Quiet Speculation: PTQ Part Deux!

The PTQ season for Pro Tour: Amsterdam was scheduled differently than one might expect this year. Rise of the Eldrazi’s online release split the season into two pieces; one before the release and one beginning well after Rise had come out. Having just begun the second leg of the Standard PTQ season, we have to start considering how PTQ demand will effect the price of Standard cards.

Taking a look at some of the biggest movers of the week, it’s no surprise that most of the cards on the (+) side of the equation are from Standard-legal sets.

Elspeth, Knight Errant

Elspeth shot from the low 30′s to the mid 40′s in the last seven days, and its no surprise. The paper PTQ season has her at $45+ for the cardboard version, and the new PTQs are driving demand heavily. She’s as good as a Planeswalker can get, fitting nicely in both Aggro and Control. To expect her to go past 50 tickets would be unreasonable but she should stay around the 40s for the rest of the summer.

Eldrazi Monument

I love that I called this card way back before anyone was playing it. I suggested it was a powerhouse and soon to be a format-definer when paper copies were $3 each, and I really hope people listened to me then, because its too late now! Its ascent to $15 online is probably a result of the Beastmaster Ascension decks in Block right now, some of which cracked the Pro Tour Top 8 (which was Draft, but their Standard record had to be top notch). I love this card and see it as a major factor in post-Shards Standard. I think it could hit $20 since it’s a Mythic Rare, but we’ll have to see. I would be picking these up in Paper now, but at $15, dont buy them online unless you need them right away.

Raging Ravine

Card’s sick, people. Its jump of almost 50%, to damn near 10 bucks, is warranted, because the card’s sick. Remember when I said it was probably the worst Man-Land? Awkward. In case you wondered, yes, the taste of crow is delicious and I will eat it all day long. I don’t think more than $10 is feasable yet (maybe in a few years!) but it’s still too widely available. All the Man-Lands were criminally underpriced, and Raging Ravine sees the most play. Until Bloodbraid Elf stops being a factor, I cannot fathom wanting to run an Aggro deck without Red and Green cards. Thus, Raging Ravine is a necessity.

Opportunities Abound

That should be the name of a Blue card. Anyway, just because some cards spiked doesn’t mean that your chance for fame and fortune are gone forever! Fret not! There are a few cards that could get some love in the future.

Beastmaster Ascension

Obviously. It’s still cheap, under $2, but I was honestly expecting it to be less. I blame Jake van Lunen’s decklist on the Mothership for that. Still, Block decks can often showcase unexplored design space in a format and bring emergent new archetypes to the forefront. I’m not saying Beastmaster Ascension is going to break the format. I just know that I’m going to see how it feels to Cascade into it. It’s a massive Buy in paper right now, by the way, since you can most likely get ‘em at bulk rate.

Stirring Wildwood

Why these are still cheap, I will never know. Seriously. They’re so damned good. Two bucks? Come on, people. Paper is the same way. They’re $3 at best. I don’t know when a 3/4 man-land with REACH, that only costs 3 to switch on, became a $3 rare. When I was your age, we’d pay $3 for an uncommon version of a card like this. While Noble Hierarch and Knight of the Reliquary are in Standard, I can’t imagine running an Aggro deck without Red, Green, and White (sorry Jund, KotR and his pals are just great). Thus, Stirring Wildwood should be on the Raging Ravine plan of “dominate the Red Zone”. I own 20+ paper copies and I’m not slowing down. I should probably do the same with MTGO copies, and so should you. For what it’s worth, Creeping Tar Pit will be on this bandwagon at some point in the next 12 months. We just haven’t seen the deck yet.

Lotus Cobra

Yeah that’s right I’m suggesting you buy a $20 Mythic Rare. That’s because Lotus Cobra is totally broken. He’s not $50 broken, as Vengevine appears to be, but he’s at least $25-$30 broken. My recent developments in Standard show just how abusive he can get. Sometimes he’s just another guy who eats a Bolt, but when he’s good, he’s real, real good. I’ve been toying with some Naya-colored Aggro decks a lot lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that when each card in your deck effects combat/the board significantly, puts you a turn ahead, and can help you rebuy a Vengevine, you can generate absolutely absurd turns with the drop of a hat. Lotus Cobra is the fuel behind some of these legendary kill-turns. He’ll be a fixture of Post-Bloodbraid Standard for the duration.

