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Financial Review of Magic Origins: Part 2

A few days ago we started our financial review of Magic Origins when we were only one week into previews and the set was barely half way spoiled; A lot has changed over the past few days! Currently all 16 mythics from the set have been revealed and we are only missing three of the 55 rares. As a result, now is as good a time as any to talk about the rest of the cards in the set. It's possible there is some awesomeness hiding out in the final three rares (after all, Deathrite Shaman was spoiled with no article or fanfare on the last day of Return to Ravnica spoilers), or even among the rest of the commons and uncommons, but we'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it. 

Originally this was going to be a two part series, but when part two ended up being nearly 7,000 words, we decided it would be best to make it three. Today in part two we'll cover the rest of the white, green, red, and blue cards from Magic Origins, then tomorrow, in part three, we'll discuss the black cards, reprints and do a fun little EV exercise to check the price predictions from all three articles. Anyway, without further ado, let's talk about the cards!

Starfield of Nyx

Maybe making budget videos every week has gotten to my head, but Starfield of Nyx is my favorite card in Magic Origins. It feels like the type of card that will be broken somewhere, somehow, by someone, and it is the type of card that will continue to get better set-by-set as more enchantments are printed. Not only could Starfield of Nyx be extremely powerful in standard (especially before Theros block rotates this fall), but it has potential to see play in modern, and maybe even legacy. I don't know if it will be in six weeks, months or years, but I have high hopes that sooner or later this card is going to be at least $15. 

In standard, Starfield of Nyx feels like a value card. Andrew Cuneo has been grinding it out with GB Constellations lately and the deck can easily splash white for Starfield of Nyx and maybe even the freshly spoiled reprint Sigil of the Empty Throne. Getting back an Eidolon of Blossoms or Doomwake Giant every turn seems pretty sweet, and if you ever turn on the Opalescence ability, cards like Brain Maggot and Eidolon of Blossoms become even more efficient threats. Something like this might be a starting point.

In modern there have been various enchantement control decks floating around the lower tiers for a while now. One such deck is looking to lock down the game with Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety before eventually winning with Sigil of the Empty Throne or Heloid, God of the Sun. Starfield of Nyx should be right at home here. It gets back whatever lock pieces happen to die to Abrupt Decay or Maelstrom Pulse while also offering a Plan B for finishing the game (which is actually much quicker than Sigil of the Empty Throne on an empty board, since any enchantment on the battlefield effectively have haste). I'm thinking something like this:

As for legacy, it's Opalescence 4 though 8 while also providing a main deck Replenish effect. Check out this video, I think it speaks for itself.

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: High

Six Month price: ??? ($15+ sooner or later)

Disciple of the Ring

One comparison I keep hearing thrown around (even by myself when Disciple of the Ring was first spoiled) is Morphling, which might be one of the worst comparisons I've ever heard. The fact that you have to exile and instant or sorcery from your graveyard to activate Disciple of the Ring's abilities is a huge problem. Not only does this mean the number of times you can activate the abilities are limited (by my count, Esper Dragons, the tier one deck that runs the most spells in standard, plays 25 instants/sorceries), but also that Disciple of the Ring is directly competing for the same resource as extremely powerful delve cards like Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Dig Through Time and also a nonbo with the new spell mastery mechanic. As a result, the type of decks that can run Disciple of the Ring are limited to control builds and maybe some sort of Jeskai brew. 

Unfortunately for Disciple of the Ring, I'm not sure control decks are interested. For the same amount of mana you can play an evasive, card-advantage generating, difficult-to-kill finisher in Dragonlord Ojutai, which seems more powerful in 90 percent of matchups. The best home for Disciple of the Ring is probably an aggressive or midrange deck that plays a decent amount of creatures. This allows you to play Disciple of the Ring, hopefully use the "counter non-creature spell" mode to protect your team until you untap, and then use the tap-ability to Cryptic Command your opponent's board allowing you to swing for lethal. Here the challenge will be getting the creature/spell balance right. Having enough creatures to generate a lethal attack while also having enough spells in your graveyard to activate Disciple of the Ring 4 to 8 times might be possible, but it won't be easy. 

My initial feeling is that Disciple of the Ring will go more or less unplayed, simply because there are more powerful options that require less work and deckbuilding restrictions. I made the mistake of liking Ojutai Exemplars during DTK previews and I'm not going to make it again here. 

