Double the Buying

No, no, I mean Box Toppers.

We’ve had a LOT of price movement on these, and it’s made a lot of my predictions look pretty terrible. I’m not one to hide when I’m wrong, but this seems to be an instance of there being a lot more product and a lot of people who are trying to take profits quickly.

This is good for anyone who wants to get these for themselves, and also good for those who want long term value. Let’s get into it.

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Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

Unlocked Pro trader: Free Money

I love reprint sets.

I don’t have to do things I don’t like doing when the cards are all reprints. You know what I hate doing? Going through 300 new cards and finding the one card that isn’t preselling for enough money and pointing it out to people. I hate that. People argue with me because they have their own pet card they’d rather see hit and if I’m right, they don’t remember and if I’m wrong, they bring it up in an unrelated argument 5 years later. I’m not complaining about the job, per se, rather I’m relishing that I get to do something I like a lot more – telling you where the free money is.

When Iconic Masters came out, there were plenty of cards that dropped to around $1 that rallied hard and made people a lot of money. A few of them are in Double Masters, and while that’s not great, it does mean we have about 2 years to make money on cards with which we’re assured to make some money. That seems like plenty and instead of keeping you from my spicy picks any longer, let’s get into the thick of it.

Reprint sets mean we already have adoption data, and years of it to boot. We already know what the most-used cards in the set will be, and EDHREC ranks them by the percentage of eligible decks using them for us. All we need to do is go down the list and figure out what’s going to rebound. Sounds easy, right? Well, actually… yes, it is. I’m going to do it for you because you paid to read this article or waited patiently to read it later and either way you deserve something for that. Besides, I care about EDH so you don’t have to and that’s taught me a thing or two.

They say failure is the greatest teacher but, I dunno, I feel like it was pretty instructive to make a bunch of money on this card when it was in Iconic Masters and got real cheap.

IM copies STARTED OUT at $4 on CK and were even cheaper on TCG Player. The price shot up precipitously over the years, because of course it did. This card is played a ton and there really isn’t better mass removal in White and it’s hard to imagine there ever will be. Lorwyn block was fairly slow and the decks that beat the Merfolk and Kithkin beatdowns didn’t run removal as expensive as Austere Command because Firespout existed. I don’t know if Standard will ever be slow enough again to make a 6 drop sweeper like Austere Command, and a better one to boot, so either it’s a Commander exclusive or Austere Command continues to be the king. I’m betting this is reprinted in 2 years and no card better comes along by then. I’m betting you can buy in at its current $3ish and make money on it. I’m buying in, personally.

I’d like to see if this gets any cheaper before I buy in, but as much of a slam dunk as Austere Command was when Iconic Masters was out, this is in more decks. It has cross-format appeal, so the real X-factor here is whether Legacy returns in full force. I DO NOT ADVOCATE buying cards that are not EDH-only right now in paper. I think there are better sweepers that don’t need another format to help them grow and justify a high buy-in price. Instead of Deluge, buy Eviction.

The smallest amount this ever grew by over a 2 year period was 100%. The most it ever grew over a 2 year period, and the most recent period of growth, saw it grow 200%. This is going to get near bulk and, if left alone, could flirt with $5 in like 3 years. I don’t give this the same odds I give Austere Command, but this is in a full quarter of the decks that contain Black and White and it’s one of the scariest cards in EDH. Bet money this bounces back.

This went from $5 to $10 in 2 years. A reprinting knocked it back down to $5 and then it climbed to $20 in 2 years. Could this go 2 years without a reprinting again? Maybe. But this card is one of the best Green creatures in all of Magic and we’re getting lands matters stuff in the next set so I bet every Green EDH deck brewed with a commander from return to return to Zendikar will want one of these. I also think this is not likely to be in the Commander decks that come out around return to return to Zendikar. If it is, we get blown out pretty hard. If it’s not, this card has shown you what it can do.

This flirted with $20 and when it gets under $10, which it should, it could suddenly become an option for players who didn’t want to shell out $20. This peaked at the time when decks like Kalamax were printed which meant players didn’t necessarily want to shell out $20 for an uncommon, but as this approaches $5, a price we’ve seen it historically recover from easily, this flirts with $15 soon and likely goes at least 2 years without a reprint. Wait for peak supply, which should take a couple of weeks, and snap them up. This is currently cheaper on CK than it is on TCG Player and I can’t imagine that holds. My money is obviously on TCG Player’s price going down.

