By Mark ‘”Petrify'” Fittipaldi – 18/10/2018
Assumptions: For this article, I’m assuming we can buy/sell our cards individually on the Steam Marketplace, similarly to CS/Dota skins. I have no idea whether this is the case.
As the title suggests, I’m going to examine the best cards to buy on day one of Artifact—not the most powerful cards but rather the cards which are going to go up in price the most in the week after launch. Most of these cards will be very powerful, as the strongest cards will also inherently be the most desired. However, as you’ll notice, I haven’t listed a single hero. Why? Here’s the criteria I’m using to evaluate the best cards to invest in on day one:
- Power level. As mentioned above, powerful cards will see play in many decks. Simple.
- Rarity. The rarer the cards, the more expensive they’ll be. Also simple.
- Breadth across the metagame. Here’s where having a good understanding of the game and metagame early will help you make gains. A card like Incarnation of Selemene might have a huge power level and be rare, but does it see play across many decks? No. It’s currently found a home in one deck, and it will likely stay there. Therefore, the demand for this card won’t be that high.
- Number of copies included in the decks the card is played in. In Artifact, you can run up to three copies of a card. This is where heroes fall down, and I believe they won’t actually be that expensive. For instance, Axe is probably the most powerful individual hero in the game, but you can only ever run one Axe. The demand is one third that of a powerful rare of which you might include three in a red deck.
- How quickly people will notice its power level. This is a weird but important one for long-term investments. Day one, people will definitely try to oversell cards that are obviously extremely strong. Don’t get baited into investing $30 into a card that’s clearly good just because someone opened it before anyone else. We’re looking to make money here in the long term, and overpaying for cards day one is not the way to do it. The less obvious the power level of a card, the better it is for us.
To begin with, I’ll look at the top five cards to invest in early overall. As you can already probably guess, they’ll all be rares, so if you’re looking to bulk buy commons and uncommons for investment, I’ll list those later on in the article. Simply scroll down.
Top 5 Cards to Invest In upon Release
Honorable Mentions: An Unrevealed Green Rare & Spring the Trap
Power level: 4/5. Conflagration is an extremely powerful card. The ability to deal damage before an action phase can enable three-turn hero timeouts, as the hero dies before getting the chance to act, which effectively counts as an extra dead turn. Dealing two damage is also the sweet spot, as it allows your creeps to one-shot the enemy creeps, or if a lane is empty, it will simply kill the enemy creeps in two turns.
Breadth across the metagame: 3.5/5. I believe most blue decks will be running Conflagration. The exception is combo decks such as BG storm, which would rather be proactive than defensive. The next question is how prevalent blue will be across the meta. I believe blue to be the second most individually powerful colour in constructed, behind red, and therefore I expect to run into a lot of Conflagrations.
Number of copies included in the decks the card is played in: 5/5. If you’re going to play Conflagration in your deck, you should be running three. The card simply helps define control archetypes, and I believe it would be a mistake not to include three in your deck, as you want to increase your chance of drawing one before turn five. This figure pushes Conflagration into the top five for me, and it’s definitely a card I expect to rise in price early.
How quickly people will notice its power level: 3/5. I suspect most people will identify that improvements are good and that Conflagration is one of the best. However, improvements tend to have the highest skill cap in general, so it’s quite possible that many people will use this card incorrectly and think less of it.
Overall, I expect Conflagration to rise in price over time as the meta develops, and I think it’s a safe card to invest in early, as people will begin to realise the power of control and start really wanting three copies of these.
4) At Any Cost
Power level: 4.5/5. Undoubtedly, At Any Cost is one of the most powerful cards in the game. Being able to deal six damage as a sweeper on turn one is nothing short of insane. Not that you’re often using this card on turn one, but this highlights how ridiculously low the mana cost is for such a powerful effect. It lets you set up some really large multi-card plays, such as playing multiple cards, waiting for your opponent to overcommit, and then wiping them off the planet.
Breadth across the metagame: 4/5. At Any Cost will see play in virtually every blue deck. Even decks that want to go wide will often include some copies of At Any Cost just because it can be so effective at slowing down an opponent in one lane while you go in on the other two. This rating is higher than that for Conflagration because At Any Cost isn’t exclusive to control blue decks.
Number of copies included in the decks the card is played in: 3/5. Unlike Conflagration, At Any Cost is definitely something you can pepper into a deck by including one or two copies. Control decks will want three copies, but other decks may not.
How quickly people will notice its power level: 3.5/5. That At Any Cost damages your own units may lead people to not fully understand how powerful this card is at first. They’ll definitely catch on quickly, though, so I suspect this card will be a great day-one buy.
Overall, At Any Cost is super powerful and has some text that may scare newer players, so you’re definitely going to want to get in on this card early.
Power level: 5/5. Annihilation is the best board wipe and arguably the most powerful spell in the game. Not much explanation is needed as to why this card is so powerful. CCG veterans will understand quickly.
Breadth across the Metagame: 4.5/5. Is your opponent playing blue? Time to assume there’s above a 90% chance they have Annihilation in their deck and play around it for the rest of the game.
Number of copies included in the decks the card is played in: 4/5. I’m of the opinion that if you’re running one Annihilation, it’s correct to be running three to draw it more often. I believe some people will disagree with running three because of its high casting cost, and I suspect it may often be correct to play only one or two as decklists are optimised.
