Uncommons and Commons of Dragons of Tarkir

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By: Jared Yost

This week I’ll be looking at the uncommons and commons in Dragons of Tarkir to analyze their power and see if any have financial value. First though, you should check out the 7000+ word coverage that Travis offered us for the mythics and rares of the set. Though the comments on the article and the Reddit posting may be contentious, I think it’s a great read in order to understand the near future values of the mythics and rares. Since we’re still in the preorder honeymoon phase, card prices are pretty wacky right now. Travis takes them back down to Earth and reminds us that the average value of a box needs to reach a certain equilibrium as more boxes are opened on the market.

Now that we’re caught up on the status of the mythics and rares, let’s get cracking. Of course, I’ll need to cover some ground rules like I’ve done for Fate Reforged.

Since covering just the mythics and rares was such a massive undertaking, Travis tasked me with covering the remaining uncommons and commons in the set that seem powerful enough to see Standard, Modern, Legacy, and even Cube or Vintage play. I’ll stick to Travis’ original article format for this and list out the uncommons and commons I like in the following order:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Red
  • Green
  • Multicolored
  • Artifact
  • Land 

I will not list the uncommons/commons that are bulk, since most uncommons/commons will be bulk and only a select few will wind up seeing tournament play. Also keep in mind that it is really hard for an uncommon to break a $2. Unless the uncommon is insane, then it will almost never be worth more than $2 even at the height of its Standard play. Don’t go around picking up tons of chase uncommons expecting them to spike in price during their Standard life. If an uncommon is really good also expect it to be in an event deck or other supplementary product, furthering the chance none of us will profit from it financially.

I think the best mind set to be in while reviewing uncommons and commons from a financial perspective is to think about the best way to pick them up cheaper than retail, which usually is to set them aside when you crack them or draft them so that you don’t later have to buy these cards at retail prices when you need them for a deck. Foils are nice pick ups for eternal playable uncommons and commons if they are powerful enough to be included in Modern, Legacy, or even Vintage decks. Many times I will prefer to pick up foil copies as they will retain more value in the long term.

Alright, let’s dive into the uncommons and commons in Dragons of Tarkir.

 

White

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Aven Sunstriker
Boy, Skyhunter Skirmisher has come a long way huh? While his Standard applications are questionable at best, I could see it slotting into a warrior deck after Theros rotates from Standard. What I really like the Sunstriker for is Commander or Cube, especially since players are still buying the Forged in Stone deck. Skyhunter Skirmisher is in this deck and this card is an obvious upgrade. Finally, another reason to like this card is because casuals love cheap bodies, with evasion, that can quickly kill an opponent.

 

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Dragon Hunter
Like Sunstriker above, I feel that this card could have a home in a future warriors Standard build. It actually has a stronger case for inclusion, as it has relevant protection in a format with Dragons and is an important one drop that is needed to curve out nicely. However, that warriors deck may never actually materialize. Mardu Woe-Reaper is much better than this card and doesn’t see a lick of play yet. Who knows, maybe Magic Origins will give us more warrior support since it is a pretty generic tribe and we might get a lord in that set, but otherwise this cards future is tenable at best. Still, I’m going to be setting aside all the copies I get since I feel that warriors is on track to become something in Standard.


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Graceblade Artisan
Certainly a weaker Kor Spiritdancer, however that doesn’t mean that casuals won’t eat this card up. Setting our extra copies aside could mean that we’ll be pleasantly surprised in the future.

 

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Orator of Ojutai (and the other four uncommon Dragons of Tarkir “dragons in hand matters” cards)
The “dragons in hand matters” cards might be decent in Standard, however I have a feeling that they’re only going to have a main purpose in limited. Now, if this was a Wall of Omens with flying, this card would be absolutely bonkers. As it is, dragons usually cost too much in Standard to make it worth wanting to play enough of them to be able to draw a card if you play this on turn two. It could have Standard potential but this is more speculation than anything else. I’ll be watching to see if players can make this card work well in Standard.


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Silkwrap
This might actually be usable in Standard since the format is so fast. The only reason Suspension Field isn’t heavily played is because you can’t play it on curve in order to better use it as removal. Silkwrap will pretty much always be played on curve if you have it, though of course it is terrible in the late game when you are in topdecking mode. Not sure if it will make the cut in Standard, though it can’t hurt to set some aside just in case.


