Top 5 Cards to Buy, Summer/Rotation Edition

Rone

The run of new Magic sets doesn't ever seem to stop, so there are endless cards to purchase. This issue of "Top 5 Cards to Buy" brings you the best deals to invest in from Modern Horizons 2 and Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, plus the best picks for the upcoming Standard rotation.

Since our last installment, two new sets have arrived: first Modern Horizons 2, probably the most impactful expansion in years, and later Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, a more low to the ground and Standard-focused edition, featuring the Dungeons & Dragons lore. Let's catch up to all the new cards and start to prepare for the yearly rotation!

Top 5 Modern Horizons 2 Deals


fury

Kicking things off with MH2, I want to be honest with you, I don't remember spending so much money on one set. It literally has everything, from all-star mythics to cheap commons that have completely warped the format even more than the first Modern Horizons did. I'm not telling you to purchase Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Endurance, or Murktide Regent since those ships have sailed a while ago, and there are no bargains among the most chased mythics anymore. Rather this is my list of cheap options that might go up in price in the next few months:

  1. Void Mirror
  2. Unholy Heat
  3. Sanctifier en-Vec
  4. Nettlecyst
  5. Fury

Fury is one of the weaker Elementals of the mythic cycle, but it's spiking in price already. Between the Monkey Pirate and Dragon's Rage Channeler, Modern is a creature-based format now more than ever, and Fury can make clean trades against those early threats. You can find Fury in the main of Five-Color Elementals and Gruul Midrange whereas cascade shells use it as a sideboard options for creature-heavy matchups. The more you wait, the more expensive this card will get.

Next we have Nettlecyst, a hybrid between Batterskull and Cranial Plating at bulk price: around five euros per playset. It goes into lots of artifact-based archetype across formats: the new Affinity version and Hell's Kitchen in Modern, Monoblue Karn as well as some Painter's Servant builds in Legacy, and finally the infamous Ravager Shops in Vintage.


nettlecyst sanctifier en-vec

The first Top 3 position goes to Sanctifier en-Vec, a different take on Auriok Champion with the same protection but removing black and red cards in opposing graveyards. That's something super useful in Modern at the moment, disabling delirium, Living End's cycling creatures, or the Ovalchase Daredevil/The Underworld Cookbook combo among many others. The Cleric goes in a wide plethora of Modern decks, normally in the sideboard: Hammertime, Heliod Company, Humans, Orzhov Stoneblade, even some five-color builds—you name it! Currently it sits at around two euros per copy, but it will start going up once people stop opening MH2.

Unholy Heat claims second place. Though it should count as the best common card in the whole set, since it has changed the rules about red spells dealing with big creatures and planeswalkers. This card could have killed Oko, Thief of Crowns if he were still in the format! In the improbable case you haven't picked up your copies yet, this card should be a Modern/Legacy staple for years to come, and maybe next year you will be paying one euro or more per copy.


unholy heat void mirror

The gold medal goes to Void Mirror, an artifact that didn't catch my eye at first glance but proved to be one of the best sideboard cards in the set. Right now there are tons of free spells running around in Modern, Crashing Footfalls, Living End, Force of Negation, and Summoner's Pact the most important. On top of that it also counters the mythic Elemental cycle from the set as well as Mishra's Bauble and whole decks like Eldrazi Tron and Green Tron. The bargains of one euro per copy won't last long, so don't miss out on the Mirror and get yours now before the price starts to match the actual value.

