Category Archives: The Collector

Delving Deeper: Getting into Older Formats Part 2

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Hello everyone! In my last article I talked about the first steps to getting into older formats. If you found yourself wanting to elevate your Magic experiences as well as level up your game, you’ve come to the right place. There are countless resources out there to find decklists and new tech for formats like Modern, Legacy, and Commander. But how is one to acquire the cards for these decks? That’s what I will be discussing today!

There are some general philosophies for picking up cards, like what type of cards to pick up first, but those sometimes operate under the assumption that you are going to be changing decks/playing more than one deck at once. Some decks have a high concentration of expensive cards among 4-8 cards only. Others have a more even distribution of expenses throughout the deck.

Generally, your landbase will be the -most important thing. This means picking up ABU dual lands, Ravnica shocklands, and Onslaught/Zendikar fetchlands. Your manabase, along with major format staples should be priority number one.

Budgeting will always be a personal matter. It varies from person to person how much money they have at their disposal. Do you have more money up front to get started? Do you have a little money able to be set aside each week or month? This all depends on you and your specific situation. Just adjust the advice in this article to fit your exact needs and financial situation.

MODERN

There are a few excellent selling points to Modern:

  • It is cheaper than Legacy and Vintage
  • It has no reserved list cards in it
  • It has more frequent needed reprints
  • There are more Modern tournaments than Legacy and Vintage
  • You can build a very strong deck relatively cheaper than Legacy and Vintage

For Modern, there are dozens of decks, and many of them can be quite strong. Select the deck that you want to play, not based on its price, but based on how much you like the deck. Borrow the deck and proxy it up first to get a feel for it. You certainly don’t want to spend time and money assembling it only to find out you’ve made a mistake.

Most top tier decks in Modern have expensive staples in them. Rather than dismiss these cards for budget alternatives or looking at another deck, work towards acquiring them first.

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  • Affinty needs a playset of Mox Opal and Arcbound Ravager
  • Jund needs a playset of Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil
  • Grixis Death’s Shadow needs a playset of Scalding Tarn and Snapcaster Mage
  • Eldrazi Tron needs a playset of Chalice of the Void along with two Cavern of Souls and two Karn Liberated
  • Merfolk needs a playset of Cavern of Souls
  • Counters Company needs a playset of Verdant Catacombs
  • TitanShift needs a playset of Scapeshift and sometimes Through the Breach

The list goes on and on. If you want to be as competitive as possible and find pleasure in winning games, do not look for budget alternatives. As cliché as it sounds, nothing good in life comes easy, and most players can find a way to obtain these staples. It’s all a matter of how serious you are about obtaining them.

Start by obtaining the expensive cards first.

It may be difficult to front the cash to buy these cards on TCGplayer.com or Ebay.com but there are other ways to get the cards. You can try trading for them. If your local LGS doesn’t have a good trade-in system or local players don’t have the cards you need, scour on Facebook. It’s free! Join several groups, local and not, and start setting up some trades. Chances are great that you have some extra cards lying around that other players want. Note that if you are picking up expensive format staples you may have to trade up a little, which is fine. Generally speaking, a $100 card is better than 10 $10 cards. Don’t be afraid to take small hits if it’s for cards you know you will use. Especially if the alternative is paying cash for them.

Look for deals online.

Ebay has sales all the time, usually in the form of $15 off of $75 or $10 off of $50 coupons. These sales are a great way to expend your wallet further in exchange for a little patience. If you have more than one PayPal account, you can even reap the benefits from these coupons more than once per cycle. It’s like free money if you use it on cards you had to buy anyways.

Additionally, TCGplayer.com offers the option to sort cards by condition. This is great because you don’t necessarily need Near Mint copies of a card. If a card is priced at $20 for a NM copy, but $16 for a MP version, just go for that one. When it comes to Modern staples, I am certainly not an advocate of condition mattering. Your goal isn’t to flip them to a dealer or store or anything. Your goal is to play with them. Sure, let them be a little messy, nobody is going to care if its a shuffle creased Ugin or a $110 Ugin’s Fate Ugin that wipes their board.

Have a little Clairvoyance.

Oh, if only it were that easy. What I mean by this is look to the near future for the possibilities for reprints. With From the Vault: Transform coming out, right now is the last time I would be purchasing cards like Huntmaster of the Fells or Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Also look for cards that are severely undervalued at the moment or that you think may increase in price sharply. This pertains more to Reserved List cards as they are prone to the occasion price spike, but this can also mean cards that seem way too cheap for their supply/demand.

Once you have picked up the expensive staples for your deck, all that’s left is to flesh out the remainder. Trade for cards that you run across or save up something like $10 a week. You should have the mid and low value cards knocked out in no time. LGS usually have a good supply of cards in the $1-$10 range, so don’t be afraid to check them out for singles (as long as they are well priced). If they are priced above TCG mid, spend your money online instead. There is no reason to overpay if you are on a budget.

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Jumping into Legacy

OUCH. Legacy prices are pretty crazy. There is no way around it, Legacy is expensive and takes a serious commitment and a determined mind to jump into. Luckily, there is very little volatility in Legacy, and your cards should always retain their value. If anything, your cards will only go up over time, and for that reason, it is one of my favorite formats to invest in.

Let’s take a look at the recently banned miracles deck. If you had purchased all the cards for this deck a year ago, only to have it banned earlier in 2017, you would surely be frustrated. By how many of those cards lost value? Counterbalance’s price has been slashed and Sensei’s Divining Top’s price has barely diminished due to its popularity in Commander. That’s it. Predict has doubled in price. Tundra has gone up 15%. The rest of the cards have been unaffected and see play widely across the format. If you don’t want to play with the cards from the miracles deck anymore, just trade them for other staples that you need for a different Legacy deck. Just don’t run to a dealer booth in disgust and haste.

Start with Reserved List cards.

I don’t want to start a discussion on the Reserved List as they tend to go nowhere fast and have little merit when the time comes to spend your money. As an investing Legacy player, you should work under the assumption that the Reserved List is here to stay. Work around it by acquiring the cards you need from it sooner than later.

When it comes to Legacy, there’s no way around it. Completing your manabase will be your most expensive and daunting task. Should you pick a deck that has fewer dual lands in it…

Well if you read my last article you know the answer depends on other factors. Don’t take the easy way out and play a deck that you feel will suit your wallet. You wallet is an inanimate object, don’t let it speak for you. Pick the deck that will suit you best. One that you won’t outgrow or get frustrated at when it doesn’t place well in tournaments.

Because dual lands are so expensive and sought after, you may have a hard time trading for them online. In the instance where you need to purchase them I suggest scouring online stores, TCGplayer.com, and Ebay for deals on played versions of them. Other than purchasing them, you can also get lucky if your LGS picks them up. In this case, you can trade in cards towards them and slowly build the store credit to buy the card. Most store owners are happy to work with you in this regard, as it would be in their interest to have their customers able to play more events there.

Once you pick up dual lands, if your deck requires them, pick up your Force of Wills and Wastelands. These cards see play in dozens of decks and if your goal is to become a long-term Legacy player, chances are good that you will need to have access to a playset of these at some point. Get them as soon as you can.

Sacrifice.

For the majority of Magic players, entering a new format will mean one thing. Sacrifices must be made. That will vary from individual to individual, but I can give my best general advice.

  • Skip a draft or two. Drafting at the shop is always a blast. But sometimes you need to save up a little for a constructed format. If you aren’t confident in your ability to turn a profit drafting (which is hard to do at most LGS), the maybe postpone your drafting. Save the $10-$15 towards getting a few staples for your deck.
  • Sell that awesome Masterpiece. Did you open a sweet Masterpiece card from a booster pack? Got lucky on a prize pack did a trade with a friend? Get rid of it! I don’t care if it looks nice in your EDH deck, if you need the funds to get into another format, that’s a perfect, and quite liquid, access to turn into cash. I’m of the belief that these lottery cards were inserted into Standard booster packs specifically to help newer players hit it big, and perhaps trade it into something to help them on their deckbuilding journey. Open an Invocation Force of Will? Congratulations, that can fund almost an entire Standard deck. Or three Tarmogoyfs. Or a Bayou. Get to work!
  • Spend time looking for deals and trading. This isn’t necessarily the most fun thing in the world to do, I will admit. But if money is tight, then use the next best thing, your time. Make the time to look online for deals. Take the time to do some trades at your LGS and even offer it slightly in the other person’s favor if you are trading up. As a general tip, try to trade up.

