Coldsnap - A Guide to Value

Coldsnap, in terms of value, is a unique set. It is in Standard for a longer time than any other set. It is adding to the general power level of Standard, thus increasing value even more. Nostalgia or coolness value makes card values somewhat unpredictable. And it is in low supply, after an unusually small print run. This affects the value of a pack of Coldsnap quite a bit.

This article will (hopefully) serve two purposes:

1) To be aware of what certain card's real values are, instead of relying on volatile information close to the release.

Should you buy it? We'll find out.
2) To determine whether buying a pack (box, fat pack, etc.) of Coldsnap is a good investment.

We'll discuss #2, a more broad look at Coldsnap values, at the end.

First, we predict the individual card values (Metaller's comments are in italics):

Adarkar Valkyrie - $7 now, $8 or $10 when Kamigawa rotates out. It’s a great finisher, it’ll go up after the Kamigawa dragons leave, it probably has crazy Johnny potential, and it’s a great Timmy card as well.

$6. It's an Angel with a cool ability, and thus should have at least some market value. However, the very presence of Simic Sky Swallower in Standard means that this will not be the finisher of choice.

Darien, King of Kjeldor - $.50 to $1. Good Casual card, but unlikely to have any potential for competitive play. Also comboes with Angelic Chorus.

$.50 to $1. This guy is never going to make it into a tournament caliber deck, but he's flavorful and has a pretty unique effect which the casual crowd will love.

Sunscour - $2. Everybody will try to make it usable, but once they realize it isn’t it will only have value for the big effect. Wrath of God was all about card advantage, which it’s much harder to get when you spend 3 cards to play it.

$3. Possibly constructed (although I doubt it) and a big splashy effect. In any format where the original Wrath is available, in my opinion this card will be second best.

White Shield Crusader - $.50. Nice card, but still an uncommon and not at the power level of Mortify

$.50 to $1. Constructed worthy and flavourful. The deciding factor will be whether it has a deck to go into.

Arcum Dagsson - $.25 to $.75. Cool for Johnnies, maybe... But not with a really new effect and not Constructed-Worthy. It might even drop and be a .20 rare.

$1. A possible Johnny card, and possibly a Goblin Welder substitute in Extended.

1 for 3? No way!
Commandeer - $2. Really good effect, but pitching the cards is such a loss of card advantage that I predict it won’t catch on much.

$2. A splashy overcosted effect. Probably overhyped.

Counterbalance - $1. Very strong uncommon, but it’s currently overrated considering what you have to do to reliably counter spells.

$.50 to $1. Probably the Suppression Field of the new set; hyped for the Eternal formats, rightly or wrongly so. Like Suppression Field, probably not too valuable.

Flashfreeze - $.10 to $.40 - Unless Red and Green really start acting up, unlikely to ever be played.

$.50 to $1. A great sideboard card against a deck like Gruul Beats, but nothing more than that. Its value will depend on Gruul's presence in T2.

Perilous Research - $1. Has awesome Johnny power with Hatching Plans, and is good enough to see constructed play too. Still, I doubt it will stay anywhere near it’s current prices.

$.50 to $1. Two cards for two mana is most definitely constructed worthy. The controller can either sacrifice a creature with lethal damage on the stack, or a land if it is lategame. Johnny will also try and pair it with Hatching Plans.

Vexing Sphinx - $.50 to $1. I predict another Circu, though thankfully on a much smaller scale. Powerful card, but no deck to use it in.

$2. Possible constucted worthy in something like :symu::symw: Skies, but I doubt it. Still, people will always try and break undercosted fatties with evasion.

Deathmark - $.50. Green and White are both very strong right now, I predict this will go up as it is a very powerful card.

$.50 to $1. A great sideboard card against decks like Zoo.

Haakon, Stromgald Scourge - $3. Really cool, not sure if it’s constructed worthy but even after it rotates out, it will keep its value (like Blistering Firecat) because of coolness alone.

$3. Our Constructed gurus tell us that he may be an abusable Johnny/Spike card. His effect is definitely strong; whether he has enough support remains to be seen.

Soul Spike - $1. Very weak, really. I have no idea how it got to its current prices, but I am sure that they’ll go down fast.

$1. Splashy effect, but in my opinion very overcosted, even with card drawing engines like Dark Confidant and Phyrexian Arena to fill a Black player's hand with cards.

Is there anything else to do with this?
Dark Depths - $3. It makes a 20/20, plus people won’t know what to do with their Release Marit Lage Token. An extremely crappy card, but valuable nonetheless.

$3. Utter crap; who wants to pay 30 mana for a creature? The very fact that this is in the same environment as Repeal makes me smile; still, people love 20/20 Indestructible fliers, and the art is sweet.

Stromgald Crusader - $.50. Nice card, can replace Hand of Cruelty.

$.50 to $1. Constructed worthy and flavourful.

