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Insider: Khans Rotation Pickups (Part 1)

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I’ve been trying to wait until the time is right to really dive into this stuff, but it’s time. In fact, it’s already begun. Xenagos, the Reveler doubled up last week from $7 to $15, showing that people already have an eye to rotation.

Luckily, Xenagos was an easy one to see coming. As I wrote two weeks ago, while breaking down the results of Pro Tour Magic 2015: “Specifically, I like Xenagos at $7, where it has bottomed out. This was also a huge player at the Block Pro Tour, and could easily see the ‘Jace spike’ to $15-20 next season.” Some other writers picked up on it last week, and suddenly you had the makings of a spike, which occurred really somewhat quietly.

I expect Xenagos to hold $15 (float somewhere between $10 and $20) for the next year. It’s a fine time to sell if you’d like, but I could also see this touching $20. Either way, you should be in the black on this if you got in when the time was right, and selling at least some now is an advisable move.

Now it’s time to turn our sights onto other prospects, and I want to break this mini-series down into two parts to run this week and next. In the first today I want to look at the rotating cards from Return to Ravnica block that are worth picking up at depressed rotation prices. We’ve seen in the past few years that a lot of the Eternal-playable cards re-spike around January, and that leaves you several months to get in at lower prices.

I’ll look at RTR block today and move on next week to the best targets from Theros block for post-rotation gains. I’ve touched on these fairly regularly in the past few months but there’s always value in updating the calls into a master list with all the latest information.

So let’s begin.

Return to Ravnica

Supreme Verdict

The best Wrath of God variant ever printed, and one that recently hit an all-time price low. Pretty soon this thing will be available at $1-2, and that sounds crazy for something that will surely be $4-5 in a few years.

Shocklands

These should be obvious, but of course they need some disclaimers. We’re seeing some weakness in the price, but I still think there’s a zero percent chance they fall to $5. I don’t think we’re going to see these go below $6-7, and I want them all at that price. We’ll never see the growth we saw with fetchlands, but these will easily be back to $10-12 in two years, which is an extremely predictable double-up with the possibility of more.

Chromatic Lantern

I have a pretty large position in this card, acquired mostly at $1-$1.50 in cash or $2 in trade from earlier in the year, and this thing is a sure bet to hit $5 within 18 months if left unchecked.

Unfortunately, it’s also probably a sure bet to be reprinted in some sort of ancillary product. It has a generic name and great Commander effect. But foils are 6x the regular price, so that scares me off a bit there too. Your position in this depends entirely on your risk tolerance, and while foils offer more stability, the opportunity cost is also much higher.

Planeswalkers from All the Sets

Obvious casual appeal is obvious. You guys got this, though I’ll note I like Vraska more than most since her price is currently depressed from a Duel Deck and she really does do some solid work in Commander.

Abrupt Decay & Deathrite Shaman

Grouping these together because of how often they are seen together. While Decay is on a predictable climb upward past $12, Shaman is actually on the way down. That makes me like Shaman at $7 more going forward. This is actually a great case study in how much Modern affects prices in comparison to Legacy, and I expect these two to be pretty illustrative in that regard moving forward.

Cyclonic Rift

Falling, and foils are sitting at $10. This is basically a must-play in every blue Commander deck there is, and I absolutely love this going forward. It’s so powerful/unfun for some, I don’t see it being a shoo-in for reprinting, and the foils at $10 are pretty appealing. But I’m also going in for some regular copies at the $1-2 they’ll be in two months.

Rest in Peace

This is the go-to graveyard hate spell of choice for many decks, not to mention being a combo piece with Helm. Available for under a buck. Easy acquire-and-hold here.

Gatecrash

Aurelia, the Warleader

$4 here? I’ll take that all day. See Gisela, Blade of Goldnight for a preview of this card’s future. Gisela powered along at $5 for a time before spike to $14 and holding $11. $3-4 Aurelias sound great.

Consuming Aberration

I actually like the prospects on this a lot more than some of the cards from Gatecrash that are currently more expensive. This card is available under $2 and is the mill player’s dream. I’ve also seen it be huge at a Commander table, and Lord of Extinction is a $12 card. This was a promo but will still push to $5 in a few years. Mind Grind fits in here as well.

The Rest

Other cheap pickups from the set I like long-term are Thespian's Stage and Crypt Ghast. Lord of the Void has seen some growth for whatever reason, and may continue some upward momentum.

Dragon’s Maze

Remember all that talk about how much this set sucked? Well, it still does. Sealed boxes of this yield an EV of just $56 using TCGMid prices; that’s just embarrassing. Still, let’s see what we can come up with.

Voice of Resurgence

The real question is how far this drops. I don’t doubt its Eternal playability for years to come, but I’m not sure where the buy-in will turn out to be. Look for a floor around November-December and reassess then.

Progenitor Mimic

It’s a mythic with a sweet Commander effect. I guess that’s the best we’re going to do in this set.

Savageborn Hydra

A mythic hydra? It’s no Primordial Hydra, but there’s no reason it won’t move up from the $1-2 mark it’ll be after rotation.

Breaking // Entering

Here’s a card I think we can be sure about, though it hasn’t really moved at all in the past year and there is a promo copy out there. Solid upside but nothing incredible.

