Bang for your Buck: Investing in Cards for Born of the Gods – Blue, Simic, and Izzet
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.
Today we’ll be covering blue and its friends Izzet (UR) and Simic (UG). Blue has been through a lot these last few sets. After we lost Snapcaster Mage to rotation, it took a while for control to find its footing again and to become a dominant deck (I’m looking at you Esper control). Jace, Architect of Thought had dipped to as low as $10 in some places from it’s intial high of $40 when RTR came out, but since then he has regained some of that value in no small part to control decks, as well as blue devotion. So how will blue fair now with cards like Drown in Sorrow and Bile Blight in mono black control and GR’s addition of Xenagos, God of Revels? Well, let’s take a look first at how the cards I suggested last time faired.
Previous Blue, Simic, and Izzet suggestions
- Quicken – I said pick it up at $1 cause I thought it would see more play as a cantrip in tempo decks, but decks like UR tempo didn’t really take off. It’s still at about that price, so I can’t say it was a good or bad suggestion.
- Tidebinder Mage – I said to pick them up at $1 because I thought they’d see more play in Theros standard, and boy did they. They hit as high as $6 in some places, but now it’s back down to $2.75. It was a good call on my part though.
- Cyclonic Rift – I thought it would hold its value at $2.25, but it saw a lot more play thanks to decks like UG devotion and is now at $5.25. I never saw it jumping that high. I can’t really call this a win, but I definitely wasn’t wrong in saying it would hold its value either.
- Jace, Architect of Thought – I said he’d probably come down in price from $28 to about $22 or so after people moved away from control decks and tried other ones, and I was right. He is at $20 right now, and that’s mostly because of the Jace Vs. Vraska boxed set coming out. Still glad I sold my friend’s copies for him at $28 when I had the chance.
- Aetherling – I thought it would see more play as a finisher of choice for control decks, but many people have moved away from him thanks to decks like Huey Jensen’s UW control which uses absolutely NO creatures. It went from $4.50 to $3, so it’s a miss on my part.
- Nivmagus Elemental – Again, I thought UR tempo was going to get big but it didn’t. This would have been a great card in a UR Pyromancer burn/tempo deck but it didn’t see play outside of FNMs. With the new Satyr Firedancer card in BNG, we shouldn’t count him out just yet. However, he didn’t go up like I thought so this suggestion was a miss.
- Ral Zarek – I stand by my opinion that he’s still undervalued. His price didn’t change, but I said in my previous article that he should start moving by the END of Theros standard. As people start to brew with Inspire, he could see some movement. I wouldn’t say I’m wrong yet.
- Master Biomancer – I said he should hold it value at around $5.25 and he did. Still a strong card, just hasn’t found a deck yet.
- Prime Speaker Zegana – I picked up about 8 of these at $2 a piece in Nagoya after the last set came out. I KNEW she was incredibly undervalued, and now I feel validated. She’s already back up to $4 from her low of $2.70, and with UG looking to be a great choice for BNG standard, I think there is still room for her to go up more.
I faired a little bit better with blue’s colors. I got about 65% of my choices correct, and you could have made some decent money if you had bought some of these cards (or sold them) at their previous prices. Well, I’m sure you’re just dying to see what cards will do well in Born of the Gods standard, so lets take a look, shall we?
You know, I was thinking that Curse of the Swine was a bad card, because who would want to give an opponent a bunch of 2/2 creatures to attack with? But then I saw the synergy between Drown in Sorrow and Bile Blight, and realized that JUST maybe, it could become a combo in a UB deck in the future since it doesn’t have access to a sweeper like Supreme Verdict. I don’t think Curse ($.50) will see any movement, but I just wanted to point this out. Jace, Architect of Thought ($19.50) should dip a little more as his duel deck comes out, but once UWR and Bant control start seeing play, I think Jace will regain his value again. Wait for his price to dip to buy him, then get it before he goes up in price again to his current levels.
