Who Sits The Throne?

I know our eyes are full of new cards, and there’s a wild west going on with actual card availability, so I want to take a moment and look at Throne of Eldraine, a set that has another 16 months in Standard, and make sure I’m aware of what the underpriced cards are.

Traditionally, for the big fall set, the highest price is about one year, or the halfway point, whichever you’d prefer to call it.Let’s look at a couple of examples from recent sets:

Legion Warboss (Currently about $2)

The Warboss dropped to under a buck at release, and took about eight months to get picked up in a deck. At that point, you could have made $7 per copy under ideal conditions, and that’s a lovely feeling for a card you snagged at such a low point. Notice that it’s heading for zero, but it’s a fun card to pair with Goblin Rabblemaster in those sorts of decks in Modern and Pioneer. It’s nice when one creature gets you an entire army.

Vraska’s Contempt ($1)

This card fell to around $5 during Rivals of Ixalan, and then started to rise like mad. By October 2019, they were going for just about $20 each, as the premier removal spell of the format. You’d think four mana was too much, but add a little lifegain (and make sure there’s nothing better around) and you’ve got a winning formula.

So what cards in Throne meet these sorts of criteria?

Murderous Rider ($2 regular nonfoil/$4 regular foil/$3 Showcase nonfoil/$6 Showcase foil)

We got some sweet removal spells in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths but nothing this universal and multifaceted. The fact that your three-mana instant can kill anything that needs killing and then, whenever you have mana, can be a 2/3 lifelinker is pretty amazing. It’s not a popular metagame card right now, because it’s not green and Wizards decided we needed a year where every overpowered card was Simic. It’s too much value to be this low and I personally have about a dozen nonfoil Showcase stored up, and I’m debating about getting more.

Removal spells tend to be as strong a spec as you can get in Standard, and we’ve had a good line from Hero’s Downfall to Vraska’s Contempt to this one. When the metagame shifts at rotation (farewell to Nissa and Krasis especially!) I would look for this to be ascendant.

Keep in mind that even with a lack of paper tournaments, Rider is the third most commonly played creature in Pioneer, showing up in a wide variety of decks. Always feels nice to buy a cross-format card at its lowest point.

Bonecrusher Giant ($1/$2.50/$2/$3)

This is another one that is pretty mindblowing to me. It’s incredibly ubiquitous, and yet has such a low price. It’s the #2 creature in Standard right now, and the #9 creature in Pioneer. Decks generally play three or four, because it’s cheap interaction when you need it and a beefy body for cheap after that.

I like picking up the nonfoils more, because this is for those who play in paper tournaments, and that goes for the Rider above too. Players like making their deck unique without the literal warping effects that foils can have. This feels like a slam dunk to me, and I hope you’re able to stock up effectively.

Fae of Wishes (50¢/75¢/$1/$3)

This is a bit lower in price because the current demand isn’t there, but we’ve only had a couple of months to get used to wishboards again. Currently, only Fires decks make use of the card, but it’s a very low buy-in for a card that has such a unique effect. We’ve got more than a year to make this card broken as hell, and there’s a very good chance that the cycle of Ultimatums turbocharges the deck. These seven-mana, seven-specific-mana spells are usually terrible draws but the perfect card to tutor for in the right situation.

As ever, I prefer buying the nonfoil Showcases but I wouldn’t fault you for getting in at near-bulk prices on the Fae.

Fabled Passage ($11/$14/$20/$80)

Finally, a card that is in a Challenger deck and the price graph proves the point:

The Challenger decks are out now and represent a minor reprint for the most played nonbasic land in Pioneer and the #2 land in all of Standard, losing out to only Mountain. Eleven bucks is quite the steal, and that’s with more than a year to go in Standard. I do expect these to be present in next year’s Challenger decks, or reprinted in some other set along the way, but there’s a window for excellent profit here, especially with the Extended Art version. Just like foils used to be a safer play (and in this case, still a delightful one) the EA/Showcase is much less likely to be reprinted and therefore a safer place to put value for a while. Grab a few and thank me later.

Arclight Phoenix ($4)

As a bonus, I’m picking a card that is going to rotate and shows even a Challenger deck can’t hold down a good card. Phoenix took quite a hit right before Throne of Eldraine and rallied back wonderfully, but it’s now gliding towards its rotation out of Standard. Phoenix strategies are still very very valid in Pioneer and will have their day again in Modern, and I’m hoping these fall even further. If you’re playing the Phoenix strategy, you’re definitely on the full playset, and as a Mythic, even one with supply bumped a little, you’re looking at a very solid spec.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.