Ixalan Ascending

If you blinked this week, you missed out on Thrashing Brontodon going from a buck to $4. Granted, he’s the new hotness as a great answer to the Vehicles lists popping up, and a Disenchant on a stick is really good in a world full of Seal Away, Cast Out, Ixalan’s Binding, and Search for Azcanta.

Ixalan has a lot of good cards that are due to go up, now that we are all opening Dominaria like mad, trying to win the Karn, Scion of Urza sweepstakes. We saw Vraska’s Contempt go up dramatically, and earlier than I would have thought. What else is a contender to experience a spike sometime in the next 14 months?

A caveat, before we go further: There’s going to be Challenger decks announced in something like nine months. If any of these jump in price before then, sell immediately. Let someone else get that extra few percent. You’re in this to buy low, and sell high. The risk you run at trying to ‘sell higher’ isn’t worth it if you get caught flat by the next batch of ‘soon-to-exit-Standard’ reprints, like Chandra, Torch of Defiance. She’s down $10 since February, even though she’s seeing Modern play and is a two-of in prison strategies in Legacy.

With that in mind, let’s see what we can see.

Sorcerous Spyglass ($1 nonfoil/$9 foil)

It’s a $9 foil because it is all over the place in Vintage and Legacy. Turn off Deathrite Shaman. Lock down the two Polluted Delta in their hand. Prevent Sneak Attack, Moxen, or Griselbrand activations. It’s a lot to do for two mana, and especially in formats where two artifact mana on turn one isn’t a huge barrier to overcome.

In addition to that, it’s a popular card in UW control lists, turning off Vehicles or Planeswalkers as needed. We are still living in an Abrade world, but that’s going to end in a few short months. Fiery Intervention is not good enough for Standard, so I fully expect to see this go through a major upward swing.

The foils are quite intriguing too. Sure, they are $9 now, but we just passed peak supply and Vintage/Legacy players aren’t the type to get a card, and then trade it away immediately if it goes up to $15. They are more likely to hang on in case the card becomes good tech again, taking a lot of the foils out of circulation. It’s not bad in Commander, but almost everyone can deal with a problematic artifact. Your hope here is to spike the nonfoils around Christmas, and I’d expect them to go to $4 or $5.

Chart a Course ($0.50/$4)

I’m pretty shocked that this card is this cheap, but it’s because neither the Merfolk or Pirates decks have gotten there. This ought to be a four-of in some aggro deck, yet somehow we aren’t in that world. This is a $4 foil because it’s played as a one-of in some Vintage and Legacy strategies. I’d really like to see a blue aggro deck become viable, Warkite Marauder seems super amazing but in a world where Goblin Chainwhirler exists, that might not happen.

Drawing two for two mana is an amazing deal, even if you have to discard one it’s not terrible. Here’s hoping this can claw back to $2.

Storm the Vault ($1/$7)

I have to admit that I like the foils of this a lot more. It’s only in 300 EDHREC decks so far, but people have barely started to build around Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. These two cards go together like peanut butter and chocolate, all you need to do is devour the goodness. Storm the Vault is a card that won’t immediately get people to concede a game the way Tolarian Academy would, but it’s still going to enable all sorts of shenanigans in the right deck.

Starting to tick upwards as it is…

This is not a card that I think can be broken in Standard, but I love the foils as a long-term spec, and they will never be cheaper than they are right now. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that the new Academy needs a red/blue Commander deck and then we get a red/blue artifact-enabling Legend.

Tendershoot Dryad ($7/$15)

Fourteen! That’s a lot of slimy feet!

14 copies on TCG right now! For a card that they could still print if they weren’t busy shipping Dominaria all over the place! We don’t have a good replacement for Fumigate yet. Rivals of Ixalan had Slaughter the Strong, and Dominaria has Urza’s Ruinous Blast, both of which are conditional and just not good. Yes, we have Settle the Wreckage but no one actually attacks with their Tendershoot Dryad, and you don’t want to give the token deck free mana over and over again.

Yes, it’s an expensive card, but if Slimefoot can cause Elvish Farmer to be $10, this is loads better. They stack really well together, if the go-wide plan becomes viable in Standard. Given that the casual market has soaked up a lot of the copies of this card, if it hits in Standard it’ll hit pretty big, likely going over $20 for a brief, shining, cash-it-in-right-now moment.

Profane Procession ($1/$4)

There is little that feels as good as being the control player with one of these in play. Now your opponent has to wonder if the creature they want to play is good enough to be a threat but not good enough to be exiled with the Procession. Mixing this card with counters and spot removal is truly a marvelous experience, and I fully encourage you to try it out.

There’s no casual demand for this card, or any demand…yet. It’ll never be a four-of, given the mana-hungry nature of the card, but we will see this get to $6 or so. Plan accordingly.

Arch of Orazca ($1/$5)

Finally, let’s talk about the utility land to end all utility lands. Goes in any Commander deck, is a one-of in every control list currently, and is poised to grow delightfully over time? I’m sold.

I’m so into this card that I added one to my five-color The Ur-Dragon deck, and while it’s not my favorite early draw, I love knowing that when I run out of huge fliers to cast, my lands still have stuff to do. It will never be a four-of in any list, ever, but the foils are a super solid pickup for long-term growth.