Anticipating the 2013 Fall Banned and Restricted List Update

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By Travis Allen

As Theros nears, it’s almost time for another visit to the Banned and Restricted list. Updates to the Banned and Restricted (B&R) list are responsible for some of the fastest and most severe price changes in Magic finance. It occurs at a very specific time (midnight) on a very specific site (dailymtg) amidst the cacophony of the F5 key being mashed by devoted mages everywhere. The changes have immediate impacts. There’s no need to spend time considering how a card influences a metagame; when a card is unbanned it simply skyrockets in price. Whether it will be any good at all or not is completely irrelevant. Midnight at the B&R corral is entirely a “shoot first and ask questions later” scenario.

Today we’ll look at reasonable candidates for removal from the list, and the consequences of those cards being unbanned. If I don’t reference a card, it’s because I don’t consider the likelihood of it being unbanned at this time enough to warrant discussion.

One last thing – Jace isn’t getting unbanned. Don’t ask about it.

Modern

Wild Nacatl – Wizards originally cited a concern that Nacatl reduces diversity by eventually forcing all green-based aggressive strategies to be quite similar. Well, a great deal has changed since then, and the result is that we have basically no green aggro/zoo at this point.

Wild Nacatl: Duel Decks Ajani vs Nicol Bolas

At this point the soup du jour for getting into the red zone is Robots. There’s been a little RG Aggro that pops up now and then, but it’s a fringe player at best. Wild Nacatl would have the chance to put green-based aggressive decks back on the map again and help temper the significant amount of combo roaming the Modern landscape.

Wild Nacatl will be unique on this list in that she herself will not vary much in price if she is allowed back into Modern. As a common, there isn’t much room for growth. The pack foils and promo will see a slight uptick at best. Additionally, looking back at old Zoo lists before she was banned there appears to be very few rares in those lists that aren’t still seeing solid play, so none of her old cronies are poised to see a huge upswing if she returns.

As best as I can tell, the biggest winner if Wild Nacatl is unbanned is Domri Rade. He’s already showing up in Modern, and Nacatl would cement him as a legitimate contender in the format. Domri is starting to push $25 already, and could easily end up the best Planeswalker in standard. Nacatl pushing him harder in Modern could send him into the $30-$35+ range pretty easily. Unfortunately, as speculators it’s tough to put so much capital into a card with a profit margin of around $5. You’ll want to own a playset, but I wouldn’t go much deeper than that.

Honestly, beyond Domri, I’m not sure what else is a hot pickup if Nacatl is unbanned. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments of a card I’m overlooking that isn’t already justifying its price tag.

Bitterblossom – I’m no fan of the fae myself, but I recognize that Bitterblossom would unquestionably give rise to a new (old) contender. It’s assuredly a riskier choice than Nacatl, and may end up proving to be too much, but given the relative diversity of Modern right now Wizards may be willing to try adding a little spice. Enabling fae would certainly help reign in the combo decks a bit, just as Nacatl would.

Where is the money to be made with a Bitterblossom unbanning? The non-promo itself is already $15-20, so like Domri, even if it rises in price we’re unlikely to see our investment even double. Obtaining a playset of these if you’re interested in the deck is safe, but hardly lucrative. Vendilion Clique is already obscenely priced, so that’s not particularly a good spec target. Our best bet would be a rare that is seeing no play at all right now, but would be a major player in fae.

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Mistbind Clique
Mistbind Clique

My choice for this role is Mistblind Clique. Due to the champion trigger, she’s unplayable without a critical mass of faeries, but in a Bitterblossom deck, champion may as well be advantageous. As a 4/4 Time Walk that gets even sillier with Restoration Angel, a card that faeries would probably want anyways, Mistbind is fertile ground at only $3. What makes this particularly safe is that it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Mistbind do anything in a real format and she’s still $3, so that appears to be her real floor for the time being, meaning you can’t lose much on an investment. If Bitterblossom gets unbanned, Mistbind could easily break $10, and $20 isn’t inconceivable.

Interesting note: good luck finding foils of this card. As of this writing, TCG has 0, SCG has 1 SP JP, ABU has 1 NM and 1 SP, and eBay has 1 JP.

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Legacy

Earthcraft – I’m not sure this card actually does anything in Legacy, which makes it a great card to remove from the B&R list. I think we are well beyond the point that a 2-3 card combo that requires a basic land would have any meaningful impact in that format. If it’s unbanned it will double or triple in price, but then what? A viable competitive deck will almost undoubtedly fail to materialize, so after an initial jump it will spend months dwindling down. Make sure that if you’re holding any when/if this is unbanned, you sell into the hype immediately.

