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.
Thoughtseize – 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
Nykthos, 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
Born of the Gods
Courser 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 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 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 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.
Chord 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.
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