Sphere of Influence: June 28, 2024

Steve Heisler • June 28, 2024

Welcome to Sphere of Influence, a pre-FNM look at some potential movers-and-shakers that are worth picking up before their prices increase. Modern Horizons 3 is still the primary driver of Cardsphere trades—all of Harvey’s picks in his Top Trades column are from that set—so we’re taking another look at that format exclusively. Check out the following cards that have risen to prominence after a few weekends of meta-defining Modern action.

Outrider en-Kor

Yes, this is an uncommon and, yes, it’s quite a cheap one at that. Still, Outrider en-Kor has all the makings of an incoming price spike. The card was printed only twice, in Time Spiral and Time Spiral Remastered, and boasts an ability not seen in quite some time—a repeatable, free, targeting ability rife with potential for abuse in the right deck.

Hello, Nadu, Winged Wisdom, a card that surprised everyone with how oppressive it can be once its engine starts going. At first, Modern players found Shuko, another uncommon with limited reprints that spiked to $33 almost immediately upon release of Modern Horizons 3, and all was good. Yet, Shuko is not as easily tutorable as, say, a creature, especially in a green deck running four Chord of Callings.

Enter Outrider en-Kor, capable of triggering Nadu twice a turn, even your opponents’ turns, with zero downside (other than running a creature of limited use when Nadu isn’t on the field). I suppose its ability has other uses, like blocking a Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer with Outrider and redirecting the damage to a Wall of Roots, but I can’t imagine any corner case contributing more to Outrider’s inevitable price increase other than its interaction with Nadu.

Should you get anything other than an Outrider en-Kor for Nadu? Nah. Do.

Chord of Calling

Meanwhile, the primary enabler of Nadu shenanigans remains this classic, potentially mana-less, tutor that puts Nadu directly on the battlefield. Chord of Calling has been doing a fantastic Birthing Pod impression since its release in original Ravnica, recently playing a central role in Yawgmoth, Thran Physician decks alongside Birthing Ritual. Then, Nadu came along and Chord found another happy home.

That may not be it. Modern Horizons 3 also reprinted Priest of Titania into Modern, which provides another tool for displaced Legacy Elves players to try and recreate their favorite deck in the hostile Modern environment. The deck hasn’t quite hit, and likely won’t when Orcish Bowmasters remains prevalent, but who’s to say what little green creatures will make appearances in future sets? All it will take is another one or two solid Elves, perhaps an Allosaurus Shepherd, for Elves to start making an appearance as a deck to watch, at which point Chord of Calling is going to be a major part of what makes that deck tick. Craterhoof Behemoth can’t find itself!

Chord of Calling received a reprint relatively recently in Ravnica Remastered, so its price has been holding steady at roughly $6 since. Grab one or four today—Modern aside, Chord of Calling makes a killer addition to most green Commander decks.

Buried Alive

Already a Commander reanimator staple, Buried Alive is enjoying a resurgence thanks to its printing into Modern Horizons 3 after several years without a reprint.

And, at three mana, Buried Alive has become one of the most efficient ways to load up your graveyard in Modern with all the spicy targets: Griselbrand of course, Atraxa, Grand Unifier, Solitude, and Grief. Then, with Goryo’s Vengeance and Priest of Fell Rites in tow, the fun never stops.

The Modern Horizons 3 edition of Buried Alive is sitting at less than $1, but if you can spare the trades, go for the Weatherlight version. Not only is it better proofed against rapid price dips, but the illustration harkens back to a dopier time before Magic’s art style was codified as to eliminate residual derp. To hell with that, I say. Give me derp or give me death—and bury me alive.

Reading the Trades

I’m sure other formats will start shifting card prices as Modern has over the last few weeks. Which others do y’all play? What cards in Pioneer and Standard do you expect to rise in price soon? Let us know!