This week is my quarterly financial advice article where I suggest which cards you should buy right now and which cards you should sell right now. I focus primarily on the higher demand cards from Fate Reforged, but I also provide some updated advice from the previous set, Khans of Tarkir. Whether you're looking to invest for profit or simply want to know which cards to hold onto and which to get rid of now, the aim of this article is to help you make more informed decisions.
The breakdown of this article is as follows:
Cards to sell right now:
1. Cards to sell right now2. Cards that are safe to buy or trade away now3. Potential sleepers4. Cards to invest in right now
In this section I discuss which cards are most likely to drop considerably in value.
The card is strong and is a great preemptive answer to End Hostilities and Crux of Fate that will see play in Standard, but it has a number of things working against it financially. The first is that it costs five mana, which puts it in competition with Nissa Worldwaker. This also makes it harder for any deck outside of Green Devotion to reliably resolve it prior to the five-mana wraths. Secondly, it is not powerful enough to see play outside of Standard. It may gain some EDH appeal, but it has already sunk from $12 to $10 in the past few days and I expect it to keep dropping into the $5 range. I (whisper) would get rid of these now why they're still scraping double digits.
Crux of Fate
Black finally has a good wrath effect to mirror white's End Hostilities. Crux will see play in UB Control decks and in some non-white sideboards, but it won't see any play outside of Standard. It also doesn't kill opposing Stormbreath Dragons, nor will it be a format-defining all-star. $6 for a non-mythic rare is way too high for this card. As fate would have it, I expect it to come down to $2-3 shortly.
This was the Prerelease promo I got in my Mardu kit and it was fantastic for me in the tournament. I don't, however, expect it to see much play in Standard. There are simply better alternatives. At $8 and only fringe playable in Standard and not garnering much non-competitive appeal, I can't imagine this card stays above $3 for very long. I think a lot of people are hedging with this cycle, which is fine, but I'm firmly of the opinion that this is one of the "misses" from the cycle. I would definitely sell these now, and I would certainly not hoard them, chief.
Shaman of the Great Hunt
Like Brutal Hordechief, this one was also a Prerelease promo floating around in the Temur kits. It was strong in Sealed Deck, but I don't expect it to see much play in Standard. I think it has a little more promise than Brutal Hordechief, but it's fragile and doesn't have evasion – unlike Ashcloud Phoenix. The card has some upside, but certainly not $8 worth. This is not a great (hunt) investment.
Most eleven-mana spells are unplayable in Constructed unless they have the annihilator mechanic. Delve reduces the cost to something manageable, but not nearly by enough for this card. The effect is basically worth 3UU if we compare it to Time Warp, just as Treasure Cruise's effect is basically worth 2UU if we compare it to Concentrate. Treasure Cruise costs 7U and sees play in a couple decks in Standard and was so powerful in Modern that it had to be banned. Temporal Trespass would have to cost 8U or less to be comparably good in Modern. The extra UU means even if you fill up your graveyard, you're still having to pay UUU for the Time Walk effect. Why not just pay an extra two colorless mana for Time Warp instead of going through the trouble of filling up your graveyard with so many cards?
It's likely that some fringe combo deck wants every Time Walk in existence and is therefore interested in this card, but it costs way too much mana for Standard and too much colored mana to make it worth the effort in older formats. The one upside to this card is being able to live the dream of Generator Servant into Narset, Enlightened Master and flipping Howl of the Horde and Temporal Trespass. Only a Travis Woo level Timmy would try that hard to put Temporal Trespass in their deck though, and only for the joy of entertaining an audience.Cards that are safe to buy or trade away now:
In this section I discuss which cards will likely remain at their current value.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
I expect Ugin to be the most expensive card in the set pretty much forever. It has a ton of casual and EDH appeal, fitting into many decks in virtue of it being colorless. It also is playable in Modern Tron as an All Is Dust with massive upside. And I also expect it to fit into multiple decks in Standard, both as the best thing a green deck can ramp into and also the best win condition in a control deck. $30 is quite a lot and I don't think it will rise much higher than that anytime soon, but I also don't expect the price to come down very much either. It feels like a solid $30 marquee mythic to me.
