Category Archives: The Gilded Goblin

Reflection in the Doldrums

By: Jared Yost

Currently we appear to be in the doldrums of the Magic finance sea. The trade winds haven’t yet guided our course towards buying into Theros staples, as the floor on most cards hasn’t been found yet. The winds also aren’t quite right yet to pursue other avenues of Magic financial interest, such as starting to acquire recently rotated Innistrad block staples or future Modern prospects. (Seriously Wizards, you stuck Modern season in the middle of summer?) Nothing is at the point where I feel comfortable acquiring or selling. It seems no matter which way I hold my compass I can’t find my way back to shore.

At times like these, some retrospection is a good idea. Looking back on past successes and failures may be a great way to find a path forward.



Jace, Architect of Thought

Jace, Architect of Thought

Some background – I started to seriously get into Magic finance back when Return to Ravnica first hit Standard. I wanted to know what was up with the crazy price swings of cards that at the time I didn’t fully understand.

Earlier in my Magic career, I never kept track of prices very closely – I just picked up cards when I needed them for decks. Over the years, due to dumb luck and the massive influx of players, the demand for the old cards that I never got around to trading away skyrocketed. I suddenly found myself with many cards that were two, three, sometimes four times more than what I originally bought them for. I found myself asking “What is this wizardry?”

I started researching Magic finance more earnestly because I wanted to understand what was going on and why these newer cards that I owned seemed to be going through such large price swings in such a short period of time, and also why my older staples seemed to always be trending upwards. Ever since, I’ve always kept up with the most recent trends on card prices because it fascinates me to no end. I stumbled upon a few websites like MTGPrice, and the rest is history.

Back to Jace – This is one of the first cards that I decided to acquire as many copies as I could rather than just one or two for collection purposes. I was able to pick up several Jace’s back when they were as low as $8.

After Jace’s huge crash, nobody wanted him – I was able to pick up copy after copy. I recently cashed out on half my stock for $23 each. I didn’t pull the trigger on selling off all of them because I felt that maybe I could get more for the remaining Jaces if they became really popular. I still may yet have that chance, however the recent duel deck announcement certainly makes that less likely. I’ll be looking to move the rest in the near future.


Blood Baron of Vizkopa

Blood Baron of Vizkopa

I also did well when I decided to target this card. I got in on Blood Baron when it was $8 this summer, and recently buylisted all my copies for $14 each. That is $6 profit per, which is fantastic as far as I’m concerned. I used the same logic here as I did with Jace, and this card also payed out welcome dividends.


Deathrite Shaman Abrupt Decay

Deathrite Shaman & Abrupt Decay

Both of these cards screamed “LEGACY!!!” to me, and I started grabbing them up as soon as they were spoiled. I was very bullish on Deathrite Shaman – so bullish, in fact, that I was preordering Deathrite Shamans at $4. I liked Deathrite so much that I was still picking them up when they already doubled to $7-$8 each. Both decisions turned out positive for me. As for Abrupt Decay, I waited for it to drop in price after the initial hype died down and then became bullish on it when it was $3-$4. My only regret is not picking up foil copies of either card when they were low.


Other Notables

Ash Zealot Wurmcoil Engine Batterskull Burning Earth

Ash Zealot – Buy in $1.25, Buylist @ $2.45
Wurmcoil Engine – Buy in $7.00, Buylist @ $10.50
Batterskull – Buy in $6.00, Buylist @ $9.50
Burning Earth – Buy in $1.00, Buylist @ $3.00

I wasn’t as bullish on these picks but they still paid out pretty well for me. I was able to get fairly good cash prices for these cards when they spiked (Ash Zealot & Burning Earth), or I held onto them for a while and then decided to buylist for a profit when it came time to liquidate (Wurmcoil Engine, Batterskull).


Failures, Misses, and Bad Calls

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

I had an idea about the power of this card because it reminded me of Cabal Coffers and how good that card is in a black deck. I decided to hold off because I didn’t know if devotion would be a thing or not in Standard.

Well, it was. I missed big with this land. I might still be able to buy in later after more product is opened, though I can’t foresee Nykthos ever dipping as low as $4 again.


Heliod, God of the Sun Underworld Cerberus

Heliod, God of the Sun & Underworld Cerberus

I was bullish on both of these cards shortly after the release of Theros. They have both gone down since I bought into them, and so far I am in the hole. At this point, I think my best bet is to continue sitting on them and hope they spike.


Voice of Resurgence

Voice of Resurgence

I thought that there was a lot of potential when Voice was first spoiled, and I spent a lot of time thinking about at least picking up a play set. I talked myself out of it, and suffice to say missed out.


Beck // Call

Beck & Call

I was bullish on this card when it was $4. I started picking them up at that price, was astounded when they continued to drop, and started picking up even more once they hit $2. They are now less than $1, making this my biggest flop.


