The Ixalan, Dominaria, And Core Set 2019 Cards To Get Now

Here it is, plain as day! Chas Andres is sharing the cards he thinks have the best chance of a nice payoff in the crazy new Guilds of Ravnica Standard transition period!

I want to start things off by making a couple of assumptions about the new
Standard format.

First, Guilds of Ravnica Standard is going to be more popular than Kaladesh, Amonkhet, or Ixalan Standard ever
were. Kaladesh looked amazing when it was first previewed, but it
quickly proved to be a format-warping set that led to a series of bannings
that turned people way from what used to be Magic’s most popular
Constructed format. Amonkhet and Ixalan suffered by being
in the same format as Kaladesh but lacking its power level and
impact. Thus, I expect that people will start trickling back toward
Standard now that the power level of the format has been re-set by the
rotation of Kaladesh.

This leads into my second assumption: because Guilds of Ravnica
will be more popular than Ixalan was, it’ll be easier (and
cheaper!) to get Standard staples from this latest set than from earlier
(but still Standard legal) expansions like Rivals of Ixalan and Core Set 2019. While most of our attention will be on the best
cards from Guilds over the next couple of weeks, those prices will
eventually come down due to heavy drafting and box-opening. But people
aren’t opening any more boxes of Core Set 2019 or Rivals,
so those key cards have nowhere to go but up.

Third, even if both of my first two assumptions are wrong, key cards from Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 are about
to rise in price regardless simply because more people play Standard right
after a major set rotation and the release of a new expansion. Even if Guilds isn’t meaningfully more popular than Ixalan was, I
guarantee you that if you go down to your local FNM this Friday it’ll have
at least twice as many people as it did last week.

So today, I want to do a quick recap of the four non-Guilds Magic
sets that will make up the new Standard metagame: Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019.
I’ll break down the staples, take a look at some sleepers, and see if we
can figure out some intriguing buys and trade targets.

Standard is about to pop off in a really big way. Let’s make sure we’re

Ixalan –
$10 and Up

There are only four cards in Ixalan currently selling for more
than $10, which is fairly low for a large Standard-legal set. Because of
that, these four cards are a little more protected from major value drops
than they would be in a better set. Also, I can’t see a world in which
Search for Azcanta and Vraska’s Contempt aren’t major parts of the new
metagame. That makes these two cards among the safest buys/holds in
Standard right now.

Carnage Tyrant and Vraska, Relic Seeker are a little riskier, but they’re
both still solid holds. Both cards have gone through periods of time where
they’ve seen little, if any, Standard play, but their values are lower in

And that lack of play may be about to end. Vraska, Relic-Seeker has the
potential to be a major player in the new format due to the expected push
toward Golgari (Assassin’s Trophy is going to be good for sure) as well as
the metagame’s expected push toward midrange. Ditto for Carnage Tyrant,
which is probably the best six-drop creature in any color right now. Both
of these cards have some serious potential, and Vraska is especially
intriguing due to its relatively low price tag for a mythic planeswalker.

Ixalan –
$5 to $10

First off, expect the Ixalan checklands to remain in the $5 to $10
range, even with the shocklands entering the format. These two cycles play
really well together, and they’re both going to be featured in the new
range of Standard mana bases.

I don’t see a card in Guilds of Ravnica that makes me worried
about Settle the Wreckage not seeing play. The card has proven itself in
Modern as well as Standard at this point, and it’s going to show up in any
sort of white-based control deck that asserts itself over the next couple
of weeks. If Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is good, then Settle the Wreckage
will be too.

Growing Rites of Itlimoc seems like a solid buy to me as well. The card is
at rock bottom, and casual demand (barring reprint) should get this thing
back up over $10 at some point regardless. Your risk of busting out on this
one is incredibly low, and we’d be looking at a $15-$20 card if it actually
did end up seeing significant play in Standard. That’s a bit of a long
shot, but the upside is juicy.

Ixalan –
My Favorite Sub-$5 Sleepers

Four of these five cards transform, which is a big part of why I like them.
I agree with Jadine’s take in this article
that these cards (with the exception of Search for Azcanta) have been
hidden in the shadows of Kaladesh and Amonkhet block for
the past year, but it might be time for them to shine. All these cards have
seen at least some Standard play, and they’re all at or near their historic
lows. Legion’s Landing seems incredibly good with both Boros and Selesnya,
for example, which Arguel’s Blood Fast seems tailor made for Dimir.

I also like the idea of taking a gamble on Hostage Taker at $4. The card
has proven itself to be a top tier Standard staple with a $15+ price
history, and we’ve just gotten an entire guild’s worth of blue and black
cards to pair it with as well as a massive metagame shift? Yeah, I’m in.

Rivals of Ixalan –
$10 and Up

The good news here is that you can ignore two or three of the cards on this
list straight away. The Immortal Sun and Zacama, Primal Calamity are
expensive due to casual and Commander demand, not because they’re good in
Standard. I’d like Twilight Prophet more if it wasn’t $11—the card is quite
powerful—but that buy-in seems too high for a card that hasn’t really made
an impact in Standard yet. I need to see it start to show up in more
decklists first.

And then there’s Rekindling Phoenix. While red might not remain the best
color in Standard, Rekindling Phoenix’s power level is simply too high to
be ignored. I’d be higher on the card as a spec if it weren’t already $26,
but it’s totally fine to buy at current retail if you need them for a deck.

Ghalta, Primal Hunger is another card that looks well-positioned over the
next couple of weeks, though I don’t expect too much of a price increase.
Mono-Green (or some sort of G/x variant) seems primed for success early on
in the new Standard metagame, and Ghalta will be right there in the mix. If
you’re going to play green, you’re going to need these. I bet it’ll be
fairly stable at $10.

Rivals of Ixalan –
$5 to $10

There are a lot of $7-$8 casual mythics in the set, in large part because Rivals lacks a solid top end. Even Ixalan has a pair of
$20+ Standard staples and one $16 staple, but Rivals doesn’t
really have anything outside of Rekindling Phoenix. As a result, cards like
Huatli, Radiant Champion and Angrath, the Flame-Chained are $7-$8 instead
of $2-$3. Any one of these cards has a shot at seeing play and ending up in
the $20+ range, but none of them seem like a great gamble to me. I’ll leave
them for other people to worry about.

My favorite card on this list should come as no surprise to anyone who has
read my column for long enough. Jadelight Ranger is the sort of versatile
staple that can hit $15 very, very easily. It would require green-based
midrange to make a strong resurgence at some point over the next 6-8
months, but that doesn’t seem unlikely to me. I’m at least going to buy a
set of these at $6.

Etali, Primal Storm is another card I like quite a bit. While it hasn’t
been a big part of the metagame recently, it did see a small flurry of play
back when Rivals was released and its power level is unquestioned.
There isn’t a ton of upside at $5, but I’m going to make sure I have a few
of these kicking around my collection anyway.

Rivals of Ixalan –
My Favorite Sub-$5 Sleepers

My decision to put Dire Fleet Daredevil on this list another nod to raw
power. The card is cheap and powerful enough for Modern that I feel like it
could really shine in the right Standard format, though I’m not sure if Guilds will provide us with that or not. Regardless, Dire Flee
Daredevil’s Modern playability makes this a low-risk high-reward buy.

Journey to Eternity and Path of Mettle are longer shots, but they’re far
more likely to see play in the new Standard now that we’ve got a bunch of
new Boros and Golgari cards to go with them. Thrashing Brontodon is an
uncommon, but it’s going to continue to be an important part of the new
metagame, and you’re going to want to throw these into your trade binder at
the very least.

Dominaria –
$10 and Up

Holy cow, Dominaria is such a top-heavy set. We haven’t even
talked about a $30 card yet, and now we’ve got a $55 card to discuss.
Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is obviously amazing, and it’s going to be a
four-of in a top tier deck even without any dedicated Azorius cards to pair
with it.

The big problem is that it’s very hard for any Standard card to stay in the
$50-$60 range for long. Teferi might not drop below $50 all year, but it
also can’t get that much higher. And if we’re all overestimating Teferi’s
position in the new metagame, we could be looking at a $20 card. I still
feel like Teferi is a reasonably safe buy, but I wouldn’t want to own more
than a personal set of these just in case. It’s a tad risky at current

And what of Karn? The power level is certainly there, as is the
flexibility, but I just haven’t seen that many new decklists featuring Karn
yet. The powerful planeswalker still has “most expensive card in Standard”
upside, but at $33 you’re basically betting that it’ll be the cornerstone
of at least two top tier decks—especially with Teferi around sucking up so
much of Dominaria’s value. You can snag these if you need them,
but I’m a little lower on this card than I have been in the past.

