As we head into Gatecrash another Modern staple reprint is looming: the rest of the shocklands. In this article I'll be comparing Return to Ravnica shockland prices with older version pricing and using Zendikar fetchlands as a guide to untapped value. Later, I'll touch on a few sub $2 cards in Gatecrash that merit some consideration for anyone looking to add cards to their Return to Ravnica block portfolio. First lets take a look at how fetchlands and their various shockland companions compare to each other in price:
Completing the Set
A single copy of Scalding Tarn runs about $32, while it's shockland counterpart is available for around $8 in Return to Ravnica. Older Guildpact Steam Vents are still commanding a $16 price point. That's a ratio of fetch to shock of 4/1 and 2/1 respectively. As we'll see, Return to Ravnica shocks represent great value today relative to all the other shockland/fetchland pairs. Using Guildpact prices for Steam Vents as an aggressive target, accumulating Steam Vents from eight to nine dollars should offer plenty of upside.
Verdant Catacombs are available for under $24 while Overgrown Tomb is a $10 Return to Ravnica rare. With older copies of Overgrown Tomb still pricing in at $16 there is probably some upside to the new printing of this shockland. That said, I think anytime you can find a fetchland going for two times the price of its companion shockland or less, the fetchland should be your target. Verdant Catacombs is something I'd buy aggressively at $20 and will be interested in as long as i can acquire them for less than $25. My price target is somewhere near $32, representing at least a 30% return at those prices.
Better with Age
Bloodstained Mire is another sub $24 fetchland. While not the bargain Catacombs represents, Mire represents decent value and isn't a card I'd be looking to move unless I was getting values in the high twenties at least. With the latest iteration of Blood Crypt coming in at just over $9, I see it as another card to hold onto. While I'm hesitant to add to the position if I'm paying over $9, Dissension Crypts command just over $16. That suggests some decent upside in Return to Ravnica Crypts and I'll be watching prices closely.
With Flooded Strand fetching close to $50 and Dissension's Hallowed Fountain commanding a $21+ price point, snatching up Return to Ravnica copies of Hallowed Fountain at prices $13 or less looks like a really smart move. With plenty of RtR copies going for just over $10, the latest Fountain joins Steam Vents as my most sought after shocklands.
On the other side of the spectrum, RtR Temple Gardens are coming in at just a 25% discount to older Ravnica copies. Windswept Heath fetches just over $46 coming in at a little over three times the price of Ravnica Temples. I'll probably avoid these G/W options, preferring the Scars of Mirrodin Razorverge Thicket.
Breeding Pool will see another printing in Gatecrash and with Dissension copies going for more than $24, picking newer versions up at $10 or less looks like a great opportunity. With Ebay selling playsets preorders for around $40 you could set up a great long term position on the cheap that has potential to spike thanks to a Standard format that boasts Farseek, Thragtusk and Rancor. Misty Rainforest is an interesting value proposition. Blue fetchlands always command a premium thanks in large part to Legacy and green will likely continue to ramp decks in Modern. That said, to reach a 30% return the Rainforest would have to break $40 and there are plenty of cheaper options that offer the same or better returns. For example: I'd rather pick up a Steam Vents, Hallowed Fountain and Gatecrash Breeding Pool versus a single copy of Misty Rainforest.
Ebay also has plenty of Buy it Now auctions for Dissension copies of Watery Grave at $40. With older Ravnica copies only commanding an $18 price point, I'd prefer to wait. Instead I'll be looking to pick up copies around $9. Polluted Delta at $59 could suggest Watery Grave is undervalued in Dissension but I don't see the same catalysts for the Grave that I can see for Breeding Pool and the safer bet is in B/G.
Stomping Ground preorders offer a 50% discount to their Guildpact counterparts. Like Breeding Pool, I think this represents good value. With a G/R planeswalker coming and Thundermaw/ Thragtusk, I'm sure there'll be demand for Stomping Ground in both Modern and Standard formats. Wooded Foothills sells for less than $29 and while it looks like decent value at that price, it suffers from the same things Misty Rainforest does while also being unplayable in Modern. The Foothills are a great trade target and a great way to spice up a binder but for grinding out profits, time and money is better spent elsewhere.
Marsh Flats and Guildpact Godless Shrines both come in at just over $20. Here you'd have to imagine Marsh Flats represents greater value, especially as Lingering Souls works its way through various Magic formats. While Gatecrash Shrines are preordering at the same 50% discount Stomping Ground and Breeding Pool reprints offer, I'd rather spend $40 on two Marsh Flats.
People are excited about Boros, or at least that is what Sacred Foundry preorder prices suggest. Paying $10 for the latest Foundry when older copies only command a $16 price point seems silly, especially in light of the deeper discounts every other new shockland represents. Arid Mesa is the cheapest of the Zendikar fetchlands for a reason and while a $20 investment in a Mesa isn't bad, that entry point has to reflect negatively on the long term outlook for Foundry pricing.
Gatecrash offers a speculator a unique opportunity to add value to a portfolio and the latest shockland reprints along with a healthy serving of more Hallowed Fountain and Steam Vents will pay dividends as a growing population of Modern players continue to drive prices higher. Looking at the rest of the set, it is hard for me to find better value than shocklands at today's preorder prices. That said, picking up copies of Illusionist's Bracers at seventy-five cents a pop is a cheap way to get into a card that is begging to get broken in every Magic Format.