Top 5 – Cards to Buy This Summer


Summer is typically the lowest time of the year regarding Magic news. However, this July brought the latest B&R announcement with a ton of changes for Historic, Pauper, and Modern, and not so many for Pioneer. If you are looking for some cards to invest in, check out the Top 5 picks to buy, summer edition!

Welcome back to another article focused on the Magic economy. I discuss the hottest cards to look for in July and August, depending on which formats you play. This time around we just had a few cards banned across various formats, alongside a surprising unban we will discuss later. Leaving Historic aside since it is exclusive to MTG Arena, this is the info you should know by now:

Oath of Nissa is unbanned.

Arcum's Astrolabe is banned.

Expedition Map is banned.
Mystic Sanctuary is banned.

What to do regarding the bannings? Well, as usual, formats will adapt to these changes. Some decks will cease to exist, some others will evolve, while maybe a few ones might rise in popularity. Either way, these two months until September rotation are the perfect time to invest in future Standard staples, some Modern and Pioneer cards in general, and obviously, the latest Core Set 2021 and its tons of interesting reprints. Without further ado, let's break down the list:

#5 – Throne of Eldraine Staples

robber of the rich

As Teferi would say, time flies and Standard rotation is but a few months away. Afterward the most recent Ravnica "block" will no longer be legal, along with Core Set 2020. What this entails is that Throne of Eldraine will be a key set to define the future format. Discounting cards already banned across the multiverse like Oko, Thief of Crowns, Once Upon a Time, and Fires of Invention, there are still some good choices to invest in. More specifically, my Top 5 picks from Eldraine are: Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft, Questing Beast, The Great Henge, Robber of the Rich, and Embercleave.

I already talked about the blue Faerie in my article back in January when it had a high cost. What was true then, remains true now: It's still an all-star staple from Standard to Legacy. Only this time, thanks to the Challenger decks reprint, it has dropped below €15, so grab your copies before they spike up in price again!

The two green mythics are also worth mentioning. They have become a key part of Monogreen Aggro in Standard, a deck that will survive rotation mostly intact, and they also have some application in Pioneer. The Beast's price has the same trend as the aforementioned Faerie while the The Great Henge goes for around €10. I see both likely to increase after rotation.

Last but not least, the two red representatives are fundamental for the Monored Aggro shell and should remain that way after September. The Challenger deck dropped both their prices, the Red Robin Hood is trending toward €5 while the flashy sword stays around €7 per copy.

#4 – Black Hosers

plague engineer

Let's expand our view by looking at Eternal formats. I have been checking and recently noticed a rise in popularity in a couple of black cards, starting with Surgical Extraction, which has always been a fine choice to fight graveyard-based decks or even combo strategies when paired with discard spells. During the Izzet Phoenix era, it even became a main-deck choice in order to exile the hasty firebirds that populated Modern and at that point, its price basically skyrocketed. Nowadays, it has stabilized in the €10 to €15 range. Thanks to the recent printing of Stormwing Entity, which we will discuss later, Phyrexian-mana spells are on the rise again. Indeed, it's the most played black spell in Legacy, not only to fight Uro, but also hits hard Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, Dredge, and Life from the Loam shenanigans.

Speaking about black cards that see a ton of play, Plague Engineer is my second recommendation for both Modern and Legacy players. It stops the new interaction between Conspicuous Snoop, Boggart Harbinger, and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker that has improved the Goblin tribal strategy in both formats. It's already the most played creature in Legacy aside from Uro, as it can deal with a lot of troublesome cards, from True-Name Nemesis, Empty the Warrens tokens to deathtouch creatures like Baleful Strix or Ice-Fang Coatl. Right now, the Engineer sits at around €3 to €5. It will continue to be a key card in black sideboards in the following months, so grab them if you haven't done so yet.

Finally, a card that has impressed me lately is Cling to Dust, a cheap uncommon from Theros Beyond Death. It's seeing a lot of play in Modern, Pioneer, and Standard, as repeatable graveyard hate that also can work as a cantrip if needed. Death's Shadow is playing it main in Modern, while Dimir Inverter does the same in Pioneer. While the price is not an issue at the moment, this is the kind of uncommon that will increase in value over the years.

#3 – Core Set 2021 Reprints

azusa, lost but seeking fabled passage

Honestly, Core Set 2021 has been one of the most celebrated reprint sets in a while. After the 2019 fiasco with Nexus of Fate, this latest edition has brought back a ton of staples, increasing the number of copies and hence drastically reducing their price. Grim Tutor and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon are the most expensive ones, whereas my top choices to purchase at the moment are undoubtedly Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Fabled Passage, and to a lesser extent, Scavenging Ooze and Containment Priest.

