PROTRADER: Preparing for Reserved List Spikes

This is getting out of hand, folks.  I understand the card is unique and on the Reserved List, but let’s get serious.  Pendrell Mists?


The price chart on this site doesn’t even reflect any movement and still values the card at a buck.  This is because stores haven’t really reacted to this spike yet, and for good reason.  What deck wants this card outside of the most casual of casual lists?

And I completely understand the possible synergies with Squandered Resources, but did that merit the recent 970% spike on this Reserved List card?  I think not.

These crazy buyouts, combined with the recent jumps in Old School cards, are reshaping the way I approach MTG finance.  At this point, do we even need to have a legitimate hypothesis when buying into cards?  Or can we simply pick up copies of any older card on the Reserved List and wait for the inevitable over-reaction of the market?  Let’s take a step back and approach this objectively this week.

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21 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Preparing for Reserved List Spikes”

  1. You now see the flaw with this site’s pricing system. It doesn’t update very well. Card Kingdom is out at $4.99, not the $1.49 listed here. And since every other vendor is out, the site lets the price sit instead of showing what is really happening. Have you seen the wax box prices on here?? A joke. Magic is nearing 25 years. Tough to find clean copies of those early rares now and hence the price goes up. In this case low supply equals raise in prices. Sounds simple.

    1. You’ve captured the premise of supply very well. But in order for prices to rise, there also has to be a sustained rise in demand. Players can scramble to buy all the Pendrell Mists they want, but if no one is willing to pay $10 for a copy, then it’s not really worth that much. Someone on TCG Player can list their copy for that price…and it could sit there for years.

  2. I have have only heard about 93/94 magic once at GPS Vegas and here, does anyone know a store that actually has a play group? I know Tiny leaders had its moment but i don’t see anyone playing that as much either though people still have their deck next to their EDH decks.
    93/94 just seems like a format for people who have been playing the game since the beginning and while I definitely see the appeal of wanting to throw down with Serra Angel and Shivan Dragon I don’t see anyone playing it at any of my lgs that warrants spikes and buyouts.
    Is it something west or east coast? Do GPs have alot of side events for it?

    1. One very important thing to keep in mind with 93/94 is that the format can only support a very limited amount of players. 93/94 is played with cards that have a tiny supply. It is like Vintage, with the difference that (almost) every card played in the format (which includes cards played as 4-of) is as rare as the Power 9 and a collector’s item. In other words, it is harder to get into 93/94 than it is to get into Vintage. 93/94 can only support a few thousand players worldwide, at least with the strict rules (no proxies, only true 93/94 cards). That’s why it will never be a format for the mainstream Magic player and that’s why you shouldn’t be surprised if no one at your lgs is playing the format. It is a niche format with a very low supply of cards for a very small amount of players.

      1. 93/94 is mostly a European/Canadian thing. Steven Menendian (NorCal, former Vintage World Champ) and Jaco (Chicago) both run the Old School Magic format similar to the European 93/94 version, but they also allow Fallen Empires, REVISED *AND* Collectors Edition/International Edition (as long as your entire deck is DOUBLE sleeved). This is a NON-Sactioned format (as is the elitist 93/94 format), with the focus on Old School FUN (Nostalgia) with Magic in its EARLY/Nostalgic Days. Jaco runs an Old School Championship the Friday night before Vintage Worlds at Eternal Weekend each summer (which Hall of Famer Randy Buehler just won).
        Check out their articles on the format HERE:
        AND HERE:
        AND HERE:
        AND HERE:
        AND HERE:

        My *MAIN* point is: OLD SCHOOL MAGIC is MUCH more “user friendly” and FAR cheaper to get into (thanks to the permitting of Collectors/International Edition) than the elitist 93/94 European Version. Six months ago, I myself bought heavily into the Old School format (buying P9 Collectors Edition) in hopes that ONE DAY I will get to play casually or in non-sanctioned tournaments at a Grand Prix. The reason I jumped on this NOW (well, 6 months ago) was because after playing M:TG for 20 years, and having previously owned a set of “legal” Unlimited P9 back in the day, I seriously MISS having SO MUCH FUN with those awesome cards, even in casual games. So, I snap-bought the CE editions, KNOWING the prices will go up, and they ALREADY HAVE, SIGNIFICANTLY!!! So, I strongly encourage ya’ll that if you haven’t bought your CE/IE editions for CASUAL/NOSTALGIC Old School play, then buy them NOW before the prices go up even more! I’ve always strongly regretted selling my P9 20 years ago…..NOW I have the chance to play with them, and have FUN with them, yet again! 🙂 Thank You OLD SCHOOL Guru’s Jaco & Steven Menendian!!! 🙂

      2. Well said Tim, I guess the cover is blown on the CE/I.E. Stuff. I’ve been grabbing cards from the good ole square border edition to supplement my old school playables as well. It seems like a safe buy for many reasons, collectibility, cube, and casual play were already factors before 93/94 allowing them, even if ‘unofficially’.

