It’s been a while since I revisited this series, but I think now is the perfect time.
And what a time it is. Standard is actually an awesome format right now. Modern may not be perfect but the Pro Tour was exciting. Commander is ever-popular and Tiny Leaders is exploding in demand. On top of all of that, prices are moving up as they always do this time of the year.
Good news all around. And that brings me back to the “Casual hits.”
Almost nothing is more guaranteed to rise when Magic is doing well than casual cards. Your Imperious Perfects or mythic angels (Avacyn, for instance). Those cards that you rarely see at tournaments but always see (or would, if you were there) at the kitchen table.
This has long been my favorite subsection of cards to deal with, from the days when it was because traders didn’t value them high enough to my more modern view, where these can be counted on to rise predictably, not subject to sudden metagame shifts.
I want to start by looking at some of the ones I called out during my last article in this series, six months ago, that I think are good moves right now. I also want to offer a few suggestions for cards to watch out for after that, but I’m saving my “Casual Hits of Tarkir block” piece for after we see the contents of Dragons of Tarkir.
"Before I go any further, let’s talk about all 15 of the gods. I dubbed these 'Eldrazi' when the set premiered, and I expect them to follow basically the same trajectory. They’ll all bottom out at some point, and at that time I’ll begin stocking up. I especially like the ones from Born of the Gods or Journey into Nyx because they were opened so much less. Of course, foils will be even better since they’re so good in Commander. Something like Kruphix is just going to be a sure money-maker."
Now: We are definitely at the point I mentioned in the article. Very few of these guys are actually relevant in Standard, so the prices aren’t being affected by that quite so much. But every one of these guys has bottomed out or is beginning to tick up slightly.
I still think the Eldrazi comparison is apt, and I still love picking these guys up right now on the cheap. It’s a long-term play for sure, but a good one nonetheless.
"I’m not positive yet how far this will fall. I certainly don’t think you pick it up before October, since there are enough slivers in Standard right now to try and make it work. I think we’ll see a fair dropoff come rotation, and depending on how low it drops you want to either pick it up then or wait. I’ll be looking to acquire these in November-December. The same goes for Sliver Hive."
Now: This has played out exactly how I thought it would, and the Hivelord fell all the way down to $4. It’s moved back up since then, to nearly $7, all coming on a gradual incline. This is exactly what organic demand for a Sliver favorite looks like, and the steady growth will continue, with some small spikes in places.
This was a mythic from a Core Set, and it’s a tough candidate to reprint. Picking them up in November and December was the low point as I guessed, but picking them up now is still a great play.
Sliver Hive has performed much the same, though the growth has been even more drastic. Still a solid play at $3 or lower.
"$5 for this feels wrong long-term. The original was $20+ before the reprinting, and in a few years this printing will have easily doubled up just based on the built-in appeal."
Now: While I was certainly right in my call here, it didn’t even take a full year for the double-up to occur. The real question now is if Urborg will fall from the $9 price it’s at, an all-time (non-prerelease) high. I actually like getting in on these now still, because even if they fall some at rotation, I still expect this to be $15-20 in 18-24 months.
"I really like getting into this once it hits $2-3. It will be an EDH player for a long-time to come, and given how it’s taking up a mythic spot in Magic 2015 I don’t expect them to retain that premium real estate for it going forward. This seems to be like it can easily find $10-12 in 18 months."
Now: This hit $3 in October as I guess, and is $11 today. Pretty proud of this call, but I think the upside right now is limited given its connection to Standard. Instead I simply want to draw attention to this as something to remember when rotation comes around again and we see it dip back down.
"This year we have a few that created expensive cards in the past. Preeminent Captain and Crucible of Fire may not seem like much, but both were $5 before the reprint. I think it will take some time to see them climb back that high, but I have faith that both will be solid $3 in 18-24 months. Given that they’re essentially bulk throw-ins right now, it’s hard to lose."
Now: The Captain is falling into the bulk bin, which seems like a great place for a super-cheap play on these. I doubt it ever goes back to $5, but it’s a throw-in in trade that could be $3 again.
Crucible, on the other hand, has gone from bulk to over a dollar and climbing. Obviously this is somewhat tied to Standard speculation, but I’m still super confident of seeing this go back to $5 in the time frame I outlined. It’s still a dollar rare and still a throw-in, and still a great target.
Other Cards to Watch
It’s nearing an all-time high of just over $3, and was a solid $9-10 card before the reprint. This will continue to climb, and is a great target to double up in two years.
Scourge of the Throne
Not as cheap as the others (sitting at $7 today), but Scourge is actually extremely difficult to find, and really good in Commander. It’s slowly climbed from that $5-7 range and is a dragon, so there’s a lot of momentum here to believe it could be $15 in a short time frame. This was a mythic in Conspiracy, so it’s going to move hard.
Dwindling supply and a printing from New Phyrexia means this quirky artifact has room to grow, and it’s showing a lot of momentum at $2 right now. This will randomly be $6-8 a year or so from now, and is an easy card to grab from binders and stash.
This is actually close to a must-play in black Commander decks, and the price just keeps rising. The fact that the foil is $6.50 to the original’s $5 tells me it was probably in a sealed product of some kind (correct me if I’m wrong), but either way this feels reprintable so the foils are a better play.
A personal favorite game-ender in Commander. The non-foils are showing strong momentum at $4, and the foils are just $8. A mythic from a Core Set (that comes up a lot, huh?). Lots to like on both versions, but especially foils.
Don’t look now, but Balefire Dragon is an $8 card. Scourge of Valkas is just $2.50, and a mythic from a Core Set. Huge upside here.
Looking back, it seems like the dragon theme is strong. But dragons have always been a big deal in Magic, and will be even more after getting yet another Spring set named after them. Huge upside to all of these guys.
And the rest of it, too. Don’t forget those. Standard is great right now, but so is the safe, “Casual Hits” scene. Have your Tasigurs, I’ll take the Dragons.
Thanks for reading,
@Chosler88 on Twitter