Sphere of Influence: June 21, 2024

Steve Heisler • June 21, 2024

Welcome to Sphere of Influence, a pre-FNM look at some potential movers and shakers that are worth a trade before their prices increase.

All eyes are on Modern this weekend as players continue configuring a meta defined by the impact of Modern Horizons 3. Based on last weekend’s games and a dive into playtesting videos, I’ve identified a few cards that are worth grabbing before their associated decks start putting up results—with price increases to match.

Orvar, the All-Form

Of the two mono-blue legendary creatures that are all creature types, this one has seen the most wild changes in prices over its time. Its journey from bulk rare to, at one point, $18, before settling at roughly $5 where it sits today, has been largely dictated by the viability of Indomitable Creativity decks in Modern—not a huge player in the meta, at the moment.

Still, the card has other lines of text, and one of ‘em works quite well with the new Simic hotness: Nadu, Winged Wisdom. In Modern, players have been triggering this snot-carrying Bird Wizard with Shuko, a cheap equipment that’s seeing a significant spike in price, and Equipment cards won’t trigger Orvar. In Commander, however, there will be plenty of instants and sorceries flying around as redundancy, and Orvar’s ability clones all of your targets. This can get pretty nutty in Simic Commander decks without much effort. Outside of Commander, any Legacy or Modern Nadu deck that begins running Ephemerate will benefit from Orvar.

I’d expect Orvar to start a steady rise in price. The card is distinct and offers itself up to a number of different decks, including typal ones that can take advantage of its changeling status. Trade for one now before you regret missing the opportunity.

Grist, the Hunger Tide

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician combo decks were already resilient and popular before the release of Modern Horizons 3, and the set only enhanced the appeal with new toys like Birthing Ritual, Marionette Apprentice, Flare of Cultivation, and Grist, Voracious Larva. The latter is the Coke 2 of the set, because there really ain’t nuthin’ like the original, baybee: Grist, the Hunger Tide ties everything together as a planeswalker that can be grabbed off any of the many tutors and Collected Company-type effects on offer.

The card has found a happy home in Yawgmoth and plays a decent supporting role elsewhere. Its price has held steady at $5 since its release in Modern Horizons 2, which is a sign all is right in the Grist world for the moment. All it’s going to take is a slight shift in the meta towards Yawgmoth—or its cousin, Chord of Calling toolbox—and Grist’s price will certainly begin fluctuation. If anything, Grist slots into any Golgari Commander deck with ease and likely won’t see a reprint again anytime soon, since it just appeared in the MH3 precon Graveyard Overdrive. Get your Grists now!

Force of Virtue

Free spells are free spells, even if they’re quite narrow and see very little play at the moment. Just look at Flawless Maneuver, which was considered the worst of the free spell cycle from Commander 2020. Its price has ranged from $6 to $25 in its existence, and the volatility continues even after two recent reprints.

Force of Virtue is certainly the overlooked child of its cycle from the original Modern Horizons, with Force of Negation and Force of Vigor stealing most of the spotlight.

That may change with Modern Horizons 3. The set introduced a slew of small white creatures that are finding happy homes: Ajani, Nacatl Pariah, Ocelot Pride, Guide of Souls and White Orchid Phantom, to name only a few. Your binder can handle holding onto a Force of Virtue, especially as a bulk rare.

Eidolon of the Great Revel

Modern Boros Burn saw a bit of a deckbuilding shift pre-Modern Horizons 3, as Evoke Elementals were everywhere and Eidolon of the Great Revel’s damage clause was proving disastrous for the Burn players themselves; the gem from Born of the Gods was being phased out in favor of main deck Roiling Vortexes. Then, with Outlaws of Thunder Junction, folks began testing Slickshot Show-Off in the two-drop slot, which necessitated a shift away from the Goblin Guide-style of Burn and a lean into a Dragon’s Rage Channeler-Mishra’s Bauble-focused build.

We’ll see how long it lasts. Phlage, Titan of Fire’s Fury is over-performing in the deck and providing more incidental lifegain to temper the potential pain of Eidolon, and the set provided more cheap threats (see the above entry) that will trigger Eidolon on your opponents. At one point, the card was priced at $27, but its current price of $3 provides a great excuse to pick up a playset just in case the meta shakes out in Eidolon’s favor.

Modern Love

I’ll be back next Friday with new selections. I’d love to know which Modern decks you’re excited to try with new cards in tow. Any archetypes you feel are reinvigorated?

Read More:

Cardsphere Picks: Modern Horizons 3

Modern Horizons 3 is Available for Trade!