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Medium-Low

Six Month Price: $2-$3

Hallowed Mooonlight

Hallowed Moonlight is the latest in a long-line of cards designed to hose a theme, mechanic or specific card from the previous set or block (think Thundermaw Hellkite and Lingering Souls or Grafdigger's Cage and undying/Snapcaster Mage) and it looks to be a good one. In standard, apart from hosing random tokens (i.e. being a two-mana counter to Hordeling Outburst that doesn't cost a card), the big deal is that it stops Collected Company and Deathmist Raptor while also grabbing some fringe value against manifest, Hornet Nest and Whip of Erebos. While I'm not sure this is enough to make the card main-deckable in the current meta, the bar for cards that replace themselves is pretty low. It is certainly good enough for sideboards and offers a safety-valve to make sure Deathmist Raptor/Collected Company decks are not too dominant post-rotation. 

In modern, I think there is a slight chance this card shows up in main decks as a one or two-of, similar to Shadow of Doubt. In the right matchups, this card is very strong — or even downright game winning — while in the wrong matchups you can always cycle it away for two mana. If you look over the modern metagame, you'll see that Hallowed Moonlight does something relevant in a surprising number of matchups. Here's a chart of the twelve decks that make up at least two percent of the field, along with the cards hosed by Hallowed Moonlight.

Hallowed Moonlight in Modern
Deck Cards Hosed Percent of Meta
Grixis Delver None (fringe value against Young Pyromancer) 12.09
Grixis Twin Splinter Twin  10.33
Affinity None 8.40
Burn None 8.40
Jund None (fringe value against Huntmaster of the Fells) 6.30
RG Tron None 4.62
Bloom Titan None (fringe value against Khalni Garden) 3.36
Merfolk Aether Vial 3.27
Elves Collected Company, Chord of Calling 3.27
Naya Zoo Collected Company 2.43
Grishoalbrand Goryo's Vengence, Through the Breach 2.02
Infect None 2.02
Other Benefits Living End, Kitchen Finks combo.   
Total Of top 66.51 percent of the modern meta 36 percent

Hallowed Moonlight is bad zero percent of the time because you can always turn it into another card for only two-mana. It will generate some amount of value in more than 66 percent of matchups (this is including all the "fringe" uses like countering a Khalni Garden activation) and it will be very good-to-game-winning 36 percent of the time. Whether this is good enough to make it into main decks or be relegated to sideboard I'm not certain, but I am very confident the card will see some amount of play in the format. 

Financially, seeing fringe modern play isn't going to drive prices in the short term; look at the in-print price of Grafdigger's Cage and Stony SilenceHallowed Moonlight is going to have to see significant standard play to maintain its $5 pre-order price — like main deck, four-of type play, and I'm not sure this is likely. My guess it that it will see play, but not enough to keep it from losing at least half of its current value.

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Low

Six Month Price: $2-$4

Relic Seeker

Relic Seeker is a fine and potentially playable card, but his future in standard is almost solely dependent on the printing of some powerful equipment in Battle for Zendikar block, which may or may not happen. It is the Buy-a-Box promo, which generally means Wizard's Future Future League testing suggests it will be playable in standard, but we'll have to wait and see. One place I'm pretty sure Relic Seeker will see a ton of play is in cubes where it seems like an auto-include as a bear with upside, but I'm not sure we've reached the point (or ever will reach the point) where the cube community can drive up the price of an in-print rare. 

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Low (potential is post-rotation)

Six Month Price: $0.50-$1.50 or $4-$6 (depending on BFZ)

Herald of the Pantheon

Another piece for an enchantment deck, Herald of the Pantheon has a lot of potential in the right build. Cards that reduce mana-costs tend to at least have the chance of being broken, and while Herald of the Pantheon will never make enchantments free (until they start printing colorless enchantments), playing Eidolon of Blossoms on turn three and Doomwake Giants or Sigil of the Empty Throne on turn four seems like big game in standard.

There are also a bunch of auras that cantrip for two mana and with Herald of the Pantheon on the battlefield their cost is reduced to just one. This list includes: Chosen by Heliod, Fate Foretold, Karametra's Favor (which allow you to "go infinite" with just a Herald of the Pantheon), Nylea's Presence, Scourgemark, and Stratus Walk. In theory this means there could be some sort of four or five-color Jeskai Ascendancy combo deck out there. With a mana creature on the battlefield, you can play all of these cards from free (by untapping and tapping a Sylvan Caryatid, for example), while also looting and drawing an extra card, which reduces the chances of fizzling out. While I might be crazy, how about something like this:

Basically the idea is to resolve a mana-creature or Herald of the Pantheon, draw through our entire deck with our cantripping enchantments which will pump our dorks to a lethal amount of power and toughness, and then attack for the win. The one copy of Aqueous Form is to make sure we connect, while the one-of Assault Formation allows our Sylvan Caryatid to become the lethal attacker. Since the idea is to be looting like crazy, we can always discard either of them if they are not necessary to win the game.

