Welcome to another article on block staples to watch. This time around we are going to visit Ravnica block, which is known for the shockland cycle drawn by Rob Alexander. Shocklands are the most played lands in Modern. Every player who is active in Modern should own at least a couple of sets of these.
Below is the low price for each shockland where I would suggest picking up copies for investment:
|Steam Vents||5 tickets|
|Stomping Ground||4.5 tickets|
|Sacred Foundry||2.5 tickets|
|Blood Crypt||2 tickets|
|Hallowed Fountain||2.2 tickets|
|Breeding Pool||1.8 tickets|
|Godless Shrine||2.2 tickets|
|Temple Garden||1.2 tickets|
|Overgrown Tomb||1 ticket|
|Watery Grave||1.2 tickets|
Some of the shocklands are pretty cheap in spite of seeing a lot of play. For example, Overgrown Tomb and Blood Crypt are played in Jund and Abzan midrange variants, but the price for these cards is relatively low.
This is mainly because only one to two copies of each land is needed in the deck that plays it. On the other hand, Steam Vents and Stomping Ground are played as four-ofs in decks like UR Breach and RG Titan Shift. The difference in the number of copies played directly affects the demand for each card and hence the price.
Other lands played as four-ofs, like Temple Garden and Sacred Foundry, can go pretty high in price when decks like Burn, Zoo, or Bogles are good. Overall, if you pay attention to the shocklands, you won't be expecting spikes—but in the long term you should be able to make some extra tickets out of them.
Next, let's look at other cards I think we should keep our eyes on.
Dark Confidant is the king of card advantage in black-green decks, a good friend of Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil. Whenever there's a deck that plays Goyf and Liliana, the chances of Dark Confidant showing up is very high.
Currently, Jund is no longer that dominant compared to the time when Bloodbraid Elf was fresh off the ban list. I think the price of Confidant is going to drop slowly, something you can already see starting to happen in the graph above.
Based on the graph, Confidant's lowest point recently was between 10 and 12 tickets, while the high point was 18 tickets. The card will have difficultly reaching 18 tickets again, unless Jund players discover some special tech to bring the deck back on top of the metagame. I suggest waiting for the price to drop to 10 tickets to acquire your copies.
Life from the Loam is a staple in Modern and Legacy. This card fluctuates relatively fast compared to many other Modern staples. Players who have played with this card before probably know how good it is when combined with fetches and any graveyard strategies.
At the moment Loam is dropping in price, and it's almost reached the point where we can buy playsets for investment. In my opinion, the ideal price to stock up on Loam is 5 tickets. It won't be too long until the price increases again to over 8 tickets, so this is one of the best singles in Ravnica block to keep on our watchlist.
Infernal Tutor is a staple in combo decks. Look at the data since June 2014, we see the price spike many times. Whenever there's a deck that becomes competitive all of a sudden because of Infernal Tutor, it's time for us to earn some profit.
Right now the card is at about 10 tickets each. Compared to the price earlier this year it has decreased by 10 tickets, but this is definitely not the end for this card. The chances of Infernal Tutor spiking again in the future is very high, and this pick is relatively safe as we can see from the past trend.
I talked about this card a few weeks ago. I was saying that Spell Snare is the answer to most aggressive and midrange decks in the format. At the end of last year, Spell Snare was still below 1 ticket. It subsequently went up to nearly 3 tickets, before dropping back to 1.5 tickets recently.
I like to keep an eye on Spell Snare because Modern is full of powerful two-mana cards, and a one-mana counterspell for those threats is very efficient. I suggest buying playsets whenever the price is 1.2 tickets or lower.
Golgari Grave-Troll was unbanned in Modern before, and then got the ban hammer again not long after that. This card is still played in Legacy and Vintage. I'm not an expert in those formats—but just by looking at the graph, I think Grave-Troll is worth investing in when it's low.
This is what's known as a cyclical price change, and investing in this kind of singles is pretty safe. The floor seems to be around 1 ticket, so that's what you want to aim for.
Shattering Spree is efficient artifact removal for decks like Burn or other aggressive red decks. As an uncommon, it's quite impressive to see it reach 5 tickets as you can see in the graph. This card doesn't have any replacement as of now, so I think it's a great card to keep on our stock watch list.
I did think of the scenario where Shattering Spree gets reprinted in future sets. If that ever happens, it might heavily affect the price of Guildpact copies and reduce them to bulk. You can see a similar case in another Ravnica block staple, Remand.
Look at the point where Remand was reprinted in Modern Masters 2015. The price went downhill quickly from there. So if you decide to invest in Shattering Spree, do take into consideration the possibility of the price tanking if it gets reprinted.
Alright guys, that’s all for this week. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you again next week.
Adrian, signing off.