Welcome back to part two of my two-part series dedicated to discussing the upcoming Extended rotation. In just a few weeks, Shards of Alara will become Extended legal, and several sets will no longer be playable in Extended. These sets include Invasion, Planeshift and Apocalypse (covered in last week’s article) and Odyssey, Torment, Judgment and 7th Edition (covered in this week’s article). This series not only catalogs which decks are losing key cards for the format, but whether or not the value of the rotating cards will be affected much by losing Extended legality (or will affect the value of other cards).
A couple of forum posters commented to the effect that this two-part series has no value to anyone interested in Extended, since they are already well aware of what is or is not rotating. This article series isn’t designed to discuss as much strategy, but the financial value of the rotating cards. There are more people who engage in card trading (or buying/selling) than in tournament play, and it is valuable to them to have a crib sheet to know which cards will be holding value post-rotation, versus losing value.
For example, in the last part I mentioned that Vindicate was likely to hold steady at current values, while Meddling Mage and Orim’s Chant were already seeing significant losses. I explain the reasons for this in terms of what the cards mean in tournament play, their appeal to casual players outside of tournament play, and whether or not they are significant in Eternal formats. While Johnny PTQ player might already know this, any number of more casually inclined players (EDH, group games, FNM level, what have you) can take value in knowing whether they are getting a fair trade, or should wait/buy now on a certain card. And if you are a tournament player, it can’t hurt to have all the information in one place, can it?
Anyhow, that’s enough preface! I’ve broken down the rotating cards by three ratings: Major, Medium, or Minor (the three M’s!). Major means that the rotation is significant, and will have a big effect on the value of other cards in the format. Medium means that the card has seen solid play, but its rotation shouldn’t affect other card values much. Minor means that the card is probably a role-player, and while it has seen play, it shouldn’t really drop much in price (or change the value of other cards) too greatly.
Major = Big impact on the format and other cards.
Medium = Some impact on the format, minimal on other cards.
Minor = Small impact on the format.
Animal Boneyard (Minor)
Part of the Life combo deck, which combines Daru Spiritualist with equipment which can target multiple times (Shuko, Lightning Greaves). This would have been a big loss for the deck a couple of years ago, but the lifegain card of choice for this deck has been Miren (from Saviors) for a while now. This has been a Tier 2ish deck in the format, and there’s the potential for it to be strong in the right metagame. Since Miren is your main (and now only) realistic sacrifice outlet to gain life, it’s probably a card worth getting four-of. The value of Miren has been low since it rotated out of Standard (where it combed with dragons such as Kokusho), but it is a good effect to have in case you do need a quick sacrifice outlet (and one that is uncounterable) for Extended.
Balancing Act (Moderate)
Balancing Act was the key card in a deck that abused the Invasion sac lands, Insidious Dreams, and Terravore. Almost every key card in this deck is rotating, so losing Balancing Act isn’t that momentous to other cards, since the other cards that would have cared won’t exist anymore. Should revert to bulk rare pricing post-rotation.
Barbarian Ring (Moderate)
A tool for Red decks, and still used in other formats such as Vintage and Legacy. It was nice to have an uncounterable source of damage, but no deck will fall apart without being able to play Barbarian Ring. It should drop a little in value, but hold around the $1.50-$2 range due to interest from other formats.
Braids, Cabal Minion (Minor)
Braids decks were strong in Standard over the course of two years, but the deck never made a really successful transition to Extended. Time is up on Braids, and without having been played in other formats, I can only imagine that Braids will end up as a bulk Rare as well. Braids is not a popular casual card (in gameplay at least — the artwork is very popular), as playgroups usually seek to take out the Braids player quickly in a game, lest they all lose multiple permanents.
