With each new set it seems like retailers are getting better at pre-pricing cards to fit card hype and demand. I look past the chase rares/mythics and find the diamonds in the rough. Below are five cards I think are worth investing in.
The list of “bring-backable” creatures seems be longer than a Transformer movie. Bringing back a Seeker of the Way or a Frenzied Goblin doesn’t seem like bad value. Aggressive decks want to play her to recur the fallen creatures from previous combat steps. She’s great in the aggressive mirror where her first-striking three-power body stops almost any aggressive creature in its tracks. For only 2R, she can be splashed into any self-mill brew to try out her reanimation abilities (I’m looking at you Hornet Queen!).
What holds her back is the lack of impact on the board when she’s cast. You have to wait a turn, spend non-red mana, and declare her attacking to gain card advantage. Does that make her a sideboard option for aggro versus aggro mirrors? I’m not sure, but the first strike really wins me over. She’s legendary, so she may not always be a four-of, but could still make for a fun EDH deck. Timmys love her, Spikes see potential, and Johnnys want her to achieve a battlefield of brokenness . I don’t see her going lower than $2, but I can’t see her exceeding $5.
Flamewake Phoenix ($3)
I recently compared Flamewake Phoenix to Chandra’s Phoenix (here), but since they won’t be in the same Standard format (so far), we’ll just have to focus in on Flamewake for the time-being. R/G Monsters has been in and out of top eights for almost a year now, taking many different forms and sometimes splashing to become Temur or Naya.
What seems to stay consistent is its ability to activate ferocious. In combination with Ashcloud Phoenix, I think these hot-headed squawkers wouldn’t mind crossing feather for some aerial assaults in Standard. I hope they don’t forget to wave down at an allied Polukranos, World Eater as they fly by. Add Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker or Stormbreath Dragon for a crimson air show. I see price potential at $5 or $6 in future Standard, since you’ll always play four and it fits in Titan’s Strength aggro decks and even more synergy with aggressive midrange “monster” strategies.
Yasova Dragonclaw ($1.5)
This was one of the first cards spoiled from Fate Reforged. I wasn’t much of a fan when I saw the two toughness, but I might be looking at the wrong number. As He-Man would say, “I HAVE THE POWER!”… to activate ferocious. I remember saying on the show, “If ferocious is relevant, Yasova is relevant.” She works extremely well with [cardFlamewake Phoenix[/card].
Turn 3: Cast Flamewake, opponent destroys Flamewake
Turn4: Cast Yasova, cast Flamewake during combat, opp. destroys Flamewake
Turn 5: Threaten a creature (Yasova’s ability), cast Flamewake
Rinse, repeat, and cast other spells when needed.
Of course your opponent will likely kill the Yasova as soon as possible, but this works with any four-powered creature and is still better than casting a Boon Satyr. It’s as close to extort as R/G will ever get. Instead of draining for one, you’ll just attack with a two-powered creature. She is easy to kill because she takes over the game if you don’t kill her. That worth more than a $1.50, right?! I’ll pick these up all day long and might even score her as a throw-in.
If you took the best qualities of Wall of Denial and Doomwake Giant, you’d end up with this monstrosity. This 3/7 is always defensive until you don’t need it to be. Its only weakness is needing to attack to get the -1/-1 ability, although I doubt this weakness would encourage the addition of other Dragons in your deck.
U/B Control is its obvious home, but I could see a Sultai Midrange using it to win board stales without having to worry about hornet tokens. Not sure if it is worth playing four copies, but $2 for a format staple should already be on your list of pick-ups. It’s another rare that can only go up from here. By the way, $22 foils should convince you card slingers are already playing him.
The legendary cycle of dragons seemed to be common at the prereleases I attended, so I’m sure this will be easy to find for the next couple weeks.
Crux of Fate ($5)
When I picked this card for the article, it was sitting at $3, but is already up to $5 after prerelease weekend. So it’s turned into a long-term pick-up instead of a “buy all you can while you can” pick-up.
As far as playability, the obvious deck is U/B Control, since we’re all aware of its existence and strategies. But what about the B/G decks that don’t want to splash for white? I’m a fan of the one-horned villain myself (Siege Rhino), but you know how Wizards of the Coast is. They want the Standard environment to constantly change (I’m looking at you Siege Rhino & Courser of Kruphix). The fact is, B/G Midrange wouldn’t mind sweeping for value to set up a delve or Whip of Erebos activation.
I expect this card to settle at $5, but it could see some spikes throughout its time in Standard. You can’t go wrong with picking up a few extra to take advantage of a potential increase in demand. Though, since this is from a small set and we only require one Fate Reforged pack for the next two draft environments, the supply could be lower than expected.
What uncommons could break $1? I’d put my faith in Valorous Stance. It’s defensive, offensive. currently in a highly played color, easy to cast (1W instead of WW), and plays at instant speed. If you’re not convinced, pick up a couple sets of Reality Shifts and see if they’ll find a deck.
As always, thanks for reading
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