Epic Experiment

Epic Experiment

I started picking up a lot of these at $2 each because I felt that it had a lot of potential in Modern, with a possibility of also being good in Standard later on. My prediction so far has not come to pass, and I’m sitting on a lot of copies that are lower than what I got them for.


Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius

Now at a measly $2, I was very bullish on Niv-Miz when Return to Ravnica prices had bottomed out. I bought in when they were $2.50, so I haven’t lost too much. At the end of the day they’re all still sitting in a box though, making this a loss, even if it isn’t a big one.


Lessons Learned

So, what have I learned about my endeavors with a year of experience? I’ll try to summarize for you:

Success Lessons

  • The common theme of my successes is that I carefully studied each of the cards and made notes of all the potential upside and downside that each had. Once I felt that I understood the pros and cons, I made an informed decision that each had a positive outlook and started picking them up accordingly.

  • One thing I want to be doing in the future is paying more attention to mythics rather than rares. Mythics provide the largest gains over time when their peak has been reached. I made some decent profits from Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay, but those types of success are harder to realize.

  • When looking at rares, the card’s eternal playability is an important factor. When I saw Deathrite Shaman and Abrupt Decay, I knew that they could be good Standard cards and at the same time they would be even more amazing in other formats. I now take this heavily into consideration.

  • Capitalizing on format shakeups – When a format is being “shaken and stirred” so to speak, I’ve relied on my research and past experiences to help make the most of a changing format. This is why I recommended targeting aggro cards right before Theros released, because I knew cards like Ash Zealot would likely see an uptick in price due to the typical increase in aggressive strategies shortly after rotation.

Mistake Lessons

  • More research is required before diving too deeply into any given card. I bought into a lot of cards that weren’t proven and that didn’t have a power level that, in retrospect, I’ve noticed is clearly lacking.

  • While occasionally missed calls end up working out for other reasons, in the meantime I am stuck with cards that no one wants. I was taking on quite a bit of risk with some of my picks. I’m going to stay with more liquid cards in the future to try to mitigate risk.

  • I’ve learned the hard way about which factors actually make a card well-positioned. that isn’t to say that I won’t ever miss again, as surely there will be other errors in judgment in the future. Today though, I can say I am a much better evaluator of a card and its potential.

  • Crowdsourcing is a powerful tool. I need to learn how to better realize the many tools that are available for Magic finance in order to understand card trends and what the community chatter is about a card. It can be good to pick up a few copies on the advice of others who have much more experience with Magic finance, you know?

Still stuck at sea with my sails unfurled hoping for a breeze, I’ve used the time to learn about myself and a bit more about the workings of Magic finance. I hope that my personal musings on my own successes and failures will provide some guidance for you as you set your own course.

*Correction – In the comments for my article last week, it was noted that I incorrectly associated Hasbro with Wizards of the Coast in respect to my writing of Chronicles. Hasbro acquired Wizards in 1999 (from the Wikipedia page), whereas Chronicles was released in 1995. My reference to Hasbro was only in passing however it was an oversight on my part and I wanted to make sure I set the record straight. Sorry for any confusion! Hasbro did not influence Wizards choices in regards to Chronicles.

Modern Masters – Current Trends and Future Prospects

This week I would like to delve into a topic that I feel hasn’t been discussed much lately – Modern Masters.


Modern Masters was released June 7th of this year and was a special edition set similar to Chronicles. Unlike Chronicles, this time Wizards wanted to get it right and provide us with a set of all reprints without tanking the prices of the cards. The reprints chosen not only resulted in a great limited environment where players were eager to buy boxes to draft, but also released into the world more copies of Modern staples like Vendilion Clique, Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant, and other powerful cards that are the backbone of the Modern format.

Chronicles had a much bigger impact on the game than many of us realize. Not all players may recall exactly what happened (or have been around for it), so I will try to lay out the basic events that helped shape many decisions Wizards would make regarding Modern Masters.

In 1995, Wizards was succeeding greatly with marketing and selling their Magic: The Gathering CCG product. They realized that a lot of newer players existed that wanted to be able to play with cards from the early releases on since 1993. Unfortunately, the print runs for the first sets were very small because Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast did not know if Magic would be a successful card game or not. In order to appeal to this ever growing market of the game, Wizards decided to release another set with a considerably larger print run.

Chronicles only appealed to newer players because it did not have cards such as Mana Drain, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Maze of Ith, or Mishra’s Workshop – imagine if it had! The price of these cards would be VERY different today if they had been included with Chronicles. They did not want to include Alpha or Beta cards with this release either – those sets were strictly for collectors who bought into the first run of the game and helped to get the game off the ground. Only specific cards from Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, and The Dark were included.

Following Chronicles release, there was a huge backlash from collectors. The secondary market value of cards reprinted in Chronicles was severely impacted. Many of the cards saw their value drop 60%-90% because they were reprinted in such large quantities. This upset quite a few collectors who had accumulated a great deal of the original printings, and consequently saw the value of their collections dashed.

