Insider: The Cheapskate’s Guide to Long-Term Pickups from THS and KTK Blocks

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

I'm a cheapskate. I don't like to pay full price for anything, and I'll happily wait for months or sometimes even years to pick up cards, videogames, or electronics for which I don't want to overpay.

To that end, I have very little in my collection that is currently in Standard. Sure, there are lots of cards I would like to add to my cube or various decks, but unless I need something for a tournament, I'd rather make my purchases at absolute floor prices and not feel like I paid extra money to own a card a little sooner.

Of course, different cards perform in vastly different ways, so you have to take each one as an individual case study to really know when is the best time to pick a card up. So if you have your eye on Standard cards for Cube, Commander, eternal formats, or any other reason, here's a breakdown of some of the priciest cards (more than $5 TCGplayer median) in the format.

Theros Block Pickups

Some cards have so much demand from outside of Standard that it is unlikely they will drop much, if at all, upon rotation. One of the best examples from Theros for this kind of card:

Thoughtseize is unlikely to ever be found under $20 again, unless it's reprinted in the next couple years. Given how much players generally hate it, it seems unlikely a mass reprinting is on the way anytime soon.

I think this is a perfectly fine pickup moving forward. Yes, it sees a ton of play in Standard, but given that this was a $70 card before Theros came along, I don't expect retailers to drop the price too much. Remember, players are getting more savvy about MTG finance in general, and there likely won't be a mass sell-off of Thoughtseize once it rotates.

There aren't many other cards in this boat. Xenagos, the Reveler is down to around $6, and I would be shocked if it ever dipped lower than $5. You can probably pick this one up with impunity. Additionally, Eidolon of the Great Revel has established itself as a Burn staple. There's a good chance this one is more expensive when it rotates, especially given the general lack of value in Journey into Nyx.

Finally, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx may already be on its way up from its floor. Then again, if it doesn't see a lot of play in Modern, it could easily drop down below $4 after rotation. Keep an eye on the amount of Modern play this sees in the next six months.

Don't Pick These Theros Cards Up Yet

If you're the type to regret a purchase made before a price goes down, the following cards should be avoided like the plague until after rotation or some other factor causes their prices to dip significantly. Each of these cards derives most of its value from Standard play (competitive and casual), and rotation will have a devastating effect on all of them:

Theros Cards With Value Tied to Standard

Additionally, although not all the scrylands are over $5, none of them are good pickups right now. They see Standard play, but haven't proven themselves outside of that format. Each should be available from $1 to $3 after rotation.

Most of the gods are a higher price than I would think, too. I don't know if this is from casual Standard play (FNM and the like) or from straight-up casual format demand (read: Commander), but I would be shocked if any of the gods were at their floors right now, except for the ones already close to bulk mythic pricing.

Theros Block Question Marks

There's one exception to my statement about the Theros gods above: Keranos, God of Storms. This card has seen one-of play in Modern control sideboards, and given that it's a mythic from a small spring set, $10 may be the cheapest we see it from now on. It jumped to over $15 a few months back, so it could have more to fall, but price memory should keep it from falling too much.

Brimaz, King of Oreskos should lose significant value at rotation, but I would not be surprised to see a Voice of Resurgence-effect happen in this case. What else from the set has value? If you're dying to pick up a Brimaz, it may not be as overpriced as it seems, despite lacking tons of Standard play. The same is true of Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, since Journey into Nyx was also mostly devoid of valuable cards.

Finally, Mana Confluence at $10 is a big question mark for me. This is the kind of card that is really needed when a deck needs it, but generally ignored when mana bases are okay. Its amount of play in Modern moving forward should dictate whether this goes down or up from here. Its $10 price tag might also just be the right long-term price tag for it.

Khans of Tarkir Buys

Discussing the more recent block in this capacity gives us some very different kinds of ifs and buts. Basically, there are only five cards that I think are clear buys at this point.

With the draft format moving away from Khans of Tarkir, only a tiny amount of fetchlands will be opened in Fate Reforged packs moving forward. We may not have hit the floor yet, but I imagine we will within the next four to six weeks. Everybody remembers what happens to the Zendikar fetchlands, and like I said above, players in general are more savvy about MTG finance these days. Don't expect fetches to drop much further.

