Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em #14

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Guilds of Ravnica jump-started the new metagame this past weekend as we saw a lot of cool stuff going on at the SCG Columbus Open. Both before and during this event, I did a lot of buying—probably more than any other time in my Magic career. So this article will have a heavy focus on my recent buys.

Moreover, I’m diving into these purchases to stay true to the premise of this article series:

  • 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’re pretty far from the next reprint.
  • 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.

Recent Buys

Maximize Velocity - Guilds of Ravnica (Foil)

Purchased Price
$0.25 & $0.35

This might seem like a Standard-only card, but it has quite a few things going for it. It’s a one-mana spell with a little bit of additional value via jump-start. Red decks can often flood out with lands or cards that might end up a bit too situational; thus, this card gives the deck some flexibility since you can discard those cards. And this card could also work pretty nicely with Runaway Steam-Kin, which had a pretty good showing at the SCG Columbus Open.

I don’t know yet if Runaway Steam-Kin will make bigger waves in Modern outside of the Turn One Boom or 8-Whack decks. But Maximize Velocity could also see play alongside Steam-Kin there too. Or it could potentially see play in some other type of deck altogether. The price was right so I bought 16 copies.

Viashino Pyromancer - Core 2019 (Foil)

Purchased Price

This is also a Standard-only card right now, so I’d be cautious with this one too. However, this is a Wizard. So even though it might be a long-shot, it could start popping up in the UR Wizards list in Modern. It also sees play in Pauper, so you can’t go too wrong at that price.

Goblin Chainwhirler - Guilds of Ravnica (Prerelease Foil)

Purchased Price

This card just hasn’t gone away in Standard. And it’s starting to rear its Goblin head in Modern and even Legacy. This card will just keep getting better as Wizards keeps printing powerful and useful Goblins like Goblin Cratermaker.

Here’s a twist by Morbid28 on the Skred Dragons deck mentioned in article #3.

Since there’s just a smattering of Goblin Chainwhirler in Modern and Legacy, I think it’s better to pick up foil copies over non-foil ones, especially because they’re not that much more expensive.

Although these decks are more fringe-playable than anything right now, it’s still important to keep an eye on them. People may start to innovate by slotting Guilds of Ravnica cards like Runaway Steam-Kin into a Goblins deck like Albertus Law’s, to transform it into an updated 8-Whack. Take a look at Corbin Hosler’s list from TCGplayer for example.

Shock - FNM Promos

Purchased Price
EX: $6.39
VG: $5.59

Here’s yet another Standard card—sorry about that. But as I’ve said multiple times in previous articles, a good number of playable promos are pretty low-risk. Especially ones like this with only one foil printing of the original artwork in the original card border.

But the real reason this is low-risk is because of how many times it’s been printed in a Core set. It sure doesn’t look like Wizards is afraid to keep printing this card.

Also, this sees play in Premodern. But I wouldn’t count on any spikes from that format. It’s just a cool printing of the card that can be played in a cool format that revolves around a lot of Magic nostalgia.

If you want to go even further down the "cool" route, you might want to pick up the last four copies of the rare 7th Edition foils from Card Kingdom. I would’ve gotten these instead if I paid a little more attention to all the different foil printings.

Choke - Masterpiece Series: Amonkhet Invocations

Purchased Price

I mentioned this as a Hold in article #12 with a target price under $40. But the reason I got a couple of these at $50 was because I used my store credit from the cards I sold to Star City Games from the order I featured in article #13.

Mutavault - Grand Prix Promos

Purchased Price

This was another Hold I mentioned in article #12, so I put my money where my mouth was. I also followed my own advice by selling my non-foil Magic 2014 playset to get a set of these.

Thought Erasure - FNM Promos

Purchased Price

I placed this on the Watch List in article #9. When I found a playset on eBay for $1 more than my original target price, I didn’t hesitate and just got them. As I mentioned in the article, this could see play alongside Force of Will, which Lejay has done with OmniTell.

And it will probably be just a matter of time before we see this start to pop up in Modern. It plays well with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, owing to its two-mana casting cost and the surveil mechanic.

