Holy crap we have an interesting week for you! We are right in the thick of spoilers and have you seen the new spoilers?! There are so many options for new Standard decks and even some cards playable in other formats. We also had some tasty treats pop up in Food Chain and Life from the Loam. Let's Plunge into this week in Magic!
Plunge into Darkness has taken a turn towards the dark side. It has always been a cute way to do neat shenanigans like pay a ton of life when you have Phyrexian Unlife in play, then win with Laboratory Maniac. It also can help your Death's Shadow's get buff fast. It saw a quick buyout and has since taken the high road. I think the card has potential when using shenanigans, but it's still good when used fairly. I dare not say shenanigans again…
Food Chain has been played alongside top tier Commander decks like Prossh, Skyraider of Kher, General Tazri and Maelstrom Wanderer. It saw an overnight buyout and hit the charts hard. The thing about this buyout is that Food Chain is actually used quite often, and with Wizards new support (link here) for 1v1 Commander, this could quickly become a Commander staple across the board. I for one am super excited for 1v1 Commander events.
“Bicycle” lands were spoiled for Amonkhet and immediately Life from the Loam was bought out. It sees play in Modern, Legacy and some Vintage. Dredge got somewhat of a nerf, so Loam hasn't really been seen in Modern. I don't know that this Loam buyout will hold long term as there isn't really a demand for the card yet. That being said, it's a very underrated card in Commander.
Splendid Reclamation tagged along with Life from the Loam as a way to abuse the “bicycle” lands. It's a neat effect for decks that want to take advantage of lands in the graveyard and while it's possible in Standard, but I don't think it's doing enough. I think I'd rather have Explosive Vegetation, but we've yet to see all Amonkhet has to offer. We'll have to keep a close eye on this strategy.
Restore Balance JUST spiked hard, and I think it's because of the amazing new blue enchantment, As Foretold. Being able to cast Restore Balance for 0 the turn you play As Foretold seems like a great start. I'm not sure what the complete strategy will look like yet, as this seems like a Modern brew, but I think it's a unique way to shake things up in Modern. Note, you can also cast the other suspend cards like Living End and Ancestral Vision.
Noxious Ghoul followed the usual trend when Zombies come to a new set. Everyone gets hyped for doing something with zombies so they rush to the counter and buy them up. I would really like to see a zombie tribal deck in competitive formats. We have no shortage of them, but we need something awesome to push the undead through the floorboards and onto the battlefield. Remember, if you use zombies, you're dead…to me.
Doomsday made the list this week?? Who could have Predict-ed it? (Yeah, that card spiked too.) I haven't seen any specific reason why all these combo type cards are spiking this week, but I know I happen to have all of them set aside for my competitive Commander decks. Doomsday sees fringe play in Vintage and Legacy, and I mean the most possible fringe use of the word fringe.
Unfortunately, the one copy of foil Oboro, Palace in the Clouds that I need for my mill deck will be even more unobtainable. It doubled in price, which makes me sad that I still don't have one. Krark-Clan Ironworks foil nearly doubled and sits as a very expensive uncommon. Promise of Bunrei, a fun card in Modern spirits, spiked as well. Foil Splendid Reclamation went up with its non-foil counterpart, but I didn't think people were that serious over the card yet. It has yet to be proven. Finally, in the constant trend of people wanting painlands, foil Apocalypse Caves of Koilos. All those older foils are gorgeous and should be picked up sooner, rather than later.
Is there anything cheap in Magic anymore? Why yes, yes there is! It's about the perfect time to score yourself all those sweet reprints from Modern Masters 2017. Most of the key cards are at or near their all-time low, making it open season on scooping them up. I think it's also a fine time to get Mystic Confluence and Fiery Confluence. They are both excellent value for the mana cost and won't be dropping in price. It also pains me to say this, but Walking Ballista has stabilized pretty well now. With as much play as it sees away from Standard, I don't think the fear of it rotating will make it drop that much in price. If you're waiting to get your playset, you might want to consider doing it now.
Last week's mystery chart was of Consecrated Sphinx. Many people picked up on the “may” hint. This week, I've selected an interesting chart. It may or may not see constructed play. It may or may not be 2 or more colors. It may or may not cost less than 9 mana. I guess I can stop dragging you through the weeds and let you get to guessing…
Many people don't quite understands why cards spike so hard and so fast, so I'll explain some of my observations. There is a knee jerk reaction that happens in the Magic market that causes brief hysteria. For example, Wizards spoil the new cycle of lands and people start to think about what strategy could be popular. Someone posts a good idea, like using Life from the Loam, so a few people go online to buy some play sets. Word spreads quickly, much like the game telephone, and a chain reaction happens. Online stores get “bought out” of their stock, but most of them don't have their true stock listed for sale. Ebay sellers start to sell auctions left and right, so some pull their active listings and relist at a higher price. Meanwhile, stores restock their online supply, but at a higher price, let's say 4 copies at a time. Each time they get bought out, they go up. This all happens very quickly and if you watch the average of a card price across many vendors, it's a game of who can sell it for the most money before no one buys any. This isn't always the case, as with some older cards there really isn't a hidden supply of more cards. As the days and weeks go by, keep an eye on how much the new Gideon will fluctuate in price as people determine exactly how much he's really worth.
This week, a controversial card of the sorts. Realm Razer gets a bad rep, but he's really a nice guy. Kinda. Yes you CAN cast Oblivion Sower as a follow up and make everyone mad, but I like to use Realm Razer once I have a superior board presence to close out the game. Sure, people don't like their lands going away, but at least they can come back. Be warned though: only use him if you can close the game out quickly. Not many people like a game grinding to a sudden halt.