Comet Storm

It’s a $2 Mythic Rare that’s seeing Constructed play at the highest level. Do I really need to sell you on the friggin’ thing? This card is one of the nastiest beatings I’ve ever seen. Decks that cannot run Bloodbraid Elf (you know, like every Standard deck come October) love to cast this spell with gusto. Once an X cost becomes an asset again, this guy is gonna dominate so hard. While it takes 6 mana to make it a Searing Blaze – a terrible deal – you get your money’s worth when it comes to versatility. It fits EVERYWHERE on your curve and does it all. This is a powerhouse card that is just waiting for Bloodbraid Elf to depart. I’m literally going to buy every copy I can find. Paper, Digital, hell, I’ll buy the oversized promos they mailed out…

Oracle of Mul Daya

I’ve always had a love affair with this card. I would give my right arm for it to be a 3/2 or something slightly bigger than an overpriced bear, but a Magus of the Future in Green is nothing to weep about. Considering some of the cards in this block that reward you for having an assload of mana, I can see this getting out of hand quickly. Reshuffling with Fetches, using Halimar Depths to set up insane turns, Lotus Cobra powering the whole thing? I can get into that. Another card that is most likely being pushed out of Standard by Bloodbraid Elf, the Oracle will have her day. And you’ll be glad you bought them for less than a buck each.

That’ll do it for this week! While the Block Pro Tour didn’t shake up the Metagame, it definitely gave speculators some, ahem, future sight. Many things will change between now and October, but we have a great idea what the topography of the metagame will resemble. Jund was a dominant Block deck at last summer’s Pro Tour. Faeries was a dominant Block deck in its time. While the cards may change a bit, the concepts will remain the same. Pay more attention to the top cards in the format rather than the archetypes and you will feel like a damned prophet come rotation. See ya!



  1. Good article, it’s nice to see what cards are going to be going up and how the game will change with the Alara rotation.
    Needless to say I will be snapping up all the beastmasters, wildwoods and comet storms I can find cheaply hah

  2. Comet Storm I would expect to skyrocket the most from that list. Unless M11 or Scars give us something even better to do with our mana (or some great counters), Comet Storm is going to be what people will be casting with their Oracles of Mul Daya and assorted ramp.

    Nice insight, from an amateur point of view I think you are right on the money with all these predictons. It’s a shame I’m too much of a wuss to act on it :p

  3. If one were to try and pick some up, would you suggest getting the cheapest ones you can (i.e. promo nonfoils) or trying to go for the ones from worldwake?

  4. I’m so sorry, please don’t count this as spam…I realized after i hit submit that I didn’t type the card! I meant comet storm of course (I have seen the nonfoil promo one for 1 ticket each)! Also, out of curiosity, do you think it is worth picking up the M10 rare colorlands since they have been confirmed in M11?

    By the way Plejades if you see this, it would be helpful if an edit option was added to the comments I think.

  5. Well Zage, what you should do is somewhere in your daily life save money. I have no idea what you do do with your money, but lets say you bought a bottle of soda every day at work. If you did that five days a week, you’d be spending I’d image almost like 6-7 dollars on that at least. Per month, that’s at least 24 dollars. I don’t even know if you do that, but think about where you spend your money and you can find something you spend money on you could be saving elsewhere, like buying groceries instead of getting take out or eating out. Not buying Pizza or snacks at FNM from the hobby store your playing at and instead bringing food.

    For myself, I have a large stack of soon-to-rotate-and-be-worthless Shards rares I’ll sell at the TCGplayer 5k. I’ll make about 40-50 dollars with it, and be using that to buy up some of the cards on this list. I might spend the time to sell them online instead, which takes more time but I’d get more money this way instead of selling to vendors.

    A good way to keep track of what your not spending is to carry around a paper clip in your wallet to seperate the money your not spending as you don’t spend it, to keep physical track of how much your saving.

    Now, none of these predictions will happen until the actual rotation happens, and then not until major tournaments start cropping up with results. So you have quite a few months to find a way to save some money.

    Now, with alittle over 20 dollars, I would only be looking to make money on the little risk/reward cards, like Beastmaster’s Ascension or Comet Storm from this article. Divide up what you spend your money on, and what you could use in the future and look to make some money on. Planning to make a ramp deck? Buy into Oracle of Mul Daya and Commet Storm.

    Where I like to compare prices is right on tcgplayer.com. If you search for a card on their engine, they’ll list usualy 20+ stores and what they’re charging and how many they have. I never buy the cards from there though, I find where I want to get my card from and go straight to their website, and buy directly from them.

    Find a store that has both of them at a reasonable price. You can find Oracle at about $1, and Comet Storm at $2. With 24 dollars, you could buy 4 Comet Storms for $8, and 8 Oracle of Mul Dayas at $8 more dollars. I added it up to 16 because I don’t know if there’s a store that sells them for both at that price, but you can find them close to that so there’s some wiggle room. You have 8 dollars left over if you find the two at those prices, which is more then enough for shipping and even rewarding yourself with a soda you’ve been avoiding until now. Or, isntead of a split like that, buy more comet Storms if you manage to save more money instead of Oracles since you think it’ll go up the most from the list.

    Now, if you were planning to use them in future decks, awesome. I would feel like I saved even more by using the same cards in a deck that I was sitting on. But, if you don’t use them, just shove them into the very back of your trade binder with a note infront of them or something. I haven’t started doing this myself, but it’s a good idea to if you’ll be sitting on them for awhile for them to go up. So, you’d have a pocket with four Comet Storms in the back of your binder with a note reading, “$2.” You’d have two more pockets, with four Oracles each, with a note saying “$1.”

    After that, just forget about them. I’ve started putting together a small binder of nothing but stuff I’m sitting on. It has multiple playsets of dual manlands, fetch lands, certain Wwk rares like 16 copies of Stoneforge Mystic, some of my own random speculations, and soon it’ll have most of the cheaper cards listed in this article. I’ve even got three playsets of Warren Instigator, which I bought at 5.50 a piece because I was SO sure there would be good goblins in Wwk, and now it’s a 2 dollar card. Oops.

  6. @Jerfman: Dude, that comment should’ve been an article. Sure saving money isn’t a very MTG topic, but saving money to buy cards sure is :D
    You’ve inspired me though. Damnit you’re right, I should just allow myself some money to speculate with. Worst case scenario I end up with some rares and/or lose like 10 bucks from bad resales. Best case scenario I pay for some boosters drafts, which would be awesome.

    Great comment. Oh btw I especially like the paperclip idea. I am always careful about spending money (non-dutchies may call it ‘being cheap’ :P) but actually using something to remind yourself of what you saved would be a great way to motivate and/or reward yourself.
    Oh and I’ll definitely check out the site you linked.

    You the man, Jerfman!

  7. @Zage: Wow, that felt good. I wasn’t even sure if you’d check back to see if someone responded to you. Thanks for the appreciation!

    Yeah, being able to earn some free booster packs rocks. Like you said, the worst case scenario is you’d lose like 10 bucks re-selling the cards. I don’t think it’s as simple as that though. I would GLADLY pay 10 bucks to gain confidence and experience with speculating on cards. If I could have done that, I would of only bought a single playset of Warren Instigator instead of 3 playsets. I bought them at 5.50, now they go for 2 dollars. I saw 13ish instances of the word Goblin in the Orb of Insight, and was sure there’d be some good ones to make Warren go up. Dumb move. 13 wasn’t big enough of a number to indicate a tribe happening, and buying 3 playsets was way too much. With my meager income, a single playset would of been more optimal. I haven’t sold them though, and am still sitting on them in the hopes that they might do something miraculous. Point is, making mistakes is just as valuable as being right.

    Starting out small is important. And you don’t even have to just use money to get these cards, I’m sure you have a card collection of your own you can use to trade for cards. Recently a made a 1:1 trade to someone with me giving him some shards cards for fetchlands, and while I was thinking about it he commented on how I was actualy getting 10x a better deal even though it was 1:1 because shards was going to rotate and fetchlands soon will probably just go up and up once Zendikar is out of print, like Shards is now.

    Just another option for acquiring the cards and getting a taste for speculation. Just start small, gain some confidence and make some mistakes that will teach you what not to do.

  8. out of this list i will probably pick up at least a playset of comet sotrms and oracles. and possibly manlands. I have to agree that once jund..i mean standard rotates alot of these will become far more viable.

  9. Yeah, anonymous was me. Usualy I don’t post in comments for articles and forgot to put my information in. Or maybe I was in disguise?

    But yeah, no edit option to put my name on that post sucks.

  10. Wow, I come back to check on the comments and I am treated to a SECOND article of the day, helping me on saving money and some hints and tips on buying/selling and stock piling cards.
    Result =)

  11. @Jerfman: Well I meant it, I thought your post was awesome. I’m glad you took the time to write it.
    I am actually currently opening a paypal account so I can get a couple of tix at a discount (don’t worry, friends told me he is 100% trustworthy). With those tix I’ll finish up my pauper decks and buy some sleepers, and with the discount ‘extra’ tix I’m going to really go prospecting! :D