Buried Alive (Minor)
Buried Alive is an extremely popular casual card, and one that combos extremely well with the new Unearth mechanic from Shards of Alara. Buried Alive has been mainly on the sidelines for tournament play, but Unearth (the mechanic, not the card) might have made Buried Alive a tournament playable card. In addition, Buried Alive has a very simple mechanic, and would not be out of place being reprinted in a base set. Right now, the value of Buried Alive is mainly to casual players, so it should hold steady post-rotation. If it gets reprinted, it will probably go up a little in price, to about the level of Browbeat (another very casual-friendly card that holds value in the $3-$5 range consistently)
Careful Study (Major)
Careful Study is a card that, as of now, isn’t readily replaced by anything outside of maybe Ideas Unbound, but there’s a huge difference between turn 1 and turn 2 for this sort of effect, much less single Blue (splashable) versus double Blue (commitment to Blue). Careful Study wasn’t just for card-drawing — it was for Madness (rotating in general), Threshold (rotating in general), and combo (not rotating). A lot of the cards that Careful Study worked with are also going to be gone from Extended, but Careful Study was a very powerful card to have for any deck that wished to either filter cards cheaply, or get cards into the graveyard quickly. Careful Study is still playable in Eternal formats, so the foil version should hold value, but the non-foil version will probably drop back down to the quarter range.
Cephalid Coliseum (Moderate)
Cephalid Coliseum shared many decks with Careful Study, plus it was a mainstay of several versions of the Dredge deck over the past couple of years. Cephalid Coliseum is still part of the Dredge deck in other formats, and Dredge is a powerful deck in both Vintage and Legacy. Losing Coliseum in Extended shouldn’t affect its value, because of the heavy play it still gets elsewhere. Lands with effects tend to hold value well, because they replicate uncounterable spells that, for the most part, also continue your normal mana building. This is a very basic statement, but lands (more so than any other card types) tend to hold their value well over time, because everybody (except maybe the odd Vintage deck or two) needs lands in order the play Magic. The rest of the cards change, but a Cephalid Coliseum will always be a consideration for a Blue deck.
Coffin Purge (Minor)
Back in the day, Coffin Purge was a great graveyard hoser. Since that nebulous “back in the day,” there have been dozens of well-suited alternates to Coffin Purge, the least of which include Tormod’s Crypt. Another â€˜option’ card that has plenty of alternatives, so it should fade back to bulk price.
Darkwater Egg/Mossfire Egg/Shadowblood Egg/Skycloud Egg/Sungrass Egg (Minor)
The Second Sunrise/Egg deck was around for a couple of months, and then was eclipsed by many other decks in Extended. These won’t be much missed, and should all be considered bulk at this point.
Divert sees play more in Eternal Formats than Extended, because the tight mana costs and aversion to creatures (Ancestral Recall, Force of Will, and the such) make the two-mana payment less likely than in something like Extended, where far less cards can be hit early game. (Can’t Divert a Kird Ape!) Divert should hold value slightly above bulk rare, with an interest in foil versions for Vintage players who like to foil out their decks. Divert has seen increased Vintage play in recent months.
Entomb has been banned in Extended for years, and therefore should be entirely unaffected in value by the current rotation. Entomb has long been discussed as a candidate for unrestriction in Vintage; if that should happen, the value on Entomb would rise sharply. This is currently happening with several other now-unrestricted cards (Mystical Tutor, Time Spiral, Dream Halls), so if you’re into Vintage, might as well pick up three extra Entombs now, because the value will only go up if they can be ran as a four-of.
A very good (reusable) direct damage spell that doesn’t see play as much in older formats. There are plenty of alternatives to Firebolt out there, so it won’t cripple any decks, but it will fall back down to the quarter range due to lack of play elsewhere.
Ground Seal (Minor)
Once upon a time, Ground Seal was played as a way to stop people from reanimating their creatures. Reanimation hasn’t been a popular Extended strategy for quite a few seasons now, and so the value of Ground Seal is dependent on Vintage and Legacy play. Ground Seal was played in Vintage when Worldgorger Dragon decks were popular, but the Dragon decks currently are not played much. Because of both of these factors, Ground Seal should lose value due to the rotation.
