Alongside the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, the Standard format is going to rotate on September 17, 2021. This happens only once a year, and this time around Throne of Eldraine, Theros: Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and Core Set 2021, will all be leaving Standard.
Rotation is often a good time to buy cards that are leaving Standard. They will see a drop in demand as they are no longer viable in the format, causing prices to typically dip. But in the long run, as these cards are no longer in Wizards of the Coast‘s printing circulation, they can end up spiking in price because of their supply scarcity.
This article will look at some of the best cards to buy from Core Set 2021 when rotation happens. While Core Sets are generally designed as introductory sets to help newer players get into the game and thus have some underpowered cards, Core Set 2021 has some fantastic pick-ups, especially if you play Commander. Wizards of the Coast also uses Core Sets to reprint classic cards back into the Standard format, of which Core Set 2021 has several amazing cards.
Mangara, the Diplomat
In Commander, the color white is almost notoriously the worst of Magic’s 5 color mana system. This is because Commander focuses heavily on two things, mana-ramp and card draw. Neither of these qualities is exactly white’s forte.
That is why Wizards of the Coast made an announcement to change their design philosophy for the white portion of the color pie in order to incorporate more Commander viable cards. Mangara, the Diplomat is one such card.
Compared to its predecessor, Mangara of Corondor, the Diplomat has two instances of conditional card draw built-in. The first disincentivizes opponents from attacking you, and the second discourages opponents from playing too many spells. If they do either of those things, you draw a card.
Mangara, the Diplomat will continue to be a key inclusion in white Commander decks moving forward who struggle to draw cards. If you like playing white in Commander, pick up your Mangara’s soon while the prices are low.
Terror of the Peaks
Terror of the Peaks is good at one thing: damage output. This is essentially a Warstorm Surge stapled on a flying 5/4 body. And if your opponents try to remove it via any targeted spells, the dragon deals them even more damage.
While in Standard, Terror of the Peaks was used in two primary ways. The first was as a top-end finisher for aggressive decks, and the other was as a combo piece when used alongside cards such as Genesis Ultimatum.
After Standard, Terror will mostly see play in Commander. It naturally fits into dragon decks like The Ur-Dragon and Scion of the Ur-Dragon. But don’t be surprised if you find it popping up in all kinds of creature-focused red decks throughout the format.
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Aside from its appearance in Modern decks like Amulet Titan, Azusa, Lost but Seeking is mostly a Commander card. That’s not much of a surprise, as Commander decks love to ramp. Azusa can make a fun commander herself but is also commonly included in various green decks and “Lands Matter” decks like Titania, Protector of Argoth.
There was a time when Azusa was a $45.00 card. In fact, there were several times that it was. It was originally printed in Champions of Kamigawa. It was reprinted in Masters 25 and naturally dipped in price. But then its price recovered. It’s unlikely the Core 2021 version of the card will see prices that high, (because of a much larger supply injection), but it will certainly continue to see play moving forward, and there’s a good chance that its price will reflect such.
Elder Gargaroth is a beefy stat-stick. A 6/6 vigilance, reach, trample creature for only 5 mana is no laughing matter. Not only that, but it also generates card advantage, creature-tokens, or life gain every time it attacks and blocks. For all these reasons, it soaked up plenty of limelight during its stay in Standard.
This is one card that will likely see a big dip in price after rotation. Elder Gargaroth just doesn’t see as much play in older formats. That doesn’t mean it sees no play, however. It still pops up in Mono-Green Stompy decks in Pioneer and is a good sideboard inclusion against any small creature decks, because it can block and attack through just about anything.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Before it was reprinted in Core Set 2021, there was a time when Ugin, the Spirit Dragon was pushing $80.00, and for good reason. It is a bomb. It rampaged the Standard format when it was first printed in Fate Reforged, and it did it again when it was reprinted in Core Set 2021. Right now Ugin is about $24.00, but it won’t stay that way for long.
Ugin has several homes outside of Standard. The first is as a finisher in Modern Tron decks alongside Karn Liberated and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Ugin can be played as early as turn 4, wipe the board with his -X ability, and then proceed to close out the game by dealing 3 damage to anything every turn after that.
Ugin is colorless, therefore it can fit into any Commander deck. Whereas in most 60-card formats, getting to 8 mana can be a bit of a struggle, in Commander it’s no problem at all. Some notable decks that include it are Kozilek, the Great Distortion, Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, and Carth the Lion. But to reiterate, it can go in every deck!
They may drop a little bit in price after rotation, but if it does, it won’t be by too much. And over the long term, Ugin should be a worthwhile investment.