Bang for your Buck: Investing in Cards for Battle for Zendikar – Red, Green, and Artifacts
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.
With Pro Tour Milwaukee behind us, there are clear winners (Liliana, Heretic Healer) and losers (almost everything from BFZ not named Gideon). The format changed a little bit from the SCG opens and other tournaments leading up to the event, but not much. That’s not to say that there still isn’t some profit to be made and some good cards to speculate on. Cards I wrote about before the Pro Tour started (Wingmate Roc, Liliana) went up, but for the most part the value of other cards have been slow to gain even though they’ve seen a lot of play. Today I’ll be focusing more on those rather than what’s already a known factor.
Previous Red, Green, and Artifact Suggestions
- Ashcloud Phoenix/Commune with Lava – both of these cards were my longshot specs and neither did anything. Ashcloud is down from $1.25 to about $1, and Commune With Lava hasn’t really been brewed with yet.
- Dragon Whisperer – This card has seen a slight increase in play in some of the mono red/atarka red decks going around thanks to his evasion and his price reflect that change. Up almost $1.50 to $3.50 now. Might still have more space to rise.
- Flamewake Phoenix – I thought this would be picked up by Temur or GR decks but it still hasn’t taken flight. I blame it on all of the 4 Color decks out there right now using all of the Dragons and Mantis Rider.
- Outpost Siege – No movement. Guess I’m just biased cause I love this card in my GR or Mardu sideboards.
- Shaman of the Great Hunt – I saw this card showing up in a lot of test decks these last few weeks, but nothing has developed yet. I’d still say it’s undervalued at $1.50. Too bad I was wrong to pick it up at $2.
- Thunderbreak Regent – I was spot on when I said “I expect it to become a staple in other red decks down the road”. It’s only up a dollar to $6 right now, but after seeing how popular it was these last few weeks, it’s not going to stay at that price long. Win for me.
- Hordeling Outburst/Monastery Swiftspear – No movement on Outburst yet, but Swiftspear is up $1 to $3.50 at the moment which is pretty good for an uncommon.
- Assault Formation/Avatar of the Resolute – my two longshot speculations from green were these two cards, but neither really saw much play outside of some casual decks. I still have some hope for Avatar though.
- Collected Company – I really don’t understand how this is still $8. It’s never dropped below 2000 yen ($16) here in Japan. Guess they were opened too much in the USA. Still undervalued I think. Another mistake by me.
- Hooded Hydra – No movement from Hydra either, although I have seen more people on Pucatrade asking for it lately.
- Rattleclaw Mystic – the only reason Rattleclaw is only up $1 from last time is that there has yet to be a successful ramp deck with him in it. Rest assured he’ll hit $5 when it happens.
- See the Unwritten – I pretty much parroted what others were saying back when this was $4 and we were all right. It’s dropped back down to $6 now, but that’s still 2 more than last time.
- Shaman of Forgotten Ways – Wow. This guy was $2.50 when I suggested him last time and now he’s at $8.75. It’s crazy cause he also doesn’t have a home at the moment.
- Surrak, the Hunt Caller – Surrak will do well when See the Unwritten does. At the moment he continues to be bulk. My bad.
- Warden of the First Tree/Whisperwood Elemental – both of these cards were announced to be in an event deck which I had no way of knowing about when I said they’d be good specs. Whisperwood took the biggest hit, but Warden is still about the same.
- Deathmist Raptor – I recommend people sell them at $25, but this little guy has been staying strong thanks to decks like GW Megamorph performing well after rotation.
- Ghostfire Blade – after UR Thopters ceased to be a deck without Ensoul Artifact, Ghostfire Blade lost a lot of value. There’s still hope with Eldrazi aggro though.
- Ugin, the Spirit Dragon – I’m really surprised he hasn’t moved in the USA. He’s been inching up in Japan and is currently at 3500 yen ($30).
- Obelisk of Urd – I said to sell at $7 and if you did you made some cash. It’s crashed to $3.50 now. You can get it for 200 yen in some places in Japan.
I’m going to start off by saying Dragon Whisperer is still a good buy at around $3.25. Not only will it be great after the next rotation, but I think it will be showing up more inside of mono red decks as a way to give them evasion. It might be slow, but $5 is definitely possible before Oath of the Gatewatch. I also like Crater’s Claws at $.50. This is one of those cards that can do a lot of damage in Temur builds that use cards like Savage Knuckleblade, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it show up as a 4 of in a deck this winter. Grab a few now if you’re planning to play red/x midrange decks in the future. We might not have any ramp decks seeing any play now, but it could happen soon. Shaman of the Great Hunt ($1.50) seemed like a good choice before but all the removal kept it from seeing any play. I’m a little more cautious than last time, but I still think he’s worth looking into. With 5-6 months left in standard he could still show up.
