Top 5: Cards to Buy, Rotation Edition


The Standard rotation is upon us! At this weird time of the year, prices go up and down in the blink of an eye—an opportunity to get staples at a discount. Let's review three cards for each color: one kicked out from Standard and two as future contenders that might increase in value now.

5. White

Portable Hole price development
Portable Hole price development

My first pick is a card from Adventures in Forgotten Realms, the last summer set that didn't perform that well in terms of sales, thus generating weird price trends like the Deadly Dispute case we mentioned in previous articles. This time I recommend buying Portable Hole, an uncommon white artifact that has seen reasonable play in Standard and currently stands as the fifth most played card in Pioneer. It found a home in several decks like White-Blue Control, Boros Aggro, Spirits, or Humans, as well as having some applications in Modern such as supporting Affinity or Hammer Time.

Financially speaking, this portable spot removal has been hovering around €2 for a while, a considerable one for a Standard uncommon. Even now with rotation happening, it could trend down a bit, but the graphic shows an increase in the last few days. In sum, Portable Hole is a cheap playable card that, unless reprinted, will gradually go up in price in the future.

Moving on to the still Standard-legal territory, Hopeful Initiate has been a pillar of white strategies ever since it was printed in Innistrad: Crimson Vow. Boros and Monowhite Aggro, and even some Orzhov builds count on the Initiate as a very solid one-drop, able to grow quickly thanks to training. Indeed, it has reached Pioneer in different Human tribal shells. Alas, it's a bit too late to pick up your playset at a cheap price. Singles have already skyrocketed from €1 to €5, mainly because of rotation, when the scarcity of early plays in the new format is pretty common. Nevertheless I'd recommend buying now, as it may well be the staple of every white-based aggro shell moving forward.

hopeful initiate farewell

Up next is a card I forgot to purchase myself during Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty's release, to my big regret now. Farewell is a six-mana Wrath of God effect, which normally doesn't see much play. But the strong addition of removing both enchantments and artifacts as well as graveyards makes it a catch-all answer that has scaled up even to White-Blue Control in Pioneer. If graveyard interaction increases, the better Farewell becomes. Pricewise it has established itself between €5 and €6, and while it's unlikely to see play as a four-of, I am betting for this mass removal to see a strong presence within the next year of Standard.

4. Blue

Let's focus on blue cards next, starting with my pick from among those exiting Standard. Glasspool Mimic // Glasspool Shore's impact over the past two years hasn't been overwhelming, but this Shapeshifter Rogue aims at older formats. Any blue tribal deck like Merfolk or Spirits can benefit from its copy ability. Once it rotates, it's very likely that the current price of €4 goes down a bit and after a while starts to go up again. The fact that it can turn into a land makes it super flexible so get your copies within this or the next month at their cheapest.

One of the most impactful cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Lier, Disciple of the Drowned has lately been underrepresented in the Standard format. However, I believe there's a decent chance of change when Dominaria United becomes legal. With new cheap removal in the shape of Rona's Vortex and Liliana of the Veil putting cards into graveyards, Lier is the perfect tool for controlling strategies to gain an advantage via recursion. It may not be the next Goldspan Dragon, but as of right now, its price varies from copies starting at €7 up to €9. That could drastically change once the first lists show up. If Lier does take off, its price can really go crazy, as the supply of Midnight Hunt mythics is limited at this time. This might be my wildest bet so far, and only time will prove me right or wrong, so please invest at your own risk.

lier march of swirling mist

On the flip side, March of Swirling Mist makes for a cheap pickup that is unlikely to generate huge demand but might increase in value, depending on environmental factors. With Magma Opus gone, it's unclear if Hinata, Dawn-Crowned will continue to exist. Combined with Hinata, the blue March can stop a whole army on the other side of the battlefield at a cheap price, and/or protect our Kirin Spirit against opposing removal.

3. Black

Moving on to my three black picks, Agadeem's Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt is my choice for the rotating card. It's currently the most expensive one from Zendikar Rising and not exactly due to its impact in Standard. The main applications are in Modern and Legacy, where it is an important part of various combo builds that rely on having no actual land in the deck, for example Balustrade Spy or Undercity Informer milling your entire library.

