Low, Mid, and High: Then vs. Now

Written By:
Douglas Johnson @Rose0fthorns
__________________________________________________

Welcome back! I hope everyone enjoyed Grand Prix Charlotte (regardless of the technical difficulties the event experienced) and Grand Prix LA. I personally didn’t play in the main event, instead choosing to hang out in the Command Zone, play two-headed giant Sealed, and draft the day away.  The highlights of my draft were this beauty, which would have 3-0’ed if not for some absolutely terrible whiffs on Pieces of the Puzzle and then flooding out in two games. Oh well.

mono blyue

I also repeated my “Post pictures of vendor hotlists to Twitter”, but we’re not here to talk about that this week. In fact, we’re going to go off on a whole different topic that completely negates my statement last Thursday saying that we could continue in our Blueprinting adventures. Don’t worry, we’ll still be blueprinting and organizing 400,000 commons and uncommons this summer (yay……..), but I had a conversation with a friend of mine in the car during our 14 hour drive to Charlotte and I figured it would make for a great article.

lili

It’s really difficult to not know about “TCG mid” is nowadays. Most Android and Apple phone applications pull API from TCGplayer.com to make trading a simple and hopefully painless process for everyone. Some apps will also let you adjust the pricing metric that you use to “TCG low” or “TCG high”, or to manually adjust the price point to a number you and your trade partner agree upon. MTG Familiar is an app I enjoy using that also changes the color of the number to green when it’s been manually adjusted, to help prevent one party from swindling the other with some quick hands. But what is TCG mid, and how is it calculated? What’s the difference between TCG low mid and high, and where does each find its’ niche? Answering these questions is the main goal of this article.

tcg mid

TCG mid/TCG median

“TCG mid” used to be calculated as a mean average of the current available listings online. If for some reason there were only two listings on TCGplayer for Snapcaster Mage listed at $55 and $65, then the mid price would average out to be $60. That sounds reasonable at first, until we get outliers that skew the mean away from a realistic price point. If some random guy lists his Snapcasters at $85, then the mean is skewed pretty far away from $60. This is especially problematic when we consider new set releases and how long it sometimes takes for stores to reduce their prices, often due to forgetfulness or laziness.

A couple of years ago, TCGplayer changed their “mid” to “median”. Instead of using the mean average of listings, the median number is taken from one single seller directly in the middle of the number line. If there are two dozen sellers of Snapcaster Mage on TCGplayer and only the last five or six sellers forget to update their prices from when Snapcaster was $90, then the median price is safe from being skewed because the seller in the middle won’t be considered an outlier.

Most of you probably use that number to trade Magic cards with each other, and that’s fine. As long as both parties are happy with the trading metric and don’t try to scam the other out of cards, everyone wins. Even if one person is “value trading” because they care more about buylist prices, the other person is still getting a card they want for their deck. If everyone who trades cards uses TCG median, then what’s the point of TCG low and TCG high? What do these numbers mean, and how are they calculated?

TCG Low

If you freqent the Facebook buy/sell/trade groups that I’ve previously suggested in other articles, you’ve probably seen those groups use TCG low as a pricing metric, plus or minus a percentage. There’s no reason for grinders and players to buy cards from each other at full retail when other grinders and players would be more than happy to undercut SCG/Channelfireball and secure the sale, so TCG low is a more commonly used number to start from when conducting sales between two non-store parties.

The number is generated by checking the lowest NM or LP listing on TCGplayer (without shipping).  The fact that LP (lightly played) is included while MP/HP (moderately/heavily played) are excluded is very important here. If you’re a buyer who wants to pay 70% of TCG low on cards for your buylist and expect NM cards, you might be using the lightly played metric of a card for your NM buylist. Similarly, it’s hard for a seller to generalize and say that they’re selling an MP Underground Sea for a percentage of TCG low, without knowing what the difference between the cheapest MP and cheapest LP listing is.

The second part of that definition is that shipping is excluded in the calculation of TCG low. While that ends up being close to negligible in the Underground Sea case where shipping will be $2-3 for a $250 card, it ends up being extremely relevant when dealing with $3-5 cards like Golgari Grave-Troll.

troll2

Looks like the TCG median of Grave-Troll from the duel deck is around $5. It’s crept up from the $3ish it was a few weeks ago, but it hasn’t spiked to a billion dollars. You want to buy into Modern Dredge with the help of the Facebook groups, so you decide to try and buy a set of Grave-Trolls for 10% less than “TCG low”. Sounds reasonable, right?

troll3

The shipping is almost as much as the card itself! Even if you’re trying to grab LP copies on a budget, the “low” was calculated by looking at the “item price only” filter in the top right of the above picture, instead of “item price + shipping”. Most of the facebook groups that I’m involved with won’t take kindly to what they perceive as your “lowball” offer of close to $3, especially when changing that filter to item price + shipping shows us that the cheapest LP Duel Deck Grave-Troll can’t be purchased for less than $5.25.

If you still want that set of Grave-Trolls, you’ll probably have to offer around $4.50 for each copy and be willing to take LP. That’s pretty interesting, considering how close it is to the median price. It also shows that any copies that have been listed closer to the visible “low” price are being snatched up, and that there’s real demand for the card.