Braid of Fire - $1.50. Johnny card, plus cool. That said, I’m not sure about this one. It could also drop fast to junk rare levels.

$1. If there are any cards with Cumulative Upkeep that are Constructed worthy, this could accompany them. However, I very much doubt anyone except for Johnny will take to it.

Lightning Serpent - $2. Blistering Firecat was cool. This is cool in the same way. Expect values that stay steady on this one, especially since it probably won’t see much Constructed play.

$1. Because of Blistering Firecat and Ball Lightning before it, this card will have some degree of popularity. Whether there is a deck for him remains to be seen.

Rimescale Dragon - $1.50. Cool, big, and dragony. Nice Casual card.

$1. Everyone loves a big Dragon. That he's overcosted and unwieldy won't make a great deal of difference.

Allosaurus Rider - $1. Cool for casual, but not near worth pitching two cards or paying 7 mana. The most he'll ever be is a big, overcosted fatty.

$1. As with all of the double pitch spells, I just don't see this guy as being worth the two discarded cards. Anyone who wants one can get a prerelease foil version anyway.

Hibernation's End - $1. This card is very interesting. I really get the feeling that this could be the next Heartbeat, a crazy combo card. Look forward to a deck named “Hibernation” next Standard season, and if that happens Hibernation’s End could rise as high as $3.

$1. Casual players will love searching through their deck for a bigger creature each turn.

Pray for it...
Ohran Viper - $7. A very powerful card, but overhyped right now. What will happen most of the time is that the opponent will block, and it will end trading with a creature, its Ophidian ability forgotten. On the plus side, to kill it they have to block with a rather big creature (3 power or greater) which will usually have cost more than the Viper. Again, very strong.

$7 to $9. The marriage of Ophidian to Basilisk shouldn't only cost three mana. He will either be chumped every turn, trade with a larger creature or draw a card. Definitely constructed worthy.

Zur the Enchanter - $1.50. Johnny, possibly Constructed worthy. I doubt he is, but if he is he could go to $2.

$1. Every Johnny will want to build a deck around his potentially powerful ability and wacky casting cost; but, as ever, the question will be whether he has any support. He certainly doesn't have an existing deck to go into.

Jester's Scepter - $1. It doesn't even have THAT much hype, and it's still overhyped! Quite crappy, unless you get REALLY lucky.

$2. I don't believe that this card is anything other than hype. It could be a good sideboard card that any deck can play and bring in for the mirror match. Also, it has great art.

Scrying Sheets - $3 now, $5 if a Snow deck gets going. A card advantage powerhouse. Not much else to say.

$4. If there is any Snow deck that emerges, this card should be the centrepiece. I don't believe that there are enough good Snow permanents for this to be any good. Still, time will tell.

Thrumming Stone - $.50. Awesome cool card, but probably won’t do much aside from with Relentless Rats, so I call junk.

$.50 to $1. Pretty poor except for its fun interactions with Relentless Rats.

Heidar, Rimewind Master - $.30. In a precon, plus it isn’t that great of a card in the first place. Temporal Adept wasn’t worth much, this won’t be either.

$.50 to $1. Even if a dedicated Snow deck does emerge, in my opinion this guy is unlikely to be played. Five drops should do more in Constructed.

Garza Zol, Plague Queen - $.50. Jank! It’s cool though.

$.20 to $.50. I don't see any player who will seek out this piece of rubbish. She's too expensive to Spike, the casual player will never be able to cast her, and there's nothing interesting for Johnny to exploit.

Cool, but I'd still prefer Ohran Viper.
Garza's Assassin - $1. This is the absolute coolest card in Coldsnap. Plus, I remain confident that such a powerful card will find a use somewhere.

$.50 to $1. My favourite piece of art in the set; but unfortunately his triple black casting cost will make him almost unplayable outside of mono-Black. And with all those pretty duals out there, who wants to play mono-color?

Look around. See any patterns? There are two main ones:

1) I predict most Coldsnap cards are going down in value -- some sharply.
2) Very few Coldsnap cards are worth more than the price of the pack.

This would seem to make Coldsnap seem like a bad investment. This may be true, and this is what I first thought. However, because of the short print run, the cards we already rank as valuable could become even more valuable.

After buying some Coldsnap recently (while at the release event), I was quite amazed at what valuable cards both me and other people near me were opening. While Coldsnap doesn't seem to be as good as an investment as the Ravnica block (lack of shocklands), it is not a junk set at all.

My personal suggestion: If you are going straight for the valuable cards and ignoring everything else, throwing or giving away your Jokulmorders, you might want to stick with buying singles. If, however, you are looking to both have fun, while making up much of your financial loss, this set is great. Expect to lose a bit of money when buying a box, but hopefully that shouldn't bother you too much if you're looking to play the game.

No matter how you choose to deal with Coldsnap, good luck with your Coldsnap financial futures!


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