That about wraps it up. There are obviously dozens of other tips and tricks when it comes to finding cheap cards, but that is best saved for an article of its own. Just remember, older formats are a huge investment. You will need to make sacrifices. This isn’t for everyone. If you’ve assessed that you want to take your game to the next level, then these tips should help immensely on your journey. Are you fired up? What has helped you delve into older formats? Let me know in the comments and thanks so much for reading!

Rachel Agnes is a VSL Competitor, Phyrexian Princess, Collector of all things shiny and a Cube, Vintage, Legacy, and EDH enthusiast. 
Catch on Twitch and Twitter via Baetog_.

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Delving Deeper: Getting into Older Formats Part 1

Do you remember when you first started playing Magic? I know I do. It was at a friend’s house I watched for a few minutes as they played Standard against each other and then they asked me to take a seat and try myself. I was handed a deck with Stoneforge Mystic, Batterskull, and Jace, the Mindsculptor in it. I was instantly hooked and here I am today, writing articles and totally immersed in all forms of Magic: the Gathering.

Despite the highly competitive nature of the decks, Standard was the format I was introduced in. I would wager that with the number of events as well as the Pro Tour featuring it primarily, most player’s first forays into Magic also involve Standard. However, Standard just makes up one portion of the competitive scene of this vast game. There are dozens of fan-made and casual formats that exist. If you look around the world and on Magic Online you will find a plethora of competitive formats to dabble into.

“Alright, cool. I have been playing Magic at FNM and locally with friends for about a year now. I always hear about other formats like ‘Modern’ and ‘Legacy.’ I want to check that out, and learn more about other ways to enjoy this awesome game. Let’s check out some decks…”

Ok, so by this point many players are immediately turned off at this thought. Spending _____ on a card game sounds ridiculous right? Well to those who are just looking to Magic as the most casual of a hobby, I agree, the prices of these decks are astronomical and should rightfully push some away.

The price of top tier decks in formats like Vintage, Legacy, and even Modern are staggering! It isn’t easy for most folks to just jump right in and build a top tier deck on the fly. Forget about it if you change decks or want to build a gauntlet. I will never sugar-coat the financial struggle there is to getting involved in Magic’s older formats. Playing this game competitively is extremely expensive and I don’t want to underplay that.

So then what is the point of writing this? I am here to tell you that it is possible to accomplish this and show you how to do it. In this two-part article series, first, I will give general advice on picking out the right path to take. I will ask key questions that every player must ask themselves before undertaking this journey. The second article will discuss specifics on how to acquire expensive cards and help you reach the end goal. The advice I give here may not be for everyone, as each person’s situation and experiences are unique, but I will do my best to give the best advice regardless.

Before embarking on this quest, you must first ask yourself a few questions. These are general questions that will act as the knowledge used to form your action plan.

  1. What do I want to get out of Magic?

Another way to look at this question is what do you want Magic to be for you? If you want to play older formats but do so more casually then you are in luck. The internet is going to be your best resource for discovering new strategies and fun combos that can be built on a budget. Legacy, Modern, and Commander aren’t as daunting when you can use budget card choices, after all.

However, many players want to play competitively. Whether they plan to play in weekly/monthly events at their local LGS or travel to a Grand Prix or large event, if the goal is winning, things certainly get more expensive.

There are hundreds of high-level Standard events happening across the country every weekend. If you want to win at those events, you will need $200-$300 to purchase one of the Tier 1 Standard decks. There is a plethora of coverage and articles all over the internet to read and observe to elevate your Standard game. Keep up to date, study tournament results, and practice. That’s about all there is to Standard.

So what happens when you want to do the same with Modern? If we look at recent top performing decks, while there may be some variance in prices, most decks are going to cost from $700-$1500. That is a LOT of money to shell out and a significant step up from the price of a Standard deck.

