Only God and Forsythe Can Judge Me

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By: Travis Allen

I only wish I had put a finer point on it.

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Wizards has announced new judge promos, and they’re a doozy. In celebration of breaking 5,000 active judges we are getting some pretty sweet promos. Well, I shouldn’t say “we.” Roughly 1,000 to 1,500 people are getting some pretty sweet promos.

Yes, that’s right. It’s finally happened. We’re getting a foil Force of Will. Think of how awesome your Legacy deck is finally going to look. The only foils missing will be the duals!

ebay forces

Oh, you didn’t think you’d actually be able to afford them, did you?

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Before we figure out exactly where these are going to land, let’s step back a bit and examine judge promos at large. I want us all to know what’s possible. I’ve compiled a list of every judge promo that’s been printed and its (rough) price. Some of these may be a surprise to you if you’ve never looked. For instance, did you know Stroke of Genius was a promo? Tradewind Rider?

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I separated the list into three categories because that will be the metric I am most interested in examining. I lumped all the exclusively currently-competitive promos together, all the strictly casual/EDH ones together, and then all the cards that blur those borders.You may have some disagreement about what column some of those cards fall into, but overall I think that’s a pretty reasonable separation. What immediately jumps out to me is how much more valuable the competitive cards are than the ones that are currently only playable in casual formats. Even if you cut the earliest six casual cards out of the equation as hailing from a bygone era of Magic, the casual cards are still barely half the value of the competitive ones.

Also interesting is that the cards that appeal to both markets are worth slightly less than strictly competitive cards. Part of that may be how I defined “both.” I’ve got things like Goblin Welder, Entomb and Mishra’s Factory in the both column that may be more appropriate in a different category. Still, that wouldn’t change the lists too much depending on where you moved them. If you shuffle some cards around the average of the both column may catch up in average price to the competitive ones, but they wouldn’t overtake them by much of anything.

Let’s make that point a little more clear: Cards that are strictly competitive in nature are overall the most valuable promos. The average price of cards only playable in casual formats is about half that of the competitive cards. The cards that are desirable for both formats are worth roughly the same as the cards only valued for competitive play. 

That last sentence tells us that on average, competitive play is by far the biggest indicator of value. Is card X playable in Legacy? Then the promo is going to be worth about $100. Is it playable in EDH too? Well, it’s still going to only be around $100. Apparently casual demand doesn’t push the price much higher on already-playable competitive staples.

Another aspect of all of this is age. Take a look at the last two years; 2013 and 2012. All five competitive cards are well represented in Legacy, and all five are $90-$200. All six casual cards are $15-$40 each. That’s a huge gap. But as you move further back, the lines start to blur a bit. Moving into 2011 and 2010 the average value of the competitive cards gets even higher, but the casual cards are gaining too. The outlier of Mana Crypt comes in at an absurd $250, and we get Wheel of Fortune pushing $100 as well.

Once you get into 2008 and earlier, the distinction is gone. You’ll notice less and less cards in the competitive column past 2009, and only three or four are nearly as heavily represented as the cards from 2010-2013. What’s going on here is the changing face of Legacy. Judge promos from 2007 were from a different era. Orim’s Chant, Exalted Angel and Living Death may have been constructed playable at some point in the past, but those days are behind us. Meanwhile the casual cards are all over the place. Staples like Demonic Tutor and Sol Ring command $200+ price tags, while cards from days of Magic past are $10 and $15. I’m also noticing that the cards that belong to both formats hold their overall value much better as we move back in time. Even a cards like Mishra’s Factory or Yawgmoth’s Will, which are only barely competitive, are still maintaining respectable price tags.

This is another valuable lesson. Competitive cards are worth a lot while they’re competitive, but formats are fickle and subject to the ravages of time. If a card drops out of competitive play and into the realm of kitchen tables it stands to lose a lot. Meanwhile, casual all-stars are only going to gain as time goes on. They have to be true staples though. Additionally, a mix of demand will help keep older judge promos afloat quite well, even if they’re not hot tickets in any particular format.

One thing to keep in mind is quantity. Those older judge promos were printed in much, much smaller amounts than the newer ones are, just as with current Magic sets. If Magic plateaus around 20 million active players you’re going to see the old promos settle at much higher prices than promos like Bribery or Genesis, even if they see comparable play, simply because of the quantity available. Another quick point: any good judge promo from pre-modern borders is going to be the safest of safe investments. Of course they’re mostly absurd already, but you absolutely cannot lose on them.

What have we learned from all of this that we can apply to our new promos? Competitive play is far and away the major impetus behind price on new promos. Casual play can’t keep newer promos up, not for the first year or two at least. Top tier casual staples will rise in price, but anything below the upper 5% should settle in the $20 to $50 range.

So how about those new promos?

