Top 5 – Cards to Buy, Fall Edition
- Rodrigo Martin
Zendikar Rising has been out for a couple of weeks now and has settled in following the customary period of initial turmoil. So it's time to decide what to buy from the new set, and from others, in order to gear up for the fall season. Ready for some purchasing advice? Just keep reading.
Greetings, Magic friends! Since Zendikar Rising hit the stores almost three weeks ago, a lot has happened: yet another couple of bans in Standard, a controversial Secret Lair Drop featuring The Walking Dead, and what really matters for this article's purpose, lots of new archetypes have emerged. So, let's get straight to the point, the cards you should consider acquiring in the upcoming months — as well as the ones you maybe shouldn't for the time being.
#5 – Recently Banned Cards
Have you ever suffered from a banning right when you purchased the remaining cards you needed for your deck? Well, if you've played Magic: the Gathering at least from 2019 on, you know what I am talking about. (Here's my review of last year's bannings.)
One of the few upsides to lean on in this scenario is the fact that cards might go down in price temporarily, depending on their playability in other formats. Remember Oko, Thief of Crowns price back when it was an all-star across formats? Well, nowadays he is only able to Elk Legacy players at a reasonable price of about €17. Speaking about busted Simic cards, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath just got banned in Standard; that means its value has dropped significantly during the past few days. So, if you are willing to play it in other formats (from Pioneer to Legacy) this might be the best window to get your copies before it goes up in price again.
A similar principle applies to another three-mana powerhouse. Teferi, Time Raveler was recently kicked from Standard, a few weeks before rotation. It has dropped from the €15 barrier to less than €10 but will continue to be a staple in both Modern and Pioneer. The card should gradually recover its original price during the next couple of months because it remains a key piece of every Azorius Control shell along with other strategies such as Five-Color Niv-Mizzet.
Indeed, fresh from the last B&R announcement, Omnath, Locus of Creation was kicked out of Standard after less than a month of legaility. So its initial rise in price due to high demand will go down in the following weeks. Hence it will be the right time to get your copies if you still want to try out this powerful four-colored Elemental in other formats.
#4 – Companions!
After the companion rule errata, it seems that all the nonsense we experienced in Ikoria's wake is long gone. Having to pay three generic mana to put them into your hand is enough of a drawback to make them fair Magic cards instead of total degenerates that break the game over and over. That said, fair Magic cards are useful too. The two best choices among the ten available are still Lurrus of the Dream-Den and Yorion, Sky Nomad, while the rest only see fringe play in specific builds.
The Orzhov-colored Cat Nightmare can be found in every single format where it's still legal. In Standard we currently have a Rakdos midrange shell making good use of it. In Pioneer it sees play in a similar strategy alongside Young Pyromancer as well as in White-Black Auras. Moreover, Lurrus plays a minor role in Modern where it can be found in the brand-new Rakdos Death's Shadow.
Meanwhile, Yorion has lost a little bit of punch. But it continues to pop up in some White-Blue Control versions in Standard and more specifically in both Jeskai and Esper Control, sometimes even in the main deck.
All in all, while they're quite cheap at the moment, they still make for a great investment as cards that will be played in Standard until rotation and are likely to continue to matter across other formats in the following years. So at least pick up a single copy of the aforementioned companions alongside Jegantha, the Wellspring in case you haven't done it yet.
#3 – Klothys, God of Destiny
Bronze medal goes to Klothys, God of Destiny, a card that created some hype when it first got spoiled but later fell behind the other chase mythics from Theros Beyond Death, like, uh, the Elder Giants. In contrast, under the current situation, I will say it's at least a multi-format staple, not as four copies in every Gruul deck, but it has found a home in several strategies.
Leaving Standard aside now that Uro is banned, the card can eat the Simic giant in every other format, starting in Modern where it's one of the best threats in the Ponza deck powered by Utopia Sprawl and Blood Moon. The fact that it cannot be targeted by exiling removal such as Path to Exile unless it turns into a creature is a huge upside, and the inevitability it creates by draining opponents each turn will end up winning many games in your favor.
Indeed, in Legacy, the Gruul God has become a must in every Temur Delver build at least as a singleton copy in sideboard to fight graveyard-based strategies while adding an alternate win condition in the process. Pricewise, I can only predict a progressive increase for Klothys for the next months, as Theros Beyond Death supplies start to dwindle. At some point it will likely hit the €20 mark.
|Gruul Midrange by Fabrioteo, 5-0 in Modern League, October 2|
#2 – Thieves' Guild Enforcer
Before unveiling the number one spot, my apologies for missing out on Thieves' Guild Enforcer when I wrote about Core Set 2021 in my previous cards-to-buy article. Back then, Zendikar Rising previews hadn't started yet, hence the Rogue deck wasn't on anyone's radar. Anyway, you can still get this card for about €12 per playset.
It is one of the centerpieces of the Dimir tribal strategy, which had stood as the main competitor to the different flavors of Omnath, Locus of Creation before the ban and survived the recent upheaval. It really is a lot of fun to play a tempo strategy, it's reasonably cheap to assemble too, and what's more important, most of the key cards are all from Zendikar Rising, meaning a rotation-proof choice to invest in for the next two years.
|Dimir Rogues by EtahnGriffith, 5-0 in Standard League, October 8|
Cards like Nighthawk Scavenger, Soaring Thought-Thief, or Zareth San, the Trickster are pretty easy to get and have almost bulk prices now. So this is the perfect time to assemble your Rogues tribal deck, before Kaldheim shows up. Plus, one can reasonably expect to see more Rogues in the Dungeons & Dragons-themed set that will release next year.