Once you’ve determined the degree to which you want to play Magic, the next logical step becomes…

  1. What deck should I play?

Everyone’s budget is different, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just assume that the average person can purchase one top tier modern deck (even if not all at once) and that replacing/changing decks often is not feasible. Under this fair assumption, selecting the right deck is crucial. Choosing a sub-optimal deck that doesn’t successfully align with your answer to question #1 can spell disaster for a player working on a limited budget. Usually it will mean reselling your cards to a store, where you will at best recover 50% of your investment or selling online which can be risky and time consuming. Neither option here is desirable, so choosing your deck correctly the first time is important.

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A common pitfall I see many players fall into involves purchasing/trading for a deck that they will outgrow. Let’s pick on Legacy for this example. When I see players who are interested in Legacy, if their goal is to be competitive and to win events, I will do my best to steer them away from introductory or tier 2 decks. Decks like Burn, Dredge, Merfolk, and Eldrazi are all capable of winning games, but they lack the long-term staying and winning power of top performing decks in Legacy. In other words, there are significantly more instances of other decks winning matches and events than these decks winning.

Again, I would like to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with these types of decks. They are just not decks I would recommend to players who answered question #1 with anything along the lines of “wanting to win events” or “playing top tier decks to improve as a player.”

Many players choose to play decks like Burn or Dredge in Legacy due to monetary concern. Other decks play Dual lands and various expensive staples. So naturally it follows that decks without Wasteland, Force of Will, and Dual lands seem like an excellent budget alternative. Don’t be fooled, though. Lower power decks in Legacy ARE alternatives, just not tournament winning alternatives for those who wish to win the most matches. In part 2 of this article series I will go over the best ways to invest and pick up cards to build your way into more expensive formats like Legacy and Vintage.

So, to reiterate my point, if you are looking to enter an older format competitively (where winning is the primary goal), you should aim to purchase/trade for a top tier deck. This may involve acquiring dual lands or other expensive format staples that you would have otherwise wished you could have avoided. Do not buy into a deck just because it is an excellent entry-level deck for the format, as you will likely outgrow it and lose money on turning around and selling it.

To sum up this article (which will be two parts total):

  1. Ask yourself what you want out of Magic.
  2. Pick what deck you should play.
  3. If you want to be competitive, do not settle for something less.
  4. Don’t buy into a “budget” or introductory deck to a format.

These questions and my advice may seem somewhat intangible, but stick with me for the next article where I put it all to practical use.

Dabbling into older MTG formats is more of a journey than a case of instant gratification. If you can afford the top tier deck you want just like that, excellent. You are luckier than most. If you don’t need a top tier deck to have fun with and enjoy the format, that is also excellent. Your wallet will thank you. One of the most beautiful parts about Magic is that it has so many ways to involve and include individuals of various backgrounds. No matter what type of player you are, or the extent of your budget, there is a format in Magic for you. Go out there and experience it!

Rachel Agnes is a VSL Competitor, Phyrexian Princess, Collector of all things shiny and a Cube, Vintage, Legacy, and EDH enthusiast. 
Catch on Twitch and Twitter via Baetog_.

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Rarest of them All

Magic cards comes in different rarities. There are commons, uncommons, rares, and mythic rares. So what comes after mythic rare? What could be more rare than that? Today, I will be going over some of the rarest, and subsequently most expensive, Magic the Gathering cards to ever exist. Some of these were created to be unique or rare from the onset, and others have incredibly small supplies left in the world. Others were created by accident altogether. Let’s check them out.

These two cards are known as Richard Garfield event cards, and are some of the rarest cards in the game. They are not tournament legal, for obvious reasons, and were never released in an official set. Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic the Gathering, gave these our to family, friends, and Wizards of the Coast employees to celebrate the birth of his first two children. There is estimate to be no more than 100-200 of these in existence, and because of that, they go for around $7,000-$10,000 each.

Richard Garfield commissioned the old school Magic artist Drew Tucker to create this one-of-a-kind card for his new fiance. Created in 2014, there is only one copy of this card in the world.

Try and say that five times fast. Shichifukujin Dragon was created in 2003 to celebrate the opening of the DCI Tournament Center in Japan. There is only one copy of this card in existence, and as a result, nobody will reasonably own one. The name is derived from Japanese mythology and relates to the Seven Deities of Good Fortune. Like the good fortune of the store that owns this beauty.