Casual Only

    

Four generals and a premium green enchantment. The generals are a bit of untrodden territory, as Wizards has only really started pushing Commander in the last few years. If we take a look at the Commander’s Arsenal Kaalia we see she’s around $30, which should be a fair benchmark for these guys. Nekusar may end up the highest simply because he seems to be capable of driving the prices wild on many ‘draw extra’ cards, but then again the people playing those decks may not care much for a $50 foil general. Meanwhile, Greater Good is reasonably well represented in EDH according to metamox. It looks like it is just about as popular as Genesis, which is currently $20. Both of those will tick up over time, but I’d be surprised to see them more than double in the next five years.

 

 Mixed Play

 

Now THOSE are some promos. That Elesh Norn is quite possibly the coolest promo we’ve seen out of Wizards in years. That writing is Phyrexian if you are unaware. She’s awesome as heck, and people have taken notice:

elesh

This will absolutely come down, as she should reach typical levels of distribution. I’m not exactly sure when she’s going to be hitting judge packs though, so her price may be kind of nuts all the way out through the end of next year. She’s a bit different than our other competitive promos in more ways than one. You’ll notice that in the list above not a single card with competitive demand was strictly Modern playable. Elesh Norn is mostly unrepresented in Legacy, so all her competitive demand will be from Modern. At the end of the day I don’t think it’s going to matter though. If she was just another foil copy with a different set symbol her price wouldn’t be noteworthy, but that Phyrexian script is going to keep her high. My guess is that she’ll probably dip towards $90-$150 at her lowest. It could be a very long time before her effect is upgraded, and even if it is the promo is going to retain demand based simply on the uniqueness. Hold off for now, but when it gets close to $100 make sure you grab any you need.

Sword of Feast and Famine is roughly as played as Sword of Fire and Ice in EDH, Modern and Legacy. Expect it to start high at release, dip as the judge packs are released, then start climbing once its run is over. The judge Sword of Fire and Ice is currently $120 and it’s about three years old, so that gives you an idea of what to expect.

 

Grand Poobah of Legacytown

Let’s understand the facts first. We know it was sent to somewhere between 1,000 to 1,500 judges. The announcement read as if a single copy was sent to each judge, but I’m hearing reports that people got playsets. That means we’re most likely looking at a maximum of 6,000 copies on the market right now. While there was initial panic about the scarcity, Helene Bergeot confirmed multiple times that night that they would be available through other avenues in the future. Nobody is entirely sure what this means yet. Are they going to be the mythic rare of judge promos? How many more will we get? It’s very hard to say.

Let’s say we end up with roughly 10,000 copies of Force. That’s 2,500 playsets or so, depending on what the actual distribution ends up at. How scarce is that? One way to think of that is fifty playsets per state. Montana probably doesn’t need fifty sets, but California and New York sure as heck will.

The Forces are selling for around $1,000 right now, and that will come down. A bit. I think the absolute lowest they could possibly hit is $300-$400 unless there end up being many times more copies on the market than I’m predicting. Once they’re done distributing, the price is just going to keep ticking up and up and up. Force of Will is one of two banner cards of Legacy, and the other one already had a MM foil and an FNM promo. There is no other Force foil, and the original card is murky and just plain ugly. Any tier one Legacy card released in this capacity would have a hefty price tag, and this one is just going to get multiplied by status, lack of prior printings, and typically being run as a playset. Once the run is over, there’s no telling what this could reach. I would not be surprised whatsoever to see this north of $1,000 again a few years down the road.

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Modern Buylist Data Crunching

By: Jared Yost

The other day I was browsing around MTGPrice’s ProTrader Money board. A new addition to this tool is that it now offers buylist prices for all sets that there is data available. This piqued my interest and I decided that I would browse through some of the most recent sets to see who was offering the highest price for individual cards I was looking to buylist. Then I had an idea.

Having buylist data for thousands of cards offers us some insight into trends that appear for the vendors that MTGPrice tracks. By gathering the data and visualizing these trends we can better understand who offers the most for cards and how much we are leaving on the table when deciding to buylist.

I wanted to gather this information for Modern because it will be the most relevant format for all of us going into the summer. When the prices start rising up again and demand for Modern cards goes up, if you have a lot of a particular card and want to sell out buylisting is generally the quickest way to do this. However, as we’ll see sometimes creating eBay or TCGPlayer listings also have their rewards even if it may take longer to sell the item.

What I hope to accomplish by showing you these statistics is first and foremost the average buylist price by vendor. This will show us who on average will give you the most money for buylisting.

Secondly, we’ll want to see which vendor has the most cards listed on their buylist. If you’re going to ship a lot of cards you will want to know which buylist has higher odds of having more cards that you own and want to sell on it.

Thirdly, we’ll want to see the median and mode buylist prices for each vendor. This will give us a better understanding on who pays the most from a different perspective. The higher median price on average for uncommons and commons is important because it will tell us who has a higher range of prices for less valuable pieces of a collection. The mode for each vendor and rarity type will better tell us on average what you can expect to receive for any given rarity from a vendor.