Moving on, History of Benalia is the card on this list that has the highest
short-term upside. Best case, History of Benalia becomes a four-of in
Selesnya Tokens, Boros Aggro, and Azorius Control. That’s a lot of
different decks! I’ve seen way more people jamming this Dominaria
mythic than Karn or even Teferi over the past couple of days, and I
wouldn’t be surprised if it’s over $20 by this time next week.

Lyra Dawnbringer has some upside as well. If we’re truly heading into a
metagame that’s friendlier to midrange battlefield stalls, then Lyra is
going to see more play. She’s already $15, though, and she’s trapped in a
set with at least three other top tier mythic staples. While I like Lyra as
a trade target, there are many other cards in this article that I’d target

Lastly, you can ignore Mox Amber for now. If that card ends up finding a
home, it won’t be in Standard.

Dominaria –
$5 to $10

Whoa—there’s only three $5-$10 cards in the entire set! It’s not that Dominaria doesn’t have a ton of interesting mid-level cards—it’s
just that Karn and Teferi have sucked up so much of the set’s overall value
that all the other cards in the set are depressed. If Steel Leaf Champion
were in Rivals of Ixalan, it would be at least $10. As it is, it
seems like it’ll be pretty stable at $5.

As for these other two cards, Sulfur Falls and Woodland Cemetery seem
pretty fairly priced right now. All these checklands are pretty stable in
the $7-$8 range; the worst ones are probably going to end up around $3-$4,
and the ones that see the most play might hit $10-$12. Feel free to grab
whichever ones you need whenever you need them.

Dominaria –
My Favorite Sub-$5 Sleepers

First off, I don’t see why each other card in this ten-card land cycle is
$5+ while these three are under $4. Clifftop Retreat seems especially
egregious, considering how good the Boros cards are in Guilds of Ravnica. And even if Hinterland Harbor and Isolated
Chapel don’t pay off right away, you’re going to want to have these when
preview season begins for the new Orzhov and Simic cards.

I’m highlighting Muldrotha and Shalai here as well because both cards look
like they’re going to play well with Guilds of Ravnica. Muldrotha,
the Gravetide is an excellent Golgari payoff card if you can make the mana
work, and Shalai, Voice of Plenty is exactly the sort of effect that
Selesnya players want to have access to. All these cards have limited
upside considering how expensive Dominaria’s top end is, but I
still think they’re undervalued right now.

Lastly, Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar might be the exact finisher that Golgari
wants. I don’t know if the enablers are there, or if Muldrotha is simply
better, but you could do worse than a $3 mythic that has a nice long-term
casual profile in case your Standard spec doesn’t pan out.

Core Set 2019 –
$10 and Up

While the Ixalan $10-and-up list had a lot of multi-deck
generalists on it, this list is full of very specific cards that will sink
or swim based on their flagship decks. Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is going to
be very powerful in any format where you can play either Grixis Midrange or
Control, and the addition of Watery Grave and Steam Vents to the metagame
certainly won’t hurt. While I expect Nicol Bolas to remain expensive, I
can’t see it getting past $30-$35 unless Grixis becomes the undisputed best
deck in the format.

Sarkhan, Fireblood has a longer shot at finding success. While the card has
made some inroads in Modern recently, which provides a pretty good hedge
against any sort of price drop, a bet on this card in Standard is basically
a bet on some sort of Dragon Ramp deck being a part of the metagame. It’s
possible, I suppose, but it seems highly unlikely to me.

Crucible of Worlds isn’t really a Standard card either. It’s worth picking
these up soon if you need them for Modern, but you can ignore them for now.

What about Resplendent Angel? It’s a three-drop, which is usually good, but
now it must compete with cards like Tajic, Legion’s Edge and Legion Warboss
in that slot, so I’m not sold. I’d be intrigued at half the current price,
but $12 is a pretty steep buy-in for a card that hasn’t proven itself in
competitive play.

