No rotation, but now a bonus period for Standard!

Last week, Wizards dropped a huge piece of news during the Pro Tour. They have decided to make Standard last three years instead of two. This is in direct contrast to what they did the last time they meddled with Standard, as detailed in their 2014 article Metamorphosis. Back then, the idea was to make Standard just 18 months, and in addition, Standard would rotate with every new set.

That idea didn’t last too long. Player outcry over the whole thing led to changing that plan. They’ve left it alone until now, and three years means that things which were due to rotate are now being given an extra year.

So let’s look at some of the big winners, and where the prices might end up going.

Before I get into this list, James and I talked on MTG Fast Finance about the very real possibility of there being a new round of Challenger decks, stuffed full of reprints and value. Three years is a long time, and having access to a potential reprint outlet like this is useful. We could also get Aftermath-style mini-sets, or more bonus sheets. Something is going to happen to allow Wizards to make money on this decision, and for all of these, there’s an implied risk of reprints.

Fable of the Mirror-Breaker ($28 for the cheapest copies, $51 for the priciest ones) – Fable was all over the place in the PT, and it’s all over the Constructed scene. It was very cheap at first and is now impressively expensive for a rare that now has 16 months to get even more expensive. It’s a staple in several formats, casual and Professional alike, and the only thing stopping me from running out and buying every copy I can under $30 is the nagging fear of banning.

Fable isn’t overpowered for any one strategy, but it’s effective in almost all of them. Reanimator, control, midrange, even some aggro decks play a couple of copies. It’s glue that holds lots and lots of strategies together, and adds amazing consistency to the whole range. I can’t bet against its banning, given how it was a four-of for five of the top 8 decks at the Pro Tour. 

If you’re comfortable with the risk, Fable is going to go up over the next year unless more copies enter the market.

Reckoner Bankbuster ($4 to $9) – Fable is good, but an enormous number of decks want to run a Bankbuster too, mainly as a way to turn excess mana into extra cards. Bankbuster is worth it in a range of strategies and being an artifact, can go into any deck regardless of color. I’m not expecting huge gains here, but it’s in a whole lot of decks, is good early and late, and should be pushing $10 if not reprinted and the usage stays high.

Invoke Despair ($0.50 to $3) – The Invoke spells, with four colored mana pips, are meant to be a heavy tax, and they truly are. Unless, of course, you’re in an environment with cycling tri-lands, painlands, and slow-lands, plus Fable of the Mirror-Breaker to smooth out the rough edges…then it’s a lot easier to cast this spell.

Despair looked amazing on camera at the Pro Tour, and is one of the wonderful ways to even out a board where your opponent landed a Wedding Invitation, The Wandering Emperor, a Samurai token, and a Bankbuster. Alongside targeted removal, this does impressive work and if you can get a big brick of the promo versions for under a buck, I think you’ll have a chance to sell them to a buylist for $2 or $3 per copy. The regular copies are at $1.50, and I think there’s potential there too, but for a card like this, I’d much prefer a cheaper buy-in.

Unlicensed Hearse ($10 to $15) – This sees play in lots of formats, and is a great counter to assorted reanimation strategies while building up a late-game threat. Everything to love here, but the price might already be too high to allow big growth. 

Cut Down ($0.50 to $1.00) – On TCGPlayer, there’s several big walls of this near fifty cents, and given the efficient nature of the spell, and the super-wide range of things it kills, I can see this being another good buylist target. Keep in mind that there’s a promo version floating around for $1.50 or more for nonfoils, and that’s got the potential to stop the growth.

Takenuma, Abandoned Mire ($6 to $20) – Takenuma was less than half this price at one point, and with another year of growth to come, it’s got potential to hit $10 or $12. It’s rarely played as more than a one-of, but it’s a free way for black decks to add value to the lands. Commander decks do much the same thing, and the drain of 100-card formats is probably going to contribute to its growth.

Innistrad and New Capenna lands (wide range) – Both the tri-lands and the slowlands were due to rotate this fall. These are efficient, effective, and perfect for what they do. These lands are the harbinger for telling us if Standard is really back for paper play. These were due to rotate in the fall, and now are good till late 2024. That’s a long time for people to buy playsets of Haunted Ridge or Ziatora’s Proving Ground, or some other color combination. Mana is about to be very good for Standard, and these lands should all show a minor-to-major bump.