TCG High

Now we get to the final metric, TCG high. As you may have guessed or already known, the “high” is measured by the highest ‘item only’, NM/LP listing for the card on TCGplayer without counting shipping. This number can often vary wildly, for the same reasons I stated that TCGplayer shifted from using a mean to a median calculation for their “average”. When a seller forgets to update their prices or neglects their inventory, we get relic prices from weeks or even months ago.

tcghigh

Here we have the pricing information for Prized Amalgam, a $1 card from Shadows Over Innistrad. Cards from SOI (or whatever the most recent set is) are usually great examples of how skewed the TCG high price can be, simply due to the drastic price decrease most cards experience over a short period of time. Hell, Prized Amalgam only presold at $5 for a couple of minutes before dropping down to the $2 range in the weeks of release. Unfortunately, there’s still one seller who’s either very lazy or extremely hopeful that someone will stumble across his $5 (plus .99 shipping!) copy. I even had to scroll through over a dozen pages of listings just to find their copy, hidden among several foils.

History of TCG High

So… what’s the point of TCG high? Why would anybody use that as a metric for determining the value of their cards when low and median exist as options? Well, I had the same question until I got a phone call a few weeks ago. A player had gotten one of my business cards, and was looking to sell an Arlinn Kord they had opened from a booster pack. They said that they looked up the value of it online, and came to understand that it was worth $35. They would be happy accepting $20 because they knew I had to make money off it, and was wondering if I was available to meet up today. Before you ask, the card was not foil.

After my initial confusion subsided, I quickly looked up the value of Arlinn. Did I miss something over the weekend? Had Arlinn skyrocketed to $35 when I wasn’t paying attention to Standard results? What could they possibly be using to get that number? Then I saw it; TCG high for Arlinn Kord was $35. I explained to the man that the number online was not an accurate representation of the true price point, and spent a few minutes teaching him the same thing I’ve been explaining to you in the past several paragraphs. Thankfully he was receptive and understanding, ending up selling me the Arlinn for $10 when I told him that the median price was $20 and that I would probably sell it for $16.

While that story had a happy ending, I have to imagine that he’s not the only one out there using the high to try and figure out what his cards are worth. Other vendors or traders might not react as rationally to his misconceptions. With no real value being provided by TCGplayer listing the “high” price point, I got curious as to where the origin of the low/mid/high system came from, and used a little bit of #kiblergoogle to determine the source.

As it turns out, that three price point system originates from back when Scrye and Inquest were the premier methods for determining the values of your cards. We were even able to have one of the editors for the old Scrye magazine chime in and provide exact details, which I thought was pretty cool:

SCRYE1

SCRYE2

 

Scry3

scry4

So back in the old days, there was no SCG or TCGplayer to quickly check prices. If a card had a low of $2, a mid of $5, and a high of $7 in Scrye, you were less likely to trust that $5 number because you knew that it varied pretty widely. On the other hand, a spread of $2-$3-$4 was safer and you were confident in the $3 being a middle ground. The high had a relevancy, especially since prices weren’t so quick to change over the course of a single night or weekend. When TCGplayer opened their business as an aggregator of stores that could all grow their storefronts through a more visible marketplace, they ported over the system that Scrye had been using.

Scrye

While that may have worked for several years in the past, I’d like to suggest that TCG high is no longer relevant towards market pricing today and actively misinforms some newer players as to what their cards are worth. In a world where cards can jump from $.25 to $10 overnight, the high metric only serves as a reminder of what a card used to be worth at some point in time. At worst, newer players could stumble across it and believe that their Arlinn Kord is worth twice the retail, or that their Prized Amalgam is worth $5 the true market price.

Removing the High

Thankfully, we also live in an age where I can tweet to the wonderful people at TCGplayer and let them know my feelings on the matter. I really appreciate that they were so receptive to my initial feedback, and that they were able to make a step towards eliminating TCG high from the pricing metric. I’m looking forward to them continuing to remove it from other areas of the site as we move forward, so that archaic sellers from two months ago aren’t cluttering up the real finance data that we all crave.

TCG high

highfixed

You’ll also notice in that image that ‘high’ has been replaced with a different number, labeled “Market Price”. Instead of trying to give a complete description in my own words, I’ll let TCGplayer give you their definition of what this new pricing metric is, then try to elaborate on how it can help you avoid overpaying for something.

market price

So basically, market price will tell you what people have actually been paying for a card instead of what the card is currently being listed at. You might remember a few months ago when I suggested opening a TCGplayer seller account (which I still recommend doing), but for the purposes of checking the “last sold listing” measurement tool to gauge whether there was real demand for a card. Market price will be a less precise, more accessible addition to using that tool. So why add this in? What benefits does it provide that median and low do not?

Well, it should do a decent job of showing the true value of a card immediately after a spike occurs. While there might be one seller of a card for $14 post-buyout, the market price will show what people are really paying for the card. If nobody adds their copies to the market to race to the bottom and the market price remains at the old number for an extended period of time, then its’ pretty clear that the single person who bought out the cards and relisted them for higher won’t be making any money, at least on TCGplayer. Market price will show that players are only paying the old price.

shelld

As evidenced above, Shelldock’s market price hasn’t been running to match the current median price on the card. If we go another couple of days without data to suggest that Shelldock has been purchased consistently at the new price point, we can safely assume that it’ll go back down as more and more people race to the bottom and outnumber the demand sparked by the mill deck at GP Charlotte.

