Bang for your Buck: Investing in cards before Gatecrash – Black

Disclaimer: I can not be held responsible for any poor decisions I make in regards to any cards you might buy in response to my article. I’m going to post my thoughts and plead my case for each card I recommend, and if you agree then by all means head out to your local gaming store or buy cards online and try to snap up some good deals. I’m basing my information off of months of standard gaming experience as well as prices in my area and how they’ve reacted to the ever changing metagame. I can only hope that the decisions I make are good ones and that my gamble pays off after buying the featured cards.

3 days left until Gatecrash goes on sale, and 3 colors left. Coincidence? Or providence? (probably just me being too busy to post them early). Thanks for coming back to read my latest investment article. Keep in mind that a lot of these cards might not take off right away. I remember buying Craterhoof for 150 yen way back when Avacyn Restored came out, and people didn’t have any idea how they could use him. Now he’s going anywhere from 1000-1500 yen a piece in Japan. Today I’ll be covering black, and there are some interesting combos that Gatecrash creates. Lets start off with M13 and see if there are any cards that are worth picking up now.

M13 Black cards

You don’t see a lot of black cards from M13 in standard play, and I wonder why. There are some decent cards in the set that are absolute bargains right now. For example: Disciple of Bolas

Disciple of Bolas

Disciple of Bolas

I personally like this guy. He gives decks that don’t usually have decent card draw a lot of reach. I used him in my Junk tokens deck, usually sacrificing a Thragtusk to him after my attack phase to gain 5 life and draw 5 cards. Another friend of mine currently top 8’ed a Grand Prix trial with a GBW Human reanimator deck that used cards like Disciple of Bolas to gain life while giving him access to more card advantage. He has his applications and I think $1 for him is kind of low. He definitely has room to go up in the near future.

Another card that could see some more play is Liliana of the Dark Realms, but how much more play is yet to be seen. There are a lot more Swamp/X dual lands in standard now that she can fetch from your deck, but how useful is that ultimate in the current metagame? Her +1 and -3 abilities are more relevant at the moment, and until somebody learns how to break her I don’t think she’ll go up in value that much from her current $10. Mutilate might see some more play in UB control, but I don’t think it will increase in value that much in the near future.

Avacyn Restored Black cards

Although it is situational, I think Appetite for Brains might see more play in Gatecrash standard because of the increased use of big creatures in Naya such as the big angels of Boros and the monsters of Gruul. I also think you’ll see it a lot in sideboards if UB, Grixis, and Esper control get big again. I was also going to suggest Exquisite Blood as well but it has suddenly gone up in price to about $3.50 or so. I wonder if it’s because of the infinite life drain combo that you can do with Vizkopa Guildmage’s second ability. If you can find them cheap pick up a few!

If I had to recommend any good deals, I’d say that Killing Wave is in a good position to go up in price. It’s about $1 for one now, and there is a possibility that some UB or BW control decks will use it as a board wipe of sorts alongside extort triggers.

Dark Ascension Black cards

Black was probably the strongest color in the DKA set. It had Gravecrawler and Geralf’s Messenger; the most highly played cards in the set. While both of those cards have come off their highest price when RB aggro was king of the hill, I think there is still some room for them to regain that value again. With Watery Grave, there is a chance that UB zombies could make a comeback, which in turn would cause their value go increase once more. If you can trade for them or find a good deal on one or two, you’ll probably see a return on your investment within a month or so.

Geralf's Messenger

Geralf’s Messenger


Increasing Ambition, thought to be a junk rare, has also seen play in Omnidoor Thragfire decks which use it to find their win conditions. The deck is a lot of fun to play, but is still on the fringes so I wouldn’t expect it to gain any value. Out of these 3 cards, I think your best investment would be in a few Geralf’s Messengers, which are currently going for about $6.50 or so. At their high they were at about $13, and I think they will get popular again before they rotate in October. 

