Tag Archives: Khans of Tarkir

Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar By the Numbers

Last weekend, we got our first look at the cards played from Battle for Zendikar in Standard and I was definitely surprised by the results. In order to make it more convenient for everyone I’ve created a table that inlcudes all cards found throughout the decks sorted by most played. I’ve even tracked the sideboard cards played, to show the direction that the format is taking.

Here’s a breakdown of the played cards at the Pro Tour by card type:

Land (199) Sorcery (21) Creature (127) Instant (99) Sideboard (120)
25x Flooded Strand 8x Dragon Fodder 16x Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy  Flip 11x Fiery Impulse 11x Disdainful Stroke
20x Wooded Foothills 6x Hordeling Outburst 15x Hangarback Walker 11x Dromoka’s Command 9x Surge of Righteousness
17x Windswept Heath 7x Treasure Cruise 12x Warden of the First Tree 10x Wild Slash 9x Duress
16x Mountain Enchantment (12) 12x Mantis Rider 8x Crackling Doom 9x Arashin Cleric
15x Polluted Delta 8x Silkwrap 10x Den Protector 7x Abzan Charm 6x Roast
15x Bloodstained Mire 4x Jeskai Ascendancy 8x Siege Rhino 6x Ojutai’s Command 5x Transgress the Mind
14x Plains Planeswalker (22) 8x Anafenza, the Foremost 6x Kolaghan’s Command 5x Rending Volley
14x Mystic Monastery 20x Gideon, Ally of Zendikar 7x Wingmate Roc 6x Jeskai Charm 5x Exert Influence
12x Forest 2x Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker 6x Tasigur, the Golden Fang 5x Valorous Stance 4x Wingmate Roc
8x Prairie Stream 4x Zurgo Bellstriker 4x Titan’s Strength 4x Ultimate Price
8x Canopy Vista 4x Soulfire Grand Master 4x Murderous Cut 4x Tragic Arrogance
5x Sunken Hollow 4x Seeker of the Way 4x Dispel 4x Silkwrap
5x Smoldering Marsh 4x Monastery Swiftspear 4x Dig Through Time 4x Radiant Flames
4x Shambling Vent 4x Deathmist Raptor 4x Atarka’s Command 3x Mastery of the Unseen
4x Llanowar Wastes 4x Abbot of Keral Keep 3x Temur Battle Rage 3x Fiery Impulse
4x Island 3x Nissa, Vastwood Seer  Flip 3x Become Immense 3x Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh  Flip
4x Battlefield Forge 2x Lightning Berserker 2x Utter End 2x Whisperwood Elemental
3x Swamp 2x Hidden Dragonslayer 1x Secure the Wastes 2x Valorous Stance
3x Cinder Glade 2x Dragonmaster Outcast 2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang
2x Nomad Outpost 2x Hordeling Outburst
1x Shivan Reef 2x Felidar Cub
2x Evolutionary Leap
2x Dragonmaster Outcast
2x Dispel
2x Den Protector
2x Crackling Doom
1x Sorin, Solemn Visitor
1x Self-Inflicted Wound
1x Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
1x Ruinous Path
1x Radiant Purge
1x Ob Nixilis Reignited
1x Negate
1x Narset Transcendent
1x Lightning Berserker
1x Gideon’s Reproach
1x Boiling Earth
1x Abzan Charm

Quick Stats:

Top Creature — Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy

Top Land  Flooded Strand

Top Instant — Fiery Impulse / Dromoka’s Command

Top Sorcery — Dragon Fodder

Top Enchantment — Silkwrap

Top Planeswalker — Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Brief Summary:

Abzan took down the Pro Tour, which is shocking to nobody. Key cards from the deck include Warden of the First Tree, Hangarback Walker, Den Protector, Anafenza, the Foremost, and Siege Rhino. Interestingly, even with a Pro Tour win I’m not sure how much Siege Rhino can gain throughout the rest of its Standard life. The Clash Pack printing has devastated the price of the card and I’m not sure if it is going to spike up a large amount simply due to the fact that there are so many other decks out there that aren’t playing Abzan colors, Pro Tour win aside.

Hangarback Walker is the talk of the town, as usual, as noted by its second place listing among the most played cards of the Top 8. I’m sure further breakdowns of the Top 64 and beyond will continue to show the trend, but as we all knew Hangarback Walker is going to continue to shine in Standard due to the fact that it is the strongest colorless option (amongst three and four color decks) that players can choose to include because it does so well against the sorcery speed removal of the format.

