Rishadan Pawnshop #5 Summer Forecast

In years past, Standard was finished after Nationals. There were always those few months before the new set came out that no one really played Standard, except for a few straggling FNMs and some random store tournaments. Now that we have a Standard PTQ season running all summer, Wizards has stretched out the life of Lorwyn and Shadowmoor block singles.

First of all, it should be given that Morwyn and Shadowtide singles would drop in price eventually. Prior to this year, the singles of a rotating block dropped sort of gradually during the time period between Nationals and the new set release (it actually sort of started around Regionals, after people didn’t qualify). As more people realized they didn’t need those cards anymore, more people began to sell. At the same time, as fewer people felt the need to buy said cards, those sellers in the previous sentence found fewer and fewer buyers. Fewer bids = lower prices, and that is how you win a set of Tarmogoyfs for $30 on Ebay. But I digress.

So normally, Standard begins its fall off the face of the earth starting in July and then bounces back in October. This year, I’m predicting the fall will be a bit more gradual in the beginning with a rapid tail off towards the end of August (when the PTQ season ends). And if you haven’t noticed already, the tail off has sort of already begun. I personally started clearing out my excess LOR/SHA inventory so I’m not caught with it in that little window of time where the prices begin to take dives like Shaq defending Dwight Howard. This leaves me with fewer options for decks come PTQ time, but again I digress as that isn’t the point of this article.

This right here is the point. Given we know that cards will drop more and more as the rotation nears, what decks or archetypes are the safest investments moneywise? If I wanted to jump into Standard today with no cards in my collection, what deck would I get the most longevity out of for my money? What about the least?

Let’s start at the top.

Five Color Control

The deck everyone thought was dead and gone after Wrath of God rotated out is back. Turns out that the deck didn’t need WoG all that bad and [card]Hallowed Burial[/card] is a perfectly fine replacement, especially since it permanently got rid of those persistent Kitchen Finks and Redcaps. Five-Color Control had enough push to survive one rotation. How about another?

Key Losses:
Cryptic Command
Hallowed Burial
Reflecting Pool and friends (read: every single land in the deck, save 3 basic Islands)
Minor Losses:
Broken Ambitions

Still Remaining:
Broodmate Dragon
Cruel Ultimatum

Overall, Five-Color Control loses the key components that make it Five Colors. Losing cards like Mulldrifter and Plumeveil are enough to take note of, but it’s not like they can’t be replaced. Worst comes to it, some other card draw spell and maybe something like Wall of Reverence can step in. However, until we see some amazing mana fixing from Zendikar, Five-Color Control is more likely to see a future as Three-Color Control. What three colors it would be composed of, of course, I’m not 100% sure. That’s a question better served for “Ask LSV”.

Investment summary on Five CC: In the short term, it might be one of the more popular decks, so if you have any of the money rares (or any rares that are rotating out) now is the perfect time to sell. For a long term outlook, now is the worst time you could possibly want a Cryptic Command or Reflecting Pool. Broodmate Dragon and Cruel Ultimatum aren’t guaranteed to even be playable after the greedy manabase leaves the Standard format, but at the same time aren’t very expensive anyway.

The Lorwyn Tribes

I put Faeries, Elves, Kithkin and Merfolk all under the same banner for one reason. They all lose everything. Flat out. The decks as you know them today won’t be there come Zendikar. A little run through the money, first.

Key Losses:
– Faeries, Merfolk – Cryptic Command
– Faeries – Bitterblossom
– Elves (combo) – Regal Force
– Elves (aggro) – Chameleon Colossus
– Kithkin – Figure of Destiny
– Kithkin – Windbrisk Heights
– All – Mutavault
– All – Majority of the rest of the creature base

Still Remaining:
– M10 Lords
– M10 Planeswalkers

In the end, I don’t know how Faeries and Merfolk will evolve as the majority of their tribes consist of strictly LOR/SHA components. The decks as we know them today will likely just fade away until Extended season. Given the Elves we received from M10, the green men might have a shot in Standard, depending on what Zendikar throws at us. Kithkin, I know for a fact, will just evolve into a plain White Weenie deck, probably soldier based if players want to take advantage of Captain of the Watch.

