Too Much, Too Soon

If there’s one thing I wish people would stop doing, it’s pre-ordering cards. 

The prices right now for Modern Horizons 2 are incredibly high due to hype and lack of certainty, two factors that combine with the recent price spikes of older cards to lead to a real ‘What on earth is going on?!?’ sort of feeling.

I’m here to tell you to calm down, to not buy anything yet, and be patient. Let’s talk about some current examples of preorder pricing and examine why these are such bad ideas.

First of all, today’s focus is on the regular frame, nonfoil versions of things. There are some scattered preorders for special frame/special foiling versions of MH2 cards, but frankly, we don’t have enough to support a trend. Most vendors are content to sell what they open, and not over-commit to what’s coming and what’s going to be opened.

Second, most of my pricing is taken from eBay, which makes it relatively easy to find numbers for sold items.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer (multiple sold at $80 on eBay) – Is this a good card? Absolutely. Is it overpriced because people are talking it up as a new Dreadhorde Arcanist in Legacy? Partially. Having the Dash ability does make this resistant to sorcery-speed removal, but this price is ridiculous. 

It’s not going to hold a price above $50 unless this is literally the best red creature ever printed. I’m going to go out on a limb and forecast that Ragavan will be available for under $20 within six weeks. (I actually think it’ll go even lower, but a 75% loss is already a big drop)

Subtlety ($45) – Force of Negation premiered in the $40 range, hopped up briefly, then settle back down into the $30-$40 range as blue players gained a greater and greater need for the card.

I expect Subtlety to follow a similar path, but I don’t want to be buying right now. If at all possible, I want to be waiting and buying copies in about two months. Remember that Forgotten Realms is due out on July 23, so the hype is going to move and what stores draft will change. (If your LGS is even open!) I think this has a lot of potential in the long term, but $45 for the regular nonfoil is too high a buy-in when I’m expecting a whole lot of this product to be opened.

Grief ($60) – Interesting. Thoughtseize needed less than a year to hit $75, getting near $100 as it became one of the most common spells in Modern. Repeated reprints have made it cheaper than ever, too:

But now we have a no-mana variant, Unmask in a different form, and it offers some truly backbreaking potential turn 1 with Ephemerate (three cards!!!) or even Cloudshift. We know what Thoughtseize can do, financially, but we don’t know how popular this will be. Thoughtseize broke $60 as a rare, and Grief might be worth it at $60. 

My thought, though, is to let the hype settle down and get to the $30-$40 range if you’re thinking about playing with the card. Most prices are going to fall, and this will be no exception. If the card is real, and if paper play is back, this will shoot straight to the moon.

Dauthi Voidwalker ($40) – If Grief is a big player, this will come along too. It’s an excellent aggressive followup to turn one discard, having a 3/2 unblockable that will sometimes be able to cast their huge spell is a winner too. This is also quite overpriced, though, and I’m expecting this to fall by at least half, and more likely to $15 as a rare.

Damn ($15) – The only sweeper that can kill both Thrun, the Last Troll and Gaddock Teeg, this is a phenomenal card. Being able to kill one or kill all is a really potent combination, even if the BB mode is also sorcery speed. This flexibility is going to lead to this seeing a lot of play in both Modern and Commander. I think this will make it back up to $15, given time, but in the meantime it’s going to fall as far as $5-$7.

Now let’s talk about some of the reprints, and where those will be heading.

Fetchlands (3 at $40-$50, 2 in the $30 range) – We’re about to get a lot of fetchlands. Granted, a big chunk of the fetches opened by individuals will be slotted right into decks, but every Collector Booster box is going to come with 3.3 fetchlands, on average. Keep in mind that these are regular rares, and if we’re cracking a ton of product to run drafts at newly-reopened stores, that’s a large amount entering circulation. Flats and Mesa will be under $20, and I think you’ll have a chance to buy Tarn, Misty, and Verdant at under $30. Make sure that you end up with enough fetches for your current decks, and set aside a few extra to sell or trade when they climb back up again.

Cabal Coffers ($60) – Let’s see what the graph looks like for a card that helped get Prime Time banned from Commander, yes?

This hasn’t had a reprint since Planechase in 2009. Twelve years of Commander players getting more and more insistent that they need the big mana, and of them paying bigger and bigger bucks for that big mana.

Coffers is one of the biggest reprints in this set, and it’s a mythic. A lot of money is going to chase the borderless and the borderless foil, and picking these up in regular nonfoil seems likely under $30. I’m going to try and be patient on this one, but it’s going to rebound from this reprint pretty easily.

Patriarch’s Bidding ($16) – I can see why people want to get this at $16. It’s a $40 card from Onslaught. NINETEEN YEARS they waited to reprint this card! Again, a lot of copies are going to get kept by the people who opened them, which will cut off circulation a little, but there’s generations of players who are clamoring for this in whatever tribal deck they are playing. It’s only good for those tribal deck, though, and only the ones with black as a color. As a result, I think this will fall pretty far…all the way to $5 and if I’m lucky, lower still. If it got to $3, I’d buy them all.

Mirari’s Wake ($17) – Another casual star with minimal reprints, Wake got to its cheapest point when it was reprinted in Conspiracy, followed a couple years later by a Commander reprint. This gave a big window for prices to be down and stay there:

The card is too good, though, and as you see, the price has come roaring back. With this printing, we’re going to see a lot of copies circulating, and that’s going to lead to a race to the bottom. I’m sure it will drop to under $10, but I’m not certain how much lower it’ll go and how many copies it’ll take before I have had enough. If it’s $7, don’t you feel buying it all up is the right play, even for the regular frame nonfoil?

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, 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.

One thought on “Too Much, Too Soon”

  1. I think a lot of the pre ordering has to do with box prices being so high. I cant imagine there arent some people who wont buy a box when normally they would have. Thus moving the funds into certain singles

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