PROTRADER: Quantitative Eternal Masters Reactions

After endless speculation, we finally have confirmation that Eternal Masters will be an official set, to be released June 10th of this year. Along with the announcement, we’ve also received two spoilers to whet our appetites: Force of Will and Wasteland (shout-out to Terese Nielsen for another gorgeous artwork on Force).


Since then, I’ve been monitoring three trends very closely: the price impact of these reprinted cards, the price impact of Reserved List cards, and discussions of a new (currently fictitious) Eternal format. This week I want to briefly explore each of these three separate reactions and share my takes on each. Some of my data just might surprise you…

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8 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Quantitative Eternal Masters Reactions”

  1. Thanks for the article Sig. I think this set is going to make EDH players happier than anyone trying to get into Legacy. FINALLY we can jam some of these great cards into our EDH decks without paying ridiculous prices. While I think you are right that Wasteland will plummet in price, I think there might be a good opportunity to buy into the card once it sees its price floor.

    I seriously doubt much of the demand from Eternal Masters will be from people building brand new Legacy decks. People might be finishing their Legacy decks, but with all the price spikes on reserved list cards, there is still a major “barrier” to get into the format from a newcomers perspective. I feel like this set might keep Legacy sustainable for the next few years, but actual “growth” is highly unlikely in my opinion. Like you said, prices are just shifting from cards like FoW to reserved list cards. The Format remains expensive as all hell in the end.

    The REAL opportunity that I see here is for EDH players. EDH will continue to “grow” for as long as Magic is popular. EDH encourages building new decks and adding new cards to your list and is a lot more open-ended than “competitive” formats. I feel like any card that is reprinted in Eternal Masters that EDH players are salivating over, people should be paying close attention to. Of course EDH doesn’t usually cause massive price spikes, but its hard to argue with the resiliency and growth potential of the format. No matter what format of magic people play, they usually have an EDH deck as well.

    For these reasons, I’m going to try and stay away from speculating on Legacy and a “new” eternal format. I want to concentrate on what cards show up in Eternal Masters that will rebound quickly due to steady EDH demand. What cards will hit rock-bottom and then steadily rise over the next 2-3 years? Wasteland looks promising to me. People might argue that its only a 1-of in EDH decks… My response to this is that a year from now… It might be a 1-of in ALL of the EDH decks. As soon as I see this card’s price go “flat” I’m definitely buying in.

    Do you really think Wasteland will only drop to $35? I was hoping to pick up a playset or two for around $100, $25 each at some point and then seeing the card rebound to $40. I guess if this card is in demand due to increased Legacy numbers, then falling to $35 and rebounding to $50 wouldn’t be too far off either. But I am expecting more demand from EDH players than Legacy players for most of these cards, at least the ones with format cross-over.

    Let me ask people a hypothetical: Do you have an EDH deck that needs a Wasteland? Do you have a half-built Legacy deck that needs some Force of Wills? Now lets tally the numbers.

    1. EDH will definitely be impacted by this set in a positive way as players are able to get those expensive older cards for their decks. I look forward to reading Jason Alt’s assessment of the set as it applies to EDH once we start getting spoilers.

      As for Wasteland, my number was a really rough guess. $25 isn’t impossible…but it will again depend on that wild card of how much Legacy interest is reinvigorated by this set. Time will tell – either way, we can agree on one thing: have your wallet ready for when prices bottom!

      Lastly, I wanted to address your questions about EDH needing Wasteland vs. Legacy needing Forces. I understand your point that EDH demand may be a larger driver than Legacy demand for reprinted EMA cards. I can buy that argument, although I will say that Legacy players will want 4 Wastelands while EDH players only want 1 (per deck). But let’s think about cards that AREN’T reprinted in EMA – which ones are more likely to spike? I’d argue the Reserved List ones used in Legacy will spike more than the EDH ones. For example, consider these questions: “Now you can buy cheap Force of Wills, are you more likely to finish your Legacy deck?” versus “Now you can buy a cheap Force of Will, are you more likely to finish your EDH deck?” The second question doesn’t make sense because it’s not like players don’t play EDH if they’re missing some critical $200 card. In Legacy, however, it’s really difficult to sleeve up a competitive deck without a Dual Land.

      Just some food for thought. But overall I understand your point about EDH, and it will definitely matter.

      As will Conspiracy 2, apparently…

  2. Sig – do you need Black Knights? I have 2 in really good condition, and 1 that’s not as good. I’m sure we can work something out if you do need them. 🙂

    1. I have my set of Beta Black Knights, but thanks for offering! I know of a couple people who were looking for them though, so if you have spare Alpha or Beta copies let me know and perhaps I can connect you with people who would buy.

