Bang For Your Buck: Investing in Cards for Rivals of Ixalan – Green and Red
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 TCG player.com’s mid-level price range.
We’re about to head into week 2 of Rivals of Ixalan standard, and all’s quiet on the metagame front. We’re still at least 2 weeks out from getting a clear picture of what this new standard is going to look like, so the format is still open. Today I’ll be looking at red and green, and considering that red aggro is looking for some new toys to add into their arsenal, we will probably see some movement out of the color. It could go bigger and shift away from Red Deck Wins, or it could go the burn route. We can’t say just yet. As for green, dinosaurs seems like a possible tier 2 midrange deck but it’s going to struggle with faster aggro decks until a sufficient removal package is designed.
Previous Red and Green Suggestions
- Glorybringer – Miss. It did hit a high of about $8 at one point, but since then it has fallen to just over $4.25. That’s more than a $1 decrease. The bannings definitely affected it.
- Hour of Devastation – Miss. Yikes, another big miss here. White control took off as well as UB, so Grixis builds were left in the dust with HoD seeing zero play. It lost more than half of its value to settle at $1.25
- Kari Zev, Skyship Raider – Miss. Another victim of the Ramunap Ruins/Ferocidon bannings. Kari Zev used to be played as a 3 of in those decks, but people have been rethinking their strategies recently. Was $1.50 before, now almost $1.
- Neheb, the Eternal – Miss. I knew he was a long shot, but still suggested him so I’ll accept responsibility.
- Harsh Mentor – HIT. It was one of my penny stock picks. It has seen slightly more play lately to stop vehicles and land activations, but it’s only gone up to about $1.25 from $1. Not much to write home about.
- Bristling Hydra – Miss. Another loss due to the bannings. Temur Energy was hit hard, which means bye bye Hydra. It did go up to about $4 at one point, but has since settled at $1.25 from it’s previous $2 price.
- Nissa, Vital Force – Miss. She’s seen slightly more play, but not enough to affect her price. Down to $3 from $3.25.
- Rhonas the Idomitable – Miss. How this card actually lost value is beyond me. It’s been a steady 1200-1400 yen in Japan for the longest time, but it’s dropped from $11 to $8 in the states. It’s sooo good.
- Verdurous Gearhulk – Miss. GB Energy wasn’t hurt that much by the bannings, so why is Gearhulk only $5 and down more than $1 from last time? Is Abrade really that scary for people?
Yikes, what a massacre of value. So many cards affected by the bannings. Well, on the bright side there should be a lot more amazing opportunities from this season onward due to these low, low prices. I think now’s probably a good time to see just what we can expect from RIX standard, especially since Jund and GR midrange decks seem to be making a comeback.
I don’t expect Glorybringer ($4.25) to see too much action initially, but once the metagame settles and people learn that their rebuilt Temur Energy, BR, or dino decks need to go over their opponents to break stalemates, people will turn back to the dragon. Heck, even mono red decks could go slightly bigger and use it in the main since its speed has been hurt. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit about $7 or more by the end of RIX standard.
Sweltering Suns seems like a good pick up at $1.50 right not. GR and Jund midrange have gotten popular, and because many of the dinosaurs can get around 3 damage, this could become a very one sided wrath against aggro decks like Grixis energy or BR. If the GR/JUND monster decks become tier 1, expect this card to double in price to at least $3, if not $4. I think it will be a 3 of in many sideboards.
If Grixis or UR Pirates sees any play, Captain Lannery Storm ($.70) could go up, but I don’t really think Pirates will be anything better than a fringe deck. At best it could reach tier 2. Most likely a long shot for value. Kari Zev, Skyship Raider could also see play again in a pirates deck (and possibly other red aggro builds), but I doubt the archetypes will get enough critical mass to push her price up over her current value of $1.25.
Earthshaker Khenra is a card that took a big hit from the recent bannings. At only $1.50 it’s a steal, and I think this is a much better spec for the future. While Ramunap Red might be done, it’s not unlikely that Earthshaker will find a home in a BR Aggro deck. Keep your eye on it for a spike. Another great card that could turn mono red’s fortunes around is Harsh Mentor. It’s great against decks running Heart of Kiran or Aethersphere Harvester, and also hurts energy decks a lot that have mutliple creature activations. Good pick up at $1.25 if you haven’t got any yet.
While we haven’t had to worry about Planeswalker decks that much, I think it’s worth mentioning Hour of Devastation ($1.25) merely because of its ability to hit gods, walkers, and other creatures. Not a bad card against dinosaurs which have a majority of 5 toughness creatures, but I’m sure the only way this card could see any play is if Grixis Control becomes the go to control deck this season.
Ripjaw Raptor has just hit 700 yen over here in Japan on the excitement of dinosaurs and midrange decks, so I would expect the US price to follow suit from $5 rather soon. I’ve yet to see any reason why GR or JUND monsters wouldn’t be a strong deck, so I’d expect RR to see a spike in the near future to around $7-8 at least. More than that if it’s a 3 or 4 of in multiple decks.
Verdurous Gearhulk ($5) is another card you should keep your eye on. While Abrades will be running rampant in this metagame, it’s still a very strong card to have in a GB counters deck along with Walking Ballista. If the deck can reach Tier 1 again, I would think Gearhulk would see a nice spike to about $8 or so. Realistically, the price should inch up a little bit, but keep an eye on results to indicate a bigger spike.
I kind of like Greenbelt Rampager ($.60) in the GB and Sultai energy decks now that Attune with Aether is gone. It gives those decks that much needed energy on turn 1, and a turn or two later on with a Winding Constrictor in play it comes down as a powerful one drop. Speaking of Energy decks, Rishkar, Peema Renegade is just over $1.25 and could see a resurgence if the archetype can put up good numbers again. One of the main reasons GB energy fell off originally was because Temur just ended up being more consistent. GB is still a very strong, and very scary deck that didn’t lose anything other than Attune with Aether.
Just like Rampager and Rishkar, Bristling Hydra’s value is also closely tied to the success of GB Energy in this metagame once more. I don’t think it will go up too much from its current value of $1.25, but if you’re thinking of trying out GB Energy then might as well get them while they are at bottom.
Coming Up Next
As I stated above, things are on shaky ground with red after the bannings, but that leaves a lot of room for other cards to break out in different strategies. Green seems to be the winner so far with many of the powerful dinosaurs already seeing spikes in prices as people try out midrange, but just how will people react to this metagame game change their other decks? Sure we should be looking out for what will immediately spike in this new metagame, but also try to think about what will spike in the second wave of cards as answers start to be found after the season settles.
Are there any cards you think should be added into the lists that I missed? I know there are quite a few that are at a good price right now, but I don’t think that their value will fluctuate that much this season. However, if you think I should have had mentioned something else, feel free to leave your comments down below. I’ll be back later this week with the remaining cards (artifacts, lands, multicolor), so be sure to check back then. Until then, thanks for reading.