Trading for banned cards?

The recent bannings have opened up some unique opportunities, but of the five cards, three are not as appealing as two are.

Gitaxian Probe: It sees Legacy play but that’s not enough to hold up a price it used to have, but luckily this means we are spared a reprint of the Probe in Modern Masters 2017 this March. There’s no value to be gained here.

Reflector Mage: I like foils in the long term, as something to drive Commander players crazy, but as a recent uncommon, it’s not good enough for other formats. Pass.

Golgari Grave-Troll: Poor guy. Banned, then let loose at the same time as Cathartic Reunion and Prized Amalgam, then banned again. Too broken for the format, and then they made sure, and now it’s likely forever. Plus, he’s not good enough for Legacy Dredge, so I’ve got no interest.

However, I admit this: I’m actively trading for Smuggler’s Copter and Emrakul, the Promised End.

I’m not afraid of doing so, either. I’m not buying copies hand over fist, though playsets of Copter can be had for $17 and that’s a very steep decline from where it’s been.

I like trading for a few of these gradually, because I want to pick up these two cards at their lowest point. Allow me to explain.

Smuggler’s Copter is a fantastic card. The first time Wizards does a new card type, they push one or two of the cards, and that’s how we get Jace, the Mind Sculptor, or the Copter. They just didn’t know how overpowering it was going to be. Skysovereign, Consul Flagship is close, considering how easily that can take over a board,

The Copter is intriguing to me for three reasons: First, it’s at its cheapest right now after the bannings. It was sitting pretty around $12, and now it can be had for $4-$5 each. The fact that it didn’t drop further is partially price memory, but partially optimism.

The second and third reasons are a pair of formats: Modern and Frontier. Copter hasn’t made a big splash in Modern yet but I want to be ready if it does. It’s popped up in a few lists, but nothing earthshattering has happened with it so far. It’s possible that the card is too consistent for Standard, but not good enough to make a splash in Modern.

Even though I’m not convinced of Frontier’s long-term potential, it’s already caused some spikes and I think there’s value to be gained here. I will let others make predictions about the format, but I don’t need to believe in the format in order to gain from its existence. I will note that the comparisons to Tiny Leaders feel appropriate at this point.

Emrakul, the Promised End is a different animal. No one is trying to break this card in older formats, but it’s a fantastic long-term gainer and it seems unlikely to be reprinted for quite a while. It’s one of only three Eldrazi with flying, and one of them is banned in commander, while the other is Eldrazi Skyspawner.

There is no shortage of decks in Commander that want to cast this card. Controlling someone else’s turn is incredibly powerful and shouldn’t be underestimated, and thankfully it’s a cast trigger, not an enters-the-battlefield trigger.

Emrakul is also a major character, the headliner of a small set, and one that was overshadowed to some extent in Eldritch Moon because Conspiracy 2 came out just a month and a half later. This impacted the amount of EMN that was opened and that’s also why Liliana, the Last Hope has stayed over $30. She’s not in a lot of decks, but she’s a fantastic card that was in a less-opened set.

(As an aside, the small sets are really getting treated poorly. We are barely going to have six weeks with Aether Revolt before Modern Masters 2017 shows up, and that’s just mean.)

I would gladly trade for foil versions of Emrakul, TPE right now, too. The multiplier is right about where I’d like it to be, not too high and not too low. I would expect steady growth from both prices as people trade for the card and they get put into decks and out of circulation.

I’d like to hear if you agree or disagree. Let me know in the comments, or head over to the forum!

5 thoughts on “Trading for banned cards?”

  1. Cliff, I usually don’t agree with you but I have one very positive thing to say regarding your quote: “Even though I’m not convinced of Frontier’s long-term potential, it’s already caused some spikes and I think there’s value to be gained here.” This is maybe the most refreshing thing I’ve read from a finance “expert” in a while. I don’t like Modern and think it’s a terrible format, but I’d be an idiot if I study it from a financial aspect and make money when possible. Frontier may or may not be the next thing but to discount it because Tiny Leaders failed is a huge mistake, so I like your open mindedness. Stock portfolios don’t just have Microsoft and Apple stock, they have penny stocks and when one hits that’s when you make it big.

    Regarding Frontier, I play in the Philadelphia and NJ area and a lot of LGSs are beginning to support Frontier with showcase events. One store has one of the more lucrative and ludicrous payouts for their Frontier event that I’ve seen in a while so they are really pushing it. I don’t recall any of these stores ever having a dedicated Tiny Leaders event. I hope this is a nationwide event as I welcome a new competitive format both as a player and investor. Fingers crossed

  2. Golgari Grave-Troll: “Plus, he’s not good enough for Legacy Dredge, so I’ve got no interest”. Wut? Grave-Troll is in literally every Vintage and Legacy Dredge deck ever…

  3. Bearer of Silence, Dimensional Infiltrator, Gravity Negator, Inverter of Truth, Mist Intruder, Silent Skimmer and Sky Scourer would like to have a word about their flying privileges being revoked.

    1. Maybe he should have said “the only PLAYABLE Eldrazi with flying”… but then again, there’s only like 10 constructed playable Eldrazi anyways.

  4. I’m still bearish about copter… more will technically be opened in aether revolt drafts, so the price will still be dipping. Emrakul is a hard one for me…the price is not going in any direction, so it’s an ok card. Get it if you want to play it in commander though.

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