Finally, the most important data point we’ll want to gather is the loss percentage (or money you are leaving on the table) for each buylist. This will indicate how much money you are losing compared to the MTGPrice fair retail value of card.

Data Collection Method

Before I show you the statistics let me tell you how I collected the data. The data set includes all non-foil cards from 8th Edition through Born of the Gods. 10,445 cards total are listed on the buylists. Not all of these will be used for the data analysis. Finally, we’re tracking all rarities from mythic to common.

  • Buylists:
    • Fair – This is the MTGPrice fair retail value of the card. This is what you can expect to buy the card for at a retail site or the value it is worth when trading.
    • eBay – Though this is not a buylist vendor I wanted to include eBay because it is a good indicator of the market price for a card, more so than the fair price. This is one of the best ways to get a high cash value for your card.
    • TCGPlayer – Same as eBay, not a buylist but allows you to get a higher cash value for a card if you’re willing to wait longer to sell it.
    • CFB – Channel Fireball
    • ABU – Alpha Beta Unlimited Games
    • CCGHouse – CCGHouse.com
    • Hotsauce – Hotsauce Games
    • Strikezone – Strikezone.com
  • All cards that were analyzed had a price of at least $0.01 on a buylist. The MTGPrice MoneyBoard buylist prices for some cards are $0 or blanks. I did not include these in the calculations. After taking these out of the calculations, here are the number of cards that were included to calculate the statistics for each buylist:
    • Fair: 10,058
    • eBay: 9,990
    • TCGPlayer: 9,872
    • CFB: 3,207
    • ABU: 3,578
    • CCGHouse: 1,739
    • Hotsauce: 1,488
    • Strikezone: 1,565

Calculations Explained

For the data itself, here is how I calculated each data point:

Average – Average price of a card on a vendor’s buylist. The average was calculated based on all the cards that you could purchase from the buylist. This is the average amount you would receive per card if you were to sell a lot of cards of varying rarities to the vendor.

Total Buying – The dataset of the buylist for the vendor. This is the total number of cards with a value greater than $0 (or not available to buylist) that was listed on the Money board for all cards on the buylist for that vendor.

Sum Total Prices – The sum of each individual card’s price on the buylist. This is useful to know to get an “index fund” view of the vendor to determine how valuable the vendor’s buylist is overall not taking into account averages. It is used in calculating your loss percentage for selling to that buylist.

Median – The mid value of the buylist. This is the price that is halfway between the buylist’s lowest and highest value.

Mode – The most common buylist value. This is the most likely value you will receive per card if selling to the buylist.

% Buying – Based on the total Fair prices available for cards greater than $0, this is the percentage of cards that you can sell to the vendor. In other words, based on the entire Modern cardpool this is the approximate amount of the cardpool you could buylist to the vendor at any given time.

Avg * Buy % – This is a more accurate representation of the average value per card you can get from the buylist. It is the average times the percentage of the Modern card pool that the vendor is buying. This price reflects an average based on availability for the vendor.

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% Loss Total – The amount of money you are losing selling to the buylist. On average, if you sell a lot of cards to this buylist based on the fair trade value this is the approximate percentage per card you are losing buylisting those cards.

Real eBay – This is the real eBay value of all cards based on the eBay and PayPal transaction fee of approx 14% per sale.

Data Listed by Rarity

I analyzed the data according to rarity. I did this so it would be easy to see who offered the most not only on mythics and rares but also on commons and uncommons which is where you can make a surprising amount of money selling to a buylist.

I have a set of data for the following rarities:

ALL
MYTHIC
RARE
UNCOMMON
COMMON
NON-COMMON

I wanted to include ALL and NON-COMMON so that I could get a better picture of who in general offered better buylist prices.

ALL

Vendor Average Total Buying Sum Total Prices Median Mode % Buying Avg * Buy % % Loss Total Real eBay Total Real eBay Loss % Loss Total Update
Fair $1.29 10058 $12,960.17 $0.22 $0.14 n/a n/a 0.00% n/a n/a 0.00%
eBay $1.76 9990 $17,611.09 $1.00 $0.99 99.32% 1.75 35.89% $15,145.54 16.86% 16.86%
TCGPlayer $0.90 9872 $8,923.88 $0.10 $0.06 98.15% 0.88 -31.14% n/a n/a -31.14%
CFB $1.33 3207 $4,261.19 $0.10 $0.10 31.89% 0.42 -67.12% n/a n/a -67.12%
ABU $1.47 3578 $5,251.03 $0.21 $0.02 35.57% 0.52 -59.48% n/a n/a -59.48%
CCGHouse $2.06 1739 $3,583.09 $0.51 $0.10 17.29% 0.36 -72.35% n/a n/a -72.35%
Hotsauce $1.91 1488 $2,845.03 $0.45 $0.05 14.79% 0.28 -78.05% n/a n/a -78.05%
Strikezone $1.92 1565 $3,004.52 $0.47 $0.01 15.56% 0.30 -76.82% n/a n/a -76.82%