If it weren't already $24 I would be telling everyone to invest in this one. I see it remaining in the $20 range for a while. The verdict is still out as to whether it is viable in Modern, but it is certainly viable in Standard. Jeskai feels like the most natural home, but straight Boros alongside Goblin Rabblemaster and Brimaz, King of Oreskos sounds real strong as well. Maybe it's the three-drop Orzhov has been looking for alongside Brimaz, King of Oreskos? Maybe my Naya Tokens deck could cut red altogether now that it has a powerful three-drop option in white that can be cast on the second turn off Elvish Mystic? There are several possibilities for this card. The bottom line is that this card will definitely see play, it will be a four-of in multiple decks, and has the potential to be a format-defining all-star. $24 is a high price to live up to, but it doesn't take a monetary mentor to understand that this mythic is worth the investment.
Soulfire Grand Master
Speaking of sweet white creatures, this set has two all-stars! Like Monastery Mentor, I expect Soulfire Grand Master to fit most naturally into Jeskai. Unlike Monastery Mentor, however, I don't expect the Grand Master to see much play outside of Jeskai decks. Nevertheless I do expect it to retain most of its $17 price tag because I envision it seeing more play in older formats. I'm not yet sure where the best home is in Modern for Soulfire Grand Master, but it almost certainly involves Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile to use with its buyback ability. In Standard you can recur Stoke the Flames for exceptional value or you can lock someone out of draw steps by putting a creature on top of their library each turn with Jeskai Charm. It's not every day we see a splashable two-mana white creature that offers card advantage...not since Stoneforge Mystic.
Warden of the First Tree
The first (tree) thing I'd like to point out is that this card is excellent in Abzan Aggro, which is currently the most popular deck in Standard. I don't, however, see it being played in many other decks. It's a bit underpowered for Modern and it requires you to be in GB or GW and also in the market for a one-drop, so its potential homes are rather narrow – much like Rakshasa Deathdealer. Unlike Rakshasa, the warden is mythic, so it's unlikely to dip below a dollar like the demon cat. I can see it falling to around $4-5 if the metagame shifts away from Abzan Aggro, but given that it's currently in the $6-7 range, that's not much of a drop. Pretty much any time a mythic rare is a four-of in a tier one deck, it demands more than a $5 price tag, even if it is only played in that one deck.
At just $3 I considered making this one of my sleeper picks, but after thinking about it, I don't know that the required conditions will ever come about to make this phoenix (flame) wake up from its mini demand slumber. $3 for a non-mythic rare is already pretty high. Savage Knuckleblade and Mantis Rider have already dipped below that mark less than three months after their release. While I expect the phoenix to see some amount of play, mostly in Standard, I can't justify picking it to rise to $5. It may go up or down $1 depending on whether red aggro or red devotion decks are well-positioned, but it feels like a card that will not go down to $1 or up to $5, so I would say $3 is pretty safe on this one.Potential Sleepers:
In this section I discuss which low demand cards will most likely spike and become higher demand cards.
Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest
Currently selling for $1, this monk could be a great investment with a potentially big payoff. I think it is mostly being written off by people because it fits most naturally into Jeskai, which already has excellent three-drops such as Goblin Rabblemaster, Monastery Mentor, Mantis Rider, Jeskai Ascendancy, Jeskai Charm, etc. The ability is very powerful and fun. If Commander (and more importantly the mini version of commander where everything costs three or less) makes an exception and lets you somehow activate his ability if he's your commander, I could see him spiking as a commander since he would be a house in that format. Even without this happening, the stats are strong enough that it's worth keeping him on your radar and maybe having a few thrown into your upcoming trades just in case.
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
When I tweeted the combo of Alesha + Hornet Queen, the Interwebs began buzzing with various brews. At just over $1 I think there is enough promise here to take notice. Seth Manfield talked about a Boros deck earlier this week that ran a pair of these just as a value card. I wouldn't sell the farm on this one, but if you're looking for a small dollar card to invest in, this one could very well result in you grinning ear to ear (at death) if it spikes.
If anyone can make this card good it will be Brian Kibler. It's an excellent answer to mid-sized creatures that progresses your board regardless of what they opponent is doing. It turns on all your ferocious, and hits pretty hard. I'm a bit hesitant to invest here given the $1 price tag on Savage Knuckleblade, but if you have high aspirations for the Temur clan, I would recommend investing in both these Temur creatures together. And if it doesn't work out, don't blame me. Blame Kibler!