Memory Jar – Many are aware that this card has the honor of being the only one in Magic history to be emergency banned. However, that was in Urza’s Legacy, and Tolarian Academy was in the set prior. Yes, Memory Jar draws you 7 cards. It also costs 5 mana. Would it be unbelievably broken? Unlikely. It would certainly be riskier than a card like Earthcraft but that doesn’t preclude Wizards from finding out.

Memory Jar itself would be the biggest beneficiary of it being unbanned, easily surpassing $15-$20.

Mind Twist – By the time you’re casting this in a way that makes it better than Hymn, it’s taking your entire hand to do it. Sure your opponent has no cards left, but neither do you, except for maybe a City of Traitors or a Grim Monolith. And that is the best case scenario. Mind Twist is a relatively safe unban, and most Legacy enthusiasts agree.

The financial impact would be very similar to Earthcraft. We’d see prices severely increase ($8-20), but when it fails to put up results, it will slowly tick down. Again, sell into the hype immediately.

Mind’s Desire – This is my favorite card on this list for a few reasons. First of all, the judge promo is phenomenal looking. Second, I simply think the card is cool when viewed through a kitchen table lens. Third, the card is comfortably under $1. If Mind’s Desire is unbanned, $15 each seems easy, as any Desire deck would want four. This card is super cheap to get in on, and has a gigantic upside.

Mind's Desire Judge Promo
Mind’s Desire Judge Promo

Before the comments fill up with people exclaiming this card is buh-roken, consider it relative to Ad Nauseam. Mind’s Desire needs 6 mana, 2 of which are blue, and a healthy storm count. Ad Nauseam needs 5 mana, 2 of which are black. The biggest point in Mind’s Desire’s favor is that a single FoW won’t stop it as it will Ad Nauseam. Given the extra work you have to do in order to cast the card however, that doesn’t seem unreasonable.

Mystical Tutor – This was banned on considerably dubious grounds due to Reanimator, and that deck is hardly crushing Legacy. We have a good idea of what the format looks like with it back, so it’s not a complete unknown in the same way something like Memory Jar would be. The biggest threat with this card is probably Show and Tell. if Mystical Tutor is unbanned, it may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in regards to getting S&T banned.

Around $4-$5, the upside on this is probably about double. Not only was it in FTV, It was uncommon in both Mirage and 6th Edition, which has a very real impact on the quantity available. I would be picking these up in trades for cheap if possible, but I probably wouldn’t put much cash directly into them.

Tolarian Academy – One of the most feared lands of all time and the frosty harbinger of combo winter. There is little consideration given to why this is banned; a simple “It’s Tolarian Academy” will suffice. However, this article by Carsten Kotter from last year has a great explanation of why the card is probably (mostly) fair. It’s certainly a few levels above Earthcraft, but it’s entirely possible it isn’t a Survival of the Fittest.

Financially? Gaea’s Cradle is ~$130. The sky’s the limit.

Worldgorger DragonWorldgorger sets up an infinite loop with something like Animate Dead, so you get infinite mana and infinite ETB triggers. In order to accomplish this however, you need to get Worldgorger into your graveyard, reanimate it with Animate Dead, and dodge your opponent having counterspells, creature removal, or graveyard removal. At that point, isn’t Griselbrand or Jin-Gitaxis just better?

Like Mind’s Desire, he’s comfortably under $1 which leaves a huge amount of room to grow, regardless of performance. Immediately sell any and all copies into the hype.


I mentioned it briefly before, but this article by Carsten is a great look at the Banned and Restricted list. There are a lot of cards on those lists that we just assume are there for a good reason, but haven’t truly considered in quite some time. It’s a fun read.

  • Stormbreath Dragon is the real deal. Did you notice that Pat Chapin’s article today (premium required) over on SCG had him in nearly every single deck that made red mana?
  • Nimbus Maze has been confirmed to not be in Theros, so sorry if you wasted $40 on a foil playset like I did.
  • There was a post on Reddit about Savageborn Hydra being a decent spec target. I definitely agree. While it’s not guaranteed he jumps while in Standard, the precedent is there to at least double your money by the time he rotates.
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Planning ahead for Commander 2013

There is a healthy amount of debate about which casual format is the most popular. We have so many to choose from! EDH is my forte, but we have Cubes, Rainbow, Highlander, Horde, and so many more. I’m of the opinion that 60-card casual is the most popular, without much regard for sets and legality. There are some awesome and fun decks to build, and I’ve got the Voltron deck with the Visions Chimera creatures to back this statement up.

Shiny.

EDH is the casual format that gets the most press, though, and it also gets the most official support from Wizards. In 2011, they released a set of five preconstructed 100-card decks that contained cards never printed before. This was a real gamble from the company, because if a card took off for Legacy, then the decks would get bought up.

