Grinder Finance – The Battle for Zendikar Foils

While there are not a lot of opportunities are this point to make or save money by purchasing cards from Battle for Zendikar, there are interesting foil trends and a lot of commons and uncommons that should be on your radar.

Pre-release promos


With so many possible promotional cards, it’s hard to pin down exactly how much some of these cards will cost.  Right now the price of a pre-release foil is equivalent to a pack foil pre-order.  I’d wager to guess that won’t stay true forever. In most cases the pre-release foil will fall under the price of a pack foil so it’s probably a good time to trade them away.  In most cases where they don’t, they are usually still the same price.  The easiest ones to trade away will be the planeswalker and legendary creatures but it’s not impossible to trade away some bulk promos like Aligned Hedron Network ( I traded mine on Pucatrade).  Now is also the best time to move foils with premiums like Planeswalkers.  I’d be especially keen to trade away walkers that cost more than 3 because they likely won’t see any eternal play.   Gideon’s current price tag won’t last forever.

The Diamonds in the Rough

Does your lgs have a bulk foil box? Need a throw in to make up a few dollars in trades?  Here are a few of my favorite commons from the set I like in foil.


This is Dispel’s third printing (all of which had a foil) but this is the first really standout art.  I expect this Jace art Dispel to carry a premium for Modern players for years to come.


This is a weird effect, it’s probably good enough for most green Commander decks, though there is always a possibility it can be abused later since its effect costs “no mana.”  I don’t expect to have a hard time trading any of these that I pick up.


This card might look like a poor man’s Volrath’s Stronghold, and it is, but mono black Commander decks are some of the most popular mono-colored decks.  I’d expect it to easy replace in a Swamp in those decks and be a value land in many others.  Many black decks already play Expedition Map to search up Urborg or Cabal Coffers.


This card has probably the best long term common from the set.  I can’t imagine a way they can reprint a colorless spell outside of Zendikar.  This card looks a lot like Unstable Obelisk.unstable obelisk

The key differences are that exile is a much better answer than destroy and there is a surprise factor that comes with Scour from Existence.  I expect at the very least, if you’re going to play an Unstable Obelisk you will also play a Scour from Existence.

What uncommons are worth picking?


This card, and all of the retreats really, are pretty easy slam dunks.  While Retreat to Coralhelm has already been sneaking into Modern decks, I can’t imagine any of them not being played at some time. Commander players really like playing their 11th, 12th, or 16th land so they will likely want to get value from them.


Foil Sowing Salts are $8-10 each.  This card does the same thing while being easier to cast.  I can’t imagine it doesn’t eventually eclipse Sowing Salt as the land destruction of choice in Modern.


Sylvan Scrying is such an important role player in Modern but I can’t imagine it will see much Standard play.  There will be a time when these foils end up super cheap and you will love picking them up and holding them for a Modern season spike.  All it takes is one high profile finish to spike role player cards.


This card has a very unique effect.  I expect we will see more colorless creatures in the next set that will make this better.  Right now it’s not embarrassing to play but we really need some more 4-5 power Eldrazi to make it shine.

blightedcataract blightedwoodland

All of the Blighted lands are pretty decent pickups.  The white one is probably the worst and the green one is the best.  They are likely to keep some sort of Commander playability.


Foil Mindstones can be found for $5-8 with two printings.  I expect this is the sweet spot between a Mind Stone and a Dreamstone Hedron which should make it pretty popular.  It shouldn’t be hard to get these easily in trades.


Cards that reduce the mana cost of spells are always a corner case for broken things to happen.  I don’t know if this guy is better than Goblin Electromancer but he could follow a similar trajectory and could break out even more if he becomes a force in some weird deck in Vintage (where you are more likely to be able to abuse this ability).  At the very least he will be an important part of red and blue Commander decks with artifact sub-themes.  Given Wizard’s recent history pushing that theme in those colors I would not expect this to stay bulk.

Final Thoughts:

  • Expeditions look like they might be a little more common than people thought.  The market for them doesn’t seem to be there to sustain prices.  With the limited supply from the pre-release prices are already racing to the bottom.  If you have one you don’t need,  I would try to trade it or sell it.
  • That being said, the expedition supply is all anecdotal at this point.  Without a large retailer opening hundreds of cases of product it’s hard to know how often they appear.
  • The price of battle lands will likely drop quickly.  Many decklists I have seen will not be playing 4 copies of any of them.  Even 5 color decks likely won’t play more than 2 of any of them.
  • Khans Fetchland prices will probably peak next February or June. If you have extra ones I would choose one of those months to move them.
  • There is so much bad press on Sensei’s Divining Top.  It survived the last Legacy ban list but got banned in the rarely played Duel Commander.  This card will likely never get reprinted but I can’t imagine it surviving all formats forever.  It promotes so many bad game play patterns.  I would look to move mine before I get caught with my pants down.
  • Hardened Scales is almost $2 more than Siege Rhino.  I don’t really understand why but I would likely not want to play any deck in Standard without Dromoka’s Command.

5 thoughts on “Grinder Finance – The Battle for Zendikar Foils”

  1. Why will Fetches spike in June? They will have rotated out of Standard in April. I don’t think they will drop hard but no longer being used in the most played format will prevent big gains at that time.

    Also, come February Fetches will have about 6 weeks left in Standard.

    1. They will be at their peak in standard in February when standard is at its largest, 6 sets. They might see some decline into April and then see a bump again in June when Modern pptq season starts up again. If we don’t get enemy colored land reprint in the spring set then there will be pressure on ktk fetchlands.

  2. a comment on your comment about duel commander. I think you are not seeing this format as a real format. However, it’s a thing in my areas, certainly France. I can see this format becoming real faster than any other format.
    It solves the problem of competition in multiplayer commander (giving the competitors a way to play competitive and not ruining casual games).
    Certainly worth taking a look into it.

  3. zulaport cutthroat foils are all ready going for more than I ever expected. I don’t think most current players remember how broken blood artist was in Aristocrats decks but the effect is amazing with any sac outlet. Look for Mardu or 4 Color Rally/Coco decks with Nantuko Husk and Butcher of the Horde to make some noise

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