By: Jared Yost
Magic cards going up in price, you don’t say? I’ve noticed quite a few trending cards over the past week and we’re going to delve a bit deeper to see if the hype circus has come to town again or if these prices have actually corrected themselves.
So, uh, it looks like that new $100 price point is going to stick after all for Rishadan Port. As of Friday, Starcity is still sold out of Ports at $100. TCGPlayer sellers are listing them at a minimum of $105 a copy, which means that either a buyout of Port has occurred at the $70 entry point (not likely), or the popularity of decks it is featured in has reached new highs (most likely). A buyout at $70 seems completely unrealistic to me, as the buy-in price is way too high to capitalize on when selling back into the market even at $100-$120 (which is probably where Port will settle in the near future). Foils are still an absurd at $500 – or $1500 if you want a Japanese foil. Just to put that in perspective, foil Polluted Delta’s are around $460. Delta is played in 40% of Legacy decks as opposed to Port which is played in 9%. Based on popularity alone it seems wrong that Port should be more expensive. One reason I can think of is that Mercadian Masques is an older set and the potential for foils to be lost or destroyed is much higher than for Onslaught-era cards. Another reason is that fewer Masques packs were opened over Onslaught since the set was so underpowered compared to the previous Urza’s block.
The rise in popularity of both Death and Taxes and Lands have made Rishadan Port absurdly expensive. I don’t see it coming down from this new high. I guess there is always the small chance of a reprint, since it is within the grace window of Masques through Scourge where the Reserved List does not apply (although at the same time the sets are not present in the Modern format).
Meddling Mage has seen a resurgence of play in Legacy due to the popularity of Patriot Aggro (though I believe this is a misnomer since the deck usually only runs 10 creatures, 4 Delver of Secrets, 4 Stoneforge Mystic, and 2 True-Name Nemesis with Meddling Mage in the board), Stoneblade, and Bant archetypes. The mage is typically run as a playset throughout the deck and sideboard combined, so the demand is high when she / he is needed. The upward trending price of $5 seems fair to me because both versions were printed in smaller secondary / tertiary sets. Expect Meddling Mage to retain this price going forward until the next reprint.
Another land that is taking off. Be honest, are any of you surprised that this land has risen? It has been sitting at around $35-$40 for the longest time and is now correcting in price to a new high of $55-$60. It has always been played in several legacy archetypes like Sneak and Show, Tezzerator, Imperial Painter, and MUD. Only one printing. The perfect factors for a price correction. The new high of $55-$60 will continue to be its price, and in the future I expect City to keep trending upwards. This land is on the Reserved List so they will be only getting rarer and rarer as the years go on.
With his own Legacy archetype to his name, this version of Tezzeret packs quite the punch in Legacy and could even make waves in Modern if the right deck opportunities present themselves. Right now though, his main format that he shines in is Legacy, and he does so not only through Tezz Control (which also made Transmute Artifact spike), but also Affinity where he can provide the necessary long-term advantage that the deck otherwise sorely lacks. The reprint boogeyman is always a possibility (especially with Planeswalkers because they can so easily be thrown into a Duel Deck), but I doubt we’ll see a reprint of this Tezzeret for quite a while since we already have the original Tezzeret that keeps getting reprinted. He is also from a small set, which means that the new price of around $20 will be sticking.
The premier counterspell of Modern, Cryptic Command has seen another upswing in price due the unbanning of Bitterblossom and the potential for the Fae to be a new fighting force in the format. Cryptic Command has always been sweet in Modern so I don’t see any reason why it would be less than $40 going into Modern season. I’m not sure how much higher this card could go, but I doubt it would be worth it to pick up extras. Get your playset in preparation for Modern season but don’t go out of your way to try and and acquire any extras as I’m not sure if there is any more potential for this go much higher due to the anticipated popularity of Zoo and other new non-blue archetypes.
Bloodghast is actually relevant in Modern now that Deathrite Shaman is banned. Along with cards like Vengevine, I can already see a new graveyard brew starting to form in the minds of pros and FNM grinders alike. Rather than trying to go deep on something like Vengevine, why not try to pick up some Bloodghasts at the much lower buy-in price of $7? These have the potential of doubling up once Modern season starts if there is even a whiff of a graveyard brew doing well that utilizes him. These types of cards are exactly where I want to be when trying to find undervalued rares, as they aren’t that hard to get into and don’t have much of chance of going down in price. (Dredge is a real deck in Vintage, in addition to the casual popularity of Bloodghast.)
Cavern is starting its trend upwards, which is exactly what I expected. This land is so powerful it’s not even funny. It nerfs blue players in Modern and hoses plenty of decks in Legacy, but most important of all it allows me (and all the other casuals) to play a five color sliver deck without having to worry about having my slivers being countered all the time! So awesome!
