Sing the Blues

Welcome to part three of my seven-part series on the financial value of Commander!

This week we are going to take on my personal favorite Commander color: blue.

Unlike white, blue has long since been considered the most powerful color in the history of Magic. All of the non-artifact members of the Power 9 are blue, the most valuable dual lands are blue and nearly every control deck since the beginning of time has run at least a couple of islands.

But history has not always been kind to blue! Between the rotation of Cryptic Command from Standard and the printing of Big Jace, there was a harrowing five or six months where blue was (arguably) not the most powerful color in Magic.

During those dark days, the internet was all a-howl with complaints about it.

“Magic doesn’t feel like Magic anymore!” people said, bemoaning the fact that Wizards was mocking them by re-printing Cancel in the quintillionth straight set. They were so used to blue being the best color that life where blue was merely second or third best was unfathomable. It was like a different game.

Commander might in fact be a different game, but the song remains the same. Blue in Commander is incredibly, eternally potent, and the things it can do are positively unfair.

What can Blue do for you?

I have a confession to make: blue brings out the jerk in me.

Throughout this article, you will find various instances where I will ruminate on the fantasy of ruining my opponent’s fun in order to win a game of Magic in hilarious and backbreaking ways. This is not who I am as a player.

Unless, of course, I am playing blue.

After all, most blue Commander staples are designed to steal your opponent’s best resources for use against them. There are Control Magic variants that two-for-one your opponent by stealing their best creature and making it yours. There are Bribery variants that steal the best cards in your opponent’s deck and make them yours. There are Spelljack variants that interrupt spells as they’re being cast and make them yours. There’s probably a card or two on this list that make your opponent run around the room pretending to be a chicken while you finish their soda, too. Blue loves to be a jerk.

Popular blue generals include:

 

I have built or at least have considered building most of those decks in the past, and most of them are stupidly good.

One thing that this list doesn’t have is a lot of counterspells. While many Commander players opt to run between three and ten of these in their heavy blue decks, I have decided to eschew them almost entirely here in favor of cards that are both proactive and reactive. We’ll be discussing permission-based bodies like Glen Elendra Archmage and Draining Whelk instead of straight-up spells like Dismiss or Pact of Negation.

While you may have luck building a draw-go engine into your Commander deck, I find that these types of brews generate an awful lot of enemies rather quickly while not providing a good defense against multiple opponents. They also aren’t terribly fun to play with or against.

The value of most straight counters are driven more by the eternal formats than Commander anyway, so examining them in the financial context of this format isn’t very helpful.

I also don’t have a lot of cards on here that enable 2-card instant win combos. While it’s easy enough to put Curiosity on Niv-Mizzet so that everyone can go home, that game isn’t going to be very much fun. Most guardians of the format urge combo builders to make sure that their combinations all require a ton of different pieces. After all, if you get Aluren/Man-O-War/Cloudstone Curio/Tidespout Tyrant going, you probably deserve it.

Other than that, this article has some great cards with which to destroy and humiliate your opponents. After all, you’re not true blue until you’ve made a mono-green mage cry.

Card-By-Card Analysis

For those who didn’t read my first article, let me start by explaining my methodology.

During this guide, I will be evaluating each card on a scale from one to ten based on three distinct categories:

Trade Appeal: How desirable is the card? Often there will be great cards with very low trade appeal because few people know about them yet. Cards with very high trade appeal are extremely sought-after Commander staples that I can’t keep in my binder to save my life.

Please note that this score is based solely on my own experience. Since the format is relatively new and very diverse, your experiences may vary completely as different cards will have ‘caught on’ in your area. This is also another reason to trade as much as possible in new areas!

Undervalued: Do I think the card will go up in value? I am not talking about the immediate future, but rather the long term future of the format. Undervalued cards are usually easy to trade higher than their book value and are cards that I will trade for at book value without missing a beat.

Likelihood of Reprint: Do I think this card will be reprinted? Since Wizards is making Commander precons next year, it stands to reason that many of the best Commander cards will be reprinted in them. While the print runs should be low enough to prevent the value of a card from tanking too hard, it will nonetheless hurt the trade appeal of the card. Often, cards with a high reprint number have already been reprinted in multiple sets or duel decks.

Of all the categories I weigh, this is the one that is the least scientific. Luckily, it is also the least important. I have no idea what is actually going to be reprinted, so this is mostly just my own educated guess.

