Bang for your Buck: Investing in Cards for Dragons of Tarkir – Artifacts, Lands, and Multicolor
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. Prices I used are based on the iMTG IOS app, using TCG player.com’s mid-level price range.
Fate Reforged brought us a lot of mono colored cards with multicolor abilities (such as Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest), but other than that it led the metagame down a path of more dominant 2-color decks. Prior to Fate Reforged, Abzan had been a dominating force (with Mardu and Jeskai not too far behind). Sultai whip decks also demonstrated that there was a lot of focus on 3 color decks. This meant mana-fixing was very important and the rise in price of various scry and pain lands reflected that. In Fate reforged, we saw a return to mono colored strategies (Mono green devotion), as well as the growing power of two color strategies such as RW aggro/midrange and GR monsters. While Dragons of Tarkir doesn’t bring the metagame back full circle, the addition of the commands and Dragonlords will balance out the power level between the two metagames. I expect standard to be fairly balanced again where any deck can win if the player is good enough.
Previous Multicolor, Artifact, and Land Suggestions
- Ajani, Mentor of Heroes – I said that I thought $18 was his peak and while I was right (he’s down to $16.75 now), his slow downward spiral means that there is demand coming form elsewhere keeping his value up. I haven’t seen him in standard at all recently, so I’m guessing the casual market and EDH is where he’s going. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s from the least opened set in Theros block.
- Butcher of the Horde, Crackling Doom, Mantis Rider, Narset, Englightened Master, Sagu Mauler, Savage Knuckleblade, Rakshasa Deathdealer, Utter End, Surrak Dragonclaw – these were all cards I thought had reached bottom and recommended picking up a play set of if you hadn’t already. Out of all my picks, on Surrak Dragonclaw and Rakshasa Deathdealer held their value. The others dropped between $0.25-.50. This is another fault on my part for underestimating just how long the prices would be depressed due to how many packs of Khans of Tarkir were opened.
- Temur Ascendancy – There are still some players fooling around with the RUG combo deck, but the idea only ended up being a flash in the pan. I thought the archetype would gain more popularity and push the price of the Ascendancy up, but it’s barely moved since last time. Another bad call on my part.
- Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver – My one shining light. I said Ashiok was a good pick up at $11 if UB continued to do well, but what really helped it out was being played in Modern. I’m glad I still have 3.
- Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx – I said that if green devotion put up good results it would shoot up from $3 to an acceptable level, and if you bought in at that price you got lucky. It’s more than doubled to $6.50 thanks to decks like green devotion and Temur Ascendancy combo playing it.
- The Theros Temple Lands – I said to start liquidating them if you can to get some value from them. The UR land has dropped about $2.50 since last time from $8.75, but the UW and GB lands have actually held their value and inched up even higher.
- Perilous Vault – I said it would hold its value through spring and it did. A resurgence of control puts it a little bit higher this time, at $10, up $1 from before.
- Obelisk of Urd – I said it had potential for another spike with warriors and soldiers, but now there are enough Goblins to make it work as well (as Tomoharu Saito showed us in his Saito Wayfinder series. It’s more than doubled to $3 now. Not bad for a card that only sees play in one deck.
Jeskai Combo and Jeskai Tokens are still a very real threat in standard, and aside from Treasure Cruise being banned in Modern, I think the modern deck is still lethal as well. At $1.75, I think this has room to go up again in the near future. These decks are already well tested, so all it will take is a metagame swing to put it back up at $4-5. I don’t see it happening soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it become popular again.
Jeskai Tempo decks are starting to pick up more steam in Dragons of Tarkir standard, as well as Jeskai midrange decks playing the new red dragon. I’ve even seen Mantis Rider ($1.25) being played in the 5 color Chromanticore deck. Now that the DTK/FRF drafting season has begun, I expect the Mantis Rider to start inching up in price. I expect it to hit $2-3 by the end of summer, maybe more if RWU puts up some good results in standard. There are going to be a lot of PPTQs going on and this is going to constantly put pressure on the supply. Keep an eye on it.
I also think that Narset, Englightened Master is a good buy at $1.50. She’s not a 4 of, but I’ve seen her appearing in a lot of Jeskai sideboards, especially in Jeskai control. Only time will tell if the new Narset planeswalker lives up to its hype, but there are some high powered spells, high casting cost card out there just ready to be abused by Narset. Being a Mythic Rare there are not as many of her to go around if the deck does take off. She’s another card I’ll be watching closely. Finding a deck could easily double her value.
I believe now is the time to pick up some extra Prophet of Kruphix for $1-1.50. She might dip a little bit more before rotation but I think she’ll see more and more play in EDH in the coming months, causing her price to edge up to the $3-5 range. This is more of a long range spec, but I don’t think it’s that risky at her current price if you just pick up a few.
Another card that has a lot of potential in standard is Rakshasa Deathdealer. It has the ability to be both in aggro and control and the only reason it’s $1 now is because Abzan aggro hasn’t seen much play at all recently. Sultai has some strong cards and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a BUG midrange/aggro deck show up over summer. This is one of those cards that can easily turn into a staple (depending on the metagame), so I’d buy low and wait for its next spike. I think Savage Knuckleblade is also in the same category as the Deathdealer. Temur has shown up quite a lot in standard, and while it isn’t dominating the meta it is putting up a lot of good numbers.
I also think that Siege Rhino should be on everybody’s watch list. It’s not a bad pick up at $6.75, but I think it will dip to the $5.50-$6 range over the next few weeks due to Abzan losing its death grip on standard. When it gets under $6, I’d snap up a few extra copies because this card WILL see play in modern and standard again, and it will most likely show up in other formats as well.
