By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)
Here’s your weekly update on what’s been shifting around in price in the world of paper Magic: The Gathering this week. Overall, with the release of Khans of Tarkir still echoing through a refreshed and dynamic standard metgame, most of the movers and shakers are found in that format.
10 Winners of the Week
1. Astral Cornocopia (Born of the Gods, Rare): $.39 to $.88 (+208%)
Formats: Standard + EDH + Eternal Potential
I would love to claim I saw this one coming based on my 50+ copies, but in reality I only snagged them as a bulk rare with clear combo potential in early summer without any clue they would be playable in the scariest combo deck of the season (Jeskai Ascendancy). The Jeskai combo deck plays this card as a zero casting cost artifact with the slight potential upside of being a mana rock if necessary (it never is). It’s worth noting that the card can easily be swapped out for Briber’s Purse in standard, which should limit it’s short-term price below $3 unless it makes a showing in an eternal format in some random combo deck at a top table.
Verdict: Conditional Sell (on entry points below .$50)
2. Perilous Vault (M15, Mythic): $3.54 to $5.13(+145%)
Formats: Standard + EDH/Casual
Put simply it is the emergence of the U/B Control builds at the Pro Tour that is driving the resurgence in this card. As a sweeper that can clear the board of everything but lands, the card gives control builds game against both creatures and planeswalkers out of the mid-range deck as well as stray enchantments and artifacts out of Jeskai Ascendancy. Expect the future of this card to depend on how many control decks keep making top tables over the next few months. A faster field will put it to sleep and leave it as a spec to look at next summer for future EDH and casual interest.
3. Pearl Lake Ancient (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $2.31 to $5.13 (+124%)
As with Perilous Vault, Pearl Lake Ancient is under the spotlight as a somewhat reluctant finisher in various Jeskai and Dimir control builds for standard. The combination of Prowess, Flash and some resiliency to 1-for-1 removal makes PLA a reasonable top end for decks that can survive to that point. I have been a seller at the new price, having bought in to 20+ copies around $1.50, mostly because I think the card is merely good rather than great, and could easily fade from memory if the format shifts. It has no future in other formats and I wouldn’t want to be caught holding a bunch beyond the peak. On the other hand, if it posts a prominent finish at GP Los Angels this weekend, it does have upside potential similar to Wingmate Roc given it’s mythic rarity. Keep an eye on our wrap up coverage of the major tournaments Sunday night for clues.
4. Rakshasa Deathdealer (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $1.63 to $4.09 (+66%)
Initially speculators held off this card on the assumption that it would follow a similarly unexciting trajectory to Fleecemane Lion, another solid beater from a fall set that peaked over $10 in Nov ’13 only to fall to the $2 range later that season. Ironically the Deathdealer made a strong debut at PTKTK alongside the lion with both cards offering major coordinated offensive power in Mike Sigrist’s aggro Abzan build. Despite the flexibility of the Abzan deck builds, I’m a seller of this card in the $5-6 range as we still have a ton more Khans product to be opened and the card isn’t likely to cross the border into older formats.
5. Dig Through Time (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $8.16 to $12.58 (+54%)
Format: Standard, Modern, Eternal.
If I had to pick a card to be the Snapcaster Mage of Khans of Tarkir, this would be it. Initially overshadowed by the more hyped Treasure Cruise, it was soon revealed that Draw7/Pick2 is actually more powerful than Draw3, especially in control/combo decks that need specific answers or combo pieces to close out games. It’s so powerful, it’s popping up in pretty much any Standard or Modern deck that can cast it and wants the effect, and that’s a lot of them. As a rare in a heavily opened set it will have trouble holding a price point above $10-12 this season, but it deserves the better than average price curve and will be a definite spec once it floats lower on available copy volume heading into spring and summer. As an eternal and EDH gem, I’m holding multiple copies, English foils, Japanese foils, and multiple foreign copies. It’s a card worth trading into and acquiring wherever you find it. The only real question is whether the new delve cards will be too powerful in modern and lead to fresh bannings but we’ve got time to see how that plays out this winter.
Verdict: Sell (Short Term), Buy (Mid-Term/Long-Term)
6. Siege Rhino (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $7.40 to $10.50 (42%)
Here is your leading candidate for the best creature in Standard and a virtual swiss-army knife in the current format. It’s an efficient beater, blocker and de facto counter spell against burn spells. It helped multiple Abzan builds dominate the Top 8 of PTKTK, it reverses starts against Aggro and Tempo that look unwinnable, it tramples over green ramp creatures, and it’s up 40%+ this week as Abzan takes the early mantle as the deck to beat. As a KTK rare it’s current level leaves little room for growth, so I’m a seller, looking to cash out from $4 pre-orders and reinvest for further profit potential elsewhere.
