Insider: An Early Look at Innistrad Rotation

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It may be a bit early to start thinking about this in some of your minds, but I plan to have little to no INN-M13 stock by the end of May. I also intend to have a better strategy for rotation than the one I had when RTR came out.

Don't get me wrong, I had few Scars block cards at rotation, and my Standard deck was built to use very few Scars cards (I think I had five). However, I think I could have used a few stronger strategies. I am going to use this week's article to outline the strategies I plan on using, and hopefully elicit some healthy discussion on the matter, either here or on the forums.

This seems simple, but it has to be done tactfully. We all basically know how to do it, but we want to get rid of INN block stock before May/June, when others start to do the same and prices tank.

A great example is Stromkirk Noble. This card is currently increasing in price fast, and has gone from $3 to $5 in a fairly short period. I am hoping to sell out at $6, and if it starts dropping before I get rid of them, I will trade and sell more aggressively. I suggest checking pricing and tournament results closely, and deciding whether the cards are worth your time.

What We Lose

However, the important question is what we want to pick up to replace these cards. We need spec buys and spec trades. We have a few for ongoing Standard events. Modern is still in FNM, but most tournaments are over. We have to look popular deck archetypes will lose, and what scary things players will need to deal with in the future.


We lose basically the entire human archetype. Champion of the Parish, Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha, Silverblade Paladin, even Falkenrath Aristocrat. There isn't much of a reason to run humans. We also lose Cavern of Souls, which makes tribal a bit worse. This means that overlooked nonhuman efficient creatures (especially in white) could improve. We don't have many of these now, but the word human will mean little to nothing going forward.


We lose quite a few important cards. Snapcaster Mage and Augur of Bolas will hurt a bit, but losing Restoration Angel is a huge deal. Hopefully we will find something to replace them, but until then, I'd stray from owning too many tempo cards. The commons and uncommons will likely have replacements, but UWR Flash gets hurt badly.

Zombies/BR Aggro:

They lose almost all of the zombies. This archetype is dead after rotation if powerful zombies aren't reprinted. However, B/R Aggro has some powerful tools in RTR/GTC. We could see increases on Ash Zealot, foils of Annihilating Fire, and potentially things like Rubblebelt Raiders in the 4-drop slot.


Control loses less. We have Blind Obedience, Supreme Verdict, Sphinx's Revelation. They lose Terminus and Feeling of Dread, but they still have Azorius Charm, Dimir Charm and Orzhov Charm, which should help quite a bit.


We lose Unburial Rites. That is a big deal. If we don't get some sort of reanimation spell in the next six months, we will lose this archetype altogether. We still have Angel of Serenity, but it will likely drop quick after rotation.

The Survivors

So, what types of decks will still exist? Naya Aggro will be quick, and Junk Midrange is a deck I could build right now without pre-RTR (It may not compete, but hey, it's close).

Personally, I am already beginning to trade into these cards. Here are a few I particularly like:

Loxodon Smiter: Uncounterable and efficiently costed, this could be an amazing creature if G/W remains a relevant archetype.

Ash Zealot: Red Deck Wins and Gruul Aggro seem like they will still be decks. Really, they almost always are. We lose a few cards, but I think they will stay strong.

Angel of Serenity: This guy is moving now, but it could go back down. I like picking these up right now for quick flips, or after October if they have hit six or below.

Deathrite Shaman: The ramping part may be tougher without fetches, but this guy is not only good in burn decks, he also seems pretty great with Grisly Salvage. I like the idea of a Junk/Golgari value deck, and with a slower, smaller format, he could make a big difference.

Blind Obedience: You can grab these for a few bucks right now, and with redemption, they will keep dropping for a while unless play picks up. These are great in control shells, and we are keeping control as a fairly powerful archetype. In fact, I might finally touch a blue shock in Standard.

Supreme Verdict: With the loss of Terminus, this guy will shine in control decks. With it seeing play in Legacy and Modern, it should continue going up anyway, but becoming a 4-of for control makes a big difference.

Jace, Architect of Thought: Very powerful card, hurts aggro and draws cards. The -8 is scary as anything ever was, as it is with any planeswalker. However, this guy goes in a deck that protects it.

Sphinx's Revelation: I can't see this ever going below $15 in Standard, or $8 outside of Standard. These are probably pretty safe cards to hold onto.

There are of course others that are safe keeps, but many of them are pretty obvious. Looking at just RTR and GTC, I like control post-rotation. This could change, but a few more tools and it will be unstoppable. Cavern of Souls is leaving, guys, and that's a big deal.

What cards are you holding onto for INN Rotation? Let's see if we can get some alternate views in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Insider: An Early Look at Innistrad Rotation

  1. Definitely some good points. Though it might have been a good idea to list the cards that you don’t expect to drop much post rotation (Snapcaster Mage, Liliana of the Veil), but I do think your analysis of the future meta was pretty accurate.

  2. I disagree with you about Angel of Serenity, she’s in more than half of the current RTR block decks and is a pretty good answer when Dragon’s Maze is released and standard turns into the clash of the titans. Maybe losing cavern,farseek and unburial rites will keep her down,but I suspect we’ll be raining some serenity on the clash for months to come.

    1. The way I see it, control is possible, and aggro is powerful. Midrange can continue to be a thing, but turn three wins are scary. Reanimator and midrange decks that run AoS often get overrun by aggro. They win out when they don’t see it.

  3. Nice article idea, Jared! I don’t think anyone would fault you for an early analysis. I know Scars rotation was the first time I seriously thought about a strategy for rotation, and even then I still did it too late. I think you want to be out of nearly all of it by the end of May, or you’ll just be like everyone else. I started thinking about it in June last time, and it was way too late.

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