Watching the Fall

By: Cliff Daigle

I’m watching Modern Masters 2015 very carefully.

There’s a lot of things happening with this set. The packaging is causing all sorts of nicks and dings in the cards. The collation seems to be off, resulting in abnormal amounts of foils, of non-foils, extra rares and no rares. Boxes have been opened with foil Rusted Relic being the prime takeaway. The spacers on the print sheet have made it into packs.

But really, I’m focused on the cards themselves.

I wrote a few weeks ago how we all lose at pack wars. That is, opening a pack at MSRP has worse odds than a lottery scratcher ticket, but at the time, we didn’t have the full Modern Masters spoiler to work with.

So let’s take a look at the numbers, the figures that are keeping me far, far away from buying any packs.

There are 53 rares and 15 mythics in the set. Right now, 22 of them have a price of $10 or more. I’m going to leave out foils and ignore commons/uncommons, for distribution reasons in the case of the former and the latter doesn’t have much besides Electrolyze and Lightning Bolt.

You currently have a 32% chance of making your money back on a single pack of Modern Masters 2015, a figure which will not stay that high. 

You have a very small chance of pulling a Tarmogoyf, the winningest of lottery tickets, currently at $160. That will get you the value of most of a box. Two other cards are more than $40, seven others more than $30, and another dozen at between $10 and $30.

That’s before this weekend’s festivities. There will be at least ten thousand Sealed pools opened, that’s 60,000 packs, even before counting second-day called drafts and side events during this weekend’s three Grands Prix. There are a lot of Magic finance people on site in Vegas already, and I fully expect buylists to be dropping fast on site, and others will follow online.

If the odds of making your $10 back are already one in three, I would suspect that it’ll be at 25% or lower after this weekend and the enormous about of supply about to be added.

In my area, there are places doing Modern Masters 2015 drafts for $45 or $50, and I can’t think of an easier way to set money on fire. There’s a 4% chance that I open one card that currently has the value of that draft (that’s 3 rares/mythics out of 68), but value isn’t the same as cash, especially if I don’t play Modern as a format.

Is there a chance that I open a Tarmogoyf and trade it in for $150 or more in store credit? Sure. I devoutly hope that you take that credit and sink it into anything else you desire, and not more Modern Masters packs.

Stay away from drafts, buying packs and buying singles right now. The prices have farther to fall and fall they will. Foils and nonfoils alike, you don’t want to be buying singles just yet.

I confess that I have my eye on a few select foils for different EDH decks of mine. My wife is building an Oona, Queen of the Fae deck and she needs a foil Bitterblossom and a foil Vendilion Clique. The prices on those have already come down a pleasing amount but I’m still waiting.

Keep in mind that not a lot of people play Modern casually. It’s a competitive format, and one that can see a lot of shifts very quickly. Think of how quickly Eggs arrived and how quickly it was removed from the format. Think of the Birthing Pod ban. Who knows what’s next to enter or leave this format?

I’d be very cautious when it comes to investing money in this format. If you enjoy it, and you have a good metagame scene to play in, great! Buy your playset and use it well. If you’re looking for specific price predictions, I think Tarmogoyf bottoms out at $100, Clique and Bob at $30, and Hierarch at $20.

The good news is that once this weekend passes, prices will tumble on almost all of the cards in Modern Masters 2015. There’s just going to be too many people looking to cash out their opened cards for these prices to hold in the short term.

The long term prices, I’ll leave that to more experienced Modern players to speculate on. I don’t expect the same boom in Modern players that happened two years ago, so I find it unlikely that prices all get back to where they were, but I’ve been surprised before by these things.

I am really interested in what Wizards does about the collation and card damage issues. Their first statement was “We have a great QA team and you must be buying cards from questionable sources.” The second statement was Tell us exactly what you got and where you got it from.” Twitter hasn’t yet reported on what (if anything) people are getting to make up for the damage or collation issues, but don’t be shocked if people get nothing. Wizards has been inconsistent in apologies and refunds from Magic Online’s long-known and well-documented problems, but maybe they will take this more seriously due to people paying $10 a pack to get SP or even MP cards.

This isn’t just about the packaging, either, not if there’s consistent collation errors and DISCARD cards inserted instead of foils. Wizards did multiple things differently with this set and they are turning out to be major mistakes.

So you need to be more patient with these cards, and start picking them up about the time Magic Origins comes out.


7 thoughts on “Watching the Fall”

  1. I got a foil “DISCARD” card in my MM2015 pack, I sleeved it and put it in my ‘keep’ binder. Guessing it’ll be worth something.

    1. Vendilion Clique refuses to budge at the moment on MCM over here. Somehow I don’t expect the Modern stables to go much lower.

