GRN Standard and the State of Shocklands

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Standard card prices have exploded over the past several weeks. History of Benalia tripled from 6 tix to 18 tix. Vraska's Contempt more than doubled from 4.5 tix to 10 tix. Rekindling Phoenix surged back up to 30 tix, and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria cracked the 40 tix mark.

Interest in Standard post-rotation has surged, and people are invested in playing it. I myself have been playing Standard for the first time since Theros block, and I'm likely not alone. At any given time there are now 1600 people in the Standard Leagues on MTGO; this is more people than were playing Standard in the Spring, and that number continues to grow by about 50 per day. This is great news for Magic Online investors and players.

Today we're going to look at how high popular Standard cards can go. Folks are especially interested in the Guilds of Ravnica shocklands, so let's get right to it!

Shocklands - How High Can They Go?

Investing in lands is one of the easy no-brainers in Magic Online finance. Rare land cycles always go up once their sets cease to be drafted. What's harder to discern is when to sell, when to know how high they will go.

I remember investing in the Kaladesh fastlands, buying most of them for between 0.75 and 1.00 tix. In turn, I sold most of them for between 2.25 and 3.00 tix. A nice profit to be sure, but…

…I left a lot of money on the table.

I figured that these lands, widely opened in a fall set, wouldn't have ceilings higher than 5 tix, and boy was I wrong.

There are many factors that affect how high lands in a rare land cycle can go. How many printings does it have? And how long ago were its first printings? Were they printed in large fall sets or smaller summer Core sets? Are they seeing closer to four copies per deck, or closer to two? Do they have demand in Modern and Legacy, or just in Standard? How high is their frequency in the treasure chests?

All of these variables are important to consider, and identifying other land cycles with similar answers to the above can often serve as a helpful guidepost. For a list of all the rare dual land cycles, along with their original printings and reprintings, click here.

The Guilds of Ravnica rare duals are now experiencing their third printing, first in 2005-2006 and next in 2012-2013. We might go ahead and say that this is their fourth printing due to their perpetual inclusion in the treasure chests. These see extensive Modern play and will constitute the backbone of Standard decks.

My forecast for these lands is that they will peak somewhere in the 3.0 to 6.0 tix range. The last time we saw a cycle of lands printed in the major fall set for Standard that saw extensive Modern and Standard play was when the allied fetchlands were reprinted in Khans of Tarkir:

If you recall, these peaked between 8.50 and 11.00 tix. We should expect the Guilds of Ravnica shocklands to peak lower than that since there are far more Steam Vents and Overgrown Tombs in the wild than there were Flooded Strands and Wooded Foothills at the time. Peaks between 3.00 and 6.00 therefore seem like reasonable expectations for these lands, and they'll probably crater down to 1.00 or 2.00 tix after they rotate out of Standard.

It's a bit too early to invest in anything in Guilds of Ravnica, but these lands are all at fair prices right now if you want to pick them up for your Modern collection or to play with in Standard.

Steam Vents {UR} : 3.54 tix
Overgrown Tomb {BG} : 1.90 tix
Watery Grave {UB} : 1.00 tix
Sacred Foundry {RW} : 0.97 tix
Temple Garden {WG} : 0.78 tix

I expect them to dip about 20-percent over the next month. Guilds of Ravnica as a set is still holding a high value of $90, and the basic economics of redemption will force that down closer to $70 over the next month or two.

Golgari Here, Golgari There, Golgari Everywhere!

I've done a lot of selling this month, in part thanks to price spikes like this.

Initially Magic players took to white-based strategies revolving around History of Benalia, Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice, and Lyra Dawnbringer. However, it didn't take long for Jadelight Ranger, Ravenous Chupacabra, Find // Finality, and Vraska, Relic Seeker to overtake them as Golgari emerged as the deck to beat in Standard.

Even now, cards like Carnage Tyrant and Vivien Reid continue to rise. When should you sell?

Vivien Reid has now breached the 20-tix mark, and there is no precedent for a card like her to stay above 20 tix. I've now sold all the copies I'm not playing with. What's thrust her price so high is that (i) she is a maindeck card in a dominant strategy; (ii) she is a prominent card in lesser Green strategies; and (iii) she is from a small set. I expect her price to cool off down to 15 tix even if Golgari cannot be dethroned, although maybe the supply of Core 19 is so low that she'll stay above 20.

Jadelight Ranger is a card I invested heavily in, and I've now relinquished my holdings of her. It's hard for a rare that isn't colorless or removal to rocket north of 10 tix, and Jadelight Ranger's price spike is indicative of Golgari's dominating performance online over the past week. Expect her to slowly dip back down to 7.00 tix over the next several weeks.

Doom Whisperer is a card that fellow MTGO financier Chas Andres has recommended speculating on, and indeed it has been rising in value over the past week despite copies entering the market through Limited.

I think 19 tix is a fair valuation of the card. I would hold any copies I need for playing with and would sell the rest. Guilds of Ravnica still has a long way to fall, and I think a lot of that will necessarily come from its most expensive cards: Doom Whisperer and Assassin's Trophy.

I think it's more likely that Doom Whisperer is a 10-tix card one month from now than a 25-tix card. Like Chas, I think this card has a bright financial future ahead of it, but I'd like to see Limited demand cool off before owning more than a playset.

Signing Off

I look forward to reading your comments and questions down below. How have y'all been enjoying Guilds of Ravnica Standard and Draft? Until next time, and have a good rest of your week.

One thought on “GRN Standard and the State of Shocklands

  1. What are your thoughts on when to start picking up modern staples that have plummeted due to the decreased demand from standard hype? A lot of the cards are already at their old baseline values; however, treasure chests make the decision harder. What factors should we be looking at to decide when to pull the trigger in investing these cards at their lows?

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.