Casual Encounters- Bargain Hunting in Standard

treasure hunt

    Every once in awhile I like to stop and take stock of some prices of cards of this game and hunt down some of the diamonds in the rough.  What I mean is that there are a number of cards out there in any set that play really well, but yet are worth very little from a financial point of view. In short, I go bargain hunting.  Sometimes the low prices on some cards are a product of a superior version of a card being available in another set.  Sometimes the set is opened in such abundance that prices tank apart from a few mythics.  Sometimes the set is slated for rotation soon and the prices take a steep nose dive. Regardless of the reason behind these cards being worth so little, the fact remains they can offer excellent value to players looking to keep their costs down.  Today, I’ve picked out 10 cards for you to keep an eye on and to help you keep your costs down without compromising game play.

*Editor’s note: All prices are subject to change according to the whims of the multiverse.

#10- Deathbringer Regent- Dragons of Tarkir

This is an amazing pickup for anyone who plays any sort of multiplayer game.  This has a conditional wrath pasted to 5/6  flying body.  What isn’t to love?  In a multiplayer game it seems pretty straight forward to have 5 or more other creatures on the battlefield, so triggering this seems easy.  It has synergy with all the “ Dragons Matter” cards from Dragons of Tarkir including Silumgar’s Scorn, Dragonlord’s Prerogative, or Draconic Roar meaning it is just good value and plays nicely with a number of other colours.  To top it all off, this is retailing on Three Kings Loot for $0.45 making it a real bargain.  


#9 Endbringer- Oath of the Gatewatch

This is a ridiculous card in a multiplayer game because this can untap on EACH player’s turn meaning you can use it again and again.  The number of different abilities on this thing is pretty amazing and can just work away to grind you all sorts of small advantages.  It can block, neutralize big scary threats, draw cards, ping for damage,  and is basically always a force to be reckoned with because it is always untapped and ready to be used.  At a mere $0.71 at 3KL you can’t go wrong and every Commander deck will be wanting one of these things.


#8 Brutal Expulsion- Battle For Zendikar

Ok, so we didn’t get a Charm or Command cycle in BFZ, but we did get a pretty awesome card that has as much versatility as we can realistically expect in a set.  I was initially a little down on Brutal Expulsion because it really doesn’t seem to be that exciting a card, but once you cast it the only way you can use to describe it is “oh…THAT’s why that is at Rare”.  It is just a very powerful tempo play to zap something small and/or bounce something big…at instant speed.  You just can’t complain about that sort of flexibility. It checks in at a very reasonable $0.44 making it a bargain that plays like it is a much more expensive card.

#7 From Beyond- Battle for Zendikar

I’ve been big on this one for a while now.  Awakening Zone is analogous to this from Rise of the Eldrazi that is an astonishing $7.48.  However, this slightly more expensive reprint not only gets you better tokens, but it can also serve as a tutor to go and find that big, bad, Eldrazi you have packed in your deck.  The tutoring really makes this card highly desirable for singleton formats to help you go find what you need, but for some reason you can pick it up for $1.13 on Three Kings Loot. 


#6 Zendikar Resurgent- Oath of the Gatewatch

I had this in my pre-release for OGW and have to admit that I was tempted to cut it because it was a 7 mana card that did very little on the board. However, I was very glad I didn’t cut it because it is an absolute engine to power up a deck.  If you get to untap and have a creature or two in hand to play you can start to chain together all sorts of things.  The mana ramp is also one sided meaning that unlike a spell like Mana Flare (still a classic) you can reap the benefits while your opponents can only gnash their teeth.   And who doesn’t love a card that enables all sorts of silly huge critters.  Or maybe just a big Fireball.  Whatever.  Oh, and did I mention it is a mere $0.69.  Yeah. That’s a bargain.

# 5 Greenwarden of Murasa- Battle for Zendikar

So, Eternal Witness is a thing.  Yes at 3 mana it is a fringe playable Modern card, but if you are in to EDH you might not be interested in a three mana creature.  Maybe you want something bigger like a 5/4 for 6 that is really a double regrowth.  Sound slightly appealing?  Umm…yes please.  Any deck that can play green will be looking for this thing (and it’s even a reasonable card to include in your cube) so why not grab it now for $1.83?  I don’t have a reason either…so I’m picking up a few.


#4 Crush of Tentacles- Oath of the Gatewatch

Another powerful mythic that is a Blue board wipe.  Ok, so maybe you aren’t really a big fan of mass bounce, but it wipes out tokens and likely nets you mana because you will invariably spend less on this spell than your opponent will pay in order to replay those creatures.  The added bonus of the Crush is that 8/8 octopus.  In a casual game that is totally achievable and is is absolutely something to be reckoned with.  This checks in at a mere $2.53 for a Mythic from a small set and will only go up from there.

#3 Zada, Hedron Grinder- Battle for Zendikar

At $0.81 cents you can’t go wrong with this one of a kind Goblin with massive casual appeal.  I mean, really, what combat trick could you play on Zada that pumps your whole team and wrecks your opponent?  I can think of plenty of options…and they ALL make Zada look really appealing.  This is unique, too good to pass up, and super cheap to make for a great bargain.

#2 Smothering Abomination- Battle for Zendikar

Yet another heavily discounted creature that is 4/3 flier for 4 mana with upside.  I can imagine a deck with lots of tokens that uses this as an engine to power through their deck…maybe a deck packing From Beyond…and can really leverage this to great effect.  At $0.41 it is well worth a gamble and if you have a couple of these guys sitting in a box, hold on to them because I would expect that these will only go up as time marches on.


#1 Sire of Stagnation- Battle for Zendikar

Much like Greenwarden of Murasa, this is a very under-priced mythic that can be a huge piece to try and lock out your opponent. Plus this is templated very well for multiplayer games making it a Casual all-star.  At $1.76 this is a steal for a card that could be hugely impactful.  It hasn’t dipped in price much in the last many weeks so this is likely rock bottom, but I would fully expect that it will start to inch up soon.


Well, there we have 10 of the cards that I figure offer excellent value, can offer some extremely powerful abilities, and are super budget friendly right now.  I’m sure that there are plenty of other cards that could have made this list, but these are the 10 that have caught my eye recently.  What have you been eyeing out there?  Leave a comment down below or hit me up on Twitter. As always, thanks for stopping in for a visit and be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.


Bruce Gray

@bgray8791 on Twitter