On the other hand, you can use market price as an entertainment tool to look at numbers and think “someone paid that? Really?” steamfl

Another human being paid actual dollar bills for Steamflogger Boss. Really? According to fellow writer Travis Allen, someone actually paid $5.99 when he checked the TCG last sold listing through his seller portal. I guess the demand from speculators is enough to continue pushing the card above $2, where those of us who own zero copies will get to laugh at those who bought out the internet.

End Step

TCG’s pricing system is definitely solid, but it has some nuances that you need to look into before using their metrics as a blanket rule for your buying and selling. If you want to buy at “TCG low”, you need to specify per condition and whether or not shipping costs are taken into account. If you want to trade at “TCG mid”, you need to determine whether or not you’re talking about market price or median price. If you plan on buying collections, you can’t realistically throw out rules such as “50% of TCG mid”, because then you get screwed one way or the other when the spreads vary wildly on different cards. I promise that we’ll get to blueprinting in the next couple of weeks, but this topic was too good to pass up on. Until next time, and thanks for reading!

 

ADVERTISEMENT: OzGuild makes organising your Magic card collection simple… Scan your cards into a digital catalogue using your smartphone, it’s fun, fast and easy. Scan in your first deck for free!

 

Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

ADVERTISEMENT:

The Legion of Doom

Fade in

Ext. A swamp in an undisclosed location. A dragonfly lands on a leaf and a mutated lizard with two heads grabs it with its tongue and bites it in the midsection, licking one of its eyes with the other tongue.

Int. A dimly-lit lair, dominated by a long conference table with a podium in the center. At the podium stands Lex Luthor. I feel silly even having to have to describe Lex Luthor. He looks Lex Luthory. You know, one of the most famous comic book villains of all time because he’s the only one they put in Superman movies despite there being a ton of powerful Superman villains. General Zod was cool in Superman 2 but in 3, he fought… Richard Pryor? You’re going to tell me a man with heat vision struggled to take down a guy who once accidentally lit himself on fire? And don’t get me started on Superman fighting Duckie from Pretty in Pink plus that weird sun guy they cloned from Superman’s hair. Anyway, be quiet, he’s about to say something. 

Legion_of_Doom

Lex Luthor – We need to formulate a plan for how to handle Commander 2016.

Sinestro- Our mana sucks right now. They need to reprint Chromatic Lantern! I should know, lanterns are kind of my thing.

Lex Luthor – In every deck? I don’t think so.

Black Manta – How else are we supposed to build a mana base that isn’t a million dollars?

Sinestro – I could make every color yellow so that every land adds yellow mana and you can cast all of your yellow spells!

Riddler – What has lame powers and won’t shut up about turning everything yellow?

Sinestro – WHO DARES?! Silence yourself, Nigma, or by Oa I will come over there and

Captain Cold – Turn him yellow?

Lex Luthor – Maybe he’s onto something.  Also, most of you are terrible villains. I wanted to invite just Captain Cold, Brainiac and Bizarro Superman and the rest of you just kind of showed up. Meeting adjourned.

Fade Out

Fade In

Int. Wrestling arena locker room

2vm7bsn-1238580

First wrestler guy – Are you sure we’re legally distinct enough not to get sued by DC comics or Hanna Barbera or something? I’m nervous about calling ourselves the Legion of Doom

Second wrestler guy – I’m just here because I think people should play Cream of the Crop in more decks.

First wrestler guy – Wait, that wasn’t even us. That was Macho Man Randy Savage

Second wrestler guy – Are you sure?

First wrestler guy – I’m positive. Besides, Cream of the Crop is only good in decks with huge creatures. Are there going to be any of those in a four-color deck?

Fade out

You know what’s really likely to happen when people have to build a four-color deck?

THE_SUPERFRIENDS_(1973_-_1974)

This junk. It may be time to take a second look at anything that matters in those decks before everyone starts building them. Five new decks with wonky mana bases, new mana fixing cards, strategic reprints and new spells is bound to lead to an uptick in the number of people saying “Screw it, let’s make a goodstuff pile” and for my money, you don’t get many better goodstuff piles than you do when you throw a pile of superfriends into said pile.

What’s New?

Superfriends have gotten a new cycle of helpers and some of them actually matter to superfriends decks and are decent in EDH. Some of them suck.

Untitled

This is a pretty small effect for something that’s kind of tricky to trigger and dealing 3 to a creature is likely wasted a lot of the time (but very useful others) but I don’t know if this will get adopted enough to have upside. It’s at its bottom, though, so there’s nowhere to go but up. I see this getting jammed to complete the cycle more than anything.

Untitled

This has a very cool secondary ability and could be very solid for keeping your planeswalkers alive more often or sometimes triggering abilities sooner. If you have Doubling Season this is even better. This is also likely at its bottom, price-wise but the real play on this and Chandra’s Oath is to snag cheap foils in case EDH play increases the multiplier. There’s no time to buy foils that haven’t hit yet like when the non-foil is a bulk rare.

