Insider: [MTGO] Ten Standard Cards to Watch in 2015 – Picking Potential Beneficiaries of Shifts in the Metagame

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December marks the end of the first three months of the new Standard year. The metagame established by hundreds of tournament results, including four GPs and Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, clearly leans to midrange decks with a fair amount of flexibility and green as the color of choice. With several possible different builds, trendy cards from Theros, Born of the Gods, Journey into Nyx and M15 involved in Tier 1 and 2 decks rise and fall according to the latest results.

Cards from Khans of Tarkir have stabilized for the most part, although last week results at the Worlds Championship changed the status quo a little bit. Talking about established metagame, the Sidisi Whip deck has now been on camera several times recently and just won the most prestigious Magic tournament of the year. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant has turned into the new hot mythic and is probably here to stay.

Another category of cards that have stabilized the past few weeks or so are the cards that haven't integrated Tier 1 or 2 decks at this point. Some of them have dropped up to 60% since last summer especially after not showing any constructed play. Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir was indeed a tipping point that left on the sideline many of these losers. They may have been losing positions a few months ago but some of them might now constitute a good opportunity to make some profit for the next six months.

Today I want to look at ten cards that haven't shined a lot in 2014. Now that these positions have probably reached a bottom, you may want to consider picking them up before a potential raise in 2015.

Losers Yesterday, Winners Tomorrow?

Cards out of favor usually drop quickly on MTGO. As good as they potentially can be, no play equals no money especially in the digital world of MTG where casual is only a minor driver of prices. If a card is not part of the Standard (or any other format) metagame now, that doesn't mean it will never be.

In the past, several cards that were not really part of the Standard metagame at one point got their chance later in the season, with a consequent raise in price. The release of new sets is an obvious event susceptible to shake up the metagame but even with the same pool of cards some changes may happen.

Archangel of Thune was close to 20 Tix right before Pro Tour Theros. Having not found a home, the archangel rapidly fell under 10 Tix and pretty much sustained that price until it surged up to 20 Tix later in January. After a very nice upward trend during the summer, Obzedat, Ghost Council droped from 19 Tix to 8 Tix after a poor performance during Pro Tour Theros. Between December 2013 and January 2014 the Ghost Council doubled in price and went back in business at 16 Tix.

Not really at its best at the dawn of a new Standard environment, Imposing Sovereign got much more attention latter on and seriously peaked in January only.

Shadowborn Demon was mostly getting unnoticed until a first spike in November 2013. However the big breakthrough came latter in spring 2014 when the demon rose from 3 Tix to almost 15 Tix. Popularized because of the same deck, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord saw a price spike late in his Standard life and is an example from a fall set that got a nice bump.

Cards to Watch in 2015

Nissa, Worldwaker

Nissa started off rather strong and proved to be a quite powerful planeswalker even without using her second ability. She appears frequently in the sideboards of Abzan or G/x decks. Her price trajectory is not without similarities to Archangel of Thune and it seems like Nissa has reached a floor around 14-15 Tix.

Resurgence of Mono-Green decks, metagame shifts or the emergence of new archetypes with Fate Reforged are so many possibilities for Nissa, Worldwaker to restore her past glory.

With 30 Tix as a potential high and a low risk of big losses if nothing happens, Nissa is great bet for next year.

Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Kiora is currently at an all time low on a 5-5.5 Tix floor. If the blue-green planeswalker got some attention after Pro Tour Journey into the Nyx, nothing happened since then in Standard, although she almost reached 15 Tix this summer. The fact is Kiora, the Crashing Wave doesn't fit to any deck in Standard as of now and consequently fell close to 5 Tix.

With the card pool we have now in Standard, chances are slim to see Kiora in competitive decks. Could a push come from Fate Reforged? Maybe, maybe not. Without further help Kiora, the Crashing Wave will probably keep her slow decline, however being from a second set, a return to the 15 Tix is to expect if Kiora starts showing up in Standard deck lists.

Xenagos, the Reveler

last year Xenagos supported G/R Monsters and Green Devotion deck strategies although he never really spiked. He stabilized around 5 Tix for several months before rising to 13 Tix after Pro Tour M15. The release of Khans of Tarkir and the rotation of Standard only brought hurdles for the green-red planeswalker with G/R Monster and Devotion decks being mostly neglected, pushing Xenagos back down to its historical floor at 5 Tix.