Investment Summary for the Lorwyn Tribes: Overall, it would be too expensive to invest in any of these decks if you only wanted to play them for the rest of the summer. Cryptic Command is strong, but it isn’t as strong in Extended and will lose value after the rotation. In the short term, Kithkin is an ok investment if you decide not to play Figure of Destiny only because Ajani Goldmane and Honor of the Pure are in M10. Whether it’s viable without Figure, who knows (probably not so much)? Elves in the combo form is a better investment than Aggro Elves because most of the cards it’s losing are common and uncommon. As far as long term goes, don’t be surprised if those Elvish Archdruids tank once the Zendikar spoilers show up elf-light. Also, Honor of the Pure could settle down to the old Glorious Anthem prices if a strong White Weenie presence doesn’t emerge after the rotation, with Ajani G dropping as well.


Aside from Cryptic Command and the once in a while Cruel Ultimatum or two, they are essentially the same deck, so we’ll just keep it to Jund for now. You’d think that the “Jund” deck wouldn’t lose much, if anything, especially considering we didn’t have the word Jund until Shards of Alara came along. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Let’s take a look at some of the cards we lose.

Key Losses:
Kitchen Finks
Boggart Ram-gang
Sygg, River Cutthroat
Reflecting Pool, Filter Lands

Still Remaining:
Volcanic Fallout
Bloodbraid Elf
Bituminous Blast
Maelstrom Pulse

The only question about the future of Jund is the same as it is for many decks. What will Zendikar bring us as far as mana is concerned? As far as losses, the deck loses a few of the creatures that we loved, but the core of Bloodbraid Elf, Bituminous Blast and Maelstrom Pulse will still be there to hold the Savage Lands down. I’m not sure how crucial Volcanic Fallout and Anathemancer will be once the new Standard rotates in, but they will still be there ready and waiting if we need them.

Investment Summary on Jund: In the short term, it would definitely be in your best interest to find a nice buyer for your Reflecting Pools and filter lands. Kitchen Finks is likely to still see play in Extended, but both him and Ram-Gang will definitely drop in price some. As a long term investment, Jund is definitely a deck you could look to invest in if you wanted to go for a more budget manabase. Aside from Maelstrom Pulse, the deck isn’t very expensive. As a challenge, maybe try getting a jump on the competition by attempting to work a decent base with Dragonskull Summit, Rootbound Crag and Savage Lands!

Rakdos Aggro

Now there’s a term you haven’t heard in a while, huh? Since when did Rakdos Aggro become Blightning.dec? Most RB Aggro decks don’t even play Blightning anymore! Wait what? Blightning is good again? Awk”¦ go figure.

Key Losses:
Demigod of Revenge
Figure of Destiny
Flame Javelin
Boggart Ram-gang
Minor Losses:
Graven Cairns, Auntie’s Hovel
Everlasting Torment, Stigma Lasher

Still Remaining:
Ball Lightning
Lightning Bolt
Hellspark Elemental

Black has always been just a splash. The only reason RB ran so many non basics was because they never really hurt the manabase, while greatly improving the consistency of your Blightnings. Losing some of that creature base really does hurt, but RB Aggro is more of an archetype than a deck. Kithkin is a deck. White Weenie is an archetype. Doran is a deck. Aggro Rock is an archetype. Get it? As long as Red and Black still exist in Magic, someone will be playing Rakdos, or whatever you want to call it.

Investment Outlook for RB Aggro: In the short term, you only have a few more months to enjoy your Figures and Demigods. I expect Figures to lose a lot more value than Demigods (just because they’re worth a lot more), but both will definitely see drops. Graven Cairns and Auntie’s Hovel were already cheap, so the percentage of value you can lose there is a lot less. In the long term, as I said in the previous paragraph, regardless of the format, RB Aggro will see play. Aside from Ball Lightning, none of the cards are expensive at all, so invest with confidence as these power uncommons will hold value for at least another year.

Time Sieve

Jon Loucks’s home brew turned out to be actually pretty good, Top 8ing several Nationals and winning some taste test awards along the way. For those in doubt, going rogue CAN pay off! The best part is, the deck remains pretty much intact after Morwynadowmoor leaves the format.