Haunting Echoes (Minor)
Five mana is a lot to ask for a sorcery in Extended, especially one that doesn’t affect the board position. While Haunting Echoes can be crippling in the right match-up, it has been overshadowed by Extirpate in competitive play. Haunting Echoes popular to play with (but not against) with casual players, leading to a depressed interest for casual play — therefore, Haunting Echoes should drop in price, because of a combination of both a lack of play, and a flagging (due to the mechanic) casual popularity.
Innocent Blood (Minor)
Black’s best answer to a first-turn creature, but often unreliable past turn 1. In older formats, this still sees play, but has to compete with the instant-speed Diabolic Edict. Edict usually wins due to the ability to respond at the end of an opponent’s turn. Should drop back down to bulk pricing.
Moment’s Peace (Major)
The loss of Moment’s Peace is one of the most significant blows to control decks in Extended. Against any deck with a creature plan, Moment’s Peace worked as a double-use Time Walk at instant speed — this was crushing against Zoo, Affinity, and often Goblins. While Sun Droplet also serves a similar stalling purpose to Moment’s Peace, it was more easily dealt with since it is an artifact, and not a spell. Wizards has ramped up the power level of creatures the past couple of blocks, and ramped down the power level of spells, in general. The removal of Moment’s Peace from Extended is a huge boon to aggressive decks, and should be a factor (a small one, but enough of one to matter) to a rise in popularity (and therefore price) of weenie and affinity creatures.
Nimble Mongoose (Minor)
Threshold — more of a Legacy deck than an Extended deck. Nimble Mongoose made its way into Extended decks from time to time, but Threshold (and Standstill, which I’ll get to in a minute) as a deck has been geared towards Legacy, and the cards for those decks are Legacy staples, not Extended staples… with the exception of Werebear, in Terravore decks.
Patron Wizard (Minor)
Patron Wizard is another card that is very popular with casual players, had the potential to get broken in Extended, but just never quite was good enough. It should stay at current value as it derives value from casual play.
Another Legacy-price driven card.
Psychatog decks were Tier 1 (or dominant) for years, and then *poof* the supposed best creature in Magic just wasn’t good enough in a field of combo, super-aggro, and lockdown. Psychatog did show up for a while as a last huzzah in dredge decks… and promptly was overshadowed by almost every other aspect of the dredge engine, and was quickly phased out. Hulk Smash decks haven’t shown up in Vintage for awhile, and Tog isn’t getting a lot of love in Legacy, or in casual play. Expect the value on the toothy one to drop, though he always has the potential to be good again (so pick up a playset while they are low!)
Reckless Charge (Minor)
Another support spell lost for the Gaea’s Might Get There (And Red Deck Wins) decks, though again not a loss that cripples the deck.
Roar of the Wurm (Minor)
I’ll discuss the U/G Madness deck a little further down, with Wild Mongrel.
Skeletal Scrying (Minor)
Once again, Skeletal Scrying (though seen from time to time in Extended) is more of a Legacy/Vintage card, and should hold value due to play in those two formats.
Sphere of Law (Moderate)
First Moment’s Peace and now Sphere of Law. Will the absence of these two cards make Flaring Pain a completely unnecessary sideboard card? Wait, Flaring Pain is rotating as well? Never mind! Sphere of Law was a fantastic out against Goblins, and it will be missed by White mages everywhere. Red mages, however, will rejoice — it’s another shot in the arm for the Goblin deck, which needs some help after losing Ringleader and Matron.
Squirrel Nest (Minor)
A strong casual card, but one that has lost interest for three reasons. One, Wizards seems to have abandoned Squirrels as a tribe (changelings don’t count). Two, outside of Earthcraft, there aren’t any really easy infinite combos to be had with Squirrel Nest. Three, Wizards has been printing some really strong variants on Squirrel Nest lately, including the incredibly popular (and more powerful) Imperious Perfect. Squirrel Nest should lose some value in rotation, but not enough to go to bulk pricing.