Which brings me to Silkwrap, one of the premier answers to Hangarback Walker that is left in the new Standard after Theros block has rotated out. I’m not surprised that copies are bordering on $2 at this point, and keep in mind that it is in Dragons of Tarkir so its shelf life has a farther expiration than Khans and Fate Reforged. I don’t expect Silkwrap to go down in value (unless of course it gets the event deck / clash pack / whatever reprint) so pick up your copies now in order to deal with the Hangarback Walker threat that will be seen over the course of the winter.

Of the most played cards in the Pro Tour Top 8 from BFZ, we have Prairie Stream, Canopy Vista, Sunken Hallow, Smoldering Marsh, and Shambling Vents making a splash in the decks. Outside of lands, the only cards from BFZ to see play in the maindeck of the top decks include Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Dragonmaster Outcast, and Dispel – not a great showing of Battle for Zendikar since two out of those three cards are reprints. Based on these results, expect Gideon spike up to new highs and stay there for a while until the format becomes solved over time as players try and figure out how to make Ingest and Devoid work in Standard. I wouldn’t pick up extra copies of Dragonmaster Outcast since it is a reprint and will continue to drop in price as more BFZ packs are opened over the coming months.

As we continue into the Standard season, I hope that more variety is introduced to the decks. I’m really excited to see what Battle for Zendikar can add to Standard, but it seems like the power level hasn’t quite been figured out yet. Cards like Oblivion Sower seem really powerful in a vacuum but I’m not sure if they are good enough for Standard yet based on the Pro Tour results. As we continue on through Standard there should be opportunity for other cards to shine, like sideboard inclusions Radiant Flames and Exert Influence. Until then however, I would expect aggro decks and Jeskai (whether splashing black or green) to be dominant forces at FNM as more and more players realize that yes, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (and his insane price) is not going away from Standard anytime soon, unfortunately.

PROTRADER: The Mythics of Khans of Tarkir

We’re just a couple months from Battle for Zendikar, and we’re about to see some major spikes coming on cards we’d all but forgotten about. This fact is indisputable—it’s which cards that are going to see an increase that can (and should) be argued.

Khans of Tarkir is an interesting spot with its prices. With a cycle of fetch lands in the set, the price of everything else is depressed. However, the number of drafts of Khans (and thus boxes opened) is about to sharply decrease. Since last fall, Khans singles have been priced roughly to balance the MSRP of a booster box—if singles go too high, vendors will just open boxes themselves; if singles go too low, nobody buys boxes. Once Battle for Zendikar hits, though, Khans singles will fall more in line with the reality of Standard demand (among other formats), and cards that we previously took for granted are going to get pricey.

Today, we’ll be taking a close look at the 15 mythics from Khans of Tarkir. These have remarkably depressed prices, as illustrated by the most expensive one being Sorin, Solemn Visitorwhich has a Fair Trade Price of only $7.85. There’s opportunity here. Let’s find it.

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Penny Stocks of Tarkir

It’s been a minute since I’ve had a regular article! Thanks for sticking with me. I had to skip a week due to covering the Pro Tour in Vancouver, and last week I had an impromptu article on fetch lands take over my normal spot thanks to the breaking news (which I’m really proud of how the team here covered). Anyway, we’re back to normal this week, and this topic is one I’ve had in mind for a bit and I think is a fun (and profitable) one: penny stocks!

What Are Penny Stocks?

Basically, in the “real world” a penny stock is exactly that: a stock that costs you only pennies to buy but can provide big percentage gains as a result of having such a low buy-in. You make your money with volume, and they’re attractive options for casual investors.

Magic’s penny stocks are much the same. While we have to adjust the definition slightly—I’ve chosen to include cards up to $2—the theory holds, and every year we seemingly see something from this category of cards break out and subsequently shoot up in price. A couple years ago it was Desecration Demon and Nightveil Specter. We see something like this almost every year, and I don’t think this one will be an exception.

So let’s dig in.

Mantis Rider

Mantis Rider

Believe it or not, this little bug has fallen all the way to fifty cents. This thing was nearly $8 at one point!

And while some Jeskai builds have sat this guy on the bench in favor of more burn spells, that won’t necessarily be an option after rotation. Much of the deck’s core will stay in the format to keep it strong, but enough rotates to make room for Mantis Rider again—not to mention that versions of the deck still play this thing as a four-of and do well today.

At near-bulk status, this is a must-have. You’re out nothing if it misses, but the gains could be huge.