In order to prevent further PR disasters like this from happening in the future, and to placate collectors who had lost a great deal with the printing of Chronicles, Wizards released the now-infamous reserved list as a promise to never again print certain cards in later expansions or core sets. A few years ago, the loophole was closed when the policy was expanded to include never printing these cards in any shape or form that is tournament legal (promos, duel decks, archenemy, etc.) To this day, Wizards hasn’t shown any sign of changing the policy, with staunch promises from several high-level employees that the reserved list is here to stay.

A common opinion is that the reserve List is a mistake, as Legacy will never be able to grow with it in place. Unfortunately, Wizards as a company cannot abolish the reserved list. There are many within the company’s walls that would like to change or remove it altogether, but their hands are tied.

Wizards created the Modern format as a panacea, which is free from the tyranny of the reserve list. Now they can go ahead and reprint any card in Modern-legal sets to resupply the market and make sure that there are enough copies of the cards floating around, since the reserve list only covers cards through Urza’s Destiny.

Modern Masters is the second experiment with reprints for Wizards. This time around, they wanted to make sure they got it right by establishing a few restrictions for how the set would be distributed, and at what price it would retail for.

Modern Masters was designed to have a limited print run to avoid a second coming of Chronicles, while still trying to appeal to both tournament and casual players by reprinting older cards that were beginning to increase in price due to their scarcity. The goal was to at least keep prices stable, or possibly even reduce prices slightly without completely cratering their secondary market value. Wizards did this by both limiting the availability of the set, as well as setting a higher-than-normal MSRP for boxes and packs.

I believe that we can all learn a lot about how mass reprints like Modern Masters will affect the market moving forward. The product was very popular and well-received, with the only public outcry being that there wasn’t enough product to go around (and also a few complaints about the sealed format).

I wanted to outline my longer term expectations for MM and which cards we should all look out for moving forward. I will delve into which cards Wizards was specifically targeting for price suppression, and see how Modern Masters has affected their prices. Let’s see if Wizards managed to accomplish their goal.


The Big Ones


Before Modern Masters release: $120
Four months After Modern Masters: $120

Tarmogoyf, the most iconic card from Modern Masters, has not seen a price decrease since Modern Masters has been released. Tarmogoyf never dropped in price – after the set was released, it even went up for a little while but has since leveled off to pre-MM levels. I think the price is an accurate reflection of the demand because Tarmogoyf is both a Modern and Legacy staple.

The reason that Tarmogoyf has not dropped in price is twofold. First, Tarmogoyf was reprinted as a mythic rather than a rare. This meant that it saw the least amount of new copies entering the market of any card in the set, on top of Modern Masters being a limited print run to begin with.

The second reason is that the player base of Magic as a whole, and the players getting into Modern and Legacy specifically, has only increased since Modern Masters was released. Wizards intended to not only reprint Modern staples for existing players, but increase the number of players in the format as a whole. This strategy appears to be working, as the price of other Modern staples like fetchlands have increased in price significantly. Tarmogoyf would undoubtedly have also followed this path if it was not reprinted.

The Future: Outside of a second Modern Masters or similar product, I don’t see Tarmogoyf getting any cheaper. They will retain their value and possibly even go up as Modern season approaches. They aren’t a target I would put cash towards unless you need to complete a playset, but if you can trade into extras with surplus stock it would definitely be a good idea.


Dark ConfidantDark Confidant

Before Modern Masters release: ~$50
Four months After Modern Masters: $75

Dark Confidant is an interesting case study from Modern Masters. It is the only reprint card to firmly rise in value! This is because those same factors that helped buoy Tarmogoyf’s price actually managed to increase the price of Confidant.

The Future: Since the reprint, his price has spiked to $75 and I’m not sure if this is the ceiling. Could Confidant hit $100 by next Modern season? Ravnica was opened a fair amount, much more than Future Sight, so there are more Confidants floating around than Tarmogoyfs. This will help to temper Skillrex’s price, but I could still see Confidant rising even further as more players enter the Modern scene.


Vendilion Clique

Before Modern Masters release: $50
Four months After Modern Masters release: $45

Due to the scarcity of Morningtide paired with heavy usage in Modern and Legacy, right off the bat Vendilion Clique commands a price much higher than is normal for a legend. In the time following MM, the price has indeed managed to drop a little bit because it does not see quite as much play as Tarmogoyf, Fetchlands, or other Modern staples. However the combination of rarity and the influx of players has prevented Clique from dropping too far. Demand remains high.

The Future: Similar to Tarmogoyf, I don’t see Clique getting much cheaper than it currently stands until the next reprint. A lot of people underestimated the amount of players that Modern Masters would draw towards Modern, so as the season approaches I can see these slowly ticking up in price.


The Swords

Sword of Fire and IceSword of Light and Shadow

Before Modern Masters release: Fire and Ice $50, Light and Shadow $35
Four months After Modern Masters release: $30 and $25, respectively

Even though the swords still command a solid price of $25+, they are the first reprints I’ve mentioned to have a taken a significant hit from being reprinted. The Sword of Fire and Ice reprint is 40% less than prior to Modern Masters, and Sword of Light and Shadow is about 30% less if you pick up the latest printing.

