Bang For Your Buck: Investing in Cards for Ixalan – Artifacts, Multicolor, and Lands
Disclaimer: I can not be held responsible for any poor decisions I might make that lead you to buy cards 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.
Since this week is pretty much my last relatively free week in terms of work schedule, I decided I might as well get my investment articles done. The first test of my picks will come this weekend during the World Championships in the USA. If you see any of my picks show up in the best performing standard matches, you can be sure there will be a spike. While they won’t be as big as the spikes you see during and after Pro Tours, a good showing at the World Championship in a pro’s hands can suddenly change the value of a somewhat budget deck like Ramunap Red into an investment. Now’s the time to pick up some playable cards on a budget. Today’s final article focuses on lands, artifacts, and multicolor cards. Let’s see how my picks did last time.
Previous Artifact, Multicolor, and Land Suggestions
- Aetherworks Marvel – Miss. I thought it bottomed out at $2.25, but it’s currently at $1.50. This is laughable since it used to be a double digit value card.
- Heart of Kiran – Miss. Vehicles seems to be down for the count after all the cards it lost. I thought Heart of Kiran might still hold its value, but losing more than $2.50 to fall to just under $8 dashed those hopes.
- Scrapheap Scrounger – Miss. Down even further to $1.25 from $1.75. I guess RB ramunap red can’t save it’s value.
- Grim Flayer – HIT. I said it wouldn’t go lower than $10 after rotation, and it seems to have stabilized at around that price.
There wasn’t a lot in the way of worthwhile investments last season, but due to the disappearance of many cards from decks like Vehicles, I think this season is going to be the best time for picking up a lot of the artifact and multicolor cards. Let’s see what’s looking good at the moment!
With the resurgence of BG energy and the consistency of Temur Energy, I think Aethersphere Harvester ($2) has a bright future in standard. Besides being good against control and aggro decks, the Harvester also blocks Glorybringer rather well. It will start showing up in more and more sideboards soon, and after that I think we’ll see some decks using it in the main deck as well. If Vehicles can find its footing again, then it will in there as well. I’m not sure it will be able to get to $4 easily, but it will definitely be somewhere between that and it’s current price.
At just under $8, Heart of Kiran is at one of its lowest prices ever. This is largely because vehicles is no longer a deck, and that was the card’s only home. RW Vehicles is still a thing, but probably won’t be competitive which should keep its price low. Maybe this hits $6-7 this season, and if you’re thinking about using it in your sideboard or brewing with it, this season will be when you can get it the cheapest. If WotC decides that Vehicles is harmless enough in Ixalan standard or after the next set, they might end up unbanning Smugglers Copter to give the archetype some gas again. That situation is a long shot though, but if does happen I would expect Heart to go up again. I don’t think it will shoot up any time soon.
Aetherworks Marvel at $1.50? Sign me up. Great long term spec. I don’t care if it’s banned. It’s a powerful card and will find a home eventually. I’ll grab 20 and sit on them for a few years until Frontier takes off. Another card I like at its current price is Metalwork Colossus ($.50). People are finally starting to take notice of Marionette Master and this card works great with that card from the graveyard. Discard it to your graveyard, then sacrifice artifacts to it and watch as Marionette Master does tons of damage to your opponent. I did this quite a bit with my Gift deck last season. The strategy might be able to reach tier 2 this season.
I’m putting Scrapheap Scrounger ($1.25) back in this list just because it’s a good aggro card that needs a home. Might end up in a UB Tezzeret, GB Energy, or RB Ramunap deck in the future which will help its value.
I’m starting to notice more and more enter the battlefield effects that are worth play, and while I’m not sure Panharmonicon ($2.75) will see much play, I think there’s a chance for Saheeli Rai ($4.50) to find a place in a deck like Grixis Pirates or something else taking advantage of ETB effects. Hostage Taker is the obvious target in pirates, but who’s to say Gift decks can’t evolve into Grixis decks as well? Whatever the case, the fact that Wizards pushed hosers such as Tocalti Honor Guard into Ixalan has me thinking we’ll be looking for ways to abuse ETB effects in the future. It’s another long shot, but I think Saheeli has some potential to go up by the end of this season before the next set comes out.
$40? Really? I mean The Scarab God is good, but not THAT good. Sure you can play it in both UB control, 4C Energy, and possibly BUG Energy as well, but does that mean this card should be $40? No way. There might be a little less supply of the card right now, which is keeping the price that high. I expect it to drop back to around $25-30 in about a month, right after the Pro Tour so get out now if you’re not planning on using it.
I’m starting to like Depala, Pilot Exemplar ($.50) more and more as a budget tribal leader in this format. If Pirates and Dinosaurs can do well in this format, then why not dwarves? Unclaimed Territory makes it easier to cast the multicolor dwarves, and there are more than enough vehicles to go around now thanks to ships being printed in Ixalan. Vanquisher’s Banner could also help make an argument for tribal decks, and there is also Metallic Mimic which would help it.
I kind of wonder if there is some kind of combo deck we’re missing that plays both Rashmi, Eternities Crafter ($1) and Nissa, Steward of Elements ($6.25). Perhaps a Temur Sunbird’s Invocation deck? Maybe it’s too difficult for people to think of, but I’ll be keeping an eye on her for the next season or two.
The Fast lands from Kaladesh have all jumped or aren’t really at a price to be investing in, but you can still find some of the cycle lands at a decent price point. Canyon Slough is just under $2.75 and Scattered Groves is $2.25, while the others are all over $5 at this point due to control and Dinosaur based decks. I don’t think it’s long until the last two colors start ticking up in value due to scarcity.
I’ve really warmed up to Hostile Desert ($.50), and with both pain land deserts and Evolving Wilds in standard, I think there are more than enough ways to activate this card multiple times during the course of a game. I expect it to show up a lot in mono colored decks, but also various Gift decks like Esper (which used it quite a bit last season). Some decks might only play 2, but I think picking up a playset if the right idea.
Another great utility land in this format is Scavenger Grounds ($1). Besides shutting down Gift decks rather well, it’s easy to run in the main board and can help against control, ramunap red, and hurt Scarab God based decks as well. If that card starts to take over the metagame, grab yourself some Scavenger Grounds to counteract it.
The Wrap Up
That does it for all of the cards in standard going into the Ixalan metagame this season. I definitely think there are a few underestimated strategies that will slip under the radar during the World Championships, which means some of my long shots just might make it by the time the Pro Tour happens or not soon after. I don’t think Gift decks are gone just yet, and I’m sure we’ll see Colossus and Vehicle decks back in standard as well somewhere down the road. I’d like to hear what you think though, so if you have any comments about how Ixalan will affect prices of cards and impact the metagame, I’d like to hear them down below. If not, we’ll revisit these cards again in a few months after the next set is released. I hope you have a great time brewing in this post rotation environment and make some cash on cheap cards you find!