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UNLOCKED: Top 20 Standard Price Gainers Last Week

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With the Battle for Zendikar prerelease events now a week behind us, prices of the new cards have had a considerable amount of time to adjust since initial pre-order evaluations. A weekend of prerelease play combined with a week of testing and reading articles has changed the demand for the cards, which is reflected in their prices.

Today I will discuss the top ten Battle for Zendikar cards that gained in price this past week, attempt to explain the logic behind their rise, and assess their potential Standard applications.

New Battle for Zendikar cards are just part of the picture, however, and some existing cards in Standard have also seen significant price changes this past week. I'll start today by identifying the top ten price gainers from earlier sets in Standard. I'll explain what is driving their price growth, and what roles the cards will play in Standard.

Old Standard Gainers

Hardened Scales


The 18% growth of Hardened Scales this week signifies a greater respect for its namesake green-white archetype, a fringe player before rotation that survived the trip to Battle for Zendikar nearly unscathed. The cheap enchantment powers up a host of other cards to create a unified aggressive deck, and it's one of the most promising archetypes of the new Standard.

Avatar of the Resolute


With many of the best two-mana cards leaving Standard, cards like Avatar of the Resolute, which hit hard for the cost, fill in the gap. This is also a key player in the G/W Hardened Scales deck, so it's no surprise the card grew by 23% this past week.

Knight of the White Orchid


Previously relegated to White Weenie decks, and the occasional ambitious two-color midrange deck, Knight of the White Orchid could do a lot more in the current Standard. One, the generous mana of this Standard allows the card to be cast with ease even in three-color decks. Two, it can find a lot more than basic Plains, also digging for Canopy Vista or Prairie Stream to serve as mana fixing.

The loss of Fleecemane Lion and other two-drops like Sylvan Caryatid also leaves a major hole in the mana curve of Standard, so it's up to other cards to fill in the gap. Knight of the White Orchid is a major winner from rotation, and with Brad Nelson championing four of the card in Abzan Aggro in his article this week, there is surely something to the card.

Though it gained 22% last week, the price is still under $2, and there is more room to grow.

Mantis Rider


Last season, Mantis Rider was pigeonholed into Jeskai builds. It's still great in Jeskai, a wedge that has become even more competitive after rotation, but now Mantis Rider can be easily splashed in various aggressive shells by using fetchlands and BFZ duals. A bargain under $1 a couple weeks ago, the price is moving upwards, and grew 15% last week.

Anafenza, the Foremost


Anafenza, the Foremost was the star of Abzan Aggro last season, but the archetype remains a premier option after rotation. Like Mantis Rider, it also benefits from better mana, and could be played in a variety of different archetypes. It grew by 22% last week after three weeks of stability, and a big finish could bring the price higher.

Ojutai's Command


Ojutai's Command headlines a greater trend of the Dragons of Tarkir commands seeing consistent growth. A relative bargain compared to other commands, 16% growth last week brings the price to just $2.60, with potential for more.

Atarka's Command


Post-rotation red aggro decks are light on burn, and a token-based strategy is the most popular option; Atarka's Command is critical to such a strategy. Atarka's Command has found another calling in landfall aggro decks, where its formerly forgotten option of putting a land into play takes center stage.

14% growth last week brought the price to just under $7, before its big finish at SCG Indianapolis. Now it's all the way up to $14, and I expect the price has settled.

Regardless of its performance in Standard, play in Modern Burn will help keep the price buoyed indefinitely, although demand right now is largely driven by Standard.

Wingmate Roc


Like last season, Wingmate Roc could find itself in familiar homes like Abzan and Jeskai, and it could see play in any number of strategies, especially with the new dual lands improving access to mana. The card saw 11% growth last week, but it remains a bargain under $3.50.

Dromoka's Command


Dromoka's Command has fallen significantly since it was printed, down to an all-time low of $3 in August. It has slowly started to creep up. Last week it saw a 14% gain, and future success in decks like G/W Hardened Scales or Abzan Aggro could drive it higher.

Roast


An uncommon rounds out the list, because with the loss of Searing Blood and Lightning Strike, Roast is now the best red two-mana removal spell available. It will see play in all variety of red decks, and it's highly splashable in nearly any strategy. The price continues to march upwards, now well over $1, since bottoming out at $0.5 in July.

Battle for Zendikar Gainers

Drana, Liberator of Malakir


The biggest story of last week is Drana, Liberator of Malakir, which has nearly doubled in price since the prerelease with 93% growth. The card snowballs a game very quickly, and even by itself is a significant threat. It has applications in a variety of strategies, and it's very likely to perform well in Standard.

There is some uncertainty built into the price, as it might be inflated in hopes of a big finish. Consequently now may be the best time to sell, but a strong showing could bring the price even higher.

Shambling Vent


The creature lands are among the best cards in the set, and Shambling Vent stands out as the best because it fits right into existing Abzan strategies. This card is a staple, and in the long term the price is likely to rival that of the dual lands.

32% growth last week brings the price to a reasonable $7.5, and new supply should keep the price stable.

Radiant Flames


Radiant Flames fills in the major void left behind by Anger of the Gods and Drown in Sorrow. This version is much more accessible, highly splashable, and a sure staple going forward.

The card grew 20% last week, and it will likely remain in the $2-3 range like Anger of the Gods during its reign in Standard.

Oblivion Sower


It's uncertain whether or not there's a competitive Standard ramp deck. If there is, Oblivion Sower is very likely a part, due to its incredible capacity for mana acceleration and card advantage, and its efficient body. 13% growth last week shows the market is confident in its chances.

From Beyond


Part Bitterblossom and part Awakening Zone, From Beyond also offers the ability to tutor for Eldrazi. This powerful card is a certainly a key part of big mana Eldrazi strategies in Standard, and it could have applications in token or sacrifice strategies. It saw 13% growth last week.

Scatter to the Winds


Scatter to the Winds is a great replacement for Dissolve, and because it's a rare, it will command a modest price throughout its Standard lifetime. The price grew 12% to over $3, and if blue control is a top-tier archetype the price will move higher.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar


Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is likely the single best Standard card in Battle for Zendikar. The price always has been high, but it has grown 9% higher than the pre-sale price. Like most new planeswalkers, I would assume the price of this one is destined to move down sooner rather than later.

Smoldering Marsh


The new duals are marquee cards of the set, and Standard staples. Smoldering Marsh has been relatively cheap, but hype over Mardu and Butcher of the Horde has brought the price nearly 8% higher.

Brutal Expulsion


I don't have a lot of hope for Brutal Expulsion, but it would not be surprising to see this successfully played in a deck like Jeskai. It grew 7% last week, but I don't think it can support its current price tag.

Dragonmaster Outcast


Dragonmaster Outcast is a reprint that has provided a discount for casual players who were in the market for a copy. This isn't exceptionally strong in Standard, but it's not out of the question in a red aggressive deck or a ramp deck. 6% growth last week could be sign of further growth, or it will slowly fall towards a bargain mythic.

~

The price of Khans of Tarkir block cards are likely to peak around the time of Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar in two weeks, so start thinking about your exit strategies now.

Battle for Zendikar cards are currently inflated by hype and low supply, but with the set officially released now, the supply will increase and prices will fall across the board. That being said, these cards have a longer life in Standard than Khans of Tarkir cards, which will rotate away in six months.

-Adam

2 thoughts on “UNLOCKED: Top 20 Standard Price Gainers Last Week

  1. Great article. Seriouisly need more of these “summary” type articles. Really would like to see more of them. Like “This weeks top 10 specs” every week (or more than once a week even, would be a dream article.

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