MYTHIC

Vendor Average Total Buying Sum Total Prices Median Mode % Buying Avg * Buy% % Loss Total Real eBay Total Real eBay Loss % Loss Total Update
Fair $9.41 324 $3,048.12 $5.56 $1.30 n/a n/a 0.00% n/a n/a 0.00%
eBay $7.86 324 $2,546.42 $4.50 $0.99 100.00% 7.86 -16.46% $2,189.92 -28.16% -28.16%
TCGPlayer $7.10 323 $2,292.86 $3.51 $0.60 99.69% 7.08 -24.78% n/a n/a -24.78%
CFB $5.77 229 $1,320.75 $3.00 $0.25 70.68% 4.08 -56.67% n/a n/a -56.67%
ABU $5.22 293 $1,530.92 $2.43 $0.06 90.43% 4.72 -49.77% n/a n/a -49.77%
CCGHouse $6.05 189 $1,143.37 $3.01 $3.01 58.33% 3.53 -62.49% n/a n/a -62.49%
Hotsauce $5.11 193 $985.33 $2.70 $0.59 59.57% 3.04 -67.67% n/a n/a -67.67%
Strikezone $5.49 152 $834.74 $2.70 $0.81 46.91% 2.58 -72.61% n/a n/a -72.61%

RARE

Vendor Average Total Buying Sum Total Prices Median Mode % Buying Avg * Buy% % Loss Total Real eBay Total Real eBay Loss % Loss Total Update
Fair $2.83 2752 $7,800.37 $0.71 $0.38 n/a n/a 0.00% n/a n/a 0.00%
eBay $2.62 2746 $7,206.26 $1.00 $0.99 99.78% 2.61 -7.62% $6,197.38 -20.55% -20.55%
TCGPlayer $2.02 2741 $5,548.69 $0.42 $0.25 99.60% 2.01 -28.87% n/a n/a -28.87%
CFB $1.71 1585 $2,711.00 $0.25 $0.10 57.59% 0.98 -65.25% n/a n/a -65.25%
ABU $1.64 2087 $3,423.47 $0.32 $0.06 75.84% 1.24 -56.11% n/a n/a -56.11%
CCGHouse $2.05 1095 $2,246.07 $0.75 $0.10 39.79% 0.82 -71.21% n/a n/a -71.21%
Hotsauce $2.25 733 $1,647.65 $0.68 $0.23 26.64% 0.60 -78.88% n/a n/a -78.88%
Strikezone $2.12 935 $1,986.63 $0.65 $0.14 33.98% 0.72 -74.53% n/a n/a -74.53%

UNCOMMON

Vendor Average Total Buying Sum Total Prices Median Mode* % Buying Avg * Buy% % Loss Total Real eBay Total Real eBay Loss % Loss Total Update
Fair $0.44 3016 $1,325.46 $0.21 $0.17 n/a n/a 0.00% n/a n/a 0.00%
eBay $1.14 3002 $3,428.58 $0.99 $0.99 99.54% 1.13 158.67% $2,948.58 122.46% 122.46%
TCGPlayer $0.24 2985 $724.00 $0.10 $0.10 98.97% 0.24 -45.38% n/a n/a -45.38%
CFB $0.22 888 $197.96 $0.02 $0.01 29.44% 0.06 -85.06% n/a n/a -85.06%
ABU $0.31 794 $248.54 $0.03 $0.02 26.33% 0.08 -81.25% n/a n/a -81.25%
CCGHouse $0.65 265 $171.08 $0.15 $0.05 8.79% 0.06 -87.09% n/a n/a -87.09%
Hotsauce $0.55 324 $176.81 $0.14 $0.05 10.74% 0.06 -86.66% n/a n/a -86.66%
Strikezone $0.57 267 $151.47 $0.22 $0.01* 8.85% 0.05 -88.57% n/a n/a -88.57%

*Only 15 uncommons on Strikezone’s buylist are $0.01. The buylist is actually quite diverse for uncommons. 35 cards on the buylist are $1 or more for an uncommon and there are plenty of 50c uncommons.

COMMON

Vendor Average Total Buying Sum Total Prices Median Mode % Buying Avg * Buy% % Loss Total Real eBay Total Real eBay Loss % Loss Total Update
Fair $0.20 3966 $786.22 $0.14 $0.14 n/a n/a 0.00% n/a n/a 0.00%
eBay $1.13 3918 $4,429.83 $1.00 $0.99 98.79% 1.12 463.43% $3,809.65 384.55% 384.55%
TCGPlayer $0.09 3823 $358.00 $0.06 $0.06 96.39% 0.09 -54.47% n/a n/a -54.47%
CFB $0.06 505 $31.48 $0.01 $0.01 12.73% 0.01 -96.00% n/a n/a -96.00%
ABU $0.12 404 $48.10 $0.02 $0.02 10.19% 0.01 -93.88% n/a n/a -93.88%
CCGHouse $0.11 183 $19.51 $0.03 $0.01 4.61% 0.01 -97.52% n/a n/a -97.52%
Hotsauce $0.15 238 $35.24 $0.05 $0.05 6.00% 0.01 -95.52% n/a n/a -95.52%
Strikezone $0.15 211 $31.68 $0.09 $0.01 5.32% 0.01 -95.97% n/a n/a -95.97%

NON-COMMON

Vendor Average Total Buying Sum Total Prices Median Mode % Buying Avg * Buy% % Loss Total Real eBay Total Real eBay Loss % Loss Total Update
Fair $2.00 6092 $12,173.95 $0.39 $0.17 n/a n/a 0.00% n/a n/a 0.00%
eBay $2.17 6072 $13,181.26 $1.00 $0.99 99.67% 2.16 8.27% $11,335.88 -6.88% -6.88%
TCGPlayer $1.42 6049 $8,565.88 $0.23 $0.10 99.29% 1.41 -29.64% n/a n/a -29.64%
CFB $1.57 2702 $4,229.71 $0.10 $0.10 44.35% 0.70 -65.26% n/a n/a -65.26%
ABU $1.64 3174 $5,202.93 $0.25 $0.06 52.10% 0.85 -57.26% n/a n/a -57.26%
CCGHouse $2.29 1556 $3,563.58 $0.75 $0.10 25.54% 0.58 -70.73% n/a n/a -70.73%
Hotsauce $2.25 1250 $2,809.79 $0.59 $0.23 20.52% 0.46 -76.92% n/a n/a -76.92%
Strikezone $2.20 1354 $2,972.84 $0.62 $0.14 22.23% 0.49 -75.58% n/a n/a -75.58%

 

So, What Does This Tell Us?

image04

This graph was created using the “Avg * Buylist %” column for each rarity type by vendor. This is a better representation of the average amount you will receive per card when selling to a buylist because it factors in how many cards are available on that vendor’s buylist.

The key to this graph is to look at the NON-COMMON data. Fair is hovering around $2, right? So why is it that on eBay you can get a higher value on average for your cards than the fair price? That seems strange considering you are supposed to be selling at lower than Fair since it is eBay right? Well, the retail sites aren’t buying all the random uncommons in your collection which could be the case on eBay. This is why you see higher averages for eBay than Fair, but good luck trying to sell everything through eBay alone. ABU appears to have highest buylist prices on average for non-common cards.

Looking at the bottom of the chart, the uncommons and commons don’t seem to even appear on the charts. It looks like eBay is the way to go if you need to get rid of commons and uncommons – look at how much higher on average you can get for a common/uncommon on eBay versus the other ways of selling! Of course, this could be a large margin of error on the price scraping tool’s part where it collects eBay auctions that are selling more than one copy of a common/uncommon. Still though if you have the drive and determination you could probably sell a lot of commons and uncommons on eBay even if the auctions are for playsets. You will get a lot higher than the $0.01 buylist prices of the retail sites.

Average doesn’t tell us the whole story, however. We should also look at it from another perspective.

image05

It may be true that the shops are buying fewer commons and uncommons, and who can blame them since they are generally worth less than mythics and rares. Note that they still do buy these types of cards, and for some shops like CFB and ABU they are not an insignificant number. Just be aware that at some point the law of diminishing returns will come into play – how much effort do you want to make on buylisting a bunch of $0.01 cards?

CFB and ABU are buying significantly more cards than their competitors by looking at the total non-common cards that are on their buylists. This helps curb the law of diminishing returns. If you have a lot of cards to offload, it can be convenient to ship them all to one buylist and get paid all from one source. You will have a better chance of doing this through CFB or ABU for Modern cards. Not to say that you won’t get the best price, especially on a card by card basis. But on average you will be able to sell more to these shops and thus increase your chances of offloading cards that you may otherwise have to put more work into selling.

Let’s look at the data from more perspectives, the median and mode buylist prices per vendor.

image03

image02

By knowing the median price per vendor we can compare it to the average and see how far off the two are. If they are off by a large margin, that means that a few data points are skewing the average upwards or lower. Thankfully the average and median graphs are very similar looking which means that there aren’t any outliers on any of the buylists that are significantly altering the average.

The mode, on the other hand, tells us what the most common price per buylist we can expect for a rarity. The clear outlier here is CCGHouse – if you are in the market for buylisting mythic rares, CCGHouse is buying most of their mythics at $3. What CFB and ABU offer for the guy that wants to get rid of a large amount of commons and uncommons they clearly lack for mythics – most mythics on ABU’s buylist are less than $0.10. If you have a lot of mythics you should definitely check out CCGHouse because odds are they will pay the most for your mythic rare. Hotsauce and Strikezone pay more for mythics than CFB and ABU but they have significantly fewer cards on their buylist than the other stores. It looks like Hotsauce pays more per rare on average than other retail sites so if you have a lot of rares you may want to look at Hotsauce as your vendor of choice.