Khans of Tarkir Is Different

Here's the thing: we have peak Khans supply at this time, and after Theros rotates, a lot of Khans cards will go up. In particular, I think these two cards are worth mentioning:

If you pushed me to name post-Khans-rotation prices on these cards, I'd say $6 and $3 respectively, which is lower in both cases. However, there's a very good chance that these cards see pronounced increases if they become major parts of the post-Theros metagame.

That said, I almost exclusively only speculate on Standard cards during the summer, when prices are historically at their lowest. Nonetheless, it could we worth keeping an eye out on good deals for these two cards.

Fate Reforged Is Expensive

In many cases, cards from Fate Reforged are way more expensive than I would expect based on the amount of play they see in various formats. It's especially weird because there are lots of pricey cards in this set—we're not looking at a Voice of Resurgence effect for one or two cards.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Monastery Mentor both strike me as cards that are simply too expensive, and I'm keeping far away from both. Yes, they're powerful, but they started way too high and we're still seeing the effects from that.

Mid-value cards like Soulfire Grand Master, Whisperwood Elemental, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Shaman of the Great Hunt, and Warden of the First Tree will all probably go down from here while still in Standard. They will almost certainly go down after they rotate.

Don't pick these up yet if you're just looking for your long-term copies. As for whether these are worth speculating on for Standard, let's revisit that this summer.

Khans of Tarkir Question Marks

Siege Rhino is an interesting card. It's a rare from a large fall set, and by being around $8 at this point in its life, it's already exceeded all expectations. Modern play, and lots of it, helps buoy Rhino's price, but it's also the card to beat in Standard.

All this means that the future of Rhino is hard to predict. On one hand, it requires a very specific deck to be able to play it, given that it's three colors. It's a rare from a hugely opened and very popular large set, meaning there are tons in existence. But it's also a four-of in the deck that had 30 percent of players running it at the last Pro Tour. I have to plead the fifth on this one—I just don't know what the financial future of this card is.

The same is true of Dig Through Time. Its price very much reflects Modern play that is now banned, and it hasn't been adopted to nearly the same extent in Legacy. Like Rhino, it's a rare from a large fall set. I'm a little more comfortable in saying that this will likely go up over time, but only just a little. The Modern banning makes things difficult.

For completion's sake, I have two more cards I haven't mentioned that are more than $5 according to TCGplayer's median price: Anafenza, the Foremost and Sorin, Solemn Visitor. In the right circumstances, these could go up next Standard season, but not before they lose more value this summer. In the long term, these are clear post-rotation buys. I'd keep away for now.

Cheapskates Unite

I hope I saved you money for this article. It can be hard to have the patience to wait to buy until just the right time, but if you're the type of person who kicks himself over spending too much on a card, that patience is exactly what you need to develop. Until next time!

8 thoughts on “Insider: The Cheapskate’s Guide to Long-Term Pickups from THS and KTK Blocks

  1. Great, high value article. I disagree on 1 point though: I think Ugin’s price is going to stay high, and I think Tasigur is the real deal in eternal formats. Tasigur is showing up in modern a lot around here in the Atlanta area and has performed at or above expectations. Given how popular the set has been and it’s only the most recent set for a few months, my confidence remains high in these cards. Vendor buy prices are high as well.

  2. “Each of these cards derives most of its value from Standard play (competitive and casual), and rotation will have a devastating effect on all of them:”

    You’re wrong about one of these. Care to guess which? 😉

    1. I am aware that Courser, Thassa, Master, and Caryatid have each seen a little Modern play, but I still contend their prices are mostly based on Standard. Interested to hear which card you’re referring to.

  3. Hello Dan,

    Please excuse me for my ignorance and/or inability to research this, but what exactly is the ‘Voice of Resurgence’ effect you mention twice in the article?

    Thanks in advance.

  4. I don’t see Ugin dropping by much, if at all. He’s significantly more powerful than Karn, and — like you said — people are generally more savvy about Magic finance now. Even for an additional mana, he will see widespread adoption in Tron; T3 Karn into T4 Ugin is a pretty sweet curve. Ugin also already sees far more Legacy play than Karn ever did; granted, it’s in fringe decks, but he’s still become a staple in 12 Post, MUD, and Eureka. And, of course, Ugin can go in every EDH deck, which is not an insignificant factor.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation