Bang for your Buck: Investing in Cards for Born of the Gods – Black, Dimir, and Orzhov
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.
At the time of my Theros article last time, black was just beginning to show its dominance in competitive Magic. Cards like Nightveil Specter, Pack Rat, and Desecration Demon were just beginning to inch up in price overseas. Luckily Japan was a little slow on the uptake and I was able to get my playsets of each rather cheaply. I made some amazing calls due to being aware of the metagame here and overseas. Look at the cards I suggested last time to see what I mean.
Previous Black, Dimir, and Orzhov suggestions
- Lifebane Zombie – this card saw a lot less play than I thought it would. This is probably due to green decks getting hated out in the Theros metagame after G/r devotion’s initial dominance. It went from $8.50 to $6.50, so I made a bad call (or maybe I was just too early? Green is again looking pretty strong in BNG).
- Shadowborn Demon – I was pretty adamant about investing in this card at $5, and who could blame me? I was excited about Whip of Erebos and possible reanimator strategies, however not many other people were. It’s not at an even better deal, $3.50. A mistake on my part for letting my emotions get the better of me. He’ll probably see some more play come Journey into Nyx.
- Xathrid Necromancer – I commented on there being a lot of humans in the metagame to take advantage of his ability, but the Necromancer didn’t start seeing a lot of play until after Esper and Orzhov humans broke out at GP Shizuoka in December. The card hit a high of about $7-8, but now it’s back to $4.75. I said he was a good buy at $3.50 though, so I was absolutely right!
- Pack Rat – back when I was writing my article, I had just gotten beaten soundly by a rough black aggro deck using Pack Rat and that was what urged me to promote the card when it was $0.50. Yes. 50 CENTS. The card is now at $5.50 and might go higher, so this was a huge win for me. (I’m also glad I bought a playset for $2 back then).
- Underworld Connections – another card that I saw getting big if black got more popular, and I said buy buy buy at $0.75. It’s now at about $2.75, which is lower than what it was a few weeks ago, but it’s still another great call on my part.
- Nightveil Specter – I wasn’t sure how powerful the Specter would end up being, so I said you should trade them away at $4.75 cause I didn’t see them getting much higher. Boy was I wrong. They are holding at $10 now but were even higher when mono blue and mono black were at their peak. My bad. I’m sorry if you traded them away at $5.
- Blood Baron of Vizkopa – I said the card should hold its value between $18-20, and at $17 right now I’d say I was right.
- Merciless Eviction – I thought it would see more play, and it has been put in a lot more sideboards than it ever had back during the Return to Ravnica block, but it still hasn’t changed from $1. I said that it could go up depending on the meta, so I won’t count it not going up against me.
- Obzedat, Ghost Council – Obzedat really hurt me. I thought we’d see a lot more of him, especially with how popular BW decks became at one time, but we never did. I speculated that he could hit $20, but he’s actually down half his former price to $8.25 from $15. Yikes.
I finished at about 50% with black, but if you bought up those cheap cards when I said to, you made out like bandits. My $2 purchase of 4 Pack Rats alone netted me $18 in profit, but on the other hand, Obzedat lost $24 if you bought a play set at $15.
Black won a lot in Theros standard, and it only became more potent with the release of Born of the Gods. I think most of the cards from before will retain their value, but there are still a few cards that I think will go up in value a little bit. Dark Betrayal ($0.25) was in a lot of sideboards for the mirror before, but I think it will go up in price as more players pick up black or black based decks. I think Desecration Demon will hold it’s value around $10 until the next set, but I think Hero’s Downfall will drop in vale from $9 to $7 due to it being released in a new event deck.
I know I was wrong about him last time, but I believe with all these people picking up mono black and even more people picking up GR monsters, I think there will be increased demand for Lifebane Zombie ($6.50). There are going to be a lot more UG, GR, and Selesnya decks in BNG standard, and that means that the Zombie is going to have A LOT more targets than before. Teamed up with Thoughtseize and other removal, they make a combo for shutting down green strategies rather effectively. I think we might see him get close to $9 or $10 before May.
I think mono black is going to become very popular, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Pack Rat inches a little higher in price to $7 or so. Shadowborn Demon ($3.50) is another card I got hurt on last time, but I think you should keep an eye on it nonetheless. Born of the Gods brought us a lot more reanimator/dredge cards that could make a GB or GBW reaniamtor deck feasible, but I think most players will stay away from it until the Golgari scryland is released in the next set. Keep an eye on him though. If reanimator decks suddenly become popular, grab a few copies of him.