Standstill is a testament to the power of free pitch spells, such as Force of Will — without FoW, Standstill was virtually unplayable in Extended, despite being an enchantment Ancestral Recall in the right build. In Legacy (and to some degree, Vintage), Standstill is still a staple, and should stay at its current price level.
Tarnished Citadel (Minor)
One of several five-color producing land choices that is now falling by the wayside. These briefly spiked in price last season, but now should pretty much be completely bulk rares.
Key kill card in two decks — the Devastating Dreams and the Balancing Act deck (though both of these cards are also rotating). Terravore was an omnipresent way to abuse sending mass-amounts of lands to your graveyard, so losing it out of the format is losing a major deckbuilding tool. The upcoming new crop of Dredge/Gifts Ungiven/Life from the Loam decks (expect to see these at Tier 1 next Extended PTQ season — Life from the Loam and Gifts Ungiven are both going to be major powerhouses in the New Extended) would have benefitted from Terravore as a protectable, huge threat — but now that it is gone, it is relegated mainly to Legacy play, and should drop in value since it will be half as played as in previous years (due to being removed from Extended entirely).
Tireless Tribe (Minor)
A support card in the Life deck, which wasn’t a Tier 1 or 2 deck at this point in time.
Another casualty of the Devastating Dreams/Terravore deck, which is gutted wholesale by this rotation. Virtually every key card in the deck (including Burning Wish) is gone, and Werebear wasn’t seeing much play elsewhere in Extended. Will still be considered for Legacy play, and should hold some value based on that.
Wild Mongrel (Moderate)
I’m also going to lump in Basking Rootwalla, Arrogant Wurm, Roar of the Wurm, Circular Logic, Aquamoeba, and Wonder on this card. In short, was anyone winning with Madness the past few years? It was a powerhouse in Odyssey Block Constructed, very good in Standard, and a passable Extended deck choice for a little while… until it was overshadowed by every other aggressive deck, at which point it fell completely by the wayside. Wild Mongrel was once mentioned in discussions with some of the most powerful creatures of all time. Would anyone bat an eyelash if Wild Mongrel was reprinted in 11th Edition? Wild Mongrel ended up getting relegated to Zoo decks, as Madness completely disappeared from the tournament scene for, honestly, years now. The curve for creatures has gone up significantly over the past year, and while Wild Mongrel would be good in Standard, it might not even be one of the top 3 two-drops in Green in the current environment (Tarmogoyf, Wren’s Run Vanquisher, and Wall of Roots all make an argument for being better right now). Every single card in the Madness deck should take a significant hit in value post-rotation, since nobody is playing them in a deck right now, and the deck hasn’t gotten any significant upgrades since, honestly, Odyssey block. That’s a long time to punish a deck for being â€˜too good’ initially.
Zombie Infestation (Moderate)
Zombie Infestation was an easy way for Black to bin cards to the graveyard, but it had fallen out of favor over the past year in dredge decks. It should drop in value, as it isn’t seeing a lot of play at casual tables, or in other formats.
See Wild Mongrel.
Arrogant Wurm (Minor)
No really, go see Wild Mongrel! It’s only a few cards above here!
Basking Rootwalla (Minor)
For the love of god and all that is holy, go see Wild Mongrel!
Just like with the Madness deck, let me take the time to lump together the battered remains of the modern dredge deck. Included in this list are Cephalid Illusionist, Cephalid Sage, Ichorid, Putrid Imp, and Tolarian Winds. (I’ll speak about Cabal Therapy and Duress separately). Wow, did the Dredge deck lose almost all of its key cards or what? You can still dredge (those cards are around), but almost every support card to make the deck works has rotated out of the format. Does this mean Dredge is dead and gone? I don’t think so, because it’s a very powerful mechanic, and there are still cards which abuse the graveyard in Extended. However, the current form with early-turn kills is likely neutered, which will affect the value of the remaining cards in the deck negatively (Golgari Grave-Troll), along with hosers for the deck (Tormod’s Crypt). Breakthrough and Ichorid should hold value because they are playable in the Eternal versions of the deck, but the other cards are not as often seen, and should drop in value.
