Checking Back on The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

I know we’re all eagerly tripping over ourselves with Modern Horizons 3 previews, but those are incomplete as yet and so I don’t want to move in too hard on things yet, especially because there’s four whole Commander decks (with premium versions!) that are going to smash people trying to spec on things right now. I want to avoid that pitfall, and focus for a moment on a set that has gotten to my sweet spot of six months old: The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

Some of these cards have been mentioned in the ProTrader Discord, some have been picks on MTG Fast Finance, but they are solid value and have had time to reach bottom. From here, I’m expecting some solid growth, because they are already popular in at least one format (mostly Commander) and there’s always potential for Standard play in the next two years.

Two caveats before we begin: One, the reprint risk is very real, even for stuff that just came out six months ago. Special Guests and Secret Lairs can happen at any time, so don’t get complacent. Two, EDHREC data is useful, but not perfect. I doubt EDHREC even has 5% of all Commander players, so if a card has low EDHREC stats but high prices, there’s clearly unseen forces at work, namely kitchen table players or LGS folks who don’t bother listing decks there.

Dinosaurs are always going to be popular, from a Commander standpoint. Pantlaza has been built an impressive number of times, and will keep being built thanks to the synergies present in the tribe. The art calls back to every kid who liked the giant lizards, and while I don’t think many of the individual cards are going to grow rapidly, I expect to see all of them slowly creeping up on a very long-term scale.

Roaming Throne (showcase foil $30) – 130k decks on EDHREC easily takes the top spot for non-reprint cards, at nearly three times the inclusion rate of anything else. It’s really the perfect Commander card, as it’s good with Kindred strategies of any type or color, or good as a way to double up what your Commander does. It’s a rare, and should see a reprint eventually, but I think we’ve got a while to go before that arrives. You should definitely get personal copies now, and I expect the borderless foils to be $50 by the end of the year.

Kutzil, Malamet Exemplar (showcase foil $7) – Sometimes, uncommons lead the way to second place: 47k decks, plus another 1200 as commander. This gives players two things they love: peace of mind on your turn, plus card draw if you get in hits with non-base-stats. Commander players are really into this card, as evidenced by the price, which reflects the casual demand and cEDH need alike. Turns out, in a highly interactive format like cEDH, that first ability is exceedingly powerful.

Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation (showcase foil $23) – The foil is up $4 since the start of the year, and has really cool art to go with an absolutely bonkers ability and a very stubborn presence on the board. TCG has a few Japanese-language foils available for under $15, if you want to get in a little cheaper, but I expect this to grow very well over time. 

Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant (borderless foil $17) – Ghalta’s newest version might not be done falling, but this price has been stable for a couple months now. As a Dinosaur, it’s got the guarantee built in for that set of decks but it’s also just a very good card to ramp into. I’ve seen someone use a Quicksilver Amulet to plop this in early and smash the board, I’ve also seen it be a great reanimation target. No wrong answers, people!

Thousand-Moons Smithy (FEA $3) – Breya, Etherium Shaper is coming back with new printings and I think we’re going to get a whole lot of people building awesome artifact decks. This particular card is easy to transform, and once it’s a land it’s much harder to get rid of. Being able to staple a Construct onto just about anything you cast is a big deal, and while you can’t easily get two a turn, you’ll adapt. This is a card who found its floor early: the FEA versions were under $2 at the beginning of the year so the creeping upward has already begun.

Bonehoard Dragon (Borderless foil $14) – Amazing with Obeka, this is just great value any way you play it. I’ve got it in my Ur-Dragon deck, meaning that I think it’s one of the 40 best Dragons ever printed. The value is undeniable, and if there’s ever a good red creature deck during its time in Standard, this will pop off with extreme force. Nonfoils are up $4 since March, a good sign for things to come.

Inti, Seneschal of the Sun (Showcase foil $3.50) – Inti’s numbers on EDHREC are middling, but this is a card good enough for the Vintage Cube, indicating how ridiculous it is as an aggressive attacker. Mass removal has gotten far too good for aggro players lately, because we’re living in a time of Inti into Anim Pakal and those decks aren’t tearing up Standard. Yet. Inti’s price hasn’t stabilized quite yet, but if the meta shifts into something more aggro, this will easily pop to $10. Watch carefully.

Chimil, the Inner Sun (regular nonfoil $16) – At nearly 30,000 decks on EDHREC, this has two things Commander players love: safety and card advantage. Not every deck can make use of both (If you like X spells, this is not your bag) but those that can, do with glee. The borderless foils are $70, showing us that players love having this effect in a sweet frame. Regular frame foils should trend upwards too, but I like getting in on the lowest price possible on these and riding the wave upwards. 

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.

3 thoughts on “Checking Back on The Lost Caverns of Ixalan”

    1. Right now they are either appropriately expensive or dirt cheap. There’s a whole lot out there, so you’ve got to look at the number on TCG, how fast they are moving. If I had to pick one, I’d be tempted by Crashing Footfalls, because that moves a playset at a time, but I’m hesitant with the modern meta about to go nuts.

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