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Surge of Righteousness (and the other four uncommon Dragons of Tarkir color hosers)
Looks like we’ve received some color hoser cards in Dragons of Tarkir in addition to Theros. Color hosers are cards specifically printed to be sideboard cards, in case any one particular color becomes too powerful in the format. While Theros gave us color hosers that affected the same color (see Dark Betrayal and others), Dragons of Tarkir went back to a more traditional route of having the color hosers affect enemy colors.

These particular color hosers are great because they affect two colors, not just one. I think this means we’ll be seeing them over their Standard life in sideboards to represent the state of the current metagame. Definitely keep all the color hosers you get from this set and set them aside – any one of them could be good going into the near future and throughout their Standard life.

Blue

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Anticipate
I think that Anticipate has a good chance of seeing Standard play somewhere. Yes, it’s a terrible Impulse and we already have Dig Through Time, Sultai Charm, and Jace’s Ingenuity, yet more card selection usually isn’t a bad thing. This might even slot itself into a new combo deck or even U/W Heroic. I’ll be setting my extra copies aside, if not for this Standard than post-Theros Standard or even Modern.

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Encase in Ice
See my review of Surge of Righteousness above, in the white section.


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Gudul Lurker
Wow, who knew that Triton Shorestalker needed an upgrade already? Definitely a possible inclusion in Mono Blue Devotion, which may be revived now that we have Shorecrasher Elemental. Since it has Megamorph, you can get extra value out of it if the game goes late, which bumps Shorestalker out of the list and slots this in. Even if Standard doesn’t pan out for this card, it is sure to be a casual hit and is definitely a cube worthy if anything else.


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Silumgar Sorcerer
Speaking of mono blue devotion, Silumgar Sorcerer would fit well into this strategy. Keep in mind that Exploit is a “may” effect – you can just as easily keep your mana open to counter a creature spell as to cast this as a 2/1 with flying and flash. That’s some nice value, and a good way of playing Jedi mind tricks with your opponent. Now in Standard, when you draw, play a land, and say go in blue everyone is going to need to consider this card.

I have a feeling that this is one of the better uncommons of the set.

Black

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Blood-Chin Rager
Wow, now this is the two mana 2/2 that warriors have always wanted!  Efficiently costed creature, in a relevant creature type, that grants semi-evasion to the rest of your warriors when it attacks? I think this card is pretty good and will be seen in warriors if the deck starts popping up in Standard.


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Duress
Even though it has been printed into oblivion, Duress will always be worth something on a buylist. Stock your extra copies away, especially foils, and you might be able to cash them out or use them favorably in a trade in the future.


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Self-Inflicted Wound
See my review of Surge of Righteousness above, in the white section.


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Shambling Goblin
Shambling Goblin is a pretty decent 1/1, since it can trade up into x/2’s and sometimes two-for-one your opponent if they have two x/1’s out on the field. Though it is only a common, I feel like it is one of the better commons in the set.


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Ultimate Price
Though Khans was wedge themed, and we’re still seeing plenty of multicolored creature in Standard, there are also plenty of mono-colored targets out there for Ultimate Price. Two mana removal spells in black have always been played heavily in Standard, and this time it will see play again. Definitely one of the best uncommons in the set and will eventually go up to $1-$2 and stay there for its Standard life.


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Virulent Plague
Unless Standard becomes swarmed with tokens left and right, this is almost always just going to be in sideboards. Still though, it is an awesome sideboard card, and should be worth something. $0.50 will most likely be the peak since the effect is pretty narrow.


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Draconic Roar
See my review of Orator of Ojutai in White. Though I will say that this is one of the better “dragons in hands matters” cards in the set since most of the better dragons are red. If you can activate both modes on this card it will be a pretty huge beating for your opponent.


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Dragon Fodder
Even with several reprints, like Duress this is a casual favorite so it will always be worth something on a buylist. It might even see Standard play, so that could further bolster its price in the future.


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Dragonlord’s Servant
Like Douglass Johnson, I believe that this is one of the best casual specs in the entire set. Dragonspeaker Shaman is a very popular card amongst dragon enthusiasts, and this guy fits right along curve at two mana into a three mana Shaman. I would definitely target foils of this card because they will be seen in dragon themed Commander decks all the time.


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Rending Volley

See my review of Surge of Righteousness above, in the white section.


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Sarkhan’s Triumph
If Dragonlord’s Servant is one of the best casual specs of the set, then this is the number one casual spec in Dragons of Tarkir. An instant speed dragon tutor? What more could Scion of Ur-Dragon players ask for in their deck. A staple in any red dragon themed commander deck from this point out. Foils will be especially nice targets.