The money I have made on just Exploration and Burgeoning alone is astounding. It’s really too easy. They’re not seemingly willing to print this into powder and if they do print this again in the next 24 months, I’m betting my own money that it will be a premium version that won’t really affect the price of the non-premium versions. Wait for peak supply and grab twice as many of these as you think you need.

Cards that are probably dead

There are a few cards that I think have been reprinted so aggressively that even if the price recovers, it will do it so slowly that it will get reprinted again before you can really make any money. These are good cards that I like but won’t buy.

Two reprints in a year? Ouch.

Unless you get this as a bulk rare, you’re not likely to get back out clear of what you’d lose to fees. This is a price predicated on scarcity rather than EDH play and it got downshifted from Mythic to Rare. RIP in Peace.

Penny Stocks

There are some cards that will likely be good buys under a buck.

The rarity downshift hurts this to the extent that it basically counts as 2 reprints in a year, but I think this is less likely to get reprinted subsequently which is what I think separates this from Champion of Lambholt, a card I hope I’m wrong about. I like this near bulk – this card does work and it gets better as creatures do.

Conjyclos’ wants its money back, too, and I bet it gets it. It’s been a long time since this got a reprinting and it might be a long time before it gets another one. I’m betting this goes near bulk and people come off of these for a dime or quarter locally.

I have made a lot of money on this card over the years and I do not intend to stop now. It’s not reprinted as often as people might think and it does a ton of work, especially since WotC is accused of making Boros boring and almost every attempt to make it not boring loves this card (except Winota which broke every format in Magic, nice work).

That’s what I think is fit to print. You’re welcome to look at the whole set yourself on the EDHREC page sorted by inclusion percentage to get a sense of what’s played more – it may help you a lot if you only look at sets sorted by highest price. If you have any specific questions, hit me up. Thanks for reading – until next time!

The Watchtower 08/03/20 – Twice the Price, Double the Fall

Double Masters releases this Friday, and so although the best prices for the new (although they’re not really new, are they?) cards won’t hit us for a little while yet, I wanted to spend today’s article talking about some of the cards that I think are going to fall the hardest, but pick back up again the most quickly. I was thinking of doing six picks instead of the usual three today, because you know, Double Masters, but I ended up talking too much about these three cards too much to fit anything else in. And it would’ve been super cliché anyway, right? Definitely not my style…

Sword of Feast and Famine

Price I want to buy at: $30
Possible future price: $50

As far as EDH is concerned, Sword of Feast and Famine is the most popular of the colour-hoser sword cycle by a considerable margin. EDHREC has it at almost 14k decks, with the next most popular being Fire & Ice at 7400. I’d bet good money that Feast & Famine would be in a lot more decks, too, if it hadn’t been $60 before this Double Masters reprint. The card had been steadily growing in price for the past four or five years – in fact, it’s been over six years since this card was last printed (not counting the Invention printing (or the Grand Prix promo that barely exists)). It took a steep hike from $40 to $60 when Stoneforge Mystic was unbanned in Modern last year, and has sat around there since.

I think that this reprint will bring the regular copies down quite a bit. Although preorders are currently scarce on TCGPlayer, they’re going for €23 on MKM, and I think that that’s indicative of much lower prices to come in the US. Stateside prices could well hit lower than $30, but I think that calling this from $30 to $50 is pretty reasonable. A lot of people that were priced out of the card before will be able to buy it, and a lot of people will probably be picking up multiple for different EDH decks, so don’t expect the price dip to hang around for too long.

Exploration (Box Topper Foil)

Price I want to buy at: $35
Possible future price: $70

We’re in a really weird situation with Double Masters box toppers, in that because the foils are only available in VIP packs, and non-foils only in booster boxes, you need to buy a whole booster box (~$330) to get 2 non-foil toppers, but only 1 VIP pack (~$90) to get two foil box toppers. This has meant that preorder prices for the non-foils are way above foil prices, which might seem absurd compared to what we’re used to, but makes sense in this situation. Interestingly, this isn’t actually the case in the EU, where non-foil prices are at the normal, expected levels. I’m not sure how this will pan out over the next couple of weeks, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Regardless of what weird things non-foil prices are doing, we’ve been given Exploration for only the third time ever, with the regular version using the same art as the Conspiracy printing but a stunning new art for the box topper. It’s in over 16k EDH decks on EDHREC, and the Conspiracy foils are around $70 (with no foils from Urza’s Saga). Although I’m sure some people will prefer the old version, I think that this art and borderless treatment is clearly superior if you’re in the market for pimping your deck out.