Seeing the eBay numbers for these graphs does make me suspicious. For commons and uncommons, I’ll guessing that MTGPrice counts a playset auction as one card sold which does skew this data in a big way. If the data was collected more reliably from eBay I would predict that it would have statistics similar to TCGPlayer.

Finally, I’ll show you the loss percentage per vendor when buylisting.

image01

 

Disregarding the strange eBay results I was getting, here is the chart starting at 0%.

image00

The reason that eBay was so high on the other chart is because I was getting absurdly high averages for common and uncommon cards that were “sold” on eBay. The most likely reason for this is because they are sold in playsets which means that if you have four of them you can probably sell them for a dollar through eBay. This is pretty decent considering how much lower buylists are. It is a lot of work to be successful at it though.

Looking at loss percentage for the retail websites, the clear winners are ABU, CFB, and CCGHouse. Your losses for non-commons that you sell to those buylists on average are going to be smaller than selling to Hotsauce or Strikezone. Generally speaking, the best way to go is eBay or TCGPlayer if you have the determination and time to get the most money but selling to stores is good if you are pressed for time.

One interesting thing to note is that selling through TCGPlayer does seem to have a much larger loss than I was expecting. For non-common cards in general, you are losing on average about 30% selling through TCGPlayer. This seems pretty high to me. One reason I can think it is so high is because MTGPrice may track all condition types – so MP, HP, and SP cards could be included in that loss. Even still, I didn’t factor in the additional loss you will encounter when listing the items – TCGPlayer charges an 8.5% TCGplayer fee + a PayPal / credit card processing fee (which I think is around 3%). So that loss percent would be even higher if I included that in the calculations. It appears that TCGPlayer is having a “race to the bottom” effect on prices where people are continuing to outbid everyone else on low prices. I wonder if this loss percentage for TCGPlayer will only increase going into the future?

Final Thoughts

So, I realize that this was A TON of information so I’ll try to keep this section short and sweet.

I learned a lot from this endeavor. I learned exactly how much I will be losing when selling to a buylist, but I also learned which buylists and websites I can expect to get a better price for mythics, rares, uncommons, and commons. I thought that analyzing the buylist data for all the Modern legal cards across several several vendors, eBay, and TCGPlayer would be useful for the community to make judgements about how they want to sell their cards. I hope you all can take something away from this like I did.

I would have loved to include data from more vendors (let’s face it, Starcity is out of the question however Cardkingdom is usually pretty competitive) to get a better market picture. I think that I’ve hit a lot of the big names though so the market data should be pretty relevant. Happy selling during Modern season! Also, a shout out to MTGPrice for scraping this data in their new buylist Money Board feature.

Weekend Update for 5/10

By: Jim Marsh

Every week, some cards from Magic the Gathering increase and decease in value based upon a number of factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the cards whose values have changed the most and the factors behind why those changes have occurred.

10 Big Winners of the Week

10. Teferi’s Puzzle Box
$2.49 to $2.77 (11.2%)

Teferi’s Puzzle Box has gone from bulk rare to being nearly $3. This has been the result of its power in one specific Commander deck.

Nekusar, the Mindrazer has spurned more price increases than any other Commander has done in recent memory.

I think that Teferi’s Puzzle Box will get to $3 and then just sit there.

There is no shame in tripling in a couple of months.

It has just had too many printings and the decks that want it only want a single copy.

There are vendors paying more than $1 for them.

I would keep the one copy you need and unload them for everyone who got a free 98 card Mind Seize from Walmart.

For my money I would rather be picking up Psychosis Crawlers for almost nothing. Remember that you are drawing a lot of cards too.

9. Telekinesis
$6.27 to $6.99 (11.5%)

Telekinesis is a rare from Legends and is on the reserved list.

These are the only two things that is has going for it.

It is not particularly powerful or interesting.

It is a waste of a perfectly good name.

This card is being bought by collectors so that it can sit in binders and do nothing.

That is not the hallmark of a good spec.

I would stay away. The only money there is to be made will be slow over a long period of time. Your cash has better homes.

8. Master of the Feast
$4.00 to $4.49 (12.3%)

Who cares about giving cards to your opponents at the cost of five damage a turn?

Usually I am wary of picking cards from a set so fresh. Prerelease prices are infamously high.

This might be the exception to the rule. Journey into Nyx is a third set so it will be drafter less. Conspiracy will be out in less than a month. It is a set based around drafting so I expect less Journey to be opened than a normal third set.

This is a great replacement for Desecration Demon once rotation hits.

That is assuming that Mono-Black control is still viable.

It will be losing the omnipresent Pack Rat but most of the removal will still be intact.

I would not trade aggressively for them but I would not mind putting together a few play sets to sell in case things do get interesting come fall.

7. Price of Glory
$2.61 to $2.94 (12.6%)

Price of Glory is an interesting card. It comes down and shouts to your opponents not to play counterspells or combat tricks.

It is a red take on City of Solitude.

It is not used competitively so it must be going up due to casual demand.

I do not trust it to maintain this price. It was an uncommon. The name is generic enough it can be reprinted any time Wizards decides to.

I would not be surprised to see it in Conspiracy.

I would trade mine away.

6. Surgical Extraction
$5.27 to $5.94 (12.7%)

I really like this card. It can be played without any mana as an instant to disrupt graveyard shenanigans or just as a free psuedo-Lobotomy.

It can be played by any deck regardless of color. This is a powerful turn one play after a Thoughtseize or Cabal Therapy.

I really like the prospects of this card. Phyrexian mana makes it difficult to reprint outside of a supplemental product. Most of those are based on casual and multiplayer formats rather than hosing finely tuned Legacy decks.

It has seen widespread adoption in Legacy sideboards and has even made the occasional Modern appearance.

I would target the promo copies with the alternate art. The normal art foil is $17. There are still places with the promo copies available for under $10.

That is a crime.

5. Drop of Honey
$47.74 to $53.97 (13.1%)

It is on the reserved list. It sees play in Legacy. It is cheap green removal that can get rid of opposing blockers every single turn. It does not target. That means that True-Name Nemesis and Nimble Mongoose are legal victims.

I think that the recent success of Porphyry Nodes has helped remind everyone of the power of this one drop.

It has had some aggressive growth recently and I do not know how much more room. I would trade for something with room to grow.

4. Mystic Gate
$18.67 to $21.46 (14.9%)

I really like this land as a mana fixer in UW Midrange decks. It has seen adoption in Modern and even makes the occasional appearance in Legacy decks like UWR Miracles.

We have recently seen movement on the Twilight Mire as a $30 card. Most of the rest of the filter lands have moved up to $20.

There are still some cheap ones though. Fire-lit Thicket, Wooded Bastion and Rugged Prairie are all about $12 to $14. They have room to grow.

Graven Cairns is a steal at $6. It is the only land with two printings. It originally appeared in Future Sight and teased the cycle. I has shown steady sustained growth for a while now.

I wouldn’t mind trading for any of the cards in this cycle. I especially like the prospects for Cascade Bluffs.

3. Lotus Petal (From the Vault: Exiled)
$28.49 to $33.81 (18.7%)

I am glad to see Lotus Petal begin to rise again. This is the only foil copy available. It is used extensively in multiple Legacy decks including Reanimator and Sneak and Show variants. ANT and Imperial Painter decks also play the full four copies to try to get their combos started as soon as possible.

I don’t see this coming down below $30 ever again. I would gladly trade for these. Foil Simian Spirit Guides are around the same price and this is much more versatile.

2. Silent-Blade Oni
$5.99 to $7.58 (26.5%)

Silent-Blade Oni has only been printed in Planechase 2012. It was in the ninja deck and allows for some gross plays like stealing your opponents planeswalkers from their hand while hitting them for six damage.

May it can grab you a Progenitus or Violent Ultimatum. Sometimes he gets you nothing.

The demon ninja is cool but its sole value is to casual players. They just can’t seem to make up their mind what the price should be. $5 is too little. $9 is too much.

This week was good for the oni but sooner rather than later it will hit its ceiling again and fall back down. I would look to trade these away on the way up and for them when they come back down.

1. Nether Shadow
$1.75 to $2.31 (32.0%)

What do you do when you want to try out one of the greatest formats Magic has to offer? Look up a budget deck list and play some games.

Manaless Dredge is competitive and costs less than one land in most other decks in the format. It can put up a fight without having to play a single dual land and that is exciting.

Nether Shadow is a source of repeatable free graveyard recursion. The deck runs the full four but with so many reprintings in core sets the price is still next to nothing. I could see you getting these as toss ins on a larger trade.

The deck has not been posting results in paper but online it has several Top 8 showings.

I think that other cards from the deck will continue to grow such as Ichorid, Bridge from Below and Cabal Therapy.

There are some cheap opportunities in Chancellor of the Annex and Golgari Grave-Troll.

5 Big Losers of the Week

5. Keranos, God of Storms
$10.97 to $9.49 (-13.5%)

The gods from Journey into Nyx are exciting. They are each powerful and interesting Commanders.

I fully expect Keranos to show up as a 2 of in UWR or Grixis Control decks in Modern and Standard.

Why did his price go down then?

Packs are being opened. This is normal for any mythic rare in a set. Once prerelease and release dates are behind us supply will creep up to meet demand.

Journey into Nyx has thrown two wrenches into this.

First is a card called Deicide. Several gods values plummeted just upon announcement of the god centric removal.

Second are the god packs. Some booster packs of Journey into Nyx contain all fifteen of the Theros gods. Your childhood dreams of opening a pack with fifteen rares can finally come true.

