War of the Sleepers: Best Bargains to Buy in Standard
The new cards from War of the Spark have finally been released and a fluctuating meta has seen the prices of cards, well, fluctuate! While we've already seen the first wave of cards to make a name for themselves in the new metagame, this week's article highlights the bargain buys that could be making big waves in the near future!
This Standard season has felt fresh, largely due to how the metagame is still evolving and people are seeing what sticks and what doesn't. That's not to say that there aren't decks that have risen to the top – Esper Midrange and Mono Red are top choices for a reason. But there's a feeling that there are plenty more to explore when it comes to deckbuilding.
On a related note, we've finally had some time to get some testing done, playing with and against the new shiny cards from War of the Spark. There are a few cards that don't seem like they're getting the recognition they deserve, both in terms of play and price tag. Since the set is still being drafted, opened, and printed on demand, I'm not expecting most of the noteworthy cards to cross the five-euro threshold (much less ten), but it wouldn't surprise me if a certain mythic from this set becomes a format all-star in a few months, if not weeks.
That's why, in this week's article, I want to go over four cards that I see as the biggest bargains to buy from the new set. Without further ado, let's jump right in!
Sarkhan the Masterless
A Reddit user described why Sarkhan the Masterless is so good in the most succinct way possible: "Turns out, a five-mana 4/4 dragon that leaves behind a planeswalker when it enters the battlefield is pretty good." Here's its most recent price trend on Cardmarket.
Sarkhan has seen play in the Big Red archetype alongside Chandra, Fire Artisan, but it's also popped up in Gruul Midrange lists as well as some Grixis Control variants. The flexibility of creating a 4/4 flying token, as well as turning other planeswalkers you control into 4/4 dragons themselves, allows the decks utilizing Sarkhan to be defensive and then quickly turn a corner if an opportunity presents itself. Sarkhan's static ability is nothing to scoff at either – I've faced down Sarkhan and his dragon token in many games, unable to get an attack in because doing so would wipe my board or create unprofitable attacks. He's going for about 1,00 € on Cardmarket at the moment, but I think he could easily be worth quadruple that once people come around to playing him in red-based midrange decks that haven't been discovered yet.
Creature-lands have not seen the light of Standard for a while now, so Mobilized District has been a surprise to see as a return of that card type. Here's its most recent price trend on Cardmarket.
While the card is no Mutavault, it has the benefit of having its activated cost reduced by one generic mana for each legendary creature or planeswalker you control. In an ideal word, you can activate Mobilized District for no mana to swing in with a 3/3 vigilance creature that is immune to sorcery-speed removal. That's quite the rate and it almost seems like free real estate to pick up a playset when a copy is worth about only 0,40 €.
For comparison, at the height of its powers, Mutavault was going for 20,00 € due to its inclusion in almost every major archetype the last time it was in Standard. While I don't envision the same future for Mobilized District, the card is bound to get better as more legendary creatures and planeswalkers get printed in sets down the road. It's already seeing play in an experimental Azorius Planeswalker Control deck in Standard – What's the likelihood that a new deck could push the card into being worth at least 5,00 €?
Ugin, the Ineffable
If you had asked me which six-mana planeswalker would I fear the most in WAR Standard, Liliana, Dreadhorde General would've been my answer. Now, with hundreds of games under my belt, I'm not so sure. Ugin, the Ineffable might be giving Liliana a run for her money. Here's its most recent price trend on Cardmarket.
For a rare, Ugin actually does what Liliana wants to do in most games with the added ability of being a colorless card. While Liliana is forced to be in black-based control and midrange decks, Ugin could be in any midrange or control list. In fact, any color combination and archetype in the future will always be able to look to Ugin as an answer to a permanent or strategy they can't otherwise cleanly answer. While Liliana has the added benefit of having a game-ending ultimate, Ugin continuously ticking up and producing tokens that provide a wave of blockers, attackers, and card advantage is as close to a game-winning ultimate as a rare planeswalker can get. After several turns of Ugin activations, he'll be able to destroy any colored permanent – a luxury that Liliana doesn't enjoy – and there's very little means of coming back from the boardstate he's created. I imagine Ugin will be a staple in midrange and control decks to come in Standard. I think picking up several copies now while the set is in print will be a good idea for as long as you're playing those two macro-archetypes until rotation.
Remember The Scarab God? Remember when The Scarab God was going for 5,00 € before everyone realized how absolutely absurd the card is then shot up to become a card worth 30,00 €? Don't say I didn't warn you when I say that God-Eternal Oketra might be this Standard's version of The Scarab God. Here's its most recent price trend on Cardmarket.
God-Eternal Oketra has a few similarities to TSG that are worth noting. First of all, both cards are mythic rares, which mean that they will be the cards that will experience the biggest spikes when the demand rises, and supply fails to keep up. Second, both cards have built-in recursion that make removing them from play an uphill battle, if not sometimes near-impossible. God-Eternal Oketra is almost worse in how painstaking it is to get rid of once it is on the battlefield, as neither exiling nor killing is permanent – it simply goes right back into its owner's library third from the top. I'd like to know who thought this was a good or fun ability for a creature as powerful as Oketra to have, but that's an issue for another day. Finally, Oketra passes the "eye test" similar to how The Scarab God did. The "eye test" is a way I evaluate a card based on seeing the card in actual games and subjectively determining how big of an impact it has on the gameplay. I've played Standard extensively since War of the Spark was released on MTG Arena and my "eye test" tells me that Oketra is one of the most powerful cards in Standard. I would go so far as to say that every creature deck that can pay its costs should be playing it because it excels in every stage of the game – whether you're winning, losing, or at parity. Turning every creature in your deck into a card that reads, "When you cast this card, create a 4/4 zombie token with vigilance" is laughably unfair and removing Oketra is only a stop-gap measure because it comes back soon enough.
In short: If you are considering playing white-based creature decks in Standard until WAR rotates, pick up your copies of Oketra now. You'll thank me in the future.
Anyway, that wraps things up for this week. What are your choices for the biggest sleepers and best bargains in this new set? Let me know in the comments below!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.
Check out our War of the Spark page if you're interested in picking these up before everyone else catches on!