Again, prices are pretty uncertain here but there are foil copies preordering on TCGPlayer for $45, so I don’t think that $35 is an unreasonable estimate for this to hit when people start undercutting each other. Conspiracy foils sustained $70 so I’m putting that as an out target here; it might take a little while to get there but I think that these are going to be very popular. Even people that didn’t want to pay $45 for a regular copy before might be enticed by this box topper foil at such a low price, so I don’t think that it’ll be too long before the price starts to climb again.

Land Tax

Price I want to buy at: $15
Possible future price: $30

How many EDH decks do you think Land Tax is in? I’ll give you a clue: you’re probably underestimating it. At over 18k decks and 10% of all decks including white, it’s in the top 20 white cards of all time, and the price elasticity we’ve seen backs that up. The Battlebond reprint of this card took the price down to around $20, with 4th Edition copies even hitting $15. But lo and behold, Battlebond copies were back up to $40 earlier this year.

At a cursory glance, Land Tax has a lot of printings, but three of those are foreign language (and not the desirable ones), another three are white bordered and then you’re just left with Legends (very small supply and hard to find in good condition), the Judge promo (also low supply and expensive), and Battlebond. So the vast majority of people are going to be buying Battlebond and Double Masters copies, and I think we can relatively safely set aside the other versions for the purposes of our discussion here.

It’s being printed as a mythic again, same as Battlebond, and with the superior art (yes, you heard me), rather than the, uh, classic one. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a downshift to rare here, but the fact that it remains a mythic means that the price will bounce more quickly than otherwise. Preorders on TCGPlayer are around $23 for now, but I expect that to drop a bit further after release. They’re down at €12 on MKM ($14), and I could see US prices getting down to around $15 in a couple of weeks too. We’ve seen it happen before and I think we’ll see it again; this card is going to be $30 again before you know it.

David Sharman (@accidentprune on Twitter) has been playing Magic since 2013, dabbling in almost all formats but with a main focus on Modern, EDH and Pioneer. Based in the UK and a new writer for MTGPrice in 2020, he’s an active MTG finance speculator specialising in cross-border arbitrage.

Delicious Toppings, Part 2

Here we go with part 2 of all the Box Toppers, and we know them all now! Very spicy list indeed.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope – $240 – This feels pretty high, even though this art is awesome plus some. Sorin killed Avacyn, so now she has this ghostly look to her. Very cool. She is in 13k decks online, but I’d expect this to settle down a bit, definitely under $200, possibly in the $150 range.

Stoneforge Mystic – $70 – This feels low, but this also has a lot of factors. Not every white deck wants the equipment theme, but Stoneforge and her best buddy Batterskull are Cube staples and Legacy stalwarts. I hope that this drops lower so that I can buy several, but my inclination is that this is about the right price.

Brainstorm – $50 – This definitely feels too low for a card that’s in 30% of all blue decks online, and is frequently a four-of in Legacy. If your Cube skips on fetches, then it skips this too, though. The art is up there on the ‘awesomely-weird-o-meter’ and while it’s a rare, not a mythic, I think this will inch upwards a little as people have to buy several.

Force of Will – $350 – Here we are, the big winner for prices. It’s a big price, too, and up there with the judge foil in terms of price. It’s not as common in Commander, only ten percent of blue decks registered one, but while I expect the price will fall slightly in the rush of stuff getting opened, I think it’ll settle right there at $300ish.

Fatal Push – $33 – This is going to nearly be the least expensive of the Toppers when all is said and done. It’s a wonderful removal spell in Modern, and sees some Legacy play. It is decent in Cube, though quickly outclassed, and sees very little Commander play. I think it’ll fall a buck or two farther, but $30 will be the floor here.

Thoughtseize – $110 – If you recall, there was a point in 2013 when this was nearly $100.

Since then, we had reprints in Theros and Iconic Masters, which have kept this price reasonable. This is very good, as it’s one of the backbone spells of Modern, and sees conversely less play in Commander. This price is about even with the Amonket Invocation, and that feels off. This will go upwards in price a little, but not break $130.

Toxic Deluge – (no price yet, previewed too recently) – With Eternal Masters foils at about $80-$90, and this being one of the ‘yes, absolutely, everything is dead’ spells in Commander, in 28k decks, I like this to be about $100 and stay there. 

