Bang for your Buck – Investing in cards before Gatecrash: Artifacts

Disclaimer: I can not be held responsible for any poor decisions I make in regards to any cards you might buy in response to my article. I’m going to post my thoughts and plead my case for each card I recommend, and if you agree then by all means head out to your local gaming store or buy cards online and try to snap up some good deals. I’m basing my information off of months of standard gaming experience as well as prices in my area and how they’ve reacted to the ever changing metagame. I can only hope that the decisions I make are good ones and that my gamble pays off after buying the featured cards.


Hello and welcome to the second installment of my HOPEFULLY money saving article. A few days have passed since my last article, and we’ve gotten a few new cards to chew on. I’m starting to get a little excited about the Primordial Avatar cards, especially some of their enter the battlefield abilities. While they aren’t as strong the Titans from M12 whose abilities activated whenever they attacked AS WELL AS when they entered the battlefield, some of their abilities are pretty impressive. The black one allows you to bring a card into play from an opponent’s graveyard (which is great if you’ve been milling the person or killing swaths of their forces with board wipes or kill spells), and the white one basically acts as a Sword to Plowshares, exiling a creature when it enters. Team any of these up with a Restoration Angel or Cloudshift and you’ll have some VERY potent late game creatures. I shudder to think what’s waiting for us in green and red. Anyway’s, today I’ll be covering artifacts, so let’s get started. 

M13 Artifacts

It’s seriously still a shock to me that Door to Nothingness (Omnidoor Thragfire) and Staff of Nin have actually seen constructed play. Will they see a large increase in prices though? Probably not. I think there are enough of these cards in circulation to appease the people wanting to play these fun, fringe decks, so don’t expect them to shoot up in price when Gatecrash hits. I think Gilded Lotus will some more play in control decks, and will see slight gains in value, but I don’t think any artifacts from M13 will see a huge increase. This could change with the remaining cards yet to be spoiled from the new set though. Keep your eyes peeled for any potentially explosive combos. 

Avacyn Restored Artifacts 

Avacyn was filled with mostly forgettable artifacts, so don’t expect any of the cards to be hard to find if they do become popular. Conjurer’s Closet might see some play in fun control decks in conjunction with the Primordials as a way to blink them every turn, but at .50 a card or cheaper, you shouldn’t have a problem buying 1 or 2 for your deck. 

Dark Acension Artifacts

There are a few cards from Dark Acension that might see play again, but it will all depend on the types of decks that get popular. Take Orzhov’s extort mechanic. This mechanic was made for long, grindy control games. Keeping a board clear of creatures and paying the extort cost each time could put your opponent in a bad position but it won’t beat him. Especially not with so many Thragtusks floating around the metagame. This is where Chalice of Life/Chalice of Death could come in. Will this card become popular though? Probably not. The one card I think could see an increase in value when Gatecrash comes out is Grafdigger’s Cage. 

Grafdigger's Cage

Grafdigger’s Cage

Rest in Peace is the best card for graveyard control, but for those colors that don’t have access to it, they’ll have to settle for Grafdigger’s Cage. Snapcaster was still legal last time I checked and is getting some great spells to flashback, but what non-white decks REALLY have to watch out for is Reanimator.

There are some very nasty creatures coming.

You might think that 7 or 8 mana is too much, but cost doesn’t matter to Frites. So you somehow finally managed to take out Obzedat, Ghost Council? Great, I’ll bring it back with Unburial Rites. Or lets say I just flashed back Unburial Rites for a Sepulchral Primordial. No only do I put a 5/4 intimidating creature back onto the field, but I get one of your good creatures too. When you use one card to get two, that’s called card advantage and things can quickly turn against you. Another thing about Reanimator decks is that they are ALL running Rays of Revelation. Rest in Peace is nothing but a temporary lock. Grafdigger’s Cage, however, is a possible turn 1 permanent lock that can greatly impede your opponent’s chances of victory. At $1.50, this card isn’t too expensive so consider picking up 2 for your sideboard if you haven’t already. 

Innistrad Artifacts

Ahhh, Innistrad. Here we get into some interesting artifacts, but just like the other sets before it, the values of the cards will greatly depend on which decks become popular in the metagame. An example is Witchbane Orb. For four mana you become hexproof, and this could save your life if you become the target of relentless milling. It has seen play here and there in constructed, and if control decks take center stage it could see some more play. However, I don’t think it will go up in value at all. The only artifact I think will go up in value is Runechanter’s Pike.

Runechanter's Pike

Runechanter’s Pike

Still a card to be scared of when attached to Geist of Saint Traft, Thundermaw Hellkite, or even a flying 1/1 Spirit token from Moorland Haunt in a UWR midrange or flash deck, Runechanter’s Pike has seen better days. Its current value is down from a previous high since UWR decks were dethroned a few weeks into the Return to Ravnica metagame, and now would be a good time to pick it up if you’re thinking of putting together a control deck. I think the pike will see a modest increase in value due to its use in Dimir and Esper decks. Right now, Thought Scour is the most efficient self mill card for control decks, but if you add in Dimir Charm (which lets you chose two to mill and one to put back), you have a more efficient way to boost an attack at the last moment or to keep a card you otherwise would have milled from a Thought Scour. 

Return to Ravnica  Artifacts

Chromatic Lantern

Chromatic Lantern

Return to Ravnica was a very artifact-light deck, but Chromatic Lantern is probably the best one from the set. It’s currently seeing play in both Omnidoor Thragfire and 4 color control decks, and with the release of the final 5 guild colors, you can be sure there will be some players who go all in with 5 colors, and use 4 of these to smooth out their mana. It’s currently sitting at $3 online in most places, so if you can find them cheaper it might not hurt to pick up a play set of 4 (especially if you’re going to play control during Gatecrash).

Next time on Bang for Your Buck

Well . . . the artifacts were kind of boring. The current sets aren’t anything like the Scars of Mirrodin block, that’s for sure. But Wizards of the Coast DID end up printing Hellkite Tyrant for Gatecrash so they must have something planned for artifacts in the future. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s not even worth playing with in this block, but who knows what will happen in Dragon Maze and M14.

Two articles down, 6 more to go. Which one should we do next? I guess starting in order of the colors is the best way to go. If that’s the case, you can expect white before the end of the weekend, along with blue soon after that. From there we’ll take a look at black, red, green, and finally multicolor. On second thought, let’s do multicolor next. There aren’t that many from the Innistrad block which will make it easier to sift through. Be sure to check back in another few days if you’re interested. Thanks again for reading and of course I welcome any and all suggestions.