Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em #1

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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.

Hold ‘Em

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.

Fold ‘Em

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.

Bonus Picks


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 picks for the inaugural article of the Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em series. I hope you enjoyed and found it useful.


Hold ‘Em
-Thalia, Guardian of Thraben - WMCQ Promos
-Aether Vial - Iconic Masters
-Mox Amber - Dominaria (Non-Foil & Foil)
-Sai, Master Thopterist - M19 (Foil)

Fold ‘Em
-Scars of Mirrodin Fastlands

Bonus Picks
-Thorn Lieutenant - M19 (Foil)
-Traxos, Scourge of Kroog - Dominaria (Foil)

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.

Have fun,

12 thoughts on “Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em #1

  1. First off, really enjoy this type/theme of article. I also enjoy your realistic style of writing.

    Is there a reason for only one fold’em card?

    1. Hi, Getting There Games! Thanks for the kind words and feedback.

      I originally wrote the Fold ‘Em section as part of another article draft on April 5, 2018. It included Goblin Lore and Scapeshift. But the prices of those two cards have tanked since then, so they weren’t included in this article’s Fold ‘Em section.

  2. My issue with Mox Amber though is Core 19 has nothing substantial working with it. Sure, I guess Sai, but yea, we need that 1-drop, or at least a good 2-drop legendary.

    Of course, it’d be wise to jump on Mox Amber before Guilds of Ravnica spoilers are released, just in case, but when will the spoilers start to trickle out exactly? At least not for several weeks. May as well wait on Mox Amber a little longer imo.

    I will say though it’s only a matter of time for WotC to release another 1-drop legendary. They’re pushing the Legendary theme super hard lately, and I can’t imagine WotC wants to see a Mox card continue to fade into oblivion.

    1. Hi, David Scott. Thanks for the comment.

      The release date for Guilds of Ravnica is October 5, 2018. So my guess is that spoilers will start happening around August or September. It’s already July, so I don’t think there’s too much longer to really wait. You run the risk of paying $10-20 extra per Mox Amber to save a few bucks per copy now.

      Wizards will continuing printing legendary creatures and planeswalkers. So it’s only a matter of time before something comes out to make the price of Mox Amber pop. I certainly don’t want to be a person kicking myself for paying extra money on a card when I don’t have to.

      To anyone…correct me if I’m wrong on the spoilers for Guilds of Ravnica.


      1. I just realized, Oviya Pashiri is in Standard and is a 1-mana green Legendary. Was there ever any attempts at making that work with Mox Amber?

        I might try playing around with that in addition to Sai with artifact shenanigans involving Karn. You could play turn-1 Oviya w/ Mox + Llanowar Elves all on turn-1. Then turn-2 play a 4-drop, like Karn. Unlikely to happen, but that’s the dream right there.

          1. Funny enough, there’s a 15% Ebay sale today, so okay, I loaded up on some Mox Amber foils (for holding) and non-foils (for playing).

            Been brewing a Mox Amber deck that floods the board. I’ve got a green deck splashing white. Shalai will actually be my preferred 4-drop to blanket my creatures in the face of meta mono-red aggro; plus Shalai is a legendary and a good mana dump for green. Shanna is also good turn-2 for Mox as she has both GW casting cost and sticks to the board. Oviya, of course, for turn-1; Llanowar Elves for additional ramp with Mox.

            So basically, I have legendaries blanketing my early curve:

            1: Oviya

            2: Shanna

            3: Rhonas, Rishkar, and/or Marwyn

            4: Shalai

            Still tweaking the deck, but looks pretty mean so far. Rotation will hurt it losing Oviya, so gotta get my jollies in fast.

            1. Nice! I would hold a playset of foils for yourself. And if and when they spike, sell/trade everything except your playset of foils.

              You might want to consider Bant or UG. Blue has quite a few cheap legendary creatures. You also probably need more than just 4 creatures at each point of the curve; probably need at least 8-12 at 1 and 2 CMC. You probably want to consult Frank Karsten for the correct numbers on this.

              [Edit] It was late, and I was tired so I forgot about this Mox Amber article by Frank Karsten…

              I think Modern, Legacy, and Vintage are where Mox Amber has the most potential to shine.

  3. Congrats on your first article with Quiet Speculation! I really enjoyed the flow of your article – it was easy to read, I got all the info I needed very quickly, and the recommendations were very actionable. I like the picks too, and my trigger finger is getting very antsy as I watch Mox Amber’s price drop ever…so…slowly.

    Maybe next time you’ll throw in an Old School card for this old fogy :-).

    1. Thanks for the awesome feedback and recommendation, Sigmund. I’ll work on the Old School picks. That’ll be tougher for me since I don’t play that format right now. Too rich for my blood. Heh.

      But two cards you might want to consider if you haven’t already that’s kind of in that realm are Meditate and Paradigm Shift.

      Both have powerful effects. Both are blue. And both are on the Reserved List. 🙂

      Also, don’t wait too long on Mox Amber.

  4. Congratulations on the first article! I think we can all appreciate more input regarding MTG finance. I enjoyed the succinct style and the fact that you commented on differentformats ; even vintage. Well done. Now I’m off to buy more copies of Mox Amber…

    1. Appreciate the kinds words and great feedback, Russ! Don’t wait to long on Mox Amber. Get a playset at the very least and put them in a box.

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