Originally, the sword’s prices were mainly kept up by casual demand since Darksteel was a hard-to-find set. Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of War and Peace are in my opinion better tournament-worthy cards than the original swords, though based on a particular metagame any sword could be favored over another for a period.

The Future: I don’t really see a big change in the price of the swords unless there is a demand in Modern for protection from particular colors. Green is an important color to have protection from due to Jund, so Sword of Feast and Famine will probably be the sword to watch out for moving forward. The only copies of Feast and Famine that exist are those from Mirrodin Besieged, so they could be a good pickup ahead of next Modern season.


The Rest

This next section is a list of cards that are worth watching, as they all have strong potential to see an increase during next Modern season due to their playability in the format.

Cryptic Command

Before Modern Masters release: $35
Four months After Modern Masters release: $22

The Future: What a drop! Almost a 40% decrease in price since the Lorwyn high, Cryptic Command could see a jump next Modern season. The cost to pick up Cryptic isn’t too high right now, and it is a good trade target. Any blue control deck wants them, and some slower combo decks like Scapeshift are in the market as well.


Arcbound RavagerArcbound Ravager

Arcbound Ravager didn’t see quite as big of a drop as Cryptic Command, and he is the cornerstone of the Affinity deck. This is another one to watch because as Modern season approaches this card could see an uptick in demand and therefore an uptick in price. This card also occasionally makes a strong showing in Legacy, which will help to keep the price moving upwards over time.


Blinkmoth NexusMaelstrom PulseBlood MoonEngineered Explosives

Blinkmoth Nexus, Maelstrom Pulse, Blood Moon, Engineered Explosives

I’m keeping my eye on all four of these cards because not only are they played in Modern but they also make an appearance from time to time in Legacy as well. Having the support of two formats is no joke, as Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant can attest to. Being rare does limit the upper bound, but I expect all three of these cards to eventually crest $10 again, and possibly even more.


Academy RuinsGlen Elendra ArchmageKira, Great Glass-SpinnerSummoner's Pact

Academy Ruins, Glen Elendra Archmage, Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, Summoner’s Pact

These are another set of cards I will be keeping my eyes on that have dropped in price significantly but for a different reason. They are all strong causal cards in addition to being tournament playable. Casual demand has become a big part of predicting the price of a card. Kalonian Hydra and Archangel of Thune are good examples of this – they really aren’t even played in Standard and yet they are $20 mythics. I think the same could be true for several Modern Masters cards, since nearly every rare and mythic was $15 or higher at one point in their original printings. If I start seeing any movement in these cards as Modern season approaches I won’t hesitate to pick them up.


Path to ExileKitchen FinksSpell SnareLightning Helix

Path to Exile, Kitchen Finks, Spell Snare, Lightning Helix

I like speculating on uncommons from Modern Masters because I feel like these are the types of cards that have a lot of room to grow during Modern season next year. They’ve all experienced big drops from their original highs and can be acquired in trades as extra throw ins. Even purchasing extra copies of these for the right price could be a good call. Once Modern season gets going, they will all be seen across a variety of decks in the format. Any one of the uncommons could definitely spike. You won’t see a huge return on any individual copy, but doubling and tripling in price isn’t unfathomable. Jumping from $1 to $3 doesn’t sound impressive, but when you have 30 copies it will be. I’ve been grabbing extras anywhere I can.


It has been four months since Modern Masters was released. According to the raw numbers it looks like Wizards has achieved its goal of reducing prices overall while not crashing the market. Even though Tier 1 staples like Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant have leveled off or increased in price, many of the other staples have taken quite a hit from the set’s release, especially uncommons and rares that derived part of their price from casual play and just plain scarcity.

Over the next six months and as Modern season approaches, I expect many of the cards I mentioned to start ticking up in price as they become harder to find and more players need them for Modern tournaments. Eventually, Modern will become the new Legacy. This won’t happen for quite a few years because the reserved list exists – it is basically unavoidable. Wizards now knows that they can create sets like Modern Masters in order to keep a successful eternal format alive by reprinting scarce cards every so often. Luckily for us, these sets also open up plenty of financial opportunities to gather reprints once they hit their low points in anticipation of the following Modern season.

Portfolio Management – Pro Tour Reallocation

By: Jared Yost

The Pro Tour is firmly behind us. From this point we are dealing with the aftermath of the event and trying to determine what types of cards will be played most moving forward. Whether or not your speculations worked out this weekend (including whether your cards shipped – there were lots of problems with this happening, and the Twitter universe has made their displeasure known) it is good to plan ahead as a method for managing your Magic portfolio so that you maintain strong value.