It is good to know, however, which cards are on the reserve list. While Wizards will sometimes make a nearly functional reprint of a card on the list, (see: Fork and Reverberate) the more unique reserve-list cards are generally the safest possible investments you can make.

Important note: Many of the staples of Commander have their values tied much more closely to their playability in other formats. Force of Will, for example, is a totally sweet Commander card. But since it is also an essential Legacy staple, I won’t be bringing it up here.

I may bring up some cards that have uses in other formats, but in those cases I will be keeping my review aimed solely at their future in Commander. These will usually be cards that are low enough in value that I think Commander playability will affect their price. (Example: Sower of Temptation.)

I also will not be listing recent commons and uncommons that still trade at bulk prices. While it’s true that Aether Adept is great in a mono-blue Commander deck, I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting one out of a bulk box.

All prices are from ChannelFireball when possible. If ChannelFireball doesn’t have a price listed, I will be using prices from other large and well known singles sites.

Acquire Acquire – Fifth Dawn – $0.50 ($5.00 Foil)

The exploits of casting Bribery for your opponent’s Emrakul or Kozilek are easy to chronicle, but Acquire is just as powerful without being quite as splashy.

The worst case here is that you’re getting someone’s Sol Ring, making this card a rare piece of blue mana acceleration. The upside, however, is far greater.

Seriously – every Commander deck has powerful artifacts! Acquire can go get Darksteel Colossus, Gilded Lotus, Sensei’s Divining Top, Sword of Fire and Ice, Memnarch, or any one of a hundred more powerful, resilient, flexible machines.

This card is the steal of the century right now. There is no way it should only be worth fifty cents. Pick these up at retail whenever you can, because they will most likely be going up in value as the format matures.

I also doubt Wizards will reprint this card since they’ve said multiple times that players find Bribery effects unfun – something about how it dying to your own stuff that you didn’t even get to play kind of sucks. Pshht. There’s no way a cool guy like Teferi would hang out with that bunch of nerds.

Trade Appeal: 5
Undervalued: 10
Likelihood of Reprint: 4

Blatant Thievery Blatant Thievery – Onslaught – $1.00 ($6.00 Foil)

Want to play a nifty little sub-game? Cast this spell at a 6+ player table and see how long you get to stay alive.

Of course, the reason that your opponents are going to come after you with such fiery rage is that you have just stolen everyone’s best card. My favorite move with this is stealing as many Reliquary Towers as possible, which usually means that half the table has to discard from eighteen cards back to seven.

Hilarious and powerful, Blatant Thievery lives up to its name and then some. Play it all you want, but remember that blatant thieves are usually caught and convicted pretty quickly.

This seems like the kind of card Wizards will bring back in the Commander pre-cons, but until then it will remain an obscure, easily-tradable gem of the format.

Trade Appeal: 7
Undervalued: 6
Likelihood of Reprint: 8

Body Double Body Double – Planar Chaos – $1.00 ($5.00 Foil)

My favorite use for this card is in a deck like Wrexial of the Risen Deep, because the combination of black removal and blue mill should give you a pretty absurd monster to copy pretty quickly. Regardless of whether or not your deck is doling out the pain, though, someone will be. There is a lot of creature kill in Commander.

That’s when your Body Double steps in.

Maybe this isn’t an undervalued card, but it’s solid value at a buck. It should continue to trade reasonably well, though I do think it will be re-printed in the Commander pre-cons. This is the kind of ‘fair’ blue card that Wizards seems to like.

Trade Appeal: 6
Undervalued: 5
Likelihood of Reprint: 7

Bribery Bribery – Mercadian Masques – $7.00 ($15.00 Foil)

Raise your hand if you knew this card was soaring past $7 these days. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

It’s true. Good old Bribery has always been one of the most powerful casual cards to never see tournament play, and now its price is slowly inflating it toward Doubling Season levels of casual value.

And with good reason, too.

Bribery is the first card added to most blue Commander builds because it is simply a good card against every deck you’ll play against. I don’t think there’s a creature-free Commander deck out there, and even brews without fatties will have a sweet utility creature or two to tutor up.

This is the second most desirable Commander card on this list, and you should always trade for them at $7 or under. Finding a trading partner for your Briberies will not be a problem.

