Insider: Speculating on Dominaria Spoilers

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Welcome back. As I've said in previous weeks, now is a good time to be speculating on  Rivals of Ixalan cards online. This week is also a particularly good time to evaluate which older Standard cards might see boosts in light of the best cards from Dominaria. If we can get a little perspective on how Dominaria will change the Standard landscape, we can get a speculation edge and get ahead of those who in the coming weeks will buy the cards to brew and play with. Let's jump in!

(I) The return of the Innistrad lands will have a major impact.

Ever since last rotation, decks built around enemy color pairs have not been allowed to be competitive because of their horrid mana. That changes now. What we should pay most attention to are those enemy-colored decks that have had a modicum of success and high levels of player interest despite the atrocious mana. Atop this list are the Winding Constrictor decks. We should expect that strategy to be tier-one again. The other two I've seen people try the most are WB Vampires and RW Aggro. Both are decks I expect to take up larger shares of the metagame going forward.

I recommend taking a closer look at cards like the above if you're thinking about speculating on older Standard cards. If you plan on hopping into Standard and want to play an enemy-colored deck, now might be a good time to pick up some of these staples.

I expect some of the dual lands to receive a boost, especially Inspiring Vantage, Concealed Courtyard, and Blooming Marsh. Cards in vampires are likely to see an uptick, and that deck has a lot of good tiny stock targets like Legion Lieutenant and Adanto Vanguard that you can still get for a penny or less.

Apart from Blooming Marsh, the card in Winding Constrictor decks that I think is worth speculating on is Jadelight Ranger. I'm waiting for its price to dip closer to 3.00 tix, but I wouldn't fault you for buying in at the present 4.00 tix.

(II) Mono White Aggro now has all the traditional tools to compete at the top tier of competitive play.

We will once again have decks that can play eight one-mana 2/1s in white in Standard with Skymarcher Aspirant and Dauntless Bodyguard. And we are getting a White lord to boot. What might go up in value as a result?

All of these cards look like great speculations. Adorned Pouncer (0.21 tix) and Shefet Dunes (0.34 tix) have tanked in price over the past week, and those will probably be able to be had at low prices from now until the first few days after the release of Dominaria. Skymarcher Aspirant and Adanto Vanguard remain great tiny stock speculation opportunities.

(III) Karn will reinvigorate artifact strategies.

I believe the two most powerful cards in the set are Karn, Scion of Urza and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, with the bronze medal going to Historia of Benalia. Karn is the artifact payoff, enabler, and card-advantage engine that Tezzeret the Schemer  never was, allowing artifact decks to play a traditional midrange game of Magic but along some slightly off-kilter axes. That -2 ability is insanely good, providing protection without decreasing Karn's utility the following turn.

I can envision Karn helping out more midrange-aggro shells like Mardu Vehicles, and I can envision it enabling Improvise and other off-beat artifact strategies to be competitive for the first time. Being printed alongside Phyrexian Scriptures doesn't hurt either. What do I think are some good targets to consider in light of Karn's printing?

Overall, I'm most excited about the midrange-control-combo artifact deck cards more so than the Mardu Vehicle cards. The ship has already sailed for speculating on Walking Ballista, but I do expect it to maintain a value north of 12.00 tix for the foreseeable future. Treasure Map // Treasure Cove is finally starting to reach the price I had expected it to reach months ago. If you can find it for 1.35 tix or below, I think it's worth the pickup. Herald of Anguish is a good (though risky) investment at 1.50 tix or below. And I like Battle at the Bridge below a dime and Marionette Master around a penny or two.

Karn also makes me more excited to speculate on Azor's Gateway // Sanctum of the Sun, a Rivals of Ixalan card I've recommended. I've been frustrated that it hasn't dipped in price, but I am patiently waiting to buy closer to 2.00-2.50 tix.

(IV) Signing Off: Some Dominaria Uncertainties

Two cards I did not delve into were Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or Mox Amber. Regarding the former, I believe it is incredibly powerful and will see a significant amount of Standard play (the +1 is a major upgrade over Ob Nixilis Reignited and Jace, Unraveller of Secrets). I'm unsure exactly how it can change the format's texture given that the best removal remains in black. I can see UB Control becoming Esper control, but beyond that, I'm unsure. Pick up your playsets of Glacial Fortress and Drowned Catacombs if you have not already done so.

Regarding Mox Amber, my hunch is that it's too inconsistent to fundamentally scapeshift Standard – I expect it to see play, but it's unclear to me how it will affect the wider metagame.  Not only is the mox itself legendary, but it wants you to be playing other legendaries at a high frequency. We shall see!

I hope you enjoyed this article, and hope you are excited for Dominaria's impending release. A copy of my portfolio can be found here. What cards are you speculating on now during the lame duck season? Please leave your comments and questions down below and I will be sure to reply!


6 thoughts on “Insider: Speculating on Dominaria Spoilers

  1. Hey Kyle,

    Do you think Lyra Dawnbringer is strong enough to unseat Mono Red? Obviously red can SB easily for a 5cc creature. But on face value, Lyra doesn’t die to glorybringer or Chandra outright which I think is a pretty big deal. Just wanted to get your thoughts on it.

    1. Hey Peter,

      I’m confident that Red Aggro decks will be tier one, at least right out of the gates. I agree that Lyra is an excellent tool that can combat Red decks, in part because she dodges important pieces of removal. Is she better than Regal Caracal? I’m not sure. If Red Aggro falls out of tier one, it will be in part due to Lyra and Regal Caracal being effective answers to the strategy.

      As you probably saw on my portfolio, I invested over $100 into Hazoret a month ago when I saw her at $9. My suspicion is that aggro will be good out of the gate, and I’ll sell her 2-4 weeks after Dominaria hits. My recommendation would be to sell whatever Mono Red specs you have during that same window.

    1. Hey Johnny,

      I haven’t kept up with paper pricing so I don’t know the virtues of having already made the investment vs waiting to make that investment. But I do think that both of those cards will see more play over time than right out of the gate, so I think you made smart moves. Karn will see play across all formats (especially Vintage, Modern, and Standard), and Mox Amber should be effective in Modern and possibly in Standard.

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

      1. Karn is definitely good, but yikes it’s hard to say at a $34 preorder price. That puts it well above the highest ceiling of both Carnage Tyrant and Rekindling Phoenix. Mox Amber isn’t much cheaper at $27.

        I know you’re referring to MtGO pricing, so in MtGO terms, do these cards tend to dip a bit after release before spiking?

        1. It’s never wise to invest in cards on MTGO right out of the gate. They always go down. At minimum you have to wait a few weeks before investing, and generally you need to wait a few months.

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