There is a honeymoon phase with every new set. Brewers enjoy scouring the set for constructed playables, Limited mages have to actually think about combat tricks, LSV makes some puns, and financial speculators begin to identify potential good investments. Of course, after a couple weeks, the rose colored glasses come off and we realize that most cards aren’t constructed playable, Limited combat tricks are now easily telegraphed, and LSV focuses his puns on Cube videos. The good news, for speculators at least, is that the insane pre-order prices begin to come down and the “is this a good spec?” game really starts up in full swing.

After going through the completed spoilers, looking over the Quiet Speculation forums, and reading a few articles, I came up with a few speculation targets in Journey into Nyx. It’s worth noting though, before I go into it, that most of these specs have been discussed elsewhere— three of my four picks for long term value were  also mentioned in Craig Wescoe’s TCGplayer article, “Financial Predictions for Journey into Nyx”. The reason I mention this is to, one, give credit where credit is due, and two, to add more analysis to the conversation. The thing about speculation, and the Magic financial market in general, is that its largely based on consensus. What makes a spec a good spec? Sound fundamental logic and agreement from other people within the community. My point is that, sometimes you stumble onto a good spec that no one seems to be talking about, but most of the time, someone presents a case to you and you enter into the conversation.

Hall of Triumph



Potential: Standard & EDH
Buy-in price: $0.50-0.75 or $2.50 for foil

As a long term spec, Hall of Triumph is a card I like because of Commander play. Powerful colorless artifacts that fit into a variety of archetypes tend to appreciate in value over the years. Check out the graph for Eldrazi Monument:

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Obviously there is a discrepancy in power level between hall and monument, however, both provide anthem effects to colors that might not otherwise get them and Hall does this for only three mana. Off the top of my head I could see Hall being played in Krenko, Talrand, Rhys, Wort, and Ezuri decks. As with any EDH spec, I would advise on buying foils. You can buy the regular foil for $2.50 or pick up the game day promo when it comes out. The fact that Hall does have multiple foil printings might lower the potential ceiling for this card, though this tends to be a bit overstated in the finance community.

In terms of Standard, Hall could see play in Mono Blue Devotion to increase the clock of the decks many Flying Men and to make Master of Waves’ elemental tokens stick around even when he doesn’t. In a recent article, Paulo Vitor Damo de Rosa, discussed other potential mono colored builds that would also benefit from adopting Hall of Triumph. Based on the cards flexibility and potential to see play in both Standard and Commander, this is my number one pick up for Journey into Nyx.


Dictate of Erebos


Potential: EDH & Casual (Long term hold)

Buy-in at: $1.00-$1.50

Based on Commander alone, and despite five printings, Grave Pact is a $10 card.

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Dictate has a less prohibitive mana cost—BB instead of BBB—and also has flash, which can lead to real blowouts. I imagine every EDH deck that plays Pact, will also want Dictate, and Dictate might sneak its way into some lists where Grave Pact doesn’t see play because of the triple black in its casting cost.

Furthermore, Grave Pact is a card that has seen some constructed play as well, in Standard BR Tokens in 2008 and BW Aggro lists in 09, so it’s not completely out of the question that Dictate of Erebos could see some play in Block or Standard. Still, I think it’s smarter to bank on this as a long term riser, due to it’s Commander playability. For that reason, it’s worth it to look into buying foils as well. Right now the foil is around $6, which is a bit high for me to want to really invest in it. If the foil price does dip down a little bit with more Journey being opened and drafted in Theros Block limited, I would certainly pick these up between $3-4 and feel really good about it as a long term investment.


Dictate of Kruphix


Potential: EDH & Standard

Buy-in at: $1.50-2.00

Look at the graphs for Font of Mythos, Howling Mine, and Kami of the Crescent Moon:

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Nekusar has pretty much single-handedly inflated the prices of all the “everybody draws” cards and Dictate seems eligible for the Nekusar bump. The card also fits into friendly Commander “group hug” decks as well, so there’s also that. As with the other Dictate I discussed before, if you can pick up foils, I think that is the best course of action. Dictate will be one of the Game Day full art promos and looks really sweet, so if you can pick them up cheap, less than $5, I would certainly recommend it.

In terms of Standard playability, a lot of people, including myself, want Turbo Fog to be a real deck. This card certainly fits into that strategy and even has the added bonus that you can hold up mana on their turn, for counters or fogs, and that you get to draw first from the enchantment. As of right now, Turbo Fog strategies are certainly not tier one, but even fringe decks can trigger a price bump if the right people back it cough*Travis Woo*cough. Frank Karsten recently brewed up a list that looks like it could have potential.

Hydra Broodmaster


Potential: Casual and EDH

Buy-in at: $0.50-1.00


One thing is for sure, casual players fucking love hydras and help maintain the long-term growth of otherwise unplayable cards:


Apocalypse Hydra

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Hydra Omnivore

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Primordial Hydra

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In all fairness, two of these cards are mythic, and command their price in part because of rarity. Furthermore, with more hydras coming out in the past few sets, the high ticket price is reserved only for the splashier ones (ie not Nessian Wilds Ravager). However, Hydra Broodmaster has an effect that feels mythic and is generally really big and splashy. I can just imagine Timmy’s eyes lighting up when he realizes that he could make five 5/5’s and get an upgraded 12/12 hydra if he just spends 11 mana on monstrous. I think it’s mana cost is too prohibitive for Standard play, but Craig Wescoe mentioned its potential playability in RG Monsters so hey, there might be hope. Regardless, I would base this spec on how big of an impact it makes at the kitchen table rather than the top tournament tables.

At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities, plays guitar in an indie-pop band, and keeps a blog about pro-wrestling.

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