Due to the fear of blue taking a big hit in Born of Gods, Master of the Waves has dropped to about $9.50. While he may be down, he won’t be out. I think the Master will find his way into a few new decks during Born of the Gods. Bant elementals is a distinct possibility, using cards like Voice of Resurgence, Niv Magus Elemental, Master Biomancer and a few other key cards to make formidable aggro deck. UB Ashiok control, which saw some play in Theros standard is another deck that played Master of Waves as a finisher along with Jace and Nightveil Specter for devotion. If you can, trade for him at this price, or pick up a few for cash. I think he could see a slight increase to $13 if he finds a place in some different decks aside from Mono blue devotion.
While I was wrong about Aetherling last time, I think picking him up at $3 (if you already haven’t) is a good idea. Grixis, Bant, and UWR control will be making waves in the first few weeks of BNG standard, and people will be testing out which finishers are the most effective. Aetherling should see a slight increase in play, which means he should regain some of his lost value from before. I wouldn’t count on him going above $5 though. Mono Green and GR are looking to become powerful decks in this new metagame, so consider picking up Tidebinder Mages at $2.75 to deal with those threats. He could see a slight increase if he finds a spot outside of mono blue.
As far as uncommons are concerned, Dissolve ($.75) will probably see a lot more play in the new control decks, so I could see it hitting $1.50 in the next few weeks. It might be work picking up a playset now if you haven’t already.
I think Zegana is still fairly priced at $4. She’s already gone up about $1.50 from her low during Theros standard, but now that the GW land is out, I could see her seeing more play in Bant midrage decks as a 2 of. I also think that GU will be getting more popular in the next few weeks, so look for Zegana to go up a little more. I don’t see her going above $6, but you could probably save some money by buying her at her current price. She also sees some play in EDH, and as that format gains more popularity, this could also put pressure on the price. Aside from Zegana, I don’t see any other simic cards really moving in value.
Izzet still doesn’t have their scry land or god, however now that the UW and BR scry land are out, I think we could see some more Grixis and UWR control decks. While I don’t think Nivmagus will see any more play, we could see some more Izzet Charms and Spellheart Chimeras.
I know that Ral Zarek ($9.75) probably won’t be seeing a lot of play (even with 2 more control decks in his colors), but I think he’ll hold his value until the next set. I wanted to point out that this guy has great synergy with the Inspire mechanic. His +1 activates that special ability, which would work great with a card like Pain Seer or Felhide Spiritbinder. There are other cards like Satyr Nyx-Smith and Arbiter of the Ideal that also might be good to test with, but the Inspired mechanic is largely untested at this point. If the mechanic takes off, or if there are some better Inspire cards in Journey into Nyx, Ral Zarek could really take off. He might not be worth investing in right away, but keep him in mind come April when the next set’s spoilers start.
Next time on Bang for your Buck
The offerings from blue are kind of slim this time around, but that just means it has a lot of untapped potential. There are lots of good deals out there right now, so if you feel like brewing with blue, go for it. Next time I’ll be covering one of the colors that saw a lot of activity over the past few months: black. I will also be talking about Dimir and Orzhov for anybody wondering about decks like WB midrange. Look for the next article sometime by the end of the weekend. If you have any comments or suggestions about this article, you know where to put them. Thanks for reading.
Ral Zarek has been so under my radar that I’ve forgotten how good his first ability is with inspired. Now I really want to brew a UR deck of some kind…
I’ve already started. So far I’m thinking 4 Hidden Strings, 4 Ral Zarek, 4 Satyr Nyx-Smith, 4 Felhide Spiritbinder, and 2 Arbiter of the Ideal. I don’t think it will be a good control deck, but it could be a good tempo deck. If you come up with any deck lists, let me know.
I feel most cards are overpriced at pre release time so I am not so keen to call Jace a big win. With that in mind master biomancer holding his price was a pretty good call.
I think your Aetherling call will work out long term because I have seen it in cube lists and it’s probably in some EDH lists. The problem is it is never a 4 of in those formats or standard.
If someone bought a personal play set I think they would be content but if they bought more than that they are probably disappointed.
Dragons Maze really struggled as a set value wise. So did Cold Snap though and now it is one of the sets that has retained the most value.
It will be interesting to see how we think of it in 5 years time.