7. See the Unwritten (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $4 to $5.62 (+41%)
This is a card to watch. There is a strong legacy of green cards that leverage early ramp into massive creatures on board, and it’s easier than ever right now to push an early 4 power creature into 2 behemoths given the plethora of ramp creatures and mid-range power creep. The growth this week was based on some Green Devotion play at the Pro Tour leading into Hornet Queen, but with a strong possibility of Eldrazi and/or massive Dragons showing up in Standard later this year, there is definitely runway left for this undervalued mythic. I’m a buyer under $6.
8. Wingmate Roc (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $14.88 to $20.12 (+35%)
With Abzan (WGB) decks dominating the top 8 at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir last weekend, Wingmate Roc has had plenty of camera time lately. The card has more than proven itself as a solid role player in any mid-range deck that can afford the mana cost of 3WW. In a standard format where folks are generally trading 1-for-1 against removal, adding two solid threats to the board for the cost of one can be big game against an exhausted hand. The card’s price is definitely vulnerable to metagame shifts, and it has no future in older formats, but it’s also seeing play in Jeskai Control and Mardu builds so it should be able to hold $15+ for most of the season.
9. Glittering Wish (Future Sight, Rare): $15.99 to $19.36 (+21%)
Easily found for as little as $2 just 6 weeks ago, Glittering Wish was always a strong card waiting for the right deck. As a Future Sight era rare it is basically a Super Mythic, and the 1000% increase isn’t that surprising given the trajectory of other rares from that set in recent years once they found a home. Driving the trend is the pivotal nature of Glittering Wish in the modern version of the Jeskai Ascendancy combo deck where it serves as an extra 3-4 copies by fetching the central combo piece from the sideboard as necessary. So long as it’s Ascendancy rather than Wish that gets banned this winter (a result most consider likely), there is more room for upside here, so long as another deck finds a use for it. Even still, I’ve been a happy seller at this price point, because the upside from here is unlikely to outpace other options.
10. Blood Moon (9th Edition, Rare): $16.24 to $19.49 (+20%)
Format: Modern + Legacy
At a time when many Modern cards are floating lower, the utility of Blood Moon in shutting down the increasingly complicated mana-bases in Modern and Legacy is still gaining traction. The card hasn’t been printed for a while and the recent boost is attributable at least partially to the increased prominence of Burn and U/R aggro strategies in older formats made possible by the emergence of Monestary Swiftspear. This is a card that’s fine to hold if you’re looking to play it and easy to sell if you see a chance to reinvest elesewhere.
1. Savage Knuckleblade (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $4.31 to $3.21 (-26%)
The Estimated Value of a box of Khans of Tarkir is still too high at present, and with such a highly opened set, something has to give. Prime candidates will continue to include powerful but under-performing cards like Savage Knuckleblade that aren’t showing up at enough top tables to hold their value. Pending a strong finish of note, this card is headed to $1-2.
2. Rattleclaw Mystic (Khans of Tarkir, Rare): $5.85 to $4.64 (-21%)
Despite showing up as a four-of in the Jeskai Ascendancy standard deck, the Mystic is largely unrepresented compared to stronger rares found on the upswing this week from Khans of Tarkir. As such, expect it to settle in around $4 and look to snap copies up quickly if it posts a strong finish, since a metagame shift could easily see this come back up in the $6-10 range.
3. Empty the Pits (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $5.34 to $4.30 (-19%)
Format(s): Standard, Modern + EDH/Casual
The power isn’t in dispute, but it’s unclear whether Empty the Pits can find a home in a powerful graveyard centered deck in Standard that can put up great results. Even when it shows up, it’s often just a 1-2 of. As a long-term pickup this card has strong potential as a mythic in the $5 range that could easily hit $15-20 in a few years.
- Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Surrak Dragonclaw and Butcher of the Horde are all down 15%+ this week because they aren’t showing up in top table decks yet. All three can easily reverse course on better news. Keep an eye out for bargains, especially on the mythics.
- Fetches have been a “sell” since the pre-release and will continue to be until they fall under $10-12 broadly as befits their status as fall set rare dual lands that are only seeing limited play in standard. Look to buy a ton of these next summer during fal set discount season.
- I recommend selling boxes of Modern Masters which can be unloaded in the $360-400 range right now. Unknowns around the potential release of Modern Masters 2 as a global release make possible reprints from the 1st set a distinct possibility I don’t want to hang around to see proved wrong. The profits are solid for a 16 month hold, so I’m all out, saving only one box for way down the road.
James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.
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