Financial Predictions for Ixalan

Feature Article from Craig Wescoe
Craig Wescoe
9/22/2017 11:01:00 AM
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I’m back from my month-long hiatus just in time to share with you my financial predictions for Ixalan. The set looks powerful for Standard and Commander and also has a few cards for Modern. Dinosaurs and Pirates in particular are poised to become legitimate tribal strategies in Standard. As with any financial speculation, there is risk. The advice in this article is to help you make informed decisions about what cards to invest in. I offer plenty of strategy tips, financial tips, as well as the highly sought after sleeper pick tip. And of course not just the tip – also jokes and puns!

The Mythic Rares

Carnage Tyrant

Buy

Mid
Low
 Carnage Tyrant
$19.99
$14.00
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Atlas Gaming LLC 1 $15.00
RealmsGames 1 $16.01
Nebula Gamezone 1 $16.08
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Neg Cero Gaming 1 $16.22
Game Haven MD 2 $16.25

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She can’t be touched by targeted removal spells, she lives through Hour of Devastation, she gets all the Dinosaur tribal bonuses, including cost reduction, she tramples over chump blockers, and the thing that I believe will have the biggest impact on her demand is that she is non-legendary, which means deck lists will be much more likely to show up with the full four copies of this mythic rare. I’m buying!

Admiral Beckett Brass

Buy

Between this and Fell Flagship pumping the tribe, Pirates may be the new Merfolk! Err, wait, maybe Merfolk is the new Merfolk? It is certainly odd the Pirates feel more like Merfolk than the Merfolk of the set do, but here we are. I suspect Admiral Beckett will see enough play to merit buying low.

Axis of Mortality

Sell

Mirror Universe ain’t what it used to be. Cool for multiplayer, but not playable elsewhere.

Boneyard Parley

Sell

In a strategy that incidentally self-mills, kills opposing creatures, and/or discards, I can see this being viable. Also great in multiplayer, but unlikely to be a 4x in a top tier Standard strategy though.

Wakening Sun's Avatar

Buy

Mid
Low
 Wakening Sun's Avatar
$1.95
$0.98
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YourGameStoree 1 $0.99
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There are enough ways to ramp this out that I think it will be good.

Jace, Cunning Castaway

Sell

Not a bad card, but pretty easy to deal with. Novel enough design that I could be wrong about it.

Overflowing Insight

Sell

Good with Dream Halls, but can’t see it being played over Pull from Tomorrow anywhere else.

Dire Fleet Ravager

Sell

Get out your Pox charts, because we’re doing fractions! This likely kills the opponent by itself in three hits, which is quite good for a five-drops. It’s also especially good against control decks where the life loss is essentially not symmetrical. Not too keen on $5 though.

Rowdy Crew

Buy

Mid
Low
 Rowdy Crew
$1.68
$0.59
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If it weren’t for Hazoret the Fervent, this would be the best four-drop in red aggro. As is, I think it’s only good in a deck that can utilize the graveyard. The fact that it replaces itself card-wise makes it a reasonable value play in a midrange deck.

Star of Extinction

Sell

Hour of Devastation will be the more reliable sweeper, but if you need to wipe out all the Dinosaurs and/or Nicol Bolas, this may be the card for the job. Also, this is fun with Boros Reckoner.

Vraska, Relic Seeker

Sell

She has a ton of loyalty and can protect herself with a blocker or by destroying a vehicle or a creature. She can also ultimate two turns after she is cast, which almost certainly wins the game. Unlicensed Disintegration works well with the treasures and at finishing off the opponent after an ultimate. Sell at $15, but certainly playable.

Huatli, Warrior Poet

Sell

Not a bad card, but I can’t imagine ever playing this over Glorybringer.

Vona, Butcher of Magan

Sell

Geez, this card is powerful. It attacks well, it blocks well, it’s great in races, its tap ability is extremely useful, and all its abilities synergize well together. The biggest downside is that it only has four toughness and leaves no value behind if immediately killed. It’s also multicolor and legendary.

Gishath, Sun's Avatar

Sell

This doesn’t feel like a 4x, but it is definitely strong enough to see play in some amount in a tribal Dinosaur deck.

Tishana, Voice of Thunder

Sell

Commander, sure. Standard? Doubtful.

