Thus far, our virtual booster packs have ranged from horrible with our first trip to Dominaria, fairly below-average with upside with Ixalan, to amazing with a very profitable set of six Battlebond packs. Today, we’ll open a set much like Ixalan and Dominaria, in that they’re legal in Standard until October 2019. Like Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan is at peak supply. The difference with this set is that there’s more demand for cards in this set. Also, like Ixalan, the set has cards with upside.
Let’s see if we get our Sea Legs and discover some valuable buried treasure...
Ghalta, Primal Hunger
How about that! It’s our best Standard pack yet with a $7 rare! Actually, as of 5/29/18, it has a TCGPlayer market price of $6.66! Hope you’re not superstitious…
The great news is that with this pull, everything else is gravy. So unlike our Ixalan pack, where we looked at the commons first, we’ll look at the grand prize first instead.
Ghalta, Primal Hunger is a really big Dinosaur. But our 12-mana behemoth friend didn’t get to be $7 because of Dinos. He’s part of a deck called Mono-Green Stompy in Standard. Ghalta costs X less to cast where X is the total power among creatures you control. It’s not hard with that deck to have a lot of powerful creatures in play. There’s three copies of Ghalta in that deck, hence the high demand.
But there is a problem with Ghalta. While this isn’t the only Standard deck that plays him, and a lot of kitchen table and Commander players want him too, what brought him up from $3.50 was that deck. And that Stompy deck is losing about half the deck in October 2018. That means his value won’t get much higher, and it’s already on the way down. If you don’t plan on using him soon, he’s a strong trade candidate. Even if you don’t trade him, you’ve still opened a great pack.
Now, what about the other cards? Do any of them stand out? Not really.
Forsaken Sanctuary is the best uncommon at a $0.11 market price. This is the white/black dual land’s fourth printing. It was previously printed in Shadows Over Innistrad, Amonkhet, and Commander 2017. Dual lands of any kind are always sought after, so this is a good card to keep on hand.
Reaver Ambush has seen play in Esper Approach as removal. At only $0.07, you may not think much of it. But for only 3 mana you can exile a creature with power 3 or greater. That’s not a bad piece of removal, and it could become more valuable.
Needletooth Raptor is a Dino with a neat Enrage ability. Enrage is an ability that activates whenever that creature is dealt damage. This guy deals 5 damage to a target creature whenever he takes damage. That’s pretty solid. He’s only worth a nickel, really, though. Unless you collect Dinos, he’s pretty much bulk, though.
Legion Conquistador is easily the best of the commons. Problem is, it’s already been printed in Ixalan. The fact that you need four to get full value for this card is the only reason it’s $0.04
Sea Legs is actually a pretty cute Enchantment with Flash that’s great in a Pirates deck. It gives a Pirate +0/+2 and a non-Pirate -2/-0. It’s a neat combat trick. It’s also $0.02...
Dark Inquiry, Exultant Skymarcher, and Cleansing Ray are all bulk. Traveler’s Amulet is a useful card but it’s been printed enough to be worth only $0.03.
Any value that Kitesail Corsair had was destroyed with its reprinting in Battlebond. It’s a penny Pirate and bulk. Divine Verdict and Naturalize are good Limited cards that have been printed into dust. They’re each a penny and nice for new players starting to build their own decks, but not much else.
The market value of this pack? $7.11
Ghalta, Primal Hunter $6.66
Forsaken Sanctuary $0.11
Reaver Ambush $0.07
Needletooth Raptor $0.05
Legion Conquistador $0.04
Dark Inquiry $0.03
Cleansing Ray $0.03
Traveler's Amulet $0.03
Exultant Skymarcher $0.02
Sea Legs $0.02
Stampeding Horncrest $0.02
Divine Verdict $0.01
Kitesail Corsair $0.01
The lesson we learned here? A great rare in a pack may well be at the height of its value. If you see a card on its way down and the best deck it’s in is on the way out of Standard, it’s time to trade it for something better, like a Dominaria dual land or two, for example.
This is our best Standard-legal pack so far! Stay tuned for more virtual pack cracking for value!