Top 5 Modern Hosers

Our next Top 5 focuses on sideboard cards that recently started to become (even more) popular in Modern due to the humongous impact Urza's Saga has had on the format. Every player should gear up against the enchantment land Saga and stock up on these:

  1. Engineered Explosives
  2. Alpine Moon
  3. Pithing Needle
  4. Shattering Spree
  5. Wear // Tear

The ranking starts with Wear // Tear in fifth position, a split card from Dragon's Maze that has suddenly become very popular again while months ago it seemed to be overshadowed by Rip Apart from Strixhaven. That you can fuse both parts of the card allows you to destroy the aforementioned Saga plus a Construct token or any other artifact, hence any red-white strategy should be packing Wear // Tear.


wear // tear shattering spree

Shattering Spree stands out at number four, back from the days of the first Ravnica block in 2006. This dedicated artifact hate dodges Chalice of the Void thanks to replicate and fits most Izzet variants and Lurrus of the Dream-Den shells, since it's cheap and flexible. Its price has increased in the last few weeks as it has only been reprinted twice, in Guilds of Ravnica: Guild Kits and The List, and it will continue this tendency as more people start to demand it.

Next we have Pithing Needle, which has gained a lot because of Urza's Saga, as a main-deck silver bullet to tutor up in Urza's Kitchen, but it can also be found in Hammertime, Amulet Titan, and Affinity sideboards. While its price might not be an issue due to the huge number of reprints, the Secret Lair version I purchased months ago is slowly taking off, so if you enjoy the art as much as I do, pick them up before it's too late.


pithing needle alpine moon

Moving on to number two, Alpine Moon is a cheap Stone Rain for any Urza's Saga already in play. (The land loses its land subtype "Urza's" but not its enchantment subtype, so it's still a Saga, and players immediately sacrifice any Saga with more lore counters than chapter abilities.) The card moonlights as a reasonable tool when facing Tron matchups and also blanks problematic threats like Inkmoth Nexus from Hammertime, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and any utility land from Amulet Titan. Pricewise it's still under a euro per copy, so summer is the perfect time to invest in it.

Engineered Explosives. Closing up the list is a card that currently stands out as the second most played spell in Modern! Urza's Saga is again the main reason, as the sunburst artifact deals with the Construct tokens for only two mana, while also exploding all Food tokens created by the Underworld Cookbook. It's flexibility made Explosives a sideboard all-star across every deck in the format. Personally, I have added Explosives to the main deck of Amulet Titan and for the first time in Lurrus Death's Shadow as it works as a recursive removal once the Cat companion hits the board. Regarding price, it's already increased a bit, despite multiple reprints in Modern Masters sets, and there is a ton of demand right now, so it won't take long to see it back at the ten-euro barrier.


engineered explosives

Top 5 Forgotten Realms Bargains

Let's continue our review with the next set that just hit the stores a few weeks ago. Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is a more Standard-oriented expansion that has a much lower impact compared with MH2. Indeed, we can't even be sure of its full impact on Standard until rotation comes in September and we finally get rid of Throne of Eldraine, the most defining set in the format. That being said, leaving aside its most chased mythic, Demilich, there are tons of cheap cards to look for in preparation of the format shakeup:

  1. Portable Hole
  2. Ingenious Smith
  3. Treasure Vault
  4. Various Creature Lands
  5. Various Classes

The twelve-card cycle of Classes is amazing, not only in Constructed but also in Limited. They back different strategies, and currently all stand at an absolute bulk price. The most interesting one for Standard purposes is Ranger Class, while Barbarian Class is an enabler for the dice combo deck. Regarding bigger formats, Bard Class is the one I am most interested in for Modern specifically.

Lands that turn into creatures make up another very powerful cycle, reminiscent of the one printed in Urza's Legacy. I envision all of them being super playable in Standard after rotation, especially in monocolored decks, especially the black, red, and the green, while the white and blue are more control oriented. Pricewise, they are all below one euro, so I would recommend going for the alternate art versions that will surely go up in price due to their uniqueness.

Moving on to specific cards, Treasure Vault is my pick for number three for a simple reason, it's an artifact land that comes into play untapped. While the Treasure-producing ability might come in handy at some point to cast a big spell, I'm betting on artifact strategies in Modern to include one or two copies, particularly Affinity. Other than that, it won't have a big impact in Standard unless some very specific theme shows up within future sets.


treasure vault ingenious smith

Speaking about artifacts, Ingenious Smith instantly went into the Hammertime deck as another two-for-one creature. It cannot only find Colossus Hammer but also hits Memnite, Ornithopter, or even better Esper Sentinel, making the competition even tougher for a creature slot in the strategy.