Luckily, this wasn’t really a problem. Flusterstorm was quickly a judge promo, and just as Scavenging Ooze was getting out of hand in price, it’s a rare in Magic 2014.

Let’s not overlook the value that was crammed into these decks, though. On top of the new cards, there were lots of reprints with monetary worth. Sol Ring was in every deck, and the price on that alone is 25% of the MSRP.

We got lands, artifacts, creatures, all sorts of amazing goodies, and for a surprisingly reasonable price. Since this was a wide release, game stores didn’t have a chance to mark this up like they do with FTV or other limited releases.

Why am I reviewing things from two years ago? Because there is a new set of five Commander decks coming out this November, and we know enough to make some plans. Last week I made some specific price predictions that are taking into account a new batch of EDH players, and the increased demand for such casual cards.

The decks are three-color shards, allied colors as in the Shards of Alara block. This means that the tri-lands like Seaside Citadel, currently $2 uncommons, will very likely get a reprint. I think their value will go down slightly (so you should get rid of extras you have now), but you should pick up foils now if you can.

We didn’t get much in terms of rare lands last time, aside from Command Tower, an elegantly simple design. Expect that to get printed again. I would suggest you keep an eye on eBay for the two foil Towers, the judge promo and the Commanders Arsenal, as those won’t come around again with that art and in foil. When the new decks come out, people will want the foils and I doubt you’ll be able to find these under $20.

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I don’t expect the check lands (Sunpetal Grove, Sulfur Falls, etc.) to be in these decks either. I’m targeting these lands when they rotate anyway, but you want to have the two allied lands and the enemy-color land to trade away at high value once people are opening the decks and want to improve the manabase. So for the red-black-blue deck (Grixis colors) someone will want a Dragonskull Summit, a Drowned Catacomb, and a Sulfur Falls, all at once. You should be able to get the assorted checklands for very low investment once rotation happens, and they will bump up when the Commander decks come out.

Since the new decks are shards and not wedges like the last, I’m also looking for the legends from the 2011 set. Being printed two years ago and safe from printing this year means that they are safe for at least another year. When someone picks up EDH as a format, the tendency is to go on a deck-building spree. Did you know that Kaalia of the Vast is a $15+ card? She will probably be retailing for $20 before Valentine’s Day. It’s hard to find spare singles from Commander’s Arsenal but it may be worth it, since we have been told that the preconstructed decks will be a yearly thing and CA was a one-time product.

The two spoiled legends from the set are a Vampire and a Dragon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Bant Angel, a Naya Beast, and an Esper Sphinx as legends. I’m on the lookout for cards that go well with those tribes and two are about to rotate: Thundermaw Hellkite and Vampire Nocturnus. I’m sure we will see some tribal enablers too.

Give me a moment to make a wild-eyed prediction. Ever since Jace, the Mind Sculptor was put in FTV:20, I’ve had it in my mind that the C13 decks will have fetchlands in each deck. Maybe just one per deck, the enemy-colored ones from Zendikar, because this would increase the supply of those lands for Modern decks somewhat. I’d really love to get the maximum of three fetches per deck but that would just be too amazing.

I want to leave you with this closing thought, based on my play with the first set of five Commander decks: These are not Duel Decks, these are not Event decks. These are very playable, staple-filled, fairly competitive EDH decks. Even now, two years later, each of the decks is easily worth more than its MSRP. Don’t sleep on the value involved just because you don’t play the format.

But you really ought to be playing the format.

City of Traders: Transparency

By Travis Allen

When I’m learning something new, I always find it extremely helpful to view examples. Seeing a concept or skill in action really helps cement the learning process for me, whether it’s finding a derivative or changing the oil on a motorcycle. So in light of that, today I’ve decided to show you exactly what I am personally holding on to. You’ll see every single card I’ve got stashed away in my “not trading” box. These are cards that for whatever reason I’ve pulled out of trade binders and sale lists and am squirreling away until they rise in price.

This type of transparency will not only act as an example of speculating, but provide total insight into exactly where I’ve chosen to put my Magic dollars. Recently I’ve started posting my shopping carts after I make a purchase on my personal Twitter account over at @wizardbumpin. This is an extension of that visibility. There is no liability when sitting in a lofty throne proclaiming things a worthy purchase, but it’s entirely different to put your money where your mouth is and show people exactly what choices you yourself have made. I hope through my increased visibility I will have to be more accountable to the public, and consequently myself.

Many of these cards were traded for rather than purchased outright. It’s important to diversify, so you’ll see a large number of piles but some are of very few cards. I would like, for instance, more Omniscience, but I just haven’t seen enough in binders to acquire more. It’s also not an entirely exhaustive list, as personal playsets are not shown, extras in decks at the moment, cards I’ve lent out, etc. Let’s hop in!