#1 – Rising Stars to Avoid and to Acquire
Without any doubt the top position goes to Zendikar Rising's hot new additions to all the formats. Unfortunately, the set's second chase mythic, Scourge of the Skyclaves, has skyrocketed already. I'd recommend to stay away from it in the short term unless you absolutely want to play it straight away. Its value might go down again in a few weeks when the first rush of demand subsides. As for Omnath, I previously mentioned that the fact it's no longer legal in Standard will definitely reduce its actual value in the weeks to come.
Moving onto cards you should indeed aim to purchase, I picked two for each color. I'm leaving aside the Pathway cycle, which will play a role in almost every single Standard archetype for the next two years, and of course the mythic cycle of modal double-faced cards like Sea Gate Restoration // Sea Gate, Reborn, all of them super playable in every single format due to their flexibility as they count both as a spell and/or a land.
White: Skyclave Apparition & Archon of Emeria
My white choices have come to upgrade weenie decks in every single format. Although the brightest color is overshadowed in Standard at the moment, Modern and Legacy have embraced these two three-mana creatures for their respective monocolored taxing builds.
|Mono-White Stoneblade by Parrit, 5-0 in Modern League, October 9|
Let's start with the Archon. It's a mix between Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Rule of Law, all in one evasive body that slows down opponents with fetch-plus-shock mana bases, while nullifying cards like Snapcaster Mage, prowess decks in general, or the recent Oops! All Spells version powered by modal double-faced cards.
Next, the Apparition is a truely clean answer to any permanent up to four mana since it exiles permanently troublesome targets like Uro or Wrenn and Six, famous for pinging to death toughness 1 creatures. Previous iterations of this type of card, such as Fiend Hunter or Deputy of Detention only dealt with the permanent/creature temporarily. You always had to be afraid a removal would bring it back. In this case, though, killing the Kor Spirit only results in a vanilla blue Illusion in exchange, which is not a big deal. All in all, great choices across formats if you are willing to play white-based decks, not to mention their low prices at the moment: the Phantom stands at €28 per playset and the Archon is less than a euro per copy.
Blue: Jwari Disruption & Sea Gate Stormcaller
More modal double-faced cards for the buylist. Jwari Disruption is a new take on Censor that will see play in Standard and Pioneer and will increase the price gradually once the set ceases to be printed. Meanwhile, Sea Gate Stormcaller is one of the few interesting mythics from the set, and it's going down in price since its prerelease value was inflated. Now should be the perfect spot to catch your copies for this proactive Snapcaster Mage that sooner or later will find its way into the right deck.
Black: Bloodchief's Thirst & Feed the Swarm
Black always finds new approaches for spot removal. For the first time in history it now has access to targeted enchantment removal, in the shape of Feed the Swarm, at the high price of paying life equal to the target's cost. That might come up as an upside when playing Death's Shadow and Scourge of Skyclave, and even without them, if you're playing an aggro deck, the life loss won't be much of an issue either.
Bloodchief's Thirst is superb and cheap creature/planeswalker removal, which can almost be compared with Fatal Push for the mana efficiency. Sometimes, when Push becomes dead in creatureless matchups, Thirst can at least target planeswalkers, even if you have to pay the kicker cost to get rid of most of them. The fact that it's a sorcery makes it balanced, but it will be the primary spot removal in Standard while maybe finding some room in Pioneer and Modern. So grab your copies of these two amazing additions to the darkest color in Magic.
Continuing with cheap valuable common and uncommon additions already seeing tons of play, I choose Cleansing Wildfire first, for the spell's multiple applications in Modern. It can target opposing lands like the Zombie factory Field of the Dead or any Tron piece. What's more, it can also target your own lands, for example to trigger Omnath while cantripping, or to ramp yourself by destroying Flagstones of Trokair, a cool interaction some Jeskai Control decks are taking advantage of.
Spikefield Hazard // Spikefield Cave on the other hand seems better suited for Standard and Pioneer applications, more specifically to kill toughness 1 creatures like the scary Lotus Cobra or Edgewall Innkeeper and even to target a Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger before it's sacrificed to exile it. It does all the aforementioned plus being a red source of mana if needed in the early game, making it the sixth most played card in Standard as I write this, seen in 33% of decks. Hence you should better have them in your collection.
Green: Lotus Cobra & Kazandu Mammoth
Closing up the list we have Lotus Cobra, a reprint from original Zendikar that had found a partner in crime with Omnath until recently. The Locus of Creation and Escape to the Wilds may be gone, but Fabled Passage remains to trigger landfall twice. We will clearly see that interaction again, if need be by jumping into Pioneer where the Snake is reunited with its pal in the same Omnath build. In any case, it seems like a safe investment at a reasonable price of around €4 per copy.
Finally, Kazandu Mammoth is my other pick for Standard purposes, as a bulk rare that has seen play in Gruul Aggro and other green strategies, now that the metagame is about to change with the bannings. As for its price, getting a playset will cost you less than €3, so it's totally worth it.
All in all, it seems that Magic is more alive than ever. It is a shame we have to suffer changes in one format or another almost every single week. Luckily, if you are a multi-format player, one card being banned won't hurt you that much, and overall in the long run, they will spike up in price again.
Thank you so much for reading. Please share your own plans for buying cards in the comment section, as well as any comments or questions you may have. Until next time!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.