Worst case you can just bribe someone to take it off your hands, right?

Trade Appeal: 10
Undervalued: 6
Likelihood of Reprint: 2

Commandeer
Commandeer – Coldsnap – $1.00 ($10.00 Foil)

A cute callback to Force of Will, Commandeer is kind of like a more expensive turbo-powered Commander version of the iconic blue spell.

Of course, instead of stopping someone’s combo on turn one, Commandeer is more often found stealing a late game spell at a backbreaking moment. While discarding two blue cards to it is a very steep price, hard-casting it isn’t out of the question in a big-mana format.

At a buck, Commandeer is really undervalued right now. While it may not exactly be Commander’s Force of Will, it is still a superlative card and one of the most powerful in the format. After all, it stops your opponent’s best spell and gives the effect to you.

Plus, it sounds almost like the name of the only format it’s good in! What more do you want in a Magic card?

Trade Appeal: 8
Undervalued: 8
Likelihood of Reprint: 5

Desertion
Desertion – Visions – $3.00 (No Foil Available)

While I’m usually not the biggest fan of counterspells in Commander, Desertion is different.

For five mana you get the versatility of a hard counter mixed with the power and tempo of an instant-speed Confiscate. Opposing spell about to win the game? Counter it with impunity. Opposing creature or artifact about to dominate the game? Counter it and then put it into play under your control. Yowza.

I can’t really say the card is undervalued at $3, and that’s about where I would expect a lot of these other blue Commander staples to end up once the format takes off. But at $3, you’ll have no problem finding a buyer. This is a really popular card, and it’s disappearing from binders and collections quickly because it’s old and goes into nearly every blue deck out there. Pick these up when you see ‘em.

Trade Appeal: 9
Undervalued: 3
Likelihood of Reprint: 3

Draining Whelk
Draining Whelk – Time Spiral – $0.50 ($5.00 Foil)

Sometimes your need to counter a spell and you don’t have Desertion in your hand. That’s when you slam down this sweet Counterspell Squid.

(NB: Yes, I know. He’s a snail, not a squid. Whatever. I’ve been calling this guy Counterspell Squid for years and I’m not gonna stop now.)

Blue players usually want to keep their mana open during their opponent’s turn, and Commander is no exception to that rule. That makes flash-dragons like Counterspell Squid more powerful than average even before you factor in the fact that he eats opposing plays for breakfast.

At fifty cents, this guy is a lifetime member of the “pick up from bulk bins and binders, trade for a dollar” club. Keep some in stock – this little squid ain’t going out of style anytime soon.

Trade Appeal: 5
Undervalued: 7
Likelihood of Reprint: 6

Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction – Invasion – $3.00 ($6.00 FNM Foil)

A classic of the genre, FoF is not only one of the best card draw spells of all time but one of the most fun.

Often I will choose the worst player at the table (or at least the one least familiar with Fact) and watch everyone else squirm as this poor chump breaks into a cold sweat trying to make sure I don’t end up with the card I want. Other times, I’ll choose the best player at the table just to plant a seed of doubt in their head.

Of course, the best time to play this card is when you’re obviously behind and someone else is beating the whole table down. Just choose another downtrodden player and ask for a 5/0 split!

Fact of Fiction’s $3 price tag is still fairly high due to its pedigree as a power uncommon and one of the defining cards of Invasion block. It’s not undervalued, but it should trade well enough at $3 to be worth picking up a few copies when you can.

Trade Appeal: 6
Undervalued: 3
Likelihood of Reprint: 4

Future Sight
Future Sight – Onslaught – – $1.50 ($10.00 Foil)

This is the best card on the whole list, because when you play it, you instantly gain access to an entire expansion worth of cards! It’s a 180-for-1!

Oh, uh, it doesn’t work like that? Well, it’s still a pretty good deal.

Even though blue players can draw a lot of cards, often times you can still find yourself with a pile of mana and nothing to spend it on. Since Future Sight lets you play off your library, you have access to a near-infinite number of cards at once!

Pair this card with green for best results. Having an Oracle of Mul Daya in play at the same time lets you draw through land pockets twice as fast. Blue/green decks also tend to have more permanents than instants, making this card stand out even more.

Just remember that Oracle by herself doesn’t allow you to cast spells off your library without a Future Sight around – she only does lands. I’ve lost games to this before.

