I was in a Discord group chat with some of my friends hanging out and playing some Halo (who would have thought I'd be spending time playing Halo again in the year 2021?) when my friend the_astro blurted out something along the lines of, "oh holy cow you guys did you know that the new expedition Creeping Tar Pit is less than four dollars right now?" After getting shot a few more times by our very own Chroberry (a Halo 2 expert, apparently), I started digging through the Zendikar Rising Expeditions to see what was what.
I know that going into the set, there was a lot of complaining on Twitter (what else is new) related to people not being a fan of their art and them bringing prices down in general, but as always I stand by the idea that investing in non-foil "bling" is a good idea. Competitive players in search of fun, unique, cards will gravitate towards cards like these - and while investing in these particular expeditions is likely a long-term investment, I think a lot of these are at a good place to start picking them up.
Okay, enough of the introduction, let's get down to business and take a look at five Zendikar Rising Expeditions I think are good spec targets.
Creeping Tar Pit
Let's start with the one that originally caught the_astro's attention: Creeping Tar Pit. This particular creature land might not be seeing as much play as it used to (I have some very fond memories of being beaten down by tar pits early on in my Magic career) but it still sees play in decks taking down 5-0 results on Magic Online during the Pandemic and I don't see it completely leaving the formats it is legal in any time soon.
There have been several Modern UB lists to make 5-0 with several copies of Creeping Tar Pit in them. VanCrow took a UB control list featuring three Liliana of the Veil, two Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and a pair of Creeping Tar Pit to a 5-0 finish in a Modern league on MTGO on 1/19/21. You have to dig back almost an entire year to find Creeping Tar Pit featuring in Legacy 5-0 lists, but I think Modern alone is reason enough to pick up copies of this creature land and hold them for awhile. It's a great backup in UB control lists if you run out of threats, and I think this art is actually pretty sweet.
You can nab non-foil copies for under $4 a pop right now in most places, and if you decide you want to pick up foils as well $9 isn't a bad buy for these. Just be sure to keep an eye on their price growth once paper play resumes so you can sell at the right time.
After thinking about Creeping Tar Pit, my mind immediately went to another creature land that has been the bane of my mono-red existence in the past: Celestial Colonnade. Like its counterpart, this creature land is seeing less play than it used to, but it's a powerful addition to control lists and I think it will continue to shine for the same reasons I brought forth for the tar pit.
There have been a few Modern lists claiming 5-0s on MTGO lately featuring Celestial Colonnade, like a sweet WU list piloted by Soondubu that 5-0ed a Modern League on 1/22/21 with a single copy (plus both A-Teferi, Time Raveler and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria), and another sweet WU list piloted by _Luks in a league on 1/19/21 also featuring a single copy (and a full playset of Stoneforge Mystic.)
Non-foil copies of these are hovering around the $5 mark, which seems like a great price to be trading into them at, and even $12 for foils doesn't seem like a bad place for these if you don't mind being patient while you wait for them to increase in value.
Grove of the Burnwillows
Grove of the Burnwillows is another one of the classic utility lands that got reprinted in this round of expeditions. A staple of Legacy Lands lists, this is a classic that isn't likely to go out of style soon and whose price is hovering around the four dollar mark for non-foils - which I think is a great price to buy and trade into.
The Uro Omnath lists that have been popping up in Modern recently tend to feature a couple copies of the Grove, like the list that Kurusu too to a 5-0 finish in a Modern league on MTGO on 1/26/21. The list looks sweet - running Yorion, Sky Nomad as a companion and featuring the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Restoration Angel[/combo] (and several more awesome combos.) Legacy-wise, Grove recently appeared in a 5c Loam list that Sol-e22558 took to a 5-0 finish in a Legacy league on MTGO on 1/23/21. Like many Legacy decks these days it runs several copies of [card]Oko, Thief of Crowns but also gets to sport full playsets of Chalice of the Void and Mox Diamond, which is neat.
I'm not sure how I feel about picking up a ton of copies of the foils at their current price (though if I were grinding trade tables I'd trade up into them) but like I mentioned earlier I think the four dollar mark for nonfoils is a great place to be picking them up and sitting on them long-term.
Blackcleave Cliffs was one of those lands I lusted over for my Modern decks but could never afford to easily pick up back in the day, but these Zendikar Rising expeditions have made owning cool looking copies of the card more affordable than ever!
Blackcleave Cliffs is seeing more play than ever in Modern right now, appearing in lists like a sick goblins deck that chris 0185 took to a 5-0 finish in a Modern League on MTGO on 1-26-21 and Fuuunk's Jund list that took a 5-0 in a Modern league three days later. Both of these decks are sweet as heck (especially goblins, I LOVE goblins) and rely heavily on Blackcleave Cliffs to help their mana. There are plenty of other lists relying on Blackleave Cliffs too, like the ever-popular Rakdos Death's Shadow lists, and this is one card I really believe will be seeing a dramatic uptick in price once large eternal format tournaments resume.
As always, I'm hot on picking up "bling" non-foil copies of cards for my speculating purposes, and I think the $11-$12 mark is a sweet price to be getting these at, especially if you're trading up in your buylisting adventures. Twenty dollar foils are a little out of my range when it comes to speculating, but I still think that's a decent price to get them at (especially if you want to be playing with foils in the future.)
Now, I want to briefly touch on the most popular of the reprints that came with these expeditions - the fetchlands. Fetchlands as a whole are in a weird spot right now, with the more popular (blue) ones commanding higher prices as usual and the others all lagging behind. Windswept Heath in particular is in a sweet spot for picking up non-foil copies.
I'm personally not going hard on any of these fetches except the ones that I want to play with, but when the opportunity arises to be picking these up in trades or at my LGS for cheap I always take it. Unless the fetches are reprinted incredibly significantly with the next reprint (we know one is coming) I think every fetch will see decent increases in price long-term, especially if major events start up in force in the next year or so. It's never a bad idea to be holding a stock of fetches.
Well folks, that's it from me this week! I hope you had a great January and are staying well and safe. Feel free to come chat with me on my Twitch stream sometime, or reach out in the QS Discord, on Twitter, or my YouTube channel. I'm always happy to talk shop! I've been playing a lot of Kaldheim since the early access event, so expect to see me touch on the new set for my next couple of articles!