immediately, I would expect it to see play come rotation. I expect this to stay in the $3 range for the rest of the year, but next year it could become $5.
Does mono blue devotion want to run this over Judge’s Familiar? I personally would, because I don’t think I’ve seen Judge’s Familiar’s ability matters as often as I would expect the bestow ability to matter. I don’t think the siren will see play in any other deck, because the 1/1 flyer wouldn’t matter in any other blue deck right now. If this does see universal adoption, I would expect it to rise to a max of about $3. Those not interested in running mono blue devotion will love trading these off. I don’t think this is a card to speculate on, but at a dollar it wouldn’t hurt to hedge your bets by picking up a play set.
Launch the fleet requires you to build a deck with a lot of creatures in it that want to attack, so your primarily looking at white weenie, but since only 1 white mana is required it is splashable in other aggro decks. If you are willing to suicide your creatures into an equal number of creatures on the other side, you can view Launch the Fleet as a conditional fireball since the opponent will block all of your normal creatures over the tokens. If your creatures trade with theirs, you’re left with some tokens to finish them off. It does require you to overextend into Supreme Verdict a bit, but the tokens come into play attacking making sure you get use out of them first. If you plan to use Launch the Fleet, I like it as 3 or 4 copies since once the first one gives you some extra creatures the following launches will also be good. I think this card will be niche, so if it does make the cut in a deck it will maintain its $2 price. Otherwise, expect it to drop to $1.
The chase rare of the set isn’t around $20 because City of Brass is just so awesome, it’s because a lot of people will need them to run aggressive or 3+ color decks. The decline in Mana Confluence’s price will be slow as lots of people will want a full playset, and even when that happens there will be modern decks looking to run some, they can be played in legacy, and they will fit in cube and commander all over the place. Foil copies are already $50; no surprise there. If you want them, there should be people willing to trade them if they aren’t playing a deck that requires them. Just don’t expect them to come cheap. Holding out for a price drop on Mana Confluence isn’t a good game plan; it will be useful forever.
Adding Master of the Feast to Herald of Torment in the same deck gets interesting. With the redundancy offered you could overload your opponent’s removal with cheap flyers and sidestep the disadvantage that comes with Master of the Feast. I imagine this guy is a house in limited as removal is a bit of a premium there, but constructed is a bit different. I like the master against several decks, but not so much against black or UW control. He could be sided out in those instances, but that’s a huge portion of the metagame. His time to shine might not come until after rotation, but the possibilities this card offers will keep the decline slow if he doesn’t see play. Anywhere between $3 and $5 seems fine for this card.
This effect is very straightforward and powerful, and should show up in a lot of black commander decks. Removing the creature from the game is pretty important in that format. In standard it could service as activated god removal for the black control decks, but its efficiency compared to Hero’s Downfall is a bit low. I suspect it could show up as a 1-of in those decks, but until Silence the Believers becomes scarcer to commander players expect it to hover at around $1.
There’s not a lot of demand for UR lands right now, but once rotation takes Sphinx’s Revelation, Detention Sphere, Supreme Verdict, and Azorius charm UR will have a much better chance to compete. If there is not another efficient white sweeper, Anger of the Gods may end up the best that standard has to offer. I don’t think these will fall below $5, especially considering the smaller amount that this set will be opened, but they could jump to $10 next year.
The dredge deck in standard is causing a bit more demand for this card than Temple of Epiphany. I suspect that deck is going to be a bit fleeting and this temple will drop a few dollars by the end of the year. But on the other hand, the temples have not reached their full potential in modern yet. Jund and BG decks may be interested in this temple, especially the ones running Phyrexian Obliterator. If you intend to use them, I don’t think it’s worth waiting to see if they drop a dollar or 2.
Oblivion Ring is nothing new, and with Detention Sphere around there isn’t as much need for this, but come rotation you can bet that these will see a ton of play. I doubt that they will ever be below $1. If you see a good deal on foils of these it wouldn’t hurt to pick them up for commander players and cube enthusiasts.
This effect has been powerful in standard in the past. I don’t know if black decks want to use this as of now, but I would be sure to snag a play set before they become harder to find. At some point during their life in standard, they will see play in a tier 1 deck.