Untitled

This is a card that isn’t bulk because people can’t decide if they’re OK paying 2U to do a weird Brainstorm thingy. The scry ability on the secondary is going to be great if you have 3 or 4 ‘walkers out and I think this probably is going to dip and will have to get adopted a bit to even hit where it is, now. All of them will have to climb a bit to hit $1.

Untitled

This one doesn’t really have as much upside unless it tanks soon, which I doubt. This is a green cantrip. The reason I’m so excited about this in Superfriends is that it’s a second Chromatic Lantern that draws you a card instead of tapping for a mana. The fixes your mana in a very profound way and replaces itself when you play it making it one of the least obtrusive inclusions in a planeswalker deck, ever. Are they going to waste a removal spell on this when you have Doubling Season and The Chain Veil in play? This is so much better than the other ones in a planeswalker deck that the only reason you’d play the others is to have the cycle going.  I say that with a healthy amount of respect for Oath of Jace. This is a card to watch – this could dip, maybe at rotation, but this is going to be a real card in Superfriends decks and doesn’t seem that likely to get reprinted.

Untitled

The plateau says everyone has forgotten about Dre. The price was only $1 initially because it was not going to have any impact on Standard and the players who wanted them got the 1 copy they needed, leaving a lot of unclaimed copies. The thing is, this card is going to go up over time. The farther we get from this card’s printing, the more cards are going to end up getting forgotten in boxers and binders. If this card spiked hard those copies would come out of the woodwork. We don’t want that. We want as many copies in the woodwork as possible because it makes it easier for our copies to go up in value. This tutors for a Planeswalker provided you’re playing white in your deck. Best of all, the foils are only $2.50. The foils are the play, I think. Still, both of these prices will go up over time and it’s never too early to pick these up in trade and throw them in a box. I feel like this is similar in obviousness to Dictate of Erebos, a card that was a bulk rare when it was in Standard.

Untitled

My hundreds of copies are making me very happy and I sold enough at $3 to pay off what I bought so the rest are pure profit. I feel like we’ll see a similar graph for Call the Gatewatch, albeit with a much more gradual slope, I think. Still, Dictate has a lot of other cards like Grave Pact (more expensive) and Butcher of Malakir (much less expensive) that do the exact same thing and Call the Gatewatch really doesn’t. I’m not in for cash on Call, yet, but I’m trading for them aggressively. Seems obvious.

What’s Not New

I think it’s worth checking in to see how my call of “The Chain Veil” is going.

Untitled

Hmm. The price hasn’t gone up much and online stock hasn’t gone down a ton. That’s not to say it won’t – I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial by saying EDH and casual both like effects like this. The farther we get from this set’s Standard legality, the more we’ll see this climb. It’s a mythic which means there aren’t as many copies of it as a card like, say, Sliver Hive. Sliver Hive is more likely to get bought as a playset, but I’m confident that The Chain Veil is going up. Are you also confident? Well, you have time to trade into these before anyone signals TCG Player by buying enough copies to trip anyone’s algorithms, so just target these as a throw-in when a trade is off by $1. Also, learn to make it your business to make trades off by $1.

Untitled

Everything people said about this card a year ago is still true today, except when they said this would be printed in Commander 2015 to facilitate Experience counters. That didn’t happen and the card has climbed even more since. At a certain point, this is going to be worth reprinting, but until then, pair this with Superfriends and don’t look back. This does everything you want a card to do. The price of this as it rises and the price of the $13 (down from $20+) foil are beginning to converge. This means there is still organic demand for the non-foil and that if the foil comes down, it will sail past the equilibration point. As the non-foil climbs, the higher it gets, the higher the foil multiplier will be, which means the foil price falling will hit a brief window where it’s lower than it should be and is good to be picked up. I don’t know mathematically what that number is but I know what I think those concepts should look like vaguely and shape-wise. I’ll sketch what the hell I’m talking about on a graph.

Untitled

The red line is the vague slope of a non-foil that is climbing from organic demand. The blue line is the slope of a foil price that spiked too fast due to hype and is overcorrecting due to falling demand. The green line is vaguely what the foil multiplier should make the price based on organic demand for the non-foil. The better the card, the greater the demand for foil copies so the price should diverge. I think there is money to be made if the foil comes down too much more since the non-foil is still climbing. It’s still a good card. Wotc is still going to print creature tokens and hydras and planeswalkers. What isn’t clear is whether they’re going to reprint Contagion Engine. Commander 2015 was a very good time to do it. Will Commander 2016 be as good a time? We could see a reprinted planeswalker in every deck. We could see Dune-Brood Nephilim in the deck with no white in it. Then again, we could just see them not reprint it and then we’re another year from its standard legality and there will be more cards it interacts with. Hype made this card grow a lot, but that’s not to say merit wasn’t going to do so anyway. We even wrote about Contagion Engine in this series before we knew anything about Commander 2015 so everything we said then should still apply now, only now a lot of copies have been pulled out of the woodwork and are concentrated in the hands of dealers, which means one effect that would dampen the ascension of the card’s price a second time is already taken care of. 3

I think we can take a look at other ways to make our mana better in both Superfriends and also just generic 4-color decks (and 5 color, really – you could combine some of the C16 decks in a Progenitus shell or something) next week, so stay tuned. In the mean time, check out the Eternal Masters spoiler coverage and our discussion forums here on MTG Price. Hit me up in the comments. Until next time!