  3. @WUBRG: EDH and limited player here. I have a playset of Wastelands. Only owned one Force ever(traded it) and I’m not too concerned about getting another for my EDH decks

    as someone who has played the game for like 18 years and only does limited and EDH now I am excited and terrified at this set. So many of my expensive cards suffer from what I like to call “Daybreak Coronet Syndrome” or “DCS” where their price tag comes from a lack of reprints.
    People speculate at what will be reprinted, but how much fast mana would they put in a draft set between potential reprints mana vault, mana crypt, simian spirit guide, dark ritual, cabal ritual. Given MaRo saying wizards dislikes shuffling effects at low rarity will the one mana tutors dodge reprint? Stay at uncommon?
    Modern masters we knew would only be from Mirrordin and 8th forward, this set could summon from just about anywhere and this makes me nervous.

    About the only thing I feel safe in anymore are reserve list cards and eternal format foils as original printings seem to be harder to knock down against a reprinting.

    Sorry I’m all over the place. Here is my main point and question

    I have alot of non foil EDH staples in my Hold Box I feel I need to pull the trigger before they are reprinted. Could someone do an article soon on eternal format cards whose price wouldn’t survive a reprint or what trends to look for in cards that won’t survie a reprint (looking at you Animar and Entomb). I’m far more concerned over that than what will be the goyf and rebound higher after Eternal Masters

    1. I certainly understand your point of view, and I like your “Daybreak Coronet Syndrome” name – it really summarizes your concern perfectly. EDH is a format full of 1-ofs, so a major reprint can really suppress an EDH card’s price for years.

      I’d defer to Jason, our resident EDH expert, who may be interested in writing about the topic you requested. It’s not my area of expertise, I’m afraid. I play silly EDH decks, and I’m not too worried about a Psychic Battle or Soldier of Fortune reprint 🙂

    2. I am doubtful that you have much to be concerned about. The only cards that could really tank long-term as a result of Eternal Masters are commons.

      Look at Modern Masters. The mythics basically didn’t budge or went up. The rares and uncommons did deflate to about half of their value during the time people were opening packs, but since then they’ve rebounded quite nicely. We saw this with both Modern Masters sets so far, and I don’t see a reason why this one will be any different.

      I suppose there is one difference – the number of cards in circulation. Older cards had smaller print runs so might be affected more by reprints. Let’s take a look at Force of Will. That card was an uncommon originally, making it more plentiful than some older cards, but it’s also mythic here, making it rarer to find. That means Force can act as the ceiling — if the set is printed heavily enough to double the amount of an old UNCOMMON at MYTHIC, it’s probably more than doubling the amount of just about everything else in it. At that point, I would suspect you actually do see some long-term effects.

      My best Google-fu suggests the following:

      Alliances Force of Wills extant: 279,000
      Judge Promo Force of Wills extant: 5,000 (likely less)

      I can’t find any reliable data on the Modern Masters 2 print run size, but I can find some math suggesting you had a 1.23 percent chance to pull a particular Mythic out of a pack of that set. So, the new number of Forces will be:

      Eternal Masters Force of Wills coming: (print size of EM) x 1.23%

      This suggests that a total print EM print run of 23,089,430 cards would be necessary to produce a doubling of the number of Forces in existence. Is that likely to happen? Well, that number is vastly larger than older print runs, of course:

      The upshot of all of this? If you think more than 23 million EM cards will be printed, I’d sell out of all the cards likely to be in it. I have no idea how close they’d have to come to this level before it has an effect, but at the point they’re doubling up on Forces, I think it’s fair to say they’re making a massive impact on supply of everything.

      1. Wow, I love your mathematical breakdown of set sizes. Very well done, I’m impressed. I don’t disagree with your conclusion either.

        Here’s one point I’ll highlight though: I’d argue Modern Masters 2015’s print run was larger than the original Modern Masters run, AND the resulting impact to cards in MM2015 – even Mythics – is larger. You cite that Mythics in both Modern Masters rebounded from their reprinting. I disagree.,_Grand_Cenobite,_Shield_of_Emeria

        Even Mox Opal took a NASTY hit from reprint and it hasn’t fully recovered yet (although I suspect it will). Even if it does recover 100%, you could have sold at the peak at $60 and bought back under $40 to avoid a sizable loss. And Mox Opal is a 4-of in a Tier 1 Modern deck. Imagine if something like Grim Tutor gets reprinted at Mythic Rare, which is a 1-of in either EDH or Legacy Storm (which has since swapped it out for the new tutor that gets you 3 mana back). I think even mythics will get hit hard, though I agree Force of Will will be one of the best-off cards in the reprint set.

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