When Dinosaurs Ruled The Speculators

We’re going back to Ixalan pretty soon, and one of the themes we’re dealing with is Dinosaurs! This is a creature type that’s gotten some heavy support since the last time we were here, including reprints, new Etali, and still has one of the most amazing Commanders you can play in the species: Gishath, Sun’s Avatar, whose price has been climbing. It’s not a super popular Commander based on the stats we have available to us, but it’s such a neat and flavorful tribe I suspect that casual demand has soaked up a lot of copies over the six years since Ixalan.

It’s possible they give us something better than Gishath. I don’t know what it could be, perhaps something like The Ur-Dragon’s Eminence ability? A five-color Dinosaur isn’t really needed, as blue and black only have three of those creature type each. I strongly suspect there will be some form of reprint for Gishath too, I’d be selling any extras I have about now. 

Today, though, I want to talk about some cards that have excellent potential to pay off if Dinosaurs become a popular genre of deck. It’s not just Gishath, though that’s the best Commander if you’re playing a lot of the Dinos. These would be good in any Dino-Deck. Because of that, though, it’s also quite probable that one or more of these cards is reprinted in the main set, a subset, a Commander deck, etc. 

For each card, I’ve got the current price range, its current EDHREC usage (mostly the 12,000 Gishath decks listed on the site) and which versions I’d be going after.

Quartzwood Crasher ($3 to $6, 27k) – Every time I look at this card I wince, remembering how easy it was to lose to this in Limited games. Five mana for a 6/6 trample, and with the potential of getting tokens the turn you play it?? Plus, it snowballs out of control ridiculously quickly.

Honestly, I wish this was Legendary so I could build a Trample deck around it, but we play with the cards we have. This ticks all the boxes, being low-cost, high-impact and we even has a Foil Extended Art to go after. 

The relatively small gap between the regular nonfoils and the FEA versions tells me that players just want a copy, they don’t care which. If this isn’t reprinted at all, I’d definitely have more profit to be made on the nonfoils, but the final reveals and decklists will determine what I’m buying.

Forerunner of the Empire (50 cents to $5, 12,000 EDHREC) – There’s only 36 vendors with a foil copy, and only two of those have even four foils available. It was an uncommon back in Ixalan, so you’d think there would be plenty, but even a year ago it was a $3.50 foil. Slow and steady rise, no big spikes, just the market draining out slowly. I fully expect this to be in at least one of the Commander decks as a nonfoil, but I’m not ruling out some unexpected special version. 

If this is the only foil after the new set has come and gone, then it’ll double up quickly and could go a lot higher, especially if Enrage is back as the Dinosaur keyword. In the unlikely event that they reveal the whole set and there’s no versions of it anywhere, even regular copies could break $3.

Kaheera, the Orphanguard – Halo Foil – (25 cents to $200, 15k EDHREC, including 5k as Companion) – Kaheera has support for several creature types, and I had to blink three times when I saw that Dinosaur was randomly one of them. As a result, if the saurians get popular, the Halo foil versions from March of the Machine’s bonus sheet is where I’d want to be. 

Folks can get downright enthusiastic about Companions in Commander, and the Halo foils for Kaheera were not easy to pull, taking roughly 375 packs to nab a rare like Kaheera. No huge walls for the card, and being a premium version, it could jump from its current $7-$8 range up to $20. Serialized versions are between $250-$275 right now, and those could see a nice bump as well. 

Marauding Raptor ($2 to $5, 15k) – Again, this has high potential for a reprint in the Commander set or something, but this is absolutely a card to keep an eye on. There was some speculator interest when the return to Ixalan was announced, but we’re now down to under 30 copies on TCG Player and there’s no doubt that the card is amazing at what it does. This is another card that really wants Enrage to be back on the market, and if no new premium versions land, the Magic 2020 foils should break $15 pretty easily, maybe even $20.

Wakening Sun’s Avatar (fifty cents to $18, 13k decks) – This just got a reprint and an etched foil in Commander Masters, but it’s an all-star in Dino decks as you can recur this one-sided wrath pretty easily. It requires a recast from hand, yes, but you’ve got a lot of ways to bring it back to make that happen. 

There’s a whole lot of copies out there from CMM, so I think my target would be the etched foils. 

Polyraptor ($20 to $35, 13k decks) – Never reprinted, and as such an excellent anchor card for a Secret Lair or other subset, I expect there will be other versions of this card during our newest visit to Ixalan. This is more of a combo card, but players will dream. I’m also expecting some form of Enrage enabler to come along and help make this card into quite a beating.

Runic Armasaur ($4 to $6, 28k decks) – If you haven’t played with this card, it’s the sort of thing that makes eye go wide and jealousy become inflamed. It’s also never been reprinted, meaning it’s got a great graph:

Runic has all the traits you’re looking for in a spec like this: one long-ago printing, some interest to prove its chops, and part of a group that’s about to take off. Since there’s no super-premium version yet, we do have that risk, especially as this looks just like a Stegosaurus, but they can’t reprint this entire list on us.

Temple Altisaur ($3 to $12, 14k) – There was a surge on this one when the set was announced, but the prices have come back to earth. There is money to be made here, depending on its inclusion and what versions we get. Foils are probably safer, because this a very strong candidate for being a nonfoil in the Dinosaur Commander deck.

Thrasta, Tempest’s Roar – Borderless – ($1.50 to $4, 10k) – Finally, a pet card of mine. I have this in a deck and it makes me so dang happy when I play it, kill a planeswalker and still deal some damage to its owner:

Love the art, love the card. It’s a mythic from MH2, a set that got lots and lots of packs busted over the last couple of years, but this borderless foil doesn’t have any huge walls and is available under $4. Even fifty sales, one at a time, will get this into the $10 range, and if it makes a splash on one of the popular Commander shows, it’ll break $20.

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.