As I noted last week, the best speculation window for Amonkhet likely began in the second week of June. Already, the value of the set has risen 22 percent from its $49 nadir. Beginning this week, I’ll be giving some in-depth speculation advice for Amonkhet cards, trying to uncover some of the cards that are likely to offer a robust return on investment.
It is easier to give definitive, unqualified advice about speculating on paper cards, because their values will not change dramatically all that quickly. Regarding digital cards online, however, we have to be more careful due to how rapidly card prices fluctuate. Thus, I am going to share some picks of cards to keep an eye on, as well as prices that I would be happy buying at.
There are many cards I would be happy speculating on if they reached a certain price, but I am only going to mention the cards I believe are more likely to make it to these price points. I should note too that these are cards that I believe could, at minimum, triple in price. Why I care about that particular metric so much is a topic for another day, but I don’t like tying money up in cards for which a reasonable expected return is less than double. The pickings are not so slim that we have to settle!
Bolded card names are links to the MTGO price histories on Goldfish.
Pull from Tomorrow ($0.35-.$0.40)
Pull from Tomorrow feels like a very solid choice. It is highly unlikely that another card will be printed during its Standard life that will fulfill its crucial function in control decks as well as it does. The main issue I see with the card is that it does not work with Torrential Gearhulk, a card that will always be played in Standard while Pull from Tomorrow is also in Standard.
Another determining factor for its price will be the viability of blue-based control decks. Overall, I am optimistic that Pull from Tomorrow will see Standard play. It is also a Saffron_Olive favorite as well, meaning that we’ll most likely see it randomly spike once or twice even if control never reaches tier-one status. I have a difficult time imagining this card falling below 15 cents at any point during its life in Standard, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t hit $1.50 a few times during that same timeline.
Glory-Bound Initiate ($0.30)
Another worthy investment. Although I would not fault anyone for buying in at the present price of 44 cents, I’m going to wait for a slightly lower price point before adding more of them to my portfolio. As evidenced by the fact that the card is seeing play in successful midrange and control decks, it appears versatile enough to make it a safer investment than most aggressive two-drops. I think the card will see ample time above $1.00 during its Standard lifetime.
Channeler Initiate ($0.25)
I wish I had bought in between the 10th and 12th of June when its price was fluctuating between 15 and 25 cents. Now the card is hovering around 60 cents, which is too high to buy in.
Rare cards filling this role in Standard often spike to $1.00 and generally hover around 30 to 50 cents (see Rattleclaw Mystic). The reason this card is not worth more right now is that it is competing with Servant of the Conduit in green decks. Servant is just better in the Energy shell, and that shell has proven extremely hearty, maintaining its tier-one status despite the Aetherworks Marvel ban. The energy shell will also be Standard-legal for the entirety of Channeler Initiate’s life in Standard unless Wizards reverts back to a semi-annual rotation schedule. At 25 cents, though, I’m definitely buying in on raw power level alone.
Dusk to Dawn ($0.10)
I’m hoping Dusk to Dawn will fall down to 10 cents soon, and when it does, I’ll be jumping all over it. If it doesn’t drop during the time surrounding the release of Hours of Devastation, I’ll consider raising my buy price to 20 cents.
The reason to speculate on this card is its potential to anchor a novel strategy in Standard in the future – think Rally the Ancestors. It doesn’t hurt that the card is seeing play in Modern in Counters Company and Hatebears. I think the fact that it was printed in a large set will limit its potential, but the odds are decent that we’ll be able to sell copies of it at some point for 50 cents, which makes a buy-in price of 10 cents rather attractive. This is definitely the riskiest spec of the five I discuss in this article.
It is a good sign that this card never lost all of its value during the lifespan of the triple Amonkhet Draft format, meaning that it never bottomed out to one cent. That means that there was always enough demand to prevent Censor from bottoming out, which bodes well for its chances to recover in the future – and makes it more likely that the card will have many spikes and mini-spikes during its lifetime in Standard. I’ve already bought 50 copies and hope to acquire about 50 to 70 more.
The potential to sell these back to bots for ten times what you bought them for is well worth sinking a few dollars into a riskier spec. The worst-case scenario is that its price trajectory will resemble that of Servant of the Conduit, but there are two reasons why I don't believe that will be the case. First, Servant of the Conduit was being opened for three months at a high volume compared to the two for Censor. And second, most sets will have mana dorks while most sets will not have Constructed-playable counterspells as good as Censor. Thus, I think it’s likely that the card will frequently reach 20 to 50 cents during its lifetime in Standard. Censor has proven itself useful in midrange and control decks alike, and I have heard enough pros sing its praises to consider it a good investment. At worst, you lose a few dollars.
Many readers might be wondering about what to do with the cycling lands of Amonkhet.
Right now, these are going for anywhere from 75 cents (Canyon Slough) to $1.55 (Sheltered Thicket). We now know from the Ixalan spoilers that the allied checklands will be making their return to Standard, which means that the Ixalan lands will directly compete with the Amonkhet lands for slots in Standard decks.
I thus suspect that the Amonkhet land cycle will have a financial value that looks a good deal like the land cycle from Shadows over Innistrad, meaning that they aren’t likely to dramatically shoot upward in price even as some allied-colored lands leave Standard in a few months. I’m not encouraging you to sell any copies you already have, but I definitely do not think that these are strong speculation targets.
Reason would dictate that Fetid Pools is the one most likely to give you a strong return on investment due to blue and black being the two colors that have the strongest cycling rewards. Blue and black are also the two colors that are least bothered by lands that always come into play tapped. I’ll be contemplating that one myself, but will most assuredly stay away from the others. If Fetid Pools drops to 50 or 60 cents or so, I might bite. Count me skeptical that we'll see it go below 75 cents over the next several months, though.
Now is not the worst time to grab a few copies of each cycling land for Standard play. I don’t think four of each is necessary, since most decks won't want to play the full playset of these.
That’s all for this week, folks. Next week I’ll be doing part two of my exploration into Amonkhet speculations. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I will do my best to respond to every comment and answer any questions you have!
I hope y’all are as excited as I am to begin drafting Hours of Devastation. In the meantime, enjoy Vintage Cube and happy investing. In honor of Hours of Devastation, here is a menacing card ready to terrorize those who venture outside the Hekma into the deserts of Amonkhet.