Azusa was one of the most expensive green creatures for a long time, since it is a key card of Amulet Titan in Modern, as well as a Commander staple in ramp decks. Originally printed in Champions of Kamigawa in 2004, the card got its first reprint in the limited print run of Masters 25, not dropping its price significantly until it finally returned in this core set. From the €20+ thershold, it has now rock bottomed to less than €5. So even if you're not playing Modern at the moment, this is the perfect time to get yourself a playset in preparation for rotation: Growth Spiral will be out and Azusa could become an important card in Standard if Zendikar Rising features the right landfall package.

The same goes for Fabled Passage, which didn't need an emergency reprint since it recently became cheaper thanks to Challenger decks. However, this discounted basic fetch land seems to be Wizards' evergreen mana fixing for Standard and Pioneer. It currently sits at a similar average price as Azusa and it won't remain there for too long, especially once Zendikar Rising shows up in September. So this summer is the perfect window for you to buy yours.

#2 – Oath of Nissa

oath of nissa

The silver medal goes to Oath of Nissa! Almost no one saw this unban coming to Pioneer, and it seems unlikely to change the present metagame crowded with infamous combo archetypes like Dimir Inverter, Lotus Breach, or Monowhite Devotion featuring the Heliod/Ballista combination as well.

The legendary enchantment could revitalize the Monogreen Devotion archetype to fight all those strategies. But as a — possibly more relevant — side effect, it could return Kethis Combo to former glory, resulting in a much more degenerate metagame overall. In any case, this re-entrance means the card itself will be chased in the following weeks in order to assemble new builds. But my guts tell me Oath of Nissa won't fix Pioneer's fragile situation, to say the least.

#1 – Core Set 2021 Bargains!

jolrael, mwonvuli recluse stormwing entity

To round out this Top 5, let's go back again to M21. It's not just a reprint set, but a few new cards have impacted several formats in a meaningful way too. Although I cannot talk about all of them in depth, this is my short list of the ones you should definitely add to your collection now that they can be found at really competitive prices:

  1. Stormwing Entity
  2. Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
  3. Eliminate
  4. Conspicuous Snoop
  5. Mazemind Tome

Sadly, white doesn't have any exciting bargain to mention, and Mazemind Tome remains a bit of speculation for the decreased power level of post-rotation Standard. The snoopy Goblin is already crushing Modern and Legacy thanks to the combo kill it provides, while Eliminate is an efficient spot removal that can hit annoying planeswalkers such as 3-mana Teferi or Narset, Parter of Veils just as well as it destroys small creatures.

Jolrael has blown some fresh air into Standard, even though the format is still dominated by ramp decks. The green legend generates a lot of bodies with cantrip effects and has the potential to jump into Pioneer in the near future.

But the real all-star of this list is truly Stormwing Entity. In just a couple of weeks it has appeared in almost every format, from Legacy to Standard, revitalizing Izzet shells that immediately embraced this amazing, awesome, undercosted threat. You can read a lot more about the prowess flier in Martin Magda's latest article, which reviews the Izzet Spells version in Standard and Modern's mostly red prowess archetype. But even in Legacy, Stormwing Entity was seen replacing Young Pyromancer in every Izzet Delver list to add more threats to the air in order to finish games quickly.

All these cards couldn't be cheaper while I am writing the article. Again, don't miss out on the opportunity. Jumpstart is starting to take over and opening Core Set 2021 boosters soon won't be as popular anymore. Without a steady influx of new supply, prices will gradually increase.

Wrapping Up

As usual, thank you so much for reading. Please let me and everyone else know in the comment section which cards you intend to buy during the summer in preparation for rotation.

As usual, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below, or you can get in touch via my shared Twitter account.

Until next time,
Rodrigo Martin


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DeadHawk(21.07.2020 20:01)

I don't see Mazemind Tome doing well in Standard tbh. Could work in some ramp variants but wait... Those got Uro who is straight up better.
But it already sees Modern play in Eldrazi Tron, even as a 3- or 4-of (tested it, it's quite good in that deck).

sluggy10(20.07.2020 20:45)

Mazemind tome? Did i miss something about the card? Would be very interested to have more insight about this one please :)

RonePro(21.07.2020 17:29)

Hi there! Thanks for your comment sluggy10;

As I mentioned Mazemind Tome is actually an underdog that could see some play after rotation if the format slows down enough as a repeatable card advantage tool in control decks, after Growth Spiral and friends are no longer in the meta;

Although unlikely, the card is cheap enough to invest in it just in case.