Competitive Keeps: Theros Block

By: Houston Whitehead

I hate to be first drop before the waterfall, but I can’t help but think ahead.  We might know October 2, 2015 as the first day to spend our paychecks on Battle for Zendikar, but it’s also the day most of your Theros Block and Magic 2015 magically turn from dollars to pennies.  Just the word ‘rotation’ makes Standard players cringe worse than the last time I cursed in Sunday school. I know you’re thinking, “Dude! It’s June! Why the hell are you writing about rotation?”  In my experience, it’s a lot easier to complete trades with rotating cards when players don’t have rotation on the mind.  You’ll start noticing that ‘keep staples’ mindset right when Origins releases.  Everyone will start hoarding what rares they feel will hold value and start going out of their way to unload the rest before it completely tanks.  This makes Pre-Origins the best time to pick up rares that will keep or gain value after rotation.  Also, if Standard is the only format you play, the rest of this article is not for you.

Keep in mind these are cards worth keeping for competitive play, not casual or EDH.  Otherwise, I’d just say trade for all the gods.



thoughtseizeThoughtseize – Let’s start off with an easy one.  Before it’s reprint Thoughtseize (Lorwyn) fetched a ~$75 price tag.  It’s been in the $15-20 range (Theros) throughout most of its time in Standard despite the massive amount of Theros product opened. This is one of your last chances to pick them up before they start to climb again.  It’s simple the best discard spell.  Pick up as many as you can.  Currently $24 Fair Trade Price

nykthosNykthos, Shrine to Nyx – Though Nykthos has only seen fringe Modern play in Mono-Green devotion decks, the cards power is real.  WotC uses restrictive mana costs to keep powerful cards away from other colors.  No one wants play in a Boros Reckoner + Phyrexian Obliterator fight deck.  Ok, that does sound pretty sweet, but minimizing the amount of decks powerful cards can be in keeps the formats diverse.  Nykthos rewards you for playing all the restrictive CMC cards of a chosen color while also helping you accelerate them out earlier than opponents are comfortable with.  My point is, WotC isn’t going to stop printing restrictive mana costed cards. Nykthos can only get better with each new set printed.  It’s one card away from Tier one Modern play.  At worst, casual players will keep its market demand up. Currently $5 Fair Trade Price

Theros honorable mentions: Anger of the Gods, Swan Song


Born of the Gods

courser of K borderCourser of Kruphix – I know has only been a two-of in a few successful Modern lists.  It falls to Abrupt Decay but survives Lightning Bolt.  It’s dead weight against combo but great for creating card advantage and hitting your lands for the late game.  You know it’s power if you’ve only playing a few matches of Standard.  Speculating on a Bant control deck utilizing Courser might be a stretch, but labeling it as unplayable doesn’t seem correct either.  The current $6 price might still be a bit high, but picking up a playset for $12 at rotation shouldn’t be a bad investment. This might be the only card on this list that’s worth waiting for a lower price. Currently $6 Fair Trade Price.

spirit of labSpirit of the Labyrinth (FOIL) – Why foil? Cause, Legacy.  Legacy players love foils and Legacy foils love having oddly high prices. Foil Spirit has been a steady $10 while only seeing 1-3 copies in successful Death & Taxes lists.  In May, it dropped to $6.  D&T hasn’t put up many high places finishes in a while. But, if you play Legacy, you know the meta is always changing.  It’s only a matter of time before it falls back into favor.  With zero play in any other format, Spirit’s price has been solely dependent on the Legacy environment.  This is a good time to pick up while you can still find them.  Currently $6 Fair Trade Price.


Journey into Nyx

mana confluenceMana Confluence – This upgraded City of Brass will continue to take its place in Modern and Legacy decks.  It’s been as high as $20 but has mostly stayed around $10-12 during its lifetime.  I don’t predict them going that much lower but wouldn’t be surprised to see them follow a slightly slower price trajectory as Cavern of Souls. Plus, it’s a powerful non basic land. Always a worthy investment.  Currently $12 Fair Trade Price.

eidolon of the great revelEidolon of the Great Revel – Probably the best eternal playable card printed in this block. It sees four copies in both Modern and Legacy Mono-Red lists and will continue to do so.  Picking up these should be just as obvious as picking up Thoughseizes.  To be honest, you probably should have picked them up when they were $5.  Currently $11 Fair Trade Price.


