It is April 28 and we are in the thick of Dragons of Tarkir as the dominant set. By dominant, I mean that when you go to buy a pack, or collect your winnings from an event, this is the set you’re most likely to choose. I’ve enjoyed DTK so far. It’s an excellent set. It has made for an exciting draft setting, and an equally spicy standard environment. My concern, however, is time.
Dragons of Tarkir was released on March 27th, a short two months after the release of the previous set, Fate Reforged. DTK will continue to be the dominant set until Magic Origins on July 17. The reason for Dragons’ early release is twofold; primarily, the Tarkir block sets were released as large-small-large, and an earlier release allows for more time with a large set before the release of the following set. The second reason is the more problematic of the two and that is the release of Modern Masters 2015 filling the May release slot normally filled by a block’s third set.
Despite the high likelihood that MM2015 will be an excellent set, its release will very likely distract from the current dominant set. Who is going to want to draft DTK when you could be drafting MM2015 instead? Players’ attention will be split, especially those who play both standard and modern. So, while on paper it feels like we get extra time with DTK, in practice, we will likely be getting a less-than-satisfactory amount of time with it.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, as the third set of a block is normally small, and players are eager to move on to the next set. However, because of the restructuring of the release paradigm, DTK will continue to be an important part of standard even after Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged rotate out. My guess is that by the time Origins comes out, if players haven’t completed the playsets they meant to while they were distracted by Modern Masters, they’ll be looking to acquire them after the fact. I can’t say for sure whether that makes investing in DTK a good idea or not, but from my experience with the set thus far, it has a wide range of cards that will offer a variety of exciting builds when combined with the upcoming sets.
While I keep opening prize packs and draft packs, hoping for more of the chase mythics like Deathmist Raptors or Dragonlord Atarkas, or even solid rares like Thunderbreak Regent, I can’t help but think of the level of demand for these cards when the packs are no longer being opened as widely. This notion might also be reinforced by several of my LGS’s decisions to stop breaking down boxes, limiting the immediately available supply immensely. Because of this, I imagine people will be looking to online sellers or PucaTrade. So, keep this in mind when considering trading your DTK rares.