Rewind$4.94 (-79.19%)
Rowan, Scion of War$3.99 (+66.25%)
Food Chain$30.75 (-37.17%)
Sheoldred's Edict$4.69 (-34.86%)
Angel's Grace$2.00 (-33.33%)
The Girl in the Fireplace$10.00 (-33.33%)
The First Sliver$39.99 (-32.79%)
Jeska, Thrice Reborn$13.97 (-30.15%)
Rampant Growth$16.63 (-29.95%)
The One Ring (Borderless)$49.00 (-26.54%)
Mass Hysteria$14.97 (-25.15%)
Questing Druid$3.74 (+24.67%)
Solphim, Mayhem Dominus$8.00 (-23.52%)
Preordain$2.59 (+22.17%)
Alluring Scent$2.72 (-22.06%)
Serum Visions$2.76 (-21.81%)
Rakdos Signet$2.02 (+20.96%)
The Locust God$4.19 (+20.06%)
Inquisition of Kozilek$9.59 (+19.88%)
Mountain (1363)$6.43 (-17.35%)
Mountain (1365)$6.43 (-17.35%)
Mountain (1367)$6.43 (-17.35%)
Treebeard, Gracious Host$5.31 (-17.03%)
Kellan, the Fae-Blooded$3.50 (+16.67%)
Slip Through Space$6.25 (-16.67%)
Gaea's Blessing$5.01 (-16.50%)
Seething Song$2.56 (+16.36%)
Forest - Innistrad Cycle$3.49 (+16.33%)
Hallowed Haunting$19.49 (+15.60%)
Fleshbag Marauder$8.47 (-15.30%)
Mirror March$2.05 (-15.29%)
Ondu Spiritdancer$14.04 (+15.27%)
Swamp (1384)$12.41 (-15.12%)
Forest (1386)$12.41 (-15.12%)
Mountain (1385)$12.49 (-14.57%)
Island (1383)$12.49 (-14.57%)
Blood Artist$2.29 (+14.50%)
Abu Ja'far$43.54 (+13.95%)
Flamekin Harbinger$7.80 (-13.24%)
Grim Hireling$3.60 (+13.21%)
Selfless Savior$2.92 (-12.57%)
Plains (1382)$12.94 (-11.49%)
Spirit Mantle$2.53 (+11.45%)

History, Restapled - March to the Beats

25 May
by Steve Heisler

Welcome back for another History, Restapled, a Commander-focused column which attempts to validate a newer card’s status as a staple by looking at how cards that are similar, synergistic, or competing have fared in the past financially.

The time has finally come to address the MOM in the room. March of the Machine has been out for a few weeks, and March of the Machine: The Aftermath is in the rear view mirror. The set and its addendum brought a slew of powerful cards, some of which have already been dubbed staples. I’m here to rain on everyone’s parade, of course, and highlight a few cards not receiving MOM’s love at the moment.

Wrenn and Realmbreaker

Wrenn and Realmbreaker

Wrenn has found a new friend, and the pairing garnered massive hype when March of the Machine was first released—though I was skeptical. Its lines of text all seem good at first blush, but within the context of the rest of the card, they ring hollow.

Take “Lands you control have ‘T: Add one mana of any color.” Chromatic Lantern, an artifact that can slot into any deck, has carried a decent price for much of its existence. It’s been kept at single digits by a number of recent reprints and the fact that mana rocks with mana value three have fallen out of favor.

A more apt comparison can be made to either Bootleggers' Stash or Joiner Adept, which require green but hold additional utility by producing saccable permanents or existing as a tutorable creature, respectively. In both cases, prices hover around $3-4 bucks, with Bootlegger’s Stash emerging from its own hype machine to drop roughly $45.

So, Wrenn and Realmbreaker is a mana fixer, but in green where it competes with things like Nature's Lore (untapped shockland or tapped Triome), Farseek, Birds of Paradise, and so many more. And it requires two green pips, so it’s less splashable than the others, but any heavily green deck won’t need to fix its lands unless it’s a five-color deck, in which case things like Chromatic Lantern or The World Tree are harder to remove than a planeswalker who can barely protect itself and remains open to three attack steps before your next turn.