Hot Pro Tour Cards to Trade or Sell

Tidebinder MageMaster of WavesNightveil SpecterThassa, God of the Sea

These cards are all hyped right now due to the finals being a mirror match of mono-blue devotion. Over the coming weeks, these cards will most likely decrease in price because players will find answers to the mono-blue strategy, building decks and sideboards accordingly. If you speculated on any of the above cards, you should try to sell or trade them soon.

Other Cards to be Traded or Sold as Needed


Nykthos, Shrine to NyxElspeth, Sun's ChampionXenagos, the RevelerBoon Satyr

Return to Ravnica Block:

Blood Baron of VizkopaJace, Architect of ThoughtDetention SphereAsh Zealot

These are all cards that have reached what I believe is the critical price at which to trade or cash them out. They may increase in price down the line if they continue to see a lot of play across multiple deck archetypes, but the upside of selling them now outweighs the cost of waiting for that extra 10% of profit that may never appear.

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx saw a surge over the Pro Tour weekend because it combos really well with Green devotion for very fast mana. I don’t think it can go much higher than $15 because it is a rare (not mythic) legendary land. There is a cap on rare prices these days and Nykthos is pretty close to the ceiling, with $20 being the absolute most it could manage. Profits become more marginal on higher priced cards, so if you have Nykthos I would trade or sell them now because the price ceiling is not far away.

Elspeth, Xenagos, and Boon Satyr made respectable appearances but didn’t really make any waves. I don’t really see them maintaining their current prices so I would feel comfortable trading them into longer term targets that have a better chance of holding value.

Now is also a good time to cash out on Return to Ravnica cards that you might have grabbed in anticipation of heavy play in the upcoming Theros standard. At the top of this list are Jace, Architect of Thought and Blood Baron of Vizkopa. They can easily be sold or buy listed for solid value. It will also be easy to trade these two into other cards that you might need for the future Standard.

Ash Zealot and Detention Sphere have bumped up in price as well and I don’t think they can go much higher. Mono-red will fall out of favor during the upcoming months and Detention Sphere will be appearing twice in the Theros event deck, so it can’t climb much higher than it is now. Trade or sell these cards now before more players complete their playsets and demand dwindles.

Solid Future Portfolio Additions

The cards below I believe are good to pick up whenever you can because having extras will only help you trade better as Theros Standard heads into winter.

domri rade

This is a card I haven’t considered until recently, but I believe that Domri has a lot of value to offer moving forward. Could this be the next $50 Standard mythic? It seems quite possible, as he is played as a three or four-of in many R/G and Naya Standard decks in addition to fringe Modern play. At $25 I am pretty comfortable trading for him, because as long as Domri continues to see heavy play, his price will match that demand.


Scavenging Ooze

Scavenging Ooze kind of got cast to the wayside for a bit in the wake of all the mono-blue devotion decks, but this card still made a strong appearance in the decks that did play Green. It is also a popular card in Standard, being played in a least 25% of the decks in the format. It will be a strong Standard role player throughout its life in the format. If you have Scavenging Ooze, hold on to them for now because they will only increase in price as they get harder to find. M14 is going to be scarce by winter.



Another format staple that has been quietly pervasive. Not only did this show up in the mono-blue devotion deck as a three-of, but many decks played four copies. Like Scavenging Ooze, as M14 becomes harder to find Mutavault will increase in price to match the demand.



Thoughtseize is another format staple that was lost in the excitement of the weekend. This card is very closely approaching the $15 buy-in point that a lot of people are waiting on. If you look hard enough, you can find copies that are currently hovering close to $16 on some sites. I think that it is very close to the time to start going in big on Thoughtseize. At one point this card was $70 because of the heavy play that it sees in Modern and Legacy. You cannot go wrong picking up Thoughtseize in the near future because like Mutavault and Scavenging Ooze, it only has one direction to go.


 Temple of AbandonTemple of DeceitTemple of Mystery

Temple of TriumphTemple of Silence

Similar to Thoughtseize, the time to start picking up the Scry lands is soon approaching. In the wave of all the Devotion madness the dual lands of Theros have been sitting on the sidelines. I believe that the scry lands will start seeing more play moving forward because people are going to try and tweak their Devotion decks to include splash colors. The three-color goodstuff decks will also continue to exist, and will need their color fixing as well.

Pure Speculation

I want to talk about a few “wildcards” and their potential. These cards could be sleeper hits that see a significant price increase if the Standard metagame adopts them as tools that can be used in the new format.


Skylasher could see a surprising amount of play moving forward, and at $0.30 this makes my speculator senses tingle. Last season, Skylasher was a bit too late to the party to properly deal with Delver of Secrets. At the time it was printed, the Delver decks had fallen out of favor, and instead people were playing powerhouse Flash decks that utilized Sphinx’s Revelation, or Bant Hexproof decks that consisted of creatures with flying, unblockability, trample, or a combination thereof.

