Spoiler Alert

Of all the spoiler seasons, the third set of each block is by far my favorite for a number of reasons. Of course, we are closing a chapter and finally have the opportunity to see what a full block provides for all formats. Within the realm of finance, the end of a block is a unique opportunity to both move cards one last time before they rotate and to pick up cards you believe will become more relevant come September. This week, I am going to concentrate less on the cards within Dragon’s Maze and more on the cards that may see a boost in price given these new tools. Next week, once the full spoiler is announced, I will do my usual article giving my picks and dumps for the prerelease weekend, but preemptively starting that without all of the information seems unnecessary.

Intruder Alarm
Unfortunately, some of the pick-ups have already passed the desired price point to buy in, but that doesn’t mean people haven’t neglected others. A great example of this comes from the support cards to embrace Beck // Call, such as Cloudstone Curio. Curio sold out last week as people anticipated the rise of combo variants in Modern, but while Curio spiked to $10, my friend, fellow writer at GatheringMagic and cohost on Brainstorm Brewery pointed out that Intruder Alarm was still in stock most places at around $2. After watching the market all weekend, I saw the prices slowly rise, and I pulled the trigger Sunday night, buying enough so I would have stock when the general public realized this may see play. By the time this article goes live, I am sure Intruder Alarm will be well above a reasonable buy number, but you may still be able to snag some at local shops.

So, what other cards from Dragon’s Maze will make a possible impact on the current formats, and what support cards will in turn rise? After poring over the spoiler, I have selected a few I feel strongly about, but I encourage you to continue the search since I will inevitably miss a number of interactions.

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch is an interesting replacement for the current haste package at 4, including Hellrider and Falkenrath Aristocrat, both of which will be leaving us in September. I am not sure how playable this gal is considering she is mythic in a deck that does not want to have unplayable cards clogging their hands, but if there are enough Grixis or Jund options, we may see a resurgence right after rotation when aggro is usually predominant. Picking up cards that may be supported within this archetype while they are cheap could net you a solid profit come fall. I believe most of the playable rares would have to come from this set or the next, as the current unleash package does not offer us much in the way of speculation. Keep an eye out if she drops too low while the mainstays continue to dominate the 4-drop spot; she may be no Aristocrat, but she isn’t trivial either.

Lotleth Troll
Lotleth Troll has been tanking for months now. I assume you—as I have—have been picking them up in trades as you realize he has a whole year to find a home. I am not saying that Varolz, the Scar-Striped will create a deck, but the synergy behind the two combined with cards such as the above Exava may carve a place in the metagame. Varolz has already bumped up the price of Death's Shadow and may impact Phyrexian Dreadnought as well given enough hype, but I want to be slightly more practical and try to find a home within Standard for this little Troll.

Glimpse the Unthinkable
Another of the split cards caught my eye after being spoiled, and I have been surprised by how little talk there has been, and I have been even more shocked at the criminally low $2 presale price. The card I am speaking of is Breaking // Entering, but for all intents and purposes, let us just call this Breaking. This card has a wide application and thus far is probably my most sure pick-up both in preorder and at the prerelease. This may be just the tool Modern players needed in a mill strategy, and even if that does not pan out, this card is certain to be a hit among the casual crowd. Glimpse the Unthinkable has the price tag it does almost solely off the casual appeal, and with a potential boost in Modern, it may be safe buying into some of the “cheaper” cards. The only concern is Modern Masters, and as likely as any card is to be reprinted, I believe as a whole, people are losing money by worrying about every card over a few dollars being reprinted. I would not target Glimpse because even if left out of MM, we will not probably see a huge spike unless a deck comes to fruition, but other, cheaper alternatives, such as Mind Funeral, may be safe bets. The safest and most obvious pick-up here is Archive Trap, which can currently be obtained for between $2 and $3 as I write this article, and considering Zendikar is safe from the price chopping block that is MM reprinting, the price of this casual staple is almost certain to rise.

Loxodon Smiter
Voice of Resurgence is one of those chase rares I try to stay away from when they first release, and given how good this guy is, I could see $20 holding for a while. This does not mean we will not see other support cards rise that have fallen out of favor. Loxodon Smiter is the perfect example of a card I would not be willing to buy at the current $3 but am more than happy to trade for given the probable increase in demand once the Voice is legal. Silverblade Paladin has also dropped back down to $6 recently due to the lack of play, and if G/W has a chance of coming back, you can bet the Paladin will rise again—even if it’s short-lived due to rotation. I am usually willing to pick up cards even if they are rotating during this time of year due to how quickly the meta shifts and how likely it is that during the Standard Pro Tour Qualifier season long-forgotten cards will reemerge and quickly skyrocket as people scramble to have to stay ahead of the curve.

It should be mentioned now that I used to be a huge advocate of dumping all of your Standard goods around this time of year, but given the increase in coverage and demand still present, I believe the rotation is playing far less of an impact on prices this early. This does not mean I want to be holding Thragtusks three months from now, but I will still pick them up if I can get a deal or have locals seeking them.

What spoiler article would be complete without mention of the new, flashy ’walker the Maze has brought us? Ral Zarek has been hinted at for the past year, and we finally have him in all his glory! I am not sure what side of the bandwagon I want to be on as far as his playability goes, but regardless, I expect his hype alone to drive certain cards up whether they see any play at all. Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius is by far the one that stands out to me the most, and given Ral Zarek’s ability to untap lands and artifacts such as Gilded Lotus, we will probably see a spike in the Izzet lord. Casting Niv and untapping with him has to be among my favorite feelings in all of Standard right now, and given the power of Ral, if left unchecked, it is likely an opponent will only be able to deal with one of these massive threats, leaving you free to untap with Niv or push toward Ral’s ultimate. I envision a deck that can use ramp such as Farseek to power out Ral and in turn push toward larger threats before your opponent can gain any edge. At $3, Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius seems like a sure bet to me.

That wraps up my analysis of what we have spoiled thus far. Watch my Twitter over the next week as I give up-to-date opinions on what I think about the new spoilers and what I in turn believe will spike. If you have any cards you believe deserve mention, please leave a comment below and share them. I am always curious to hear other people’s opinion, and I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have. As always, thanks for reading, and check back in next week—same place, same time—as I run through the spoiler in depth and give my opinion on what you should be looking to target next weekend.

Ryan Bushard

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