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Insider: Preparing for Kaladesh

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My schedule is pretty busy for the next couple of weeks. As such I spent some time earlier this week thinking about the next big event I'd be able to play. On those lines, I got curious as to when Kaladesh will be released. Turns out September 30th---a mere month and a half from now. Where does the time go?!

I will likely just be ignoring the current Standard environment as a player, and now is a great time to start thinking about the next format from a financial perspective anyway. For today, I combed through the rares and mythics that are currently Standard-legal in search of undervalued gems.

In this search, I was careful to be wary of Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch cards due to the Expedition effect. Normally, this block would be prime for investment from a rotation sense, though as we all know regular rares from these sets are generally poor value plays. That in mind, let's talk about some picks!

Anguished Unmaking


Hopefully by now we're all over the notion that three life is too much to pay for this effect. This card is very pushed, and as of now Humans is the only major deck punishing that life loss. Lucas Blohon's PT-winning deck has two maindeck copies and a third in the sideboard, and it's clear that this card can be featured as a three- to four-of.

The lifelink on Shambling Vent is part of what helps facilitate this, and luckily it will be sticking around as well. Anguished Unmaking is about $1.50 right now, and I could see it hitting $4-5 during its time in Standard.

Arlinn Kord


Part of what is holding Arlinn Kord // Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon down is that her abilities are slightly awkward, though her real barrier to play has more to do with Collected Company being the premier four-mana green spell of Standard. There's not much that would draw somebody to play Arlinn instead of Company, especially with red being so ill-supported in Standard.

Company rotating will help Arlinn, and I'm certainly hoping red gets some love from Kaladesh. To this point Arlinn has maintained a $9 price tag off of being a flip mythic and casual appeal, though if she becomes a major Standard player you could easily double up or more here.

Thing in the Ice


This was one of my picks leading up to the PT, and frankly it was a lackluster draft performance by Pedro Carvalho that kept it from paying dividends this week. He went 9-1 in the Constructed portion of the PT with three copies of Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror in his deck, and a Top 8 berth certainly would've caused more action on this card.

His deck is generating buzz nonetheless, and this one could be great should the Izzet deck get solid camera exposure at the SCG Invitational next weekend. There is plenty to keep this deck going post-rotation, and I expect to see it alongside Take Inventory in the future. At $4, I think you can at least double up here.

Bygone Bishop


When Collected Company rotates, we're going to have to work for our value. If Spirits is to be a deck, the extra cards off of Bygone Bishop would give it staying power into the late game. I liked this pick better when Bishops were under a buck, though at their current sub-$1.50 rate there is room for growth and I like owning a set or two.

Chandra, Flamecaller


I'd check the price on this one in a few weeks. As of now $10 is kind of steep, especially for a card from Oath of the Gatewatch, though I don't think it would be crazy to see Chandra show up as a three- or four-of post-rotation. We are going to her home plane after all!

If she falls into the $7-8 range I'll be pretty bullish on her. She's a phenomenal planeswalker, and is holding at her current price while being a fringe card. Buylist prices being $8+ right now certainly demonstrates confidence.

Corrupted Crossroads


This card is dirt-cheap right now, and when painlands rotate from Standard it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Corrupted Crossroads casting Kozilek's Return, Elder Deep-Fiend and Distended Mindbender. There's no way that we get more devoid cards, though the existing colorless and devoid cards offer plenty of playable goodies that are promising for Crossroads' playability.

Cryptolith Rite


This card was a force in Standard once, and once Dromoka's Command rotates it's not hard to imagine it shining again. Rite is just under $2 now, though it returning to prevalence in Standard would easily make that $5-6. The existence of Decimator of the Provinces makes future Rite shells sound great to me, which makes this a solid buy.

Fevered Visions


This card is seeing play right now as a four-of in the aforementioned Standard Izzet deck. Murmurs suggest that the deck is great, which suggests to me that this is a great position at under a buck. Again, this one gets better when Dromoka's Command rotates, and I think Izzet has a bright immediate future in Standard.

Hanweir Battlements


I feel like the thing stopping this card from seeing play currently is that there is too much stuff going on in Standard. This effect seems quite strong, and as a sub-$1 flip rare I'm intrigued. The meld is very powerful, and the land offers a form of pseudo-reach that also helps mitigate flood.

The biggest barrier, near as I can tell, is once again that red sucks right now. This one is speculative, though one way or the other this card should have some casual appeal, is a flip rare, and certainly has constructed potential.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion


Speaking of casual appeal, how is this card $4? It's generally worse than Ulamog, and I don't know if it will see significant Standard play, but it's a big dumb alien.

Kozilek strikes me as a great long-term play. Maybe it drops a little as it rotates out of Standard, though the price is so low for such a unique, awesome card.

Sorin, Grim Nemesis


Sorin plays to the earlier claim that the Orzhov cards are pushed, and like Chandra it's currently not super represented in Standard. At $7-8, I would expect to double up on this one at some point during Sorin's time in Standard.

This card is just a backbreaker. I have never been happy, or even okay, with the fact that my opponent was casting a Sorin. It was only a one-of in Blohon's PT-winning list, though when we lose Read the Bones I can easily see just including more copies of this haymaker in such decks.

~

With Magic Origins and Dragons of Tarkir serving as the first "block" in Standard under the new model, the data for price trends regarding future rotations are questionable. The Expedition effect will likewise put an asterisk next to the second Zendikar block for this purpose.

Even still, we do know that waxing and waning popularity for Standard staples continues to impact prices. In a few months we'll have a better idea of exactly how this is all going to work, though for now we have enough information to make some good picks.

Thanks for reading.

-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

8 thoughts on “Insider: Preparing for Kaladesh

  1. I like the analysis. One counter-point though, while I agree wholeheartedly with the “expedition effect” on BFZ, I don’t think it’s nearly as big on Oath. With WoTC putting both the shocks AND fetches all in BFZ there was a HUGE demand to crack BFZ to get them. Oath got the short end of the stick with it’s expeditions (though not terrible, they just didn’t have the demand that the main mana base on modern did).

    1. Maybe so, but it’s hard to define it exactly. If Sylvan Advocate is from Oath and it is definitely being suppressed by the Expedition effect. It’s in like every deck and it’s barely over $5!

      1. It’s not just the heavy opening, but it’s also that you have a small set of cards with high price tags. An in print set can only hold so much value, and having cards that just maintain value as other cards are opened and sold off causes the rest of the stuff to be worth less on average than in other sets.

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