 

Standard

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We begin with one of my safest holds. I’ve got roughly 60 spare Shocklands across the 10 varieties. These guys have already bottomed out, and it looks like they may start to make their move pretty soon. They’ll all see their day in the sun at $15 or more, and as each one pops into my trade binder they will go.

 

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This is a card I wish I had more of. Zegana has an awesomely powerful effect, and is dirt cheap right now.

 

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Special promos like this plains occasionally creep up, and this one seems to have already started. I recall grabbing them for $1 back around the time they came out, and they’re up to $3 now. If they don’t climb though, I’m not losing much by having a few dollars’ worth of cards hang around.

 

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Temporal Mastery is kind of a miss for me. I picked them up when they were a bit more than they are now, anticipating them seeing play once more before rotation. It’s obvious that opportunity came and went, so now they’re a long hold. Time Walk effects are still pretty awesome, with Time Warp and Time Stretch each being $5. Temporal Mastery has the added benefit of the miracle trigger, which has a non-zero chance of becoming playable in Modern. If that ever happens, it will probably hit $15+.

 

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I was snatching up Vraska at $4-5 wherever I could. If she sees play in Standard, awesome. If not, I wait 6 months after rotation and trade them away for $10.

 

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Scavenging Ooze isn’t done rising yet, and I’m reasonably confident all copies will end up above $20 at some point. The only reason I don’t have more is that it’s tough to buy in at $14 for maybe $6 in profit on each.

 

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Deathrite Shaman and Scavenging Ooze make Angel of Serenity a little less exciting than she was before. I may hold onto her for a little while, but if she still hasn’t made a move by the first of the year, I may just go ahead and toss her in the binder.

 

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I’ve spoken before about Exava with Kalonian Hydra. She’s under $1 right now, so there’s no real reason to trade her yet. I’m hoping for $3-5 each before I let her go.

 

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Plasm Capture is a $.70 Mana Drain. I just ordered 17 more. The worst case scenario is I buylist them for $1 at some point down the road.

 

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Easy casual fodder, and with Standard likely slowing down significantly after rotation, Master Biomancer may have time to shine.

 

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I’m not sure where all of my copies of Griselbrand got to. I think someone is borrowing them. In any case, $10 feels like this guy’s floor. He sees too much play as a combo piece in both Modern and Legacy to not start creeping up.

 

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Armada Wurm is an absolute face crusher, and is only $2-3 to boot. The upside on this guy is so high I’m willing to take the risk that he doesn’t move.

 

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I started picking up Mizzium Mortars when they were under $2. Their ceiling is probably $5, but with Bonfire gone there’s a lot more room for this card to grow.

 

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Blood Baron, despite experiencing relatively minimal Standard play, has absolutely refused to drop in price. That means there is another factor here keeping him afloat, likely casual demand. I don’t feel like I can really lose much holding onto him to see if he does more post rotation.

 

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A lonely Progenitor Mimic, he’s in the same camp as Master Biomancer.

 

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Rakdos’s Return has seen a reasonable amount of Standard play so far, and a slower format bodes very well for this card.

 

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Loxodon Smiter is another card I wish I had a lot more of. He can currently be had for under $4. Meanwhile, he’s seeing heavy play in Standard right now, was absolutely everywhere in the Block PT, shows up occasionally in Modern, and even splashes into Legacy occasionally. I’m tempted to go buy a few. Hundred.

 

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Omniscience is another one I’ve mentioned in a past article. I believe $20 is very possible, so I’m waiting for a while to get there. I don’t think it will take too long.

 

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I have all of these Niv-Mizzets because I was grabbing them for $1. I figure I’ll wait and see if he goes anywhere, and if not, I should be able to at least buylist them without loss eventually.

 

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Jace, like Loxodon Smiter, was absolutely everywhere in the Block Pro Tour. It’s hard to imagine him not cresting $20 at some point.

 

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My verdict is that this will behave just like Jace and Loxodon Smiter.

 

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At $1 in trade, I like Gyre Sage. It’s a nifty card that could pretty easily be $4.

 

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I like Scion simply because of how cheap it is. I just picked up 25 at $.37 each. Someone on camera is going to cast Advent of the Wurm at end of turn, untap, then cast Scion, and they will make me some money when they do it.

 

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Lotleth Troll has seen play in all three formats, and he’s $1. It’s basically impossible to lose, so why not?

 

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Detention Sphere has a lot going for it in Theros. First of all, it’s a more powerful Oblivion Ring. Second, it’s an enchantment, which means we may be able to get paid for it. Third, it’s great against Tokens, which may be rather relevant in the coming Standard. Fourth, it deals with Indestructible Gods. Fifth, it…

 

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Deadbridge Chant is basically comparable to drawing a card every turn (ala Staff of Nin, which saw standard play), but occasionally comes with big mana savings. You can also adjust your odds with Scavenging Ooze. Could easily break $10, but even if it doesn’t, a few dollars seems possible.

