Bang for Your Buck: Investing in Cards for Oath of the Gatewatch – Red, Green, and Artifact
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 modern still soaking up most of the limelight, standard has gone largely unnoticed over these past few weeks after the Oath of the Gatewatch release. Very few new decks have shown up other than Grixis control and UR/b Prowess beatdown, but the format is on the cusp of changing once more. While I don’t think we’ll see a lot of brand new archetypes, I think the set will make a lot of new variations on those already being played. Just as Dark Jeskai came about from Dark Jeskai with the addition of Zendikar duals, I believe cards like Thought Knot Seer and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet will add a lot of power to previously under-powered decks. Before we check out today’s picks, lets look at what I thought about the Red, Green, and Artifact cards that had the most to gain from BFZ.
Previous Red, Green, and Artifact Suggestions
- Dragon Whisperer – MISS. I thought that mono red would still be playable but even Atarka red has been struggling lately and Whisperer never really saw much play in those aggressive decks as a way to get evasion. Down a dollar from what it was before.
- Thunderbreak Regent – MISS. Regent had once shown up in a variety of decks as a 4 of (Mardu Dragons, Jeskai Aggro, BR Dragons for example), but has seen less and less play as Eldrazi Ramp decks have punished slower deck builds or those without enough removal. It also didn’t help that Worldbreaker was printed. Down $2.25 to $4 from before. Ouch.
- Abbot of Keral Keep – HIT. I had expected this card to see steady play and he has. The Abbot has also shown up in some other formats which also helps his price. Currently up a dollar to $8.75 and showing now signs of slowing.
- Pia and Kiran Nalaar – HIT. This card was $1 in my last article when BFZ came out, ONE DOLLAR. It has since jumped up to $5 on the back of Mardu and BR Flyer decks’ success, and has also seen some sideboard play in a variety of other red decks. Pretty good profit on this one if you got your copies for $1 like I suggested.
- Collected Company – HIT. Holy shit. Is this card really $18 at the moment? I knew it was seeing a lot of play in Rally/Company decks and that deck IS one of the strongest in the format,but $18? Really? Modern must also be putting some upward pressure on this card as well since it’s a 4 of in Abzan Company combo. Quite a jump from when I advised people to grab copies at $8.
- Rattleclaw Mystic – MISS. Due to the sheer number of ramp cards currently in standard, Rattleclaw hasn’t seen as much as play as I thought, even with the card showing up in both Eldrazi ramp and Dark Temur decks as acceleration. It’s lost half its price and fallen to $1.25.
- See the Unwritten – MISS. Lots of people missed the boat on this one. It had dropped to $5 during BFZ and is now at $1. Saw no play and has no way of becoming relevant before the rotation.
- Ghostfire Blade – UNSURE. The card has been left relatively unchanged since BFZ standard at about $1.50, but with a lot of new friends for UR Eldrazi to play with, it might be making its move soon.
I got really lucky calling that Collected Company spike when I did, but the writing was on the wall. It was in Modern and in Standard and showing up in more and more decks every day. Just as with the other colors before it I was about 50% correct, but the important thing is that the cards I was correct on went up far more than the ones that went down. Perhaps this time I can raise my accuracy to 70%? Lets see what the colors have in store for us this time.
It’s really hard to guess what Wizards of the Coast is planning for Shadows Over Innistrad, but with rotation pushing some notable cards such as Monastery Swiftspear and Temur Battle Rage out of standard, I think we can be sure that Atarka red will be affected. I expect there to be another red deck on the horizon that will take over where it left off, but which cards are best suited for it? If Goblins becomes a thing (though I don’t think there are many goblins on Innistrad), I would expect cards like Goblin Piledriver ($2.50) and possibly Zada, Hedron Grinder ($.50) to go up, but I think that is a long shot.
While I was wrong about her last time, Thunderbreak Regent still seems like a solid pick up at $4. With a metagame returning to 2 colors and all of DTK’s dragons staying in standard, I think Thunderbreak is in a good position. BR Flyers seems like a good deck come spring, and GR Dragon midrange with Dragonlord Atarka also could make a comeback. It might slide down another dollar, but it expect it to creep back to the $6 range in 2 months.
Not a lot to choose from, but Scab-Clan Berserker ($.50) might finally get a chance to be in standard in another few months, and I would think it would be a 4 of. Radiant Flames ($.75) is a strong sideboard card, and while 3 colors might be tougher to play with post rotation, I think there will still be people splashing a 3rd color to improve the effectiveness of both this card and Painful Truths. Dragon Whisperer also seems playable and a good price at $2. Not sure how effective it will be, but red aggro decks will need cheaply costed creatures with evasion pretty badly. If burn makes a comeback in SOI, Exquisite Firecraft ($2.50) could see more play. The rise of 4 toughness creatures and loss of a lot of 5 toughness creatures will make it more playable, but the question is just how much demand will be created. I don’t think there will be enough to really cause it to break out like before.
I simply refuse to believe that there won’t be a 3 mana creature to abuse with Woodland Bellower’s ability in the future. Heck, pair it with Eldrazi Displacer and just grab everything from your deck that’s 3 mana or less. This card will be abused eventually before it rotates, and even if it doesn’t $1.50 seems criminally low for this mythic rare. It will at least see some EDH play in the future. Grab a playset and sit on them. I’d call this a long shot, but I’m not so sure.
I’m convinced that Avatar of the Resolute ($1.25) will start showing up in a lot of green/x stompy decks in near future, even with Hardened Scales rotating. The new Nissa seems like it would have great synergy with it, and other counter giving cards such as Anafenza, Kin Tree Spirit will also still be playable. I think $1 is a great price for it and recommend getting 4 now to use until they rotate this fall. Herald of the Pantheon ($.60) is another card that could see a lot more play in GW Enchantress decks after rotation. With Ugin the Spirit Dragon rotating, the deck’s biggest threat will be gone. I’m not sure if Enchantress decks can break out of Tier 2, but it’s something to watch out for. If green, non Eldrazi ramp decks show up in standard again, I’d expect Surrak, the Hunt Caller to see some play as well. It’s only $.60, but any play would push its price up a little bit.
There really isn’t much to talk about as far as Artifacts are concerned. Hangarback is the only card that should be seeing more play post rotation, but it will depend on how prevalent Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is. At the moment, Anafenza the Foremost is holding it back. She is absolutely everywhere now due to the popularity of Abzan aggro as well as people wanting to stop Rally’s combo. If Rally drops in popularity and less people use Kalitas, it could see prices back in the range of $15 again, but I think that the card will be closer to $12 or so in the spring. It’s $9 at the moment which I think is a decent price, but if you can wait a little bit and grab it around $7-8 then all the better. I think this card has some uses outside of standard in Modern Affinity lists, so it should at least hold this value come next fall, so I believe it’s a safe investment at this current price.
Coming Up Next Time
I’m a little underwhelmed by the number of playable cards in these 3 categories going into rotation. There are a large number of cheap rares that might see fringe play, but I don’t really see a need to pick them up. Their potential upside at the moment doesn’t seem worth it. There are a number of cards I didn’t mention such as Nissa, Vastwood Seer, but I think those prices should remain relatively unchanged.
Perhaps I’m just out of touch? What do you think? Are there some red, green, or artifact cards that you think can be break-outs in Shadows Over Innistrad standard? I’d like to hear your own thoughts on which cards might see play and why, so leave your comments below with your suggestions and I’ll be sure to read them. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in a few days for the Multicolor, Colorless, and Land article!