I suppose a meager amount of protection exists in that Wrenn and Realmbreaker can animate a land for a turn, providing hexproof but not indestructible, vigilance but not any form of evasion, and haste without the means to untap the land, as other cards offer. Wrenn and Realmbreaker opens your lands to vulnerabilities, yet it wants you to tap those lands for any color. Plus, the card’s -2 ability could theoretically pull a creature to cast and defend, but Eternal Witness this card is not. “Mill three cards. You may put a permanent card from among the milled cards into your hand” are not the words we long to read.

At roughly $14-15, Wrenn and Realmbreaker is one of the pricier cards in MOM and matches the price of Faerie Mastermind, a card I feel is a super-staple in the making. No chance W&R stays at that level; the sum of its abilities fails to be greater than its parts.

STATUS: Sell this nonstaple post haste

Wrenn and Realmbreaker
March of the Machine
March of the Machine: Extras

Kami of Whispered Hopes

Kami of Whispered Hopes

I covered this a bit in my last column, but adding an extra +1/+1 counter to a creature when it receives one or more +1/+1 counters is basically the same as doubling the number of counters that creature would receive—most of these effects only add a single counter at a time, anyway. Having this line of text on a card elevates it from the bulk bin to the singles collection almost every time. The new Ozolith, the Shattered Spire, for example, is around $5 and Benevolent Hydra is sitting at $15.

The more expensive cards only hit creatures (and, sometimes, artifacts) while Kami of Whispered Hope affects all types of permanents, including Resourceful Defense, Llanowar Reborn, and more. For three mana, it’s more mana intensive than fellow uncommons Conclave Mentor and Winding Constrictor, but only requires green to cast, and it taps for mana, to boot, equal to its power. With only a single +1/+1 counter, which turns into two, Kami of Whispered Hope produces three mana of any color.

Better options for increasing numbers of counters certainly exist, but this is one of the cheapest available and provides enough utility to find its way into any manner of counters-matter and power-matters decks containing green.

STATUS: Staple you can counter on

Kami of Whispered Hopes
March of the Machine

Drana and Linvala

Drana and Linvala

Linvala, Keeper of Silence is already a staple for its ability to entirely hose certain strategies, and as such it commands a nearly $20 price tag. It’s also a notable card for the section of text it does not include: “…unless they’re mana abilities.” This ensures Linvala keeps the silence of mana dorks as well, which is not something the cheap Pithing Needle can do. For roughly $4, Collector Ouphe offers the same amount of hosing for artifacts, but the cheap Damping Matrix cannot.

There exists a premium on cards with fewer caveats, yet Drana and Linvala borders on bulk rare territory. It requires two colors, so can’t be slotted into as many decks. But not only does it read the same as the original Linvala and hold the same mana value, it also siphons all of your opponents’ activated abilities over to your side of the table. This part of the card can be game-defining if not eliminated right away (not by activated abilities, of course). Orzhov picked up a fun and powerful new duo, and now’s the time for you to pick one up, too.

STATUS: Staple, party of two

Drana and Linvala
March of the Machine
March of the Machine: Extras

A Little From Column A, a Little From Column B

In two weeks, I’ll be launching a new column about how to deck-build around a collection you may find in a shoebox in an attic or off a miscellaneous Craigslist purchase. History, Restapled will return for the following entry, but in the meantime, take a look at anything from Dominaria Remastered worth picking up, before prices start inching back up.

Check out these other articles:

How Do You Catch a Legendary Creature? by Jason Alt

Where Are They Now? - May 2023 by Ryan Cole

Modern Times: ONE Revisited by Corey WIlliams

Steve Heisler
Steve Heisler

Steve Heisler is a writer and pop culture journalist covering comedy, games, television, film and the tech industry. His work has been published in Rolling Stone, GQ, Variety, The AV Club, Fast Company and the Chicago Sun-Times. He began collecting Magic cards during Fourth Edition and plays Commander and Modern primarily. He also enjoys tennis, the Dark Souls family of video games and supporting live comedy. He lives in Chicago with his cat, Rosie.


More from Steve Heisler:

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