The Rest

Say what you will about Dragon’s Maze; it has some cards that have some real breakout potential. Beck // Call could be broken any time in Modern if the meta shifts. Vorel of the Hull Clade was in an intro deck but isn’t a joke in Commander. Notion Thief is right on the edge. They are, for the most part, nothing to look at, but at one point Dark Depths wasn’t either. As little as this set was opened we could see something hit big one day.

Honestly I’m not a fan of most of these except for maybe Beck, which I do stash away. The rest I’m not a fan of, but I want to remind you that Dragon’s Maze was barely touched thanks to Modern Masters, and if there’s anything you think could be a breakout, the conditions are right for a big spike if things align.

The Primordial cycle with Sylvan Primordial and Diluvian Primordial are still worth stashing away I guess, but we’ve seen no movement at all despite how absurd they are in Commander. The only one to do anything pricewise was the green one, and it’s now banned. Hoarding foil copies of these seems like a prudent move, but I think if we were going to see the non-foils go anywhere they’d be more than a quarter right now.

Magic 2014

Mutavault

Another card that is an obvious pickup as soon as it bottoms out. A lot of its price is tied to Standard right now, and watching to see where it falls after that time is over is going to be interesting.

Scavenging Ooze

It’s not the powerhouse it once was, but Scooze is still super powerful in both Modern and Legacy. The price just continues to drop, and it’s really looking like it will be available at $2-3 in a few months. That seems insane and I’ll definitely be looking for these.

Rise of the Dark Realms

$3.50 for regular copies and $8 for a foil Commander powerhouse. One of those seems out of whack, and my guess is it’s the foil price. Big fan of both of these as a long-term pickup right now.

Sanguine Bond

I know they’ve done their best to print it into oblivion, but we can now get Bonds for under a dollar. For a card that was $10 just 18 months ago, it seems like a good time to stock up.

The Rest

Scourge of Valkas is probably the most random card on this list, but we’ve seen a solid track record of these powerful mythic, Core Set dragons go to $3-5, and this one is available under a buck. Door of Destinies and Darksteel Forge are pretty safe long-term holds, and Primeval Bounty is unlikely to go much lower. I don’t love the $4 buy-in on Bounty and I’m not big on buying into this, but it seems like it has enough appeal to slowly appreciate, so hold onto any you have.

 

So there you have it. My Return to Ravnica Block manifesto for the next six months. We have the full gamut here, from the safe casual pickups to the heavy hitters in Modern to the penny stocks worth taking a chance on. It’s a long list, as you’d expect, but figuring out which of these you most want to invest in and formulating a strategy around that is just as important as figuring out what you want to stock up on for Standard next season.

Good luck.

 

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

5 thoughts on “Insider: Khans Rotation Pickups (Part 1)

  1. Solid pick-ups in this article. I’m also fairly deep on Counterflux (for modern purposes), and any bulk mythic I come across (I’m looking at you Borborygmos Enraged). I also think the Dragon’s Maze cycle of Maze Runners are a pretty solid investments as well – foils are cheap, likely to get cheaper, and there’s a few in particular that make pretty solid generals. Same can be said about the guild leaders – prices are low after an entire standard season with minimal play, not much casual interest yet either, so I’m looking to hold onto them as long term investments.

  2. Good article overall. I agree with many of the targets on here, but want to add my opinion to the mix. Picking up rotating cards is a 2-year plan. Thats about how long it takes for cards to rebound. So the more expensive investments are less attractive because the opportunity cost is higher over a 2-year span.

    I also want to point out that some of your picks don’t stand to gain a very high percentage. For example, Chromatic Lantern is currently $4 retail, and you stated it should hit $5 in the next 18 months. I personally don’t find Abrupt Decay and Deathrite Shaman attractive pickups because their opportunity cost will be high and also because i think it will be difficult for them to double in 2 years.

    However, the casual cards have a history of at least doubling up in 2 years. Foils are almost always the best investment. Take Mimic Vat for example. Regular copies doubled from their $1.50 rotation price to $3.00 after 2 years, but foil copies trippled from $5 to $15. (SCG prices)

    Some of the foil commander cards are already very high, so I’d skip those, but I am personally going to be investing a larger percentage of my longer term funds into foil Crypt Ghast and foil Assemble the Legion.

    As for staples, I have a chunk of shocklands like many others on this site, but I think the cheaper staples have a greater change to achieve a greater % increase. Loxodon Smiter can be had for dirt cheap and sees play in modern, and Detention Sphere has the added bonus of having the casual O-ring appeal.

    I think a useful addition to the article would be at what price for each card would you buy in at. For example, with Scavenging Ooze, I’m buying a few play sets at $3.50. At a price point of $2, I’m all in to the point of liquidating other assets.

    Again, very good article; this is just constructive criticism!

  3. I’ve been collecting counter flux and crypt ghast for about a year. Just trades so I haven’t spent any cash which would be great but I would predict both of them settling around 3.50 in the long term which would make for some decent profits

  4. Hello, what do you think about ash zealot? will it see much play after rotation? At the moment the price is plummeting so I’m thinking of aquiring a few!

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