Budget-Focused: Early Favorites from Zendikar Rising

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Welcome back everyone to another edition of Budget-Focused! Before we dive into all of that, I wanted to note that Quickling foils have been on the rise as of late! I highlighted this in an article a few months back that you can read here. There are even a few other gems mentioned that you should acquire as well if you have not already. Today, we shift gears a bit off the older cards of the Pioneer trail and look at some Zendikar Rising favorites to keep an eye on!

Another Toy for Sram and Feather Brews?

Akiri, Fearless Voyager is a card that, to me, screams Commander and Pioneer. The extended art foils and foil promos seem the most interesting. The current price for promos is at $2 and the foil extended art is coming in at around $15, with the foil extended art version starting to trend downward. I recommend keeping an eye on these, as we'll soon be nearing the floor.

Looking into where this can be used should be relatively simple. Immediately, Sram Commander decks come to mind as Akiri deals with equipment. Keep in mind that Sram cannot be the commander using this card, I'm just referencing the style of build this would fit into. Anything that can give us extra card advantage is a bonus to any build, especially more aggro decks prone to board wipes. Additionally, we can get behind using this in a Feather, the Redeemed build in Pioneer, or other decks utilizing equipment cards in the format.

The ability to unattach an equipment card to give a creature indestructible is another factor to consider with this, as it adds depth to a defensive scheme. Boros Weenie styled brews will really benefit from this in the case of a board wipe play. Overall, this may seem narrow, but the upside is worth noting and keeping an eye on long-term.

The Spirit That's Turning Heads

Skyclave Apparition is another card with long term potential. The extended art foil is already kind of high for budget-minded players sitting at $14.54. The thing we need to note here is that it is being used in both Modern and Legacy, which is great for long term value as we know. In Pioneer, it could easily be shoved into spirit builds given its lower-cmc and control ability. The ability to exile a threat for only 3 mana is huge, especially in a format like Pioneer.

The other thing to note here is that even when it is removed, the exiled card stays exiled. The downside is that your opponent gets an X/X Illusion token. It's far easier to play around a vanilla threat in most situations, so no biggie all things considered. Nonetheless, the upside of speed and control outweigh the only con with this card. This is one that could potentially hit over the $25.00 range long-term given its usage in Pioneer, among other eternal formats.

A Mana Rock to Get Long-Term

The current price for Skyclave RelicExtended art foils is at $8.40, but has plenty of room to grow. There are plenty of artifact-focused Commander lists that could benefit from its unique kicker effect, creating two additional token copies of itself. Being indestructible adds even more value to this, in case our opponents are packing artifact destruction. As more Zendikar Rising packs are opened, this will likely trend downward, making it an attractive spec in the very near future.

In Pioneer, this has the potential to be utilized in both ramp and lotus filed styled brews. Regarding a long-term price, I wouldn't be surprised if this approached the $20.00 range should it see more widespread adoption in Commander.

Mill's New Favorite Crab?

Ruin Crab extended border foils are near guaranteed to go up and price as time goes on. Foils are $3.00 on average, and given the casual appeal of this card, I think this is a steal. Compare this to another crab we are all familiar with, Hedron Crab. The current price for Hedron Crab foils is $23.00 on average. Now, one could argue that Hedron Crab has only a non-foil, a foil copy, and the mystery booster print, whereas Ruin Crab has four printings in total.

The reason for Ruin Crab to go up is simple: Commander. Looking at the text on both crabs,  one word sticks out, and that word is “each”. Hitting each player versus target player is something every mill commander player will love! Sure, there may be situations that you would rather target a specific player to mill, but the ability to mill each player has more advantage over targeting in a multiplayer game. If Hedron Crab foils over $20.00 are any indication, there is no reason the extended art Ruin Crab foils won't exceed a $10.00 price tag.

Relic Robber: Great for Gobbos and More!

Relic Robber extended art foils are our last diamond in the rough for this article. The current price for this is at $1.55 on average with plenty of room for growth. The price has gone down a bit since its release, but it should bounce back. Relic Robber seems like an auto-include in goblin tribal Commander decks, but also just compliments red decks in general. Creating pingers is fantastic, but there is another angle to consider with them. Having creatures on the board that ping your opponent(s) when creatures die is where this can come into play.

A converted mana cost of three may be a bit steep for this effect, but the upside is certainly there if this connects with an opponent. Playing this any time turn three or later is a benefit to us. This isn't necessarily a build-around card in most brews, aggressive, combat-focused decks could do some serious damage with this. Accelerating this out early with the various fast mana available in Commander isn't so tough, and it can get ugly for our opponents very quickly given an empty board and a lack of board wipes. The current price tag should not hold long term, and it could easily be over the $5.00 range.

Wrapping It Up

Wrapping up things today, I will say to keep a close eye on Zendikar Rising extended art cards going forward. There are others that we didn't touch on here that have great potential in the future. This set has a slew of interesting cards that have a lot of great synergies, and the hunt for Expeditions in collector boosters will ensure that these cards hit the market en masse.

Hope you all enjoyed the article, and be sure to come back for the next installment!

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