 

Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

ADVERTISEMENT:

PROTRADER: Modern’s Evolution

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin

Man, was GP Charlotte just the biggest mess in Grand Prix history? There must be something in the water down there that results in calamitous errors. Last time, it was a “day one-and-a-half” problem where players had to play a single round at 8am on Sunday morning that would determine whether they would get to continue to play in day two. This time, the Wizards of the Coast, a Hasbro Subsidiary (WotCaHS) Event Reporter (WotCaHSER) broke after round four, with the result that the following five rounds would be played with random swiss pairings. 7-0s playing against 0-7s, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. For those of us not directly involved in the madhouse, it was a source of resigned humor. WotCaHS continues to do an excellent job with anything printed on paper, but as soon as a computer is involved, they’re incompetent to the point of gross negligence. If Magic players weren’t a customer, but rather a client, and WotCaHS was a contractor, there’d be a lawsuit.

Anyways, a bunch of Modern was played this weekend. You’ll remember that not long ago (when Shadows Over Innistrad was released) that Modern experienced some large shakeups. Eye of Ugin was banned, ameliorating the broken-format-in-a-can that was Oath of the Gatewatch, and two highly impactful cards were unbanned, namely Ancestral Vision and Sword of the Meek. Now that we’ve gotten several solid weeks of MTGO grinding under our collective belt, what’s Modern looking like?

  

The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

expensive cards

ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

ADVERTISEMENT:

Eternal Masters Spoiler Coverage

Eternal Masters 

Release Date: June 17, 2016

eternalmasters-1-825x460

This promises to be another small print-run set that makes cards a little more available for a little while if not more affordable in the long run. With boosters costing an awful lot and the draftability of the set unclear, this may end up doing little more than offering foils of cards that haven’t been foil before. That’s not that much of a problem, frankly, if it means people can get $100+ cards for the price of a booster and have copies of cards they want for legacy and EDH without wrecking prices. Modern Masters and Modern Masters 2 impacted prices, but they weren’t enough to keep them down forever. Here’s everything in those sets that ended up more than the projected $10-$15 per booster pack.

Untitled

Untitled

People who are worried about Force of Will should have some perspective. Tarmogoyf is lower than it would have been without intervention but that doesn’t mean it’s a lot lower than it ever was. Printed in both Modern Masters sets, Tarmogoyf is a 4-of in a lot of decks and that means demand will never really be soaked up.

Untitled

It isn’t the big money cards we need to worry about losing our investments in, so don’t sell those Force of Wills, unless you like the new art better because you’re wrong.

We had most of the cards anyone is going to care about spoiled in one shot, so let’s talk about it.

Force of Will

Jason Alt – This is currently $80 and it’s predominantly played in Legacy and Vintage, formats no one seems to want to play these days. This was the first Mythic spoiled but it isn’t the most expensive mythic in the set. I imagine this set will have a small, marginal impact on price. I don’t think the art is that great, but it’s better than the judge foils, which are the real losers here. If you have Forces, probably save them because they’ll recover, especially since the old art is better.  This is this set’s Dark Confidant or V. Clique.

Mana Crypt

Jason Alt –  The book promo is $200 and the judge foil is $225. That’s a difference of $25, $25 being the amount I sold my Mana Crypt for in 2004. Daggers.

This is this set’s Tarmogoyf for sure. So many EDH and Vintage players want these that I can’t imagine demand won’t soak up supply. However, the media promo and judge reward foil are the only way to get these currently. Will the set foil be $200 or will the set non-foil? Star City is betting the non-foil will be $80. Having an inexpensive basic set version should help shelter the value of the media promo and judge foil. The judge foil should also enforce somewhat of a ceiling on the set foil since there are so few judge foils. It’s going to be weird to see what happens, here. Will the flood of cheaper non-foils pull down the price of the media promo, or will the more “pimp,” rarer version maintain value?. I personally think there won’t be enough Eternal Masters copies to crater the price of the older promos. Still, with more people jamming Mana Crypt, the rules committee is going to take a second look at this card, now, and an EDH ban would hurt the price a ton. It’s already restricted in EDH, after all.

Sneak Attack 

Jason Alt – Pre-selling for $30 on SCG, Sneak Attack likely loses some value even at mythic. It will probably recover from where it ends up, especially given that copies disappear 4-at-a-time for Legacy and EDH players want this card and will now be able to get it more affordably. The older copies should be able to maintain $45 in the face of the reprinting. A comparable card from Modern Masters is Sword of Fire and Ice in my opinion. That had a set printing, a judge foil and a Modern Masters printing and its growth stopped but it mostly maintained its price. Sword appeals more broadly but I think the price trajectories are a good corollary if not the prices themselves. Let’s look at just the Modern Masters printing.

Untitled

Supply never ends up enough to satisfy demand on Masters-set mythics.