Risk Factor - Guilds of Ravnica (Foil)

Purchased Price

$10 is a bit steep for this, but I might play it in Standard. And as you probably know by now, this article series is all about helping you get the best value when you buy and sell cards you need for tournaments.

We’ve seen A-Cabaretti Charm and Browbeat before. But what makes this different? Two things. It’s an instant compared to Browbeat. But more importantly, the jump-start mechanic makes this card much more playable than either card, even though it can’t target creatures like A-Cabaretti Charm. The card helps with variance in flooding out on land or turning bad topdecks into something a bit more useful.

For the most part, this is a Standard card. But it could also make its way into some Modern decks in the near future as discarding cards with flashback and/or combined with delve cards make Risk Factor a bit more appealing.

Chromium, the Mutable - Core Set 2019 (Foil)

Purchased Price

This is a seven-mana 7/7 with four very powerful abilities, making it a highly viable finisher for blue decks. Not only did we see this in Jonathan Rosum’s Top 8 Esper Control deck at the SCG Columbus Open, but we also saw Jeremy Dezani run two of these in the sideboard of his Modern UW Control deck that he took to a 16th place finish at Grand Prix Prague.

If foils ever drop below $10, I doubt they’ll stay there for very long. And supply has already passed its peak point, so I think now is the time to pick these up if you need them.

Kird Ape - FNM Promos

Purchased Price

Pelt Collector’s spike has already happened, and so has Vexing Devil’s. But I think Kird Ape has some growth potential again—particular the FNM printing, because it’s the only foil version of the original artwork.

If you haven’t seen the updated Modern Zoo deck, take a look at Bringerofrain75’s list.

Another card to keep on your radar when thinking about similar lists to this one is Narnam Renegade. It works well with Burning-Tree Emissary, Vexing Devil, and the fetchlands. It also just rotated out of Standard, so now is a good time to pick up $1-2 foils if you can find them.

Hissing Quagmire - Oath of the Gatewatch (Foil)

Purchased Price

Assassin's Trophy strikes again? Yes. Take a look at Jeff Hoogland’s 13th place finish at the SCG Columbus Open.

This has essentially hit its all-time low, and now is the time to buy as it begins its slow but steady climb.

Arclight Phoenix - Guilds of Ravnica (Foil)

Purchased Price

I might want to play this card in Standard, and it looked like a Standard-only card when I decided to buy it. But then I came across this Modern list by Archangelic76's on Magic Online.

I'm not sure how viable this list is yet for the longer term; we'll just have to monitor it going forward. But I'd also like to point out that Runaway Steam-Kin also pops up in this list. So we're definitely already starting to see people get pretty creative with that card outside of Standard.


Gemstone Caverns - Time Spiral (Non-Foil & Foil)

Target Sell Prices
Non-Foil: $20
Foil: $80

As I was doing research on Goblin Chainwhirler and saw it in Guilherme Figueira’s Goblins list above, I stumbled upon this card’s chart. It’s not looking too good for the only printing of this card. If you have these and aren’t using them, I’d dump them now. You can get back in when Wizards reprints them in some Masters or supplemental set in the future.

History of Benalia - Dominaria (Non-Foil & Foil)

Target Sell Prices
Non-Foil: $20
Foil: $30

Eric Shoopman just won the SCG Columbus Open with this. Sell into the hype now! A friend of mine who plays more casually than competitively told me he wish he bought this before the spike. And I told him to just wait till it rotates out of Standard late next year, and pick up a foil if he still wants it then. This is probably the worst time to buy if you don’t need the card.

Office Hours

I’ll be co-hosting Quiet Speculation’s Office Hours again. This will be the second time. You can catch the audio of the inaugural session with Sigmund Ausfresser and me here in case you missed it. Christopher Martin will be joining me for the second session. It’s tentatively set for Thursday, October 25 at 8pm Central, so mark your calendars and join us in the Discord channel.

Public Spreadsheet

There were a lot of Recent Buys discussed this week. And I didn’t even list some of them. But you can find all of them in the Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em - Public MTG Finance Spreadsheet. Don’t forget to bookmark it! I update it on the fly, so you can see what’s going on as the market moves and before articles about certain cards are published.


Recent Buys


Public Spreadsheet

Hold ‘Em & Fold ‘Em Spreadsheet

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,

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