Blood Moon – $80 – Let’s have another graph, because Blood Moon is another example of a card that’s needed repeated reprints to stay accessible:

Yes, for the longest time, Blood Moon was a $50 Chronicles card, which is an amazing sentence if you lived through the amazingly large quantity printed at the time. It’s an iconic sideboard card, and something that decks have tried to cheat into play early with Simian Spirit Guide and other fun methods. The Invocation is $90, and while I like this art a lot more, there’s a greater quantity of this out there. It should stabilize in the $80-$100 range, but that might spike hard when we get back to Modern tournaments in person and the metagame calls for them.

Goblin Guide – $40 – If you’re gonna play it, you’ll play the set, but the metagame for burn has shifted to the one-mana Prowess creatures who can hit even harder than this. The right price.

Meddling Mage – $30 – This is a popular card in Humans decks where it’s legal, but still very niche and probably the cheapest foil Box Topper. I won’t be shocked to see this at $25. Remember that there’s $20 Expeditions out there.

Batterskull – $70 – This is mythic, so that helps. No one plays more than two copies of this, and a singleton is common enough. It’s in a tiny percentage of Commander decks, too, so I feel like this has a little farther to fall once we get past the initial rush.

Chrome Mox – $110 – The big problem here is the Invention version, which looks stunning. The new one evokes a digital feeling in me, but the art, while sweet, is the hangup. The EMA foil is $80, the Invention $160, and this is in the right range, smack between them.

Expedition Map – $25 – This has already fallen from the $40 it was at early on, and I think that’s an error. I find myself hoping that it falls farther, so that I can buy a lot of them. $20 for gorgeous art on a card that is a four-of in Tron builds and is in an additional 25k EDH decks online? Sign me up. It also helps that this is the only alternate frame available.

Lightning Greaves – $60 – I LOVE this art. I will respect if you think the Invention is more awesome, and that version is definitely rarer, but Greaves is so good that it’s only been in a booster twice: Mirrodin and Mystery Booster. It is a broken card, being in 30% of ALL DECKS on EDHREC, just about 120,000. There is a real demand for this card, and I expect it’ll go up by at least $20, and be close in price to the Invention.

Mana Crypt – $180 – So within a fairly short time, we got the EMA version, the Mystery Booster, and now this. We’d already had a judge foil and an Invention, and this is tempting. It’s a mythic, and it’s not like the market is saturated with the assorted promo versions. Players pick these up and they stay safely in decks. I expect this to dip at first, and then rise a little, into the $230-$250 range.

Mox Opal – $75 – This feels too low for this version. Is it that much worse than the Invention at $175 or so? Granted, the Invention is pure hotness and prettier than most anything, but this is also super sweet. It’s in 12k Commander decks online, but is banned in Modern. I feel like this will come up a little in price, but there might be a chance to buy in at $60 or even $50 when the first waves of VIP hit and that’s pure value.

Sword of Body and Mind – $50 – The Invention is $60, and this will be a lot more common than that. It’ll come down to $40, and maybe lower. It’s just not that good, sad to say.

Sword of Feast and Famine – $110 – This sees a lot more Commander play, given the untap trigger, and the Invention being about $70 more bears that out. I would expect this to dip a little but gain it back, being a mythic and in sufficient Cubes/Commander decks.

Sword of Fire and Ice – $110 – Honestly, this comes down to art preference. The card is very good in any deck that attacks, giving you a free Shock and a free card, but you get to pick what art you want. The Invention is about $130, the judge foil with the old border foiling about $15 more, but this new Box Topper art is pretty amazing too. About $100 sounds right here.

Sword of Light and Shadow – $130 – This is too high, but it was very recently previewed. The Invention is about $100, the judge foil $50. This should settle about $70.

Sword of War and Peace – $60 – Another that’s too high, even with having badass art. Inventions are $70, and I would expect to see this dip down to $50 or so.

Wurmcoil Engine – $38 – It’s dropped a few bucks since being previewed early, and I can see why some are turned off by the ‘Predator-Face’ art. Regular versions are about $20, and foil Box Toppers feel like they should be a bit higher. It’s a mythic, so there won’t be too many copies out there.

Academy Ruins – $45 – It’s in 12,000 Commander decks online and is a Cube staple with Mindslaver, and this is the first alternate art/frame treatment. This feels low, to be honest. I’d expect to see this at more like $60 before too long. 

Urza’s Mine/Power Plant/Tower – $35 each – These aren’t big in Commander or Cube, but Tron has been a tier deck in Modern for some time, and these are needed in playsets. Originals from Antiquities go for $7 or less, but we can’t rule out the collectors who are going to enjoy the panorama for all three and the Karn Liberated. These might fall a little farther but $30 should be the floor. The foils from 7th and 8th edition go for a whole lot, but that’s pure scarcity.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.