While this specific deck may or may not be better than the traditional Ascendancy Combo, Herald of the Pantheon has a legitimate chance of being a player in standard over the next few months. There is also an outside chance that it shows up in eternal formats, although I'm not sure a typical Enchantress deck wants another creature, especially one that turns on Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares, so it might take some brewing to break Herald of the Pantheon in modern or legacy. It is one of the few cards that I'm tempted to pick up at pre-order prices, not because it is guaranteed money, but because it has the potential to end up being completely busted in the right deck which could push it towards being among the most expensive rares in the set. 

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: High

Six Month Price: $2-3 (pre-rotation seems like Herald's chance to shine)

EDH Mythics

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

As you probably know by now, EDH/Commander is not my thing. Do you remember the Family Guy where Peter calls every Asian he sees Jackie Chan? Well, that's me and EDH cards; big, flashy, and utterly unplayable in any format I care about. Based on the price history of other EDH mythics, I expect all of these cards to be relatively inexpensive for the next year, bottom out a few months before rotation, and assuming they don't get a second printing for a while, start to creep up in price over coming years. 

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Very, Very Low

Six Month Price: $1-$3

Near Bulk Rares


$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While Gideon's Phalanx doesn't scale, at seven mana it has the same rate as White Sun's Zenith — a card that saw fringe play as a control finisher a few years ago. You also get the upside of ambushing some random attackers or saving your team from Crux of Fate if you have spell mastery, so I think there is a chance this shows up in standard, most likely as a one or two-of in control decks (although it might just be overshadowed by the more flexiable Secure the Wastes which can play a similar role). Either way, White Sun's Zenith never pushed past the $1 mark, so even if Gideon's Phalanx does see play, I don't expect it to be very expensive. 

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Low

Six Month Price: $0.50-$1.50

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I don't get the eternal hype surrounding this card. To me it feels like a worse Seismic Assault. Sure, it comes down earlier and is easier to cast, but isn't it usually better to pay RRR once and then have a free shock for every land you discard rather than pay R up front, and then another R every time you want to shock something? Most Life from the Loam decks actually want to spend their mana on things like Tarmogoyf, Raven's Crime, Liliana of the Veil, Maelstrom Pulse, and Deathrite Shaman — you know, actual cards. Someone on Twitter (who I would credit if I could remember who it was) compared Molten Vortex to Flame Jab, and while this is probably selling the enchantment a bit short, it is a much better comparison than Seismic Assault

In standard, Molten Vortex could provide a hedge against flooding out in a mono-red/burn deck where generating value from lands four plus (which are generally dead cards) is pretty appealing, but even so Molten Vortex might not be better than playing another two-powered one-drop creature. 

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Medium

Six Month Price: $1-$2

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

From my perspective, Abbot of Keral Keep should be in the "Bottom of the Barrel" bulk rare section below, but since some people on social media seem to like this card, I figure it was worth explaining why it's bad. First, it's merely passable as a two drop. If you play it on turn two, you get a 2/1 prowess that exiles the top card of your library — not exciting. If you play it on turn three you have a 30ish percent chance of drawing a land, and maybe a 15 percent chance of drawing a spell you can cast (depending on your deck's construction) — still bad. If you play it on turn five or later, you'll almost always draw a card, but by this point a 2/1 with prowess will have very little value in the land of dragonlords and Siege Rhinos — bad yet again (at least as bad as a card that replaces itself can be). If you want this effect, just play Ire Shaman which has some amount of evasion in menace, can turn into a 3/2, and allows you more control over when you draw the card. 

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Low

Six Month Price: Literal bulk

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Animist's Awakening is a nifty card, but I have no earthly idea where it can or will see play outside of EDH and kitchen tables. Paying, for example, six mana to put 2 or 2.5 lands onto the battlefield isn't that exciting unless you are hitting very specific and powerful lands (i.e. Tron pieces, manlands, etc). If you're hitting only basics, Animist's Awakening is basically a super-expensive Cultivate. In older formats, you might as well just play Genesis Wave since it gives you real cards along with the lands, and the lands themselves will always come into play untapped.