 

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While Duskmantle wasn’t $1 when I grabbed him, they were still pretty cheap. It’s hard to imagine him going through all of Theros without seeing play. There are also a lot more ways to punish your opponents drawing cards/having hands in Modern, so it’s possible his break may come there instead.

 

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Similar to Vraska, Gideon is a cheap Planeswalker that could see play in Standard, and even if he doesn’t, will jump down the road due to casual demand.

 

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Another member of the $1 “why not” brigade. Bonus points for possibly being better than Griselbrand in a Through the Breach deck that doesn’t run Fury of the Horde.

 

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I don’t think I need to say anything about Deathrite that hasn’t already been said.

 

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Trostrani was a solid pickup before the Block PT when she was $3 or less. After that she doubled so I’m less aggressive about trading for her, but $10-15 is still totally viable. I’ll probably put them in my binder a week or two after rotation.

 

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I’m pretty sure I paid $.25 to $.50 each for these foil Lay of the Lands. If they see no play, it cost me a few dollars. If they do, each one is worth $4.

 

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I grab these as throw-ins where possible, since they’re unique cards that someone will be willing to pay several dollars apiece for at some point in the future.

 

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Ah, Havengul Lich. I was vacuuming these up for $3-4 when I was hoping they would spike in Standard. Like Temporal Mastery that door never opened, but I have faith (perhaps misplaced) that he will one day be $10+. Regardless of how long that takes, I will feel like a genius (unjustifiably) when it finally happens.

 

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Vorel and Renegade Krasis travel together. At less than $0.50 each, they’re fertile ground. Casual players love lords and counters, which these two have in spades. I don’t need to see much of a jump to realize a profit here, and if any form of Zvi’s BUG list shows up, they’ll likely be a part of it.

 

Modern

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I snatched up Jin-Gitaxis back when he was under $2. Since then Griselbrand was printed so Jin-Gitaxis is less of a premium reanimation target than he was, but he’s still climbed to $5 in the interim. Once he’s firmly in the $7+ range, I’ll probably move him to the binder.

 

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Regular readers of my article (all three of you) will remember me talking about Horizon Canopy a few weeks back. I ended up with a foil playset for myself, and these spares left over. If I bring a binder to GP Detroit, they will be in it.

 

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Liliana of the Veil is poised to be more expensive in 6 months than she is now. Her price is driven almost exclusively by Modern and Legacy. She may see a dip right after rotation before she hikes it back up again, and if she does, I encourage you to trade aggressively. I will be.

 

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Both Arcbound Ravager and Kiki-Jiki I was picking up for good numbers in trade a few months ago when they were a tad lower. I’m not too worried much about them being reprinted prior to the Modern PTQ season, so I’m just letting them hang out until then.

 

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Goryo’s Vengeance was a favorite of mine a year ago, but now that we have Deathrite and Ooze, I’ve had to step away. Through the Breach is the next cheaty card in Modern, and it feels like it’s hovering right on the edge of popping. Goryo’s went from $3 to $11, and I don’t doubt this would see similar movement. The only thing we’re missing is some form of reasonable fast mana, a way to cheat on splice costs, or something else I haven’t thought of.

 

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Glittering Wish showed up in what may actually have been only a single MTGO event last season, but it immediately jumped from chump change to $2+ after a bit of chatter. It’s the single legal Wish in Modern, and will only get better as more gold cards are printed.

 

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I started grabbing Pod where I could as SOM rotated, as I could see it having appeal long-term. The fact that many were reluctant to trade them only confirmed my suspicions. Frankly, I’m surprised this card is still only $5. I would expect $10-$13 really at any point between now and the PTQ season.

 

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Spellskite broke $10 last season, and it’s only been seeing more play since. It would be difficult to reprint due to the Phyrexian mana, and even if it was, it would be in some form of supplementary product, so it wouldn’t be in large volume. Recently I came across some data that says Spellskite is the second most played card in Modern! (http://www.mtggoldfish.com/format-staples/modern) I haven’t been buying above $6, but I snap them up below that.

 

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I grabbed Shadows right before the spike. I’m in no rush to get rid of them, so once the PTQ season rolls around I’ll ship them to someone desperate.

 

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GSZ is an old pickup, back from before it was banned in Modern. I really liked it at that time, too. I suppose I should probably move this to the trade binder. With the recent printing of it in FTV 20, we are a long ways off from seeing any more action on this card.