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse ($70 to $130) – Let’s end this list with two cards that are going to rotate in late 2025. This version of Sheoldred is enormously popular, as it takes a thing we all love doing, a thing that we’ve been trained to recognize as pretty much the best thing we could be doing, and making it into a liability for our opponents. That’s a pretty amazing thing to accomplish, and for only four mana!

Dominaria United came out in September of 2022, and in that time, this card has rocketed up and shows little sign of slowing down. Standard plus Commander demand is a great formula, and even the extra copies of concept art didn’t make a dent in prices. 

It’s been a long time since we had a $100 card in Standard, but it looks like we’re about to get there, considering that there’s still two whole years before rotation! Sheoldred needs a reprint, else it’ll be the poster child for a problematic Standard.

Chandra, Hope’s Beacon ($7 to $14) – Normally, I’m an advocate for waiting longer on cards before buying in, but this newest Chandra is already available pretty cheap for a mythic. It’s possible that the price dips down a buck or two in the next few months, but any Standard format where this card can kill two big threats and then next turn copy an Invoke Despair is going to make me take notice.

It’s hard for this card to be bad, and very very easy for it to be outstanding. Every instant or sorcery they print makes this card that much better, and it’s another card that has more than two years till it’s banned! Definitely one to watch and likely one to buy.

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.

The Math of MOM:Aftermath

You might not think a new set was out already, but here it is, an ‘epilogue’ set with no commons and full-priced boosters.

Let’s start with the big change: This is a very small set, not meant for drafting or Sealed or anything like that. There’s no commons! In other times, this might have been a bonus sheet, just like the Multiverse Legends sheet for March of the Machine.

So let’s get into what is what, and how rare is rare. Surprises ahead!

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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.

The Top MOM Commander Staples

Hey all! This is my first ever article for the MTGPrice Pro Trader community. I’m looking forward to many great conversations about emerging tech and trends in Commander. This week we’ll review the release of March of the Machine (MOM) and the new potential EDH staples introduced in the set. I was fortunate enough to recently attend CommandFest in Orlando, where I got to participate in multiple prerelease drafts and see many MOM cards play out in multiple EDH and cEDH pods over the weekend. In combination with my online and local play, I think I’ve got a solid handle on the cards with the greatest potential for persistent play.

To start, let’s get rid of the obvious and agree to put aside the two powerhouses, which are the new Sheoldred and Elesh Norn. These praetors that flip into sagas are brutal to play against; Sheoldred provides removal and discard, while Elesh Norn taxes you and creates an army of tokens before a board wipe. These cards are powerful and need answers upon resolution. I don’t think you’ll ever be disappointed playing either or both of these praetors in your deck.

Beyond the praetors here are four more staples in the making. These cards are effective, powerful, and worth investing in provided the right entry point arises.

#1 Faerie Mastermind (Rare, Extended Art)

Faerie Mastermind (Extended Art)-0

The takeaway from CommandFest was, if you play blue in EDH, you should play Faerie Mastermind. No matter whether your playstyle is casual or the most competitive, card draw is a necessity in the game. EDH card draw is largely defined by the older known draw engines, including Rhystic Study, Mystic Remora, Esper Sentinel, and most recently, Black Market Connections. Point is – your opponents all want to draw cards, and Mastermind lets you tag along. For just two mana you get to flash in this faerie, pick up a second card on your opponent’s second draw trigger, and then introduce a potential long term draw engine onto the board (the second ability which allows you to activate a card draw is key). Worth noting that your opponents can’t prevent the card draw by paying tax like Rhystic Study or Esper Sentinel. Instead, your opponents need to remove Faerie Mastermind, but do you really want to waste a precious removal spell on a 2/1? Similar to Esper Sentinel, this card will be one of those seemingly innocuous creatures that lies around for many more turns than it should be allowed to. By the time Faerie Mastermind is finally removed, there is a decent probability you’ll have drawn half a dozen or more cards.