Savage Knuckleblade

Savage Knuckleblade

Another card that has seen Standard success but is currently 50 cents. Temur has a lot of tools post-rotation, even if it’s a little out of the limelight now, and between this and the next card on this list, there’s a lot of reason to think the deck could be poised to find a place in the format. With playsets of this card available for a single dollar, I don’t know how you can pass this up right now, even if it means taking a flyer on a fringe deck.

Rattleclaw Mystic

Rattleclaw Mystic

I’ve written about this card before, but I’ll repeat it now: this is the best mana-ramp creature in Standard after Sylvan Caryatid leaves. It’s been slowing trending up but still clocks in under $2, and there’s not way this little guy won’t see continued Standard play next season. I love this as a pickup.

Surrak Dragonclaw/Sagu Mauler

Surrak Dragonclaw

Remember how I said Temur could be poised to break out? These are a few of the cards that make it possible. Sagu Mauler is actually bulk while Surrak is a dollar, but both of these are 6/6 creatures for five mana, which is conveniently easy to achieve a turn early thanks to Rattleclaw Mystic. Both of these could flame out into nothing, but both have great upside in the weeks following Rotation.

Sagu Mauler

Utter End

Utter End

Sure, there are lots of better options for removal available now, but that won’t be the case forever. Utter End is as flexible as you want, and while it is expensive in a gameplay sense at four mana, it’s super cheap in a fiscal sense at 75 cents. It’s possible the Game Day promos are a better play here, but the lowest risk certainly rests with the regular copies.

Shaman of the Great Hunt

Shaman of the Great Hunt

This thing saw a little fringe play upon its release, but has since fallen off the map. As a mythic from a small set, there’s definitely solid upside here, though be aware you’re taking a super speculative route with this one. It’s a very strong curve-topper for aggressive decks, but the red decks of the format don’t lack that even after rotation, and the decks that can make use of the final ability may not need it, either. Still, the price upside on this is what makes it worth a look, even if it never quite gets there.

Outpost Siege

Outpost Siege

We already see this Siege get a ton of sideboard play, and there’s no reason to expect that won’t continue or that the card may even move to main decks after rotation. I don’t fully understand why this is under a dollar given all that, but it’s cheap enough to warrant a spot on this list. After all, sometimes the market is just slow to react: Dromoka’s Command is all over the place and yet is only $2. Sometimes if something seems wrong, it’s not because you’re missing something, it’s because it is wrong.

While we’re at it, if you want to talk bulk rare Sieges, Frontier Siege could be huge in ramping to eldrazi and is only 50 cents. Just saying.

Surrak, the Hunt Caller

Surrak, the Hunt Caller

Dragons of Tarkir offers us fewer options than the other sets in the block, both because it’s a set that wasn’t drafted a ton (a large set but never drafted alone), and because there are already a number of expensive cards floating over the arbitrary $2 mark. Still, there are a couple cards worth mentioning, and the smaller Surrak is one of them.

This saw a little play upon its release., the stats are solid (trades with Siege Rhino), and the ability is good and not that difficult to turn on. At 75 cents, it’s worth having at least a playset of these for yourself. Remember, ramping into eldrazi and having the ability to give them haste could very well be a thing we’re concerned about in three months.

Dragon Whisperer

Dragon Whisperer

Red decks still have a lot of gas post-rotation, but with a few spots opening up, we could see the Whisperer slip in. It’s both an acceptable two-drop and a way to sink some late-game mana into a powerful effect. I’m not a huge fan necessarily, but as a mythic, the upside is definitely there.

Icefall Regent

Icefall Regent

Another dragon that has seen competitive play in the past. It peaked over $4 and could possible find itself a home again post-rotation. At just over a dollar, it earns a spot on our list, even if it seems like a long-shot.

Wrapping Up

I realize I’ve thrown a lot of cards at you, and it’s a certainty that not all of these will hit either play-wise or financially. I realize that, but I view my job as a writer to give you the options and my thoughts on them and leave it to you to make your own decisions.

I’m sure there are cards on this list I like more than some of you do, and undoubtedly you have favorites that I’m not sold on. Regardless, these are the cards that most fit the profile of “super-inexpensive card to break out post-rotation,” and all of these offer a chance to get ahead of what you think the Standard metagame will look like in a few months.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Safety Deposit Boxes of Khans of Tarkir

By: Travis Allen

After Modern Masters hit the streets not quite two years ago, I started acquiring Modern cards as much as possible. Anything that wasn’t printed in MM was fair game, especially anything with keywords. Spellskite? Scoop ‘em up. Snapcasters. Fast lands. Goryo’s Vengeance. Various other cards that I don’t recall at this point. Suffice to say, I spent well over a year trading for as much Modern product as I could. With the format growing in popularity and the big reprint vehicle in the rear-view mirror, I wanted as much of my stock as possible to be Modern staples. And that’s what I did for months and months.

