Setting Up for Future Spikes

By: Cliff Daigle

I can admit it: I have four Hero’s Downfall left in my binder

They are still with me despite doing all I could to get rid of them in the months leading up to today. They sit there, tormenting me with their fallen value, their reminder of how they were over $10 at one point.

It’s a great card, don’t get me wrong, but since it’s rotating in a little more than a month there’s almost no one who needs them and zero people who will buy them. It sees almost no Modern or Legacy play, and while it’s a great card in Commander or Cube, it’s not a staple and it’s very common.

So I’m going to slide these four cards out of my binder and put them into a box of cards I’d like to make money on, but I likely won’t see an increase in value for some time. Call it a spec box, call it binder chaff, whatever label you want. I’m not going to to carry them around any more.

I like to look for cards that do something unique, and have a few of them set aside for the time when someone builds a deck that does something bananas, and sell into that spike. Think Lantern of Insight and the like.

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx ($6/$31)

This is a tricky one to evaluate. Nykthos has showed up a little in Modern lists, but the foil split indicates that there’s a very strong demand in singleton formats like Commander and Cube. To be fair, the card is absolutely a win-more enabler, making gobs of mana when you already have a lot of permanents out there. Gaea’s Cradle is worse than a basic forest when you have no creatures in play.

I’m going to advocate holding your copies of Nykthos. Being in Magic 2015’s Clash Pack put some extra copies out there but it has good appeal and in a year or two I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s gone up by 50% or more.


Sylvan Caryatid ($2/$5/$5 promo)

This is also making a small dent in Modern, popping up in four-color Gifts Ungiven decks that are trying to combo off at maximum speed. It’s okay in kitchen table formats, and as a creature that has hexproof and taps for mana, it’ll often find a home in combo decks or the like.

This was a buy-a-box promo and that does chip away at the price for the foils and for people who need only one. At rotation, I’ll be looking for copies under $1 to sock away for a while.


Elspeth, Sun’s Champion ($6/$14/$6 Duel Deck foil)

Having a duel deck version doesn’t faze me on picking up more than a few of the latest (and last?) Elspeth. Her abilities play together exceptionally well, and the only thing she can’t hold off is a swarm of tiny fliers. Her earlier incarnations have held up well, financially, and Knight-Errant is so good that it took several printings to bring her under $20, to her current $14.

I think that Elspeth won’t ever see a big spike, but she will see steady upward growth in the next couple of years. That’s one of the easiest ways to increase the value in my binder: Just be patient.


Master of Waves ($4/$10)

I wouldn’t mind having a spare playset of these to just tuck away and wait. They aren’t going to go any lower, as they fit well in token decks and Merfolk decks alike.


Garruk, Apex Predator ($8/$21)

This Garruk and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker share a unique characteristic: They are able to kill other Planeswalkers for profit. That makes them wonderful to have in Commander games.

The rule has often been to pick up any planeswalker at $5 or less, but I don’t think Garruk will come down that far. I’m still happy to acquire copies at less than $10 and simply wait. He’s got a promo from San Diego Comic-Con that I wouldn’t chase very hard, but incremental growth over time will serve this one well.


Perilous Vault ($4/$13)

Another unique effect, and one that fits very well into colorless sweepers. It lacks the one-sided effect of Nevinyrral’s Disk plus Darksteel Forge, but it is an awesome answer to that same combo. I love having options for exiling permanents in Commander games, but this is easily reprintable. I wouldn’t keep more than two playsets for the long term for that reason.


Searing Blood ($.80/$5)

This is mostly a pass for me. Standard burn decks are packing this card, and while Legacy and Modern have Searing Blaze, which is both better and worse, depending on what your thought process is. Searing Blaze does give us a reference point, as it’s a touch more expensive than Searing Blood, but it’s not crazy-high. I’m not convinced that it’ll make huge inroads, as it’s mostly found in small sideboard quantities.


Nyx-Fleece Ram ($1/$4)

I think that this is in a tight race with Wall of Omens for a crucial spot that Wall of Denial used to occupy: The go-to place to stay safe from aggressive decks. At rotation, this should fall a little further and I would be happy to grab a few.

There are a lot of other cards that will likely go up, so tell me in the comments what you think is good value for a year or two from now.

4 thoughts on “Setting Up for Future Spikes”

  1. I wouldn’t be too upset about being “stuck” with Downfalls, the card will be reprinted and Standard will cause it to spike again. If you didn’t play with that playset than yes you did miss out when it was $10+ ;-p lol Stupid clash packs.

    Eidolon of Rhetoric is a small spec although I haven’t seen it played in top deck lists. Local players have traded for and asked me for them, but I don’t see it anywhere yet. I still like Spirit of the Labyrinth for any Hatebears or Death and Taxes deck. Twinflame was in one combo deck (Modern I think) and it just has “broken combo” written all over it so I’ve picked up some foils. There’s some weird/unusual Journey Into Nyx cards and that’s where I’d look for cheap targets (like Eidolon of Blossoms, although 4 mana it seems like a card people would try to make some combo deck or theme deck with). There’s not a lot I’m personally targeting upon rotation, other than cards I’m “stuck with” and the obvious gods and walkers I’ll leave a lot of the speculating up to others.

    And Elspeth will be brought back as a Mardu walker in 5 years, White cause she’s always been white, Black cause she died (but Sorin is WB), and Red cause she’ll be pissed/tormented. Just a fun prediction…but she will be back at some point

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