At a buck fifty, Future Sight is fairly undervalued. Onslaught was a large set, and it was printed quite a while ago. I expect this to be a $3 card if the format continues to develop like it has.

Plus, there’s a Tarmogoyf in there somewhere.

Trade Appeal: 6
Undervalued: 7
Likelihood of Reprint: 5

Gilded Drake
Gilded Drake – Urza’s Saga – $5.50 (No Foil Available)

The downside of Gilded Drake is that you are effectively giving your opponent a 3/3 flyer for free as you take their creature.

This is not a downside. If a 3/3 flyer is a problem for you, you aren’t playing good enough cards.

The upside of Gilded Drake is that he is a Control Magic for two mana that you can tutor up with Tooth and Nail, Momir Vig, or any other cards that only search up tutors. Oh – and then you can bounce him with impunity and steal another creature.

That’s some sweet, sweet upside!

It’s hard to call a $5.50 casual card ‘undervalued,’ and the truth is you won’t get a lot of takers for him at this price. He used to be a $2-$3 card, and most people still view him and being that low. His affect is so uniquely powerful, though, that there really isn’t another card that can give you what the Drake can. Even Sower of Temptation pales in comparison.

Considering Gilded Drake is on the Reserve List, I expect it to be a rock solid investment at $5.50. I just don’t know when this card’s market will catch up to its reality.

Trade Appeal: 9
Undervalued: 4
Likelihood of Reprint: 0 (On Reserve List)

Keiga, the Tide Star
Keiga, the Tide Star – Champions of Kamigawa – $3.50 ($12.00 Foil)

Talk about a deterrent from attacking!

My favorite part about Keiga is that she provides you with two reasons not to be attacked. The first is that Keiga will probably at least trade with whatever dude your opponent is trying to fight you with. The second is that if you kill my Keiga, I will take one of your creatures in spite. The only way to win against Keiga is to goad someone else into taking her down.

Or you can just cast Wrath against her. But that’s what Body Double is for, right?

$3.50 is a lot for a dragon that may not ever see constructed play again, but dragon collectors and commandos (is that the right noun for “someone who plays Commander?” Have we decided this yet?) have both contributed to driving up the price. It isn’t undervalued at $3.50, but it should trade at $3.50 all day long.

Trade Appeal: 7
Undervalued: 4
Likelihood of Reprint: 3

Magus of the Future
Magus of the Future – Future Sight – $0.50 ($6.00 Foil)

So when they printed Future Sight, they decided to make a wizard in it who gives you Future Sight. He’s not as good as real Future Sight, but since he was printed in Future Sight he’s cheaper and easier to find.

If you have future sight, you will know Magus of the Future’s future better than I do. What I do know is that Future Sight is a popular ability and Future Sight was a small set. This leads me to believe that there is a bright future for Magus of the Future.

Trade Appeal: 5
Undervalued: 8
Likelihood of Reprint: 4

Mind over Matter Mind over Matter – Exodus – $5.00 (No Foil Available)

Right before this summer’s Gen Con, Mind over Matter was a hot speculation target due to the instant win combo it provides with M11’s Temple Bell.

Turns out you need to be a bit quicker to win a game of Legacy.

At any rate, Mind over Matter’s price is still slightly elevated due to the effects of that speculation. This card used to be $2-$3, and I suspect that it will slowly fall back to that rate unless something else comes along and threatens to break it.

In Commander, Mind over Matter can combo with any number of cards to create degenerate fun. The classic is sticking Curiosity on a pinger. Interestingly enough, this interaction probably won’t end a multiplayer game of Commander since your deck will likely run out before you can kill enough people!

Trade Appeal: 4
Undervalued: 3
Likelihood of Reprint: 0 (On Reserve List)

Palinchron
Palinchron – Urza’s Legacy – $2.50 ($15.00 Foil)

You can’t spell ‘Palinchron’ without ‘combo.’

Well, uh, technically you can. But any opponent worth his or her salt knows that when this bird…fish…beast…thing comes down, the game is about to get unfair. Combine it with High Tide or even just a couple Ravnica bounce lands to get nutty in a hurry. My favorite interaction was with Tolarian Academy, but, there’s a good reason they don’t let me do that anymore.

Even if you don’t have anything to combo with this guy, his ability allows you to make a play and still keep mana up for instants and abilities during everyone else’s turn. That alone should make this guy appealing enough for you.

