This week I am going to focus primarily on finance, but if you read my analyses of each card, I have a lot to say about its strategic implications. So this article will act as my complete set review as well as my financial review of the set. As a result, it is about twice the length of a normal article, so feel free to skim through parts of it if you need to, especially if you're just looking for my opinion on a few specific cards.
For this set I did my best to ignore all prices of cards until I completed my own independent financial analysis, in order to be minimally biased by initial market trends. I then compared these evaluations with the current market prices. Several interesting things stood out to me and I believe there is a lot of room for profit investing in Journey into Nyx cards.
Here's what I'm going to talk about today:
1. I will start by talking about a few notable uncommons.
2. Then I will discuss my top ten rares to invest in.
3. Next I will discuss all ten mythics.
4. Finally I will recap which cards are the best overall investments.
As with any investment article, these predictions are not guaranteed to turn a profit. They are based on my expert knowledge of the game and on having studied Magic market trends for nearly two decades. I would recommend considering first how much you are willing to invest and then compare my predictions to your own. In other words, invest wisely and don't ignore your intuition if we disagree on a particular card.
I started compiling a list of uncommons and was going to make a top 10 list, but after making cuts and reevaluating, I realized there were really only three uncommons that I was confident would be cards worth more than fifty cents. Those three cards, in order, were:
Then after looking at the prices I noticed these were three of the four most expensive uncommons in the set. So really I would not invest in any uncommon for profit, though I would invest in all three of these if you intend to play Standard for the next year and a half.
I expect Mana Confluence to be the most expensive rare in the set throughout its entire time in Standard. Despite this expectation, I do not think it will hold $17 of value. Many decks cannot afford the life loss, and several others aren't interested in the mana fixing (at least at that cost) when shocklands and scrylands are sufficient for many two-color decks to function reliably. The decks that want this card are aggressive three-color decks and greedy two-color aggressive decks with double-colored mana costs of each color. I see it stabilizing around $10 by the end of the month if you can wait that long.
Temple of Malady and Temple of Epiphany are the next most obviously good cards in the set and their prices will fluctuate relative to which decks are currently the most popular. They are each currently around $5 and I expect them to remain at about this price. They are a great investment if you intend to play any deck in Standard of these two colors since they will be worth their weight in gold mana.
Now that we got the top three rares out of the way, let's take a look at which other cards I believe have the most room for profit, in reverse order (one being the best investment), alongside the projected range of price increase. I will then discuss each card in more detail.
I expect Deicide to completely replace Revoke Existence in Standard, at least for the time being, since it is an overall better card for this metagame. $3 is already a pretty steep price though, so I wouldn't recommend investing here unless you plan on using it in your deck.
I expect this one to see play in Modern and Standard, but in the shorter term I only expect it to rise slightly in value. With Thoughtseize and shocklands defining the format and Mana Confluence being the hottest new land to play with, I predict a red deck with four Eidolon of the Great Revel will win a trophy in the not too distant future, at which point its price will peak. If you get in now, you can sell during this peak period for a profit.
I placed an asterisk beside the price ranges for Eidolon of Blossoms, Launch the Fleet, and Battlefield Thaumaturge because those are the three cards that I consider highest variance investments, and they each share a very similar risk. Each is a build-around card that will be an automatic four-of in its respective deck. The question is which of the three decks (if any) will be Tier 1? Will it be a Golgari Constellation deck? Will it be a Heroic White Weenie deck? Or will it be a Multicolor Strive deck? I intend to write about some of these decks next week, so be sure to tell me in the comments section if one or more of these ideas sounds interesting to you and if you'd like me to write about it next week.
Black had Bad Moon in Time Spiral and it didn't see much play. White already has Spear of Heliod, which sees some play, but is still much better than Hall for white due to devotion. Green had the timeshifted Glorious Anthem in Planar Chaos ( Gaea's Anthem) which again didn't define the format by any stretch. Red doesn't have a lot of anthems, but they are more concerned with getting damage through; and it already has other, perhaps more effective, ways to do so. For instance, Coordinated Assault is much cheaper and achieves a similar result while also triggering heroic. The color I really expect to benefit most from this card is blue.
Monoblue Devotion's strongest two cards are Thassa, God of the Sea and Master of Waves. Banishing Light definitely puts a damper on this archetype as a whole since it can efficiently deal with either of these threats one-for-one. So this raises the following question:
How do I expect Monoblue decks to respond to an influx of Oblivion Rings all over Standard, in addition to all the Detention Spheres that already see play?
And if you don't have the answer in hand, I'm hitting for 14 damage! Make it even more if I have another master or hall for turn five. Oh, and did I mention the blowout? The blowout is getting your Oblivion Ring bounced by Cyclonic Rift. If you targeted Master of Waves, I guess you'll just have to deal with twice as many tokens this time, and that Oblivion Ring in your hand won't quite be enough to help you!