Necropotence 

Jason Alt – This is mythic because it would ruin Limited otherwise. It’s powerful enough, sure, but it’s not expensive enough to be mythic. This probably will drive the already-reasonable price of Necropotence down, which is fine, but the price was never a barrier to begin with seeing as how there were plenty of Ice age and 5th Edition copies easily accessible. This “feels” mythic but doesn’t do much to sell $15 booster packs. SCG wants $10 for these despite Ice Age copies which look cooler being that price. This was already on a downward trajectory before the reprinting, Legacy can’t play this and not all EDH decks want this. I bet this loses money.

Balance

Jason Alt – Who is playing Balance? This is a $4 mythic at pre-order and I don’t even know if it will maintain that. This needs to be mythic for its power level, but this certainly wasn’t reprinted for availability purposes. The set needs cheap mythics and it’s getting them.

Dack Fayden

Jason Alt – This is a great reprint. This all but rules it out of Conspiracy 2, which is fine. Vintage and EDH players alike love this card and this is a chance for more foils to hit the market, lowering the barrier to jamming a foil one in your cube. The non-foils are $25 and that seems about right. They are $35 now but are on a downward trajectory. I think this is the kind of card you want in this set.

Karakas

Jason Alt – Craig Wescoe spoiled this card because of course he did. This is a reprint everyone saw coming. Legacy demand for a while saw this sit at $30-$50 until everyone realized you didn’t autolose to Emrakul if you had this. Knight of the Reliquary decks used this to great effect, putting Knight in with Show and Tell and then using Knight to get Karakas before they could untap and swing with Emrakul. Currently almost $200, Legends Karakas should take a bit of a hit. Demand is 100% Legacy and Vintage (mostly Legacy) due to how banned this is in EDH. The judge foils should take a bit of a hit due to competition from set foils, but not too much of a hit. This is pre-selling for $80, which is less than half of its current retail. I expect that to be a bit too low, but not enough that I’m a buyer at $80. I think even at mythic, this should do a decent job of satisfying current demand, especially since it isn’t run much as a multiple the way Goyf is. This is good news for people who want to run Mangara D&T I guess.

 

Chrome Mox 

Jason Alt – The Modern banning really hurt the price of this card. Despite being very solid and having the word “mox” in the title, this is a mere $20 due to its unavailability for use in Modern. This isn’t used much in EDH. Legacy combo uses this but Mox Diamond probably gets roughly the same amount of Legacy use and this also has to compete with Mox Opal. Mythic rarity will help the price sliding too much but this is pretty inexpensive for a reason.

Worldgorger Dragon

Jason Alt – Every set needs a Comet Storm, I guess. Not sure why it’s always red that gets it. Prepare to lose a portion of the $2.50 you have invested in this card.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Jason Alt – Star City wants $80 for this and that seems reasonable. I imagine this follows the price trajectory of Vendillion Clique or Dark Confidant. If this is ever unbanned in Modern, I expect this to follow the price trajectory of Dark Confidant when they announced Modern and go nuts. I’m not buying an $80 lottery ticket and betting on an unban, but this is Jace and more printings slow his growth but that’s mostly all. This is OK in EDH, it’s in a few Legacy decks and it’s banned in Modern. The price is still nuts because this is one of the most iconic Magic cards of the modern era and the price is always going to be higher than we can justify with mere data. I am not worried about this tanking the current value.

Vampiric Tutor 

Jason Alt – Vampiric Tutor is sicko in EDH but being printed at mythic means we won’t get as many copies as we need. Currently a little under $40 for the Visions version, the real loser here is the $100 judge foil. Either the set foil ends up way higher than the judge foil, or this gets pushed to around $20-$25 in the short term. Either way, I’m hoping this gets cheap enough to actually help EDH out.

Enlightened Tutor

Jason Alt – Currently at $16 as a Mirage uncommon and pre-selling for that much on SCG, I think this is due to fall more than SCG predicts, or they’re hoping they can pre-sell a bunch before the price drops. However, I think this could recover. Kira, Great Glass Spinner was about $15 before Modern Masters reprinted it and after spending some time around $9, it’s $15 again.  It’s hard to guess if there are more copies of Kira as a rare in Betrayers of Kamigawa or of Tutor as an uncommon in Mirage and 6th Edition. What I do know is that I expect the price of this to come back to where it is now, or close to it. This will only help availability without hurting price. I like it.

Sylvan Library 

Jason Alt – I think this should bring down 4th and 5th Edition versions and maybe impact the Commander’s Arsenal foils a small amount in the short term. ’93/’94 is what’s propping up the Legends version and this won’t affect that at all. This is a good reprint and putting it a rare means it will make it widely available for EDH to snatch up all of these copies and Legacy to take the rest. SCG wants basically current retail for pre-orders and I expect that it can get back to that price soon.

Control Magic

Jason Alt – This art is great, which won’t take the sting out of opening a card that should be an uncommon in the booster your LGS charged you $20 for. The set needs bulk rares and this is a P1P1 in Limited, so I guess we all understand why this is in here. I’ll be replacing my current versions with this because of the art.

Entomb

Jason Alt – SCG wants $16 for this and they’ll probably get it. Entomb has shrugged off quite a few reprintings but this may be the one that does it in. Odyssey versions are twice what SCG wants for this version. I half expect it to go up from $16, but the Graveborn foil hurts the upside for set foils, and I don’t know if this can climb to $30+ or if the Odyssey versions can maintain that price. You certainly don’t have to worry about counterfeiting with the new versions, and the art is better. We’ll see what happens. If this goes down in the short term, I may look at it because the pre-order price is half of current retail and that’s not the case for the rest of these cards.

Toxic Deluge

Jason Alt – There is no question this brings the price down even more and SCG agrees, pre-selling for a mere $6. The only real question is what will the foil settle at? I have some Deluges so I’m eating it on this reprint, but I guess I don’t hate to see it. Commander 2014 had some real gas in it.

Diminishing Returns

Jason Alt – An example of diminishing returns is paying over $10 for a booster pack and getting a bulk rare.

Maze of Ith 

Jason Alt – This likely won’t stay at the $20 SCG is asking for it. This card is too good in both EDH and Legacy to be $20, though the downtick in popularity of Knight of the Reliquary decks in Legacy has caused the card to lose value over time even before this reprinting. Foils will compete with the judge foils, but honestly this is a card that could go up a tad, but will need a change in the Legacy paradigm to do so.

Gamble

Jason Alt – I expect this card to go down in price significantly. This isn’t bought as a 4-of the way Sneak Attack is and it’s not at mythic in this set. This should satisfy a lot of the demand for this wacky card, although the old art is probably going to be more popular. Pre-order is down to $10, and that just might hold.

Deathrite Shaman

Jason Alt – I have a big box of these and I was waiting for Legacy and EDH demand to help the price recover after the Modern banning. The SCG pre-order price of $5 makes me sad, but it’s probably accurate. There is little demand for this card compared to a few years ago. Legacy elves loves it and EDH probably uses it less than it should. I hate to see this reprinted before I could recoup my investment. Luckily, when Shaman first spiked, I sold enough copies to break even so all the copies I’m sitting on were free, but I’d rather get $10 for them than $3. Them’s the breaks.

Sensei’s Divining Top

Jason Alt – If being uncommon in a fairly recent set and being in a $12 precon weren’t enough to keep this card under $25, hopefully the few extra copies this adds to the market can bring it down a smidge. Still, despite EDH wanting these one at a time, Legacy wants these 2-4 at a time and that’s going to mean that we need to cough up 2-4 copies or every one new deck built. This shouldn’t hurt the price too much, but the old art is way better. This needed to be rare.

Wasteland

Jason Alt – One of the first cards spoiled, we’ve had a lot of time to debate the effect of the reprinting on the price of Wasteland. Pretty good in EDH, a staple in Legacy and Vintage and printed originally at uncommon, Wasteland is pre-selling for $60 on SCG. That seems a tab high, but with boxes at $250, maybe not. Every new Legacy deck will eat multiple copies meaning demand is likely poised to soak a ton of the supply up. $60 is higher than the current retail for the Tempest version, though, so I’m not sure what SCG is banking on. With judge foils, expeditions and other ways to get this foil, the set foils will likely be just another version, and probably the least popular of all of them. I think there’s downside at $60.

Goblin Charbelcher

Jason Alt – Not all of them have to be gems. This won’t be that good in Limited, and price wasn’t the reason to reprint this nor was availability. This gives us more foils, I guess, but all this did was stop the older version from inching up in price the way a card you invested in does, ideally. This is fine but I’m not a buyer, even at $3.

5/25/16

They haven’t let up on revealing cards since yesterday and there are a ton of them. I sort of hate them making us twiddle our thumbs for the months since they spoiled Force and Wasteland and then vomiting everything on us in 72 hours, but what do I know?

Maelstrom Wanderer

Jason Alt – I think this actually will affect prices and here’s why. The Commander’s Arsenal foils are trash. It’s a different foiling process and it sucks. I hated my foil Commander’s Arsenal Maelstrom Wanderer so much that I switched to non-foil Japanese and the rest of the deck is foil, that’s how much screw that foiling process. This gives us a shot at nicer-looking foils. If this doesn’t drag the price of Commander’s Arsenal foils down, what will happen is we’ll see a big divergence in price as people want these overwhelmingly. The art’s even way better. I feel like these are factors that people busting foils of this won’t take into account and I like these foils if they end up being priced beneath the price of Commander’s Arsenal foils initially.

Baleful Strix

Jason Alt – Foils of this are likely to exceed $50 which is pretty crazy. This didn’t need another reprint, per se, but I’m fine with it getting one and getting copies into the hands of players. The dip from WotC having to overprint Mind Seize decks has mostly ironed out and we could use some more supply. This is good in some EDH decks as well as quite a few Legacy decks and it’s a card we want in players’ hands. Having a chance to get these in foil is all upside.

