Insider: On the Cheap – Picking Up Rotating Cards

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Standard is changing. Rotation is almost upon us which means it's time to start figuring out what to move and what to keep from Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) and Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) blocks.

Traditionally, common knowledge dictates that most rotating cards will lose value. It makes sense, since there will no longer be further demand for these cards by Standard players.

Indeed most rotating cards do drop off sharply in value as we move closer and closer toward rotation. On the one hand, this trend tells us that we should be dumping off rotating cards since we are unlikely to ever get a better deal for them. While true, there are always exceptions to the rule. That's my subject for today.

Allow me to explain. As we start getting closer to Ixalan we are going to see a steep drop-off in the rotating cards. But here's the thing—as people are all looking to dump their rotating cards, we end up with an opportunity where the supply grossly outweighs the demand. There are so many people trying to dump the same cards at the same time that it creates a market with almost zero demand. That's a fantastic buyer's market!

While the vast majority of the rotating cards are headed for the dollar box there are always gems that will have (and have already made) homes for themselves outside of Standard. These are the kinds of cards that I like to target during a Standard rotation dump because people are willing to get rid of them for almost nothing.

Today's list of cards are the cards I'm most interested in buying in on at their rock-bottom, rotation price.


I've always been super high on the Eldrazi as investment cards and I still am. I think these cards are all very powerful, unique, and interesting from a flavor perspective. They'd be a really popular casual-player draw if they were't so clearly busted enough for all kinds of constructed decks!

Thought-Knot Seer is the Eldrazi that is so good that it sees play outside of Eldrazi decks in various formats. I think it's just a good card and should continue to rise in price.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Thought-Knot Seer

The other three Eldrazi pictured above are role players that have a very low price tag at the moment. If they continue to drop below those prices, it's almost a no-brainer that they will eventually regain value to the point where the investment will make money.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Kozilek, the Great Distortion

I also like Kozilek as a great little "at the buzzer" pick-up card. It's flashy. It's powerful. And flavorful to boot. I think this is a great Commander card with possible applications in various constructed formats. It makes me think of a lot of other "expensive monsters" that tank while in Standard, but become expensive later on after they've rotated because of casual play.

I'd also like to throw this Eldrazi into the casual appeal category:

There was an error retrieving a chart for World Breaker

If World Breaker isn't Commander fun I don't know what it. I think this card will bounce back and become a fairly popular Commander staple for years to come. If it doesn't get reprinted in a deck I think it could be a spicy little investment card.

Modern Staples

The next category of cards that I'm interested in are the ones that are likely to be good in Modern for a long time. The Eldrazi are a slam dunk but they are so unique and interesting that I felt they deserved their own category.

Two cards that have already made a huge impact on Modern: Prized Amalgam and Collective Brutality.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Prized Amalgam
There was an error retrieving a chart for Collective Brutality

Amalgam single-handedly brought Dredge to the Tier 1 and will be great forever.

Meanwhile, Collective Brutality gives the player a ton of great options for a low mana investment. Burn players will be dreading this card for years to come—destroy Goblin Guide, gain two life, and Duress away your best spell for two mana. Feels worth two mana!

There was an error retrieving a chart for Tireless Tracker

Tireless Tracker is a great card in Jund-style decks as well as Collected Company strategies. I would expect its value to continue to plummet as we get closer to rotation (since some of the value is obvious Standard-related) however I think once it hits bottom the value will rebound back. Tracker is a great Magic card and will have a home in fetchland formats for a long time.

Next we have the creature lands. Three in particular have my interest.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Wandering Fumarole
There was an error retrieving a chart for Shambling Vent
There was an error retrieving a chart for Hissing Quagmire


Of the five creature lands from Oath of the Gatewatch, these three seem highly playable in Modern and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. These are staple-type cards and I expect they will come back in value.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Sea Gate Wreckage

Too good to fail! Sea Gate is a good Magic card. It provides a ton of upside at a very low cost of including it in your deck. I'm a firm believer that certain cards are simply too good to ever truly become bulk.

Speculative Goodness

The first two categories are pretty simple. Eldrazi are great and very likely to bounce back after the rotation drop. The same for the second category: cards that already have a solid home in Modern will almost certainly bounce back.

The last category is good old fashioned speculations. These are cards that I think are insanely powerful, but just don't have a home in any format right now. Emphasis on "right now"—I think these cards will eventually find decks and be big gainers down the line. The key is that something needs to change, or be printed, in order for these cards to actually shine.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Oath of Nissa

Oath of Nissa is kind of like a Ponder. Okay, based on that alone I'm willing to incur some risk and bet on this card! It does something unique and extremely good for a very low investment of mana.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Traverse the Ulvenwald

Traverse the Ulvenwald is another highly efficient card that does something we don't often see in Modern: tutor. Once the card is set up it can find any creature or land. I'll always bet on a great tutor finding a home. At the least this is a Commander card forever.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Cryptolith Rite

I think Cryptolith Rite feels like a casual/Commander slam-dunk card. It's so powerful and awesome. It's also very unique. It also does the only thing that matters in EDH: make mana. I believe this is the kind of card that people will be interested in for their casual decks in a couple of years. It feels like a fun card to discover all over again.

Buy Low...

While it is certainly true that the market is rapidly collapsing for cards from BFZ and SOI block, that doesn't mean that we can't also capitalize on the downslide. You have to remember that these cards will be priced at the lowest they have ever been, which makes it a good time to buy in on them for the future. If you can pick the right cards, rock-bottom is the perfect time to buy in.

Good luck! I'm now looking forward to dinosaurs. Onto Ixalan.

One thought on “Insider: On the Cheap – Picking Up Rotating Cards

  1. I’m in full agreement on your picks. I’m big on Kozilek and the Eldrazi myself…I especially like Displacer if only because repeatedly blinking is incredibly powerful and eternal formats are full of creatures with powerful ETB effects.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation