Following my article last week about M14 & Return to Ravnica block mythics post rotation, today's article will be dedicated to rares.
Similarly to mythics, rares are experiencing an ongoing price drop. However, unlike mythics, which may have already bottomed and are on the rise for some of them, rares are expecting to keep falling until the end of fall.
Redemption helps push prices of mythics because they are the limiting cards to redeem a set. That is absolutely not the case with rares. For the same rarity reason if a mythic has a casual appeal its price may be driven up. This effect is pretty much inexistent with rares. Rares have to be tournament playable in order to rebound and be worth something once out of Standard.
Picking up Rares
Last week I said that even top rares see a significant decline and get to their bottom by the end of October-early November. This trend is merciless and has no exception. Even rares that are currently played in other formats and may be considered as staples will see a sizable decrease in price.
Take a look at some examples from the recent block rotations.
Modern format staples from Innistrad block used to be quite expensive while in Standard but dropped considerably soon after Standard rotation, always in October or later.
Snapcaster Mage didn't drop very far compared to the other rares, but still its lowest point was in October 2013. If you remember, the Mage was not heavily played in Standard at the end of the Innistrad block era. Snapcaster Mage's price was already supported by some Modern demand at that time and it therefore may explain why it didn't dip more than a couple of Tix in October-November.
Grafdigger's Cage is one of these few cards that has more value now than it had when Standard playable. Finding these kinds of cards can be extremely profitable. Thanks to the rebirth of the Vintage format, between last October and now the price of the Cage has been multiplied by more than 20! Prior to this, the Cage did make a very decent ascension to 4 Tix.
Scars of Mirrodin Block
Looking at Scars of Mirrodin rares played in Modern, they have also crashed hard when Standard rotation hit.
We see rares have abruptly dropped to reach their lowest prices in October. A very interesting fact here is that these cards saw a pretty big spike in August, right after the release of M12. Close enough to the spike we are experiencing now because of Pro Tour M15?
It happened before and it is likely to happen again. Even cards that spiked so close to rotation will see a big drop in the coming weeks.
Once a dominant card in Standard, it totally collapsed after M14 rotated out. With very fringe play in Modern, its price remains under 1 Tix as of now. Thragtusk is the perfect example of a card that can reach summits in Standard but are worth close to nothing if they have no use in Eternal formats.
My point here is that when it comes to invest in rares post Standard rotation, I'm following two rules:
- No matter how good and promising in Eternal formats a rare is, I'm waiting until October to pull the trigger.
- If a rare doesn't have significant application in Eternal formats, I won't touch it. Casual won't save me.
Now we know that timing when buying is half the work for profitable returns when it comes to rares rotating out of Standard, what are the potential candidates with Return to Ravnica block and M14 cards?
Return to Ravnica
On one hand, Return to Ravnica doesn't have a lot to offer post rotation with mythics. On the other, this set has a quite large amount of rares that are playable in Eternal formats and should be worth a couple of Tix beyond their time in Standard.
I divided my targets into three categories, more or less based on their likelihood to be profitable specs.
No doubt these guys will retain value post Standard. No matter how low they are going to be next October, I'll pick them up.
I'm especially curious and interested in Deathrite Shaman. It is barely played in the Tier 2 decks of Standard and banned in Modern. However, it is a Legacy staple and sees some play in Vintage as well. I want its price to go as low as possible because it has a tremendous potential for rebound. It will be one of the best investment for the coming years.
With Legacy and Vintage hopefully growing, this would be the fuel to help propel the Shaman's price. An additional possibility that could transform this investment into gold bars is unbanning it in Modern. This is definitely a possibility and I don't want to miss the opportunity to buy Deathrite Shaman this cheap.
Cards With Potential
All of these cards have seen some play in Eternal formats but clearly not as much as in Standard.
They should drop pretty significantly in October, probably to 0.1-0.2 Tix range or lower. It may also take time for them to recover to a more decent price as they are not heavily played in Modern.
Pack Rat is starting to make some noise in Modern, at least as a potential card to grow the ranks of BGx decks. Covered by good discard spells, this creature has the potential to win the game alone if not answered very quickly. Certainly Modern decks have more answers than Standard, but the Rat could do the job that, sometimes, Tarmogoyf can't. Rotation could be a good opportunity to buy Pack Rat cheap before it explodes again.
Similarly to Grafdigger's Cage and Stony Silence, I think Rest in Peace will have a huge amount of room to grow in the future. I expect the white enchantment to fall very close to 0.05 Tix in the following weeks. This is one of the very few penny cards I'll be willing to accumulate hundreds of copies of.
These cards have made fringe to little appearances in Eternal formats. I would, however, consider buying these at very very low price and I expect them to touch 0.05 Tix. They have the potential to be played in competitive Modern decks but haven't shown much so far.
Among these, Slaughter Games is probably my favorite. I would almost put it in the same category as Stony Silence, Grafdigger's Cage and Rest in Peace, except that two different colored mana in the casting cost makes it less ubiquitously playable. From a 0.05 Tix floor, the potential gain is enormous.
These are obvious. Beside the five Shock Lands, I don't see any rare having a strong upside post rotation. Very few Gatecrash rares are played in Eternal formats.
Cards With Potential
Goblins is not really a deck in Modern, but the recent print of Goblin Rabblemaster may change the game. The Loyalist was the success story of this summer, from 0.2 Tix to 5 Tix in two months, and the trend is now downward. It will probably be around 0.2 Tix or less by October and might be a good investment for the future hoping for a Modern Goblins to breakthrough.
At 0.05 Tix, these two cards may be two penny rares worth investing in. Blind Obedience has been spotted in the sideboard of Modern decks and could be played in Legacy and Vintage as well.
Thespian's Stage has been worthless pretty much all the time and received a marginal bump recently. I was buying it several months ago at 0.05 Tix as part of my top 10 cards that could spike from nowhere in Modern. Probably back to 0.05 Tix by October, this will be the opportunity to acquire the Stage at its cheapest. This is one of these cards where every new set could cause an explosion.
To me, there're no good opportunities with Dragon's Maze rares after Standard rotation. As discussed last week, there's pretty much one card you want to look at in Dragon's Maze--Voice of Resurgence. The rest is only marginal speculation.
Card With Potential
The Thief is played a little bit in Legacy and Vintage at the moment. Its ability could make it played in Modern at some point though. Being from a third set might be Notion Thief's chance to increase rapidly in value if it does see more play. An interesting bet post rotation.
Two double-cards for two penny rares that could be worth the shot. Breaking // Entering is part of the casual/competitive Modern UB Mill deck. With Delve and some graveyard shenanigans back in Khans of Tarkir, Breaking // Entering could be more valuable than 0.05 Tix in couple of months.
Beck // Call is the combo card that never made it. So far. Also among the top 10 cards I think could be the next big thing in Modern, it would only take a brew from Travis Woo to skyrocket.
The Ooze was only moderately played in Standard and maintained a 6 to 8 Tix price tag all the way. I expect its price to dip as players get rid of their Standard cards rotating out. It is, however, a solid Modern and Legacy creature that is finding a home in more and more decks.
At the opposite end, Mutavault was more than heavily played in Standard, but not so much in Eternal formats. Merfolks being its only dedicated client, Mutavault should drop significantly next October. Nonetheless, it will be a very solid pick for the years to come.
Did I forget any rare that look promising to you after Standard rotation?
Thanks for reading,