At the time of writing this article, the extended art version of Faerie Mastermind is $8 for non-foil and just under $17 for foil. This feels too high for an in-print rare from a newly printed set. So far we can’t compare Mastermind to a true multi-format all-starr like Ledger Shredder. That said, UB Rogues in Pioneer with 3 or 4 copies of Mastermind is an emerging deck in that format, so a lower entry is far from guaranteed. Barring successes there, give this some time to breathe and as supply comes into the market, look to pick up EA non-foils closer to $5 and foils closer to $10. If multi-format play picks up, be ready to jump in on potential spikes.

#2 Wrenn and Realmbreaker (Mythic, Borderless)

Wrenn and Realmbreaker (Borderless)-0

I have learned to never underestimate three mana cost planeswalkers. Wrenn and Realmbreaker is a card that slots beautifully into multicolor EDH decks, acting as a quasi-Chromatic Lantern to fix the mana base. If you can land Wrenn on a turn with an untapped land open, you can +1 to create a 3/3 blocker to protect her for the coming turn. At that point Wrenn will be at 5 loyalty, which is not easy to remove. Later on, the -2 ability will help you build card advantage and your yard. Taking all this together, it’s not hard to see why this is almost a $14 non-foil card and $19+ foil card in borderless art. The many popular 4-color and 5-color commander decks like Jodah, the Unifier, the Ur-Dragon, Atraxa (both), and Slivers should have a natural home for Wrenn and Realmbreaker.

Wrenn is one of the premier mythics in this set, and I’ll be closely watching the price chart in the coming weeks. Prices are pretty elevated right now, but I would be minded to jump in and buy a few copies while supply is high in the coming months and price pushes potentially push below $10-12 for borderless and $15 for borderless foils .

#3 Tribute to the World Tree

Tribute to the World Tree (Extended Art)-0

Card draw is good, +1/+1 counters are also good, and the two together are great. At first, Tribute to the World Tree looks like a modified Garruk’s Uprising, which is a $3 uncommon found in 143k EDH decks (especially those with big stompy themes). However, I think this card is more flexible and will see equal if not more play overall in EDH. First, the ETB trigger on a creature with power 3 is significant (vs. power 4 on Garruk’s Uprising). There are few tokens generated that have power 4 but at power 3 it’s possible to abuse this card and get multiple triggers in one turn (think Jinnie Fay’s dog tokens). Second, the downside on the card is just perfect for “counters matters” decks. Putting this together, I would focus on potential entry on copies sub $5 as this would put the card on par with Garruk’s Uprising. Extended art non-foil is at $6 while foil is at $7.50. With supply coming to market, I think sub $5 will be readily achieved in the near term.

#4 Phyrexian Censor

Phyrexian Censor-0

This is my favorite uncommon card from the set. Phyrexian Censor is a perfect white stax card, combining elements of Archon of Emeria and Blind Obedience for 3 mana in a 3/3 body. This card slots perfectly into any control / stax strategy, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see uptake as high as Archon of Emeria, which is in 42k EDH decks. It is very hard to spec on an in print uncommon, but there’s only one version of this card and the foils are $1 or less. I can’t see the harm in sitting on a brick of these now and letting time run its course.

MOM’s Best Commander: Thalia and The Gitrog Monster

Thalia and The Gitrog Monster (Showcase)-0

Before we wrap things up, I think it’s worthwhile to flag a card on my radar who will sit at the helm of the 99. Thalia and the Gitrog Monster is an incredible card design, which packs a real punch at 4 mana cost. The stax effect and the ability to sacrifice and reply lands while drawing cards is a powerful combination. I haven’t come across great choices in commanders for Abzan, but I believe Thalia does the color combination justice. There are some very high power builds emerging so she is one commander to monitor in the coming months. You should also watch for her to potentially move some cards that are locks for includes in the 99. Ramunap Excavator, The Gitrog Monster judge foils, and Titania, Protector of Argoth could all be under pressure here.

Hope you all enjoyed my first article. Thanks, and until next time may your draw be devastating!

MOM Says Get Up!

The first week or so of actual sales are in the books, and we’ve got some prices that have risen impressively. Some of these we sort of saw coming, others arrived from the clear blue sky.

Let’s get into what is what, and where they might go from here.

