Currently, only two Magic sets can truly compete for the most valuable MTG set in history – at least in amount sold. Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is one of the two sets in question. This legendary collaboration is so big that it’s even getting two releases, something that’s never really happened before.
The set that currently holds the title as most successful set (but probably won’t be holding on to it for too much longer) is Modern Horizons 2. From Fetch Land reprints to an incredible amount of new staples impacting Modern, Legacy, Vintage and Commander, there are a ton of cards in Modern Horizons 2 that everyone wants four copies of.
One particular infamous cycle of cards from Modern Horizons 2 are the Evoke elementals. These cards being good is not new news – we’ve known about it for some time. While that is the case, Evoke elementals have gotten even better as time passed and players learned how to utilize them to their maximum potential. In fact, the price jump for some of these cards over the past year are pretty shocking.
To quickly recap for players who may not know what the Evoke elementals represent, these cards are a series of elemental creatures that have an alternate casting condition. By exiling a card of the same color in your hand, you can cast these cards for free. The downside is that, if you do this, the card will sacrifice itself on impact.
The upside to doing this is that each Evoke elemental has an effect that triggers as it enters the battlefield. Grief, for example, can become a free Thoughtseize effect in exchange for exiling a black card in your hand. You’re using two cards to do this but, as players have become smarter in utilizing these cards, they’ve been skewing the downside deeper and deeper in their favor.
As a quick aside, TCGplayer market prices on the normal nonfoil versions of each card will be used for pricing in this article.
Of all the Evoke elementals, Grief is the one that’s seen the biggest surge in play over the past year. Rakdos Scam currently rules the Modern format with an iron grip, abusing the interaction between Grief and cards like Undying Malice or Not Dead After All. You use three cards but, in exchange, you get a body for one mana and the ability to take two cards out of your opponent’s hand. This raw power has reshaped the Modern format and completely invalidates strategies that crumble to Thoughtseize effects.
This isn’t the only place Grief is seeing play, either. Legacy Scam has become a popular archetype thanks to the above strategy, and Living End, another popular Modern archetype, is also capable of abusing Grief. Otherwise, the card pops up in Reanimator strategies in both formats.
Thanks to Grief largely restructuring the Modern format and becoming a bigger role player in Legacy, the card has spiked from being worth about $11 a year ago to around $30 now. The core of this spike occurred between the end of June and the beginning of July, where the card spiked from a market of value of $14 to $38 before settling down.
If you ask players which of the Evoke elementals had the biggest impact on the Modern format, Fury is generally the one that will win the argument. A large subset of the community believes that something needs to be done about this particular elemental because of its ability to outright invalidate an entire archetype.
Because of Fury’s prevalence in the modern format, typal and other creature-based decks are incredibly unpopular. In addition to getting a 4/4 Double Striker for one mana, a Scammed Fury can split eight damage up between opposing creatures and Planeswalkers. Even when the card is not Scammed, Fury dealing four damage to a creature deck’s board out of nowhere is just devastating. While Modern does have a strong amount of diversity, astute players will notice that no decks that rely on an army of small creatures, without any tricks, are popular. Merfolk is the closest thing to this.
Unlike the other Evoke elementals, Fury has had a pretty consistent curve up in price over the past year. There’s no bigger spike like their was for Grief.
At its nadir at the end of October in 2022, Fury was only worth about $21, which is pretty incredible considering it hit its highest price of $45 at the beginning of August. The card has cooled down a little bit, but still sells for about $40.
Solitude is yet another incredibly impactful Evoke elemental in the Modern format. This card has been absolutely rampant in the new Up the Beanstalk builds which, basically, are just the old four color elementals lists reworked to benefit from The One Ring and Up the Beanstalk as much as possible.Swords to Plowshares has always been an incredibly valuable card, and getting a potential body with it is absurd upside. Of course, flexibility is key here, and having a win condition that can double as emergency removal is incredible.
Otherwise, Solitude can still be Scammed, but this card is more commonly used in slower strategies trying to win a longer game. Up the Beanstalk neutralizes the card disadvantage that Evoke pitching causes. Two of them makes an Evoked Solitude free card draw with removal, which is absolutely absurd.
Solitude has, more or less, retained its market value over the past year. The card saw an initial drop from $37 down to as low as $27, but has rebounded back to about $35.
For a long time, Subtlety was the ugly twin of the five-card Evoke elemental cycle. You can’t Scam it very efficently since it’s ETB trigger is akin to an Aether Gust that hits creatures and Planeswalkers. That said, The One Ring made Subtlety a lot more effective.
Well, The One Ring made all the Evoke elementals a lot better. Its not uncommon for The One Ring to be drawing four or more cards at a time, and having a way to pitch cards you would otherwise be discarding to get to hand size means that your free spells truly are free to cast.
Subtlety sees most of its play nowadays in Cascade decks thanks to its ability to ward off opposing Teferi, Time Ravelers, but it also pops up in Murktide occasionally. The card obviously sees play in the UB Ring Control deck, but that has dropped in popularity recently.
Subtlety is definitely has the most dramatic spike of the Evoke elementals. From Last October to June, Subtlety lost value. Originally worth about $11, the card dropped to a market value of just $6.28 before it started spiking. When The One Ring started tearing up Modern, Subtlety suddenly spiked to $23 over the course of a few weeks. Subtlety has cooled off a bit from then, selling for between $16 and $20 nowadays.
Endurance is the last card of the five Evoke elementals. This one is heavily utilized like the others, but appears in sideboards a lot more. This is because, while Endurance is still quite powerful in certain matchups, it’s not good in a majority of them. Endurance specifically reshuffles graveyards into the bottom of a player’s library, making this better against graveyard-focused archetypes.
It is rather common to find this card in sideboards to literally any Modern deck that runs green. The card also sees a healthy amount of Legacy play. Living End and Underworld Breach decks are the big ones that can get screwed over, but a timely Endurance against Scam, Yawgmoth and Murktide archetypes can also slow things down a bit.
Like Solitude, Endurance has always been a pretty popular option. Thanks to this, the card has largely stayed the course over the past year, being worth about $30 almost the whole time. Overall, Endurance has come down a little bit from a $40 high a year ago.