Mardu Strike Leader
This is another rare that is just over $1 and could potentially spike in demand. BW Warriors is unlikely to become the dominant strategy in Standard, but there are enough pieces now to make it competitive. Moreover, it looks like it is the most powerful "budget" deck for Standard, which means there is a reasonable chance it 4-0's a disproportionately high number of MTGO events. This phenomenon often then translates to overhype and more people playing the paper version than otherwise would, which in turn causes certain key rares and mythics to spike in price. Mardu Strike Leader is a fairly automatic inclusion in the warrior deck as it is an excellent three-drop warrior that produces more warriors. He's also strong enough to potentially see play in decks other than dedicated warrior strategies. Admittedly a lot has to go right for this one to spike hard, but if your goal is to pick up a card nobody cares about that later people want from you, this one may be the (strike) leading candidate for the job!Cards to invest in right now:
In this section I discuss which cards I would recommend investing in for profit.
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Tasigur is the most powerful non-mythic rare in the set and is currently selling for just under $4. It is an undercosted creature with a sizeable body and a worthwhile ability. These stats alone will cause it to see play just as a value card. It also fits right into one of the most powerful decks in the format (Sultai Reanimator), making that archetype even stronger.
Aside from its Standard appeal, it is highly playable in Modern as well! Faithless Looting or Thought Scour in conjunction with a fetch land will enable Tasigur to be cast on the second turn. That essentially gives such decks eight copies of Tarmogoyf. And the activated ability is very relevant for the late game. People have been going bananas and fangirling over this one and I don't blame them. If any non-mythic rare in the set will rise above $10, Tasigur will very likely be the golden shaman that does it.
Jeskai Ascendancy peaked around $5 and is all the way down to just $2. It is the centerpiece of two different Standard decks: Jeskai Tokens and Jeskai Combo. It was also recently the centerpiece to a Modern combo deck and a Legacy combo deck until Treasure Cruise got banned in both formats. With the banning of Treasure Cruise in these older formats, a lot of people are prematurely counting out Jeskai Ascendancy and so you can likely pick them up easily for cheap right now. I expect the card to slowly rise in value over time until it reaches at least $5 again.
Two of the most powerful cards in Fate Reforged work extremely well in a Jeskai Ascendancy based creature deck (Monastery Mentor and Soulfire Grand Master). And in older formats there are replacements to Treasure Cruise that still allow the deck to operate smoothly. The added benefit is that the deck is now much more under the radar, which may make the deck perform even better! Regardless of which reason(s) you choose to invest in Jeskai Ascendancy, I recommend buying them now instead of selling them.
Our one-horned friend is currently the highest demand non-mythic, non-fetchland card in Khans of Tarkir, yet is still only $4. The effect of Khans containing five super high demand rares (fetches) is most pronounced in a card like Siege Rhino. The rhino is heavily played in Standard and Modern as a four-of yet still cannot stay above the $5 mark. I suspect this will not last long once Khans of Tarkir stops being opened for booster drafts. It may take some time to get a return on your investment, but buying stock in Rhinoceros Incorporated is among the safer 6-12 month investments you can make.
Polluted Delta Flooded Strand Windswept Heath Wooded Foothills Bloodstained Mire
Speaking of long term investments, no card in Khans of Tarkir or Fate Reforged, or in all of Standard for that matter, is a more lucrative long term investment than the five fetchlands. They are staples in multiple decks across literally every Constructed format in Magic. They currently sell between $8 and $14, which is nearly the exact price that Zendikar fetches sold for when they rotated out of Standard. Then they exploded a year later and again a year or two after that. I invested heavily in those and tripled my money when I sold out after the first spike. If I had held out longer I could have at least quadrupled my money. I plan to invest heavily in Khans fetch lands now and until they rotate out of Standard. As far as Standard cards are concerned, there is literally no better investment than Khans fetches.Takeaway Messages
- Section 1: Trade off your overhyped cards, then trade back for them later after they drop in price if you still want them.- Section 2: Invest in the "safer" picks from the middle section of the article if you plan to use the cards. I expect them to retain most of their value over time.- Sections 3-4: Invest in Tasigur, the Golden Fang and whatever low demand sleeper cards from the third section appeal the most to you.- Section 4: If your goal is strictly to invest for profit, then trade your Fate Reforged cards for Khans fetch lands while demand for the new cards is high.
Craig Wescoe@Nacatls4Life on twitter