 

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Should Bitterblossom ever become unbanned in Modern, or even another real faerie enabler be printed, I expect Mistbind to be very popular. It’s basically a Time Walk stapled to a 4/4, and it plays exceptionally well with Restoration Angel. I’m not sure how a deck wins after getting Cliqued, then Resto bouncing Clique.

 

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Ancestral Visions were obtained before an early Modern Banned/Restricted list update, when I was expecting it to be unbanned. Here we are some two years later, and I still have them. On the one hand, if it was unbanned, I’d make some money. On the other hand, it would be legal in Modern, which if Gerry T is to be believed, would be miserable for everyone involved. I’m not sure what I prefer here.

 

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Whoops. I’d move these to the trade binder, but what’s even the point?

 

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Moving along.

 

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I picked these up before they showed up as an FNM promo, and I was pretty excited about it. They were the chase uncommon for an underdrafted set, and were seeing play in every single format. Path to Exile was a $5 uncommon, so why couldn’t this be? To be honest, I’m still not sure why it never climbed much higher. At this point the demand is low, so I may as well sit on them to see if the price goes up.

 

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The SOM Fastlands, along with Birthing Pod, were cards I was grabbing as much of as possible after rotation. They were dirt cheap and had been showing up in Modern. They’ve all ticked up a bit since then, particularly Blackcleave Cliffs. Eventually these are going to pop, and I’ll be quite happy when they do.

 

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I’ve discussed these a few times, but the short version is that with the move of the Modern PTQ season, I’ll likely be selling them after the first of the year.

 

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I can probably move these to the trade binder at this point; I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

 

Legacy

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It’s a land that makes a lot of mana and it’s on the reserved list. I haven’t been hunting them, but when I come across them in a collection, I’ll set them aside.

 

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Honestly, I should have sold these when they last spiked, but I was out of town at the time. Now I have to wait again.

 

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I’ll be covering Mind’s Desire probably next week, when I talk about Banned/Restricted changes.

 

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Like Mind’s Desire, I’ll speak to these next week.

 

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Also a B&R card.

 

  • Serra’s Sanctum has quietly been sneaking up since the Legend change, and is now $40. I hope you grabbed yours already.
  • Thassa feels like the strongest card in Theros as of 9/2/13. An enchantment that had Scry 1 on every upkeep would be fair at 1U, so you’re basically paying 1 mana for the entire rest of the card. Preorders are $17 which is a pricy gambit, but I’m watching this like a hawk.
  • Ensnaring Bridge is quietly one of the best cards in Modern right now. I’m not sure how much it could really peak with three printings, but it may not have finished climbing yet.
  • Foil Nimbus Maze is all but gone from TCGPlayer, SCG, and eBay.
  • As soon as I saw Magma Jet as a probable reprint, I grabbed 6 Fifth Dawn foils at $5.50 each. I now don’t see any available at less than $10, and if it starts out seeing play in the new Standard, it could go as high as $15.

Edit: I originally forgot to include all of my sealed product, so here it is at a glance:

20130905_160317

October Rotation Price Targets

By Cliff Daigle

Theros is coming.

It’s going to be released the first week in October, and that’s when ‘rotation’ happens. All of Innistrad block (Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored) and Magic 2013 will not be allowed in Standard decks anymore.

Traditionally, this means that their prices fall, and indeed, a lot of those cards are starting to creep lower.

Today, I want to go over the cards that are going to get taken out of Standard decks and you should snap them up at their lowest prices. I can’t say for sure what those prices will be, but whatever they end up at, get them at rotation. When their price goes back up in a year or so from casual appeal, you’ll be thanking me.

I’m also going to make a prediction for what their prices will be in October 2013, and again in October 2014. My only caveat is that if something gets reprinted or banned, the price will do something really weird and that prediction will be irrelevant.

 

Magic 2013

The M10-M13 checklands (Sunpetal Grove, etc.): These are very common after four core set printings and yet they are still a decent price, because they are very good in casual decks, even as a one-of. These do not see much Modern play, so once their price drops low, they will creep back up around Christmas, I’d say, when the new Commander decks come out and people are building a lot of new EDH decks.
Price at Rotation: $2 each
Price in a year: $5 each

Thundermaw Hellkite: Dragon decks are fun and easy to build. This particular dragon is a powerhouse, being five hasty power for five mana. It’s also worth mentioning that this on turn five is one of the best followups to Kaalia of the Vast on turn four, because he clears the path for her attack. Doesn’t see much Modern play, but sees lots of casual use. I’m in.
Price at Rotation: $7
Price in a year: $12

Rhox Faithmender: Doubling lifegain effects is something casual players love to do. He hasn’t been paired with Thragtusk in a while, but his appeal outside Standard is very high.
Price at Rotation: $1 or less
Price in a year: $3

