War of the Spark preview season is here!
Cards are getting released in specific order, each day showing a new facet of the overall story, such as Sorin and Nahiri taking time in the middle of a huge war to have their own private battle.
Previews will be done by the time of the pre-prerelease on April 19, and the rest of us get to play a week after that, including the either brilliant or awful idea of a Grand Prix prerelease.
This first week has caused some big waves in cards, and there’s two classes of spikes: Ones that are due to new interactions in old cards and you should sell sell sell and ones that have larger appeal and are not ‘get them out of your hands now’ level of hype.
Let’s dive in!
Before we go too far, I want to take a look at what preview-season spikes have done to prices over time. Let’s go back to this past summer, and the hype around Arcades Sabboth. Did the defenders hold their prices?
Stalwart Shield-Bearers, a common from 2010, jumped up dramatically, with a couple of eBay sales above $4, but settled back down about $2 after being consistent at $3. This sort of graph is consistent with most sudden spikes: the ones buying too late will pay the most, and a little patience will reward you in the majority of cases.
Not all spikes are the same, though.
Doubling Season has gone up about $20 in the past week, entirely due to people buying up copies because of 37 new planeswalkers in this set. The price increase is correct, but now because of new planeswalkers, but because the price had reached a low after being in Battlebond this past summer.
This price isn’t likely to go back down. It’s one of the most popular casual cards around, an effect that anyone who ever played Magic can look at and say, “Oh my goodness, this card is bonkers with <insert any of 10,000 cards> and I want to durdle with it in Commander!”
We’ve seen what happens over time to this card. It gets expensive, gets reprinted, but a large number of copies never get into circulation because we want to play with a silly card like this, instead of dumping it to a buylist.
If I have extras of Doubling Season around, I might let one or two go at this new price and cover what I paid, and hold on with the rest. This is, in many respects, THE Commander card and iconic of what that format loves to do.
Some cards, though, live in a magical Christmasland of silliness.
Proteus Staff is not going to hold its new price. I had to zoom in on the weeks of pricing because for years upon years upon years it’s been a $3 card, and now it’s $15 because Fibblepits can get you two cards over and over again. Yippee? I respect anyone who wants to work this hard to draw two over and over again, especially in a deck that can’t play other creatures.
Sell your Staff as quickly as you can. There’s ten on eBay right now, buylists aren’t taking much, go sort your bulk rares.
Liliana, Untouched by Death (up to $12 from $5): We’re seeing the return of the Eternals of Amonkhet finally, in the new Amass mechanics that brings along Zombie Army token for fun and profit. The hope here is that she interacts favorably with the new Zombies in Standard, but this is a high buy-in for a card that will have no value when rotation happens in six months. I’d be selling every copy I could.
Mycosynth Lattice (up to $35 from $10):
Reprinted in Battlebond as a mythic, an older card whose price was due to rarity and not demand, this has been almost its own meme in terms of what it could theoretically do, since it made everything into an artifact. The new Karn works with Lattice to literally shut off every card’s activated abilities, including their lands. Good times!
I would be selling quite confidently. If you bought one even at $20, you can get your money back. If you got in at $10, it’s a lot of profit.
Thought Lash (up to $10 from $3): Keep in mind that this was already a combo with Laboratory Maniac (a card which just got reprinted in UMA as an uncommon, else it’d be hitting $10 too) and the new Jace gives you a second ‘I win for having no cards in my library’ effect. This is a Reserved List card, so there’s that pressure in addition to having some super-weird art and being from a set released more than twenty years ago. I would happily sell all my copies, and here’s why:
It’s possible that the card grows again to $15 at some point. It’s on the RL but it can’t be a Modern combo, so people have to do this in Legacy or Commander. I don’t know how long it’ll take to grow that extra $5, and I’d rather take the $5 I made from this and put that into something that could grow more quickly. Taking the profit and moving on is a key part of this hobby, especially if it trickles back down to $6 or $7.
Knowledge Pool (up to $2.50 from fifty cents): New Teferi doesn’t allow people to play things except as sorceries, which is defined as ‘either main phase when nothing is on the stack.’ This means that they literally can’t cast anything from the Pool, it’s a hard lock. This one is indeed Modern legal, it was on an MTGGoldfish video about a year ago, and having an extra piece to this lock is very intriguing. So far, the profits are quite small, even if you have this in your bulk box, and so I’m going to say to be conservative and wait. It’s such a small profit that I would advocate patience, you’ll want to get more than $1 buylist for this.
Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice for five years now, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.