Insider: Last-Minute Specs for Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar

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Hello Insiders, and welcome back.

I wrote last week about re-evaluating my October rotation specs. By now you should've been making executive decisions about your own stock as well. These final days before the Pro Tour are crucial. They are the best time to purchase, to avoid the hassle of ordering during the event and the risk of canceled orders.

Luckily Kelly Reid will be at the PT and if we miss something glaring we'll have his on-the-floor reporting. So thanks, Kelly!

During the latest QS Cast I suggested favoring Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins singles over Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged when given the choice. That still holds true, but I want to clarify there should be a clear focus on Khans block as a whole.

While a large supply of these cards (KTK in particular) is available, players still need them to compete. The consensus on Battle for Zendikar is that it's lower-powered than Khans block, and one set can't give us as many tools as an entire three-set block anyway. The cards from last year are deciding games right now.

This is not unexpected, and hopefully you kept it in mind while building your rotation portfolio.

Last week I pointed out cards like Warden of the First Tree seeing a lot of play, and while this particular card was reprinted via the Event Deck, others weren't. These sets aren’t being opened or redeemed as much as before, which is starting to reflect in percentage gains found on Trader Tools every day. The data is right there in front of us.

Now, to discuss some last-ditch spec targets before heading into this weekend. These cards have already started to gather steam, but some are still a good purchase now.

Anafenza, the Foremost

This card is moving. It’s becoming harder to find, and the prices are being updated quickly.

Abzan Aggro has shown up quite a bit over the past two weeks in the States, and digging up recent decklists from Hareruya reveals it's fairly popular in Japan as well. Up +18% this past week, Anafenza has a good chance of reaching its original pre-sale price (right around the $12 range).

Usually played as a four-of and with applications in Modern, Anafenza has long justified a higher price. The jump may be short-lived, but a healthy number of Abzan Aggro players are going to need these. In spite of the large supply, this has always been one of the premiere Constructed-viable cards in Khans of Tarkir. It’s finally starting to act like it.

If you can grab these at or near buylist, I think there will be an opportunity to turn them around for healthy gains. As of writing, buylist is $5.40 and retail is $7.50(ish), giving us a decent 31% spread.

Anafenza, the Foremost up +18% last week

DTK Commands

The ship may have sailed on these, but the commands from DTK (with the exception of Silumgar's Command) are taking center stage. They are all extremely potent, and will continue to see applications in both Standard (until they rotate) and Modern. Sooner or later their price will reflect their power level.

Dromoka's Command, for its part, is already rebounding from a Clash Pack reprint and is likely to surpass its previous high.

I would prioritize Ojutai's Command and Dromoka's Command for Standard, with Kolaghan's Command being next for its role in Modern. For now I'm leaving Atarka's Command alone since it’s a tad inflated, but it won’t be getting that much cheaper.

Dromoka's Command up +61% this past week
Ojutai's Command up +21% this past week

Former Penny Stocks

By now I’m sure you've noticed how many Jeskai Black decks are running around from last week's SCG Open. Four of the Top 8 decks were Jeskai Black, and 27 lists made Day 2. The deck appeals to an increasing number of players, and its finishes have finally sparked Mantis Rider again.

Butcher of the Horde is interesting, and as of writing this article has a 6% spread. It's been played a bit more over in Japan, and has seen recent success in the new Standard. With such a narrow spread, I think it’s fine to grab a few copies and ship them back out should they fail to show up at the Pro Tour.

The same can be said for Crackling Doom. Myriad decks are now splashing for this card, and I don’t think that will change any time soon.

Butcher of the Horde up +6% last week
Crackling Doom up +102% last week
Mantis Rider up +64% last week

Cards for the Bold

Dragonlord Dromoka

This is certainly not a penny stock--in fact it's more expensive than all of the cards mentioned above. We discussed this card on QS Cast, and it’s extremely well positioned right now.

In a format dominated by air combat, Dromoka is an excellent defensive tool. It’s also extremely good at stabilizing against aggressive strategies. This card has been moving slowly, but moving nonetheless.

If any dragonlord ends up rivaling Dragonlord Ojutai I think it will be Dromoka. It probably won't quite reach Ojutai's price, but a bump may be coming soon, especially if it's seen on camera at the PT.

Again, I would temper expectations, and the upfront capital investment here is vastly higher than any other card I mentioned. But this one is on my radar now.

Dragonlord Dromoka up +13% last week

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

I know you’ll probably roll your eyes at this. I understand, but Aether Games's buylist has been bumped up to a commanding $30 heading into the weekend.

Since Battle for Zendikar’s debut, this has been the only card from the set worth discussing. Aside from the tango lands, Gideon is far and away the most impactful card in the set. With 65 copies in the Top 64 lists at SCG Atlanta, it has lived up to every bit of hype surrounding it during spoiler season.

If this trend continues, Gideon will easily suck up most of the value in the set and push a price somewhere close to double what it is now. With stores offering that much, I would have to think they are on a similar line of thinking. The EV of the set would certainly allow it, as every card continues to trend downward across the board.

Again, this spec is for the bold. Or should I say, the boldest.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. There’s not much time to lock in purchases, as these cards continue to rise and buylists fluctuate as a result. So, whichever action you decide on (even if it’s inaction), I would act now rather than later.

If you’re not one to predict trends, that’s fine. Like I said, Kelly will be on the floor reporting to us, so there will still be opportunities.

Just remember the additional risk of last-minute purchases from vendors: stock can diminish quickly and orders can get canceled. You also have to factor in shipping time and turnaround. Historically we see prices rise and crash quickly, so plan accordingly.

Until next time, everyone! Make sure to tune into the QS Cast before the PT--we discussed a lot of the topics in this article and more.

As always, feel free to comment below or follow me on Twitter @ChazVMTG.

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