The instances of this occurring are staggeringly low. It is easy to see after seeing a couple dozen showing up on Twitter that some people are reluctant to pay as much as they were beforehand.

My advice would be the same as almost every other release situation. Sell or trade away your mythics as soon as possible. Pick them up again in a few months at a fraction of the price.

I would still hold onto foil copies of the gods because Commander, Cube and Casual players will never scoff at a god.

4. Old Man of the Sea
$56.00 to $47.47 (-15.2%)

He is a uncommon from Arabian Nights on the Reserved List.

There are not a lot around and there will never be any more.

Stealing creatures is fun but there are more powerful options.

He does not see play in any format that I can determine.

I thought $50 was a little high. I think his old price of $40 was about right.

I would trade him away. Maybe you can a Drop of Honey for him. At least then you can play it.

3. Iroas, God of Victory
$12.13 to $9.90 (-18.4%)

See Keranos.

2. Kruphix, God of Horizons
$8.20 to $6.44 (-21.5%)

See Keranos again.

1. Shivan Reef
$7.98 to $5.52 (-30.8%)

I would look at this as a opportunity. It is a pain land and has seen three printings. It is used in Izzet Modern decks that want their mana and they want it now.

Expect to see it in Splinter Twin and Storm variants.

This card has seen substantial growth recently. It is only natural to see it drop a little before it starts climbing again. We know it can get to $8 and possibly higher.

I would gladly trade for these at $5. Offer your Journey god and a toss in for two.

See how you do.

Uncontrolled Growth

By: Cliff Daigle

Aaron Forsythe, head of magic R&D, was on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast two weeks ago. Among the many things mentioned on that show was that sanctioned Modern events have tripled in one year.

Tripled.

There were three times as many of these events held and sanctioned, meaning that this format is not only accessible, it is popular, despite the financial barrier to entry that has occurred in the past year.

Shocklands pushing $100. Tarmogoyf going up despite being in Modern Masters. Spell Pierce being a $2 common. The list goes on.

Commander has seen a similar set of price trajectories in the past year, with a range of cards spiking due to Nekusar’s popularity and the release of a second set of Commander decks. Some of the format ‘staples’ are at high prices due solely to the appeal of this ‘casual’ format. 

In many ways, these two formats have allowed Magic to have a period of sustained and substantial growth. More and more people are not only taking up the game, they are finding the ways to play that appeal to them. EDH brought back stacks of players, and when we returned to the game, we found that our old cards were worth enough to pay for our re-entry into this game.

I’ve said before that I’ve done my fair share of selling out. I wanted the cash instead of the cards. I’m likely to do so again.

When it comes to the growth of Magic, I’ve come to the conclusion that for the most part, reprints are not going to affect the price for long. Wizards has demonstrated that they want to err on the side of underprinting, and in some cases, being in a major set has not affected the price for long. Thoughtseize is going to be an exception, but it would not be surprising if that card regained a price level of $40 within two years.

While I can’t think of another game that waited until years 16-20 to start such a period of growth, I feel pretty good about the next couple of years. I don’t know if the next large fall set (a revisitation of an old one, if the pattern holds. Dominiaria? Alara? Zendikar?) will be the best-selling set ever again, but I can say that it will be fun to introduce new players that way.

As for some specific cards, I’m quite surprised at Athreos’s current price. We’ve barely started events with Journey, and until we start getting more results, I’d be happy to trade these away at $25 or so. It’s cheap and capable of being powerful, but what creature in Standard are we recycling for value? Perhaps that will be answered soon.

Mana Confluence is slowly trending down. It’ll be present in greedy control decks for the next year, but probably at a 2-or-3-of. I’m really surprised that with some decks not running basics at all Burning Earth hasn’t had a chance to shine. I’d pick up any Confluences around $10, but it hasn’t gotten that low yet. I would absolutely trade for them at $40 in value, though.

Foil Kruphix, God of Horizons is around $25 and I would happily trade for them at that price. The casual appeal for that card is measured in megatons.

Finally, a word about the judge foils recently announced, including Force of Will: These include some very chase cards, and I’m least surprised by the old-frame Sword of Feast and Famine. You may expect Body and Mind and War and Peace to follow, as Wizards knows collectors love their cycles dearly.

I do not expect many of these foil Forces to make it far. They are going to be snapped up quickly, and I’ll be watching the effect on the non-foil Forces. Terese Nielsen has put some legendary alters of this card on the market for those who needed to make their nonfoils more unique, so there’s some collectors who might not care at all.

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Will the market get flooded with nonfoils as people upgrade to foils? I don’t think so. I expect the nonfoil price to hold steady…with a good chance of it rising. Modern Masters taught us that when you bump the supply of a card, especially something that’s often a four-of, the demand can go up even more. We will have to wait and see.

I’d love to have one of the first judge foils, just to set the market on eBay!

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