Portable Hole allows us to end this ranking on another cheap white card, likely to be the most impactful removal spell from the set. If only Prismatic Ending hadn't been printed … Still, Portable Hole deals with all the mana value 1 and 2 permanents Modern is currently full of. {Karn, the Great Creator||Karn} can grab it from the sideboard, Whir of Invention from the main deck, Emry from the graveyard, and it taps for both Whir and Urza, Lord High Artificer. Being an artifact has some upsides.

Top 5 Rotation Considerations

Our final five include cards from the current Standard that are actually very expensive but should luckily go down a bit once the format rotates. Bad news is that due to the pandemic, there are fewer tabletop tournaments, hence this tendency might not play out as it's done historically. Indeed, there are a couple of personal bets for future Standard here that I also have my eyes on:

  1. Future Standard staples
  2. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
  3. Ikoria's Triome cycle
  4. Theros Beyond Death's Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
  5. Throne of Eldraine's Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft

Brazen Borrower is currently the second most expensive card from Eldraine at an average price of fifteen euros. It was sort of reprinted a while ago in the Standard Challenger decks while being a part of The List, but this Faerie Rogue sees play in too many archetypes across too many formats to fall far. It slots into Modern's Crashing Footfalls, Living End, and Izzet Tempo as well as Delver decks and more in Legacy. I don't expect this card to go below ten, maybe nine euros. But there should be a spot during October when some copies from Standard players might drop the price down a bit and that would be the time to buy.


brazen borrower kroxa

Initially eclipsed by its brother Uro, Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger started out at around seven euros when first released. Now it stands as the most expensive card from Theros Beyond Death with an average sale price of €25. It has become an all-star across formats, from Standard to Pioneer all the way to Modern. Wait until rotation happens when Kroxa might fall to less than twenty euros and grab your copies then.

Aside from the companions, Triomes were the most impactful cycle from Ikoria. Currently going for around seven or six euros, depending on which one you check, Zagoth Triome is the most chased one while the nonblue Triomes are a bit cheaper. In any case, this land cycle sees play in Pioneer and Modern, but it is in Standard where most copies were needed. So once rotation happens, they need to go down in price, but after a while they'll regain value so don't wait too long to get yours.


raugrin triome ugin, the spirit dragon

The silver medal goes to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, who got an interesting second life for over a year in Standard thanks to his reprint in Core Set 2021. Aside from that, his €25 price tag comes from being an iconic card that also sees play in a ton of Commander decks, as well as Pioneer and Modern to a lesser extent. Just like the previous examples it will drop after rotation.

With no rotating sets left, this is my final prediction for those future Standard staples that will either hold their value or spike in price: From Zendikar Rising, Skyclave Apparition seems the strongest choice due to its proven playability in other formats. From Kaldheim, {c=Goldspawn Dragon} will undoubtedly remain a format-defining card, but it has already climbed to twenty euros so it's too late to invest. However, Toski, Bearer of Secrets is my secret pick. It's tough to kill, impossible to counter, and is slowly getting expensive as we speak.


toski, bearer of secrets

Last but not least, Strixhaven prices are currently at their lowest. If the Izzet Dragons deck continues to be a strong contender in the post-rotation metagame, Galazeth Prismari will go up in price. While it currently costs around ten euros, there are some singles copies below that range that you can still get.


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



4 Comments

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MeisterCaio(03.08.2021 12:18)

Good luck makuto. Had to laugh :D

MakutoPro(03.08.2021 12:55)

MeisterCaio Canary Islands maybe :P

MakutoPro(03.08.2021 11:14)

Investing all my holidays money in these! I could not go on vacation… I hope next year with the profits I can fly finally to Maldives.

ProPeanuts(02.08.2021 09:23)

I like this article. Nice to gain some insight!

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