Grinder Finance: Khans of Tarkir #2

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We’ve got more spoilers and I’ve got more opinions based on recent market movement.  This will be a quick update based on spoilers from earlier this week.

Cards I’m Preordering


It appears that that Wizards of the Coast is pulling out all the stops in this set.  The reward for playing three-color decks is very high and if these creatures are any indication, we are likely to get a five-card cycle of efficient, powerful, three-color creatures. They are all powerful enough to see play, but if any one of them becomes especially dominant, it is likely to spike in price. I would advocate preordering any of them that start under $3. The flexibility you gain by doing this early will surely be rewarded in the first few months of post-rotation Standard.


The number of power uncommons in this set continues to grow.  I’m not particularly surprised that these three charms are as powerful as Sultai Charm, and I continue to advocate preordering them.  They are likely to become staple cards in the color combinations that see the most play. For $1 or less each, it’s a no-brainer.


This is a lot of card text and power and toughness for a four-mana creature. It’s a little awkward to cast sometimes, but I don’t see a lot of better plays to cast off of a Sylvan Caryatid to brick wall midrange and aggro decks alike. This card is not without it’s downsides.  It’s extremely susceptible to the most powerful color-hosers in Theros (e.g., Glare of Hersey and Dark Betrayal ) and with more three-color decks becoming popular, those hate cards will not just be for mirror matches.  I’d be especially careful of any Mardu and Abzan creatures because of this.  That being said, for $3 or less, this will likely be a good pickup.

adamantnegation2 murderouscut warnameaspirant

These three uncommons are cards I think that also deserve some praise.  Adamant Negation could skyrocket to obscene prices (see Gut Shot and Dismember at the height of their popularity) due to eternal play. This is often a hard counter with a Tarmogoyf in play, and may eventually remove Spell Pierce as the cheap counter of choice. If you play eternal formats, I can’t imagine a reason why you wouldn’t want these (unless I guess you don’t play Islands).

Murderous Cut is another card I can see being eternal-playable.  It’s especially powerful in a format with fetch lands and only costing B to kill a creature in older formats is pretty insane.  It’s not as splashable as Dismember, but I can see it finding a good home in especially graveyard-centric decks like Dredge.

War-Name Aspirant is probably not as good as the other two cards, but it will likely be slotting into the two-drop slot of any red-based aggro deck that pops up. Its ability to run past Elvish Mystics and Sylvan Caryatids early and Elspeth tokens late makes it pretty powerful for an uncommon.

Things I’m Watching


This guy has a lot of really good text for its mana cost.  Yeah, it’s big and bulky, but it’s hard to kill, has flash, and can’t be dealt with easily in the mirror match. Its durability is much lower than Aetherling and it plays worse defense, but its ability to push past counter spells while representing your own is pretty important. It does get brick walled by Elspeth tokens, which is a small tick against it, but at less than $2, I can’t imagine it goes down from here. I think this card will be a real player (considering it was played a bunch in WOTC’s FFL based on the article on Daily MTG).

cleverimpersonator emptythepits rakshasadeathdealer

I’m grouping these cards all together because they seem powerful, but they require the right circumstances to be played. Clever Impersonator is a unique card and has a lot of upside, but at a $15 preorder on most websites, it seems too much for a card that may not be played outside of casual or EDH.

Empty the Pits also has a huge upside (it is an instant, which most people miss), but Bile Blight still exists in standard.  I don’t know how good the best-case scenario is on this card, but if you do successfully cast it, then you will likely not cast any more delve cards, which is a price to consider.

Rakshasa Deathdealer is a small, efficient creature but I can’t see its pump ability allowing it to rumble past many bigger threats. Right now it doesn’t sound too appetizing to trade my third turn and this guy to trade with a Savage Knuckleblade.

Older Cards I’m Liking More


Unless there is a significant change in the rest of the cards revealed, this card slots in perfectly into the Temur mindset.  Its best creatures are 4/4 and bigger, meaning sweeping up all the stray tokens becomes a lot less painful.  Goblin Rabblemaster is also becoming a lot more prevalent and this card is one of the few ways to clean up the tokens without losing card advantage.  Most retail websites have this card for less than $3 and that seems criminally low for a card that sees a lot of Modern play too.

ashen rider hornet queen

Do you know what self-mill leads to?  Graveyard decks.  Do you know what graveyard decks lead to?  Reanimating fatties. These are two of the biggest and best creatures to reanimate these days, and their price tags could definitely see a jump if a graveyard strategy becomes good. That being said, they’re also not totally unreasonable to cast in the slow Abzan grindy deck. They’re fairly powerful flying finishers and I can see them having a lot of room to grow.

worst fears

I might be going a little deep, but wouldn’t this card being $8 be your worst fear? I can see a world where the format slows significantly and this becomes a trump card out of the sideboard.  It saw limited play in sideboards at the last pro tour and I don’t see Khans of Tarkir speeding up the format from there.

Is there anything I didn’t mention that  you think is worth a preorder?

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Jim Casale

@Phrost_     -     Email     -     Articles
Jim is a software developer and an avid blue planeswalker. He spellslings in Jacksonville, Florida, and you can feel free to contact him on Twitter at @phrost_.
Jim Casale


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    • Dano on September 12, 2014 at 11:41 am
    • Reply

    1) How do you feel about Utter End being listed preorder at $5.99? Is it this season’s Vindicate or Hero’s Downfall?

    1. If you think you’re going to play them, then buy them. I’m not sure it’s price will change much but it doesn’t kill stormbreath dragon which is very important

    • Toby on September 14, 2014 at 8:10 am
    • Reply

    I wouldn’t bother trying to pick up any extra, but Temur might give you something to do with those bulk Polis Crushers you have lying around. The fact he is an efficient 4 power creature that ignores Courser of Kruphix could be relevant.

    1. Polis Crusher could be good but the 4 drop slot is so competitive it’s very easy for it to get overlooked

    • Jason on September 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm
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    What are you thougts on Deflecting Palm, Mindswipe, and Jeskai Ascendancy? I am hoping to get a Jeskai Tempo decklist put together soon.

    • Chris on October 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm
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    Holy cow! After getting a play set of Pearl Lake Ancient and being bummed for 3 weeks it has skyrocketing in a weekend. Great call! This is the first set I’ve bought to resell and so far your advice is sound. I’m starting to think a good rule of thumb is to buy any green mana accel and anything blue.

    1. I have a fair number of Pearl Lake Ancients (about 30) and I’m hoping to just offload them to buy lists for $2 each. Icant recommend your take away here. Cards are not good only in a vacuum.

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