Now that mono-blue is back in Standard, Skylasher could come out of the woodwork as a way to deal with the mono-blue devotion decks. I like this spec better than Mistcutter Hydra because even though Mistcutter could also see play, Skylasher has a better chance of increasing in price as Dragon’s Maze wasn’t opened much and Mistcutter Hyrdra will continue to be opened for quite a while longer.


Cyclonic Rift

I’ve always liked Cyclonic Rift as a speculation target. At the very least it is a great casual card that will see a lot of play in Commander, as it is one of the best blue sweepers in the format. However, it has been getting a lot of press in Standard recently because of mono-blue. I think that it could have a life outside of this deck as well. It could definitely find a home in future ramp strategies. For example, with a Prophet of Kruphix you can tap out for large spells on your turn and then on your opponents turn cast an overloaded Rift. 


Prophet of Kruphix

Speaking of which, Prophet of Kruphix is another great speculation target because it is currently hovering around $1.50 and I don’t think it can go much lower. This is another card that could have Standard applications in addition to being a popular casual card that will see play in Commander for years to come.


Arbor Colossus

This is a card that I mentioned in my Theros review, and since then he has appeared in a Top 8 Pro Tour list as a three-of in the Japanese colossal Gruul deck. I get a feeling that we will be seeing much more of this card in the future. A 6/6 by turn 4 or 5 that ramps Nykthos pretty hard is quite threatening. Reach, the capability to destroy a flying creature, and becoming a 9/9 are just icing on the giant cake. I think that this could be one of the better payout speculation targets of my riskier picks moving forward.


Blind Obedience

I had to double check myself that this card is really below $2 on a lot of websites. I remember when this card was released it was difficult to find them for less than $7. The effect on this card is really powerful, but previous control shells opted to use other tools that were better at providing incremental advantage. Even though a control player would never play more than 3 of these in a deck, I don’t think that this card could go much lower in price than it currently is. I think there is definitely enough time for this card to see more Standard play and rise in value.

Standard No More – Innistrad Block Cards That Add Future Value to Your Binder, Part 2 of 2

By: Jared Yost

Last week, I walked through departing Standard staples from Innistrad. This week, we’ll finish up by going through Dark Ascension and Avacyn Restored. Let’s dive in!

Dark Ascension

Drogskol Reaver

Drogskol Reaver

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Drogskol Reaver was so close to being playable in Standard. A very powerful card, it just cost too much mana in a fast format with Falkenrath Aristocrats, Hellriders, and insectile abberations everywhere.

The good thing about Drogskol Reaver, and other mythic rares from Dark Ascension, is that DKA was an unpopular middle set that was not opened much. All mythic rares from this set should be looked at with a keen eye for future potential gains due to being harder to find than their first-set counterparts in the future.

Drogskol Reaver has a lot of abilities, which makes it appealing to Casual players. Expect slow but steady gains over time as it becomes harder to find.


Havengul Lich

Havengul Lich

Format – Modern, Commander

Havengul Lich, similar to Past in Flames, is a combo enabler that is just waiting for the correct card to come along and break it in half.

The Lich appeared in Standard way back when Perilous Myr was a thing. Nowadays he can combo with Necrotic Ooze in Modern, but at the moment  the combo is way too inconsistent and slow compared to Living End, Goryo’s Vengeance, or Scapeshift decks.

If anything, this card will maintain casual appeal because his effect is unique. If he pops up in Modern, it will be time to dump them for better Eternal cards.


Huntmaster of the FellsRavager of the Fells

Huntmaster of the Fells

FORMAT – Modern

Huntmaster of the Fells was another Standard powerhouse that now sees sub-$7 prices. At one point he commanded a $30+ price tag. Lately, he has shown the potential to shine again in Modern. He has even popped up in a few Legacy decks here and there, but it will not be Legacy that drives the price of the card.

Don’t expect to see his Standard heydey price again, but a price increase down the road is plausible if he continues to show up in Modern.


Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

FORMAT – Modern (a stretch), Commander

Mikaeus can be a good commander in addition to being an instant win combo with Triskelion. Though this alone will not increase his price, being a legendary mythic from an unpopular set can mean that if Mikaeus somehow makes his way into Modern (I know, definitely a stretch, but hey, you never know) his price could really jump.

If not Modern, it will certainly hold casual appeal which will keep the price moving upwards as time goes on. Pick up foils of this one if you can.


Moonveil Dragon

Moonveil Dragon

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

See my comments on Balefire Dragon last week. Much of what I said for that card stands true for its Dark Ascension cousin. The only difference is that Moonveil Dragon is technically harder to find than Balefire Dragon, so expect this Dragon to be worth slightly more in the future.


Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad

FORMAT – Modern, Commander, Casual

Modern has had a BW tokens archetype that has been on the fringe of the format for the last several seasons. Sorin could see a home in that deck, but if Bitterblossom ever gets unbanned you can pretty much forget about Sorin ever earning a spot. Thankfully, I don’t think Wizards plans on unbanning Bitterblossom because they saw the damage the card wreaked upon Standard when Morningtide was legal.

