Cards to Pick Up Before Standard Rotation
- Hans Davidson
Got the rotation blues? Have no fear! The end of a Standard format is the perfect time to pick up cards at their rock bottom prices, and Hans wants to talk about four cards he thinks has great long-term potential!
With less than two months left in M20 Standard, a large swath of cards will be rotating out come October 4th when Throne of Eldraine will be released. Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Core Set 2019, and Dominaria will be the sets that will be leaving Standard for greener pastures. Rotation can be brutal, as archetypes are gutted and gone for good, with new sets bringing in cards that unfortunately cannot replace certain key cards in a previously existing deck. At the same time, the couple of months before rotation can also be exciting, as prices of rotating cards are usually at their lowest, regardless of whether or not they were Standard all-stars. That’s why, in this week’s article, I want to talk about the cards that are prime for the picking before rotation hits due to a bright future that potentially awaits them on the other side of rotation!
Search for Azcanta
While Search for Azcanta / Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin still sees Standard play in Simic Nexus and some Esper Control shells, the card has fallen off quite a bit since the time when Esper Control and Simic Nexus were two of the decks to beat in Standard. Its time in Modern hasn’t been kind to it, either, considering that Azcanta initially cemented itself as a two-of in Azorius control decks. Two particular cards, Teferi, Time Raveler and Narset, Parter of Veils changed all of that, as those cards were much more backbreaking against the mirror as well as having an application in more matchups than Azcanta’s rather-slow engine. It’s almost bewildering to see a card as powerful as Azcanta be so quickly outclassed by a couple of new cards that share the same Standard with it, but its price reflects its fall from grace in both Standard and Modern. The card is floating around the seven-euro mark currently and trending down.
Despite all of this, I have high hopes for Search for Azcanta’s future. The two aforementioned planeswalkers have been very unpopular additions to the formats they see play in, and while the attention of the Modern community has been currently turned towards the graveyard strategies running rampant, I wouldn’t be surprised for Teferi and Narset to be back in the spotlight at some point down the road. If there is a scenario where either (or both) are removed from the format, I could imagine Azcanta coming back to the forefront again.
Another point to bring up is the introduction of the Historic format. The Historic format will, at its introduction, be an MTG: Arena-only format that will allow cards that are (and will be) legal on Arena. In other words, it is a Modern-light format for the Arena client. If this format catches on - and I expect it will, since it will be the primary non-rotating format for Arena players - it has a very good likelihood to become a format in paper. This likely won’t happen in the immediate future, as the format will probably have to work out its initial kinks, but I wouldn’t be surprised when it’s adopted in paper as a replacement for an aging Modern format that is showing signs of wear. In this new format, Azcanta will be a staple in the control decks, and if we’re thinking about the card’s potential several years down the line, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start eyeing the card and picking some copies up as the price bottoms out.
Karn, Scion of Urza
Despite another notorious planeswalker in the same set, Karn, Scion of Urza was a groan-inducer from the moment I saw him spoiled. A four-mana colorless planeswalker that drew cards and could produce tokens to protect himself should not be colorless, and while Karn has cooled off quite a bit since his breakthrough, colorless cards have a way of having a profound effect on older formats. Ironically, Karn, the Great Creator has been the iteration of Karn that has been wreaking havoc in non-rotating formats, but Scion of Urza has the utility and flexibility to find its way into current and new decks, as well. Its price tag is around ten euros and heading downwards.
The biggest selling point for me for Karn is the looming introduction of Historic, where Karn will no doubt find a home. Any deck can play him, and while not ever deck will want to, the ease at which Karn can slot in as a maindeckable grindy card advantage engine or a sideboard ace for the midrange matchups is enough to warrant holding onto a couple of copies of for the future.
The havoc that cards such as Aetherworks Marvel and Smuggler’s Copter wreaked on Standard during their time led to calls for the reprinting of catch-all answers like Pithing Needle to be printed. While those who wanted the Needle back may have been disappointed that the one-mana artifact didn’t find its way back into Standard, Ixalan brought Sorcerous Spyglass as a way to keep possibly problematic cards in check. By upping the cost to two mana instead of one, as well as adding an effect to look at the opponent’s hand, a unique card was added to the card pool that would come to be incorporated into decks in older formats such as Modern. Spyglass primarily sees play in the sideboards of Tron and Eldrazi Tron, and its application in the future will most likely be relevant if Historic takes off, as well. Historic will included many powerful permanents that rely on activated abilities, and the ability for Spyglass to be an answer in these situations will make it a valuable sideboard card.
We’ve seen powerful sideboard cards like Rest in Peace and Grafdigger’s Cage hit the five-euro mark before their reprints, and if the card avoids reprints, it’s not inconceivable to see this card’s price steadily make its way back up. There’s no need to go grab your copies of Spyglass today, but if its value continues dipping past the one-euro mark, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a playset.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the five-mana, planeswalker-shaped elephant in the room. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria has been a controversial card during its time in Standard, and many players are probably breathing a sigh of relief that it’s making its stage exit, at least for the time being. Teferi has been the backbone of Azorius-based control decks during its entire Standard existence, and its power has been felt even in Modern, where it has possibly overtaken Jace, the Mind Sculptor as the best blue planeswalker. While Teferi is by no means cheap, it’s been on a downward trend over the past three months. Most recent trends show that you can pick up a copy for around 20 euros.
The price of a Standard card going down due to upcoming rotation isn’t anything special, but I think there is one big factor that has helped with the price of Teferi coming down from its heights in recent months: Modern. The single, biggest mistake from Modern Horizons Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis has completely warped the Modern format, and the Hogaak deck’s rise has coincided with UW Control losing a good amount of footing among tier 1 decks. While there won’t be an emergency banning regarding Hogaak, all the data points toward a ban in the next few days, and I’d assume that people will pick UW back up once the ‘Gaak is gone for good. If you imagine you’ll be playing Teferi any time in the future, now might be the cheapest the card will be in the coming year barring a surprising reprint.
What are some other cards that you think people should be picking up as rotation approaches? Let me know in the comments below!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.