My big bet for this season is going to be Thunderbreak Regent. This card has been showing in just about every red deck be it Jeskai, Mardu, or Temur and there are usually 4 of them. It is hard to get rid of, it blanks cards like Mantis Rider and blocks most of the other dragons well, and being from the Dragon of Tarkir set which DOESN’T rotate next spring it has all the makings of a staple in the coming months. It’s up from last time I talked about it, and I feel like it’s nowhere near its ceiling. I expect it go from $6.25 to about $10 by the 2016, if not higher. Grab your playset now cause it’s the lowest its going to be right now.
As for Abbot of Keral Keep, I expect his price to continue to go up. At $7.50 he’s already becoming a little pricey but I don’t really see him dropping any time in the near future.
There are some cards I’m not really putting a lot of faith behind but that I think are good deals at the moment nonetheless and it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a few at rock bottom prices. While I don’t think his big brother Ashcloud Phoenix ($1) will see much play before he rotates out, I think Flamewake Phoenix could show up in an aggressive BR deck alongside Drana, Liberator of Malakir. If this happens. His price could quadruple from $.50 to $2 easily as a 4 of in that deck. Not sure how likely this is, but it could become a Tier 2 deck. Grab him cheap, sell him high if you can. I also like Pia and Kiran Nalaar at $1 now. I could see them showing up in a Token/Thopter based deck down the road as a 3-4 of. The card has decent value overall and is playable, putting in 4 power between 3 bodies and also letting you kamikaze your artifacts for damage.
At $8, Collected Company is incredibly undervalued right now. The card has been buylisting in Japan for 1000 yen for the last few months and has never gone lower since becoming a breakout card in Modern. It has since shown up in GB based Aristocrat builds in standard, so I would wager a bet that its demand will continue to grow. It’s not something that will go up a lot before the next set comes out, but it will definitely be double digits by the time spring rotation is here. Grab a playset now as this will be the cheapest you’ll see them in a long time.
Rattleclaw hasn’t seen too much movement since rotation from $2.75, and this is mostly due to the fact that ramp decks haven’t started to take off yet. A GR Eldrazi deck did show up in the top 8 of GP Quebec the other day and I think it’s only a matter of time before it doubles in price. Rattleclaw Mystic is now the best mana creature in standard and is always a 4 of in a deck. Keep that in mind if you decide NOT to grab 4 of them as soon as you can.
See the Unwritten has dropped back to $5 after pure speculation pushed its price upwards of $10 a month or so ago, but I think it’s time to pick them up again. It seems like Wizards purposely neutered the Eldrazi in order to stop the card from being to strong, but I think See the Unwritten decks will be back. The Dragons are still around, and with other big monsters due to show up in the next set to defeat the Eldrazi I think we’ll have some good choices for the card. I think it goes without saying that Surrak, the Hunt Caller is also a good pick up if See the Unwritten starts going up again. He’ll probably be in whatever green deck is playing it so that you can give your fatty haste. He’ll only show up as a 2-3 of at most though, which will limit how much his price will go up, but I could see him hit $3 by late winter once the next set has been released for a week or to.
I really like Avatar of the Resolute ($1.25) in this current metagame. He can stop Mantis Rider, and in certain situations he can stop Thunderbreak Regent as well. He’s also in DTK which means he could end up seeing more play after rotation. Right now he only sees play in GW Hardened Scales decks, but that could change by next year.
Ghostfire Blade went up to about $4 when UR Thopter/Ensoul Artifact was at it’s peak in Origins standard, but has since dropped back down to $1.50. I think UR Eldrazi are a definite possibility with this card but I don’t think the deck will have what it takes to be Tier one until more cheap Eldrazi are added to the card pool in the next set.
Coming Up Next
Yeah, I know this article took a heck of a long time to get out and that it’s not even that long either. Now that my schedule is freed up from work for a while I think I should be able to get back on my 2-3 article a week schedule. Thanks for being patient and sticking around! What do you think of these picks? Too conservative perhaps? Do you think there are some other cards due for a spike? If so, I’d like to hear from you down below in the comment section. Up next will be my last article for investing during the BFZ season: Multicolor, Lands, and Colorless. It’s pretty easy to see the winners from the Pro Tour (Mantis Rider and Crackling Doom), but what other cards could be due for a break out? Be sure to check in next time to see what I think! See you in a few days!