PROTRADER: Keep, Crack, or Ship: Modern Masters

By: Travis Allen

This week on @mtgfastfinance, James and I got a chance to speak with Andrew Brown, a member of Team East West Bowl and co-creator of the UR Eldrazi deck that won Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch. For insight on what he would change and what beats the deck, as well as our regular discussion about recent price changes and our cards to watch, make sure to check out episode four. Thanks for listening!

Click here to listen to episode four!

If you follow my buddies James Chillcott (@mtgcritic) or Jeremy Aaranson (@xemitsellsmagic) on Twitter, you may have caught their incessant tweeting about all the various Modern Masters packs they’ve been opening lately. While I was mostly aggrieved that they got to crack sweet packs and fill up my timeline with it while I did nothing of the sort, it wasn’t all for nought. It got me thinking about sealed boxes of the original Modern Masters.

We’re now nearly three years past the printing of Modern Masters, which hit store shelves on June 7th, 2013. That’s an anniversary four months from now. Reprints grow more likely by the day, which could slash prices on key cards for a period of time. Most of the cards in this set are durable and enduring, such as Arcbound Ravager, but each reprint tacks on months or years before it climbs back to its original price point. Repeated key reprints could keep the value of a box suppressed for over five years if you were unlucky. Add to that that the rumor mill is churning about the appearance of an Eternal Masters set, (something which I remain quite suspicious of), and you can see why the threat of reprints is getting scary. Well it turns out Eternal Masters is real. We know there’s going to be some Modern reprints, we just don’t which yet.


Yet, working against that is the immutable law of nature that useful and desired Magic cards slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) rise in price without other forces acting upon them. While tournament cards are often subjected to more tempermental swings, casual fodder picks up percentage point after percentage point as they age. Sealed product especially so should benefit from this, as there is value in the package as a draft experience and giant lottery ticket. If you show someone a stack of Modern Masters cards worth $300, and then point to a sealed box of Modern Masters and guarantee someone that the exact same cards are inside, they’ll opt to take the sealed box every single time. Ten years from now you’ll be able to buy all the Modern Masters singles your heart desires, possibly for a good bit cheaper than they are today, but sealed boxes should still hold more value as a collector’s item and draft product.

Here’s the question I find myself with. I’ve got five boxes hanging around and I’m questioning what to do with them. I have three options.

Option #1: Keep Them

This is the default and “doing nothing is better than doing something” plan. Leave them stashed in a closet, continuing to (hopefully) appreciate.

Option #2: Ship Them

Leave the boxes factory sealed and sell them. If I think that prices are likely to decrease over the next year or two, this is a plan. Furthermore, selling sealed product rather than cracking it and selling singles is typically ideal.

Option #3: Crack Them

Undoubtedly the most fun choice, in this scenario I crack all the packs and sell the singles. It’s an unorthodox strategy, but possibly the most lucrative.

Keep ‘Em

Alright, we’ve got three options. Our goal is to figure out the best one. I’m going to begin by trying to figure out if selling it is even correct at all, then we’ll assume it’s time to sell (whether it is or not) and see how those two scenarios may play out.

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8 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Keep, Crack, or Ship: Modern Masters

  1. Well… I have some friends who really want to do an MMA draft. I told them no since I didn’t want to shell out 400 bucks, but since reading this, if you’re game at all, I’d can do 320 for a box. You’d miss fees and all that good stuff, and I’d get a cheaper box, we’d all win 🙂

    1. Tempting! Although after shipping it to you this is only worth maybe $5 more than selling the singles, and getting to open all the packs is absolutely worth that.

  2. Very nice article and time appropriate. I’ve been sitting on 6 boxes and I’ve started wondering what to do with them. I also like to use Dawnglare to examine pack to value ratios and MM1 and MM2015 finish very high comparably to everything else. With the only downsides being the threat of reprint and the other folks out there sitting on boxes (secret supply), my guess is that this will keep the price between 300-400 for a while.

  3. M11 boxes on TCG: $135. Dawnglare EV: $127.
    Fun set to draft, lots to sell after. A slew of cards over $10 and maybe a foil Steel Overseer. PACK CRACK FTW!

  4. Travis,

    I agree with your conclusion. Luckily I managed to sell my MMA boxes closer to their peak, so those were all profitable for me. However my MM2015 boxes didn’t appreciate in value as I had hoped. So when my MTG friends were in town we cracked them and enjoyed a couple rounds of pack wars. When all is said and done, you’re left with a fairly diverse Modern portfolio, which is nice. Yeah I lost money on the Splinter Twin I opened, but I also did very well on the Noble Hierarch and Fulminator Mage I opened. It was a solid approach. I suspect doing the same with MMA boxes is also the best play here.


    Did you consider opening the boxes and selling the packs individually?

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