The only reason Palinchron isn’t in more decks is because he’s getting hard to find. Casual players by and large don’t have him in their collections, and long-term tournament folks haven’t carried this guy around for years. If you find one, see if you can pick it up for a buck or two. You might have to up-sell it to someone looking for deck ideas, but they’ll get the idea pretty quickly once you show them the card.

Trade Appeal: 4
Undervalued: 4
Likelihood of Reprint: 0 (On Reserve List)

Rhystic Study
Rhystic Study – Prophecy – $0.80 ($10.00 Foil)

Great ghost of Barbados, this card is unfair.

There are two cards that make me auto-keep pretty much any Commander hand: Sol Ring and Rhystic Study. With the ring, I know I’m going to be two turns ahead of everyone else. With the study, I know that I’ll never have problems finding awesome things to play.

There are two types of reactions that opponents will have to Rhystic Study. Half of them will keep playing spells like normal and let you draw as many cards as you want. The other half will keep playing spells like normal, but will act like you stabbed them in the heart each time you draw a card. Notice what both groups have in common: you get to keep drawing cards.

Rhystic Study trades briskly at a $1-$1.50 right now, and I suspect the price will only go up. Prophecy was a set that didn’t sell well, and it was printed a long time ago.

A strong buy at the $0.80 it retails for.

Trade Appeal: 9
Undervalued: 8
Likelihood of Reprint: 3

Rite of Replication
Rite of Replication – Zendikar – $0.80 ($4.00 Foil)

I bring up Rite because you have a slim 2-year window where you should be able to pick these up from Standard players for between $0.25 and $0.50 each. Take this deal, because Rite is the most powerful Clone variant yet printed.

Even Quicksilver Gargantuan, a mythic, doesn’t clone as well as this Zendikar rare does. I recommend kicking it on a Precursor Golem and then offering the victory to anyone who can actually tell you how many Golems you get.

This card should trade for between $1 and $2 easily once Zendikar is old news.

Trade Appeal: 5
Undervalued: 6
Likelihood of Reprint: 6

Sakashima the Impostor Sakashima the Impostor – Saviors of Kamigawa – $2.00 ($10.00 Foil)

One of the biggest problems with Clone is that sometimes he just sits around in your hand without anything juicy to copy. Not so with Sakashima. He can come down right away and beat for 3 while waiting for someone to mimic.

My biggest beef with Sakashima, of course, is that he’s not a very good impostor. For one, his name doesn’t change – he’s ‘Sakashima the Impostor’ no matter what, which probably makes impostoring a bit difficult, especially at cocktail parties or any event with a nametag. And since he doesn’t morph, you can’t flip him over and shout, “It’s an impostor!” at whatever opportune moment you choose.

Of course, that doesn’t make him bad as a Magic card. The fact that he’s from Saviors of Kamigawa helps his value, because most players see that reito lantern expansion symbol and automatically believe him to be a ten cent bulk rare. His Saviors-ness helps you in combat, too, because he basically has infect – no one wants their guy to die to some stupid Saviors dork.

So, uh, yeah. Get yourself some Sakashimas. He might be the worst impostor in Magic, but he’s also the only impostor in Magic. (Unless you count the guy on ‘Name Dropping’.)

Trade Appeal: 5
Undervalued: 4
Likelihood of Reprint: 3

Sower of Temptation
Sower of Temptation – Lorwyn – $5.00 ($16.00 Foil)

I want all of you to take out your calendars and pick a date between, oh, late May and early September. Then write ‘trade for some Sower of Temptations’ underneath that date.

While this guy is still being fiddled around with in Extended, you probably won’t get him for less than his $5 retail price anywhere. After he rotates, however, you’ll have a second chance at getting the best casual rares from Lorwyn block at a better than average price.

The secret of this card is that he is worth $5 on casual value alone. He’s that good. While most Lorwyn block cards will fall due to their final relegation to Legacy, this little faerie should keep his price for years to come.

Trade Appeal: 8
Undervalued: 2
Likelihood of Reprint: 4

Spin into Myth
Spin into Myth – Future Sight – $0.10 ($1.00 Foil)

At a whopping ten cents, this card probably didn’t make ‘the leap’ from the stack of crap in the back of your closet to your binder yet.

