Grinder Finance – Eternal Masters Part 1

So.  Eternal Masters.  Day 1 is mostly over and I’ll be frank with you.  I’m surprised.  This looks a lot more like Modern Masters than Modern Masters 2015.  Maybe Wizards thinks they only need base hits to keep Modern cards flowing into Modern Masters and maybe wanted to make sure Eternal Masters was a home run.  But is this set really as good as Modern Masters?

Why are cards in Legacy/Vintage expensive?

It’s not the same as the reason Standard or Modern cards are expensive.  A lot less people can afford to play Legacy and Vintage at a competitive level than can play Standard or Modern.  The price increases we see in those cards are purely because of high demand.  Older cards have a slightly different reason they’re so expensive.  There just isn’t a lot of them in existence.  The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale (this is really hard to spell without looking  it up) is not expensive because there is such a high demand for the card.  It wouldn’t even break the top 50 most played lands in Legacy.  Hell, the most competitive deck that plays it only has 1 copy as it is.  Karakas is a U2 (which means it was twice as common as most of the other uncommons) from the same set and is worth less than 25% of the same amount despite a huge amount of play.  While it’s not a perfectly direct comparison due to the fact that there was a Judge Karakas and it is not on the reserve list, you can get an idea of how little the supply of these cards are.

What decks benefit most from Eternal Masters?

I’ve spent some time debating if I want to make some in roads to Legacy but it’s a big pill to swallow.  The decks that will be the easiest to build after Eternal Masters will be Force of Will decks that don’t play a ton of reserve list cards outside of duals.  The biggest winner I think will be Sneak and Show.  With only 1 day of Eternal Masters spoilers we’ve got three of the more expensive cards in the deck being reprinted.  The most expensive cards by % of the deck cost are Volcanic Island, City of Traitors, Scalding Tarn, Force of Will, Sneak Attack, Blood Moon, and Emrakul.  Only two of those are on the reserve list so the reprints should help the cost of the deck in the short term.

The other deck I’m keeping my eye on is Reanimator.  While half of it’s current cost is almost entirely Underground Sea, the rest of the more expensive cards can be printed again.  Force of Will, Entomb, Show and Tell, and Flusterstorm are not on the reserve list and could  all very well be in Eternal Masters.

Biggest Traps

Decks that are getting reprints of expensive cards but play a lot of really odd reserve list cards.  Lands is going to be a trap to a lot of people.  Even if they reprint Gamble, Wasteland, and Rishidan Port the deck still plays Mox Diamond, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, and Taiga which are all on the Reserve list.  Hell, the single Tabernacle is almost a third of the cost of the $3,000+ deck.

Decks that likely won’t get a lot of support because almost the entire deck is in Reserve list cards.  Elves is the biggest offender as the Gaea’s Cradles and Bayous are so much of the cost of the deck that even a reprint of Glimpse of Nature and Cavern of Souls is unlikely to make the deck more accessible.


I’m not a mathemagician all the time, but I can’t see this really making any Vintage decks easier to play.  Eldrazi is as close as we’re going to get to a “budget” Vintage deck.  Power nine and Mishra’s Workshop will likely continue to be insurmountable barriers for many players.



“Ahhh after 10,000 years, I can finally afford a Mana Crypt” – Commander players everywhere

While this set will probably help with the prices of some cards, there are a few that probably won’t budge.  Mana Crypts are so rare that if people open them they aren’t likely to sell them to a store.  This card will be similar to Tarmogoyf in that it’s the “prize” for opening a pack but unlike Tarmogoyf, you don’t need 4 to play a deck with it.  My thought are this will likely remain $150-180 after a few months and then climb back to $200.  If you need/want one of these for a Cube or a Commander deck, I wouldn’t fault you for buying in early while the few people trying to fire sale the card exist.  If you really dislike the “wingdings” colorless mana symbol you should use this opportunity to buy an older copy of Crypt as some people sell assuming it would drop.


It’s always important to keep in mind in these reprint sets which cards are new to foil.  There are a lot of new cards that have never been foil before and some that have only been foil once in a small amount (like a promo).

Never Foil


Gamble is originally an Urza’s Sage rare and foils didn’t start until Urza’s Legacy.  This one missed the promo foil printings that a lot of Saga cards got.


Toxic Deluge was originally printed in the Commander series and as such has never been available in foil.

Once Foil


Necropotence technically has two foil printings but they are in such small quantities that it is unlikely to matter much.  This is the 2nd foil printing with this art but will likely remain very low.


Sneak Attack was printed in foil once with this art as a Judge Promo.  I’m still disappointed they didn’t use this an opportunity to sneak Emrakul or Griselbrand into the art.


Sylvan Library is likely the 2nd most expensive foil on this list and will take a pretty big hit if the foiling process isn’t terrible.  Sylvan Libraries from Commander’s Arsenal.


