Bang for your Buck: Investing in Cards for Born of the Gods – 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.
Today I’ll be taking a look at the most hotly (no pun intended) anticipated colors for Born of the Gods: Rakdos, Gruul, and Red. While mono black got some great cards to strengthen it’s overall strategy, the red cards such as Firedancer Satyr and Temple of Malice will take a few decks from fringe level all the way up to tier 2 status. Rakdos aggro will see more play, Grixis control will see more play, and we all know that GR monsters/aggro is going to be an absolute menace with cards like Xenagos, God of Revels in play. Before we start, lets look at the cards I previously suggested.
Previous Red, Rakdos, and Gruul suggestions
- Chandra’s Phoenix – I thought it would hold it’s value at $5, but it’s dropped to $3.50 due to being used only in burn decks. Burn decks will definitely be seeing more play in BNG standard, but during Theros they were nothing more than fringe decks. My first mistake.
- Mindsparker – my gamble for red last time was Mindsparker, and that gamble didn’t pay off. It went from $1 to $.75. People just have better sideboard cards they’d rather play in their red decks. I still think it would be good in burn or Rakdos aggro decks to push damage though against decks like UW control, but those decks just weren’t big enough to change the card’s value.
- Mizzium Mortars – This card is the bread and butter of red devotion’s removal package, and I thought that it would see more play in the Theros metagame. Due to mono blue’s popularity in the metagame, red devotion didn’t see as much play as it could have. That lack of popularity sent Mizzium’s price down from $4.75 to $3.25. Red really doesn’t seem to be treating me well.
- Dreadbore – I thought the card would see more play over the last 3 months, but it’s price as remained relatively unchanged at $3. I thought it would go up, but since there aren’t many decks that play it the price went nowhere.
- Domri Rade – I said he’d hold his value up until the next set, and he pretty much did. He’s at $25 now, but he was at about $28 last time. It’s a small loss, but his value was actually much higher than that at certain points during the Theros meta so I’ll say I was mostly right.
- Ruric Thar, the Unbowed – I thought he’d see more play in sideboards (he’s in mine), but he hasn’t. He went up about 5 cents since the last article, but I wouldn’t really consider that a win.
- Savageborn Hydra – I know. I’ve never seen this card in a standard deck, but it must see a lot of play in other, more casual formats because it went up from $3.50 to $4. My first solid win.
Well, I sure got burned from my choices last time. The only things I were right on were cards that didn’t change in value at all. This time around though, it should be easier to read where the metagame is going and speculating the card prices will be more of a science than luck based now that we have pushed cards that will directly influence certain decks. Let’s get started.
My first pick for red today is Anger of the Gods ($2) from Theros. I believe that devotion decks are still going to be contenders in this format, and this card absolutely wrecks their strategy if played on turn 3 or 4. In Grixis control, it is one of their main board wipes against aggro decks, and with other cards like Drown in Sorrow to compliment it, it could become rather potent. I also believe that GW and Rakdos aggro will see more play in the BNG metagame, so a card like this will be a must have on turn 3 to get rid of Voice of Resurgence, Fleecemane Lion, Rakdos Cackler, Chandra’s Phoenix, and anything else they throw at you those first few turns. I don’t think it will be a main board card, but you can expect more red midrange/control players to have more copies of them in their sideboard. The card is better than Mizzium Mortars in non-devotion decks, so I’d expect it to hit $3.50 in the next month or two.
Another card I think you should keep an eye on is Burning Earth ($2). This card was brutal in the Return to Ravnica metagame last year thanks to everybody using 3 color decks such as GBW reanimator and Esper control, but since then it has dropped off the radar. Now that we almost have a whole set of scry lands to help with mana fixing, I think we’ll start to see a slight shift away from devotion decks. Burn decks will really enjoy playing this card, but so will Boros midrange, mono red aggro, and other decks that rely less on non-basic lands to get mana. It’s a sideboard card, but I think it will see more play in this meta. I expect it to hit at least $3, but maybe higher if red can prove itself again. It will definitely prove it’s worth come may though when the next set gives us the rest of the scry lands.
