By Jim Marsh
Every week 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 occurred.
10 Big Winners of the Week
$109.98 to $133.99 (21.8%)
This card is no stranger to anyone who plays or follows Legacy. Strip Mine is banned and this is the Land Destroying Real Estate of choice. It can and does work in pretty much every deck in the format. In fact, it is pretty hard to come up with a Legacy deck that does not make use of the Tempest uncommon. There is a reason that it is the most played land in Legacy. \
Legacy as a format is still vibrant and strong. Even with articles lamenting its oncoming death. Wasteland is also a desirable inclusion in Commander, Cube and pretty much any format that will allow it.
The power of a land that can destroy your opponent’s nonbasics is only amplified in a format with such backbreaking lands as The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Karakas, Rishadan Port, Cavern of Souls, Mishra’s Factory, Creeping Tar Pit, and Dual Lands.
A lot of Legacy decks don’t even run many, if any basic lands, so it is a target rich environment.
I expect this card to just keep climbing.
9. Grafdigger’s Cage
$2.20 to $2.71 (23.2%)
Innistrad has been out of print for about a year now, and given the name, it is not easy to reprint. It might show up in a supplemental product, but those rarely have pure hate cards in them.
I have long felt that this card did not deserve to be considered bulk, and it seems like the rest of the world agrees.
You may find a few trade partners that are still willing to give these away as toss-ins or to make room in their binder for something more exciting.
8. Twilight Mire
$19.99 to $25.48 (27.5%)
Modern prices have been increasing across the board recently, and it looks like Twilight Mire’s time to shine is upon us.
It is showing up in Modern Jund builds, as well as the G/B and Junk Obliterator decks.
I would take a good long look at the Shadowmoor filter lands. Right now everyone is (rightfully) clamoring for the reprinting of Scalding Tarn and friends, but after the influx of Shocklands in Return to Ravnica, these can play an important role in fixing your mana without requiring an investment of $100 per land in your mana base.
They are usually played as a 1 or 2 of in color relevant decks, but if people protest the price of Zendikar fetches, more and more will be tempted to experiment with filter lands.
7. Seizan, Perverter of Truth
$2.52 to $3.28 (30.2%)
In Kamigawa every rare creature was a legendary creature. Some of them were hits. Some were misses. Some have been sleepers for a long time.
With the rise of the Commander format, a lot of people have been dusting off old Legendary creatures and giving them a spin either as a Commander or as part of their 99.
Normally a symmetrical effect like this starts with you on the raw end of the deal. You pay the mana and your opponents all get the extra cards before you do. (Think of tapping out for Howling Mine.)
This time at least that means they all get to pay life before you do.
He is also a strong possible inclusion in Nekuzar, the Mindrazer decks, which breaks the symmetry right in half and forces each of your opponents to take at lose at least 5 life a turn. That adds up quickly, and that may be why Seizan has moved from Bulk Rare to a decent price tag in the past few weeks.
6. Volcanic Island
$180.50 to $240.12 (33.0%)
There are a finite amount of Dual lands from Alpha, Beta and Unlimited in existence. I don’t know what that amount is, but as the amount of players grow and the opportunity to play Legacy looks more enticing, people will be fighting over these scarce resources.
You need a good strong, consistent mana base in Legacy (or any format) and the original Dual Lands are as strong and consistent as the get. They are restricted and are largely considered among the most stable collector’s items in the history of the game short of the Power 9.
I don’t think we will ever see these any cheaper than they are now. It’s been growing aggressively, and I would not be surprised to see the other Dual Lands (especially the Blue ones) hurry to catch up.
5. Hurkyl’s Recall
$14.99 to $23.90 (49.1%)
What do you do when you are playing Modern and the most aggressive, successful deck in the format is Affinity? How about a one sided Upheaval? For two mana?
What do you bounce? An Aether Vial? That’s a bargain.
Besides being in the sideboard for Modern Merfolk, Ad Nauseam, Faeries and other decks, it was also the subject of a recent buy out.
I see it coming back down, and quickly. It has been printed 5 times. It is a sideboard card against one deck, where a lot of sideboard cards have versatility that can be used against different strategies.
I would not get in on this (but try to move any you have that you don’t need to play with in the mean time.)
4. Sewer Nemesis
$3.08 to $4.67 (51.6%)
This card has only been printed once, in the original batch of Commander decks.
It has not seen any place in any competitive deck ever played, and probably won’t.
It is pretty fun in Mill decks that use creatures like this and Consuming Aberration.
Phenax, God of Deception loves cards like this. It is a perfect fit in a Phenax Commander deck, and the supply is pretty low.
I am surprised to see it jump this much (it has been hovering about $2 since it was printed) and don’t see it going up much, but I bet some people will still give it to you as trade evener if you ask.
3. Ancient Tomb
$16.66 to $35.00 (110.1%)
Ancient Tomb is an important part of certain Legacy decks that need mana now to power out something gross and end the game.