So I really like this new art for Enlightened Tutor but I’m really curious to see if they will finish the cycle.  Enlightened Tutor is part of a 4 card tutor cycle printed in Mirage and Sixth Edition.  Neither set had foils and since then Mystical Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, and Enlightened Tutor have had promo foils.  With the inclusion of Gamble, they could reprint a five tutor pseudo cycle.  If they do, Worldly Tutor would get it’s first foil printing and be quite valuable.  Even the foil Vampiric Tutor promo is pretty expensive.

force of will EMA

So Force of Will got a really small promo printing for exceptional Judges some time ago.  I believe they introduced a few more into the market recently in exemplar packs but for the most part, these are very very rare.  Until it was announced in Eternal Masters, the judge foil Force of Wills were $650+.  They have come down to a more “managable” $300-350 now but this pack foil will likely push it down further.  A lot of people like that this art is done by the original Force of Will artist (Terese Nielson).


Both of these non-rare cards will have some pretty significant foil implications.  Daze was only printed once in a significantly unliked set, Nemesis, and Nimble Mongoose was from a few years later in Odyssey.  These cards will likely not be $100 and $30 foils respectively.

Post Modern GP weekends

  • Nahiri failed to make the mark she needed to sustain her price tag.  I don’t think it’s bad to keep them if you’re going to play with them but vendors were buying her for cash at 75% of her retail value.  I don’t expect this to continue so get out of any copies you don’t want.
  • Affinity is still good.  If you were wondering which deck to play, that is a good place to start.  I expect to see an uptick on Mox Opal and Arcbound Ravager this summer.
  • Figure out what deck you want to play for Modern.  You have about a month to buy it before Eldtrich Moon comes out and the constructed format switches to Modern for 3 months.
  • The RPTQs for Pro Tour Eldritch Moon take place between May 28th and June 5th.  Make sure if you believe you should be qualified to check this list to make sure you’re on it.

22 thoughts on “Grinder Finance – Eternal Masters Part 1”

  1. I’m just wondering if any of the shops in the US get allocated japanese boxes for EMA? It seems the shops where i’m at here in Singapore are only getting english ones. If japanese boxes are only sold in japan, that is going to increase the jap foil premium card prices by a lot.

    1. I don’t think non-Japanese stores will get Japanese product. That being said, the price of Japanese foils is already high that I don’t know how much of an affect this will have on them.

    1. Honestly don’t think it will get hit much as original printing in low supply. maybe shave $5 off but expect to go back up.

    2. There are so few it will be up to you to haggle with people that own them. The only thing you can leverage is it’s a common now so there will be presumably be a lot of foils.

  2. FWIW, exploration which saw its first foil printing in Conspiracy still hasn’t done much and is infinitely more playable than gamble outside of Legacy. I am not confidant in this price.

    1. There’s a bunch more supply of Conspiracy than there will be of Eternal Masters.

  3. Jim, there seems to be a lot of confusion in terms of EMA’s print run. I know you had mentioned that EMA won’t be printed to demand, but at the same time you would think Wizards intends to make as much money on this set as possible. Why would wizards put themselves in an MM1-like conundrum, where the product runs out and vendors/players are pissed alike? Wouldn’t it be in their best interest to say that they will not print to demand, having already printed enough in the first place where everyone can obtain EMA product? At the moment it just kind of feels like secondary market spin so that box preorders can go to 300+.

    1. Vendors wont be mad if there are not a lot of boxes. It hurts their existing stock if they reprint expensive cards too much. Wizards is more interested in selling these masters sets every year to increase their revenue and if they print to demand one year there might not be enough demand the next year to sell out.

      Also they are really afraid of having a chronicles problem again. They’re overly cautious and maybe a little greedy when it comes to reprints.

  4. I have this theory:

    The total price of legacy decks will not change as a result of EM, or it will rise. The easier it is to obtain a certain part of a deck, the greater the demand will become for the not reprinted cards. We have seen similair movements in Modern after MM.

  5. Except for the cards on the reserved list I expect Eternal Masters to be Online Vintage Masters with a few substitutions for Reserved cards. Thus I’m not surprised yet but am worried about what cards will be included like if Cavern, Rishadan Port, and Karakas get included.

    You are also very right and (my) Commander’s Arsenal foil Library is going to tank…I should have checked the VMA set 6-9 months ago

  6. Also, I don’t expect some foils of cards to tank a lot like Nimble Mongoose (Daze is an exception and it’s SO high it has to fall) but a lot of collectors and Legacy/Vintage players like original art and original set foils much more than newer art versions. Like Masks Foil Brainstorm vs Conspiracy foil Brainstorm. This is why a lot of people (writers on mtgprice, myself) prefer to invest in foils rather than non-foils.

  7. Actually, Necro was printed foil in a Battle Royal version. So technically, this will be the third (unless you don’t count the FTV version, as those foils look like shit).

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