Finance in a Flash: Depths of Ravnica

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Finance, Magic Culture

Did You Know?

Rhox Faithmender went to $5 TCG Mid this weekend due to rumors of it being insane in Bant, particularly against the previously indomitable Rakdos aggro deck.

Craterhoof Behemoth has been falling since its crescendo a few weeks ago and doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. Cards like Izzet Staticaster, Bonfire of the Damned, and Curse of Death’s Hold are all seeing more play as the format warps around the Rakdos aggro deck. Unfortunately, all these cards also destroy Hoof.dec. I wouldn’t be caught dead with Craterhoofs unless I got them at an insane deal, and even then it wouldn’t be for long.

Quick Hits

1. Bonfire of the Damned is back again. Well, not BACK. But it has been making more public appearances after a brief hiatus. What I find most intriguing about Bonfire financially is its playability in a multitude of archetypes, from the TCG 50k winning RWU list, to the Naya and Jund lists that met in the finals of SCG Baltimore. This is one of my favorite standard pickups with plenty of room to grow.

2. Olivia Voldaren is too powerful to be kept down. The prevalence of Searing Spear hurts her some in the immediate future, but there’s no reason her prices cannot match Geist of Saint Traft if Jund or various 4 Color decks make a run in the coming weeks. This makes her a great pickup (she’s only $19 TCG Mid, compared to Geist at $33).

3. GerryT gave us a glimpse of the power of Drogskol Reaver a few weeks ago, and nothing has really changed. The removal in standard remains horrid and the Reaver dodges almost all of it while being nearly impossible to race. The card is also a Mythic from Dark Ascension and as such is hard to find. If it spikes, it will spike hard. There is very little risk involved in picking these up, and the potential gain is staggering.

4. Garruk, Primal Hunter remains the midrange Planeswalker of choice and has slowly been creeping upward in price since the opening weeks of Return to Ravnica Standard. The ceiling is certainly lowered due to its printing in consecutive Core sets, and that has probably slowed its price climb as well. Despite this limiting factor, the card’s power and playability should keep it rising for the foreseeable future.

5. Staff of Nin is being floated around as a card advantage engine in standard control decks either as a compliment to Sphinx’s Revelation or as an alternative in decks without Blue or White. The ceiling is impacted by the promotional versions, but there is very little risk involved. Being colorless means it could see play in any color combination.

6. Geist of Saint Traft is very expensive, and before this weekend it hadn’t done much to deserve its price ($40 on SCG). Despite being in both of the decks in the finals of the TCG 50k, I’m not going anywhere near this. What’s the upside? Even if it hits $45 or $50, that’s a lot of initial investment for very little gain.

7. Sphinx’s Revelation’s spike was meteoric and at least for the short term I think its ceiling has been reached. Feel free to get rid of these in favor of cards that haven’t hit their ceiling yet.

8. Sands of Delirium! Curse of Echoes! Silklash Spider! Curse of Death’s Hold! What do all these cards have in common? I like their potential to have a weekend resembling Rhox Faithmender in coming months, and they can be obtained for basically nothing.

9. Gatecrash is coming, and my favorite speculations for the new set are lands: Alchemist’s Refuge and Slayers’ Stronghold. Both of them are very cheap and have the potential to hit $2-$3 in the new Standard if their respective guilds take off.

10. Thundermaw Hellkite, Thragtusk, Falkenrath Aristocrat, Huntmaster of the Fells, and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. None of these cards have much room to grow, but they are becoming harder and harder to find and are incredibly liquid, often taking a premium in the hour before a Standard event begins.

Last Word

The coin has finally flipped on Return to Ravnica. After two months of packs being cracked, the supply of rares and mythics has finally started outpacing demand. Prices have started and will continue to fall until Gatecrash is released, barring changes in circumstances for specific cards (metagame shifts, Gatecrash spoilers, unbannings, etc.).

The sky is not falling. This is normal. This is an opportunity. Last year, this was the beginning of the period where you could get $3 Innistrad duals and that worked out well enough. Return to Ravnica cards will as a whole never be lower during their time in Standard than the next two months. This will be a great time to finish up play sets you were hesitant about previously. Cards like Jace, Architect of Thought and the shocklands are surefire bets to rebound over the longterm. I would be looking for opportunities to pick up cheap copies of Abrupt Decay, Detention Sphere, Dreadbore, Lotleth Troll, Loxodon Smiter, and Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius as well.

All of this raises the question, “What do I do with all my extra Return to Ravnica cards?” The first option is to just keep them and ride out the downward trend. This is fine for some of the more marquee cards but many of the middling rares will never recover from this price drop. This leads us to the other option which I personally prefer: dump hard and selectively re-buy over the next couple of months. You’re going to take a hit either way because the fall has already started, but price memory and lagging TCG prices will lessen the damage should you choose to out your stock quickly before everyone gets the memo.

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