Ixalan is quickly approaching being fully spoiled, and the prerelease is just two weeks away. With Ixalan comes Standard rotation, and as demand for the sets rotating out falls dramatically, demand for other cards will increase to fill the void. Much of this demand will be absorbed by new Ixalan cards, but there will also be increased demand for cards already in the format. Some cards are already seeing play but will see additional demand as they become relatively more important in the metagame, and other cards were off the radar but have suddenly become relevant. There has already been enough of the new set spoiled that we can make some strong assumptions about what the future metagame will look like, so today I’ll share cards that are in position to see increased demand and price after rotation
One of the safest and surest stores of value in Magic is in its real estate, and there’s a history of dual-style lands appreciating into rotation when other dual lands leave. We’re losing a ton of mana with the rotation of the Shadows over Innistrad reveal lands like Port Town and the Battle for Zendikar battle lands like Prairie Stream, and that means the Amonkhet cycle lands like Irrigated Farmland are going to become relatively much more important. At under $4 and as low as under $2, they all look like good buys. Historically, blue lands do the best, especially over the long term, but I think the red lands are particularly attractive given that red is the top color in Standard and is getting great new cards.
The enemy-colored Oath of the Gatewatch creature lands like Needle Spires are rotating out of Standard, and that puts added pressure on the Kaladesh fastlands like Inspiring Vantage. These lands are also an important part of the Modern landscape and are staples of many enemy-colored decks, so there is even potential for these to rise in price indefinitely.
Aether Hub is playable in any two-color decks and will be important for any three-color decks, so with the worsening of manabases after rotation I expect Aether Hub will pick up some of the slack. It’s also a staple of any Energy decks, and Energy is one of if not the single most powerful mechanic to be playing in post-rotation Standard, so that means good things for the demand of Aether Hub. $2 seems like a bargain compared to the $4 all-time-high that it could surpass.
Ixalan has tribal themes, and that brings with it implications for the existing cards in the tribes it includes. The most notable of these is Metallic Mimic, a Shapeshifter that can function in any and all tribes. It’s a good way to shore up the creature counts in a tribe, so it could be especially desirable in tribes like Vampires and Merfolk that don’t have a ton of support, and it may find a home in the marquee tribes of Pirates and Dinosaurs. Its price has been steadily increasing since Hour of Devastation and is on the trajectory towards $10.
Another category of cards that improve are cards that were outshined by cards rotating out but take the starring role. A prime example is Soul-Scar Mage, which is now the premier red one-drop creature with the departure of Falkenrath Gorger. Its current pricetag of $2.60 is twice where it sat at the Hour of Devastation release, but I could see it doubling again.
Gideon of the Trials is another card that will fill-in for an important rotating card with the departure of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Gideon of the Trials is a perfectly playable aggressive planeswalker in Standard, especially when helping to power Heart of Kiran, but it was simply outclassed by Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. The card has seen a recent price spike to $16, which coincided with the announcement of the removal of the planeswalker uniqueness rule, which makes ‘Gideon Tribal’ much more competitive in Modern. I expect the upcoming increase in playability in Standard can only serve to send the price higher.
Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier is a huge loss from rotation, and it completely opens up the five-mana slot in white creature decks. Angel of Sanctions is a very powerful card but was always outclassed, but now looks like a fantastic option. Its current price at $7 is actually an all-time low, but I expect the price to turn around by rotation.
There are also existing cards that have synergy with new cards, and these can be very attractive if the best new cards rely on them. This may very well be the case with Walking Ballista, which is a perfect way to trigger Enrage on your own Dinosaur creatures. Each Enrage trigger on the best dinosaurs is very valuable, whether it be drawing a card from Ripjaw Raptor or putting a land into play with Ranging Raptors, so Walking Ballista can convert to a ton of value and threaten to generate more of it the longer it remains in play. Its price has been very steady between $11 and $12 for the entirety of the calendar year, and now could be the time for the price to have another breakout.
Drover of the Mighty gives Dinosaur decks the perfect acceleration creature, but the deck looks like it’s in the market for more than just four pieces of acceleration. The next best card for the job is likely Channeler Initiate, which has a similar role of being mana acceleration that can transition into battlefield presence. It’s also quite cheap at just above $1, so some great gains could be had if it does get picked up as a staple in Dinosaurs, and it could have applications in other green decks too.
What Standard cards are you targeting with rotation imminent?