But seriously, pick up your Caverns if you haven’t yet. I believe you will come to regret it if you don’t as I don’t see them ever getting any cheaper than they are now.
I guess people are seriously starting to brew with Merfolk in Modern, as two of its core pieces are trending upwards and Threads continues to spike the closer to Modern season we get. All three are great in the Merfolk deck for different reasons.
Aether Vial is one of the deck’s backbones as it essentially acts as a pseudo-mox that allows you to play your Merfolk at instant speed.
The Time Shifted version of Lord of Atlantis is now nearing $7 which is noticeably more than its white bordered brothers from 4th through 7th edition. I guess having an all black bordered deck is more important to players, so watch out for any time shifted versions of Lord of Atlantis you might see.
Threads of Disloyalty was already known by many to be a great card in Modern, but unbanning Wild Nacatl just made it more awesome in the new format against the many possible Zoo decks Merfolk or other blue decks could face. Expect the $30 it is now commanding to stick until the next reprint.
Archangel of Thune has risen in price because of the new centaur Courser of Kruphix and her interaction with landfalling to gain one life in order to pump up your team. I think a lot of people are picking her up in anticipation of someone breaking this interaction, in either a G/W shell or in a Bant shell that may utilize Kiora or Prophet of Kruphix.
Unfortunately since Starcitygames Somerset was canceled last weekend there wasn’t any new data to let us know if the Gruul Aggro deck with 4x Courser that placed second at Nashville is the real deal or not. Continue following Twitter and other hot sources for further updates as the next major tournament weekend comes.
I’m still quite keen on Ephara performing well so be on the lookout for her too in addition to any action these two cards are able to provide.
Commander / Casual
It appears that one of the most devastating cards in the Commander format is starting to trend upwards in price. What gives? I thought casuals hated land destruction and massive Armageddon–like effects? This upswing might have something to do with the card seeing marginal play in the sideboards of a few Death and Taxes decks in Legacy. (Note: Cataclysm is not on the reserved list – this could be a perfect candidate for the new FTV: Annihilation set coming up.) I would not buy into this card at current price of $10 – I believe it is bound to go down because land destruction is looked upon unfavorably in casual formats and the card really has not seen a lot of Legacy action outside of a few showings as a one or two of in Death and Taxes. Sell into the hype.
Skullclamp is trending upwards to around $5 per copy. I’m surprised it has taken this long to increase in price – even though it is banned in every format except for Vintage and Commander, it does see an extraordinary amount of play in Commander due to the fact that is the best equipment artifact ever printed for aggro decks. $5 is a fair price for Skullclamp. It has taken this long for it to get to $5 so I don’t expect it to go up any time soon in the future. If you have any extra copies, feel free to trade them out as it is going to take a while for this artifact to make the next price jump. In the mean time though, Darksteel foils seem like a pretty good deal if you can find them for $15.
The casual all-star that never seems to quit going up in value, Exquisite Blood has now reached a new high of $6. Call me crazy, but I feel like this card is the perfect candidate for a core set reprint just like Sanguine Bond. If you like playing with Exquisite Blood, keep your copies and enjoy the fun you will have activating Vizkopa Guildmage’s second ability and winning instantly. If this card means nothing to you, ignore it, as any price increases it makes at this point will only put you behind if you try to out them in the future. Everyone else, look for any extra copies you have and trade them out to pick up other Modern staples that you can play at your shop.
Blightsteel Colossus has taken the jump to $15 (up from $10 last week, and way up from a low of $4 when it was in Standard) which is not surprising since it is one of the Timmy-ist cards ever created. I mean, look at how awesome that guy is! One hit and you’re dead! No wonder legacy MUD runs a copy or two that it ramps up to, equips a Lightning Greaves to, and goes to town. But we know the real reason why Blightsteel is so high, because of Commander and all the casuals that want to Tinker it out in their 60 card decks. Keep a good watch on Blightsteel; I don’t think it is done rising in price. I don’t think it can’t go too much higher than the the current $15 it commands but with Modern you never know. It could become the win condition of a random Woo Brew again.
On the other hand, Silent-Blade Oni is strictly a casual card with the popular Ninjutsu effect that players love to see from time to time. He has increased slightly to $5 but I would not be trading for extra copies of this guy any time soon. He is strictly a casual card and won’t see much growth in the short term because he isn’t played in any competitive formats. There are better options to trade for that have more potential to go up further.
Lots have cards have changed across basically every format, and the consensus is that these prices are here to stay with the possible exception being Cataclysm (though I am discovering that price memory is a very strong force within the Magic community which prevents overpriced cards from coming down faster than they should). Expect all the cards I’ve mentioned to maintain their new prices for the foreseeable future, and expect one or two them to even keep trending upwards.