The Non-Mythic Rares

Search for Azcanta

Buy (SLEEPER)

Slow to get going without additional help, but useful for setting up and a gamebreaker in midrange and control matchups. The second copy is useful too because you can transform the first and then play the second one and leave it as an enchantment. This feels like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.

Arguel's Blood Fast

Buy/Sell

Mid
Low
 Arguel's Blood Fast
$0.94
$0.50
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Good in control mirrors, but difficult to transform in the matchups where you want the Diamond Valley effect since you have to go down to exactly 1-5 before your turn starts. If I’m misreading the card and you can pay life with the ability on the stack, then this card is better than I think it is.

Legion's Landing

Sell

A fairly innocuous card that won’t be dominating the format or anything but may nevertheless find its way into a tribal Vampire deck. One mana is a low investment and the upside is fairly high for a one-mana spell. Its power level is somewhere between Sacred Cat and Kytheon, Hero of Akros.

Vance's Blasting Cannons

Sell

Like the others in the cycle, this is strong in slower matchups but at four mana, maybe too slow against aggro decks. Not buying at $3 though.

Growing Rites of Itlimoc

Sell

This seems really good in an Elf deck, but it may be too much of a “win more” card since it’s only really great when you have a bunch of creatures on board. A bit slow and clunky, but in the right matchups or in decks that can reliably rebuild an army of creatures, this could be good. I’m not touching this at $15, but I do think the card is good and will have a big Commander appeal in addition to whatever Standard/Modern appeal it may garner.

Deathgorge Scavenger

Sell

A pretty strong follow-up to a first turn Kinjalli's Caller, even though it is unlikely to get the bonus on the turn it is played. It competes for space in the Dinosaur deck with a few other powerful three-drops though.

Bishop of Rebirth

Sell

Very solid if left unchecked, but leaves no value if killed immediately. And it’s fairly easy to kill.

Bloodcrazed Paladin

Sell

Solid answer to a sweeper in a vampire deck as long as the sweeper doesn’t exile the creatures.

Fleet Swallower

Sell

You’d have to be a real fish to put this in your deck.

Sword-Point Diplomacy

Sell

Valiant effort to once again make Browbeat playable, but I’m still not buying. If it’s viable at all, it’s in an aggro deck that can capitalize on the life loss.

Repeating Barrage

Buy

Hammer of Bogardan! I want this card to be good, but I suspect it’s only ok without Thawing Glaciers to set up the recursion. Still a fine rate and a reasonable mana dump in the mid-to-late game.

Captivating Crew

Sell

Strong if you get to untap with it, but highly doubtful to compete with existing red four-drops.

Ripjaw Raptor

Sell

Fairly strong rate and seems excellent against red decks. Will likely make it into tribal Dinosaurs. Selling at $9.50 though.

Old-Growth Dryads

Sell

Path to Exile is great because it’s able to kill nearly any creature and often trades up in mana. This card will likely be bad even on turn one as Rampant Growth is a more powerful opening than Wild Nacatl. My estimation is unplayable as long as people play basic lands in their decks.

Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle

Buy

The rate on this card is good and I expect it to be the reason to play vampires. The question is whether vampires will be great, which I’m estimating they will only be medium.

Sanguine Sacrament

Sell

It’s like Sphinx's Revelation but instead of drawing cards you gain more life. Unfortunately the card draw is the part that makes Sphinx’s Revelation good. This card is unplayable.

Spell Swindle

Buy (SLEEPER)

Mid
Low
 Spell Swindle
$2.00
$0.95
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Island products 1 $1.05
Johnnysam 1 $1.15
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This could be really good in Blue-Black Control alongside Marionette Master. Five mana counters are generally pretty bad, but when it’s part of a two-card (potentially) lethal combo, the bar lowers just enough. Tezzeret the Schemer is also legal, which works great with Marionette Master in more ways than one.

Sanctum Seeker

Sell

As long as you curve out with vampires, this is basically Hellrider Brutal Hordechief. Oh, nevermind.

Rampaging Ferocidon

Buy

A good sideboard card in red aggro decks and likely good enough to make it into the Dinosaur tribal deck. The body is fragile but the rate is good, especially against a deck with life gain.

Shapers' Sanctuary

Sell

I love inexpensive bullet sideboard cards like this that you can play for a low cost prior to playing all your creatures. Then each time opponent plays a removal spell you two-for-one them. It only has to work once to pay for itself. Where was this card when Walking Ballista first got printed? I’m buying… but not at $3.