Shardless Agent

Jason Alt – Well, this burns. I have been socking away Japanese copies because those were the best you could get and now you can get Japanese foils. I’m likely to lose  bit of value, but I think the price will recover mostly. This is a very good card in Legacy. It’s not as great in EDH but I still jam it in my Maelstrom Wanderer deck for some reason. I always end up hitting a mana rock, but every once in a while I’ll Maelstrom into Etherium-Horn Sorcerer into Bloodbraid into Shardless Agent into Coiling Oracle. I call it the Temur Ultimatum. Foils of this are likely to be pretty close to what they are for Baleful Strix and that price is likely to climb over time, so maybe trade for those foils if you can.

Nevinyrral’s Disk

Jason Alt – This gets a non-zero amount of use in EDH, but this won’t bring prices down. Alpha, Beta and Unlimited copies are still run in ’93/’94 and are still old so this will just crater the 4th edition copies and such, which is fine since now people can have a good-looking foil copy because that FTV copy is trash, and only $7.

Ichorid

Jason Alt – They really want reanimator and possibly dredge (it looks like the black/green archetype will be elves, though) to work in Limited. Ichorid is a sweet card and this is a chance to get more foils of it, so that’s cool. Ichorid is currently about $12, down from its historical high of $30+ and I can see this slipping down a bit more. This is exactly the price Divinity of Pride was and that’s now $3, though a second reprinting may be what’s kept it down. Still, now it’s Divinity of the Fall and Modern Masters was all it took to drive its price into the dirt. Will Ichorid fall as far as fast? Doubtful because every new deck needs 2-4 copies vs. every new EDH deck only needing one Divinity of Pride. Demand will soak up copies much faster. We’ll see what happens, but I think he $5 SCG wants right now is pretty close.

Hymn to Tourach

Jason Alt – Foil Hymn is going to be a very sexy prospect. This shouldn’t hurt the already dirt-cheap Fallen Empires copies but the prospect of getting foil copies is exciting. This is the same art as FTV:20 but better foiling process. I expect these to potentially stay close to the $7 the FTV copies are.

Regal Force

Jason Alt – This is a sicko card-drawing machine and EDH and Elf decks have made this a $15 card, a price SCG expects to be cut in half by this set. I could see this slowly climbing, but it’s not a 4-of in Legacy like Ichorid which means I expect it to end up below where Ichorid ends up despite having EDH applicability that Ichorid doesn’t have.

Unexpectedly Absent

Jason Alt – SCG only wants $1 for this guy, which is all the old copy went for. This is a good card but it’s also played in about 600 of the 21,000 white decks on EDHREC. This seems too powerful to be a bulk rare, but them’s the times we live in.

Dualcaster Mage

Jason Alt – This card is fetch. As in, I wish they’d stop trying to make it happen. They decide which cards become judge foils long before players start playing with the cards so they made Dualcaster Mage hoping people would play it in Legacy and EDH and pair it with cards like Heat Shimmer and there were no takers. This seems to be in a cycle of Commander set reprints and Toxic Deluge is basically the only one we’ve seen so far (unless you count Baleful Strix, which I don’t) which isn’t a bulk rare. Oh well.

Chain Lightning

Jason Alt – This is a great example of a reprint that will enfranchise players. The Reserved List isn’t going away. You can whine about how you can’t afford Volcanic Island or you can build burn and play Legacy until you can trade into the deck you want. This was basically the only thing in a serviceable burn list that cost anything unless you’re playing with Goblin Guides. This also gives us better-looking foils which should stay around the $15 people want for the ugly Premium deck version.

Cabal Therapy

Jason Alt – Basically everything that was true of Chain Lightning is also true of this, except Cabal Therapy doesn’t really slot into any reasonable Legacy decks. Nic Fit and Sam Black’s Zombardment are both decks I’ve run in Legacy and gotten away with cheaply(ish) but that was because I had dual lands from 2004. This isn’t going to enfranchise people to the same extent that a cheap Chain Lightning is, and Cabal Therapy has a lot more printings and yet is almost the same price, meaning there is a lot more demand which should help stabilize the price. I think this will diverge in price from Chain Lightning a bit, but there’s no real need to go that in depth on an uncommon that has foil printings already, including a sexy set foil.

Rorix Bladewing

Jason Alt – And you worried they wouldn’t have anything to pair with Sneak Attack in Limited. Bulk rare.

Vindicate

Jason Alt – I went over what would happen to the price if this ended up in Commander 2015 and I think what I said then applies now. Vindicate has been seeing a decline in demand of late and EDH hasn’t fully picked up the slack. SCG wants $10 here and I have an odd feeling that $10 is too much for Vindicate. It used to be much better than it is.

Bloodbraid Elf

Jason Alt – Something is keeping this at $3 despite being banned in Modern. Will that same thing keep this above $3 going forward? I expect it to dip in the short term and I’m not touching them at the bottom, but you can if you think these can hit $3 again. Don’t pre-order them from SCG or you’ll only save a cent.

Mystical Tutor

Jason Alt – This is currently $8 and a big reason why is a Legacy ban. This is a chance to get foil copies that aren’t the ugly FTV foiling, but those are only $20ish so there isn’t even a ton of upside on the foils. This is just going to get more copies into the hands of EDH players, which is fine with me.

 

 

 

Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

ADVERTISEMENT:

MAGIC: THE GATHERING BLOG, ARTICLES, AND COMMUNITY