On the topic of one-of-a-kind cards, there is 1996 World Champion. Well, I’m sure you can guess what this was given out for. There is only one copy of this card in existence so good luck! In 2001, it was sold to a private collector for $17,500. By today’s standards, that was a steal. This and the Dragon above are both in the Guinness Book of World Records for rarest trading cards.

These are test prints. There are dozens of different cards, each with different variations, foil and non-foil. Test prints range from a few hundred dollars to over $1000. There are many types of test prints over the years, mostly done by Wizards to figure which foiling process and borders looked aesthetically pleasing. How they ended on today’s post-8th Edition foiling, I don’t know, but can we just go back to 7th Edition foiling?

Sadly, these test prints aren’t tournament legal, but cmon, you know you want to play with this Parallax Tide/Mountain hybrid. I know I do!

Did you know Exodus came in foil? Well… tricky question. It didn’t! These are test prints of cards getting the foil treatment before foil cards were ever released. Because of the limited supply and high playability of these cards, foil test print City of Traitors and Survival of the Fittest fetch thousands of dollars each. Talk about a nice way to upgrade a deck or cube.

Do I know what this uncut sheet of test prints would go for? No, and I am not even going to try and guess.

At first glance, this may just look like an ordinary foil Vedalken Shackles. But once you look closely, you will see it’s anything but normal. This is a Fifth Dawn test print, and it is extremely rare. There are also other rares from Fifth Dawn like this, Engineered Explosives, Rude Awakening, Staff of Domination, and Hoverguard Sweepers. I could see these easily being worth over $5,000 each.

Way back in 1994, there was another game being created called Wyvern. It was manufactured by the same company that did Magic, Carta Mundi. Well, there was a printing error, and as a result there were some commons from Fallen Empires were released with this Wyvern back. The cards look normal from the front, but have this back. Depending on the card, they can range from a few hundred to $1000, but most of Fallen Empires was a bunch of awful cards. Most players just look to try and complete a set (121) cards, but even that could take a lifetime of collecting.

Check out these sweet test cards from M15. I would killll for that Gilded Lotus. I love how when you breeze past them at a glace, they look like normal cards, but nothing like showing your opponent your Door to Nothingness and it saying “Test card to Nothingness enters the card tapped.”

I will talk about Summer cards shortly, but here is a textless Summer Island test print. I have no idea the value of something like this, but when any of us pick something as rare as this up, we can worry about price then. Deal?

Which would you prefer, Pokemon backed Magic cards, or Magic backed Pokemon cards? How about this, if you come across any you just give them to me? I like the sound of that.

Straight from eBay, here is a BGS graded 10 Beta Black Lotus. There are certainly way fewer of this card, in this condition than even the Richard Garfield event cards or Exodus test prints. And this came from a booster pack!

So what’s the asking price? Just a smooth $125,000. Got that lying around? Well, if you come up a little short, you can always make an offer on it. Here is the link if you are curious.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/MTG-MAGIC-THE-GATHERING-BETA-BLACK-LOTUS-BGS-10-THE-HIGHEST-GRADED-/310327005845

Well, I’ve died and gone to heaven. This textless foil Gaea’s Cradle came from an uncut sheet where all the cards had no text. You can also find other cards like this, including the tournament staple Duress. But, yeah, I want this more than any other promo in the world, just because I absolutely LOVE Gaea’s Cradle in so many formats, and this is just beautiful to look at. I would price this in the ballpark of $5,000.

Lastly, I want to talk about Summer Magic. I will reference MTG Librarities here to best describe this set for those who don’t know.

