Hello and welcome back to a new article.
As the Pro Tour is just around the corner nobody really wants to give away too much information, and I am in the same boat. Nevertheless, we are discussing Standard today. It is not about which decks are powerful and what you should play at your upcoming events, it is more about the question: what should I do with my Standard cards?
There are a lot of players out there that complain about that Standard cards always lose their value when they rotate out of the format. The truth is: cards lose their value weeks and or months before they rotate.
Today I will try to give you a plan how to handle your Standard stock without losing too much in the equation. If you are only playing Standard and are not planning investing in any other format this article will not really help you unfortunately.
First step of this analysis is to figure out what's actually rotating at what point, what what tournaments are important to you, and to figure out which cards to keep. So, the next rotation will kick out Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, and Hour of Devastation.
I think it makes sense to work them out in chronological order, so we kick things off with Kaladesh. The true value of Kaladesh was in the Invention anyways, so there is not too much to lose speaking of value.
The most expensive card is 《Chandra, Torch of Defiance》. Since 《Chandra》 fell out of favor as a 4-off with the printing of 《Rekindling Phoenix》, we already missed the peak. 《Chandra》 is a great card for Commander and is potentially a two-off in Modern, so I think the best play will be to keep 2 copies.
So you guys will wonder why I am suggesting a mixed keep/sell analysis. The answer is plain and simple: the market changes a few months after a set rotated out of the format.
Let's just take Eldritch Moon for example: cards like 《Liliana, the Last Hope》, 《Spell Queller》, 《Collective Brutality》 and 《Bedlam Reveler》are way more expensive than they were in their time in Standard while most of them were true staples and defined the metagame by a fair amount. For Modern they had been just missing some more tools or a metagame shift and then the prices reached new frontiers.
The next card is basically a set of cards in form of the Gearhulks. While only 《Torrential Gearhulk》 is the only one of them who proved sustainable value, but he will drop by a fair margin, and therefore you should move copies of him faster than slower. As for the others, I would advise keeping them since they are already at such a low rate that you are not losing out on a lot and they might climb up eventually.
The last relevant cards are the fastlands and they can all be treated as one. While some of them jumped up and down during their time in Standard, they are basically at an All-Time-Low. Exactly the same happened after Scars of Mirrodin rotated and they were at a low rate for a decent amount of time. Now the Scars Lands are at an All-Time-High and if you have some time, I would advise keeping them as they will just drop more in the near future, and then rise in the dead in a year or 2.
Next up is Aether Revolt, which is one of the weirdest sets of all times when it comes to its price structure.
There was a point at which 《Fatal Push》 was the most expensive uncommon card of the set. Things changed when they reprinted it as FNM Foil and 《Walking Ballista》 finally found it's home in Modern. Besides those two cards, there is also no card in the Set that is Standard relevant, and is worth anything besides 《Disallow》 which should be moved.
《Paradox Engine》, 《Metallic Mimic》, 《Heroic Intervention》, and 《Baral, Chief of Compliance》 are worth something due to Commander or Modern, so they would not be in your Standard stock anyways. Therefore, I advise in keeping everything besides 《Disallow》 as this set could potentially be the next Eldritch Moon.
Next in line is Amonkhet, and this is the exact opposite of Aether Revolt. All the Gods and Planeswalkers hold a lot of value but they don't see any play outside of Standard. Therefore, I would advise to get rid of all of them as they will plummet once they rotate out. If you still need to play with one of the Gods, it won't be too big of a deal, but don't keep all of them at the very moment.
Hour of Devastation
Hour of Devastation was considered to be the next Born of the Gods, and not a whole lot has been changed. While 《The Scarab God》 holds some value, the times where the most powerful gods was worth 50$ are long gone. It seems like it got replaced by 《Teferi, Hero of Dominaria》 in control on most parts, and that's why I would try to get rid of them sooner than later.
So, now we have discussed what to get rid of, but what should we try to acquire? It's hard to tell as there are no more Block tournaments which highlight the power of certain cards in their original environment, but I will try to paint a picture how it might look. At a first glance, cards from Dominaria look way more potent and powerful than the cards from Ixalan block.
In addition, we have the cycle of monocolored 3 Drops highlighted by 《Steel Leaf Champion》 and 《Goblin Chainwhirler》 which already see play in Standard. All the Mythics are at very high rates right now, so I would wait a little longer until their peeks disappear, with the exception of 《Weatherlight》.
I would try to get one or two 《Weatherlight》 right now, just in case. I would also try and find a playset of all the three-drops we just talked about, and get a set of 《Cabal Stronghold》. We saw a first Mono Black deck at Grand Prix Birmingham 2018, and after rotation it might be the time to shine, especially together with Coreset 2019 coming up which usually includes cards like 《Corrupt》 or 《Tendrils of Corruption》. From Dominaria I would also try to pick up all the Checklands as they will see more play with the likeliness of Shocklands getting reprinted in Ravnica in autumn.
Regarding Shocklands: wait until they are announced, we don't know for certain they are the things. In addition to that if they see the reprint, don't buy them until the set is at one to two weeks as they will drop drastically from their current price.
Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan
So, now we have the last chapter in form of Ixalan block.
《Vraska, Relic Seeker》 is rather cheap at the moment, and therefore, I would try to pick some up right now. Same goes for 《Hostage Taker》 which was awesome at the very start of the format, and sees no play for now, and if you have not done yet; get yourself the Ixalan Checklands. They will increase their value going forward as the set is not drafted anymore. For Rivals of Ixalan it is slightly harder to tell as the set looked more like a casual set at the very beginning.
One card I would advise to get is 《Angrath, the Flame-Chained》. It already sees a little bit of sideboard play, but the big time for this planeswalker might come pretty soon.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have an exciting Pro Tour ahead of you to watch!