Hey, everyone. I'm Edward Eng, a tournament grinder who started playing Magic in 1994. I’m here to bring you insight from the ground floor in this Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em series.
Each article will focus on two types of cards: 1) cards that you should hold on to or pick up for tournaments if you need them before they rise in price. These cards are either seeing increased play in one or more formats, the supply is drying up, or they are pretty far from the next reprint, and 2) cards that you should consider selling or trading away. Their prices are pretty much at the ceiling owing to inflation from speculation, reprint inevitability in the near future, a lull in tournament play, or some combination of these.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben - WMCQ Promos
Death and Taxes is starting to see an uptick in viability and popularity in Legacy with the recent bannings of Deathrite Shaman and Gitaxian Probe, and Thalia sees play as a four-of in Modern Humans a well. This is also a promo, which are considered the next buyout targets for speculators, according to Chas Andres. You can read his SCG article on that here.
Aether Vial - Iconic Masters
Another card that’s a four-of in both of those decks is Aether Vial. It’s kind of funny that this card is one of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben's best friends, considering it’s a non-creature spell. And it didn’t get the ax with the latest B&R announcement. If you don’t have Aether Vials and want to play them, this would be a good time to pick them up, as I don’t think they’re going to get any cheaper than they are right now.
Mox Amber - Dominaria (Non-Foil & Foil)
This is pretty much the floor for Mox Amber. This is barely seeing any play right now. But as soon as it does, it’s going to skyrocket, and you’re going to kick yourself if you have to spend $20 or $30 a piece on these. I don’t see this reaching $5. But if it does, so what? You lose a few bucks per copy for a mythic rare that’s a Mox and can also be played as a four-of. It’s all upside. This is one of those cards that can only get better over time – think Snapcaster Mage – as more cards are printed.
If Wizards ever prints a legendary one-CMC mana dork, the price of this will go through the roof. And even if they don’t, there’s a chance this will be paired with Sai, Master Thopterist, since this is one of the more powerful cards from the new M19 set. More on this card right now:
Sai, Master Thopterist - M19 (Foil)
So the play on this card is to pick up foils under $10 bucks a piece if you still can. I wish I could have published this article when I collectively preordered eight foil copies at $5 each from SCG and Card Kingdom. You can still find some on eBay. And there are just a few foils on TCGplayer right now. This card has many positives: It has 4 toughness. It’s blue. It’s easily splashable. It makes evasive creatures. It draws cards. And it also fits into the can-only-get-better-over-time category of cards.
Scars of Mirrodin Fastlands
Blackcleave Cliffs is atrociously expensive right now at around $42. There’s only the Scars of Mirrodin printing of these lands. And just like Scapeshift, they can be easily reprinted in Standard or the next Masters set as rares. If you have extra copies of Blackcleave Cliffs lying around, I would get rid of them along with any of the other SOM fastlands to lock in value now. Keeping your playset of each, especially Cliffs to play Hollowine or Dredge is probably fine, but anything else is pretty risky.
Thorn Lieutenant - M19 (Foil)
I preordered a set of these for $3 each on Card Kingdom. It’s a two-CMC 2/3 that’s splashable. It’s an Elf that could see play in multiples in Standard, Modern, and a slim chance in Legacy. It also makes an Elf if your opponent uses targeted removal on it. And it’s a good mid- to late-game mana sink. Plus, I hear green is good in EDH.
Traxos, Scourge of Kroog - Dominaria (Foil)
I ordered 8 copies of the prerelease foil from SCG at $1.50 each. This relatively new Vintage MUD addition could easily slot into other artifact decks in Legacy, Modern, or Standard. And I hope you haven’t already forgot about Sai, Master Thopterist and Mox Amber mentioned above. I don’t know if Mox Opal will ever see play alongside Mox Amber. But the fact that with Mox Diamond there are three different Moxes available, makes this a quite enticing spec target.
So there you have it...my picks for the inaugural article of the Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em series. I hope you enjoyed and found it useful.
-Scars of Mirrodin Fastlands
Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below. Agree? Disagree? Why? You can also connect with me on Twitter at @edwardeng. I’m also open to suggestions on how to make this series more valuable. Hit me up.