These decks include Imperial Painter’s, OmniTell, Sneak and Show, MUD, etc.
It has steadily been growing for the past several months, and it has just started to explode. Its power level makes it unlikely to be reprinted in any Standard format, and even supplemental products are questionable. It was included in From the Vaults: Realms, but other than that this uncommon from Tempest has really made its presence known.
I don’t think it will hold onto this aggressive growth for long. It will dip back, not quite to the $10 it was at earlier, but probably back down to $20 or so, and then begin to grow again steadily.
I even think it will get back to $35 eventually, but not for a while yet.
2. Food Chain
$5.00 to $11.26 (125.2%)
Food Chain? Really? On Sunday it made the semifinals in a Los Angeles Legacy SCG event, but this feels like it came out of nowhere.
It is interesting as a metagame choice, but compared to other Legacy decks, it seems a little unwieldy.
The price got as high as $15 before settling down to $11 and I think it will settle even further.
Even still, if you had some sitting in your trade binder, Sunday was your lucky day.
1. Leonin Arbiter
$0.89 to $2.77 (211.2%)
Now there’s a spec I am happy to see. Modern has a lot of decks that want to tutor for various cards. Birthing Pod and Chord of Calling want creatures. Ranger of Eos wants friends. Everyone wants to use their Misty Rainforest to find a Stomping Ground or Breeding Pool.
Leonin Arbiter says not without a cost. It sets people behind when they want to use their fetchlands.
It is slows down Birthing Pod.
It makes your Path to Exile so much better.
All while providing a 2/2 to block and attack with.
It gets used in Modern GW Hatebears, Death and Taxes, UW Tempo decks and a few variations on each theme. It has been a Bulk Rare for far too long.
Modern is an increasingly expensive format. Sometimes that really bothers people. Sometimes it is just time for others to realize how good certain cards are.
If Aven Mindcensor can be $12, I see no reason why Leonin Arbiter can’t be $3. (Or even $5!)
5 Big Losers of the Week
5. Cabal Therapy
$15.59 to $13.97 (-10.4%)
I don’t think that Cabal Therapy is going away any time soon. It provides too much information and punch for its cost to ever be considered anything other than strong.
Recently it went from steady growth at $10 to an overnight jump to $20. Like Ancient Tomb, it is now settling again. I think it’s settling is just about over.
I probably have misnamed my Losers of the Week.
I think a better term would be Bargains of the Week.
Think of this as getting a coupon for 10% off Cabal Therapy. Or 30% off the high point.
I should just remind you that everyone playing ANT, Dredge, Nic-Fit, Manaless Dredge, Oops! All Spells!, anything with Young Pyromancer and more will all want their Cabal Therapys.
4. Old Man of the Sea
$52.38 to $59.98 (-11.9%)
Old Man of the Sea has been $40 for a while. It recently jumped to $60 for almost no reason. There is no demand from people who want to play the card, just collect it.
Are there really that many fans of this effect? Using creatures to steal other creatures is great, but there are other powerful ways to do it.
They all have more flexibility or power.
Yes, it’s on the Restricted List. Yes, it was only printed in Arabian Nights, but it bought to sit in a binder, not in a deck.
I see this one going back to the $40 where it came from.
$6.20 to $5.44 (-12.3%)
This is a tough card to price. It is not played competitively because it is banned in both Modern and Legacy.
It got reprinted in both From the Vault: Exiled and in the original Commander decks.
It is still very powerful in the Commander format, but that is one of the few places you can play it. It was sitting at a pretty reasonable $3 to $4 for a while but tried to correct to $6. I think that was a little too much, which is why I think it will come down to $5.
It combos with pretty much any deck that can produce small creatures and wants to draw cards, so I don’t think Wizards will unban it any time soon. If they did the jump would be amazing (see Bitterblossom.)
2. Dragonlair Spider
$5.49 to $4.79 (-12.8%)
This is another Casual exclusive. It has seen two printings, and I would not be surprised to see it in Conspiracy. It cries out “play with me in a multiplayer environment!”
The past month has been interesting, with it fighting to get from $3 to almost $6 in value, but there has not been enough interest to sustain it. Maybe $4 is about right for now.
At least Ruric Thar and Jund Commanders love you Dragonlair Spider.
1. Silent-Blade Oni
$8.79 to $7.48 (-14.9%)
The creature type Demon Ninja looks so cool, how could it not be a winner? While the effect looks cool on paper (and I hope someone has gotten to cast a free Cruel Ultimatum with it!) it is rather expensive and cumbersome for all but the most casual of decks.
It has been a $4 to $5 card for a while, and tried to get to $9, but it looks like it is on its way back down.
Their effects all but guarantee card advantage and are reasonably costed.
Six mana is a bit much for an effect that may not even have a valid target.
I’d stay away until it get back below $5.