As I said in the beginning though, not every color is in the market for this effect, so I doubt it will see play outside of Monoblue and hence its price will be tapered significantly. Still I expect it to rise in value and be an overall worthwhile investment. If Deicide doesn't completely replace Revoke Existence in Standard, I suspect this will be the sole reason why.
Ramping into this guy on the fourth turn is pretty reliably accomplished in a red/green ramp style deck featuring Sylvan Caryatid, Xenagos, the Reveler and various other ramp cards. A fourth turn 7/7 is pretty strong on its own, but given the quality of competing options, it has to do more. Well, it does do more. Lots more. In fact, when you untap on your fifth turn, you can monstrous the hydra, making three 3/3 creatures and attacking with your 10/10! This will leave the opponent thinking…
“Boy, that escalated quickly! I mean, that really got out of hand fast!”
I don't expect it to see play outside of one archetype though, so its price likely won't skyrocket or anything, but it's currently less than $1 and that seems low to me and worth investing in.
Judge's Familiar and Cloudfin Raptor are the current one-drops in Monoblue. I expect some number of Sirens to prove correct. I don't know how many, but the option to Control Magic off a Nykthos will allow you to get much of the Cyclonic RiftOverload effect without having to play too many situational cards like Cyclonic Rift. I could be wrong here since I have not played Blue Devotion all that much, but if it makes it into the deck over, say, Judge's Familiar, then you won't be able to get your play set at $3 for much longer. If you have any interest in Blue Devotion, I would recommend investing in Hall of Triumph and Hypnotic Siren sooner rather than later as I expect both cards to go up in value.
Four mana is a lot of mana to kill a creature, even if we're talking about an instant, so my first inclination is to proceed with caution here. I mean, Hero's Downfall is already in the format, is likewise an instant, and can not only kill a creature but also a planeswalker. So when would I ever play Silence the Believers? Well, that's a good question, and here are the times you want to consider it:
- When exiling the creature is much better than destroying it (e.g. Voice of Resurgence, creatures that regenerate, indestructible gods, and when Xathrid Necromancer or Athreos, God of Passage is across the table).
- When you can reasonably hit seven mana to get rid of two creatures. Think Sever the Bloodline.
- When the opponent plays auras (except on hexproof creatures), which is not that uncommon with the bestow mechanic in the format, since this also kills the bestowed aura.
Granted I do not expect this to be a four-of in every black deck, but it's currently priced around $1 and I just think it will see enough play to merit more demand than that. It answers lots of specific problem cards for black decks, especially the ones noted in the first bullet point, and I would be hard-pressed to believe it won't show up in some quantity in at least Monoblack Control. I mean, it's quite a bit better than Gild, which already saw fringe play in Shaheen Soorani's Esper Control list.
Currently sitting at $1.50, I expect this one to go as high as $5 and to never dip back down below $1.50. Howling Mine effects are in high demand among casual players and this one allows you to cast it during the end step of the player taking their turn immediately before yours. This means you get the value first, and it also means you, as a blue mage, can hold up Counterspell mana the whole time instead of tapping down on your own turn for the Howling Mine.
It also increases your devotion, which is pretty neat for various cards. Players whose opinions I respect believe it has Constructed potential and that it could be a four-of in some fringe Tier 2 or possibly Tier 1 strategy. I thought Kiora, the Crashing Wave would be enough to put Maze's End onto the map and as it turned out, she wasn't quite enough. But will Dictate of Kruphix be enough now? I can't say for certain since the deck runs zero Plains and zero white creatures, but I'm willing to trust the opinions of others who are telling me it is. Besides, even if it sees no competitive play, I expect its casual appeal to at least keep the investment from resulting in a loss, which makes it my projected “safest” investment in the set.
The Mythic Rares
When I composed my list of mythic rares, Athreos, God of Passage and Ajani, Mentor of Heroes were #1 and #2 on my list. Then when I checked the current prices they were each in the $20-21 range. I don't expect either to stay that high, but I at least agree with the market that those are going to be the highest demand mythics in the set.
This was my list without looking at any prices (from projected highest to lowest demand), with the actual price to the right of each (after I made my list and then looked them all up):
As you can see from this list, the one card that stands out more than any is Worst Fears. Everyone seems to be relegating it as the bulk mythic of the set, and I don't see it that way. I think it is more powerful than half the gods and will see constructed play in multiple formats. Mindslaver saw play in Standard and in Modern. Granted there is no Urza Tron in current Standard, but being able to play this as early as third turn in Modern off three Urza lands and a Signet seems like big game to me. And if there ends up being a deck than can ramp into eight mana reliably in Standard, I can't think of too many things that would cause an opponent to scream like a small child other than Worst Fears. It's pretty much already at bulk price, so it's a low risk investment with a potentially decent payoff. I wouldn't go nuts on this one, but I could see it rising to $2-3 and thus turning a 200% or more profit.
