by Richard Rowell, Gaming Successfully Staff
Sphinx of the Final Word is a mythic rare from Oath of the Gatewatch. While its been a relatively good success in Commander, only a few decks in Standard have given the seven mana flyer a shot. However, this is a solid creature. So when I saw them available on MTGOTickets bots for 0.25 tix ($0.25) a piece, I had to pick up four copies.
Recently, the Sphinx has seen sideboard play in a Green & Blue Crush of Tentacles deck. When a card is usually relegated to the sideboard, this isn't usually a good thing for its value. But there are several reasons to be optimistic about this Sphinx. Yes, it costs seven mana, but it can't be countered and also has hexproof, meaning your opponent's spells can't touch it. Also, the major draw to this card is that your instant and sorcery spells can't be countered as long as Sphinx of the Final Word is on the battlefield under your control. Seems like a pretty strong control deck finisher, doesn't it?
These haven't been worth much in paper Magic, either, and being a mythic rare from Oath of the Gatewatch, it's hard to say where the future value of this card ends up. In paper Magic, they're worth picking up at least a copy just because of their usefulness in a lot of Commander decks. But card values aren't really driven by Commander nearly as much on Magic Online. So why the pickup?
Mythic rares are usually worth a lot more than 0.25 tix a piece. Sure, some of the truly garbage ones can settle around 0.10 or so. But as this is a set that will continue to be redeemed on Magic Online for some time, due to the number of very strong cards in it, people will need to continue to buy copies of the Sphinx in order to complete their sets. Also, if this card sees any play at all in the future, it could easily reach 1 ticket per copy, or more, considering that this is a mythic rare. People tend to hold onto the mythics that they draft online, so there aren't quite as many copies out there as you might think. Also, Commander players do exist online, so there is going to always be some demand for this card.
I'm only sitting on a play set of the Sphinx for speculation purposes, but I would definitely recommend picking up a copy or two in case this card does end up seeing some more play. It's hit 0.8 tix or so before, and could well do so again. Really, the worst case scenario on this card is that I only get about half of my event ticket back, being that it's a mythic rare from a currently Standard legal set. I'm happy to sit on these until a price spike happens, and being a playable mythic rare from a set that's only rarely drafted anymore, I'm happy to sit and wait.
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by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Sadistic Sacrament is a rare from Zendikar that has graced many sideboards in the past. In late 2010, this card was worth as much as 0.8 event tickets on Magic Online. It’s consistently been a $1 rare for years in paper, reaching as high as $1.50 recently. Being a rare from a now long out-of-print set, and being a card with kicker that isn’t likely to be reprinted, it can’t hurt to buy a few copies of Sacrament at 0.03 tix a piece online. In paper, it’s not a bad investment either. It has been listed on eBay for $3 or more recently.
On the surface, Sadistic Sacrament is an efficient way to deprive your opponent of 3 cards for only 3 mana. But the kicker which costs 7 extra mana lets you absolutely ruin your opponent’s deck, by allowing you to exile up to 15 cards of your choice from their library. While that’s a lot of mana, having that option in the late game is pretty sweet.
Most recently, Sadistic Sacrament has seen play as a two-of in some decently competitive Vintage lists on Magic Online. While it’s hard to say if Sacrament will ever find itself in a Modern Mono-Black control list is hard to say. But a big winner in a major Magic Online Vintage tournament using it could cause a bunch of copies to be bought up in a hurry.
On the paper side of things, this is a card that’s been worth $1-$1.50 for a very long time. They simply aren’t printing more of these. It sees a fair amount of play in EDH, as well. While Vintage isn’t really a big deal in paper Magic anymore, if it even sees a hint of play in Modern at top tables, speculation could cause it to potentially spike in price. Otherwise, it's just a nice rare card to have in your Magic collection.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Grindstone is a powerful card,and the primary engine for the popular Imperial Painter deck in Legacy. The deck plays Imperial Recruiter and Painter's Servant. When it enters the battlefield, the Recruiter grabs the Painter's Servant (or any creature with power 2 or less) from your deck to your hand. Painter's Servant makes all cards not in play, any spells and any permanents a chosen color in addition to their other colors.
The combination of Grindstone and Painter's Servant means that once Grindstone is activated, you can "deck" a player in one shot., since every card in a player's deck will be the same color (yes, even lands). This makes it a rather nasty win condition. The only way to stop an effect like this once it resolves is to play a card that would shuffle itself and that player's entire graveyard back into their deck (like one of the major Eldrazi such as Emrakul). Barring that sort of shuffle effect, Grindstone/Painter's Servant is a viable strategy that has been a profitable deck for many Magic players over the years.
The Imperial Painter deck is much more popular online due to the fact that its overall cost is so much less. Imperial Recruiter is a $200 card in paper due to its rarity from being only printed in Portal Three Kingdoms. As the Recruiter was a rare in the widely drafted Master's Edition II set on Magic Online, copies are only about $13 a piece.. Painter's Servants are also about 1/5th of their paper price (roughly $2 vs $9). Grindstone isn't exactly expensive, though, only about $8-9 online vs $15 or so in paper.
But with the Tempest Remastered reprint on the horizon, there will soon be some more supply of Grindstone. It is being reprinted at mythic rare, however, so it will not be opened as nearly as much were it still printed at rare. This rarity decision was based on its power level in the draft format, as any "mill" cards like this are powerful in limited formats. In any case, there will be new copies on the market which should lower the acquisition card of this powerful Legacy card considerably
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Humility is a card originally printed in Tempest that has seen some play in lock-down decks in Legacy over the years. On Magic Online, however, it will be receiving a reprint in the limited edition online-only set, Tempest Remastered. Like some other powerful cards being reprinted in this draft set, Humility will be reprinted at mythic rare. This is mostly due to the fact that Humility is an extremely powerful card. But as this is currently about a $10 card on line, even with the more limited supply because of mythic rare printing, the price will still drop.
This Enchantment costs 2WW (2 colorless, 2 White) to cast and makes all creatures into vanilla 1/1 creatures. Making creatures lose all abilities is especially important, as many creatures in Legacy have powerful abilities. Nerfing creature abilities and making them into like 1/1's is one of the most powerful control strategies in the history of Magic. However, over the years, playing a 4-drop Enchantment has become harder and harder as the format has sped up. Also a card like Humility does nothing against a lot of popular combo strategies that exist in the game today. Resource deprivation decks such as Stax have out-moded decks that would use cards like Humlity.
All that being said, Humility doesn't see a bunch of Magic Online play any more. However, one of its best friends in the lock-down deck, Grindstone, is also being reprinted in Tempest Remastered at mythic rare, as well. These two key cards seeing greater supply on Magic Online may bring interest back to that nasty Icy Manipulator/Winter Orb deck, even if not back into any meaningful competition. At the very least, there will be a dip in value for old Tempest copies of Humility. If this is a card you've considered picking up online, May 2015 will be a good time to watch for it as many people will be selling copies to fund their Tempest Remastered drafts.
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