Bang for your Buck: Investing in Cards for Magic Origins – Black and Red
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.
The Pro Tour for Magic Origins is hours away, but I still think we have some time to go out and make some purchases before prices really start to take off. Black has been rather popular over the last few months (Abzan, Mardu, Esper), and Red has also been putting up some good numbers thanks to mono red decks and GR Devotion/Ramp strategies. Both have a nice chunk of cards that will be rotating out in about 2 months, so I don’t think we’ll see too much movement from either of these colors over the next two months. Let’s take a look at how my picks fared from March.
Previous Black and Red Suggestions
- Thoughtseize – I plugged Thoughtseize every article for the last 3 cycles, and while it had gone up to $20 from $17 last time, it’s now gone up again to $23. This is only the beginning though. I’ve been saying to get these forever and I’ve been right every time.
- Bloodsoaked Champion – I thought that he might see more play in aggressive decks, but we haven’t seen much of the Champion at all. It’s tough for him to push damage through. I didn’t say he’d go up, but I said there was a possibility from his then $2 price tag. No change here.
- Crux of Fate – There have been a lot of success dragon decks in black (Mardu, BR, Esper, 5 color dragons) but it hasn’t been enough to push the value of Crux up at all. It was $3.50 last time, and is now $2.25. Not enough demand to push the price up = my loss.
- Soulflayer – another card I didn’t expect to do anything, but said it wouldn’t hurt to have a playset.
- Tasigur, the Golden Fang – Tasigur saw a slight rise during GP Kyoto and also during Modern season, but not by much. He’s up only $.25 to $8 at the moment, but I don’t think he’ll stay under $10 that much longer.
- Murderous Cut – Cut is a great card to have for any black themed deck, and I stand by my suggestion to get a playset at $.50.
- Liliana Vess – my advice was to sell at $9.50 back in the spring, and if you did you saved yourself some money. She’s a popular Planeswalker, but not popular enough to keep her price afloat. She’s at $7 now and has another dollar or two to drop I think.
- Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow – I said to sell them while they were above $2. They are now at about $1, so good call by me.
- Crater’s Claw – I thought that all the GR ramp decks going around would lead to this card as being a strong finisher, but it seems like most GR decks use only creatures to ram damage down a player’s throat. I was wrong. Went down to $.60 from $1.25
- Eidolon of the Great Revel – One of my big victories. I said I didn’t see this card ever going down below $7 again (the price which it was at in March) and I was right. It’s currently $11.50 and showing no signs of slowing down. I expect it to keep going up. I had guessed $9-10 and wasn’t far off.
- Flamewake Phoenix – I said to buy in at $1.50, but you actually could have waited long for your buy in and could have saved a little on your playset. I got mine at $1.50, but this card is seeing no play and is currently at $.70. I said it was going down, but I got how far down wrong. I also thought it would be up to $3 by Origins. Boo.
- Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker – I really thought he’d see more play but there simply isn’t any way to protect him and get good value from him which led to a further drop to $5 when I thought he’d be going up to $13-15 again. Ouch.
- Shaman of the Great Hunt – Can you believe this card was $7.25 at the time of my last article? I actually thought he was going to do something and said to pick them up, but he ended up losing all sorts of value when people gave up on him and now its close to bulk rare at $2. I’m really disappointed in him.
- Hordeling Outburst – I got it right when I said it’s continued popularity in mono red decks would push up its value from $1.25. It’s currently at $1.75, and should go even higher with Goblin tribal in the format.
- Monastery Swiftspear – Taylor Swiftspear sees a lot of play in all of the major formats and the only reason she hasn’t gone up more than 25 cents (to $2.50) is probably due to how many KTK packs were opened.
- Chandra, Pyromaster – I said to get out at $7.50. She’s at $3.75 now so that was a good call. She’s lost half of her value in 4 months.
- Stormbreath Dragon – Stormbreath was $16 at the time of my last article and was in the middle of a spike due to an increase in Dragon and GR ramp decks. I said to get rid of all of them if you weren’t going to use them, and you made A LOT of money if you did. They are only $5.50 now so it was a very good call.
- Stoke the Flames – Stoke has been a solid card throughout almost all of its life in standard, but all good things must come to an end. It was $4.50 when I said to sell it, and now it’s $2.50.
It looks like I did a great job with what I recommended to sell, but I didn’t do as well with my rares. That happens from time to time though. Sometimes the metagame goes the way you expect it, and other times it goes in an entirely different direction.
Just as I did with my previous article. I’ll be focusing on cards that could possibly become staples and/or 4-ofs in a deck which would greatly affect the card’s price. Black and red definitely has some potential the closer we get to rotation.
Warriors has been a somewhat popular tier 2 deck with the aggro crowd and there have been some really good cards added with each set release. Bloodsoaked Champion is a solid choice for this deck, or any other black based aggro deck, and I think it’s not a bad idea to pick up a playset at $1.75 right now. I don’t expect him to go up much at all this year, but he could see some movement before the next Zendikar set is released. I also like Brutal Hordechief ($2.75) after rotation as standard loses a lot of good removal and tokens becomes a lot more viable. Could you imagine this guy coming to play after your Hangarback Walker explodes? Game over. I like him. Maybe not as a 4 of, but he could become a 3 of in black/x token decks. Just a spec at this point, but again not something I think you’d lose much money on if you got in at $2.75. There’s some profit potential there.