Cabal Coffers (Minor)
Interesting in combination with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, but the two didn’t co-exist in Extended long enough to every amount to anything, Cabal Coffers is incredibly popular with casual players, and should not drop in value post-rotation.
Cabal Ritual (Moderate)
Cabal Ritual was a big part of the Mind’s Desire engine, and one of the best ways to produce mass-amounts of quick mana in the format. It is still used in Vintage and Legacy, so it should hold most of its value, but the loss of Cabal Ritual leaves Red and Green as the kings of fast mana in Extended. This rotation should help the value of Seething Song and Rite of Flame in particular.
Cephalid Illusionist (Moderate)
See Breakthrough, above.
Cephalid Sage (Minor)
See Breakthrough, above.
Chainer’s Edict (Minor)
A sometimes-used removal spell that had plenty of alternatives. Will drop a lot in value, because Cruel Edict is a cheaper (value) card, and Diabolic Edict (at instant speed) is often superior. Seven mana is a lot to flashback — doable, but not necessarily worth a $2 price tag.
Circular Logic (Minor)
Have you even been reading the rest of this article? Wild Mongrel is where you can read about the Madness cards like Circular Logic!
A role player, and there are other Blue ways to get cards into your graveyard quickly (Compulsive Research and Thirst for Knowledge, to name two). Was usually a one-of, so won’t be missed much.
Deep Analysis (Moderate)
Several decks over the years have used (or abused, depending on your point of view) Deep Analysis, including Madness, Psychatog, and Dredge, all at the heights of their popularity. All three of these decks are rotating out of Extended, which stunts the impact of the loss of Deep Analysis. There are still ways to get cards into your graveyard, so Deep Analysis will be missed, and isn’t easily replaced (Think Twice is only half as good, for instance).
Devastating Dreams (Major)
The Terravore/Devastating Dreams/Burning Wish deck is my nomination for the most underrated deck over the past two Extended seasons. The deck is extremely resilient, has great match-ups against a lot of decks, and can be brutally fast in killing someone. Devastating Dreams was the main mass-land kill spell left in Extended, and the next-best (or next-most-playable) alternative now is Death Cloud (which started to see some Extended play towards the middle-end of the last Extended season — watch that card!). This will make the lives of Urzatron and combo decks easier, since they don’t have to worry about losing all of their lands on turn 2/3 anymore.
Grim Lavamancer (Major)
Grim Lavamancer was a key component in Red Deck Wins and Zoo, both of which will mourn the loss of a reusable creature-removal spell that had great synergy with sac lands and the need to cast other removal spells. It is still played in Legacy, and some in Vintage (fish), but should drop in value because its main bread and butter is in Extended.
See Breakthrough, above. Ichorid, to restate again, should still hold value due to a plethora of tier-one play in Legacy and Vintage.
Insidious Dreams (Minor)
A key player in the Balancing Act deck, now defunct. Didn’t really end up getting played many other places.
Laquatus’s Champion (Minor)
A great reanimation target, but a role-player as there are lots of great reanimation targets. Still very popular with casual players, so it should maintain value.
The card, not the set! Morningtide was a once-sought after hoser for Ichorid/Dredge decks, but it was overshadowed mightily by the reprinting of Tormod’s Crypt in Time Spiral. It doesn’t see a lot of play in other formats, so it should end up around bulk pricing sooner than later.
Damnation invalidated the need for Mutilate, unless you wanted more than four Wrath of God effects. Still should be popular with casual players as a â€˜budget’ Wrath/Damnation effect.
Nantuko Shade (Minor)
Nantuko Shade is another card that, all things considered, could be reprinted in the base set without anyone blinking an eye. Is it too good? Likely, no — it’s good, but not â€˜over the top’ good. Will lose some value through rotation, though not a ton since it is also very popular casually.