Not that long ago, my consideration of that format as an iron-clad storage chest for Magic value began to wane. Modern Masters 2015 had been announced, and the number of places reprints were popping up was beginning to outnumber the amount of cards needing reprints. We’re now firmly amidst a sea of reprint avenues, each representing a potential hemorrhaging of value. I’ve been forced to stop stockpiling generic Modern staples and instead have been driven to find greener pastures in which to park my Magic value.

Standard card prices rise quickly and fall off almost as fast. Changes occur on a weekly basis. The entire market is far more nimble and lean than Modern or Legacy. And while nothing is as safe and effortless as plenty of Modern cards are, there’s definite money to be made. I can’t park a few hundred bucks in Spellskites anymore, but as long as I’m paying attention, I can probably make more money. The trick is not to chase weekly tides. Rather, I want to look at long cycles, and get in while they’re at their floors. Today we’re going to talk about Khans of Tarkir, a set that is rapidly approaching its local value floor, and where to put your MTG funbux for the next six months.

AAA Stocks

If you read my article last week all about rotations and pricing trends, you would know that Khan’s price peak should be some time in mid to late October, and that its floor should be between July and August. As good financiers who pay attention to the details though, we may notice that Khans is a little different than other sets . Whereas most fall sets are drafted through the spring, KTK is not. Once Dragons of Tarkir hit the market, KTK packs left the drafting economy. Is this enough to impact the price behavior?

Let’s do some homework and find out. After all, perhaps the most important skill to cultivate in this field is doing your homework. In order to make wise decisions, you need to ask questions, and you need information to answer those questions. And no, bugging myself or Corbin or whomever on Twitter doesn’t count as doing your homework. Check price graphs. Find cards that are similar and note their behaviors. Look back through older sets for comparisons. Without all of this effort, you’re not doing anything other than making wild guesses.

Alright, aside aside, we know the last time a set behaved in this fashion was Innistrad back in 2011. Once Avacyn Restored hit, Innistrad and Dark Ascension dropped out of the draft. Here’s INN’s price graph.


Looks like the price floor is right where we expected it to be; between July and August. Excellent. Right now we’re six to twelve weeks from hitting the floor. How much further of a drop are we talking? Well, between today’s date in 2011 and the absolute floor that summer, Innistrad dropped about 18%. So we haven’t completely bottomed out yet, but we’re close. What we want to be doing now is identifying which cards we think will do the best through the fall rotation, and begin moving in on those. Starting now gives us a chance to decide our best course of action early, and time to start acquiring. Unless our plan is to just dump hundreds of dollars all at once on August 1, starting to trade today is a wise decision.

Today I’m going to start with Khans, and touch on Fate Reforged another week.

People have forgotten about Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker by now, given Stormbreath Dragon and a general preponderance of dragons in Standard. It may feel surprising today, but there was a time when Sarkhan was being compared favorably to Stormbreath, and he had a price tag to match.


While I’m not holding my breath for $50 again anytime soon, I do think that $8 is much lower than he can and should be. Admit it, you probably thought he was $10 or $12, right? We’ve collectively forgotten about him, and subsequently didn’t realize how cheap he’s gotten. His power level is undeniable though. He’s a five mana hasty 4/4 indestructible flyer—immune to cards like Ultimate Price, mind you—that can alternatively come down and nuke a tapped Ojutai. He’s a premier planeswalker from Khans, and when the index jumps 80 percent this fall, he’s going to be a big part of it. At the very least, we should see a price of $10 to $12, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him climb above $15 at some point in October. There’s few safer bets in KTK than Sarkhan.

Take everything I said about Sarkhan and apply it to Sorin, Solemn Visitor, only slightly less so. His price spiked less hard at release, only cresting $30, and he hasn’t fallen as far, with a current price tag of $10, but he’s still a powerful planeswalker that is trading well below his future value. What makes Sorin particularly good is that while Sarkhan is mostly sitting on the sidelines right now, Sorin is still getting in game wins here and there in various stripes of Abzan decks. We know beyond a doubt that Sorin is strong enough for a high-powered Standard format such as this, and when we suddenly lose half the available cards, his relative power level will spike. There are plenty of decks in the format where your opponent casting a Sorin and activating the first ability it is essentially game over. We even see Sorin pop up in Modern decks occasionally, which is a testament to his strength. I can’t get enough Sorins right now.

