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.