Nostalic Dreams (Minor)
A bit player in combo and Life from the Loam decks, but more often skipped over than used.
A sideboard one-of for Burning Wish decks, which no longer exist. Won’t be missed nearly as much as Burning Wish.
Putrid Imp (Major)
See Breakthrough, above.
Sickening Dreams (Minor)
A sideboard card for Dredge (or Death Cloud) to mass-remove zoo (or Goblin) creatures in the early game. Will Sickening Dreams be missed? A little, as it had fans — but not overly much since Damnation is also around now.
Tainted Field/Tainted Isle/Tainted Peak/Tainted Wood (Minor)
The Tainted lands were always popular with casual players as â€˜budget’ dual lands for the Black mage. This will continue to be the case, as the Tainted lands were never very popular for competitive Extended play.
Vengeful Dreams (Minor)
A good sideboard option against creature hordes, but often Wing Shards was just plain better (much less Condemn nowadays). It was still a one-of, but it shouldn’t be missed too much. Mainly a bulk rare at this point.
Violent Eruption (Minor)
What goes the way of madness stays the way of madness. All of these cards have dropped in value, and Violent Eruption is making a slow march to completely obscurity at this point.
Anger was a tool mainly for reanimator decks, which had fallen out of favor in Extended. It is a one-to-two of in Sutured Ghoul decks elsewhere, but isn’t seeing much play otherwise (some Workshop decks in Vintage use Lightning Greaves for hasty needs, for instance). Should drop in value post-rotation.
Anurid Brushhopper (Minor)
A bit-player in Mirari’s Wake and Balancing Act decks, but gone with both of those cards. Wasn’t played much elsewhere, though a 3/4 body for three isn’t too rough, to be honest.
Burning Wish (Major)
Burning Wish gets my vote for the most significant card rotating out of Extended. It allowed for a toolbox format in any number of decks, most significantly Mind’s Desire and Terravore decks, propelling those two decks to PTQ-winner status. Without Burning Wish, these decks don’t have easy access to specific answers (or pieces to their combo), heavily destabilizing their ability to react or have a smooth game plan. Burning Wish was fifteen cards in one, without having to put those fifteen cards necessarily in your main deck to draw. It is still played in both Vintage and Legacy, but Extended is where Burning Wish made its biggest impact over the past couple of years — it (along with the other wishes) is already starting to drop a lot in price due to rotation.
Cabal Therapy (Major)
I’ll discuss Cabal Therapy and Duress at the same time, since both are the most significant disruption spells in Extended pre-rotation. Both Duress and Cabal Therapy gave decks a pain-free way to disrupt combo and control, to the point where Affinity was splashing black mainly to have access to Cabal Therapy post-board. Cabal Therapy in particular helped the playability of Dark Confidant, because you could always have a sacrifice outlet to your 2/1 guy if he got out of hand. The big winner in the disappearance of Cabal Therapy and Duress? It’s Thoughtseize, which emerges as the one-drop of choice for these purposes. Thoughtseize should become one of the preeminent rares in Extended, if no other one-drop discard spells of note end up getting printed. I expect the price of Thoughtseize to his $25-$30 during Extended season, if this ends up being the case.
Cunning Wish (Moderate)
See Burning Wish, above… only less so.
Flaring Pain (Minor)
As mentioned above, the loss of Moment’s Peace and Sphere of Law invalidates a lot of the hurt of losing Flaring Pain. Solitary Confinement is leaving as well. If any of those cards still existed in Extended, the loss of Flaring Pain would have been significant. Since they are all going at once, c’est la vie!
Fledgling Dragon (Minor)
Red Deck Wins will miss this card, but it keeps most of its pieces intact for the time being — just a bit player in that deck, plus sometimes threshold and Devastating Dreams.
The other major hit to The Rock, which stays generally intact (thanks to Thoughtseize for Duress) aside from losing mainstay Pernicious Deed. Genesis gave The Rock a good game against control decks, because no creatures truly went away forever. Without Genesis, The Rock doesn’t have a great way to get back threats that have been cast away, aside from Eternal Witness, which is a one-time occurrence.