Key Losses:
Cryptic Command
Pollen Lullaby
Minor Losses:
Elsewhere Flask
Mystic Gate

Still Remaining:
– Everything Else

The loss of Cryptic Command is notable only because of the value of the card. If you were to try to netdeck Time Sieve and invested 100% in the Finland 1st place list, in August you would find yourself stuck with four Cryptics that 1) you can’t sell and 2) you might not have completely needed in the first place. Overall Angelsong isn’t as good as Pollen Lullaby, but it’ll have to do. Mystic Gate can very easily be replaced by Glacial Fortress. Elsewhere Flask might be a little tougher but I don’t think it’s that crucial that the deck will totally fall apart without it.

Investment Outlook for Time Sieve: The Time Sieve deck has the best overall investment outlook of all the decks here. First of all, in the short term, the only rares you can lose value on are Cryptic Command and Mystic Gate. Olivier Ruel ran only two Cryptics in his Top 8 list and you can try Glacial Fortress over Mystic Gate if you wanted to minimize your potential future loss. As far as long term investments are concerned, Time Sieve and Open the Vaults are excellent value rares. Tezzeret is a little more expensive, but he’s not rotating until next year and he’s played in Vintage as well. The rest of the deck isn’t very costly and will be legal at least until M10 rotates out.

Everything Else

Here are a few other high priced commodities that you should look to unload in the near future (in no particular order):
Stillmoon Cavalier
Primal Command
Wilt-Leaf Liege
– All Tribal Lands (ie. Gilt-Leaf Palace)
– All Filter Lands
– Anything else that might be worth anything from Lorwyn, Morningtide, Shadowmoor, or Eventide

Most of the stuff we talked about should probably already be common knowledge, but I hope it helps that I laid it out and organized it for you. It seems like we’re losing a lot of power from LOR/SHM, but that can only mean two things. 1) We’ll find more value in Shards cards that we didn’t see before or 2) Zendikar is going to bring us some crazy stuff. Who knows, if we’re lucky we might get both! Thanks for stopping by the shop this week!

Jeremy Fuentes

10 thoughts on “Rishadan Pawnshop #5 Summer Forecast”

  1. Jeremy,

    I pretty much agree with everything dropping in price without question aside from thoughtseize. Although I don’t play much vintage or legacy I know thoughtseize is still played in extended. Do you think the price drop is worth unloading right now as I have a play-set that isn’t currently doing much for me? Great article and analysis of Lorwyn block price decreases and post rotation prices.

  2. IMO, there’s no need to sell these Thoughtseizes right away, as they’re heavily played in Eternal Formats.

  3. So what should I be buying then? Does GSS take a big hit with the rotation? More curious about what to pick up rather than ‘SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING’ in regards to rotating blocks. Time Sieve advice is solid for that reason, it has a v. good chance of staying competitive while many decks are just dead.

  4. <3 the dig at Shaq. That alone made the article. I wonder about Cryptic Command’s playability in a couple of years in Extended. But I also admit to knowing nothing about MODOnomics, so I’ll just do what you tell me to do.

    Except I need a Standard collection for PTQ testing. Awkward. 🙁

  5. Glasses_Guy (Thomaz Alexandre)

    Agree with pretty much everything, except for the already mentioned Thoughtseize. I have already put much of this stuff to the trade binder (I hope guys at my store aren’t your readers!).

    About Demigod and Cryptic, I see them being played in Extended and even Eternal in case of the Avatar. One tip that I have for people unloading their Faerie deck is to keep the Archmages and Vendilions, since they are much better in Extended anyway, not that expensive, and thus much more likely to hold value.

  6. Good article and breakdown.

    We all know Lorwyn block cards are soo strong compared to the rest of standard’s offerings. It may be wise to grab a cheap-o box of Shards pre-Zen before we find ourselves in a Lowynesque situation where Zendikar is a dissapointment and players still want to use multi colored cards. Either way I think a good investment for people interested in standard right now with little or no card base is a box or two of M10+shards.

  7. Time Sieve has great matchups against everything but faeries. With faeries dissapearing completely, I think it is an awesome investment.

  8. dowjonzechemical

    I am sure Cryptic will be played in 1.x. Why wouldn’t it be, even as a 1 or 2-of. I am also certain Reflecting Pool will be too. With City of Brass, Primal Beyond, Pillar of the Paruns, and Gemstone Mine, Reflecting Pool will find its way into some greedy 5 color 1.x deck (Paruns Aggro?).

  9. Hopefully Zendikar brings a replacement to elsewhere flask- Time Sieve without it gets a lot clunkier…

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