Insider: Underrated Standard Specs

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Standard has a huge player base, and changes in demand can have a big impact on price. Last weekend there were two Standard Grand Prix that have provided players with a ton of new decklists, and as players copy them, they change the demand of cards. I’ve pored through the results and the financial aftermath, and I’ve identified some cards that I like as Standard specs going forward into the summer.

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets was initially snubbed as a weak five-mana planeswalker, and to some degree it was kept out of the format because of competition with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, as it can’t be in play at the same time as Jace, Telepath Unbound. Now the planeswalker is beginning to be appreciated, and it just had a big weekend, being featured in the Top 8 of both Grand Prix.

In Manchester, a pair of the planeswalker could be found in the maindeck of the U/R Eldrazi Ramp Control deck that finally broke into the spotlight, and in Minneapolis it could be found in the sideboard of a Bant Humans deck. Last week I played against Kenji “kogamo” Tsumura online with a Temur Superfriends deck based around Oath of Nissa, and he played Jace, Unraveler of Secrets to great effect.

The price of the planeswalker has been on a long, slow decline since printing, now under $9. I like targeting them through the summer in anticipation of price increases later in the year, potentially even after rotation.

Oath of Nissa

Oath of Nissa is slowly earning its place as a “green Ponder,” and as players have stopped drafting and opening Oath of the Gatewatch, its price is beginning to appreciate.

It’s a long, slow burn, but Oath of Nissa is going to remain a key factor in Standard for its lifetime. Recent trends, like Raph Levy using it to splash Chandra, Flamecaller in G/W Tokens, and Joel Larsson using four in his Four-Color Dragons deck, lead me to believe it’s underplayed in general. This card is only to get more popular in Standard, and the price is only going up.

Drowner of Hope

I love Brian DeMars’ advice of targeting Eldrazi creatures, but he left off my favorite, Drowner of Hope. The blue mana makes it a bit more constrictive than some Eldrazi, but on the other hand it’s more accessible to decks without colorless mana. It sees crossover play in decks like U/R Eldrazi Ramp Control, which just had a breakout weekend and is poised to become a real player in the metagame.

Drowner of Hope was once nearly $2, but it has been in steady decline to under $0.50, and I love it as a Standard spec.

Goldnight Castigator

Tomoharu Saito finished well in Grand Prix Minneapolis with a new U/R Fliers deck that includes a set of Goldnight Castigator. This card was heavily hyped, but it completely fell from grace and the price plummeted. Saito takes advantage of it along with other fliers and burn spells to create a deck that directly fliers over a metagame focused on ground creatures.

Saito’s deck has been gaining popularity online, and I expect it to gain a lot of paper followers. The price of this mythic is currently under $2, so there’s clearly room to grow.


Rattlechains is another component of Saito’s U/R deck, so if it becomes mainstream it’s going to grow past its sub-$1 price point. I’ve also played against the card in U/W Spirits online, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the spirits tribe received more support in Eldritch Moon---that’s another case for acquiring a card that’s certainly an inclusion in any spirit-themed Standard deck.

Goblin Dark-Dwellers

Goblin Dark-Dwellers has become surprisingly popular as a sideboard card in decks like R/G Goggles Ramp and Saito’s new U/R Fliers deck, and it’s seeing more play in general as Grixis has increased in popularity. I expect it has great times ahead of it in Standard.

It has also been seeing Modern play, particularly because it can cast Ancestral Vision from the graveyard. Pat Cox built a U/R Blue Moon deck around the interaction to nearly Top 8 Grand Prix Charlotte.

It’s a great Commander, Cube, and casual staple. It’s the red Snapcaster Mage, and it’s a freakin’ goblin, arguably Magic’s single-most iconic tribe. All these things are good for the long-term prospects of Goblin Dark-Dwellers.

Day's Undoing

Day's Undoing hasn’t been used in Standard, so I’d argue that the impending fall rotation isn’t impacting playability---maybe the price is slightly inflated because of the uncertainty and potential, but I’m pretty confident the price isn’t falling any lower after rotation. This is the sort of card worth stocking up and turning a profit on in the long term.

That said, it’s now seeing serious Standard consideration in Martin Müller’s Mono-Blue Prison deck from GP Manchester, where he finished a match win out of the Top 8. The price of Day's Undoing has doubled online since the event, and the paper price continues to slowly fall to new lows.

I’d be confident targeting these this week and beyond; their short remainder in Standard does off some room for gain, but I like these with the long-term in mind.

Part the Waterveil

Part the Waterveil is also a part of Müller’s Prison deck, and as a four-of mythic it’s going to see a price increase if the deck becomes popular. Battle for Zendikar also has a long life ahead in Standard, and I think Part the Waterveil's best days in Standard are still ahead of it. Part the Waterveil has minor eternal appeal, but great casual appeal, so it’s going to appreciate in the long run.

The price has nearly tripled online since the event, while the paper price continues to sag after more than doubling in price a month ago. Under $5 it still feels like a bargain, and I could easily see it breaking $10 if it becomes a Standard staple.

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