Lava Dart (Minor)
More of Legacy/Vintage card, where Goblin Welder runs a little more rampant. Wasn’t played as much in Extended, so it shouldn’t drop much in value.
Living Wish (Moderate)
Living Wish was, over time, the least-played of the three major Wishes from Judgment in Extended. However, it overtook Cunning Wish in Extended over the past couple of seasons, seeing play in The Rock and as a toolbox provider for general Green decks. Living Wish is also a key part of the Aluren deck in Legacy, so of Cunning Wish/Burning Wish/Living Wish, this one is most likely to hold value (since it wasn’t as high as Burning Wish, and both Burning and Living Wish are played a lot in Eternal formats).
Mental Note (Minor)
Part of some dredge and threshold decks, but moreso in Legacy than Extended; the foil version should hold value, while the non-foil version will become a quarter common once again.
Mirari’s Wake (Minor)
Less important a rotation than it might have been if Heartbeat of Spring and Gauntlet of Power did not exist. Since they do, the loss of Mirari’s Wake is relatively insignificant, and Mirari’s Wake will still be popular with casual players.
Phantom Centaur (Minor)
Part of the toolbox for Green decks to sideboard against the Rock, and burn decks. However, it is not played as much in Eternal formats, so it will likely be relegated to obscurity, and the bulk bins.
Phantom Nishoba (Minor)
One of the reanimator creatures that hasn’t really gotten too much play outside of decks that cheat creatures into play. The overall level of lifegain creatures has skyrocketed in recent sets (Loxodon Hierarch, Kitchen Finks), so the value of Phantom Nishoba even to casual players has diminished. Look for this to drop to the $2ish range post-rotation.
Ray of Revelation (Minor)
More of a card to combine with Oath of Druids in Vintage — so it’ll keep value on the foil due to interest from Type 1 players.
Blue players rejoice! Now you can tap out at the end of your opponent’s turn without leaving yourself open to an instant-speed Time Walk! This was an oft-sideboarded card by aggressive and mid-range Green decks, and it will be missed (though is replaceable as a sideboard card).
Solitary Confinement (Major)
Solitary Confinement marks the third major obstacle removed from the path of aggressive decks (along with Sphere of Law and Moment’s Peace). While Solitary Confinement needed more of a full-deck commitment than the other two cards, there is no doubt that this enchantment made a major impact on the Extended metagame as part of both the Orim’s Chant/Scepter deck (defunct) and the Enduring Ideal deck (which now loses its most potent defensive weapon). Confinement is toyed around with in older formats, but not enough to save its value — it will drop in price post-rotation.
Stitch Together (Minor)
One of the cheapest reanimation spells formerly in Extended; now gone. Used with Sutured Ghoul, below.
Sutured Ghoul (Minor)
Replaced by Umbra Stalker for decks that want this effect, so not a huge loss to Extended. This deck is neutered by the loss of Cephalid Illusionist, anyhow.
See Wild Mongrel, above. Madness just hasn’t cut it in recent years, unfortunately!
Arcane Laboratory (Moderate)
Rule of Law still exists for the function, though Arcane Laboratory was clearly the more played of the two (functionally identical) cards.
A lot of the more powerful color hosers are leaving Extended with this rotation, and Compost is a big card against Black decks. This was an important card for Rock on Rock matchups, so it’s kind of a stalemate that Compost is rotating, since both sides of the equation will miss it equally. Not as important as rule of law, but a card that held Mono-Black Control in check.
Counterspell hadn’t seen significant play in years, because a lot of decks wanted a Blue-splash counterspell, such as Mana Leak or Remand. Then, along came Next-Level Blue and revitalized Counterspell as an Extended staple. Next Level Blue was neutered to a degree by the banning of Sensei’s Diving Top, but there are multiple alternatives to Counterspell in Extended. It’ll hold value because it’s a staple of Magic, and is played vigorously in casual games.