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Low

Six Month Price: $0.50 - $1.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen is far from the most exciting elf lord ever printed, it is still an elf lord and out of all the tribes in Magic Origins, Elves appear to have the most support in standard. This said, being an intro pack rare severely limits Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen's potential. Even in the best case where Elves is a tier one deck, being worth more than a couple dollars is pretty much out of the question.

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Low

Six Month Price: $1-$2

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Everyone else seems to love this card but color me unimpressed. Four damage to the face for three mana is fine — good even, but otherwise I just don't see a whole to get excited about here. First, it's sorcery speed which is a pretty big downside compared to Char, Flame Javelin, Stoke the Flames and Brimestone Volley. Second, thanks to Languish, there is a pretty big incentive to build your standard deck with creatures that have five toughness. Third, there are a bunch of very powerful creatures that fit the bill, ranging from Siege Rhino and Tasigur, the Golden Fang to Archangel of Tithes and Titan of Erebos. Offering mono-red decks another way of killing Courser of Kruphix is nice, but this is only really a benefit for the next three months. All in all, it seems like the upcoming format is going to push some decks towards play Roast over Exquisite Firecraft, the main exception being burn decks and red aggro (Goblins, Mono-Red, Atarka Red) that are just trying to get their opponents to zero as fast as possible.  Even if I'm underestimating the card's power and playability, it is unlikely to push past $5 in the best case.

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Medium

Six Month Price: $1-$3

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Managorger Hydra is, more or less, a cross between Quirion Dryad and Taurean Mauler with the added bonus of having evasion in the form of trample. Unfortunately it is also a 1/1 for three mana, so assuming you tap out for it on turn three, it will still die to a Wild Slash. Seeing significant play in standard seems unlikely, even after Courser of Kruphix rotates out of the format. It could have some potential in the very distant future because hydras tend to be unreasonably expensive, but based on its current preorder price of nearly $3, I expect the immediate trajectory to be downward.

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Low

Six Month Price: $0.50-$1.50

Bottom of the Barrel

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Talent of the Telepath wiffs far too often to see competitive play. Even though it could be good against specific decks (for example hitting a double Dig Through Time against Esper Dragons), trusting in your opponents deck to make your cards good usually isn't a reasonable plan (see: the difference between Genesis Wave and Villainous Wealth). Outland Colossus is this sets all-to-predictable "green fatty that gets even bigger thanks to one of the sets mechanics." These cards very rarely, if ever, see competitive play. Gilt-Leaf Winnower is a fine Nekrataal, but black currently has a lot of options in the 5cmc slot. It might see some play post-rotation, but probably not enough to keep out of the dollar rare bin. Tragic Arrogance is an over-costed Cataclysm that doesn't do the one thing you want a Cataclysm to do (hit lands). As is, it reminds me of Divine Retribution, a bulk rare which didn't see any competitive play.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Hangarback Walker is inefficient at every point on the curve. At two mana it's an over-costed Doomed Traveler, at four mana it's a Pia and Kiran Nalaar which doesn't give you tokens until it dies, and at six mana it's a too-expensive Siege-Gang Commander that triggers on death instead of entering the battlefield. Oh, and it has a Chasm Skulk ability, except you have to spend a mana every turn to make it happen. I highly doubt it is good enough. Embermaw Hellion is the latest in a long line of bulk bin Hellions. Compared to Survival of the Fittest, Evolutionary Leap is a convincing argument against both evolution and the intelligent design of Magic cards. Thopter Spy Network requires too much work to be good, and even if you already control an artifact, it's still going to take five turns to get your mana's worth. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Scab-Clan Berserker is going to have a hard time becoming renown, even with haste. If it came down on turn two like Ash Zealot or Eidolon of the Great Revel, it might have a chance in standard; at 3cmc, it's unplayable. Willbreaker is a pretty fun ability until your opponent casts a Lightning Strike. It's probably good on kitchen tables where you can protect it with Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots, but there is very little chance this works in standard. 

Chance of Pro Tour Spike: Low

Six Month Price: $0.25-$0.50


Anyway, that's all for today, I'll be back tomorrow with part three, but in the mean time what do you think? How playable is Goblin Piledriver in standard and modern? Do you have any idea for breaking Starfield of Nyx? What cards am I undervaluing? Which am I overvaluing? What have you pre-ordered so far? Let me know in the comment, or as always, you can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.

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