Welcome, speculators! Magic financiers, PTQ grinders, EDH junkies: you’re here because you want to not spend so much money on this game we all know and love, and are looking to find a place to learn to do just that. This is that place. If you keep up to date on spoilers for upcoming product, you’ll know that [card]Wrath of God[/card] is about to be printed for the fifteenth time, in the From the Vault: Annihilation product scheduled to be released this August. However, the other fourteen are currently a mystery. This week I want to take a look at some of the other candidates for reprint coming this summer based on the description of the product, and need for a reprint. For starters, let’s look at some of the higher priced, powerful spotlights that could be used to sell the product. I don’t think there will be more than one of the following in the product, but WotC has surprised us before.
Potential Chase Cards
They probably could have just named the product: From the Vault: Here’s your stupid Damnation reprint. While the color-shifted Wrath just recently made its ascension to the current absurd price of $45, I still think this is a strong candidate to be the “headliner” of the product. It was only around $28 when the product would have been designed 18 months ago, and it’s a strong casual favorite that does see fringe play in Modern. While I don’t think the card will plummet if it finds a home in Annihilation, it’s safe to say to stray away from buying these at the current $45 price tag, especially if you don’t actually need them to play with.
Is there anything more annihilating than picking up every single card, board, hand, graveyard, exile and all, off of the table (except maybe Karn’s permanents), and shuffling them back into their owners’ decks? I’ll admit this one is a bit of a stretch, but it’s worth considering. Karn is an iconic planeswalker known for his worldshaping deeds, so maybe 18 months ago Wizards predicted that this guy would need a bit of a release valve and decided this was the appropriate slot. Wizards hasn’t exactly succeeded in matching the prices of the cards in these From the Vaults to add up to MSRP, so maybe Annihilation will give us a monster like Karn.
[card]Kozilek, Butcher of Truth[/card]
Well, he has the word “annihilate” printed on the card. In addition, he’s the only one among his siblings to not have an additional printing; [card]Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre[/card] has FTV: Legends, and [card]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/card] has the prerelease promo. If any of the eldrazi get reprinted in an attempt to put more in circulation and sell product, it’ll probably be this one.
Medium Value Candidates
Obviously all 15 cards can’t be valuable staples. For every [card]Maze of Ith[/card] and [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card], that they stick in these boxes, there will be follow ups of [card]Windbrisk Heights[/card] and [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card] that people shove in their EDH decks and cubes. Here are a few cards that fall in between the cracks of “Expensive spotlight card” and “Wizards, why is this even in the box?”
[card]Child of Alara[/card]
When Wizards mentioned in their announcement for FTV: Annihilation that the player would be able to “sweep the battlefield clean” with “superweapons.” this is the type of card that comes to mind. It’s legendary, mythic, and certainly fits the definition of “annihilation.’ I’m pretty sure EDH players love this card, but maybe I’m biased because I have a Child deck myself. Until we learn whether or not this card is included, I recommend staying away from picking them up. It’s a great long-term pickup, but you have time to wait and see the full spoiler before making that decision.
Here’s a real old one that actually hasn’t been on the printers for 14 years. While [card]Fated Retribution[/card] was just printed, Rout is generally seen as the iconic “instant speed Wrath you” from ages ago, and it wouldn’t shock me if they brought it back to exist in foil for the first time. It’s sat at $4 for years now, and the creation of a foil copy would likely have a strong multiplier, similar to how the [card]Swords to Plowshares[/card] from FTV: 20 has a 3x multiplier because foils are hard to come by.
Another Commander all-star, the white cycle of the commands is one of the more versatile wrath effects, customizable to the caster’s need. Maybe I’m overestimating the number of EDH staples that Wizards is going to throw into this Annihilation product, but it’s definitely the format where most of them shine. I can see this getting some sweet new art, even if it has experienced a reprint in the Heavenly Inferno Commander deck in 2011.
[card]Bonfire of the Damned[/card]
Did you know that this card is still $5.00? A large chunk of that is likely due to price memory; similar to how [card]Thragtusk[/card] is chilling at above-bulk prices. I wouldn’t put it past Wizards of the Coast to throw this spell into the set with its new foiling, and bring back the dark memories that those of us who played Standard during that era experienced when playing against it.
Bottom of the Barrel
Unfortunately, there has to be some cards that fill in the bottom end of the value spectrum. We were all let down when [card]Kessig Wolf Run[/card] and [card]Char[/card] were revealed as the “all-stars” of their respective years, and no panties were thrown when [card]Desert[/card] was spoiled for Realms. Every FTV has a few cards that end up rotting in binders for years after the release of the product, but let’s try to guess at what a few of those cards could be, even if there’s little financial value to be had.
[card]Decree of Annihilation[/card]
While Karn at least usually brings a quick and speedy death to the artificial “game two,” this doesn’t carry the same mercy, unless someone has a planeswalker ready to ultimate. That being said, I’m not sure how much Wizards wants to push these super-nukes that drag games on for turn after turn while everyone tries to reassemble the pieces of their broken drea- I mean board states. Maybe they’ll bring it back for simple nostalgia and flavor reasons, just to show the power of some of the older cards to new players. As with Kozilek, the card literally has the word annihilation on it.
There aren’t many Green ways to say, “Blow up all of the life that we enjoy creating,” but maybe this Worldwake mythic will be their way of adding a green thumb to what I expect to be a predominantly red, white, and black group of cards.
If they’re going to put blue cards in the set, I have to imagine it would be something similar to either of these. They both made their mark on history at one point or another, and have to be respected as the color-of-manipulation’s old way of cleaning house of every problem at once. I briefly considered [card]Cyclonic Rift[/card] in this spot, but I don’t think its non-overload cost is impactful enough to be let into the club.
I think the main takeaway point from a financial perspective is that the original prices of the cards that end up being in From the Vault: Annihilation won’t drop too drastically. The FTV sets have always been tagged to have an “extremely limited print run.” Their unique foiling process deters many players from using them in Constructed decks, and those who buy the complete set are often only looking for a couple cards and are willing to move the rest for less.
Even if I’m not shoving methods of how to make money down your throat, there’s always a bit of fun to be had speculating what cards will be in upcoming product, and it might help some people make decisions about what cards to buy before seeing the completed product contents. However, if you feel strongly about any of these being in the product this summer and you’ve been eyeing the cards to jam in EDH/casual/Modern, then it almost certainly won’t hurt to wait and see if you can snag one of these sets for MSRP. Based on the pattern of past FTVs, you won’t be disappointed.
How do you think my predictions will hold up? Are there any obvious inclusions that I completely missed on? Do you think one of my ideas is idiotic and would never see print ever? I’d love to hear your feedback and explanations.