But you know what’s good in Commander? Getting rid of your opponent’s general pretty much for good. This card does it at instant speed and then gives you a candy.

Want to make some easy trade money? Buy a couple copies of this for a dime and then trade them away at $1 each over the coming months. You’re safe for a while, too -Wizards probably won’t put it in their pre-cons since they don’t like to encourage players from bottoming their opponents’ generals.

Trade Appeal: 4
Undervalued: 7
Likelihood of Reprint: 3

Sunder
Sunder – Urza’s Saga – $0.80 (No Foil Available)

If you’re not dipping into white for Armageddon or red for something like Boom//Bust, I recommend Sunder as a way to put a match out of reach once you control the board. Heck, even early in the game you can use this card to your advantage if you have a Reliquary Tower in play. You transmuted your Tolaria West for it, right?

Not a lot of people use this sweet bit of tech, so you can usually find it for under a buck. Pick these up when possible – it’s very potent in the right deck, and I see its usage and appeal going up.

Trade Appeal: 3
Undervalued: 6
Likelihood of Reprint: 3

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir – Time Spiral – $3.00 ($11.00 Foil)

As a truly horrible person, I love this card more than possibly any other on this list. (My personal favorite blue card, Ovinomancer, is not quite a Commander staple.) Not only does it make all of your creatures sneaky, it prevents your opponents from doing anything too surprising.

Most of my favorite Momir Vig games involve some combination of Teferi and Seedborn Muse, which usually make it so that I get to play 500% more Magic than anyone else on the table. Add in an Azami to really spice up your day!

Teferi trades well at $3, though that price is pretty universally accepted – you’re not going to get him for much less, and you’re not going to be able to get much more. He’s worth picking up as the final piece to a bigger trade, though, because demand for him is high enough to ensure he won’t be stuck in your book for long.

Trade Appeal: 7
Undervalued: 5
Likelihood of Reprint: 4

Time Stretch
Time Stretch – Odyssey – $1.00 ($6.00 Foil)

This card has won more games for me any other in Commander.

Ten mana is a lot, but you can get there quickly enough most of the time, and gaining two extra turns is absurd. I honestly feel like I’m at the point now where I need to write “I will not play Time Stretch in all my decks” on the blackboard a la Bart Simpson until the message gets through my skull.

So let me beg you: Don’t use this card.

Don’t use it with a Lightning Greavesed up Lorthos to lock out your opponents forever. Don’t use it with Eldrazi to annihilate all your opponents lands before they can untap. Don’t use it with Capsize to bounce all their permanents turn after turn. Don’t use it with any number of falters, flyers, beaters, or Millstones in order to kill your opponent out of nowhere.

Don’t trade for these at $1, knowing that others will give you at least that much in order to put it in their own degenerate decks. Don’t assume that Wizards will re-print this card, because they know that taking three turns in a row is fun for only one of you.

Just say no.

Trade Appeal: 7
Undervalued: 7
Likelihood of Reprint: 3

Thada Adel, Inquisitor
Thada Adel, Inquisitor – Worldwake – $0.50 ($3.00 Foil)

Thada is a relatively new card, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to pick her up as bulk from many standard players looking to trade in their draft chaff for the hottest tournament staples. This is good for you.

Thada is an excellent way to gain an edge on the table’s other blue player, as you’ll have an unblockable creature slowly pecking away at them while collecting all their Sensei’s Divining Tops and Sol Rings. And while you’re going to make one person at the table pretty angry at you, chances are everyone else will find it pretty funny – especially if you draw googly eyes on your Thada. It makes her appear less threatening.

Trade Appeal: 4
Undervalued: 7
Likelihood of Reprint: 5

Tidespout Tyrant
Tidespout Tyrant – Dissension – $1.50 ($8.00 Foil)

Spout at me in the comments all you want, but I think that Tidespout Tyrant is easily a top-10 card for blue Commander players.

In the mid-game, the tyrant is great at helping disarm many of the biggest threats on the board. It’s so good at working to achieve parity that people might not notice how threatening your own board is getting until it’s too late. In the late game, the Tyrant is an absolute force – bounce is often as good as removal when all the relevant creatures cost 6-8 mana to play.

