Insider: Rotating Cards to Hold – Future Value in Khans and Fate Reforged

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Khans of Tarkir (KTK) and Fate Reforged (FRF) may not rotate until April, but to get the most value out of your cards you need to act now.

We all know that in a few months as rotation approaches there will be a mass exodus of players and collectors from Khans and Fate cards. The eve of the rotation is not the time to be looking to dump these cards, because you'll have already missed the boat.

By then prices will have already plummeted and there will be little point to selling out. So we need to get to work now liquidating the future bulk.

Given the choice, selling all our cards from KTK and FRF is better than selling none. That said, the best option lies somewhere in the middle---we want to keep the stuff worth keeping and sell the stuff that will take a nose dive.

Today's article is about predicting which cards will have future value, as we begin to out the cards destined for the dollar boxes.

The most important quality I consider when assessing a card's financial future is whether or not somebody will play it. If not, it will have zero demand and therefore also zero value.

Yes, yes, old collectible cards like Alpha rares can retain value without being played due to the collectible market. However, in the case of Khans block, none of the cards are collectible enough to retain value in this manner. In order for new cards to be worth anything somebody needs to play them.

The two major ways people play with non-Standard-legal cards are in Constructed tournaments (Modern, Legacy, Vintage, etc.) and casual play (Commander, the kitchen table, made-up formats, etc.).

For today's article I made a composite list of all of the cards I could see having a home somewhere post-rotation. I'm okay holding these cards into their post-Standard lifespans because I think they'll ultimately keep or gain value.

Khans of Tarkir

Khans of Tarkir is one of the best sets Wizards has released in a long time. For collectors, this is a mixed blessing. On the one hand there are lots of great cards to trade and sell to players, but it's kind of awkward because the set sold like absolute gangbusters.

While demand for awesome cards will always be strong, the supply is very high. This means there's a lot of competition among sellers and being ahead of the curve is extremely important.

There was a period of time before the Theros block rotation when dealers were paying $5-ish on Temple of Malady and literally two weeks later the buy price had dropped to $1. The bottom really does fall out on certain cards if you wait past their expiration date.

A lot of people want to wait on selling or trading cards until after the January set comes out, but seriously what is going to change? Do people really think some new printing will make a bad card suddenly awesome? I'm going to go out on a limb and say there are no secret $10 gems in either set waiting to be discovered.

That being said, See the Unwritten is one card that could actually increase in stock depending on what giant monsters appear in the next set. The card already spiked in anticipation of BFZ and has dropped off since. I'd hold onto it just in case. It's also a solid casual card, so there isn't much upside to selling now.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the cards from Khans of Tarkir that I think will have a future.

Anafenza, the Foremost

Anafenza is what we in the biz call a great card. It has unbelievable stats and is grossly undercosted. The card will always compete with Doran, the Siege Tower for a place in Modern but I don't think it's cut and dry which one is better.

I love the graveyard hate built into this card. Were you interested in executing some Collected Company-based creature combo? Hmm. Not with Anafenza on the board. Most decks have some sort of interaction with the graveyard so this card has a ton of value.

As a mythic rare it's also a lot harder to come by than some of the cards on this list. It will certainly take a dip when rotation hits, but expect it to climb back over the long run.

Keep in mind it will take several years to return to its pre-rotation price. I don't mind holding this card for a while, but if you're looking for short-term gains feel free to jump ship.

Lastly, this is unlikely to see a Modern Masters reprint, and thus a good candidate to be a slow gainer.

Become Immense

I love this card and have played it to success in both Standard and Modern. In Standard in Atarka Red, and in Modern as a singleton in Zoo.

Of course, the primary home for this card, in basically every format, is Infect. However, it's also powerful in aggressive damage-based decks, and a natural fit anywhere when paired up with Temur Battle Rage.

A fully delved Become Immense is literally the most efficient damage spell ever printed. Six damage for one mana is unheard of, and puts every "true" burn spell to shame.

When a card is the best at what it does, it will always have a high demand. I see this being the case for Become Immense moving forward.

Deflecting Palm

Deflecting Palm sees sideboard play in Modern Zoo and Burn decks. At $0.50 a piece for a Modern playable, it seems hard to justify even bothering to sell or trade away this card.

It's actually pretty scary to play against. For instance, it can deflect away a giant Bogles creature (and stops the lifegain), a robot with an equipped Plating, or an Infect monster pumped all the way up. Another interesting factoid is that because of the way Palm is worded, it cannot be redirected or messed with by Spellskite.

Hardened Scales

Hardened Scales is a card I've thought about jamming into Affinity on more than one occasion and I'm sure somebody will make it work at some point in the future.

Aside from that it's a very hot casual card, because of the way it lets you go super big. It reminds me of a Doubling Season or a Parallel Lives. Every block has one for the kiddies...

Hold onto this card and you'll get rewarded. 100% on that.