How quickly people will notice its power level: 0/5. Everyone knows this card will be great. Try to avoid being ripped off early by people who overprice this card. However, if you can find this card cheap at all, buy it. It’ll be worth a pretty penny as people begin to build control decks.
Overall, this card loses places because it’s so obviously a good card, but the fact that almost every blue deck will be running multiple copies means it will still be quite expensive down the track. The first three cards have been blue cards that all have a control feel, so expect blue control decks to be the most expensive decks of the format.
2) Time of Triumph
Power level: 5/5. The most powerful finisher in the game. This card is absurdly strong, and in my opinion and the opinion of many closed beta testers, it’s the best card in the game. If you’re on seven mana vs. red and you haven’t already started planning for what happens next turn when your opponent plays Time of Triumph, you’re in trouble.
Breadth across the Metagame: 5/5. Red is by far the most popular colour, and if you aren’t playing red as one of your colours, you probably need to justify it—to me, at least! Time of Triumph is one of the main reasons to be playing red, so expect to see this card everywhere.
Number of copies included in the decks the card is played in: 4/5. Some people have run some numbers, and they suggest that if you’re running three copies of Time of Triumph, you’re close to guaranteed to drawing one by eight mana, and you should therefore be running three copies, because playing one on eight mana increases your win percentage by so much. I’m still not sure. There are no mulligans in Artifact, and I’ve already had games where I’ve had two or more Time of Triumphs in my opening hand and been severely inhibited in terms of making plays early. I suspect in decks with a lot of draw, one or two Time of Triumphs is sufficient, whereas decks with little to no draw will run three.
How quickly people will notice its power level: 0/5. Everyone playing constructed on day one will notice how insane this card is. In fact, it’s so insane that the tabletop simulator communities who aren’t even playing the full game have already realised this is the meta-defining card of the format.
Overall, Time of Triumph will be a seriously expensive card. I’m keen to pick up my three copies early before the price rises through the roof, but I’m worried that this will be overpriced immediately on day one because everyone knows it’s insane. Arguably, this could be a bad buy day one because its power level is so well known, but I’m still placing it second because I just can’t see this card ever dropping in price.
1) Unearthed Secrets
Power level: 5/5. This is the best green card in the set by a mile, in my opinion. At worst, this card cycles itself, in which case you’ve drawn it late or played it wrong. At best, this card draws almost your entire deck. Any CCG player knows the power of card draw, and this is by far the best card draw in the format. I’m truly in love with this card.
Breadth across the metagame: 3/5. The only knock against Unearthed Secrets is that green is arguably the weakest colour in the metagame, so you might not see this card as often as others. Personally, I’m a huge fan of green and have some great decks with it, so I don’t expect this figure to stay at 3/5.
Number of copies included in the decks the card is played in: 5/5. This is the most no-brain auto-include card in the entire format. If you’re playing green, you’re playing three. It doesn’t matter what your deck is trying to do; drawing a tonne of cards is good.
How quickly people will notice its power level: 5/5. I would give this 10/5 if I could just to emphasise how much I think this card will be slept on at the beginning. In fact, if my sole purpose were to make money, it would be objectively incorrect of me to even bring this card up and bring more attention to it. At first, people won’t realise how incredible this card is, since it isn’t a flashy effect. It requires you to take some damage, and you don’t immediately get a payoff. Then time will go on and people will keep losing games to this card while wondering, “Why does my opponent always have the right answer?” before it dawns on them that their opponent has drawn an extra ten cards. One could say this card is a real unearthed secret! (Sorry I read too much LSV and wanted to do a dad joke somewhere.)
Overall, this is the best card to invest in on day one by a mile. The other four aren’t even close. I plan to buy this card in bulk and watch my profits go to the moon.
Top 5 Uncommons to Invest In upon Release
In the interest of not writing a novel, I’ll quickly give you my top five uncommons and commons to invest in for those wanting a cheaper buy-in.
5) Compel. Great cantrip that keeps your blue heroes alive. Sees a decent amount of play and is subtly powerful.
4) Aghanim’s Sanctum. Fantastic combo piece and just generally great card for blue.
3) Pick Off. Very solid removal spell—better than Gank, in my opinion.
2) Mist of Avernus. Complete snowball card and one-card win condition. Extremely hard to stop.
1) Blink Dagger. Auto-include three in probably every constructed deck. Card is busted.
Top 5 Commons to Invest In upon Release
5) Hip Fire. Amazing way to get initiative and set up two-card kills, and very good card for black.
4) Foresight. One of the best draw spells in the game.
3) Dimensional Portal. Arguably the most powerful common spell, this card provides insane stats for its mana cost.
2) Bronze Legionnaire. Absolute powerhouse of red early game.
1) Stonehall Cloak. Extremely strong item that will see play in the vast majority of constructed decks.
I’m excited to see how this prediction pans out, and I suspect I’ll be wrong on a lot of fronts. For instance, I expect Stars Align to eventually be worth way more than it starts out as we get more broken things to do with it in expansions, so it might be the best to invest in. Regardless, it’s going to be very exciting to see what unfolds with the economy. Happy investing!