Even if no real Modern support materializes, Sorin is a great casual target that will hold value if only because he is a Planeswalker, and the first BW Planeswalker to exist. BW seems to be another favorite casual color combination, so expect Sorin to hold his price and to increase slowly over the years, especially foils.


Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Commander

Thalia seems really underpriced to me right now. Even though she is rotating, in Legacy she is a complete powerhouse, with Death and Taxes really taking advantage of her efficient mana cost paired with a sphere effect that impacts the game in a significant way.

She was a solid player in Standard, but the non-creature sphere effect is better suited to Eternal formats. Thalia is now a key roleplayer in formats where spells are at their best. I expect to see a lot of her in for years to come (more so Legacy than Modern).

If you still have Thalias that have been sitting around for a while not doing anything, I would not be quick to get rid of them. Thalia is definitely in my top five cards to hold onto from the INN block moving forward.


Vault of the Archangel

Vault of the Archangel

FORMAT – Commander

Lands with special abilities are generally looked upon favorably by the casual community. They can be used across a variety of decks to provide an extra benefit to a strategy or game plan.

Vault saw a bit of Standard play, but pretty much everyone knew that its effect was too much mana for too little reward in a format with Thragtusk, Restoration Angel, and Geist of Saint Traft.

Moving forward, I expect utility lands from the INN block to creep up in price over the years as players realize they are great additions in Commander decks. Keep foils of these especially, as they will certainly command a premium in the future.


Diregraf Captain

Diregraf Captain

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Zombies are a sweet casual tribe and cards that provide a Lord effect at an efficient mana cost are worth considering for future gains, even if they are uncommon.

Diregraf Captain never saw a lick of Standard play, but he is still hovering around $0.50 even after rotation – pretty great for an uncommon.

As these become harder to find, they will eventually rise in price to meet the casual demand.


Lingering Souls

Lingering Souls

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Casual

Lingering Souls was a defining card of INN Standard. Thundermaw Hellkite maintained a price tag in the ballpark of $40 due in part to how strong he was against Souls. It is solid card that is very good at what it does – generating efficient advantage with a lot of small flyers for a great rate.

Played in Modern tokens and Jund, and even more so in Legacy Esper decks, Lingering Souls will definitely be a part of multiple formats going forward. I expect Lingering Souls to increase in price over time and maybe even hit the price point of cards like Kitchen Finks, Lightning Helix, and Spell Snare.



Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Avacyn never saw a lick of Standard play, and to this day still commands a $16 price tag. The demand of this card is completely driven by casual players, so as the years go on this card will only keep going up in price.

While Avacyn has nowhere to go but up, no one would blame you for cashing out now or trading into better Eternal staples like Snapcaster Mage or Liliana of the Veil.


Craterhoof Behemoth

Craterhoof Behemoth

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Commander, Casual

Craterhoof Behemoth has such an impact on the board that if it is not answered immediately it is probably game over.

That is why it sometimes shows up in Modern and Legacy Elf builds – they have the resources to generate enough mana and bodies that plopping this into play is often enough to kill on the spot. Additionally, Craterhoof will always have Commander appeal because it is capable of putting out so much damage so quickly.

I expect Craterhoof to retain a pretty good price in the future moving forward due to these factors.


Entreat the Angels

Entreat the Angels

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Commander

Entreat the Angels is the premier finisher in the Legacy miracles deck, putting in good work alongside of Terminus and Sensei’s Divining Top, which manipulates the top of the deck to cast powerful miracle spells for cheap as needed.

Modern may not see too much Entreat the Angels due to Sensei’s Divining Top being banned, but it will have appeal in Legacy for a long time. Even without Legacy, Entreat is a Commander powerhouse. The price will grow to reflect that over time.


Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

See Avacyn, Angel of Hope for a detailed explanation.

Gisela has a very unique effect amongst R/W Angels and I expect it to remain a casual all-star for years to come. Hold for the long term. Players love to jam cards like this into their Angels or Kaalia Commander decks.




FORMAT – Modern, Legacy

Griselbrand is all over the tournament scene, popping up in both Modern and Legacy in top tier decks that abuse his Yawgmoth’s Bargain draw ability. Clearly too powerful for Commander; like Emrakul we unfortunately cannot count on that format to add demand.

Expect him to hover around $12 for a while and then slowly creep up to $30 as long as he remains a great card in Eternal formats.


Primal Surge

Primal Surge

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

Primal Surge is the Timmiest sorcery that I’ve ever seen. I expect future players down the road to recognize this as well, pick them up, and build Commander decks based around it.

A mythic rare from an a popular Casual set with an ability this powerful cannot stay at such a low price forever. I expect this card to always trade decently.


Sigarda, Host of Herons

Sigarda, Host of Herons

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Commander, Casual

Sigarda has bottomed out at $4. She cannot go any lower – a mythic rare angel from a third set that has an incredible combination of abilities at an efficient mana cost.

