Top Cards to Buy, Fall Edition
- Rodrigo Martin
On this episode of Top Cards to Buy, we review each format, from Commander via Legacy, Modern, and Pioneer all the way to Standard, in order to find the cards that make for the best investments this fall. Much of this is of course in preparation for the anticipated arrival of Innistrad: Crimson Vow.
The preview season for the new set has already begun, Halloween is happening, scary masks and horror movies are everywhere, and the streets are covered in fallen leaves. During the scariest time of the year, we try to investigate not mysterious murders but rather the best cards to buy for each format before the year ends. Are you ready? Let's go then!
5. Commander: Watch Out for Vampire Spikes
Despite not being a format expert, I hear news from time to time. Lately, cards' popularity in Commander affect their prices more than ever before, presumably because of the pandemic. For example, when the latest Commander preconstructed decks brought a new legendary Zombie in the shape of Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver, this made some of the older tribe members quite a bit more expensive. See Undead Warchief, Gravecrawler, or Cryptbreaker.
So, as Innistrad: Crimson Vow will be out next month, some key Vampires could also spike in price. I expect to see this especially with the lords that pump the rest of the tribe, with those that follow Innistrad's black-red color palette, and with anything that's generating the card advantage so important to multiplayer games. For example …
- Bloodthirsty Adversary
- Florian, Voldaren Scion
- Champion of Dusk
- Captivating Vampire
- Callous Bloodmage
- Immersturm Predator
- Cordial Vampire
- Drana, Liberator of Malakir
- Vampire Nocturnus
That's my top list of the Vampires you should check out if you are interested in assembling a Commander tribal deck in the months to come. If Edgar Markov gets reprinted somehow, that'll hopefully reduce its €60 average price significantly.
Personally I don't think Standard will feature a Vampire-centric strategy since nowadays it is all about individually powerful cards mixed together. Bloodthirsty Adversary might be the exception as I expect it to see a bit more play thanks to the new set, combined with cheap removal as a red Snapcaster Mage that possibly synergizes with other Vampires.
Before moving onto the next format, a quick reminder: Now that Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is banned, Commander players are looking for other five-color legends to replace the artifact Scout, and Child of Alara seems to be the best option available at the moment, so grab the From the Vault: Annihilation copies before it's too late.
4. Legacy: Autumn Bannings Ahead?
Lately there is a lot of controversy regarding Legacy and which actions should be taken to stop what some people stress out about as "oppressive"—the impact Modern Horizons 2 had on the format. The fact that Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer can be deployed on turn one protected with both Daze and Force of Will with no drawback is giving some Legacy players Monkey-sickness. Whether it finally sees the ban hammer or not before winter comes, it is always tricky to dig for cheap staples in a format so expensive where every strategy includes at least dual lands and possibly other Reserved List cards.
Nevertheless, the next three cards are my bets, based on the latest tournaments results:
Starting with Sai, Master Thopterist, the Human Artificer is slowing reclaiming its spot in blue-based artifact shells, now rebranded as 8-Cast. (They feature both Thoughtcast and Thought Monitor.) Last week, a fellow Spaniard won the Legacy challenge piloting the following.
|8-Cast by Patxi, 1st at Legacy Challenge, October 24|
Alongside Emry, Lurker of the Loch and tons of cheap artifacts, Sai plays a key role as a token generator that enables affinity for the 8-cast spells while acting as a draw engine and finisher all in one card. Only printed once in Core Set 2019, the Master Thopterist currently stands at less than three euros. While I don't expect that to change in the short term, it could be a good investment if you have some extra cash left in your Cardmarket account.
My other two suggestions are less fancy but count as sideboard allstars that have been improving their Legacy relevance for a while. Collector Ouphe is one of the most popular cards from the original Modern Horizons that still bears an affordable price tag and the fifth most played creature in the format. Four euros per copy still seems a reasonable deal these days, so I am at least picking up a couple of copies this fall.
My last pick goes to Torpor Orb, which also has sideboard applications in Modern, as it stops all evoked Elemental shenanigans, especially Endurance, which sees a ton of Legacy play. Indeed, the two-mana artifact makes Murktide Regent enter the battlefield as a 3/3 only, stops the Thassa's Oracle combo, and ultimately hoses all enter-the-battlefield triggers from Death and Taxes creatures. Already printed ten years ago in New Phyrexia, it nowadays trends toward twelve euros, but you can get singletons for around ten, so don't wait too long on this artifact if you need it for your sideboard.
