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Insider: Rotation Picks from BFZ and SOI

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It seems everyone is heavily focused on the new toys from Ixalan. That means it's a great time to pick up all the discarded toys that are rotating.

The challenge here is, of course, is to avoid the cards already propped up by eternal (Vintage/Legacy/Modern/Commander). Cards like Nahiri, the Harbinger, who saw minimal Standard play and whose current price is entirely dictated by Modern demand. These might see a small dip, but not likely enough to make any good profits on.


No, what we want are the cards whose current value is heavily propped up by Standard, but which also have seen some eternal or casual success. These are the cards that will take the biggest hit from rotation, and then slowly gain over time.

As I have stated previously, I no longer view any card not on the Reserved List as a long-term hold—WoTC's decisions to keep making Masters sets with increasing regularity have me wary of holding anything for more than two years. But in that time frame these cards are a good candidate for gains.

So what are these gems from the current rotation?


Our first card is one that has haunted Standard pretty much since Battle for Zendikar's inception. Gideon, AoZ has single-handedly pushed many other potential walkers out of the format due to its raw power level. It has also found a home in some Modern decks. The current price has crashed down to around $8-$9 (and I imagine if you offered any of your local Standard players $5-$6 they'd probably take it).

I think the floor on Gideon is almost reached (he could go a little lower). I do think that thanks to Battle for Zendikar having both the fetches and shocks as Expeditions, there are likely a ton more Gideons than there might have been; however, he wasn't featured in any duel decks so the only copies floating around are ones cracked from packs or redeemed from MTGO.


Tracker used to be the auto-include if you were playing green in Standard. It has built-in card advantage (as long as you can trigger his "landfall" ability) and has acceptable stats to begin with. Modern as a format doesn't have a ton of actual card advantage in it (heck, Legacy for the most part doesn't really either), and Tracker provides card advantage in a growing threat. Last but not least, it can get hit off of Collected Company.

This card has already plummeted to around $2.50-$3, and the floor is likely near. From past experience though, I've seen that these Standard cards tend to continue their downward trend for a little while after rotation before bottoming out, so I will likely check her price again in a month or so and look at acquiring her then.


World Breaker is a fantastic casual card that also happens to have a home in some Modern Tron lists. I have played with many Commander players who had a hard time beating a Torpor Orb because they relied so heavily on creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities to get rid of artifacts and enchantments. World Breaker gets around this with an almost uncounterable ability (so he doesn't even have to resolve) and has a form of built-in recursion.

It also helps that he's a mythic from Oath of the Gatewatch, which had considerably less impressive Expeditions and was likely opened far less than Battle for Zendikar. I'm a big fan of the foil versions of this card as they are extremely rare (being a foil mythic and all) and can be picked up for under $7 which is only about a 2.5x multiplier versus the regular.


"Newlamog" may have originally had his heyday in Standard being cheated in as early as turn four thanks to Aetherworks Marvel. But he's quickly dropped in price since his high of $30. Now "Newlamog" waffles in and out of Modern Eldrazi Tron lists (usually either a one-of or none-of). However, he's still a fantastic Commander card and there's plenty of demand from that crowd.

Currently one can purchase copies in the $9.50 range, and I imagine you can pick them up on eBay in the $8 range. I doubt he'll end up in any Masters set for at least another two years and I expect we'll see some decent growth on him.

Now, one could argue that his current price has been in a pretty steady but slow decline the past few months as players outed extra copies before he bottomed out with the upcoming rotation. The question is, how much of the current price is set by Standard demand? While I don't actually think it's a lot there is likely some, so I'm expecting a continual slow decline down to likely the $8.50-$9 range.


Kalitas has been in steady decline for a while, as the powerful BG counters decks slid down the tier chart of the Standard metagame. However, he is still an extremely powerful four-drop with a lot of relevant abilities.

Currently Modern Jund decks tend to favor Chandra, Torch of Defiance in the four-drop slot, however, Kaltias really shines when graveyard-centered decks are at the forefront of Modern. Any resurgence in Dredge would likely cause an uptick in Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. His four toughness keeps him out of Bolt range and the lifelink can help a lot against aggro decks.


It seems like forever ago that Gerry T won the Pro Tour with Zombies and we saw this card skyrocket in price. However, the Zombie tribe is a popular casual tribe and Relentless Dead's power level has definitely been proven. This does seem like one of those mythics that will slowly decline to the $3-$4 range plateau for a bit, and then barring a reprint make its way back up to $10 simply off the back of casual demand.

I personally don't think Zombies is a strong enough tribe for Modern, however, in the future if WoTC did print a card (or cards) that made them viable in the format, I would imagine this card would end up in that deck.


While this card definitely saw a good bit of demand while in Standard, it has found a home in Modern and it shows up in a lot of popular commanders like Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Meren of Clan Nel Toth, and Atraxa, Praetors' Voice. Copies can be had in the $1.50 range, whereas Worldly Tutor (which always tutors for a creature but puts it on top of your library) sits in the $10+ range.

I don't expect this discrepancy to last long, and I'm a fan of this card medium-term (as I don't see the delirium mechanic returning anytime soon). This is the type of card I like to stock up on at rotation as it was once a $5 card (when modern Jund Death's Shadow was big) and Commander players love tutors.


I saved my favorite target til last. Displacer has dropped all the way down to the $1.5-$2 range, but Modern and Commander are full of powerful creatures with ETB effects, so repeatable blink is extremely potent.

The fact that Displacer can be used to kill creatures like Hangarback Walker and Walking Ballista is another powerful interaction many forget. While it may not come up a ton, he can even be used to stop very large attacking creatures (they can't trigger Annihilator if their Emrakul is always tapped before the attack step).

This is one of the few targets I am personally targeting now (especially in trade).

Conclusion

There are a lot of fantastic cards with strong eternal possibilities rotating out of Standard. And with the new set releasing this week, now is a fantastic time to trade the over-priced cards for ones with a good medium-term potential. I know I'll be trading off any Carnage Tyrants I'm lucky enough to pull towards cards on this list.

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