In my area at least, this guy hasn’t really caught on yet as a staple. His $1.50 price tag tells me that others have figure out the power of this guy, though, so you should be aware of him going forward. More often than not, you can find people who will value this blue monster at $0.50 or less. While it may take you a little while to find a buyer at the full $1.50, it’s still worth picking these up.

Trade Appeal: 3
Undervalued: 4
Likelihood of Reprint: 3

Treachery
Treachery – Urza’s Destiny – $6.00 ($20.00 Foil)

Man is this card ever a beating.

Treachery is unfair. It feels like stealing (well, it is) and the fact that there’s no tempo loss afterward is just hilarious.

My only quibble is that Treachery doesn’t draw you a card as well. I mean, for 5 mana, don’t you really want it to steal the best creature in play, untap all your lands, and then replace itself?

$6 is a fair price point for a card that is pretty much casual-only, but trust me when I tell you that you will never have a problem trading this to anyone. Due to its age, there’s a reasonable chance it will make a slow and steady march toward $10. It’s probably the most desirable card on this list – even more popular than Bribery.

Bribery and Treachery…yeah, blue is a color that likes to play nice with others.

Trade Appeal: 10
Undervalued: 6
Likelihood of Reprint: 0 (On Reserve List)

Venser, Shaper Savant Venser, Shaper Savant – Planar Chaos – $4.00 ($15.00 Foil)

Once you’re done sojourning with Venser, I recommend going back in time and playing with famous original Venser for a while. He’s arguably more powerful than his current walker-y self.

Of course, this version of Venser doesn’t look like David Tennant, so he loses some points for that. I still like him a lot, though. He’s like a super-Remand attached to a ninja, and if you’ve got a Tidespout Tyrant in play or a couple bounce spells in your hand, he can basically kick the stack to the curb whenever he needs to.

Four bucks is a lot for a guy who is pretty much too slow for Legacy and has just rotated from Extended, though. He’ll trade easily enough if you can get him, but I wouldn’t pay $4 in trade for him unless and hope to make a profit.

Trade Appeal: 7
Undervalued: 3
Likelihood of Reprint: 2

Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Vesuvan Shapeshifter – Time Spiral – $0.80 ($3.50 Foil)

I haven’t seen much of this guy since back when he used to pickle me once in a while, but that doesn’t make him any less good. This shapeshifter was Time Spiral’s way of paying homage to the venerable Vesuvan Doppelganger, so I have a warm place in my heart for it.

For maximum fun, copy Keiga with it and watch what happens to your opponents’ two best creatures. You won’t believe your eyes!

Most people won’t see this coming (or they’ll think it’s Willbender!) so he can act as a removal spell in a pinch.

At just eighty cents, this card has room to grow. It is at the age where cards start being hard to find, so pick some up now. You should be able to trade it easily at $1-$2.

Trade Appeal: 6
Undervalued: 6
Likelihood of Reprint: 4

Pick of the Week 1/17: Jhoira of the Ghitu and Stonehewer Giant Avatars, Magic Online
If you haven’t heard about the latest casual format on Magic Online yet, you’re missing out!

The format, called MoJhoSto by its followers, is like Momir Basic on crack. Lead by Magical luminaries like Brad Nelson, Evan Erwin and Thea Steele, interest in the format has been steadily picking up over the past few weeks.

What’s amazing about Momir basic and MoJhoSto is that they are incredibly cheap to play. All you need are the required avatars and 60 basic lands. That’s it. You never need to buy a chase rare in your life to play them.

These formats also represent a Magic experience that is pretty much impossible (or at least really hard) to recreate in paper magic, so it’s worth it to launch the client and buy the avatars for Momir Basic and MoJhoSto alone.

Even as someone who doesn’t do a lot of speculation on Magic Online, it’s hard for me to imagine that the three avatars required for this format won’t slowly gain in value over time.

While you can get the Momir avatar in a Momir Basic pre-constructed deck from Wizards, the Jhoira and Stonehewer Giant avatars were only available to players who were active when those sets were released. Their values as I write this are just fractions of a ticket each – I bought mine from a ‘bot last week together for less than $0.25.

I doubt that they’ll stay that cheap for long.

I recommend that everyone with a Magic Online account pick up at least one of each avatar right now. It’s worth it to mess around with a sweet new casual format, and if you don’t like it I would wager that the avatars needed won’t be getting any cheaper.
Until next week,

Chas R. Andres (@chasandres on Twitter).