Chandra’s Phoenix disappointed me last time, but in my last article I was commenting on how it was being used in red devotion at the time. It never really became a mainstay in that deck though, so it didn’t see much play. Burn decks started to pick up towards the end of Theros limited, and I think we’ll see more people playing them now thanks to Satyr Firedancer and Searing Blood. Depending on the popularity of the deck, the Phoenix could go from $3.50 to $5. I don’t know how high it can go, but I do believe that it WILL gain some value regardless.
Chandra ($18) always sees the most play when decks like red aggro do well, but I think she could also see more play in red devotion. I’ve already mentioned that Red burn will become a solid Tier 2 deck now, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Chandra goes above $20 again in the next few weeks. There are a number of decks she could fit into, and all it takes is one of those to do well to make her price go up. I think she’s a deal right now.
For uncommons, I think Magma Jet ($1), Skullcrack, and Young Pyromancer ($2.50) will go up in value thanks in large part to red burn decks. I wouldn’t be surprised with a 50 cents raise in value for each.
Another high value card that is a deal right now is Stormbreath Dragon ($16). It came out of the gate strong in the first few weeks of Theros, keeping a value of $30 for most of the first month. Since then it’s dropped in value due to seeing less and less play in Tier 1 decks outside of Red Devotion. This should change with BNG standard though. Thanks to new mana and a few new cards, we could see a lot more Naya, Rakdos, UWR, and RBW midrange decks that use him as their finisher. I expect him to hit $20 before the end of the BNG meta.
We’ll have a smattering of BR and BR based decks in standard (GBR, RBW, GBR) over the next few weeks, and with control always being a solid contender, I think we’ll see some Rakdos’s Return ($5) in some decks. I wouldn’t expect it’s value to go up too much, but I don’t think it will drop either. My gamble for Rakdos is going to be Slaughter Games ($0.65). I think it will see more sideboard play as the Rakdos themed decks become popular, and it might just get over $1 again.
I think our old friend Rakdos Cackler ($0.75) will be joining us again in BNG standard, so I would expect his value to creep upwards a little bit, as well as his buddy the Spike Jester ($0.30). I also kind of like Tymaret, the Murder King ($.30) in the new set. I think he’d be great in aggressive Rakdos decks and give you a way to continuously put pressure on your opponent. I don’t think he’ll go up much, if at all. But it’s possible he’ll see some fringe play and hit $1.
Domri is the real deal, and he’s only going to to continue to creep up in value the closer we get to rotation in October since he sees play in other formats. He’s currently $25, which is a decent price I think. GR monsters is the real deal in standard, as well as G/r devotion. The popularity of these decks in the next few weeks will apply upward pressure on his price and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit $30 again at the end of February. Along with Domri in GR monsters, I think Ghor-Clan Rampager ($.50) will also see an increase in value in this metagame.
While it will depend solely on the staying power of GR in the metagame, I think Ruric Thar is a solid choice for my gamble in Gruul colors again. Not only is he good against control (which will have 5 archetypes instead of 2 that Theros had), but he’s also great against mono black. He kills everything he blocks in black, and if they play any type of removal they’re taking 6 damage. Adding that up with their Underworld Connection activations, it puts them in a very dangerous place. He’s at $0.65 now, but if GR proves itself, I could see him hitting $1.50 due to a strong sideboard presence in many decks.
Next time on Bang for your Buck
I’m feeling much better about my choices this time around than last time. Truthfully, choosing what will go up/go down after a new set comes out just after rotation is difficult. You have no idea what the metagame is going to become and which cards are suddenly going to become powerful. I was lucky in my previous colors, especially black, but red seems to have been hit the hardest. Next time I’ll be talking about Green, Selesnya, and Golgari. Green and Selesnya should be seeing a lot of movement in the coming weeks, but I’m not so sure about Golgari cards. Look for it before this weekend.
What are your thoughts on the today’s choices? Do you agree, disagree? I’d like to hear what you think, so please leave your comments below and tell me if there are any cards you think I missed or that I got wrong. If not, see you next time!