Further into the Maze

Over the past few weeks, the market has finally shifted to reflect the demand for Dragon’s Maze, and with that, prices have begun to fall. I mentioned a few articles ago that I was waiting this time around to mention long-term pick-ups from Dragon’s Maze. The reason here was twofold; first off, talking about what a price may reach and when you should then get in just adds another element of uncertainty to the equation. If you let the market adjust, many cards that may have been off your radar, such as Beck // Call now look far more appealing. The second reason is to prevent confusion. I have noticed I am already longwinded during my set reviews, and being able to separate the content allows me to talk about the key cards to target and ignore the rest at first. This creates a simpler list of cards for you at home to target during the first few weeks and allows the market time to adjust bringing the prices of those long term pick-ups down. I am going to start with the rares since those prices have almost fully adjusted. Some mythics that have seen fringe to no play still haven’t come down, so if I don’t mention a card, that doesn’t mean I won’t be looking at it in the future—just that it is overpriced currently.

Aetherling
Aetherling With the recent display at the Pro Tour, Aetherling seems to have answered everyone’s question of whether this guy was the real deal or just another Wind Reaver. With the ability to singlehandedly take games in three turns combined with the bonus evasion and protection, he creates a threat that has almost no way of being dealt with after hitting play. Though certainly not a four-of in most builds, I do believe Aetherling will be a huge player in the coming year, and considering you can still find them for under $4 online, I have to believe even at rare, this one is a sure bet. I would not be surprised to see the price dip in the coming months if Standard does not adapt him currently, but come rotation, he will probably see a spike to $8 or higher if blue-based control is competitive. I would not be huge in cash on this guy currently, but if he drops any further, snap all the copies you can. Trading for them now seems fine even at $5 or $6 you’re going to see a return down the line.

Beck // Call Previously not even a consideration for this list, now that we have seen Modern free of the dreaded combo, the price has dived in the past month. I can’t imagine this card won’t find a home in some form of combo, inevitably leading to its ban, I imagine. For now, grabbing these at $2 and $3 in trade seems amazing. Glimpse of Nature is banned for a reason in Modern, and though this is not the greatest replacement, it does open options up that were not previously available, such as Intruder Alarm and Sprout Swarm among others.

Breaking // Entering
Breaking // Entering This one may take some more time to get off the ground due to the promo, but I certainly see the casual crowd adapting it into the already strong mill pool. Beyond the casual play, I can see a mill variant being competitive in Modern using Breaking, Mindbreak Trap, and Glimpse the Unthinkable.

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch I did mention Exava previously, but I believe she deserves another mention. With the unleash mechanic and scavenge already keywords, Exava could prove to be the B/R finisher to replace Falkenrath Aristocrat. I believe she may still be a little overpriced, but trading for her at $3 or $4 is not necessarily terrible—much like Hellrider this year. If aggro proves to dominate at any point, she could hit $10 or more. I may wait a bit, as I think she will drop again before September, but be ready to scoop them in a hurry as people revert back to aggro post-rotation.

While I am on the topic of Exava, I would like to talk about the maze runner foils in this set. I believe most of them are a sure fit for Commander, and with the set in abundance, the price is very low currently. Snagging copies of cards such as Melek, Izzet Paragon that have flashy effects will reward you given enough time. Some of them, such as Exava, I expect to be less for Commander play, but any foil legend with unique abilities is worth grabbing at the current prices.

Notion Thief
Notion Thief At $2 to $3 and already breaking out in Legacy, I can’t see how this card can go any lower. If he is adapted in Standard at any point, expect the price to double. Foil copies also seem to be a reasonable pick up if you can find them for around $8 or less.

Ready // Willing At almost bulk-rare prices, Ready // Willing seems to be the exact type of card I like to buy in to. With the ability to be used among a variety of decks, I can easily see this becoming the combat trick of choice for token variants all the way to G/W aggro. With such versatility, it seems like very safe bet that this will see competitive play over the next year. If you can find them for under $1 each and have the extra cash, I would feel comfortable buying in, but I would certainly be snagging every copy I can in trade.

Zhur-Taa Ancient The final rare has very little to do with competitive play and is unlikely to see any Top 8s any time soon, but among the casual and Commander crowds, it seems to be a hit. I have sold a ton of these, and the fact that the price keeps dropping baffles me. Usually, I only advocate picking up foil copies of most new casual cards, but in this case, I can’t see Zhur-Taa being a safer bet. Most retail sites have them for fifty cents, and given you can’t go any lower, there will probably never be a better time than now to get in. I don’t know how long this will take to rise, but even just stashing the copies you can trade for will reward you greatly down the road.

Now that we have covered all the rares at their current prices, it is time to move onto the mythics of the set. As with the rares, I feel a number of these mythics still have not completely adjusted and may be good to pick up down the line, but for now, I will be excluding them.

Deadbridge Chant
Deadbridge Chant No surprisingly, I am not telling you to pick them all up in cash anymore; at the current $5 to $6 they are holding, it would have to see major play to double, meaning if you didn’t get in from the ground floor, it is a little late now. This doesn’t, however, mean you have missed the boat completely since foils can still be found at $10 and under. Over time, I expect Chant to become a Commander staple for B/G decks, and considering how awesome this card looks foil and how flashy this effect is, it will be one of those cards for which we see the foil grow exponentially higher than the regular copies.

Maze’s End Another off-the-wall card it may seem, but if you really consider this card’s application, it can act as a Thawing Glaciers of sorts—granted, it’s far less abusable, but nonetheless a likely include for five-color Commander decks. Seeing play at the Pro Tour may also be a small viewing into the future, and if control decides to go a slow, five-color route, this may see play there as well. No matter what the scenario, the fact remains that this card is nearly bulk, and even with a promo, it will probably see a jump in the next year or so. I don’t like buying into these, but considering no one needs them and everyone has them, they should be relatively easy to trade for.

Master of Cruelties
That concludes this week on GatheringMagic for me. Let me know if you think there is something else you may have been keeping your eye on that I did not mention. As I stated, many of the cards in this set have yet to fall appropriately, but down the road, there will be a few more cards like Master of Cruelties that I expect to be good long-term trade targets. If you have enjoyed this article and the general life cycle of cards, check out this week’s episode of Brainstorm Brewery, in which we sat down with TSG and talked shop. The interview was very insightful, and it’s a must-listen for anyone interested in Magic finance. Join me next week for more financial information—and hopefully some talk of Magic 2014 and Modern Masters.

Ryan Bushard
@CryppleCommands