Insider: Capitalizing on Rotating Cards

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Kaladesh is here and everybody is trading for Smuggler's Copters and/or cards that might ground the new vehicle menace. Meanwhile, I'll be trying to capitalize on people looking to dump their newly rotating Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins singles.

The vast majority of Magic players who own cards are not in the finance game for the "long con" and are merely looking to get what they need to play. With that being said, there are far more players looking to get out of their newly rotated staples than people willing to trade for them.

The key here is basic economics. If there are more sellers than buyers the price gets driven down. Everybody knows that singles go down when a set rotates out of Standard, but players who have been around the game for a long time know there will be an opportunity for those cards to rebound and regain value in the future.

There are two key markets for rotated cards:

  • Modern, Legacy and Vintage - If the card is good in a non-rotating constructed format it will rebound and make gains after it bottoms out.
  • Casual and Commander - Casual players tend to buy more singles than constructed players. Never underestimate the demand of kitchen table players!

Magic Origins

Let's comb through the rotating cards and look for fantastic eternal, casual, and Commander staples that have reached their bottom. I predict the following cards will make gains in the months and years to come.

Abbot of Keral Keep

Abbot of Keral Keep has already seen considerable Modern play so far. It is a great fit in the Grixis and U/R Delver decks where it functions as another pseudo Snapcaster Mage. It is really good in a deck where it almost always hits a one- or zero-mana spell.

Abbot is a strong Magic card that's trading close to a bulk rare right now. One thing I like about Abbot is that its value in a deck is relative to how broken and cheap the rest of your spells are. Meaning it tends to make good decks better, and get better as the years bring new printings to pair with it. I have little doubt that somewhere down the line this card will pick up value.

Dark Petition

Dark Petition singlehandedly put Vintage Storm back on the map. With that being said, Dark Petition is not only a fantastic Legacy/Vintage staple in blue-black storm decks but also a wonderful Commander card.

The only thing better than Time Walk effects in Commander is tutoring for Time Walk effects, and Dark Petition tutors with the best of them. Dark Petition is a pretty wonderful card that has a lot of flashy applications across the board.

I expect it will crawl its way out of the near-bulk experience. If Commander and Eternal have taught us anything, it's that good tutors make wonderful investments.

Ghirapur Aether Grid

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Aether Grid is excellent in Affinity sideboards. In fact, it is one of the most important cards in their sideboard. And don't think for a second that all of the exciting new artifacts from Kaladesh won't have a real chance in Modern. Smuggler's Copter and Bomat Courier, I'm looking at you.

Ghirapur Aether Grid is the kind of card nobody cares about until stores start selling out of it and have to restock. Stores have the card because they opened and got traded a lot of Origins when it was in print. In the next six months or so I expect people to run out (just because of normal Modern demand for good sideboard cards). When they start buying it will result in a gain.

I also think people (both financiers and players) are undervaluing the power of this card relative to its cost. A very powerful and game-changing spell.

Hangarback Walker

Great card is great. Some people may not be as high on Hangarback Walker as I am, but that is their problem.

I've cashed multiple Vintage and Modern events playing four of this card. At some point others will try it out and realize that it is awesome. As this card bottoms out I'm going to be looking to stockpile extra copies just in case. I'm certainly alright with hanging onto these little Walkers.

Harbinger of the Tides

Harbinger is a staple in Modern and Legacy Merfolk and is floating around as a bulk rare. I've actually pulled about 10 copies of this card out of $0.25 bulk rare boxes over the past few months and am happy to have made a little pile of them to hold onto.

Time will drive the price of this creature up. It is always a nice crucible when a really powerful and unique effect lines up in a tribal strategy that didn't have access to that effect before. I think Harbinger is in the Merfolk club for life.


The card has basically no value right now but I noticed that we sell a lot of it at RIW Hobbies for Commander decks. I don't think Willbreaker is particularly good, but it's the kind of card new players are drawn to. It is certainly a powerful effect on face. It is also pretty fun and interesting.

Fun and interesting sell. I like this as a cheap investment card that could have a nice payoff down the road.

Dragons of Tarkir

Dragonlord Dromoka

The card is pretty unreal. It is also pretty good. Who doesn't like a good old fashioned green-white dragonlord? And by old fashioned, I mean we don't get too many of those.

I've seen this card played in Vintage Oath of Druids decks. Not to say that is the way to predict success---just that it is playable in Vintage. I like this card, I think other people like it as well, and I'm saying buy low sell high.

Most importantly, I think Dromoka is an interesting card and that people enjoy playing with cards like these. Never underestimate the value of a card that people enjoy playing with.

Dragonlord Ojutai

Oh, how the mighty have fallen! I think we are approaching a rock-bottom scenario on this card where casual players will start snatching it up for their decks. It is hard to find a more powerful spell that costs this little money. Plus, it's a Dragon!

The dragonlords have some fringe Modern and Eternal application but 99% of the value from here on out will be derived from casual buyers. Dragons, obviously, right?

Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit

This card has been posting bulk-rare prices forever, all while seeing consistent play in Modern...

Anafenza is an important cog in the Abzan Company deck in Modern. I expect that CoCo will eventually make a push back to the top tier (it is literally too good not to) and I expect rares in the deck not to be bulk rares.

Collected Company

Personally, I think Collected Company is one of the most busted cards in all of Modern. The value has dipped substantially but I expect it will come back up---just based on how good the card is. It's the centerpiece of nearly every green creature-based strategy: Abzan Coco, Elves, Slivers, etc.

As far as gem busted Modern staples go I think that CoCo is the gold Standard. I expect it to slowly start ticking back up soon. The card is simply too good not to be in high demand.

Kolaghan's Command

Jund may have fallen off slightly but K-com is still a great card. There is also a great chance that artifacts go on the uptick in Modern because Kaladesh is an artifact block that offers lots of new options. Such a trend would really make Kolaghan's Command well positioned.

I'm thinking directly about Smuggler's Copter when I make this observation. Command is a great card that people are going to want to play with in the future. It is a tailor-made two for one!


As you can see, Magic Origins and Dragons of Tarkir certainly have some nice long-term hold cards in them! The best part is that the value on these cards is getting dirt cheap right now and they can be had fairly easily as Standard players look to dump their stuff.

These are exactly the kinds of cards your friends and players at your LGS will take to an Open or GP and sell to dealers for $0.25 and $0.50 each. So if you're interested in making some value down the line, get in there and trade for them before they bulk them away for nothing.

Good cards have a way of finding their level. Right now the price is super suppressed because there are so many players looking to sell their cards and very few looking to buy. So, be the person who is looking to buy because you will be getting a very favorable deal. Months down the line when nobody is selling and people start looking for these cards again you'll have the upper hand and make a few dollars in the process!

3 thoughts on “Insider: Capitalizing on Rotating Cards

  1. I quite like these picks and I’m personally bullish on ORI and DTK as ‘good vintage year’ sets in the future. They both have 1-2 strong cycles (PW, Dragonlords & commands) *and* additional modern playable cards on top.

    The relative supply of these sets will be low when viewed from perspective of the expedition/inventions future which we are about to go into.

    I have some sealed ORI & DTK products stashed away and will look to grab a playset of the dollar picks for the price of a lunch.

  2. Every card on this list is a card I have been removing from trade binders and stashing in my “not for trade” binder, with the exception of Willbender.

    It turns out I have 10 of them after double checking my own bulk rares box.

    Thanks for the tip, B. Great stuff as always.

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