Thoughtseize might still seem expensive for most of you at about $16.25 now, but believe me when I say that it’s only going to get more expensive. Black is going to be scary with the amount or removal it has now, and Black/X decks are going to be almost equally as strong since they have access to the same cards. Thoughtseize is going to see play in all of those decks, which means that its value will go up. I expect it to hit at least $20 in BNG standard.
As for other cards such as Underworld Connections, Xatrhid Necromancer, and Whip of Erebos, I don’t really see the cards going up in value since there are alternative options to each in the black decks they are played in. The Necromancer is actually being reprinted in an event deck, so that’s going to go keep the value down until those decks are sold out.
I feel that Dimir finally has some high impact cards that can affect the metagame. The new god, Phenax, is a potent mill creature when you have the devotion for him, and with all the new removal being added to black, I think mill will be a strong alternative to mono black or UW control. Ashiok is only $9.50 right now, but along with UB control, Grixis control, and UB mill, I think we’ll see a lot more of him. I’m speculating that he’ll settle somewhere around $14 in the next month or two.
With the loss of Nightveil Specter ($10), mono blue devotion as a Top Tier deck (it might drop to Tier 2 depending on how much black sees play) could be over. I expect the specter to drop in value a little bit, perhaps around $8, but if black becomes really big or if other black strategies pick it up, it might not change at all. It will all depend on what direction all those mono blue players go in when they choose a new deck in Born of the Gods.
This is another repeat from my last article, but with the addition of so many enchantment creatures (including the new Gods), I really think Merciless Eviction ($1) could see more play. I like being able to choose what to get rid of as it allows my creatures to remain relatively unscathed but it takes their’s when the spell resolves. I could see decks like Esper control or RBW midrange using this card in larger numbers as gods like Xenagos, God of Revels become more popular and their removal becomes overwhelmed. It won’t be a huge increase, but I think it could hit $2 during BNG standard, and perhaps even go higher once we start seeing spoilers for Journey into Nyx in April.
Obzedat, Ghost Council burned me last time as well, so I’m going to be a little more cautious this time. Aside from BW midrange, it’s possible that Obzedat will show up in GBW reanimator and RBW midrange decks now that both of those strategies have more scry lands. I don’t see Obzedat seeing too much more play though, and he won’t be a 4 of in any decks, so if he does get some of his value back, I don’t think he will go higher than $10.
Blood Baron ($17) is a tough call. On one hand, we know that more players will be playing more mono black decks in the coming weeks. We also know that Blood Baron did rather well against these decks before when mono black was big in Theros standard. The problem with recommending him comes with the swing of the metagame. Some weeks he could be really high due to black being huge in the metagame, but other weeks when decks like GR monsters or Red devotion are big, he could drop in value. I think that mono black will be pretty strong in the long run, so you’d be safe buying him at this price if your strategy deals with black and white. I don’t see his value going too much higher though, and if he drops in value, it might only be a dollar or so.
Next time on Bang for Your Buck
It seems like all the really good deals for mono black were to be had during the initial weeks of Theros standard. With Born of the Gods, I think it’s now time for the black deck outside of mono black to shine. I think Rakdos and Dimir decks will see the biggest gains in power, but I also believe that GBW and RBW decks will also be within reach of Tier 2 status. While we didn’t see a lot of worthwhile cards in Dimir or Orzhov today, I think we will see a lot more good deals in my next article that is covering Red, Rakdos, and Gruul. With the new standard metagame just warming up, next week is going to be the perfect time to look at those colors. Thanks for reading and if you disagree or think there are some other cards that should be included in this article, please comment below!
It suddenly occurs to me that these articles seem to primarily focus on Standard which is fine and all, but would it be too much to expand on how some cards will retain value outside of Standard (ex. Thoughtseize)? Just an idea I thought I’d throw out if it is viable.
I’d love to recommend stuff outside of standard, but I’m only just now getting into modern and have never touched legacy and EDH. As I begin to pick up more formats I’ll be able to integrate more suggestions for cards to use in them, but until then my major strength is standard. As my Cardboard Samurai team comes together this year, hopefully I can recruit somebody to put together articles dealing with the other formats. I’ll make a goal to start doing other formats with Journey into Nyx!