Innistrad Black cards

Innistrad was another expansion that had some very good black cards. I’d expect Liliana of the Veil to see more play in control decks, especially UB control, but I don’t think her value will change much from the current $25 price tag. I also think that Bloodline Keeper should maintain it’s value, and Sever the Bloodline as well. There are actually 3 cheap cards from Innistrad that I think could see an increase in value with the Gatecrash metagame. They are:

  • Bloodgift Demon
  • Curse of Death’s Hold
  • Heartless Summoning

Each of these cards can be bought for under $1 now, and I think they are poised to make a comeback in the new metagame.

Curse of Death's Hold

Curse of Death’s Hold

The card that has the best chance of going up is Curse of Death’s Hold. In past UB control decks, the Curse was an important part of its strategy in order to keep creatures off the battlefield or weak enough so that they weren’t threats. While I don’t think it will see much play in Esper, I think more people will use it in Grixis and UB decks. This isn’t a card you need 4 of though. Two would probably be fine, or 3 if you want to be safe. 

Heartless Summoning

Heartless Summoning

Heartless Summoning is one of those cards that I really want to see in the meta again. It had a few followers in previous standard environments as a way to play massive creatures for cheap. One such deck was UB Heartless Summoning that ran this card along with Frost Titans, Rune-Scarred Demon, Phantasmal Image, and Phyrexian Metamorph to swing in for massive amounts of damage while locking down their opponent. The question we have to ask ourselves now is, do we have enough high cost cards with great abilities that we want to see in a deck together? We no longer have the Titans, but we do have the new Primordials, Lord of the Void, Giant Adephage, and a lot of other huge Gruul creatures that would love to come out a few turns earlier if possible. Will we see a UB heartless summoning deck? No, I don’t think so, but it’s possible that somebody could put together a Jund or Golgari one in the future which would do very well with all the big monsters now available. 

My other suggestion would be Bloodgift Demon, and just because he doesn’t seem like a dollar rare to me. He’s a 5/4 flyer for 5 mana that lets you or your opponent draw a card at the cost of one life. Where would he fit? Well, in a Jund heartless summoning deck to let you draw early, in a tribal Demon deck with Griselbrand, Lord of the Void, Demon Lord of Ashmouth (which I’m really disappointed never saw play) . . . okay so these aren’t decks people would want to run at the moment but you never know what might happen in this metagame. Black definitely has enough removal now to run with the big boys. While I’m not sure about the demon, I do think that Curse of Death’s Hold and Heartless Summoning are poised to make a return. 

Return to Ravnica Black cards

I still have a soft spot for Desecration Demon, especially in control decks. Your opponent must make a choice between taking 6 damage on turn 5 or sacrificing their creature. It also is an amazing blocker on turn 4. I think he’ll get some more play in two color control decks or maybe in UB zombies as a finisher in Gatecrash standard. Grixis is another possibility. At $1.50 I think it’s a decent price. 

Underworld Connections

Underworld Connections

I don’t know about the demon above, but what I do know is that Underworld Connections is undervalued right now. What does it do (beside what’s stated on the card)? For starters it gives decks that usually don’t have decent card draw card advantage. It also works around control by letting you keep up (or try to keep up) with their card advantage. In the Return to Ravnica metagame this saw a lot of play in Jund control decks. With the addition of Gruul lands and Gruul cards such as Clan Defiance, I think we’ll be seeing a resurgence of Jund in the near future. I’m sure this card will see an increase in value soon. If you invest in any black RTR card, invest in this one and get yourself a play set. 

Next time on Bang for your Buck

Black is down which means there are 2 colors left now: Green and Red. I still can’t believe that Exquisite Blood went up to $3.50 each (I bought 15 for $2.50 last week!). Now is definitely the time to buy, and if you see the price top out you should sell before they drop again. Make sure you don’t hold on to your cards too long and be sure to pay attention to the metagame in your area as well. An example would be selling Jace, Architect of Thought at $40 instead of his current price of $16. If you’re not using a card in a deck (and don’t think you ever will use it) and it hits a high price, I would sell it high and use that money to get cards I needed. You can always set aside money to re-buy it when the price drops in the future. I’ll be doing my best to work on Green today and tomorrow, but it might not get posted until after the set is released. Don’t sweat it though, you should still have time. Until next time, happy bargain hunting.