Kinjalli's Sunwing

Buy (SLEEPER)

Mid
Low
 Kinjalli's Sunwing
$1.50
$0.54
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I take this to be the best of the three-drop Dinosaurs. Flying with a very useful ability all for a reasonable cost. This is probably very good in mirror matches where staying a turn ahead could equate to loads of extra damage, especially when we account for haste on both sides.

Revel in Riches

Sell

Could be a thing with treasures and such, but I suspect there is not a sufficient critical mass of playable cards that produce artifact tokens for this card to have Standard appeal.

Captain Lannery Storm

Sell

The rate is reasonable enough to likely fit into the Pirate tribal deck. Legendary makes her likely a two-of rather than a potential four-of though, which cuts into her value considerably. Otherwise she might be the next Goblin Rabblemaster.

Verdant Sun's Avatar

Sell

I suspect that seven mana is a little much for this effect. Too slow against the decks where you really want the life gain and not relevant enough against the decks you don’t.

Tocatli Honor Guard

Sell

I’m glad this card exists and it will likely make it into my deck at one point, but I don’t know that there is enough payoff for it in Standard right now. Works well with Greenbelt Rampager, Exemplar of Strength and Old-Growth Dryads, but all those cards together in the same deck sounds awful.

Kopala, Warden of Waves

Buy

Likely the only Modern-playable Merfolk in the set, but it’s a good one that will likely be a two-of in Modern Merfolk. If you combine this with Shapers' Sanctuary, point removal spells become quite mediocre against you.

Deadeye Tracker

Sell

At minimum it’s a solid sideboard card against graveyard decks. It likely makes it into the tribal Pirate deck though too since it works great with Duress and Fatal Push. Deathrite Shaman basically got nerfed in six different ways and is still playable.

Burning Sun's Avatar

Buy

Mid
Low
 Burning Sun's Avatar
$0.46
$0.22
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Mulligan Gaming 1 $0.24
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With mana accelerants, this can end up doing a fairly reasonable Glorybringer impression. If given haste by Otepec Huntmaster or Regisaur Alpha, we’re talking about an immediate three damage to a creature and nine to the opponent!

Waker of the Wilds

Sell

If it could target any land I’d call it excellent. As is, I’m calling it unplayable.

Priest of the Wakening Sun

Sell

It’s possible this is the right card to combat Ramunap Red decks. I suspect more ramp spells or removal spells would be better against aggro decks, but if you want to hedge, this card can also be an expensive tutor spell against non-aggro decks.

Entrancing Melody

Buy

Mid
Low
 Entrancing Melody
$0.51
$0.10
Store QTY Price  
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Tonys Card Shop 1 $0.22
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Great for stealing tokens, Death's Shadows, Tarmogoyfs, and other undercosted Modern staples. I think this is one of the best cards in the set for Modern. Maybe too slow for Standard as long as Dinosaurs are a thing, though treasures may change that.

Fathom Fleet Captain

Buy

I think this will be a staple in the Pirate tribal deck and unplayable everywhere else. The real question is ARRRRRR they going to be good?

Angrath's Marauders

Sell

At seven mana, this card is too stinky even for the poop deck.

Deeproot Champion

Sell

Once upon a time Quirion Dryad was playable. Those days are long, long gone.

Ashes of the Abhorrent

Sell

A somewhat reasonable graveyard hate card that can help enable Crested Sunmare, but nowhere close to as good as Rest in Peace, so unplayable outside of Standard.

Herald of Secret Streams

Sell

A solid finisher in a deck that can place +1/+1 counters on its creatures, but I’m not holding my breath on the underwater tribe being good enough.

Ruin Raider

Buy

This card is actually very good. It replaces itself immediately, has reasonable base stats, gets pumped by all the Pirate tribal bonuses, can immediately crew a vehicle, and triggers every subsequent turn. Definitely one of the big reasons to play Pirate tribal and maybe good enough in Mardu Vehicles too.

Sunbird's Invocation

Sell

What is with all these six-mana enchantments that do nothing the turn they are cast?

Emperor's Vanguard

Sell

Maybe the fourth best green four-drop in Standard?

Settle the Wreckage

Sell

Really powerful when it works, but if the opponent plays around it, it can really Backfire and you’ll wish you just played a wrath effect instead.

