PROTRADER: Rivals of Ixalan Pickups

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Believe it or not, it’s time for another preview season.

Masters 25 lands in about four weeks, and if that seems like not a lot of time since Rivals of Ixalan was first introduced, you’d be right! We’re at a point where about every two months, there’s a new group of cards for us to deal with and decide on, and I haven’t yet decided if that’s a good thing.

I first got into this game heavily in 1995, and the summer of that year had three major releases in a four-month span: Fourth Edition, Ice Age, and then Chronicles. Needless to say, I didn’t have much spare money that summer.

I used to think we would never return to that point…but really, we aren’t far off. We got Rivals on January 13, Masters 25 prereleases are March 16, Dominaria is April 21, and Core Set 2019 is July 7. That’s four in six months, and the first three are in a four-month span. We are back! RIP wallet.

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All of this is a roundabout way of saying that the turnover, the churn of new cards and product, is very real. We’re about done drafting the Rivals/Rivals/Ixalan format, and so it’s time to think about the Rivals of Ixalan cards that are at max supply, and therefore lowest price.

Dire Fleet Daredevil ($4 nonfoil/$12 foil)

I like this card for a lot of reasons. Being able to raid your opponents’ graveyards is an amazing trick, and while Snapcaster is a more reliable play, this Pirate is seeing a bit of Modern play, and it’s a useful card against Blue Commander decks that are going to abuse their graveyard. The foil multiplier is exactly where you’d expect it to be, so the casual demand isn’t there…yet.

All of today’s picks are small-set cards, meaning that the supply is impacted noticeably, and with the added pressure that is Masters 25. We should be opening Rivals until April, but we are going to lose a few weeks of these cards being added to the worldwide supply.

What I really love about this card is how it’s popping up as a fun-of in Vintage lists, since being able to play the other player’s Time Walk and Ancestral Recall is just the nicest spice you ever sampled.

This is unlikely to see play as a four-of in any format, it’s just too inconsistent. But a card making waves across formats and with excellent casual potential…I want a couple copies on hand. It’s not big in EDHREC yet, only 96 decks, but the plethora of great spells makes me want to snag foils for relatively low cost.

 

Blood Sun ($4/$20)

First off, that’s a heavy foil multiplier, especially for a card not heavy on Commander play. In fact, this isn’t seeing a lot of play in many formats, though Legacy is trying its hardest to break the card by using two-mana lands to cheat it out as early as possible.

This card had a tremendous amount of hype, and caused some other cards to jump very high very quickly, but hasn’t made much impact yet.

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I strongly suspect that people who bought this for absurdly high preorder prices are refusing to cut their losses and let go, especially on foils. I feel like the price is low for the power that the card offers, so I’m on board for a few copies and holding patiently. This is probably never going to be a standard player, though the prevalence of utility lands in the current format does make it a tempting sideboard option.

 

Warkite Marauder ($2/$6)

If it goes further down, I’ll get more copies.

Yes, it’s an aggressive blue card. This is rarely a dominant archetype, but every time I look at the Favorable Winds lists floating around, this is the one that stands out to me. It’s quite powerful, difficult to block, cheap to play, and the best news is that when you want this cart, you’re in for the full four copies. No one is going to play two or three of this, and so when a deck does well, you’ll see the available copes get snagged quite quickly.

 

Ravenous Chupacabra ($1.50/$7.50)

I know, I know. It’s an uncommon. Hear me out, though. It’s seeing play across a lot of archetypes, just for the sheer value it represents. It’s a fantastic creature even in control decks, because it gets value and then trades or chump blocks. It’s mostly seeing play as two or three copies, which makes sense. We have Vraska’s Contempt at the same mana cost, eclipsing what it’s capable of.

It’s a $1.50 uncommon while the set is still being opened. It’s going to be in Standard for another 18 months, and that’s a long time for this to see a lot of play. I’m not going to be shocked when this is a $3 card, and I won’t hesitate to buy these at $1 right now and trade them away at $3 in a few months.

One thing to add here: this foil price might be confusing you, but you’re underestimating the number of people who play Commander more casually. If you want this effect, you’re spoiled for choices if you poke through Magic’s history. This is the cheapest ‘destroy target creature’ effect, one with no drawbacks, and what I think is happening is that newer players are just not letting the foils get into circulation. Heck, there’s only ~330 total copies on TCG right now, combining foils and nonfoils. That’s less than a lot of the rares, and for comparisons’ sake, there’s 239 listed copies of Azor, the Lawbringer on the site.

Journey to Eternity ($2.50/$10)

I sort of wish there was a promo version of this too, because this is a super-solid pick for long-term casual growth. There isn’t an EDH deck that doesn’t want this effect, and enabling it isn’t hard. You have to dodge the exile effects, or stuff in response, but you’re going to see a lot of Meren decks go turn two Sakura-Tribe Elder, turn-three this, and then that’s all she wrote.

Barring FTV: Ixalan’s Secret Locations or some other type of set, this is going to make you some great money going forward.
 

Cliff is an avid Cuber and Commander player, and has a deep love for weird ways to play this game. His current project is a light-up sign for attracting Cubers at GPs, so get his attention @wordofcommander on Twitter if you’ve got ideas or designs.

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