“When the Revised Edition was in production in 1994, a number of problems with the set became apparent. The colors were washed out, the picture for Serendib Efreet was wrong, and there was a growing concern with the Satanic images on some of the cards. The solution was to print a fixed version of the Revised Edition, code named “Edgar”, which has since come to be known as Summer Magic because it was printed in the summer of 1994. The cards were distributed in regular Revised Edition boosters… Hurricane was printed as a blue card and thereby became the most famous and most desired Summer Magic card of all… The artist name for Plateau was not corrected as well. Because of all these flaws, the entire print run was recalled and destroyed… However, a few booster boxes survived. About four cases (40 display boxes) accidentally made it to circulation… Estimation of the Summer population is at least, 130 to 150 Commons, 40 to 60 Uncommons, 30 to 50 Rares, 400 to 500 Lands… Summer Magic cards can best be recognized by their 1994 copyright date.” (Found on www.magiclibrarities.net)

Well that is a lot to take in, but just know that the cards from the Summer edition are extremely rare and sought after. Many people think that at some point they may have run into a Summer card just because it looks so similar to a Revised/Unlimited card to someone not specifically looking for it. However, due to the rarity of these cards, I wouldn’t worry much, chances are you didn’t run into one. Although, I will admit that the thought always lingers in the back of my mind.

The most famous and sought after Summer card is Hurricane. Also known as the “Blue Hurricane” due to its incorrect printing color. Personally, I think it’s cool, but I would much rather own a few Summer dual lands or a stack of basics as opposed to this. Beggars can’t be choosers, though, and I would absolutely not complain if this rained down onto my lap one day.

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at some of the rarest Magic cards ever printed. There is an incredibly small chance that anyone reading this, myself included, will acquire these one day, but it is still quite easy to appreciate the history. Magic has been around for 25 years strong, and there may be new rarities down the line that will drop our jaws just like these amazing cards from years gone. What are your favorite Magic rarities? Do you own any of them? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Rachel Agnes is a VSL Competitor, Phyrexian Princess, Collector of all things shiny and a Cube, Vintage, Legacy, and EDH enthusiast. 
Catch on Twitch and Twitter via Baetog_.

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Pro Tour Announcements and Modern Finance

Have you seen the big announcements regarding the Magic Pro Tour? If not, now is a good time to take a look!

http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/organized-play/2018s-pro-tours-and-2017s-worlds-2017-07-19

My personal excitement aside, this is a great time to discuss some financial ramifications regarding the changes. Here are a few takeaways that I will discuss from this.

  1. Bigger prizes + Bronze level will lead to a slight increase in players grinding for the Pro Tour
  2. Modern being offered as both a Pro Tour format and qualifying events leading up to it will lead to more players playing high level Modern.
  3. With more interest in Modern, prices will go up due to demand.

More money!!!

My view:

So as a collector/investor what do increased prize payouts mean for you? Even if you aren’t someone interested in getting onto the Pro Tour, there will absolutely be more players willing and eager to do so. The Pro Tour prize money is increasing, including the 25th Anniversary Pro Tour which will award $1,000,000 total in prizes. Financially speaking, the EV of playing in Pro Tours just went up. With this payout increase we will see at least a small increase in the number of players trying to qualify. Thus, we may see a small increase in the price of tournament staples.

Opposing view:

Prize payouts for Grand Prix increased a few years ago and the numbers at Grand Prix didn’t spike in any meaningful way. So isn’t it possible that increasing prizes isn’t an effective way to increase tournament participation?

Discussion:

Yes and no. Healthy formats, well-run events, coverage, and EV combined are effective ways to increase tournament participation. Recently, Grand Prix have spiked their entry fee by roughly double and are not increasing payout accordingly. Additionally, the lack of coverage over the last few years was abysmal and certainly led to less hype and notoriety of the events. These easily overshadowed what could have been a slight boom of players entering Grand Prix.

With Pro Tour slots being more coveted than ever I predict larger turnouts for PPTQs, RPTQs, and Magic Online events. These could lead to an increase in the price of many tournament staples, but those will primarily be tied to the health of the format and game in general. It is still something to keep in mind.

Bronze and what it means

My view:

Along with the increased prize payouts, the addition of the Bronze tier in the Pro Player’s Club means that there will be more players qualified for RPTQs. This will lead to more players aiming to hit the 10 Pro Point threshold. Not many will get there, but the increase in players attempting it should be noticed.

Opposing view:

A few more players at RPTQs won’t affect my card prices, because it isn’t a large enough scale to matter.

Discussion:

I think the variation in attendance will be slight. Attendance numbers only slightly contribute to card prices. So in the end, yes, I think the prices of tournament staples will only slightly increase. Combined with the removal of the Masterpiece Series from most sets, we could see mythic rares in particular be pricey after the coming Pro Tours.