Nexus of Fate is a better buy. Even though this didn’t become the $100 card
I feared it would be, (thanks mostly to Mark Rosewater and Blake Rasmussen
both telling us that this thing is far less scarce than we all thought it
was) it’s still fairly well-positioned to continue impacting the Standard
metagame. Bant Nexus didn’t lose too many pieces at rotation, and some
other sort of Nexus control deck could show up as well. At $16, it’s pretty
hard to lose.

Lastly, Vivien Reid is likely to continue seeing play as a solid sideboard
card (and occasional maindeck one-of or two-of) for heavy green decks. $10
is totally fair for a card like this, and the price isn’t likely to move
too much in either direction.

Core Set 2019 –
$5 to $10

Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants is one of my favorite buys right now. Not only
have I started to see it pop up in both Boros and Selesnya lists, but it’s
solid enough casual card (Commander players love token enablers!)
to ensure that the risk of buying in right now is very low. Tons of upside
and very little downside? That’s my kind of spec!

Arcades, the Strategist is pretty interesting to me as well. While I’m not
sure it’ll find a home right away, this is the sort of card that could
become format-breaking once we get access to a new raft of Azorius goodies.
I’m going to make sure I snag a set of these at some point over the next
couple of weeks.

I want to like Tezzeret, Artifice Master as well, especially with the
buy-in so low, but all the best artifacts in Standard are currently
rotating out of the format. You can’t beat a $6 buy-in, especially
considering how many pros were calling Tezzeret one of the best cards in
the set when it was released, but it’s a bit of a longer-term flier at this

Scapeshift and Omniscence aren’t Standard cards, but they’re probably not
going to drop any lower than this. If you need them for Modern, grab them
ASAP. They’re each likely to double at some point before they’re reprinted,
though you might have to wait a year or two.

Core Set 2019 –
My Favorite Sub-$5 Sleepers

There isn’t a single non-mythic rare in Core Set 2019 that’s
selling for more than $4 right now, so if there was a card you liked back
when the set came out, it’s probably worth snagging a set at this
point—this is the bottom of the market for 95% of Core Set 2019.

These are my four favorite cheap buys at the moment. I’ve seen Bone Dragon
show up in more than a few cool new Golgari builds, and Graveyard Marshal
is far too powerful a two-drop to avoid seeing play completely. I’ve been
high on Thorn Lieutenant from the start, and it’s seen enough play in
Mono-Green decks to make me believe that it’ll continue on as a format
staple in Guilds of Ravnica Standard as well.

Overall Thoughts

Obviously, your approach to Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 is going to depend on how much Standard you’ve
played over the past year. If you’ve already got the staples you need, it
might make sense to focus on good spec targets like Ajani, Adversary of
Tyrants, Clifftop Retreat, History of Benalia, and Jadelight Ranger. If
not, you might have to devote your attention to the staples that you’re
going to need for your future deck of choice, like Search for Azcanta or
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager.

Regardless, it makes sense to zig while everyone else is zagging. I suggest
focusing yourself on acquiring these cards over the next week or so as
everyone else flips out over the best cards in Guilds of Ravnica.
As good as Assassin’s Trophy is, it’ll be worth less on November 1 st than it is right now. Many of these cards will be worth more
than they are right now. If you can trade cards from Guilds for
cards from these sets at current retail, several weeks from now you’ll
realize that you made out like a bandit.

This Week’s Trends

  • While we don’t have any Guilds of Ravnica Standard results
    yet, the clear winners so far appear to be Doom Whisperer, Aurelia,
    Exemplar of Justice, and Runaway Steam-Kin. All three cards are up
    since I wrote my set review after receiving favorable reviews from
    pros and showing up in a bunch of interesting deckbuilding
    articles. On the other side of things, Chance for Glory, Mnemonic
    Betrayal, and Thousand-Year Storm all appear to be losing value on
  • Over in Modern, Gaddock Teeg is up yet again this week on the back

    Matthew Vook’s Aggro Loam Legacy

    deck that just won SCG Baltimore. While Legacy is rarely a large
    driver of prices these days, the card sees enough play in Modern
    that even just a small flurry of buying activity is enough to cause
    the price to jump about $10. Don’t expect this one to drop until
    it’s reprinted, at which point it’ll probably end up back in the
    $15-$20 range.
  • Also up in Modern this week: Liliana, the Last Hope and Tarmogoyf,
    both of which gained about $5 in value. Is Jund really back in
    Modern? We still need to wait a little longer to know for sure.