Bang For your Buck: Investing in Cards for Rivals of Ixalan – White, Blue, and Black
Disclaimer: I can not be held responsible for any poor decisions I make in regards to 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 TCG player.com’s mid-level price range.
A new standard is upon us and unlike last time, the metagame should be wide open. Well, That’s both true and untrue. After the bannings of Rampaging Ferocidon, Ramunap Ruins, Attune the Aether, and Rogue Refiner, aggro and midrange have to rethink their strategies. Sure you could still play these strategies, but you have to work a little bit harder at it, and 4 color strategies are now almost impossible to play. This means we’re going to see all kinds and flavors of these archetypes in the coming weeks. People will be trying out lots of new cards, and I expect some spikes to happen. There is definitely another week or two of cheaper prices before prices spike, and at the moment we only have one weekend of standard from Star City Games to look at. Data will be scarce, so anything could happen. As always, let’s see how my picks from last time did.
Previous White, Blue, and Black Suggestions
- Approach of the Second Sun – Miss. While Approach did become rather popular during the middle of XLN standard, it was simply pushed out by Energy and Ramunap red and went no where.
- Fumigate – HIT. While it did hit close to $5 for a while, Settle the Wreckage has since split with it for removal duties in white. Still up to about $3 from $2, but the lack of white control decks last standard kept it down.
- Regal Caracal – Miss. Really liked these kitties, but they didn’t see much play outside of fringe GW Cat decks like my own from HOU standard. Ferocidon really hated them I guess. Down to $2.75 from $3.
- Gideon of the Trials – HIT. Gideon was almost $20 during my last article, but is now $9.50. I recommended selling and if you did you got some good money.
- Champion of Wits – Miss. God Pharaoh’s Gift decks say a little bit of play last season, but not enough to keep their cards afloat. Champion is about $2.50 now, down a dollar from before.
- Kefnet the Mindful – Miss. I didn’t think mythics could go under $2, but Kefnet is around $1.75 now, down from $2.25. Poor birdy.
- Bontu’s Last Reckoning – HIT. Yay. Thanks to some increased sideboard play, BLR is now almost $3, up from $2 at the start of last season.
- Noxious Gearhulk – Miss. No play means no value. Down about $.75 to $2.75.
- Glint-Sleeve Siphoner – HIT. Luckily I got in on these at under $1, so I’m pretty happy now that they are $3 each. It also seems as though GB is sticking around a little longer thanks to Constrictor.
- Marionette Master – Hit. Not by much, but it’s about $.75 now, up from $.50. Maybe the Marionette combo will have time to shine again? I hope so!
I know the last time I picked this I fell flat on my face, but I have a good feeling about Approach of the Second Sun this time. UW Cycling control and various Approach control decks were pretty popular last season, and without the horror of energy holding them back I would expect they’d have more room to grow. It’s not a huge loss to buy in at $1.25, and if the first week of standard events in Yokohama/Tokyo are any indication, it should be back along with UB and Grixis control. $3 by next set.
If last set was the time to sell, NOW is the time to buy Gideon of the Trials. I saw him ALL OVER the place last weekend in Tokyo in pretty much every white control deck, including but not limited to: Esper, BW, and RW control decks. He’ll show up in other decks like mono white vampires too I bet, so I don’t think he’ll stay at $9.50 for long. This is going to be a $15 card in Rivals of Ixalan standard.
I know it’s a long shot, but I want to give some lovin to Oketra the True ($2.75). I’ve been playing with her since HOU (my GW Cats deck), but I think she’ll see more play this season if space is made for token decks (GW, Abzan, BW, Esper), and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the mono white Vampire deck either along with her Monument. I don’t expect her price to go up too much, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her hit about $4 this season.
I expect Gift decks to be rather popular in the first few weeks of RIX standard, which is why Angel of Invention is $7.75 now, but I don’t think that price will hold. Just like before, its price will fall, but probably closer to $5 by next set.
If Mardu vehicles truly is back this season, I expect Toolcraft Exemplar to see some movement from $.50 to about $2, but it will largely depend on if the deck can put up some top finishes. Seems like there were a few at SCG’s Open last weekend so that’s a good sign.
Jace hasn’t found a home yet, but I don’t think I would be wrong in saying you should pick him up at $4. You can be sure whatever deck ends up using him will have him as a 3 or 4 of, causing his price to go up. Not a bad pick up and a good long term investment.
There’s a good chance that control decks will become about 20-30% of the new standard format, and seeing as they are usually 3-4 of in every control deck, it’s laughable to think it will stay at it’s current price of $12.25 much longer. If you’ve been thinking of playing control, now’s the time to get in. I expect a spike to about $20 sometime this season.
I kind of like Confiscation Coup at $.50, if only because those people still playing energy decks need some good tempo effects to stay ahead. It’s not a bad card, and along with Vizier of Many Faces it could rebuild Temur and Sultai energy strategies. Drake Haven ($.50) is another card that could benefit from a more open standard where decks like UW Cycling control can compete. I don’t expect either of these cards to hit more than $1, but they could see more play.
Whether UG Merfolk is a competitive deck is yet to be seen, but if it does hit it big, Herald of the Secret Streams ($1.25) might see some play. It gives all of your creatures with counters unblockable which could break stalemates between mirror matches wide open. Kefnet the Mindful ($1.75) is another card that could win big from control decks becoming more varied. If non black control becomes the deck to beat, we might see Kefnet supporting Torrential Gearhulks as finishers. I don’t see it going up but can recognize its potential. Pull from Tomorrow ($1) is a card in similar circumstances as Kefnet. I think both rely on each other to work well.
Bontu’s Last Reckoning will depend on the level of success that UB and Grixis control decks find this season. While Grixis control also has access to Sweltering Suns, UB only has this a board wipe along with Yaheeni’s Expertise. It’s already inched up to $3, but I think it could go up another $1 to about $4 if the non white version of control does well.
I think now is Liliana, Death’s Majesty’s ($7) time to shine. She isn’t bad in control as both a board wipe and win condition, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new reanimator deck built around her and Scarab God either. That new GB enchantment and Vraska could make for a rather potent combination. Another card with potential that I wouldn’t be surprised to see showing up in sideboards of creature based black decks.
I don’t know about Grixis, but BR pirates seems like it could be the real deal this standard, taking over where Ramunap Red left off last season. If that’s the case, I expect Ruin Raider ($1) to see a lot more play. This could be the Glint-Sleeve Siphoner of Ixalan, going from a bulk card to $3-4.
Between Pirates, GB energy, and BR beatdown, there are many opportunities for Gonti, Lord of Luxury to see some more sideboard action. At $.75, he definitely won’t be going down. Best case scenario is about $2.50 though. Another card I like from the Kaladesh block is Yahenni, Undying Partisan which is currently going for $2. I don’t think it’s worth pushing too hard, but being in both the mono black infinite combo vampire deck and also sharing a popular tribe type that has some potential, I think there is a chance Yahenni will show up in new standard. I just don’t think it will be enough to nudge the value much.
Coming Up Next
There are some decent picks for white, blue, and black this time around. I feel rather good about all of my picks, and I think that I will get about 70% of them correct by the time the next set comes around. Next up I’ll be taking a look at only green and red, but you can be sure there are a lot of cards to go over. Without a Pro Tour coming up to showcase and ‘break’ standard quickly, we can expect a slow burn and quite a lot of cards to inch up over the next few weeks until we get a clearer view of the standard metagame in about a month.
If you think there are some cards I missed or that I should have talked about, feel free to leave your comments down below. Thanks for reading and be sure to stop back in a few days for the next article!