River's Rebuke

Sell

Reasonable game breaker in a matchup between two decks that each establish a big board presence without trading off resources. If the Pirate mirror is such a matchup, I can see treasures rendering this card playable. Otherwise I’d keep this one on the sidelines.

Vraska's Contempt

Sell

Versatile but expensive removal spell. It’s worse than Cast Out and Unlicensed Disintegration, but I could see playing a couple of these main to hedge against too many cheap removal spells that are bad against control decks, perhaps with the other two copies in the sideboard. It’s fine to buy or sell on this one.

Tilonalli's Skinshifter

Sell

This feels like it could be a combo piece, but I’m not sure with what. For aggro I think it’s generally too high variance to compete with the other red three-drops of the format.

Goring Ceratops

Sell

Easily the worse of the seven-drop Dinosaurs, but not the least colorful. Also, shouldn’t a triceratops have triple strike?

Arcane Adaptation

Sell

Maybe for a casual deck, but not for Standard.

Dreamcaller Siren

Buy

This is a very powerful Pirate. Great on offense or defense, can crew vehicles while tapping blockers or simply tap potential attackers.

Daring Saboteur

Sell

Unlikely to make the cut in the Pirate deck unless the other two-drops somehow don’t pan out.

Regisaur Alpha

Sell

Glorybringer is very likely better outside of Dinosaur tribal, but in the Dinosaur deck this is a premier five-drop. The fact that it’s non-legendary means they get better in multiples since the first one grants the second one haste. It’s likely a four-of in The Land Before Time. $7.50 is just way too much for a non-mythic rare.

Hostage Taker

Buy

This is a really powerful ability, turning a Faceless Butcher into Control Magic on a stick. This card is more powerful than Gonti, Lord of Luxury and fits into the Pirate tribal deck.

Shadowed Caravel

Sell

This card looks great with explore cards, but the creatures with that keyword seem pretty lackluster to me. Maybe I’m underestimating the explore mechanic.

Dowsing Dagger

Buy

It’s basically a Gilded Lotus that you have to work hard for, but in a deck with flying creatures and big mana spells I can see it being playable. If you can hook it up to a Kinjalli's Sunwing on turn four and swing in the air for four damage, you immediately get back three of that four mana spent. Then the following turn you’re all set to cast your giant seven and eight mana Dinosaurs! As a vegan gardener, I can get behind giving the opponent plants.

Fell Flagship

Buy

Mid
Low
 Fell Flagship
$0.52
$0.25
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Seems excellent in the Pirate tribal deck.

Thaumatic Compass

Sell

This could be the Thawing Glaciers that Repeating Barrage is looking for, but my guess is it’s too slow.

Conqueror's Galleon

Sell

I rate this card exactly a 2 out of 10, and just so we’re clear, it would be a 1 out of 10 if not for the sake of this joke.

Primal Amulet

Buy

Definitely an interesting card with all the cheap card draw available in Standard. The payoff looks pretty high too. Go to work, all you Izzet mages!

Treasure Map

Buy

This is actually a very reasonably priced card draw spell. Not sure what decks will actually want it, but I’m happy to have this in my deck against midrange and control strategies.

Sorcerous Spyglass

Buy

Pithing Needle with a sneak peek? Deal! It might not be Modern playable, given the existence of Phyrexian Revoker, but I’m happy to at least have this in my sideboard in Standard.

Vanquisher's Banner

Sell

Seems good for any tribal commander deck, but likely too slow and pricey for Standard.

Glacial Fortress – buy

Rootbound Crag – buy

Sunpetal Grove – buy

Drowned Catacomb – buy

Dragonskull Summit – buy

These lands are going to be excellent, especially since the cycling lands count as basic land types. Allied two-color decks have good mana and three color decks will also utilize these to good effect. And the new Rootbound Crag with the Dinosaur has great work!

Conclusions

- The cycle of enchantments that turn into legendary lands all seem playable to good.

- Many of the transform cards in general seem really good.

- Dinosaurs and Pirates look great, Vampires look decent, and Merfolk look bad (sorry Corbin, but at least you get Kopala, Warden of Waves).

- Blue-Black Tezzeret with Marionette Master and Spell Swindle looks good.

- The lands look great with cycle lands since the cycle lands count as the basic land types.

- My three sleeper picks are: Kinjalli's Sunwing, Spell Swindle, and Search for Azcanta.

Craig Wescoe
@Brimaz4Life




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