Insider: Preparing for Shadows Over Innistrad

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Magic feels pretty stale to me right now. I'm only being slightly facetious when I refer to Modern as Eldrazi, and Standard is fast approaching a rotation that will bring some big fundamental changes. With those changes will come new strategies, and with those strategies comes market shifts.

I know how much you all love market shifts. And if you love market shifts, you're really going to love the new price tag on Chandra, Flamecaller!

Chandra has been seeing play in Standard, and even fringe play in Legacy, though the price movement here is more likely indicative that it's time to start picking up cards for rotation. Chandra certainly hasn't seen the uptick in play that Nissa, Voice of Zendikar did with Hardened Scales showing up in force for GP Houston.

I was big on pre-ordering Nissa, though I underestimated how long it would take this great card to find a home. The floor on Nissa has come and gone, and now prices are approaching pre-order prices. If you don't have a set, I really like picking these up now.

With the high-powered Khans block on the outs, cards like Nissa are a natural flagship for brewing in the new format. I've been saying since Nissa was spoiled that she has a natural home alongside Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and Gideon currently looks to be at or near its realistic floor. If I didn't have a set of these cards I'd get on remedying that.

As we frequently discuss on Quiet Speculation, now is the time to invest in real estate. With fetchlands rotating out, players are going to need four copies of battle lands for their decks. If you don't have your 20-set, get on that now.

If you're looking for a specific battle land to invest in beyond that, I personally like Canopy Vista the most out of the lot. After all, it's the battle land that casts both Gideon and Nissa!

Creature lands will likewise be seeing a big uptick, and notably the OGW lands are quite low right now. Needle Spires is just worth nothing, and Hissing Quagmire is very low as well.

Wandering Fumarole leads the pack in price from the small set, which is unsurprising as it's also the most powerful. I also like Izzet's position going into Shadows with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy still in Standard, so while Wandering Fumarole is the most expensive of the three, it is also the one that I currently have the most faith in.

Ultimately the value here comes down to which color pair sees the most play, but I like getting a set off all the enemy creature lands. Shambling Vent doesn't have a ton of upside at $4 and being in the large set, though if you don't want to rule out playing Orzhov in post-rotation Standard then I'd pick up at least a set. As I said though, my gut is pushing towards Wandering Fumarole the most.

Likewise, painlands will be seeing an increase in play in Standard. If you're not planning on owning a 20-set, then I should think it goes without saying you'll want to line up your painland investments with your creature land ones. That said, I like doubling up on the creature lands before I like doing so with painlands. These have been reprinted so many times, and your window to sell will be short. Of course, the time to buy on these was months ago anyway.

As for meat and potatoes spells, I agree with a lot of what Brian DeMars wrote this week. I don't think Dust Stalker is a playable card in 2016, though the two-mana Eldrazi---particularly Bearer of Silence---look like slam dunks to me.

He's also on to something with Corrupted Crossroads, and indeed colorless lands in general seem great as we are forced to quit fetchlands cold turkey.

Suddenly, Thought-Knot Seer is looking like one of the best spells we could be playing. That said, I wouldn't be buying Thought-Knots right now. When Eldazi is banned in Modern there's a good chance that we see a dip, though the card is very likely to be relevant in Standard and it should bounce back in relatively short order.

Moving into the post-Khans Standard market, a fundamental lesson will be one Khans block itself taught us. Khans was wildly popular, and as such regular rares---even widely played ones---were just never worth anything. The fetchlands soaked up the vast majority of the set's value. Mantis Riders out of any other set would have actually made people real money.

Battle for Zendikar was also a very successful set, and as such I'm not loving non-land, non-Gideon cards. As such, my eyes are mostly on Oath of the Gatewatch at the time of this writing.

A card I'm optimistic about is Kozilek's Return. Part of what I like about it is its applications in both control and ramp decks. Fitting into multiple archetypes is a great place to be for a mythic rare. Not to mention that people were once willing to spend $20 for the card already.

A big reason that I like this pick on top of the ability to fit into multiple archetypes, is that the ramp deck---the deck WotC seems to have actively pushed---doesn't lose much with rotation.

Losing fetchlands is a little bit of a drag, but not a killer. Losing Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is a bummer, but recent lists have been trimming on Ugin anyway. Both Dragonlord Atarka and World Breaker will be sticking around, and the Ramp deck is unlikely to be going anywhere.

On the topic of World Breaker, that card has leveled off since it pushed $10 from initial success after the OGW release. Right now the Rally deck is kind of messing up Standard, thought it actually loses quite a bit from rotation. I expect we'll see some worlds broken with Shadows over Innistrad's release.


We don't know a ton about SOI just yet, and indeed the most actionable information of madness being in the set has already pushed Jace, Vryn's Prodigy even higher. We'll have to wait and see if there's a reason to make picks other than the safe ones, though it is clear that the time to act on the pieces I discussed today is now.

Thanks for reading.

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

One thought on “Insider: Preparing for Shadows Over Innistrad

  1. I was going to write about literally all these cards you talked about. Very good article, and probably the best cards to be holding.

    Well done Ryan, good to know many of us are on the same page.

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