See Double (Low of fifty cents, now $4) 

See Double is a good card. It’s already strong at 2UU for an instant-speed clone of a creature in play. It’s also 2UU: Copy target spell, which will never ever feel bad, especially if you’re getting a sweet permanent into play. Go ahead and copy someone’s Commander! Having the flexibility to do either of these things is a big game in modern Commander games, and feels pretty great.

In the later turns, being able to do BOTH is nigh ridiculous. Cleary you’re getting a 2-for-1 on pure cards, but it’s not hard to imagine you getting a lot more. Did you copy a Time Stretch and then clone someone’s Etali, Primal Storm? Perhaps you liked that Crackle with Power enough to kill the original caster AND give yourself someone else’s Avacyn, Angel of Hope?

This is a clear case where the people have spoken and the people speaking don’t use EDHREC. See Double is only listed in 1500 decks so far, and that’s good for #40 on the list. For perspective, Hoarding Broodlord is in about 150 more decks, is the same rarity, and is half as much. Give the people their best clone spell ever!

I think See Double can hold its current price nicely. TCG will backfill copies in, seeking the low points, but this has been popular enough early enough that it’ll stay above two dollars. You might see a copy here and there for $1.99 plus shipping, feel free to believe that’s a steal.

Ancient Imperiosaur (fifty cents to $2.50) 

There are ways to make this redundantly huge. If you can tap four creatures, making this cost 1GG, then it’ll come in as a 14/14. If you get to turn four, and have five creatures, you can spend GG casting this as a 16/16 with enough mana left over to Surge-cast Reckless Bushwhacker and smash some real face. 

Ward 2 is really underestimated for Constructed play. Decks in the modern day are optimized to the millimeter, and adding a big tax like this is probably going to take a whole turn. Doesn’t matter if they have a Plains and Swamp untapped, your dino is going to live and do a lot of work, at least this turn. 

The really good news here is that Ancient Imperiosaur will sell by the playset, not by the singleton. This is another card that I think will hold its price, even as an in-print rare. There’s a lot going for it and if the deck places high in results for a week or two, it could easily be a $5 card. Keep an eye on where the price is in a few months, because this might end up being a very attractive brick target.

Faerie Mastermind ($4.50 to $11) –

If you’ve listened to MTG Fast Finance, you’ve heard James talk about this card and he’s been right. It’s a standout in Commander, easily drawing you a lot more cards than it does for other people. Right away, it was expensive and like most cards, it dropped pretty far. However, it’s rebounded up from a $5 floor and come back up to $10, which is about the limit for in-print rares unless they are mega-staples like Ledger Shredder or Fable of the Mirror-Breaker. 

The deterrent factor is real here too. People don’t like giving cards away, and Flash gives you the chance to get the card back quickly. After that, people won’t want to do things that end up giving you cards, so you get to have that hanging over their heads. I can also see this in group hug strategies, where you give something to everyone, but you get more!

There’s also a Rogues deck running around in Pioneer that’s playing this as a four-of, and when you add that to the #1 ranking from March of the Machine on EDHREC, you have a recipe for staying in the $8-$10 range. There’s a lot of copies being opened, but there’s also a lot of copies being bought. Keep in mind that this is a delightful target for stocking up on if it’s nearly to $6 in a couple months.

Invasion of Ikoria ($6 to $18 to $15)

We know tutors are good, so good that Green Sun’s Zenith is banned in Modern. Finale of Devastation is so good that it’s a $40 card, though it’s avoided reprints since its original printing in 2019. This battle is showing up in Pioneer’s Mono-Green decks in dribs and drabs, less as a combo piece and more as something to do with all the mana Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is making for you.

Invasion of Ikoria is also very good, though its restriction of non-Humans rules out a big section of potential targets, including a target that would probably play this in Devoted Druid combo decks. This is the #3 card from MOM currently, being in just over 5000 decks. It’s pretty awesome to have a tutor put the creature into play, and then for the low price of getting six combat damage in, you get a free 8/8 with reach and sort-of-unblockable-ness. 

All that said, it’s a rare and it’s very difficult to have a rare keep a price this high in a Standard set, especially one being opened at the rate MOM is going. I think that this price is reflective of the number of people who open one and don’t sell it, putting it in a Commander deck instead. Even with the invisible hands at work, though, I expect this to come down to the $10 range over time.

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.