Bang for your Buck: Investing in Cards for Theros – Red, Rakdos, and Gruul
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.
Gruul and Rakdos had the best and most oppressive decks during Innistrad RTR standard. In late 2012 through early 2013, BR zombies and BR midrange seemed to destroy every deck it played against, and from spring 2013 up until the rotation, GR Blitz was dropping opponents left and right. Both colors still have a lot of juice left in them, but they are nowhere near their past power levels. Today I’ll be looking at which cards I think can finally thrive in these colors, as well as what will happen with red cards over these next few weeks. But first, lets see what I chose as my picks last time.
Previous Red, Rakdos, and Gruul suggestions
- Dreadbore – I said it would hold its value around $3, and it did. Instant removal is always more favorable, but I think with all the planeswalkers seeing play now, it could see more play.
- Rakdos’s Return – This was another card that I said should hold its value and I was right again. It hasn’t changed much from it’s previous price of $5.25, and it hit $6 just like I predicted.
- Sire of Insanity – I liked him before and said he might see more play in a control heavy environment, but people simply aren’t using BR at the moment so he dropped in price about 50 cents. Guess I was wrong on saying he’d be a good investment.
- Ash Zealot – I told everybody to buy her back in August at $1.50. She’s now hit $4.75 thanks to mono red and devotion decks seeing major play. I was right on saying that she wasn’t a bulk rare card.
- Ruric Thar, The Unbowed – I said pick him up at $0.75, but he hasn’t seen any more play yet like I though he would. My exact wording was “he’ll see an increase something THIS YEAR”, so I’m not really wrong on him. I still believe he’ll see play again, especially with the amount of control we’ve seen.
I did pretty good with my suggestions on these colors, however there weren’t many cards to talk about in these colors last time. This is because a majority of cards in these colors were rotating: Hellrider, Thundermaw Hellkite, Huntmaster of the Fells, etc. Now I think there are quite a few cards that can shine with those heavy hitters out of the way. Just who’s turn is it now? Well, read on to see what I think.
It’s a little late to talk about Chandra, Pyromaster being a good pick up at $20 now that she’s hit $35, but there are still a few other cards we can pick up before prices really get out of hand. Chandra’s Phoenix seems like it should hold its value at $5 for the foreseeable future thanks to mono red devotion decks and the popularity of Chandra, so don’t expect it to drop in price anytime soon.
A good value pick right now would have to be Mindsparker. It’s sitting at $1 now, but I don’t think it’s a bulk rare card. With devotion decks coming into their own, this seems like a solid choice to play against Esper, Azorius, and other UW control decks in the sideboard. I think its usefulness is very dependent on the meta, but all it takes is a sudden shift and out of nowhere this card could triple in price. I say pick them up at $1. As long as we are on the subject of possible cards for Red devotion decks, we might also want to look at cards like Awaken the Ancient ($.50), and Scourge of Valkas ($2.10). Both of these cards are cheap and work very well with Devotion, but I think we’ll have to wait for the next set before they are even considered for standard. Needless to say, if you don’t mind dropping $10 to a playset of each, go ahead and do it.
With token makers such as Elspeth, Sun’s Champion seeing a lot of play, as well as 4 toughness creatures such as Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Mizzium Mortars seems like it’s the best choice of red mages to wipe the board with. It compliments Anger of the Gods well in a control deck with red, and if decks like Grixis or BR control take off, I think the price will go from $4.75 to about $6 before rotation. It’s also easy to cast in a mono red devotion deck. Nothing like a board wipe on turn 4 to ensure a lot damage against your opponent.
You think with Hero’s Downfall that Dreadbore would actually be going DOWN in value, but I think this card will actually go up a few dollars over the next few months. The reason is that we are going to see A LOT more planeswalkers in the weeks to come. Jace, Architect of Thought is not a 4 of in blue decks, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion is fun for NOBODY to play against, and even Garruk and Xenaganos are seeing more play after the Pro Tour. I think Dreadbore will hit about $5 before the next set, so pick up a playset at $3 each if you can. I think Rakdos’s Return might also see some more play, and it can be a lot of fun with Nykthos, Shrine of Nix on the battlefield, but I really don’t see many people playing BR or Grixis control anytime soon. BRW control should let it hold it’s value quite well though.
Domri Rade shot to glory last season, and I believe he’ll hold it’s value at about $28 for the next few weeks and shouldn’t lose more than a dollar or two before the next set if it loses anything at all. It’s a solid card and will continue to see play in various GR builds. I still think Ruric Thar, The Unbowed is a good pick up at $.60. He’s much easier to cast with Devotion now, and he’d be a great sideboard card against control decks if you end up playing Makito Mihara’s colossul Gruul from the Pro Tour.
The Savageborn Hydra ($3.50) has always been one of my favorite Gruul cards. I had it as a 4 of in my Emperors of the Wild deck that used cards like Zhur-Taa Ancient to create tons of mana, but with Nykthos finally seeing more play, I think a card like this could definitely take off (especially with lovely cards like Nylea, God of the Hunt giving everybody trample). I don’t think it will be popular at first, but eventually we should see a different build of Colossal Gruul that uses him to great effect. I’d like to see it hit $5, but that’s probably wishful thinking. I don’t think the Hydra’s price will change at all before February. It does make me want to take another look at my deck though!
Next time on Bang for your Buck
Today’s colors were a little hard to call, but I think you won’t be wasting too much money if you do decide to pick some up. I’d really like to see a mono red devotion midrange deck using Dragons such as Stormbreath Dragon and Scourge of Valkas, but that sounds like wishful thinking more than anything else. It would be cool though! Next time might be a good place to finish up these articles. Green is the last color, along with Selesnya, and Golgari. I think I might also do Artifacts and Lands since there are so few to actually talk about. Either way, the article should be out by the weekend, so be sure to check back by Saturday for the last article! Thanks for reading and I’d like to hear any suggestions or ideas if you have them.