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Insider: Underrated Commander Standouts in RIX

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Week one is in the bag, to predictable results. The first week is always the same—99% of cards are way overpriced because demand significantly outweighs demand. The best move you could have made was to trade away most of the Rivals of Ixalan you opened and avoid trading for new cards (unless you had a really nice outside-the-box hunch). It's almost always that way.

Now that we've got the first week under our belt, cards have begun to return to what normal prices should look like. Most cards will have proven not to be broken must-own staples, and people will have cracked some packs and have cards to trade. Now that the market is settling down we can begin to plot our moves.

I think that Commander has a big stake in rounding out how the prices go. The price of Standard cards has been miserably low for a while. Sure, some cards spike hard and can hold a big price tag for a while (The Scarab God, Chandra, Torch of Defiance) but these are a kind of anomaly that corrects itself as the format evolves.

Most of the value of the vast majority of cards comes from somewhere other than Standard demand. Legacy, Modern, Commander, Cube, whatever... When I'm looking for investment cards I'm typically thinking about cards with potential outside of Standard. Obviously, if I have a strong hunch about Standard I'm happy to go with it—but I'm often looking to other formats such as Commander and thinking about where cards might make an impact.

Today, I'm going to talk about the Rivals of Ixalan cards that I think have the best shot at becoming staple Commander cards, and which thus have some room to grow as investments over time.

I'm really proud of this first pick from last week, so I'm going to run it back:

#8. Twilight Prophet


I'm proud of this pick because of how perfectly I nailed the mythics before release weekend:

"As far as mythic rares were concerned, nothing was really calling to me. Most of the mythics felt like they were priced as though they had already hit and are destined to drop when they don’t.

Of all the mythics the one that I thought had the most potential was Twilight Prophet."

That was from my article last week. Not only was Twilight Prophet the only mythic that didn't lose significant value, it went up $0.50! Not bad when a week-one card holds a stable price tag.

As far as Commander cards go, I'm fairly certain that ascend is going to be great. The games go long and getting ten permanents into play is something that will always happen, meaning that we can assume we'll eventually get the city's blessing.

Twilight Prophet takes advantage of ascend but also of multiplayer. Its ability causes loss of life to all opponents which means that its got some real teeth. Gains life, deals damage, draws cards, and flies. What more do you want for 2BB? I think the card will be a staple of most black decks. I could even see it holding a price tag greater than $8.00.

#7. Arch of Orazca


There is a correlation between cards having ascend and being good in multiplayer Commander...

Arch of Orazca is a nice little value land that any deck can play. Keep in mind that the colorless decks will for sure play a copy. It's basically settled into bulk rare territory but I think the card has the potential for some value down the road.

It's not an exciting pick but I love picks that can't really lose. If it's a bulk rare and it never goes up, you broke even. If it goes up you won. I think the card is very likely to have some value at some point down the road, but just not right now because everybody is cracking packs.

#6. Mastermind's Acquisition


The cost of 2BB is real. However, I think the utility the card provides is just so high, especially in variants of Commander that allow a sideboard. To be clear, I'm a huge fan of playing Commander with the sideboard because I think its just a better game of Magic and it helps fix some of the problems I see with the format (i.e. people playing linear combo decks in a multiplayer setting).

The card is great. I wouldn't play a control deck with access to black mana without this card. I feel strongly about the fact that I would always play with this card. I would play this in a fair deck, however the more "unfair" my deck became the more likely I would be to use the card. High praise.

#5. Vona's Hunger


An edict effect that doesn't target, hits each opponent, and scales up with ascend to force everyone to sacrifice half of their creatures rounded up? How is this card not simply amazing?

Also, it's an instant. This card is very good in multiplayer and will be sought out by Commander players for years.

#4. Timestream Navigator


I didn't like mythic rares last week when they were all bloated but now that nobody wants them I'm interested. When demand shrinks so does the price. It's time to buy!

It isn't that I think the cards suck. It's more an issue that I think the price sucks for what the card is. Timestream Navigator for $10.00 last week was dumb. At $2.00, I'm interested.

It's a Time Walk that shuffles back in. That is unique and powerful in and of itself. Assuming that you have a bunch of mana, a way to give Timestream Navigator haste (Lightning Greaves) and a recurring tutor (Planar Portal, Planar Bridge), the game is yours.

Also, it provides a unique ability to insert a Time Walk at instant speed during a multiplayer game. Not all Time Walks are created equally, but the one you get to insert whenever you please is well stacked.

#3. The Immortal Sun


The Immortal Sun is a generic "powerful card." It costs six but it does a ton of stuff, basically everything you could ever want. I actually think this card will see some play in Mishra's Workshop decks in Vintage. I've played Coercive Portal before, and this is in a similar vein.

This is the kind of card that Commander players will gravitate toward. It's a powerful card that any deck can (and often will) play. Foils of this will also be great value down the line.

#2. Azor's Gateway


Another mythic! What a difference a week (and half the price tag) makes!

Azor's Gateway // Sanctum of the Sun is serious business in a Commander game. I like that it allows you to loot early in the game and can help you smooth draws. It's hard to flip, but if you flip it, you probably win the game. So, its basically like a reasonable little "looter rock" that will help you smooth through the early game and double as a gigantic "win the game" type of threat later.

Any deck can play it too. Especially in a format where players start with 40 life, I think this card is pretty busted.

#1. Nezahal, Primal Tide


I seriously wonder if this is just a card that needs to be banned in Commander. It's so clearly insane!

Can't be countered. We're off to a good start. I always like it when my unbeatable haymaker can't be countered.

For my trouble, I get a gigantic monster that allows me to draw a card whenever any opponent casts a noncreature spell? Wow, seems amazing. However, I'd be worried that it would be a lightning rod for removal… No worries, it has an ability to discard three cards (no mana required) to exile itself until the beginning of the next end step. Oh, can't wrath it either!

Also, just because they needed to make sure the card was good (rolling my eyes), the card has Reliquary Tower tacked on for good measure. I mean, wouldn't want anybody to feel bad about drawing 20 cards and then having to discard half of them before they could all be cast!

The card is insane. It'll be a nice money maker if it doesn't get banned.

Conclusion

All things considered, Rivals of Ixalan has a lot of really fun Commander and multiplayer cards. I love ascend in multiplayer. I'm also a fan of all the "each opponent" moded cards. There are some nice ones to pick up from the scrapheap this time around.

Also, keep in mind (as is always the case with Commander cards) that the foil versions tend to be even better value.

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