Magic 2015

Chord of CallChord of Calling – Chord fell from $40 to $20 after its M15 reprint and has steadily decreased slowly over the past year.  Previously played alongside the villainous Birthing Pod, Chord fell when Pod was banned and never found a home in Modern Collected Company decks.  Its lack of recent play doesn’t reflect the power of this convoking tutor. Though Pod won’t be unbanned anytime soon, I think Chord will learn to stand on its own again in a future Modern meta.  Zero chance this card falls to bulk after rotation. Currently $5 Fair Trade Price.

Final Thoughts

Investing in rotating rares isn’t the quickest way to gain financial value, but it is a perfect way to acquire future format staples with a long term investment bonus. I might only have a few rotations under my belt, but I’ve made a lot of profit being patient with rotating cards like these.  I hope now you can do the same before the ‘rotation plague’ sweeps over your LGS.

As always thanks for reading



14 thoughts on “Competitive Keeps: Theros Block”

  1. If you had to rate your targets, would you agree with something like this?

    1. Thoughtseize
    2. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
    3. Chord of Calling
    4. Mana Confluence
    5. Eidolon of the Great Revel
    6. Spirit of the Labyrinth (foil)

    Starting at 1. You don’t mind going “deep”…
    Ranging to 6. I might look out for a playset or two…

    1. I know that I’m not the author, but on playability I’d move Eidolon up to #2 on your list.

      1. Fair Enough. I just don’t play red so I guess I’m biased. I need to work on my bias against red and blue… LOL. I hate speculating on burn decks and I hate playing them even more. Seems like burn is the most likely deck to flip-flop its creatures at any point anyway. A new one always comes along.

        If your reasoning is Legacy Play… I might consider foils a good pickup but I’d still rate non-foils below any card that sees Modern play. Plus foils are already expensive.

      2. Haha. Different strokes for different folks. Your voice has been heard. 🙂

    2. This was not a rating system I thought about when writing the article but I’ll give it a shot.

      1. Thoughtseize
      2. Eidolon
      3. Chord
      4. Nykthos
      5. Mana Confluence
      6. Spirit of L

      3 & 4 were hard to place.

  2. This article is stupid. Any Magic player could tell me this information. When I read articles like this on a Magic Finance site, I want something interesting and new to read. This just looks like he looked at what cards see eternal play and then just put them down. Any idiot could tell you Eidiolon of the Great Revel is a good hold just like any idiot could tell you abrupt decay is a good hold. You should do some research next time and write a better article instead of this crap.

    1. Modern Master 2015 has already brought in massive amounts of previous Standard only players into the format. From talking to players at GP Vegas and some LGS’s I found out many of them didn’t know how to survive rotation with Modern in mind. This inspired the subject matter above. So far, the feedback from that profile of players has been positive.

      I’m sorry you feel this article was “stupid” but many others have benefited from it and I hope that you stop by next week and find my next article more tasteful.

  3. I’d like to see an article for pickups at rotation when a lot of cards bottom out. Based on the long-term value. Obviously the Gods are good targets, I’ve been trading into a bunch of them on Puca. Scry lands are going to drop to what?… 1-2 dollars? That seems liek a great time to grab playsets of them. They will get an eventual reprint in Return to the Battle for Theros or whatever, and price jump like pain lands when they become standard legal imo.

    The Gods seem like the best long term value play from current prices, and I can’t wait to grab a ton more when they rotate. Thoughts?

    1. Scry land and Pain lands see next to no play paast STD (excuding the mind play of the U/R Scry in Twin decks). I’d say they will all be between $1-2 if they are not at that price already. Picking up playsets is not a bad idea and could be useful in future STD like you said, but I don’t see much profit potential in the long term.

  4. Also Chord is a 3-4 of in Modern Collected Elves and Collected Abzan…but hey that was only roughly a combined 10% ofthe meta before Charlotte. This is not the first time you’ve made ignorant comments regarding Modern…it makes me think you know little of the format.

    1. @TGCRequiem

      Article was written pre-SCG Invitational due to the upcoming busy schedule. I only found a few lists messing around with a copy or two of Chord. The friends I knew that had been piloting said they preferred a list without it to increase the chance of hitting two relevant creatures.

      That paragraph could have been updated to imply “some play” instead of “lack of recent play.” It doesn’t change the point of the article nor does it water down my recommendation to pick them up.

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