Sublime Archangel: Angels are a serious thing for casual players. This one is cheap and can hit very hard. She fits into a lot of different decks: Tribal, Exalted, or even ones with themes like “beautiful women on the card” and if you think I’m kidding about those sorts of decks, remember there’s an Elvish Ranger who wants a word. As for Sublime, she will hit a floor at rotation and tick slowly up for years.
Price at Rotation: $6
Price in a year: $10

Omniscience: This is popular in Legacy Show and Tell, often used to cast an Emrakul for free, getting an extra turn and the win pretty often. EDH players go just as crazy for this card. I don’t expect the price to fall far on this card, but I’ll be ready if it does. Of all the cards on this list, if any get banned, this one is the most likely.
Price at Rotation: $8
Price in a year: $20

Vampire Nocturnus: In Magic 2010, with all the cheap vampires and fetch lands from Zendikar, Nocturnus was the top of the curve and a $20 card despite being the prerelease foil. He’s seen zero Standard play this time around, because the cheap vampires all need red mana and his triple black is just too much. One of the spoiled legends in the new commander set is a Vampire, though, so there’s room for that tribe.
Price at Rotation: $4
Price in a year: $7

Elderscale Wurm: Big and has a unique effect. You can think of him as a green Platinum Angel that attacks very well. He’s nearly bulk now, and I’ll be happy to scoop some up.
Price at Rotation: under $1
Price in a year: $3

Rancor: Another casual all-star, this was a $2 card even after duel deck and Archenemy printings. Pick up as many of these as you can as throw-ins when you’re trading in October–they will be $2 again before long.
Price at Rotation: $1
Price in a year: $3

Thragtusk: The value you get from this one card is still quite impressive. It’s in Cubes and EDH decks and not Modern at all, so when he rotates, get these cheap.
Price at Rotation: $3
Price in a year: $6

Reliquary Tower: One of the lands that every EDH deck should consider playing. I like to have these in my binder for when someone tells me they are building a new casual deck. Foils especially, but regular ones will be a good pickup too.
Price at Rotation: 25 cents
Price in a year: $1

 

Innistrad

Mikaeus, the Lunarch: Yes, he was in FTV:Legends. His effect is very good for one big creature or powering up a casual token army. He’s not used in Standard anymore though, so his price might not change at all.
Price at Rotation: $2
Price in a year: $3

Garruk Relentless: If he drops to $5 or lower, I’ll get all I can. He’s too good for that price. Other such examples: Nissa Revane and Sarkhan Vol. Planeswalkers will always have a certain appeal.
Price at Rotation: $5
Price in a year: $10


Enemy checklands
(Sulfur Falls and the like): Just like their M10 counterparts, these are great and easy mana fixing for casual decks. The bonus here is that these are rarer than the ally-colored ones that have been printed four times, so grab all you can when they bottom out. It’ll be easy money before long.
Price at Rotation: $3 each
Price in a year: $8 each

Geist of St. Traft: I doubt he will go much below $15, because he is used often in Modern and in Legacy. That said, once he rotates, his price will creep upwards. Get in if you can, but I can see people taking their Standard Hexproof deck and turning it into one for Modern.
Price at Rotation: $15
Price in a year: $25

Kessig Wolf Run, Gavony Township: These are the two best utility lands for their colors. They are powerful in different ways but they are easy to add in, because most decks will be able to use such an effect.
Price at Rotation: $1 or less
Price in a year: $2

 

Dark Ascension

Increasing Devotion: Token decks are always going to be a popular way to play. This is one of the best cards for such decks, and let’s not overlook that they make Human tokens, one of the few cards that makes this relevant creature type. Pick this up cheap and sock it away for a year.
Price at Rotation: 25 cents or less
Price in a year: $2

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben: This little lady does it all. She slows spells, she attacks and blocks well, and has a low mana cost. She’s also popular in certain Legacy and Modern decks, so her price might not fall very far.
Price at Rotation: $3
Price in a year: $8

Geralf’s Messenger: A restrictive mana cost and being terrible at blocking mean he won’t see Modern or Legacy play. It’ll be casual or bust for this.
Price at Rotation: $2
Price in a year: $5

Gravecrawler: Zombies are a great tribe and this is a flavor winner. Gravecrawler enables all sorts of combos in all sorts of formats. Keep in mind he’s a buy-a-box foil.
Price at Rotation: $3
Price in a year: $6

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed: Another Zombie whose price is all due to his casual appeal. I’m hoping his price drops to $3 or less, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays where he is.
Price at Rotation: $4
Price in a year: $7

Drogskol Reaver: Here’s a card that will be close to bulk at rotation. It’s too good in assorted EDH decks to stay that low.
Price at Rotation: 25 cents or less
Price in a year: $1.50