Out of all of the Dictates set to rotate this fall, Erebos’ seems like it’s going to get the most amount of play. It’s a favorite in EDH decks, and might actually see some play alongside Nantuko Husk and tokens in standard over the next two months. It’s $2 now, so if you can find any for about $1-1.50 it wouldn’t hurt to get a few for a long term investment. A year from now it could be sitting on a $5 price tag.
We’ve seen a recent influx of Rally decks in standard and there are a good number of them playing Grim Haruspex to get card advantage from creatures that day in response to cards like Fleshbag Marauder. Rally decks seem to be a new archetype that has a lot of life going into the future standard metagame. With Whip leaving standard, I could see a lot of reanimator players playing Rally instead. This means that Grim Haruspex could see some brisk demand to raise it’s value from $.50 to $1-2. This is purely speculation at the moment, but if you plan on building Rally decks, I’d get a playset now just in case.
I’d also like to speculate on Risen Executioner right now as well. Anything tribal could possibly become a 3-4 of in future metagames, so picking up the Executioner at $2 now might be worth it. If you can find it in your dollar rare box, get a play set and sit on it for a while. I don’t see it going up soon, but it could get played before rotating. Keep an eye on it.
At this point, I would also recommend continuing to pick up Tasigur ($8) and Thoughtseize ($23). These cards will only continue to go up so they are great investments. The only thing you have to worry about is how much you’re willing to pay for them. They will reach a point when it’s simply not viable anymore. They see lots of play in all formats, usually as a 3-4 of.
My first pick for red is Ashcloud Phoenix. It saw a good amount of play during KTK and FRF standard, mostly in Temur decks, but I think it will start showing up again in decks post rotation meaning that it would be a good idea to get them now while they are at $1.25. Pick up a playset just in case. It won’t move much in Origins standard, but keep an eye on it towards the release of Battle for Zendikar.
Commune with Lava, much like Rally the Ancestors, is one of those cards that I feel is underrated and due for a break out. I’ve tried the card in red decks like Red devotion or in GR midrange and it’s been downright brutal. Being able to play multiple cards the following turn makes this card very dangerous, especially if you have access to lots of mana. This is my spec for Origins standard, and while it might not pan out, it’s only $.40 right now.
Dragon Whisperer is another highly underrated card. It’s been experimented with in red aggro decks, and is also part of the red devotion builds out there. This is a card that can easily become a 4 of in a deck. It has great abilities that can due a lot of damage if left unchecked. Its only drawback is the double red cost, but I think it will overcome this obstacle during BFZ. I recommend getting a playset at $2. I think this card could hit $5 come the fall.
I’m going to go ahead and recommend Flamewake Phoenix ($.70) as well. Evasion, haste, and comes back for more and more. It saw some play before and will probably see some play again. I don’t expect a huge surge, but enough to bring its value back up to around $3 this fall.
Many people are going to be dumping their Goblin Rabblemasters soon, and that should push it’s price down to about $5-7 near rotation. This card is seeing more and more play in legacy, and it’s only a matter of time before modern catches on as well. It was an amazing card in standard, and I think there is a bright future for it in eternal. It’s a long term bet, but I think it’s a solid one.
Another card that sees a lot of play in sideboards and in some main boards is Outpost Siege. It gives red decks card advantage, and also leaves you an out against control decks. At only $1, I think it’s very undervalued. Jund decks in modern are starting to use it too (the big jund builds where everything is 4 mana such as Olivia Voldaren). I wouldn’t be surprised to see this card’s price go up in the next few months.
I still believe that Shaman of the Great Hunt ($2) has potential, but it’s still searching for the right deck. If you don’t have any yet, it’s not a bad idea to pick them up.
Really? This card is only $5? Holy shit. What a good price. It’s a staple in red dragon decks, but I expect it to become a staple in other red decks down the road. With our good buddy Stormbreath Dragon leaving, Thunderbreak Regent will finally have time to shine. I expect this card to hit double digits (more than $10) by this fall.
Quite a few uncommons I’d like to continue talking about, but I’m just going to focus on two today.
More and more people are playing with Hordeling Outburst, and I can almost guarantee it will go up from its current price of $1.75. As long as mono red is a thing, so will Outburst. Just like last time I’m also going to recommend Monastery Swiftspear ($2.50). It simply sees too much player not to keep its value up. I don’t think there is any chance of Swiftspear going down, especially with more mono red and burn decks on the horizons.
Next Time on Bang for Your Buck
There isn’t a lot to sell right now for any kind of a profit, so I think you should focus mainly on picking up format staples during Origins standard. Black might not move too much as most of the cards I talked about were more casual than competitive, but red has quite a few cards that I think could break out at any time. The Pro Tour has already started this weekend so I’m sure we’ll get more of a feel for what standard is going to be like over the next few weeks today and tomorrow. I’m looking forward to watching it a bit.
Hopefully this Sunday or Monday (after the Pro Tour) I’ll have my next article up, detailing green and Artifacts. Until then, if you have any other cards you’d like to add to the discussion, please talk about them down in the comments section and give me your thoughts on why you think it’s their time. Hopefully today’s article caused you to look differently at cards you had once dismissed or forgot about. Thanks for reading and see you next time!