A staple in every format it’s been available in, Duress will be sorely missed in Extended. It is replaced by Thoughtseize, but players have been used to the combination of Duress/Cabal Therapy for years as a one-two punch. Going down to a one-punch is a huge blow for any deck with a discard strategy in mind (either as disruption, or offensively), but Duress is solidly played in casual games, Vintage, and Legacy, and should not change in value.
Gone, forgotten, grab me a Flamebreak please!
Engineered Plague (Major)
Engineered Plague is good enough to see play in Vintage and Legacy, and it was a big tool for keeping Goblin and Elf decks in check. Goblins lost two major cards (Matron and Ringleader), but “gained” from the rotation of Moment’s Peace, Sphere of Law, Solitary Confinement, and Engineered Plague. Will this even out in the end? The sideboard options for Goblins are still there (Pyroclasm, Engineered Explosives, Circle of Protection: Red), but they are significantly worse than what existed just a year ago.
Final Fortune (Minor)
Used both by Goblin decks (very sporadically), and on Isochron Scepter with Platinum Angel, for the one season Tinker wasn’t banned years ago. Shouldn’t be missed too much, and should be considered a bulk rare at this point.
Force Spike (Major)
If a Blue Mage has one mana up on turn 1, there’s only one play that could matter for them now — Spell Snare. No longer do players have to worry about having their one-drop countered on the draw; with Force Spike gone, Blue loses a major weapon against aggressive decks. As I write this article, I realize that if I were a PTQ player, I’d be going nuts developing aggressive decks, because the rotation is really, really hurting control and combo decks, and not so much decks that like to attack with fast creatures.
Goblin Matron (Major)
Not as significant as losing Goblin Ringleader, but still a big blow to Goblin Decks. Now they have to â€˜play fair’ and draw into the Goblins they need, rather than tutoring them up, or drawing four at once with Ringleader. This should significantly hamper the effectiveness of Goblin decks, since they can no longer play a lot of one-of goblins without redundancy, because there is no easy way to fetch up the sole Sharpshooter, for instance, without Matron.
Grafted Skullcap (Minor)
Replaced by Bottled Cloister, if you want a burn plan with Ensnaring Bridge.
Mana Short (Moderate)
Mistbind Clique and Gigadrowse replace Mana Short, though Mana Short is easily the most playable of these three cards, because it does not have a tribal restriction, or a heavy-blue cost. Still, Mana Short was a sideboard card against combo decks and control mirrors, and Blue decks have other answers they can bring in.
Memory Lapse (Minor)
Yet another two-drop counterspell that is going by the wayside. These shouldn’t matter too much until we start losing Remand and Mana Leak and Rune Snag.
Opposition would periodically show up as a metagame deck, but a solid second-tier one at that. The loss of Opposition hurts, more than anything else, the value of Beacon of Creation, which is just not that good when it can’t tap down all of an opponent’s permanents (and instead just makes a bunch of 1/1 dorks). Both Opposition and the Beacon should take a hit in value from this rotation.
A loss for Red Deck Wins, which now has to run Stone Rain as three-drop land destruction spells #5-#8 (along with Molten Rain). The existence of Magus of the Moon (and Blood Moon) helps cushion this blow, but the versatility of being able to kill artifacts (for the random signet/talisman) was undeniably good.
Tolarian Winds (Minor)
See the dredge cards as discussed in Torment!
That’s a lot of ground covered in this week’s article! Tune in next week when I push my article back to Friday, and discuss the Financial Value of Shards of Alara, the day before the prerelease. See you then!
The list (without commentary, for easy reference!)
Braids, Cabal Minion
Darkwater Egg/Mossfire Egg/Shadowblood Egg/Skycloud Egg/Sungrass Egg
Roar of the Wurm
Sphere of Law
Tainted Field/Tainted Isle/Tainted Peak/Tainted Wood
Ray of Revelation