Modern is back!

My View:

Don’t be fooled, Modern is a Pro Tour format and I am more excited than ever to see its return to the big stage. With big name pros playing optimized, tested, and tuned decks we will see top tier staples go up in price. Modern cards are extremely susceptible to big spikes in price, usually only quelled by reprints or bannings. Even when a deck falls out of favor, the price hardly moves much, as has been the case with cards like Goryo’s Vengeance and Scapeshift.

Opposing View:

People who have been into Modern already have the cards and aren’t going to be reinvigorated by the Pro Tour.

Discussion:

Having a few Grand Prix scattered around and having a showcase at the Pro Tour are two entirely different beasts. Exposing more people to the format, especially with the contrast to the awful Standard environments of the last few years, will grow Modern further. More growth, means higher prices.

What about qualifying events?

My view:

According to the article, there will be Modern PPTQs for a three month span in mid-late 2018. This means that Modern staples should see a significant uptick in price. After all, these cards will now be usable to get you onto the Pro Tour. You know, the one with 4x the prize pool.

Opposing View:

There is too small a window to qualify for the Pro Tour via Modern. Additionally, there will be Sealed qualifiers at the same time, so less events for Modern overall.

Discussion:

These points are valid, but if history is any indicator, when PPTQ season (formerly PTQ season) rolls around, the formats that feed that Pro Tour see their tournament staples increased in price. If you want to sell some Modern cards I would do so in that time span. If you are looking to pick up Modern cards, I would get a feel for a deck you like and save up for it long before that time frame.

Which cards should you invest in?

As an investor, there is huge opportunity when it comes to Modern. The format has a large player base and regular events at both the Grand Prix and LGS levels. With it being displayed annually on the Pro Tour, and the reintroduction of the “Modern season” of qualifying events, there will be productive time frames to buy and sell modern staples.

Personally, I stick to the staples when it comes time to invest, and the more universal playability the better. I stay far away from casual cards and fringe spikes from Modern decks that are showcased on Twitch or in articles. I want the professional results and the pro player backing behind cards I suggest picking up.

Kind of cards I avoid:

Rite of Passage 

Intruder Alarm 

Phyrexian Soulgorger  

Allosaurus Rider 

Geralf’s Messenger  

I avoid cards like these because they are often novelty or “flavor of the week” combos that will never go anywhere in Modern, and for good reason.  Can you do well getting in cheap around $0.25-$0.50 and selling for $4.00 on cards like this? Sure! It’s just not the grind I enjoy myself.

Kind of cards I would consider:

Karn Liberated

Fulminator Mage

Rest in Peace

Fatal Push

Collective Brutality

I am not saying I would invest in any of these particular cards at the moment. I am just trying to illustrate the type of cards and the juxtaposition between the “do’s and don’ts” I have for investing. Because what is powerful in Modern and the state of reprints are always unpredictable, there is rarely a definitive individual investment to be made.

Is Modern a Pro Tour Format?

My View:

Yes, Modern is a Pro Tour format. It belongs on the Pro Tour because it is another fun way to play Magic and is promoted at many levels including at Grand Prix.

Opposing View:

Modern is not a Pro Tour format because it doesn’t sell packs and they have to ban/unban cards to spice it up.

Discussion:

As a once-per-year event, Modern doesn’t need shaking up. Will WotC ban or unban cards right before a Modern Pro Tour to “make things more interesting?” It’s possible. However, they do not need to do so. There will be plenty of powerful brains at work trying to solve the format. With Modern being as open and large a format as it is, there is little chance everyone will decide on the same unanimous deck unless something is truly broken. In fact, Standard has a way better chance of being broken for a Pro Tour and leading to stagnant matchups and games.

These announcements have me super excited! I just had to get writing and discussing as soon as possible. What are your thoughts on the announcements? What do you think of the future of Modern and Legacy with their appearance at the Pro Tour? Time will tell, but I know it’s going to be a wild ride.

Rachel Agnes is a VSL Competitor, Phyrexian Princess, Collector of all things shiny and a Cube, Vintage, Legacy, and EDH enthusiast. 
Catch on Twitch and Twitter via Baetog_.

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