Bang for your Buck: Investing in cards for M19 – 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.
Standard should be slow moving over the next few weeks, especially here in Japan with no big events until September at the earliest. Places like Hareruya will be holding their God of Standard tournament and a few other big events I believe that should attract a large number, but most games will be casual in the coming weeks. This leaves a lot of time to think about how the next standard format in October is going to shape up. But before that, let’s see how I did with my picks last time.
Previous Red and Green Suggestions
- Soul-Scar Mage – Miss. Red decks have fallen out of favor due to decks like Fog, so Soul-Scar isn’t as good as it once was. Down to $2 from $2.75.
- Sweltering Suns – Miss. Another card that didn’t pan out when red got weaker. Down to about $1.50 from $2.
- Combat Celebrant – HIT. It was up to $6.75 on the back of a unique God Pharaoh Gift deck, and I said to sell before people lost interest in that archetype. It’s now about $3.25 so selling/trading before netted you some value.
- Nissa, Vital Force – HIT. She’s a great card for green decks, which have been showing more resiliency in this metagame, and her rarity from being a mythic from an almost 2 year old set in standard has pushed her value up to almost $5 from $3.50 like I said it would.
- Ripjaw Raptor – Miss. Seems like not everybody thought it worked out in the green beatdown decks so well. Lost a little under a dollar from before.
- Jadelight Ranger – Miss. While the card did see a nice bump to about the $15 level, it has since fallen to about $6.75 because green beatdown isn’t seeing as much play as it did in the previous standard meta.
- Heroic Intervention – Hit. I said to sell/trade when it was $6.50, but it still boggles my mind that this card can still be $6. I don’t know what’s keeping this card’s price afloat, cause it surely isn’t standard. Maybe it’s a 1-2 of in sideboards? I think it must be seeing some play in other formats to keep its demand high this late into its standard life.
- Rhonas the Indomitable – Hit. Rhonas saw his best days at the peak of Steel Leaf Stompy last season, and has since settle to around $12.75 from $17. Still a good price for him, but you won’t see him peak again like that.
I got a feeling like there will be some strong Izzet (UR) decks in Ravnica that can put all of her abilities to good use. If Flashback returns, that 2nd +1 effect won’t be so bad either. As far as mythic rares go, $4.50 isn’t bad to buy in at. I don’t think she’ll be a 4 of, but grabbing 2 at this price will save you a lot of money post rotation.
I’m still feeling good about Captain Lannery Storm ($.65) post rotation, especially since red is losing a lot of cards. I don’t know if there will be some sort of Pirates deck or not, but she’s a solid choice for a more beatdown version of red instead of the current aggro one.
Rowdy Crew ($1) saw a little bit of play in a fringe deck a few months back, but has since gone quite. Just as with Jaya, if there is some kind of graveyard mechanic like flashback in Ravnica, I would expect this would be a solid choice in those decks. It draws you 3 cards and while it is kinda of hard to control its effect, I think the chance of filling your graveyard, drawing 3 cards, and possibly getting a 4/4 of 5/5 trample creature is going to be too good to pass up. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a double or triple up.
I’ve had a soft spot for Harsh Mentor ($.50). I feel like it would be great in some kind of modern humans, Zoo, or hatebears deck. It’s just waiting for the right metagame to become good. It’s a longshot and long-term investment, but I think it will pay off in the future.
Call it a hunch but I think Deathgorge Scavenger will see a lot more play in the new Ravnica block. Rakdos and Golgari tend to use their graveyard a lot, and I believe Deathgorge ($2) will become both a good sideboard and a good mainboard card after rotation. Lots of potential value. Buy in now before it doubles up.
I feel bad that I was wrong about this in the last article, but picking it up at $6.75 feels so right. The merfolk typing, and the possibility of seeing play in Gruul (GR), Selesnya (GW), Golgari (GB), and Simic (UG) as a 4 of means that there is a huge upside if you buy in now. If you haven’t bought your playset yet, I would do so. The possibility that it doesn’t see play is much lower than the possibility of it showing up as a staple of green decks for the Ravnica block.
Golgari (GB) is all about finding ways to fill up their graveyard. That means there will more than enough lands both in play and in the yard to make Multani a truly scary threat after rotation. At $2 you’re not losing too much by buying a few copies of this prospect, but if he sees any kind of play I think his price will jump considerably since he’s a mythic rare in a set that was opened a lot less than the block sets like Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan.
I don’t usually promote uncommons on here, but I think Sporecrown Thallid ($.35) will become a $2 card thanks to more fungus and saprolings from the Golgari and Selesyna guilds in. The Fungus/Saproling archetype has been a casual favorite which is why cards like Tendershoot Dryad are currently $4.50, and as either GB or GW will need 4 of these, that means supply will drop rather quickly as people want to play them more and more. If neither GB or GW are going to be in the Fall set disregard this, but my feeling is that one or both will be.
While I don’t know WHY this card is still $6, I can honestly say I don’t think it will be that high after rotation. I’m guessing the reason for its high cost is more of a supply issue, rather than demand. Look for it to dip to around $2-3 after rotation.
Rhonas has lost quite a bit of value but there is still some left in him if you can find a buyer or trader. At $12.75 he still has a few more dollars to fall before rotation, but not much. You could squeeze a little more from him before then if you’re lucky. I expect him to settle around $8 or so after rotation as he’s still a good card for stompy decks and should have a decent amount of casual demand.
If Simic gives us some playable merfolk I would expect cards like Deeproot Elite ($1.50) to go up after rotation. The UG merfolk deck from RIX is so close to being good and just needs a few more cards. I would expect this card to see a lot more play in the new standard, especially for more casual players that buy in when merfolk is cheap. I could also see formats like Brawl and Frontier creating more demand for it.
Coming Up Next
I don’t see a lot of deals coming out of red as most of the cards are rotating and it will take a while for people to adapt to the new metagame. Neither RB or mono red aggro will survive intact after rotation, which means we’ll have to wait and see what the new Ravnica block brings us. I personally think red is going to focus more on midrange, and that there will be fewer cards that can be played across all red builds. UR will be more spell focused, GR will have lots of creatures, and BR will be more about damage effects. Cards like Rekindling Phoenix will be highly playable, but they aren’t that cheap to buy now either.
Looking at what was printed in this year’s sets and how green was in previous Ravnica blocks gives us a much clearer look at potential strategies and thus I was able to make a few more picks than normal. Carnage Tyrant and Ghalta should both hold their values well and be right at home in green strategies.
I would have liked to have posted this sooner, but I’ve been quite busy with my Frontier podcast, league events on Untap, as well as writing some articles for a MTG shop which will become available to you guys in the near future. I want to thank you for taking the time to stop by today and look forward to seeing you back here again in a few more days when I finish this series with artifacts, multicolor, and lands. Thanks for reading!