      Vendilion Clique – ~40 €
      Noble Hierarch – ~25 €
      Bitterblossom – ~20 €

      I went ahead and bought the cards I needed along with a pair of goys, as I don’t expect american gp’s to affect european prices much.

      The less played Modern card like Iona etc. took a big hit.

    2. some of the foil discard fillers were initially going for 100 bucks to misprint and oddity collectors. not sure what they are going for now.

  2. I think you are really really wrong about Goyf getting that low. Sure a ton of supply is being opened at major events but major vendors at those same events are buying up all the Goyfs they can for near market prices. Those Goyfs are now in vendor’s inventories instead of being listed on TCGPlayer/eBay. A lot less Goyfs “entering the market” than people think…

    I could be wrong, but I think the floor on Goyf was about $120-$130. Now we will see $140, $150, $160 and so on as more and more people realize that this card is not going to fall to $100…

    I agree that people might want to hold off for commons/uncommons and most rares… But don’t just assume the same logic applies to Goyf and a select few other cards. You may be able snipe cheap copies here and there but picking up a playset for $400 around the time Origins comes out seems way too optimistic. Everyone who is relying on that is going to end up paying $600+ for their playset or waiting another couple of years for another reprint.

    Major Vendors are going to try their hardest to not let Goyf get any cheaper. They will literally buy them for a loss just so they can increase prices on all versions of the card in the future! The imaginary line in the sand seems to be $100-$130 for most major buylists moving forward. If you think you can compete with them, be my guest. I’d be happy getting my Goyfs now for $130. I have a feeling most of these vendors are going to be “sold-out” of MM2015 Goyfs the entire time they are acquiring them at these major events… manipulating the price to go up even more. Vendors are already only listing 1 or 4 at a time and increasing the price by $5 every time they sell out.

    I cannot believe people are making hold-off suggestions like this before looking into what moves vendors are making at these events! I say get your Goyfs NOW! Good Luck getting them cheaper if that is your goal! But I sincerely hope people are putting Goyf in its own little bubble and not lumping it in with the rest of the set… By the way… As Goyf spikes in price over the next few months… most of the rares/uncommons/commons we were talking about will decrease in price… Because Goyf ate all the value!

    Sorry for the Goyf Rant… I hope I convinced at least one person to go ahead and pull the trigger now. Or at least research the topic a little more before blindly waiting until July/August to make a move.

    1. It’s perfectly fine if you want to have a rant about Tarmogoyf. Lots of people have an opinion. I could certainly be wrong, and only time will tell who is right.

      I doubt that vendors are going to try and keep the price on Goyf high, but I’m not sure how much power they will have over this surge in supply. This years GP Vegas has easily double the packs that last years did, indicating a greater supply in general.

      But again, we will see.

  3. Regarding the damage and collation issues: What really bugs me, from a legal perspective, is whether the USA has the same consumer protection laws around “fitness for purpose” and “marketable quality” and stuff, to other places like here in australia.

    Ie is there not an implied warranty, that when i purchase this product, of magical and often shiny paper, that it will be the thing i bought (game cards from THIS set, not “discard” proxies, and in the numbers we are told in a booster pack…)? And of the quality of a new, not used or damaged product?

    Are wizards not liable to remedy, and even if not LIABLE or likely to be, why would a company so reliant on customer loyalty not leap at the chance to find a solution that might even turn out as a win win scenario?

    I am still secretly hoping this leads to an accidental or “accidental” butchering of the reserve list 🙂

    The Zendikar treasures thing, no one has raised regarding the upcoming return to the Plane of Full Art Lands and Fetches….i am TOTES hopeful of a repeat…..

    but if someone just accidentally loads some loti, moxen, bluebits and duals onto the printer as a “screw you wizards i quit” gesture, thatd be pretty cool too hahaha

    “We at wotc employ a host of protections and safeguards, and despite that, things happen. Sorry.”
    Basically the response we got about the packs, innit?

    Tell us how many Loti you produced, and help us figure out how to resolve this reserved list nonsense. Break the policy with a calculated idea of the impact and offer goodwill damages (as cards) to those who “opt in” with a long notice period….? Turn these cards into something like a “share offering”, even going as far as printing ZERO art “utility” versions, ugly as hell, but legal for play. White with ugly type “Black Lotus” and no art.

    Its a game, we need limited resources to keep it “collectible”, but geez….wouldnt making competitive magic involve a subscription and membership be worth looking at? Like a fan club or player association, with staples printed to reward loyalty and competition milestones? A dual land a year? A mox every 5? 🙂

    big digression, i know. But this guy stopped for a few years in the late 90s and saw insanity happen to $1 and $5 cards……its the overbreeding of magic players that made all these problems.

    I was pushin paper when half a yall “….were crappin in yer hands and rubbin it in your face!” (Point break reprinted this year too…)

  4. foil discard inserts are worth more than most of the rares. i would be stoked to open one!

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