Friday, December 18, 2009
2009 Budget Year In Review
Path to Exile, Hellspark Elemental, Vampire Nighthawk, Valakut- the Molten Pinnacle, and Ant Queen were all given out as promo cards this year, and still maintain excellent value, despite the extra quantities in circulation. Each of these is in key decks right now, and should see at least casual play for years to come.
Bloodbraid Elf, Putrid Leech, Ravenous Trap, Elite Vanguard, Gatekeeper of Malakir, Goblin Ruinblaster lead the pack in uncommons. Each of these brings more to the table then you really expect from a fifty cent card. Bloodbraid Elf, and Putrid Leech all but gave birth to the Cascade and Jund decks which are still defining standard, and causing ripple effects in Extended and beyond. Ravenous Trap is fitting Dredge back into a corner, and Dredge will have to find a way to respond, if it is to stay as a leader of the pack in Legacy and beyond. Elite vanguard is an old friend in a new skin. They gave Savannah Lion a relevant creature type, and lowered it's rarity, making it more accessible. Gatekeeper is the sword point of black card advantage, pushing the limits of efficiency. Ruinblaster is the goblin of the year, and we have not even begun to see what we it can do.
While we are on the subject of lands, lets talk about some you are going to want to keep, not trade away. The Enemy Fetch Lands are teh must have rares of 2009 in one simple shot. While these may not seem like budget cards at $300 a play set (20 cards in all), I highly recommend getting these, as they do represent excellent value, and are not likely to go down in value, and will be playable in virtually every format for as long as they are legal.
A number of rares came out over the course of 2009, which represent a great value. Banefire, Knight of the Reliquary, Inkwell Leviathan, Merfolk Sovereign, and Rite of Replication should all be picked up when possible, for what ever decks you see them in. While we are on the subject of rares, several of them were reprinted this year, and brought the price of the cards way down. Coat of Arms, Howling Mine, Hypnotic Specter, Pithing Needle, Twincast, Underworld Dreams, are each down roughly 50% (and in some cases more) from their highs. Now is the time to pick these up, if you have not already. On the flip side, several cards were reprinted this year, and either held, or went up in value. It may be time to shake out he old storage boxes for excess copies of Lightning Bolt, Duress, Terminate, Overrun, Pyroclasm, Serra Angel, Whispersilk Cloak and make some trades with them.
The truth is it's pretty tough to pick "a budget card of the year", since all of these will be seen for years to come, but if I really had to, I'd say Path to Exile. this card showed that Wizards isn't afraid of the long abandoned Swords power level, and that they were willing to bring that level back to the modern game. In many ways this card is better then it's ancestor, and helped to push basic lands back into relivence. It imediatly became a power uncommon, rising to the $5 price point and beyond, and is likely to stay there for many years even if significantly reprinted.