I said in my other articles that GR is seeing a lot more play early on in Dragons of Tarkir standard, especially midrange. There is also the new rule in EDH about “tucking”, meaning that problematic commanders can’t be put into graveyards or decks anymore unless players want them to go there. I’ve always thought the God of Revels was strong, especially in GR midrange decks. He also seems to be popular in the casual market, so I’m going to spec on him and say that $4.50 is a good price on him now. I’m going to look around and try to buy him at $3 if I can, and I’ll be keeping an eye on any movement in his price as we reach summer.
I expect there to be a lot more BW warrior decks out there now with all the new wariors we received in DTK, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chief of the Edge ($.20) hit $1-$1.50 by summer as demand takes over supply. BW warriors is a very affordable and competitive deck for newer players which is also something to consider.
This card is downright fun to play in the Soulflayer Delve deck. Putting it into the graveyard with a Satyr Wayfinder then playing the Soulflayer on turn 3 with all of the Chromanticore’s abilities can end a game quickly. I think this card is a great casual card, and while it should hold some value after rotation I’m selling my copies at $3 a piece. I could see it being played in EDH later on, but I’m not sure it will that common because of its 5 colors. It might go up a little bit more, but I wouldn’t hold onto to too many extra copies going into the summer. Hold onto 1 or 2, but get rid of the rest.
Can’t really say it’s a bad idea to get a few of these at $1 or less now. The card is usually a 4 of in Affinity decks in modern, and since that will be one of the main themes of Modern Masters 2, I expect a lot of new modern players building with these. The original Lorwyn one was $2-3 before the reprint, and I think both will get a nice premium if MM2 spurs more new players to the format to build Affinity.
Ornithopter ($.25) has been printed quite a few times, but if you can pick up a bunch for $0.10 now, you might be able to able to make a few dollars down the road. It might only be a little bit of money, but for those of you that don’t like a lot of risk or have a lot of money at the moment this could mean a few singles you need or couple booster packs in a few months. Darksteel Citadel is also a good pick up at $0.75 now. I originally picked mine up for about $2.50 before the reprint. I think these Affinity staples are good specs for the next few months.
Obelisk of Urd ($3) could possibly go up a little higher over the next few weeks, but I think I would sell what I have now. By the end of summer I expect it to be back around the $1.50-1 range.
If you got your hands on some fetch lands over the last few months hold onto them. There isn’t any rush at the moment, but I would start to slowly work on a 2nd playset of each of them for future trades. With the return of the Zendikar Fetchlands in the fall their price won’t go up that quickly at first, but I expect them to be on a similar trajectory as the Ravnica shocklands. They might be between $8-12 now, but as they get closer to rotation it will be closer to $12-18 and after they rotate out next year they could easily double in value to $20-30.
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth ($9.25) is another card you’ll want to watch. I wish I had focused on it more when it was $5-6, but I didn’t think it would go up that much. This card could easily double in price after rotation (the Planar Chaos version was $40 at this time last year before the reprint was announced), so it might be a good spec target if you want to pick up 1-2 in trade.
PAIN LANDS: If you’re not using them, get rid of your Battlefield Forges ($9), Shivan Reefs ($6.25), and Llanowar Wastes ($6). They’ve been printed enough that after rotation you should be able to buy them for about $2-3 each. At this point in standard I’ve pretty much decided on what colors I’ll be running until rotation in the fall which lets me maximize my profit on some of these cards.
TEMPLES: The UB ($2.50) and UW temple ($6.25) might spike again with Esper control making a comeback in standard, so I would sell those when they do. The same could be said of Jeskai control decks, but Tempo and straight UR counter/burn decks will put more pressure on Temple of Epiphany making it an even better candidate for a spike. Temple of Malady is at an unbelievable price of $10.50 now due to Abzan midrange and Sultai control’s strength, so it would be a very bad idea to not sell these if you have them now. I personally don’t play control decks, so I’m fine with only keeping 2 of these for a midrange deck, but with the KTK uncommon tri-lands you should be fine. Temple of Silence ($3.50) is also seeing more play now because of BW warriors and Abzan, so I would consider selling these too. You can make some good money on cards you’re not using right now.
It’s current at $6.50 but I believe you can still squeeze another dollar out of it. Red devotion is shaping up to be a possibility, green should continue to do well in standard, and GR ramp should also put up good numbers. If you want to get out now that would be fine, but if you wait another month you might be able to get a little bit more out of your Nykthos.
That’s All Folks
I think I’ve made some interesting choices this time around. When you think you’ve figured out trends or learned how to read the market, new tricks end up throwing you for a loop. I learned that having a popular set can depress card prices for much longer than 2 months, and also that having a diverse format can have a downward effect on prices since there are less chase rares to go after.
This was also my first time looking at the market 2 months after a set came out instead of 3 months later. With Modern Masters 2 being the next set to be released, it should give standard a little more time to mature before Origins comes out, and with that supply and demand can really change with the current cards. We could be do for some wild swings again, or for a stagnant standard 2-3 months from now. I went through a lot of cards and I might have missed a few, so if you have any suggestions or other thoughts on what’s going to happen in Dragons of Tarkir standard, I’d like to hear from you. Please leave any comments on my Bang for your Buck series down below.
Phew! Now that I’m done I can’t wait to get back into the swing of standard for the upcoming PPTQ season as well as continue my Puca Trade articles for all of you out there. I’m pretty winded after writing this series, so look for my next article at the end of the weekend. Thanks for reading and see you next time!