If conditions are certainly hostile to Xenagos, the Reveler now, they might not be forever. With a 5 Tix floor that seems very solid I see only upside buying now and entering a new year that often favorites metagame changes.

Garruk, Apex PredatorJace, the Living Guildpact and Ajani Steadfast

These are the trio of M15 Planeswalker that haven't seen significant play so far in Standard. It's not like they been haven't tried out in some builds but they haven't been convincing enough.

Soon on the rise?

Garruk is the one that dropped the most since M15 release. Initially valued around at 10 Tix then 7 Tix within his first weeks, this version of Garruk finally settled around 4 Tix since November. A seven-mana planeswalker is certainly limiting but this green-black version of Garruk is extremely powerful. Maybe with more ramp spells 2015 could be the year of Garruk, Apex Predator.

While being a four-mana planeswalker that can have 6 loyalty counters the turn it comes into play and being named Jace, Jace, the Living Guildpact hasn't seen much play either. The reasons? None of his abilities seem pretty impressive, yet. Historically, a planeswalker named Jace at 3 Tix during his Standard era is an anomaly rather than the norm. Will Jace, the Living Guildpact be the Jace exception? I'm still sitting on my copies bought last summer at 4.5 Tix and I'm considering reinforcing my position.

Ajani Steadfast combines well with other planeswalkers and a creature army. However none of the Standard decks playings several planeswalkers or a horde of tokens seem interested in him. Sitting at 4.5 Tix for a while now, Ajani is patiently waiting for his time, if it ever happens. Again, Fate Reforged may be needed here to include Ajani in a solid Tier 1 or 2 deck.

The real potential upside of these planeswalkers is being from M15. Every core set supply is rather low and any price spike could easily reach 15 Tix and beyond. So basically here I'm betting on positions that have a strong upside for a fairly minimal risk--2 Tix is an historical absolute bottom for all planeswalkers in any core set from M12 to M15.

Wooded Foothills, Windswept Heath and Bloodstained Mire

No need to argue about the power of fetchlands, even in Standard and even without some sort of dual lands. These three are the cheapest of the five KTK fetchlands, likely due to the absence of island in their range of land options. All three have stabilized in the 3-4 price range and Windswept Heath is actually slightly on the rise.

Needless to say, the Onslaught fetchlands are also what Modern was begging for. The demand for these three fetchlands can therefore come from several fronts at once. A Standard metagame shift induced by Fate Reforged, an increased demand for Modern due the upcoming Pro Tour, and supply from triple KTK drafts drying up could push Wooded Foothills, Bloodstained Mire and Windswept Heath above the 6 Tix line.

The only thing to keep in mind here is that as sweet as these fetchlands are they come from a fall set. Even with a strong demand is it unlikely to see them above 6-8 Tix. A higher price tag might be reserved for blue fetchlands, which in my opinion doesn't give much wiggling room for Polutted Delta and Flooded Strand.

Siege Rhino

A powerhouse in Standard, the rhino also found an instant home in Pod and Junk decks in Modern, a format extremely tight for four-drops. It would be shocking if Siege Rhino sees significantly less play after Fate Reforged and there is therefore no reason to suspect a price decline here. Its price bottom around 1.5 Tix in November and is on a steady slow rise since.

However there are several reasons to anticipate additional price rises. The next Modern Pro Tour could open the gate for a spike if Junk/Pod decks featuring the rhino performed well. For a rare of this caliber 2.5 Tix is pretty cheap in my opinion--I honestly expect Siege Rhino to double in price in the next six months. And finally the heavy supply from Khans of Tarkir-only drafts is coming to an end. We could even see a real spike later in May if Dragons of Tarkir, being a third large set, is draftable as a triple.

When to Let Go

All these cards may be in a good position for a nice increase with minimal losses if things don't turn out positive. Some of them could also count on Modern to boost their price.

I would be inclined to keep these positions until after the release of Dragons of Tarkir, the thrid set of Khans of Tarkir block, and see if this set induces any changes in the Standard metagame. If any the cards mentioned here haven't seen any increase in May I would be selling them. Chances to see them in Standard deck lists get really low after the release of the third set, when attention on the current Standard environment will slowly decline.


Thanks for reading,

Sylvain Lehoux

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