Huntmaster of the Fells: Much is going to depend on price memory for this card. When people think about how much they spent on it in its heyday, they will be reluctant to let it go at the new low price it will get to. It’s a fringe player in Modern currently, but if it dips very low, I’ll pick them up.
Price at Rotation: $5
Price in a year: $10

 

Vault of the Archangel: An outstanding effect on a land, and very popular with the casual crowd Grab them and put them away for a while.
Price at Rotation: $1
Price in a year: $4

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad: Again, cheap planeswalkers are something to speculate on. It takes one being truly bad to stay at a low price forever. Even Chandra Ablaze is up to $8, and Sorin is much, much better. Remember that he has a Duel Deck foil nudging his price downwards.
Price at Rotation: $8
Price in a year: $20

 

Avacyn Restored

Avacyn, Angel of Hope: Look at this price. Nearly $20 right now, and that is ONLY due to casual appeal. She’s never been played in Standard or Modern or any Constructed format, but this speaks to the power of the casual crowd. Not just EDH, but every deck wants an effect like this. I do not expect her price to go down at all.
Price at Rotation: $20
Price in a year: $25-$30

 

Cathar’s Crusade: Parallel Lives never had a chance to be cheap, the ship has sailed on making good money off of that. This card offers a different kind of power, and will be available at bulk rates. Get a stack of these, they will be buylisted for $1 within a year.
Price at Rotation: 50 cents
Price in a year: $2

Entreat the Angels: This is a great effect, and when it gets cheap, you should trade for these. Remember, we love Angels and we love tokens!
Price at Rotation: $4
Price in a year: $10

Terminus: I cannot overstate how good this card is in EDH. With every set, there’s new, powerful creatures that resist destruction. This is one of the best spells to cast and its price will be at an all-time low.
Price at Rotation: $2
Price in a year: $7

Deadeye Navigator: Nearly bulk now, he’s too good to stay that low forever.
Price at Rotation: 25 cents or less
Price in a year: $1

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage: Planeswalker, cheap, powerful. You know the drill by now. But in case you’re not aware, there’s nothing a blue player loves more than to bring spells back to hand after casting them.
Price at Rotation: $7
Price in a year: $20

Temporal Mastery: I’m aware that Time Warp is cheaper and more consistent. But it remains a fact that there’s a lot of players who love to take extra turns. Pick these up and help those players realize their dreams.
Price at Rotation: $2
Price in a year: $5

Zealous Conscripts: I still can’t believe this is a card. It’s a combo with Kiki-Jiki, and it will be nearly bulk at rotation. It’ll be good for a long time after that.
Price at Rotation: $1
Price in a year: $3

Craterhoof Behemoth: I sold out on these when they had their spike at the beginning of the year and I’ll be glad to pick them up on the cheap when they bottom out. The effect is too strong and too popular to remain inexpensive.
Price at Rotation: $3
Price in a year: $5

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight: Anything that doubles damage is going to have a high casual appeal. Her ability to halve damage makes things like Pyrohemia amazingly good in EDH. Amusingly, there is exactly one creature that can block her, kill her and live: Withengar Unbound.
Price at Rotation: $3
Price in a year: $10

Sigarda, Host of Herons: A fringe player in Standard for her term, she doesn’t see any play in the Eternal formats. She’s powerful as a Cube or EDH card, especially as a General heading up a Selesnya deck.
Price at Rotation: $2
Price in a year: $6

Bruna, Light of Alabaster: There’s a chance that she gets a lot better with the enchantments coming in Theros block. She is, by far, the best general for an enchantment deck because of her built-in recursion. Others like Uril, the Miststalker or Krond the Dawn-Clad have to work much harder to bring back their Auras.
Price at Rotation: $2
Price in a year: $5

Alchemist’s Refuge: Yes, it requires two colors and three lands, but the effect is undeniably powerful. Something like this is always going to have appeal, no matter the color requirements. Winding Canyons is the nearest example we have.
Price at Rotation: $1
Price in a year: $2

Cavern of Souls: I don’t think this will take much of a hit at rotation. It sees enough Modern/Legacy play to keep its price, and as someone with four tribal EDH decks, I know I’ll be wanting them to get cheap.
Price at Rotation: $15
Price in a year: $20

 

 

Slayers’ Stronghold: Just like the refuge above, it’s worth stretching your mana a little to get an effect this good. Vigilance, power boost, and most importantly, haste on a land. Hall of the Bandit Lord is our comparison, and some decks will want both of these lands.
Price at Rotation: $1
Price in a year: $3

As always, find me on Twitter @WordOfCommander and tell me why I’m so very right or wrong.

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