It has appeared as a singleton copy in various Rakdos variants across formats, but the €17 average price mainly results from having to play four copies in the aforementioned combo shells. Will rotation reduce the price? I hope so. In theory, fair use of the card should decrease, leaving more copies for the degenerates. Watch out for cheap ones showing up on Cardmarket in the next few weeks if you are looking to play this card in the near future.

Let's look for the next Standard staple that hasn't spiked yet. Invoke Despair has such a strong effect. Worst case, it draws three cards while dealing 6 damage, and it's a multiple-removal effect that can deal with very strong cards such as Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki and planeswalkers all at the same time. Right now it goes at such an affordable rate that it's pretty safe to invest in this five-mana sorcery.

invoke despair tenacious underdog

Tenacious Underdog closes up the blacklist. Hailing fresh from New Capenna ensures it's still easy to grab one at a low price, with singletons for well less than €1, and yet I believe this is going to be the perfect card to discard with Liliana of the Veil in Standard. The blitz recursion makes this Warrior a repeatable threat plus card advantage, so again, a cheap pickup in case you haven't got your copies already.

2. Red

With the march of Goldspan Dragon, red loses its most unique and impactful card in Standard, which is unlikely to find a good replacement in Dominaria United. However, you have to wait for a discussion of the new set until the next issue of Top Cards to Buy.

When looking for other red cards leaving Standard, I found Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty. Granted, Birgi hasn't been a format staple at all—mainly enjoying a brief moment alongside Bard Class in the Gruul Legends deck. But the card has a ton of combo potential, seeing play in the Grinning Ignus shell in Pioneer and the Epic Gamble in Legacy. Overall, the unique effect makes it interesting for Eternal formats as well as Commander. Therefore its current €5 price won't go down that much after rotation. Nonetheless, I will try to get my playset in the near future, lest the story of its price development turns into a tale of missed opportunities.

Speaking of red three-drops, Chandra, Dressed to Kill is still legal in Standard! Historically, when the format resets with each rotation, monocolored aggro decks have often been the best choice during the early weeks, so this can be Chandra's time to shine—brightly, what with all the fire involved. If you look at her price history, we are almost close to the all-time low since the card was printed, so it looks like the best opportunity to buy in at a discount. Even if Chandra again doesn't end up a Standard staple, it will still be a key element in Pioneer's Monored Aggro, the perfect way to jump into the format for new players.

chandra, dressed to kill bloodthirsty adversary

Rounding things up, we have another mythic from the plane of Innistrad, this time from Midnight Hunt, printed a year ago, Bloodthirsty Adversary has proven to be a fine addition to many red strategies during the last year, Boros Aggro and Grixis Vampire in particular. Adversary's biggest upside is being decent in all stages of the game, a hasty threat early on and a mana sink late. I am quite confident it will continue to play a role in Standard, and the current €5 price is cheap enough to invest in it.

1. Green

Esika's Chariot price development
Esika's Chariot price development

Arguably one of the most impactful cards in Standard in the past year finally says goodbye. We'll remember Esika's Chariot for bringing Monogreen Aggro to the top of the metagame, while having degenerate interactions with tokens such as Wrenn and Seven's Treefolk and overall adding a ton of Cats onto the battlefield.

Falling outside of Standard doesn't mean the legendary Vehicle runs out of gas. Pioneer is an open field in which Abzan Greasefang, Red-Green Transmogrify, and Monogreen Devotion have already added the Chariot to their ranks (the latter in the sideboard). Pricewise the €5 average is likely to dip, since there are so many copies floating around in Standard decks right now that sooner or later it must get a discount. So it's the perfect time to get those Chariots you always wanted.

Storm the Festival became a brief thing in the green ramp decks alongside Wrenn and Seven shortly after last year's rotation. Lately it's been rising in popularity for its Pioneer presence in Monogreen Devotion, where it can be played for the flashback cost quite easily via Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Back to Standard, I envision this green sorcery as a key contender if big-mana strategies find their way, with great payoffs at five mana such as Silverback Elder and Defiler of Vigor. Pricewise it can still be considered a bulk rare, so this is a great moment to get a playset and sit back to see if it ends up going up—which is fairly easy while it continues to be a Pioneer staple.

storm the festival titan of industry

Last but not least, a ramp payoff, Titan of Industry only had a couple of months within the Standard metagame, but it has already managed to earn a spot in several midrange builds at the top end of the curve. The enter-the-battlefield abilities are super flexible and adaptable to the board state. Since Streets of New Capenna is quite recent, there are enough copies for a €5 average—quite cheap for a mythic that may yet end up a staple of the coming Standard.

