Bang for your Buck: Investing in Cards for Dominaria – Red and Green
Disclaimer: I can not be held responsible for any action you take based on 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.
It was a little longer in between posts than I anticipated, but I should still be able to get through the rest of the cards in standard before the Pro Tour this weekend. I’ve been working a lot on my Team Unified standard deck for the RPTQ in Tokyo next weekend, so I haven’t had a lot of time in between testing and work. That being said, I’d like to write more once the pressure of the RPTQ has been lifted and I’m back to grinding PPTQs. I feel good about my deck, but I’ll be keeping it under wraps until after the RTPQ.
Previous Red and Green Suggestions
- Glorybringer – Miss. I believe this was printed in one of those duel decks along with Chandra, which would explain why it’s only $2.50 instead of higher. It’s very popular in most red decks now. If not for the reprint, it would have been higher.
- Sweltering Suns – HIT. Thanks to resurgence of red midrange decks like Rb Vehicles, Sweltering Suns is seeing lots of sideboard play. Up to $2 from $1.50.
- Earthshaker Khenra – HIT. I’m surprised it went back up so much after seeing a reprint. It has almost tripled to $4 at the moment on the back of mono red aggro and mono red gift decks. I also believe it was reprinted which means demand is really high for it. All the budget aggro players perhaps?
- Ripjaw Raptor – Miss. I thought it would see more play in green decks, but it was never picked up. It only went from $5 to $4.25 which isn’t too bad.
- Verdurous Gearhulk – Miss. Another victim of the standard duel decks reprinting. It was in the BG Constrictor deck, which means theres too many copies in standard now. Lost about half its value to hit $2.75.
There wasn’t too much other action going on last time, so there isn’t much to report, but I will say this about the new standard metagame: Dominaria has cracked standard wide open and made multiple decks viable in a variety of colors. For the moment we can have solace knowing that standard won’t be dominated by only 2 decks for an entire season. Sure there might be two tier 1 decks we have to worry about now (BR and UW), but the next big deck is waiting in the wings and could turn the metagame on it’s back after one weekend. Let’s see what possibilities are in store for us before the Pro Tour.
I’m rather bullish on Soul-Scar Mage still. It just works soooooo damn well with Goblin Chainwhirler and also sees play in UR Wizard burn decks, which are casual favorites. Even though it’s rotating in a few months, I think it will spike once more from it’s current $2.75 price tag. If red decks do well at the Pro Tour, I could see him hitting $3.50 or so.
Again, I think Red decks will do very well at the Pro Tour, so I think cards like Sweltering Suns ($2) will be played en masse in sideboards to deal with aggro decks and tokens. It will most likely be a 2-3 of, so I think this card will hit $3-3.50 or so in summer.
Combat Celebrant got a lot of fanfare a few weeks ago when UR Gift put up some good finishes at a few Opens in both the USA and Japan. While still a casual favorite, I don’t think Gift decks have that much longer to do well in standard, especially with removal like Ballista everywhere. Celebrant is almost $6.75, and I don’t think that will last long. I buylisted mine for 400 yen the other day, and if you’re not using yours it’s probably a good time to think about selling it. It will be half that price by next season.
I still like Hour of Devastation ($1.25) in various sideboards to deal with all these planeswalkers we have in standard now. Sorcerous Spyglass just won’t cut it. I think it will start showing up a lot more in sideboards this summer, and double up in price. The planeswalker damage change rule has made it much more useful.
As a future red deck wins card after rotation, I think Captain Lannery Storm should be given some love. Only $.75 now, could easily triple up by the end of the summer. If you see it inching up, grab a few. Another card I really like is Vance’s Blasting Cannons. It seems like it can add a lot of value to red midrange decks, and with cards like Chandra, Torch of Defiance rotating I think it will see some play in the fall. Good buy in at $.50.
I do kind of feel like Nissa, Vital Force is undervalued at $3.50. People highly underestimate green’s chances in this metagame around BR and UW, but I think it’s on the same level and just needs to be tuned. Nissa has been showing up in a lot of sideboards recently, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see her hit $5 this summer if green starts getting some good finishes. I think she’ll has one more spike left in her. I’ve seen copies of her drying up in the Tokyo/Yokohama area, so that could push her price higher.
Ripjaw Raptor ($4.25) is criminally undervalued right now. People have been overvaluing Steel Leaf Champion in green stompy decks. It’s a 5/4 that puts pressure on opponents early, but against decks like BR vehicles it dies to everything: Chandra Torch of Defiance, Cut/Ribbons, Glorybringer, and can’t attack into Heart of Kiran Favorably. Ripjaw Raptor can, plus he’s incredibly hard to kill. If you’re playing a deck with Blossoming Defense you’ll be able to protect it rather easily, and if your opponent is playing red they’ll have to spend two cards to kill it usually, meaning you’ll get 2 cards unless it’s an Unlicensed Disintegration. I think people will realize what a great meta card this and play it more this summer. I’m betting on a $6 price tag by then, more if green makes a comeback.
Jadelight Ranger buy lists for about 1400-1500 yen over here in Japan right now, but it sells for $12 in the states which makes it a great investment. If you’re going to play any green deck over the next year and a half, it’s going to have 4 of these. The further we get from Rivals of Ixalan, the higher the price will get. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it ended up stabilizing around Walking Ballista type levels, staying at around $15 or so it’s entire standard life. Good long term investment for standard. Definitely buy them if they go down any lower than $12. If green becomes the defacto best deck in the future, I’d expect it to hit $20.
It’s a great card for green stompy decks against all the removal out there now, but it doesn’t stop Settle the Wreckage and Blossoming Defense seems to be doing a fine job on its own in the 1 mana slot. I don’t think it will stay at $6.50 for long. I would definitely trade it away at that price, and buy list it for $3 if somebody was buying.
A great card in green based stompy decks, but I don’t think the deck has the legs to put up the numbers needed to keep Rhonas’ value at $17. He’s hot now, but I think we’ll see this as his last peak before dipping down to around $12 by the end of the season.
While it’s rotating in a few months, I think Resilient Khenra is a highly underrated card. Pumping up creatures out of no where and coming back from the dead are great affects in this format, and at only $.75 it’s a great deal. Look for it to see some play this sumer and hit about $2. I love it in GW aggro.
I think Merfolk will eventually get another shot at being good in standard, probably after rotation, so I would start picking up some of the key cards for the deck like Deeproot Elite ($2) and Merfolk Branchwalker ($1.75). Branchwalker has been around $4 in Japan for the longest time, so I think it’s a steal at half that overseas.
Coming Up Next
Day one of the Pro Tour Dominaria is finished, and the metagame was as to be expected. I don’t think we’ll be seeing a lot of spice going into day 2, but you never know. I think there will definitely be some movement later in the season on cards once this metagame is cemented and people know what to expect what they have to be able to beat. I’ll be working on the last few colors in the next few days or so, so be sure to check back for it after the Pro Tour.