There are different kinds of finance strategies. You can play the Reserved List for the long game. You can hunt down the rarities and misprints that are oft unknown to 99 percent of the population. You can collect playmats and other paraphernalia. If you can imagine it, you can attempt to make a buck from it! Often, the more creative you are with your lines of thinking, the better the chance of stumbling upon some hidden future value before the rest of the pack catches up!
However, sometimes the least creative avenues can be the most longstanding. Ever since MTG finance has existed, the tried and true principle of "picking cards that are going to get better in Constructed" has been a great way to increase the value of one's collection. The "playability angle," predicting cards that will be good in the short term in Constructed, is a cornerstone of the marketplace. It's a good strategy because it is so concrete. The demand for cards created by players looking to build competitive decks is tried and true.
Today, I'll be breaking from my typical strategy of looking for the best possible deals on Reserved List and Old School cards, and go back to my roots as a metagame predictor. With Guilds of Ravnica on the horizon, I'm interested in thinking about cards that could easily gain a lot of value in Standard and Modern with a little bit of help from Wizards's upcoming expansion set.
Not only will I be outlining a handful of cards that I think are great pickups, I'll also be explaining the thought process behind why I like these cards, which are useful guidelines for picking your own potential metagame winners!
What We Know About Ravnica
Even not knowing any of the recently spoiled cards, we have a lot of context for what a Ravnica set is likely to be. Here are some things to consider:
- We know Ravnica-based sets are a gold mine of multi-colored spells. The overarching theme of these sets has always been multi-colored spells.
- We know Ravnica has traditionally been based around two-color guild combinations, and not three-color wedges or shards.
- We know that each two-color combination tends to have at least one keyword mechanic associated with it.
- We know that in the past, Wizards has split the guilds up and featured them in different sets. Will this trend continue? To be continued...
- We also know that Ravnica is one of the most popular planes with players, since multi-colored spells are super good and super flavorful, which makes it likely that Magic will experience a boost in popularity.
The first two cards spoiled were:
Choose a creature card in your graveyard with converted mana cost 1. Then choose a a creature with converted mana cost and a creature with converted mana cost 3. Return those creatures to the battlefield.
Even though both of these cards are single colors, they have a distinct feel of a guild. Macabre Hatchery deals with creatures in graveyard and has Golgari flavor text. Greatworm has convoke, which is a Selesnya mmechanic
It is now confirmed, of course, but we could have known that it was likely that GB and GW guild cards will be featured in the upcoming set. I used this information when picking winners!
Prizing Guilds and Multicolor Themes
It makes a lot of sense to be thinking about various multicolor synergies right now. Artifacts are great, but it seems unlikely that with Kaladesh rotating and a multicolor set on the horizon that Artifact synergies are where I want to invest!
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to look at mana fixing. Multicolor sets reward playing more than one color (duh), and before we ever sling a single splashed Selesnya spell (try saying that five times fast), we'll need to build mana bases that can do it.
The "M" or "Ixalan" lands are a great place to find value. First, it's a great time to be picking up cards during the summer lull. Most people are waiting to see what they will want to play in a month and not actively buying up cards. It makes it a great time to find great deals.
Secondly, these lands are actively great even outside of Standard. They are seeing more and more play in Modern as the format has slowed down with the rise of UW Control.
With shock lands returning, these lands will be even better. It's a great time to be picking these up, because they are guaranteed to be pillars of the format.
In truth, any mana fixing is likely to improve with a multi-color set waiting in the wings.
Since we have reason to believe that Selesnya will be featured in this specific set, why not look at great Selesnya cards?
Why not start with one of the greatest GW cards of all time! Voice of Resurgence doesn't have a huge price tag right now because it was reprinted in a Masters set. It is the kind of card that is so generically powerful, a two-drop with a ton of good text, that it could easily slot into any GW Modern deck that gets help from Guilds.
I like betting on cards like these, because even if they whiff, they don't really whiff, since they are already great and have a slightly depressed price point at the moment. It's the kind of card that tends to get hot and spike when the moment is right.
In the same vein of speculating on guilds that appear likely to be included in Guilds, I also like Vraska, Relic Seeker. The card is straight-up amazing and is GB. It's the kind of card where if I'm playing green and black in Standard, I'll probably include a couple of copies on power level alone.
It's a great time to hedge and pick up a few copies to be on the safe side.
I don't typically like speculating on really expensive cards. I often ask myself, "Can the card really go much higher than this?" Even if it does go higher, how much higher can it go? And,is the best use of my $50 to bet on a single card going up much more than it currently is?
Teferi is a rare example where I'm going to pick up extra copies of an expensive card and without even knowing if the Azorious guild will be featured in Guilds! The card is easily the best, most powerful card in Standard. It's the kind of card that dominates games. It's the kind of card that warps formats. It's the kind of card that people get so sick of losing to that they want it banned.
Not only that, the card is dominating Modern as well! When the hype for playing "New Standard" picks up in the fall, Teferi will be one of the cards that everybody needs to own to play, which makes it a nice card to be targeting during the Summer Lull.
Sorcerous Spyglass is another nice one. It's ubiquitously good. It is an answer to a wide range of things, even things that we don't even know about yet. Most importantly, it is an answer to Teferi, Hero of Dominaria that any deck can field in the sideboard, regardless of color commitments.
I've played this card in formats dating all the way back to Vintage. I love foil copies as potential investments as well, since the card does have a place in Eternal Magic, and we all know how Eternal players love their foils!
There's obviously an element of "the best cards that don't rotate will get better" at play when thinking about a post-rotation format. At the same time, we can also think about how a new Ravnica format will impact the cards we already have and hedge based on that speculation as well. The best part is that we are in a depressed marketplace where non-speculators don't want to buy-in, and would rather wait for more information, which means that buyers are advantaged. Use that advantage wisely and you're bound to make some potentially great investments that will pay off next month.