3. Modern: MH2 Still Offers Some Bargains
Modern Horizons 2 again, really? I know; this set made me spend a ton of money on Modern staples and yet, there are some cards left at cheap prices that don't match the value they deserve. The reason is simple. Ragavan, the Incarnation cycle, and fetch lands are the big attention-plus-money grabbers, while almost no one is paying attention to some underpriced mythics and rares.
Grist, the Hunger Tide, Subtlety, Ignoble Hierarch, Esper Sentinel, and the reanimator package are on my wish list this fall season. The first two mythics are now under the five-euro barrier. I already talked about the Insect planeswalker in my last article. Meanwhile the blue Elemental is getting cheaper as we speak, which means it's the best time to go for it. (Don't forget what happened to Fury earlier this summer.) Maybe they don't see a ton of play right now, but sooner or later they'll both increase in price.
Esper Sentinel, being the best white one-mana creature printed in years, amazes me since it hasn't spiked yet, something that also won't last long. Meanwhile, an Ignoble Hierarch playset costs about €30; compare that to its fellow Noble Hierarch to realize that despite not being as popular as the Human Druid, it's a powerful card that will always be playable.
The list ends with the so-called "Reanimator package" also known as Unmarked Grave, Persist, and Archon of Cruelty. They're posting good results in the new shell alongside Faithful Mending and Mulldrifter. While the Archon's price has been slowly climbing for the past months (I grabbed my own playset earlier in October) and has already crossed the ten-euro barrier, the two sorceries still stand at bulk prices. My recommendation is to grab playsets of both plus a copy of Serra's Emissary, which is also spiking a bit, and call it a day.
2. Pioneer: The Bird Is the Word (Again)
The bird is back, baby! Everytime I have a chance to play Arclight Phoenix, no matter what format, I seize it, even in Arena Historic, because it is one of my favorite creatures of all time. For the sake of completeness, the hasty 3/2 flier is making a return in Modern as well, paired up with Demilich in a Jeskai shell because Midnight Hunt brought us Faithful Mending.
But let's focus on Pioneer, where the Phoenix is a much bigger deal. To be fair, Pioneer is a bit of a forgotten realm (no pun intended) currently, but it might get a second life, thanks to the Challenger Decks recently printed and the competitive paper tournaments expected to embrace the newest format created by Wizards.
|Izzet Phoenix by Mikhathara1994, 4th at Pioneer Challenge, October 24|
Midnight Hunt powered up the strategy even more than it needed to, replacing older cards with better versions: Play with Fire is an improved Wild Slash with scry incorporated when it goes to the face, while Consider is just a better Opt that can ditch Phoenix into the graveyard or feed Treasure Cruise.
This is actually the most popular and arguably best deck in Pioneer, and still the bird's price trends toward eight euros per copy. Getting to play this card across formats (even Legacy sometimes) is a great reason to join the Phoenix club if you haven't done it yet. Don't forget you will always enter the battlefield tapped and attacking.
1. Standard: Midnight Hunt's Sweetest Deals
Although Midnight Hunt released only a month and a half ago, we are already facing a new preview season, something that will have a direct financial impact on card prices. Normally, people will open the fall set until February next year, but with Crimson Vow's early arrival, the first Innistrad set might rapidly increase its singles value. I strongly recommend to get the cards you are interested in before the end of the year, since now is the best window with the lowest prices.
Looking at the planeswalkers from the set, Wrenn and Seven is dipping down into the twenty-euro range, while Arlinn, the Pack's Hope // Arlinn, the Moon's Fury is regaining some value, going up to about ten. Finally, Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset is as cheap as the card can get as it hasn't found a good shell to shine in, something that could change once Crimson Vow arrives.
For my personal bets, I have in first place Moonveil Regent, which despite seeing a decent amount of play in Gruul and Temur Midrange is clearly overshadowed by Goldspan Dragon. But the four-mana Dragon will stay in Standard for two more years and surely replace Goldspan once it rotates. Currently at around six euros, it can only go up as people stop cracking packs.
In second place, the best and most expensive rare in the set, Memory Deluge is already skyrocketing while you're reading this. Quite understandable since it's the best blue draw spell printed in a while. Deluge not only sees play in Standard, it has already become a Pioneer and Modern staple, competing with other powerful instants like Dig Through Time or Fact or Fiction. Luckily for me, I saw this one coming early after release, so I could order a playset for ten euros. Today it's a whole different story, but I believe Memory Deluge is here to stay.
Let us know which cards you are interested to purchase and which ones you expect to get a reprint in Innistrad: Crimson Vow. Also feel free to leave any other thoughts, comments, or questions below. Happy spoiler season!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.