Unlocked: Core 19 Financial Power Rankings – Uncommon Edition

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Welcome back to the final article in my financial power rankings for Core 19. In case you missed the others, check out the mythic article and the rare article. There aren't many uncommons to discuss this go around, so this week we're also going to take a look at what uncommons have done well over the past year and which haven't, hoping learning some lessons that can help us judge those in Core 19 and Guilds of Ravnica. Treasure chests have changed the game on uncommons, making them far less lucrative than they were in the past. The good news is that, since Core 19 will have been opened less than all other sets for the past few years, we'll have a little more leeway here than with other sets. Let's dig in!

A brief refresher on the categories:

  • Risk: Relative to its current price, how much room is there for this card to fall? How much concern should you have that you'll be unloading this card at a loss in the future?
  • Potential: How much room does this card have to grow? Growth in an absolute sense (dollars and cents) and growth as a rate of return (percentage) are both important factors, and I weight them equally.
  • Chance of Success: How likely will this card be a successful speculation? Is it a surefire bet or more of a dark horse?

I. What Recent Uncommons Have Done Well on MTGO?

It turns out that uncommons have been doing better than I had given them credit for. There have been a surprising number of uncommons that would have proven to be excellent investments. On average, two to three uncommons per set prove to be worthwhile speculations. Occasionally you get a set like Hour of Devastation, where a whopping eight or nine uncommons shot up in price. Below is a chart of all relevant uncommons from sets Kaladesh through Rivals of Ixalan. Highlighted in green were the cards that saw price gains, and I also note whether the price trajectory surprised me.

I am somewhat disappointed in my predictions of cards in this category over the past year. In particular, I completely missed the Desert land cycle and Thrashing Brontodon, both of which are inexcusable misses.  Despite that, I've made a good return off of my investments into uncommons over the past year, which shows you don't have to be perfect with cards in this category to have a solid return:

  • Money in: $229.71
  • Money out: $378.33
  • Rate of Return: 65%

Going forward, I am going to give greater credence to (i) uncommon lands and (ii) versatile removal. I've done well hitting the good traditional removal spells, but not the removal spells like Brontodon or Cast Out that hit multiple types of permanents.  That level of versatility is what helps these uncommons see play in the wide variety of decks necessary to move the price needle up.

And now onto the rankings!! All of the below are at bulk prices and can be bought for 0.02 tix or less.

6. Shield Mare

Risk: Minimal
Potential: Limited
Chance of Success: 5%

Potentially a good sideboard staple for white decks, but my fear is that the competition at this slot is just too stiff. Even if you're playing against Burn, would you rather play Shield Mare than History of Benalia? Perhaps, but I'm skeptical. As with Draconic Disciple, I'm going to hold onto a few of them to play with, but I'm not going to invest.

Verdict: D

 5. Dryad Greekseeker

Risk: Minimal
Potential: Limited-Moderate
Chance of Success: 5%

This card is just plain good, and I'm surprised it hasn't already started seeing Standard play. If it holds the two-drop slot of two major midrange archetypes in Guilds of Ravnica Standard, I think it will rise to 0.20-0.40 tix. Given Guilds of Ravnica's graveyard theme, I think Merfolk Branchwalker will likely be the preferred two drop, but Dryad Greenseeker is excellent with Wayward Swordtooth and an excellent card advantage engine. We'll see!

Verdict: D

4. Plague Mare

Risk: Minimal
Potential: Limited-Moderate
Chance of Success: 25%

Depending on what we see out of future sets, it's not outside the realm of possibility that Plague Mare becomes an ideal sideboard staple to combat white and red aggro decks. I'm actually pretty optimistic that this card will see spikes north of 0.20 tix, and could go as high as 0.50 tix if the metagame breaks a certain way. Definitely a good pickup and marks the beginning of the good speculation opportunities for Core 19 uncommons.

Verdict: C

3. Militia Bugler

Risk: Minimal
Potential: Moderate
Chance of Success: 60%

Simply stated, Bugler is a good card from a small set. Its potential is largely rooted in its Eternal playability, and perhaps we will see it in action alongside Mentor of the Meek in Standard. Considering that Core 19 will have a lower supply than almost any set in recent memory, I think Bugler will likely pay off as an investment. It might take a while, but wouldn't you rather have that 1 ticket be 50 Buglers instead? I know I would.

Verdict: B

2. Stitcher's Supplier

Risk: Minimal
Potential: Moderate
Chance of Success: 70%

Stitcher's Supplier is similar to Militia Bugler in so many ways. It does something at a great rate that certain decks in all formats want. Especially considering that the upcoming Golgari and Dimir mechanics center around the graveyard, I think the future is bright for this card's financial future. It is a narrower effect than I'm usually comfortable with on an uncommon, but its eternal demand makes up for that. It's currently at bulk for crying out loud!

Verdict: B+

1. Vine Mare

Risk: Minimal
Potential: Moderate-High
Chance of Success: 90%

Vine Mare is just too good to not see significant Standard play. It's an essential card for green sideboards as it's fantastic against control decks, and it's just a powerful card in its own right in the main deck. Oh yea, and Sarkhan's Unsealing is a thing.

I'll take 100 copies, please.

Verdict: A

2 thoughts on “Unlocked: Core 19 Financial Power Rankings – Uncommon Edition

  1. I cant tell if you Sheild Mare will be a good investment or not, but as someone who has played a lot of mono red, that is not a card I want my opponent to play. Ive faced many of these kor firewalker type of cards before, and winning becomes very difficult. This card would stop most of the mono red standard decks ive ever played. But on the other hand, I think we’ll be seeing more Boros agro, or naya zoo style of agro, as opposed to the traditional red burn based agro. The mare seems ok, but is not a 1 card hoser in that matchup. If I can get them for bulk ill pick up a few just to quell the FOMO, and in case a mono red deck materializes. Not sure about vine mare, but again ill grab some for the FOMO aspect. I like your other picks a lot though, I think those should be showing up in quite a few decks.

    1. Thanks for the comment Peter. I think all 6 of these are reasonable investments. I probably shouldn’t give Ds to cards where the speculation is essentially a free roll, as I think that Dryad Greenseeker and Shield Mare are better investments than the Ds I gave out in the rare and mythic articles.

      I’ll adjust future rankings to reflect that reality on the uncommons in the future. I’m still getting a feel for this type of article series, and I think the Core 19 series is overall better than the Dominaria series.

      It sounds like you’d bump Shield Mare up to #3 and bump Vine Mare down to #4. You’re probably right that Shield Mare should be above Dryad Greenseeker.

      I do feel very confident in my Vine Mare pick. I’ve slowly learned that that is exactly the kind of tool that sees ubiquitous play in Standard, and I will be shocked if I’m unable to sell mine off for more than 0.40 tix over the next 9-12 months.

      This stuff is too fun to discuss! I’ll stop there haha 😉

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