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Twin Bolt
Maybe I like this card too much because it’s Forked Bolt for one mana more, but that one mana more makes all the difference. Being instant speed does matter, though I still think that doesn’t make up for it costing two mana. Not sure if it will be good enough to be played in Standard but it could be a good sideboard against token strategies if you’re not playing black for Virulent Plague. I think this will be a nice casual card if anything.

Green

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Ainok Survivalist
A nice sideboard card, if anything else. This will keep the Survivalist above bulk at least. I really like this as an addition to Cubes, so I think foils are good targets.


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Display of Dominance
See my review of Surge of Righteousness in White. I will say that I think this is the weakest of the color hosers for now, so in my opinion I think it has the lowest chance of seeing Standard play in the current environment. In the future though it could be great.


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Explosive Vegetation
Though Explosive Vegetation has had two other reprints, it is still usually above $1. The Dragons of Tarkir version will pretty much always be worth at least $0.40, so extra copies should easily be able to be shipped to buylists or offered in trades. I would target foils, as the the only other foil version of the card we’ve had so far is the Onslaught version. Dragons of Tarkir foils can be had for a fraction of the Onslaught foil price. Due to Commander demand, I expect the foil versions of DoT Explosive Vegetation to creep up over time.


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Scaleguard Sentinels
See my review of Orator of Ojutai in White. Scaleguard Sentinels is pretty awesome if you can get the +1/+1 counter – a 3/4 for two green is super efficient, even for Standard.

Multicolored

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Multicolored Uncommon Dragon Cycle
Out of the five, the weakest are Cunning Breezedancer and Enduring Scalelord. Their effects are only really good in limited, whereas the other dragons will be nice inclusions in Commander decks. Ruthless Deathfang could be slotted into a blue/black Zombies build with for example Grimgrin, Corpse-Born as commander or another U/B deck that utilizes sacrifice effects. Savage Ventmaw has a neat interaction with the enchantment Aggravated Assault, where you can have infinite attack phases. Finally Swift Warkite has a nice recursion ability (or sneak ability if you’re putting something into play from your hand) that allows you to keep putting creatures into play for enters the battlefield triggers. 

Ranked:
1) Savage Ventmaw
2) Swift Warkite
3) Ruthless Deathfang
4) Cunning Breezedancer and Enduring Scalelord

Artifacts & Lands

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Dragon Monuments
The monuments will always have a place in Commander, as they provide mana fixing and allow themselves to become 4/4 flying creatures until end of turn if needed. This is pretty nice in a format where board wipes are about as common as water. Though they’ll probably never be more than $0.25 each, I still expect buy lists will want to grab these every so often to fill Commander demands.

Summary

Here’s the top five uncommons and commons (by cycle, if applicable) in list format so that you know which uncommons and commons I think will hold the most financial value in Fate Reforged moving forward.

HONORABLE MENTION: Explosive Vegetation

  1. Sarkhan’s Triumph
  2. Dragonlord’s Servant
  3. Silumgar Sorcerer
  4. Color Hoser Cycle (Surge of Righteousness and others)
  5. Ultimate Price

Here is my top five FOIL uncommons and commons (by cycle, if applicable)

  1. Sarkhan’s Triumph
  2. Dragonlord’s Servant
  3. Explosive Vegetation
  4. Multicolored Dragons (especially the UB, RG, and BR dragons)
  5. Duress

Again, let me reiterate that I am not recommending that players buy thousands of these uncommons/commons en masse trying to make a profit by expecting them to spike. Uncommons and commons are notoriously slow to increase in price, if at all. It takes something like Delver of Secrets level of play to make that happen – and even then it was a few years before it really started going up in value.

I also hope this article will enable players to identify the more powerful uncommons and commons in the set so that they can pick them up for decks if they want to play them, and that it helps players building cubes to identify which foil uncommons and commons are best to pick up.


 

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2 thoughts on “Uncommons and Commons of Dragons of Tarkir”

  1. Seems like you disagree with a lot people on the more hyped cards.

    Greens color hoser is the most popular of the cycle for Standard play, among players, from what I can tell.

    Rending Volley is the new combust.

    Dragon Hunter quickly lost it’s hype and now seems like a generic 2/1 for W.
    Personally I lost fate in warriors ever becoming competitive at this point.

    Anticipate is pretty much an auto include in any of the known decks playing blue at the moment.

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