Last time we spoke, I went over the potential shooting stars for Extended in Shards of Alara block. This time, we’ll have a look at the rares from Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block to see where we can make a buck or two. Hopefully, you made a few if you bought into Ranger of Eos when I wrote about it last time, but it still may not be too late. If not, no worries, because Lorwyn block has plenty of sundry delights for the fiscally responsible trader-let’s get to it.
There are two different types of speculations in this article. Some are the low risk, high reward situations- those that are typical of cheap but powerful rares. In these situations, you should not expect every single call to “hit.” These cheap rares are often just worth buying as “insurance against being wrong,” since as I indicated in my last article, the potential for a meteoric rise and a 300%+ profit is worth the low cost of buying in. Just remember to temper your expectations on a per-card basis.
The second kind is the high-dollar gambit, where you can make a smaller percentage on a larger amount of money. These are probably more predictable, but missing these calls can be hard on the wallet. Thankfully, these cards are often stable and you will not lose much money, if any. With the “penny stock” style of investing, no one is going to buy your 100 Gigantomancers when you miss the call, no matter how cheap they are. (Shoot me now.) High dollar gambits almost always have resale value.
Low Cost Lorwyn (and Shadowmoor)
Ancient Amphitheater – This is one of those “low risk, high reward” situations, so I don’t want to hear any morons yelling, “ANCIENT AMPHITHEATER,” at me from across a crowded tournament hall. You know who you are, Magma Phoenix Guy, and you should be ashamed. Anyway, they’re a quarter a piece and the Titans are Giants. Not for nothing, but a land that can cast Sun Titan, Inferno Titan, Ajani Vengeant, Lightning Bolt, and anything else in those colors might be worth running when it comes into play untapped. I don’t give this a high chance of going anywhere, but I’d throw a couple copies into my portfolio as a good risk.
Cloudthresher – At $2 per playset, Cloudthresher isn’t the cheapest card on the market right now. I have a soft spot for former all-stars, and the big green beast fits the bill. Don’t go out and buy them right away, but keep them on the radar since they could easily see some heavy play in the right deck. I’m not optimistic, but I’d feel remiss leaving it off the watch list.
Secluded Glen – Not quite cheap enough to be rocket fuel but not expensive enough to be a high dollar card, Secluded Glen is in a weird place. It’s priced pretty low at the moment, below one ticket, so that if Faeries becomes a top tier deck again, you will make money. The question that sticks in my mind is, “Can Fae beat Jund and Volcanic Fallout?” Honestly, my money is on “no,” but if you disagree, then stock up.
Graven Cairns – I’d sooner buy these at .80 than Secluded Glen at .90. They were printed in two sets which depresses their value slightly, but they will still see play in Jund, which is shaping up to be a top tier deck in Extended. Jund’s mana base will consist of filter lands and Scars of Mirrodin duals, so be sure to have plenty of these in stock when the season rolls around. It seems hard to believe they’ll stay cheap.
Primal Beyond – The results from the Extended tournament the Winter King a few weeks ago got very little press, but apparently an Elemental deck took down some matches. Using Vengevine, Fauna Shaman, and a host of the Lorwyn Elementals, the deck packs some staying power and some stopping power. Primal Beyond works oh so well with Reflecting Pool, and it’s only .50 to acquire. I like this card a lot for Extended season and will be loading up.
Sygg, River Guide – At .20, Sygg is a steal. He’s a very important 2-of in the Merfolk deck that has been popular on Magic-League, and at his low price, he is squarely in rocket fuel territory. I honestly can’t see him staying at this price for more than a day or two, and I have already stocked up. Full disclosure! I really stocked up on this guy. I must tip my hat to Thomas Dodd for this tip, because although the thought crossed my mind, he did the research to back it up.
There are not nearly as many opportunities in Lorwyn block as there are in Shards block, but you still have a chance to make money. Shards stuff is still pretty underpriced, whereas Lorwyn stuff has corrected recently. The metagame is not fully developed so many people are guessing as to what decks will succeed. Research is the best way to develop a metagame hypothesis. We have access to tons of data from multiple events, so there is no justification for making uneducated guesses. Each deck that appears in results has a valid chance at becoming a vital part of the metagame, so look at the decks that are consistently performing well and isolate the key cards from each deck. There are always bargains to be had if you look hard enough.