      3. After buying my P9 CE cards, and a few other NON-Revised rares (Time Vault, Raging River, Lich, etc.), I can now say that between all my Alpha, Beta, Revised and CE cards, I now have a COMPLETE set of the Alpha/Beta CARDS (in name only, not necessarily in edition). So, I can literally go play M:TG with ONLY the original edition of the game….HOW COOL IS THAT! I *SO* strongly recommend you pick up your CE cards while supplies last in CHEAP supply! Not only are they “legal” for Old School & 93/94 and Cube, but Retired *Emeritus* Judge (retired Level 5) Sheldon Menery himself even posted in October 2014 in a reply to one of his own SCG articles that he has *OFFICIALLY* changed his own opinion on Gold Bordered cards (CE/IE and World Championship stuff), namely that they SHOULD be allowed without question in casual formats….***SUCH AS COMMANDER***. So, if the Godfather of Commander says CE is “good to go” (unless your playgroup is non-casual and/or elitist, which is the wrong kind of playgroup for Commander, at least by my preference), then I’d snap up those CE cards for all your Commander decks b4 their gorgeous Black Bordered prices skyrocket. Just Sayin’…..
        That’s all the financial advice I have to offer…..cuz I ain’t no financial pro, like Sigmund! (love his articles!) 🙂

    2. Tiny leaders has nothing similar to oldschool 93/94 formats. And yes a lot of casual players play some kind of 93/94 format. I play itfor 10y now with 2 groups, 1 with revised allowed and another only with the original rules.

      1. There’s no way Tiny Leaders ever had the support and interest that Old School has. Old School has been around for years, and has been growing in popularity. The fact that so many Tiny Leaders specs were busts while Unlimited Jayemdae Tome is an $80 card is a single data point that highlights how strong demand is for the old format.

    3. There have been GP side events for it recently. I would say its less popular then vintage but it definitely has a following that can drive prices.

    4. It looks like you got some valuable input below. I can only echo what has already been said. 93/94 is much bigger in Europe, and I have also observed that my eBay auctions have been going to Canada lately. There is a presence in the U.S. as well, and there are a couple of Facebook groups to support these players. A quick search for 93/94 or Old School MTG should help you find all relevant groups.

      And as said below, many play groups allow newer sets as long as they’re original art, original frame. It’s about having fun with nostalgic cards. There are certainly the elitists in the mix but the vast majority of Old School people I’ve interacted with on social media just loves the game and enjoy reminiscing about what it was like 20+ years ago.

      Good luck! Thanks for your questions!

  3. Hey Sig,
    As always, I like your content, no pun intended. I’m no prophetic of course…but lately as the finance community has grown, there are a lot of folks throwing money at just about anything these days…e.g. Pendrell Mists, Hall of Gemstone. Being long timers, we know these aren’t playable beyond a sideboard in an eternal format, but all it takes is a mention in the same sentence as ‘reserved list’ sometimes.

    A word to the new financiers…try to evaluate a card before you pull the trigger on it…Will you play it? (stick to a playset) Will eternal/modern tournament players play it main deck? (grab a couple playsets). Is it good, collectible or nostalgic and the price is reasonable? Consider it long-term. (e.g. duals, staples, alpha/beta/unl stuff)

    1. Hi Lou,

      I was hoping you’d share a comment after I mentioned you in the article. 🙂

      I appreciate your caution above. I would definitely NOT advocate buying up excess copies of any speculative Reserved List card. For one, manipulating the fragile RL market is shady and frowned upon. But even putting that aside, it can be extremely difficult to move so many copies of a card no one wants after a spike.

      I bought 4 Pendrell Mists just before the card disappeared from the market, and now they’re listed on eBay for $6.50 each. No takers yet. Chances are, this card will settle back down near $3-$4 and will leave me with virtually no profit after fees and shipping. I’m OK with that in this case because I don’t mind sitting on the play set. But imagine if I had bought 50 copies…it could take months to move that many at a higher price. Definitely not worth it. Stick to playable cards, buy limited quantities, and diversify – that’s the way to go.

      Thanks again for the inspiration last week!

  4. You want to find the culprit in my mind, look at the copies on all of these junk cards owned by “Mark’s Game Shop” on TCG. Something like 45+ copies of Squandered Resources I think last time I saw, all at the new price?

    Maybe I have the wrong one in mind, but I’m pretty sure that’s right.

    1. I’ve seen that seller before and I used to know who that was, too. But I’ve since forgotten. I don’t want to spread rumors, so I’ll just say that I’ve observed the same as you.

  5. CCG House is another notorious price inflator and is one reason why the prices on here have shot up. They raised all the old school cards and as other vendors sell out, the price jumps. Only they and ABU had today’s top mover listed on their sites. Whirling Dervish Legends. ABU was at $4.49. CCG $19.98. ABU sold their copy today. So is the new price on this site realistic for a card not even on the Reserved list?

    Vintage cards are drying up, and old school players are finishing sets. From an investment standpoint, it is far better to buy the older viable cards (OK, maybe NOT a Voo Doo Doll LOL) than it is to buy from Shadows and see 95% of those cards drop after the first week.

    1. 100% agree, Jazzy. In fact I have this whole thesis that says as people make money on newer cards such as Standard/Modern staples, the well-informed flip those profits into older cards with a more stable trajectory. Older cards are perfect for this, and that’s what I’ve been moving into aggressively.

      Just be careful with what you buy into. Best to stick with iconic stuff like your Beta Serra Angels and Juzam Djinns.

  6. I collectively bought this card out along with two other people months ago apart from 12 HP copies on tcgplayer as a joke of sorts. It was only a matter of time before those dried up…

    Seance is next. Then storm crow 😉

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