I talked about two strategies last week that revolve around him. I suspect there will also be a third and maybe even a fourth. The two versions I discussed were (1) white-centric with a black splash and (2) evenly divided between white and black. I suspect (3) black with a white splash and (4) multicolor (likely GWB) aggro made possible by Shocklands and Mana Confluence will also be reasonable homes for Athreos. If you want me to talk further about either of these ideas next week, let me know in the comments section.
I'm fairly convinced he does not belong in aggro because +3/+3 just isn't enough of a game changer for the huge five mana investment. Midrange decks that don't rely as heavily on tempo and instead play cards like Courser of Kruphix and mana accelerant creatures will likely be in the market for this Planeswalker though. It's not really a control card either since it requires other creatures to protect it, so if you want to play with the sweetest new planeswalker I would suggest a Selesnya midrange deck, possibly splashing a third color. What do you want to splash for? Kiora would be sweet, as would Xenagos , the Reveler.
I'm not convinced this is Standard playable, but I'm also not convinced it isn't. It's currently the least expensive of the five gods, pricewise, but in my opinion it will prove to be the second highest demanded of the five. It's a fantastic Commander and does exactly what most Simic EDH decks want to do (produce mana).
Both the three mana gods are good and I suspect both will see Standard play. I'm thinking some sort of dredge constellation creature deck will spring up in Golgari and it will run at least two copies of Pharika. If you want to play this deck and/or you suspect it will be the next big thing, invest accordingly.
Owen Turtenwald and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa have each voiced high opinions of this card and I am inclined to agree. I would put it higher on the list and potentially call it the breakout mythic of the set if it weren't for the fact that it doesn't really feel like it has a home. Maybe in a heroic red deck that runs Titan's Strength it would be good, or just in a deck with lots of removal spells, aiming to connect with him as often as possible. Or maybe in a deck that can protect him since he is somewhat fragile. The card is very powerful and efficiently costed, so if you feel the itch to invest here I would certainly not fault you. My money is on Worst Fears though, given that I can buy two play sets for the price of a single copy of the Flamespeaker. $5-10 was the range I gave him and he's currently at $7, which is pretty close to exactly where I would expect him to be. This is a bit unfortunate as I was hoping he could be my sleeper pick.
A couple weeks ago I discussed Iroas, God of Victory, Godsend, and Eidolon of the Great Revel. Since then several other cards have been revealed and my overall opinion is that Iroas will see some play but not enough to sustain a $10 price and that Godsend, while seeing play, will not be more than a two-of in the decks that want it (white devotion), which will likewise keep it far below $10 in price. I do not expect either card to see play in older formats, so we're pretty much talking exclusively Standard and only wanted as a two-of in one or maybe two decks. Both cards are very powerful and as a white mage I'll do my best to make them good, but $10 is quite the uphill battle to make these cards climb, especially alongside all these other powerful mythics.
As I suggested before the gods were revealed, Izzet was going to be the most difficult got to make good, simply because Izzet's persona is about casting a bunch of spells instead of playing permanents, which runs directly contrary to the goal of achieving devotion to turn on your god. So I predicted that unless the god has some super awesome ability and/or some way to aid in turning on his devotion, that he would be the worst of the five. Then he was revealed and I thought, “meh, not very good”. Unless you're a diehard Izzet mage (and I know there are many of you out there) and you are confident this guy will be good, I would be very hesitant to invest in him. I admit I'm not the foremost expert in the world on building Izzet decks, but I would steer clear of this one at its current $9.
Finally, we have reached the hour where we talk about the least playable mythic in the set. No, Worst Fears is not the worst, as the market would currently have you think. Instead that title belongs to Sage of Hours.
So he's a 1/1 for two mana with heroic. Ok, so far he's on par with Phalanx Leader. Now let's compare his second ability to Phalanx Leader's. Phalanx Leader makes all your creatures huge. If you target him five times, then all of your creatures are at least 6/6 monsters. If you target Sage of Hours five times, he likewise is a 6/6, but instead of giving all your other creatures +5/+5, he lets you… take an extra turn? Well sort of. You have to remove all his counters if you want that bonus, which most of the time is probably not even worth it. There may be some sweet combo with him, perhaps involving Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, but I have yet to hear of anything that would make him even remotely playable. If you can think of anything, please inform me in the comments because as far as I can tell he is completely unplayable and definitely not worth the $4 he is currently selling for. Unless I hear a compelling reason to believe otherwise, my sage advice for you is do not invest in this card, neither at this hour or the next hour, or even in this lifetime for that matter.
Is there a card I didn't mention that you would like my opinion on? Do you agree or disagree strongly with one of my predictions? Which cards are you most excited about getting your hands on? Also which of the decks I mentioned in this article are you interested in me writing about next week? Let me know in the comments below.
All original content herein is Copyright 2014 Ascension Gaming Network, Inc. TCGplayer and MaxPoint are trademarks of Ascension Gaming Network, Inc.