Even though it was outshined in Standard by the combination of Thraggy and Resto Angel, I expect this card to pop up in Modern, and even possibly Legacy tables from time to time as the metagame shifts.

When she isn’t appearing in tournament lists, she will remain a fan favorite for years to come along with her sisters Avacyn and Gisela.


Alchemist's Refuge

Alchemist’s Refuge

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

See Vault of the Archangel.

Alchemist’s Refuge is another unique land that has a lot of utility for Commander. I expect it to slowly rise over time as people include them in nearly every G/U/x Commander deck. Alchemist’s Refuge provides the deck with additional power in a land slot, similar to High Market or Miren.


Cathars' Crusade

Cathars’ Crusade

FORMAT – Commander

Strictly a Commander card, I can see this being compared to Doubling Season and Parallel Lives. It will never command the price that Doubling Season does and is not the same as Parallel Lives, but does provide incremental advantage over the course of the game like the two other enchantments.

In the future, I expect this card’s price to go up based on the popularity of the Ghave infinite-counter combo in Commander. It also helps make Avenger of Zendikar even nuttier, not that it needed the help.


Cavern of Souls

Cavern of Souls

FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Commander, Casual (ALL OF THEM)

Cavern of Souls is up there with Snapcaster, Liliana, Geist, and Thalia. An all-star of a card that rocks in any format it is legal in.

This was not only a Standard powerhouse, but made waves in Modern and Legacy in tribal based strategies and I expect that trend to continue for years to come. Cavern is like Thalia; it is currently the lowest price that it will ever be, so if you still have these hold onto them.

Casuals also love this card because it stops Counterspells, one of the most-hated mechanics at the kitchen table.


Champion of Lambholt

Champion of Lambholt

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

A unique effect on a green creature that makes your guys unblockable? Sign me up. This can quickly become a game ending card in Commander, so I expect it to retain some value just based on that.

Champion of Lambholt allows players to alpha strike fairly easily in Commander. She’ll be cast pretty often out of 100-card decks, and eventually she will see a price that matches her play.


Conjurer's Closet

Conjurer’s Closet

FORMAT – Commander, Casual

This artifact allows you to eek out incremental advantage from all the great ETB effects printed over the recent years. While not being very thrilling in 60-card constructed formats, it can be really good in Commander with all of the ETB triggers on creatures these days.

This is not a card that I predict will be a stellar gainer, but it can be pasted into almost any decklist and provide an advantage. Foils of this will be worth a fair bit over time.


Deadeye Navigator

Deadeye Navigator

FORMAT – Commander

Deadeye Navigator is basically the best blue creature in Commander. Even though his foil version was printed in the Avacyn intro decks, over time I expect both foils and nonfoils to increase in price as long as he is not banned in Commander.

This card is an amazing Commander all star and due to that demand it will keep the card above bulk status for years to come. Even though currently he hasn’t broken $1, I think that as he becomes harder to find the price will start going up.


Exquisite Blood

Exquisite Blood

FORMAT – Casual

This card will derive its price from Casual and nothing more. It combos with Sanguine Bond, which is cool, but it is a wonky trick that requires a lot of investment to get going. Despite that, Casual players will still try to make it happen. Sanguine Bond at one point was $7, so this enchantment could easily see that price too. Only time will tell, but I know for sure that they will never be bulk.


Restoration Angel

Restoration Angel

FORMAT – Modern, Commander

Though not in Standard anymore, Restoration Angel is still played in Modern in Pod lists, and occasionally UW variants.

In addition to Modern demand, she will maintain casual appeal over time and will be included in a lot of Commander decks, so I think this will keep her price above bulk. My advice on this card at this point is to hold onto them and expect slow future growth based on Modern.




FORMAT – Modern, Legacy, Commander

See Entreat the Angels. These two cards pretty much go hand in hand. If you are casting one, you’re probably casting the other.

In addition to seeing play at the tournament tables, Terminus will see a ton of play across casual and Commander as well, so this will help keep the price well above bulk. Without a reprint I expect Terminus to slowly tick up over time as it is comparable to Hallowed Burial. The current price is pretty low, but reaching $7 again is completely within reason as they become tougher to find.


Blood Artist

Blood Artist

FORMAT – Casual

Blood Artist is similar to Diregraf Captain. Casuals love this uncommon because it has a unique ability that is priced at an efficient mana cost. Casuals will want 4x of them for decks that they will build and this will keep Blood Artist’s price fairly high for an uncommon over the years.

They will always trade well, so keep any extras that you have so that at some point in the future you can trade them into other cards that you need.



Top five cards you should hold onto for future gains:

1. Snapcaster Mage
2. Liliana of the Veil
3. Cavern of Souls
4. Geist of Saint Traft
5. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

I will also leave you with five sleepers I believe will see a significant increase:

1. Griselbrand
2. Deadeye Navigator
3. Sigarda, Host of Herons
4. Terminus
5. Past in Flames

If I missed any cards in this analysis, feel free to leave a comment and let know.