Hooded Hydra

Another casual gem. Hydras are the epitome of what the casual kitchen table crowd love, and this card is much better than other hydras commanding a higher price tag.

Nobody wants this right now, and it's easy to pick up (and hard to get rid of.) Rather than sell it as a bulk mythic, do yourself a favor and hold onto it for a while. People will want to play with this down the road.

Jeskai Ascendancy

Ascendancy is a crazy-powerful Magic card. It lost a lot when Treasure Cruise went away but don't underestimate the interaction between Fatestitcher and Ascendancy. I think the deck will find a more permanent home in Modern, and possibly Legacy, in the future.

It also doubles as a "tokens" card for the kitchen table. I have no interest in selling mine off for $0.50 each.

Monastery Swiftspear

Easily one of the most powerful cards in the entire block. I like to get schwifty in basically every single format it's legal.

The card is ridiculously powerful and uncuttable from any deck looking to cast red creatures and burn spells. It's already a proven winner in both Legacy and Modern.

Swiftspear's high price tag has everything to do with its applications outside of Standard. I'd hold onto this one and actively look to pick up more, especially if the price starts to dip.

Murderous Cut

Murderous Cut sees play going all the way back to Legacy and even Vintage. It's a solid Magic card that does something supremely unique. Any deck playing black now has access to a one-mana Terminate for the rest of time.

Cut is just one of those cards that will be good forever and see lots of play across a wide range of formats. I also really like picking up foil copies.

Siege Rhino

Good card is good. People are going to play with this card forever because of how absurdly powerful it is. It is already a Modern staple in Junk. I've certainly played against this card in Legacy a few times as well.

I look at its trajectory as similar to Thragtusk post-rotation. Tusk was basically worthless but its raw power level eventually brought it back up.

I'm not interested in selling this card off for a couple of bucks. I'll wait and feel confident that it will be a $5+ card down the road.


Fetchlands. I'm holding mine.

I think they'll dip a little bit as rotation starts to approach, but they'll rebound and then some. They are necessary to play every single competitive format (outside of Pauper) and I don't see them showing up as reprints in Modern Masters.

Fate Reforged

Fate Reforged is not my favorite set of all time. It certainly was a disappointment after fetchlands and the absurdity of the delve spells in Khans. However, it does have some nice keepers in it that are likely to gain value over the long run.

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death

The card basically has no value which means there's no reason to sell it. However, it is a great little casual card and an awesome Tiny Leaders Commander for Mardu decks.

Archfiend of Depravity

Same argument applies here. Archfiend has basically zero value and is an interesting casual card, particularly powerful in multiplayer. Don't bulk him off because he might be worth something someday.

Gurmag Angler

If this card doesn't have $1 common written all over it I don't know what does. The flavor text on the card might actually be, "$1 common." I'm cool with trying to pick these up whenever I can.

Monastery Mentor

Mentor already has a high price tag but don't be fooled---the card hardly sees any play in Standard!

Mentor is a powerhouse in both Vintage (where it's the win condition in basically all the best decks), and Legacy. I wouldn't be surprised to see this card shooting up in Modern soon as well. My thought is that it will be going up even at the time of rotation.

Monastery Siege

Siege has seen some Modern and Legacy play already and is actually pretty sweet. It allows you to gas up the graveyard and also has utility as a sideboard card against Burn decks (where it essentially becomes Chill).

Like others on this list, it's just too cheap to sell. I'm keeping mine.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang

I don't even care if Tasigur was reprinted or not because the $3.5 price tag on this card is absolute absurdity. Delve as a mechanic has proven to be completely bonkers, and this one comes attached to a repeatable card advantage engine.

There is no chance this card doesn't rebound and become more valuable in the future. It's literally too good to fail.

Temporal Trespass

Here we have a mythic rare Time Walk effect that's actually good. Don't be a fool and sell this card for $1.5. The Commander, casual, and even Modern players of the future will create a demand for it.

This may be one of the delve "duds," but casual players love their extra turns---and there's no guarantee it won't see play somewhere as a Time Walk for one more mana.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

I have a hard time gauging a card like Ugin because I'm not exactly sure where the value is coming from. On the surface I think the super high price tag is due to Standard, but it's also fantastic in Modern Tron, and a dragon planeswalker for casual...

I elected to include Ugin on this list, but I admit a lot of the demand is Standard-driven. So I could either way on this card. When it surged back to $50 a few weeks ago I sold my extra copies, but I held onto my personal playset in case I wanted to play it in Standard.

There is also a good chance this card still has room to grow in Standard if Oath of the Gatewatch makes it even better.


No matter what you do with these particular cards, be aware that the window is rapidly closing. Get rid of what you don't want before the next Pro Tour hits.

After that, everybody will start thinking about rotation and you won't be ahead of the curve. It's only down from there.

Thanks for reading.

- Brian

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