0. Multicolor (and Artifacts)

Prismari Command price development
Prismari Command price development

There aren't many cards from Strixhaven: School of Mages that ended up making the cut in Standard. Probably the most impactful has been the learn/Lesson interaction that allowed an open sideboard in some decks, especially in best-of-one play on MTG Arena. Other than that, Expressive Iteration is by a big margin the most iconic card from that set, something everyone knows at this point.

From the same color combination comes Prismari Command, which has been a part of several strategies, from Jeskai Combo to Jeskai Control to Grixis Vampires. What's more, it has reached Pioneer, seeing some marginal use in Izzet Phoenix or Niv to Light. But maybe its current natural house is Modern, where it acts as a vital tool in Indomitable Creativity combo variants and Crashing Footfalls. I have been playing two copies since I bought them upon release, but my plan is to get the whole playset after rotation, when the €5 price might go down a bit. I am positive this card will be played across formats for a long time.

Now, for the future Standard multicolor staple I went with Kaito Shizuki, a mythic three-mana planeswalker who has been performing quite well in both Esper Midrange and Grixis Vampires. He also shows up from time to time in Pioneer Esper Control and Greasefang and has some fringe applications in Modern Grixis shells like Death's Shadow and Creativity as well, mainly in the sideboard. The main question when evaluating Kaito's future presence in future Standard is if he'll be overshadowed by Liliana, but I can envision both becoming a deadly couple, drawing and discarding for good in black-based strategies. As Kaito remains below the €10 barrier, I will seize this rotation time to grab some copies.

kaito shizuki teferi, who slows the sunset

Speaking of multicolor planeswalkers, Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset has been going up in price gradually over the past few weeks. The main reason is his +1 ability, for which he's been added to Pioneer's Monogreen Devotion, splashed via Oath of Nissa, where he untaps Nykthos, a mana dork, and, often, The Chain Veil, all at the same time, and multiple times over. Regarding future Standard applications, Teferi has great synergy with an artifact from Dominaria United, Timeless Lotus. He can immediately untap the mana rock and help to generate ten extra mana each turn, something to be aware of. I want to put a "maybe" on this two-card combination, but even if you can't get some properly cheap copies of Teferi, you might still be rewarded if his price goes up in the future.

Finally, for the artifact section, I couldn't find any rotating worth an investment. From the ones sticking around for another year in Standard, Reckoner Bankbuster is cheap enough and seems like the second best Vehicle in the format after Unlicensed Hearse. The Hearse will surely enjoy a presence in Standard. However, the €15 average price of a multiformat staple is hard to see go down anytime soon.

Wrapping Up

This has been our Rotation Edition of Top Cards to Buy. Let us know in the comment section below—what are your top picks for most impactful cards in the upcoming Standard? I will be back soon with the next issue to talk about Dominaria United. Until then, enjoy our Insight content with tons of new decklist each week!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, not of Cardmarket.


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Skengar(06.09.2022 02:03)

Definitely picking up a Birgi. Staple in Prosper commander decks, meaning it’ll be a big money card given time.

RonePro(06.09.2022 13:18)

Skengar thanks for your comment, I was shocked by Birgi's current price, despite leaving Standard it's such a unique card that will maintain its value.


Egoish(04.09.2022 18:55)

Very cool analysis, i've stacked some invoke despair and tenacious underdog already as i think they are the biggest sleepers, black looks really pushed in early standard but getting in front of what decks pull through the first week would be the biggest wins. Green or gruul seems due a rsurgence if it can find a curve in standard and blue or dimir looks to be primed with great cards for a tempo strategy

shaaa(01.09.2022 19:37)

Interesting analysis. On the other hand, I don't think it's impossible for portable hole to be reissued. And that's just uncommon. It will therefore drop considerably.

RonePro(05.09.2022 08:12)


Thanks for your comment, obviously Portable Hole can be reprinted at any point, but since it was som D&D flavour it might take a while... So far it is still at €2 average price