I’m struggling to reconcile Siege Rhino’s price with everything I know about Magic finance. We have a premier-level threat in two formats—Standard and Modern—and I can currently buy multiple playsets on TCGplayer for $4.25 a copy? What? Yes, it’s a fall set rare, and that means there is no shortage of copies on the market. But so what? Abrupt Decay was a fall set rare and was $10 while in Standard. In fact, it was in the same set as Deathrite Shaman, which was also at least $10. Oh, and both of those were also in the same set as shock lands.

My point is that while fall set rares tend to be suppressed, especially when good lands are in the set, I don’t believe that it’s enough to stop tier-one grade-S staples from hitting high prices. Nearly every year I’m impressed by how valuable some rare manages to be despite being a fall set rare. This year around that card is going to be Siege Rhino. I expect it will at least double to $10, and I think $15 is within the realm of possibility. We’re talking about what is arguably the best card in Standard and is also a full playset in one of the best Modern decks in the format. In fact, my goal between now and July is to sell some excess stock I have and buy up Rhinos in anticipation of this fall.

I was lukewarm on See the Unwritten when Khans was spoiled, but I didn’t know the next set was Battle for Zendikar, either. After BFZ was spoiled at PAX, Unwritten jumped from around $2 to around $6. It’s since pulled back towards $4, which is great for us: the lower the buy-in, the better. As soon as the first Eldrazi is spoiled, Unwritten is going to jump towards at least $8 as people get hyped to flip gigantic otherworldly monsters into play. Let me be clear here: Eldrazi don’t even need to be legal yet for this to double in price. At $3 or $4 in trade, this is a spec that will be profitable on hype alone.

If it’s actually good, we’ll see prices well into the double digits. See the Unwritten is a popular card across several demographics and formats, such as kitchen-table Magic and EDH, so any Standard demand whatsoever is going to push the price very hard. I’m in for seventy copies or so right now and I’ll be looking to expand that investment through trade binders this summer.

We’ve all come to take Sylvan Caryatid for granted. It’s been so long at this point it feels like a permanent fixture. She’s (they?) are on her way out though, and we’ll need something in her stead. Enter Rattleclaw Mystic. There’s really no other comparable mana fixer in Standard right now. It’s possible we get Birds of Paradise, which would be awesome, but I’m not holding my breath.

As a buy-a-box promo, we already know that Rattleclaw Mystic is slated to be a serious Standard contender, just as Sylvan Caryatid was. It plays extremely well with the Deathmist Raptor/Den Protector synergy that is likely to be the backbone of many Standard decks over the coming months, allowing them to splash into red or blue. Battle for Zendikar will have all sorts of cool things to ramp into. What’s not to like here?

Notable Exclusions

While Wingmate Roc performed admirably earlier in the season, I’m not particularly excited about it this fall. Our embarrassment of riches in the DTK dragons is my primary reason for doubting the return of the bird. With so many powerful flying threats such as Ojutai and Atarka, it’s going to be tough to find a reason to play a card like Roc. Does this mean the card has no future whatsoever and is total bulk? No, absolutely not. It could very well come to transpire that Roc ends up being a relevant component of the metagame this fall and hits $10 again. I’m not writing this article to look for “maybes” though. While you could do worse than Roc, I’d much rather put my Magic dollars into what I feel are basically home runs, such as Siege Rhino and Sarkhan.

I’ve been hemming and hawing over what to do with Dig Through Time while writing this article, and I finally realized that my indecision is exactly my issue with the card. Could DTT hit $15? Aaaabsolutely. No question. Is it a 100 percent slam dunk the way I consider these other cards to be? Not at all. It’s banned in Modern, which cuts a big chunk of potential demand out from under it. It sees some light play in Legacy, but rarely as a full playset. Browsing the EDH stats over at MTGS, Dig Through Time isn’t even a top-50 blue card in the format.

Perhaps my biggest concern with Dig Through Time is that it’s already a $6 card. That’s a tough number to make profit on when we’re talking about a rare rather than a mythic. When Siege Rhinos are $4, Dig Through Times at $6 are simply less appealing to me.

I fully understand if some of you out there want to go deep because you expect DTT to hit $15 this fall. It’s definitely a possibility. It’s the strongest blue card draw spell we’ve seen in ages, and it’s clearly eternal playable. It comes down to a matter of opportunity cost. For every Dig Through Time you buy, it’s one-and-a-half fewer Siege Rhinos available to you. At the end of the day, I’m more comfortable with Rhinos than Digs, though I can respect those of you that opt to pick up copies.

What do you think about the opportunities out of Khans?