All posts by James Chillcott

MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (March 7th/15)

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By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

It recently occurred to us here that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when we actually put our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series simply breaking down what we’ve been buying this week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought without hope of profit, where appropriate. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here’s what we were up to this week:

Buying Period: March 1st -7th, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 8x Thassa, God of the Sea @ $4.50 per
  • 4x Master of Waves @ $2.60 per
  • 8x Otujai Exemplars @ $8.00 per
  • 3x Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (Foil) @ $30 per
  • 3x Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (Foil, Japanese) @ $60 per
  • 3x Decimate (Conspiracy Foil) @ $4.00 per
  • 1x Lilianna of the Veil @ $58
  • 3x Abrupt Decay @ $10.40 per
  • 2x Chord of Calling @ $2.25 per
  • 17x Sliver Hive @ $3.50 per
  • 5x Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Foil) @ $24 per

SOLD

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  • 2x Counterbalance @ $15 per ($5 cost)
  • 2x Ghostway @ $8 per ($2 cost)
  • 1x Mindbreak Trap @ $6 ($2 cost)
  • 2x Lotus Petal @ $4 (pack opened ages ago)
  • 1x Dark Citadel (Japanese foil) @ $14 ($8 cost)

Wow, what a week! Between the Dragons of Tarkir reveals and the Magic Origins and Battle for Zendikar reveals, there are a lot of fresh specs in play.

With the new UUU Shorecrasher Elemental revealed in Dragons of Tarkir, Thassa and Master of Waves both have a chance at seeing fresh play in standard, but I was already acquiring both cards on the assumption that they will find fresh homes in Modern/Legacy eventually or simply age well as casual specs. Either way, they are undervalued mythics and I’m going deep. As of this morning, they’ve both spiked 40-70% off the reveal of Shorecrasher Elemental, so we’ll see if a deck emerges with legs. Some of my copies were bought around $2-3, so I’ll be looking to out them immediately.

Otujai Exemplars was a value play, since I snagged it well below the average pre-order price. I think this card settles in the $6-8 range, assuming some standard play at top tables, but could rise later if it fits into a winning deck and supply has dwindled. I’ll likely trade out early and buy back in when enough packs are cracked to see a new low.

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver featured prominently in the winning deck at the first SCG Modern Series last weekend in the hands of Sultai master Gerrard Fabiano. He’s not a staple in the format yet, but any chance of this mythic planeswalker seeing continued play in Modern makes me willing to pick up foil copies at market price. Interestingly, the only Japanese copies I could find ended up being from Travis, who got in on them at $30 and is happy to nearly double up and move on to something else.

Decimate is a Conspiracy foil that is selling for 1/3 of the original foil. That gap will close, especially with more Conspiracy hoarded in sealed boxes than actually opened. It’s a great EDH/Commander card and should top $10 within a year or two.

The LoTV was a copy I found at an LGS that hadn’t boosted prices yet from her recent spike/US to CDN currency exchange. Abrupt Decay is a card we should all be acquiring in quantity. It will hit $20 within the year.

Sliver Hive is a highly specialized piece of real estate with huge casual demand, occasional Tier 2 Legacy play and a low chance of imminent reprint. As such I’m targeting an $8-10 price tag within 18 months and have been acquiring them in quantity since release.

As for Tasigur, my early call that he was underrated has come true, and I now expect this guy to be a multi-format player for many years. As such, his small set foils are pretty tasty at any price under $30 and I’ll aim to acquire plenty over the next few months.

On the sales side, I’m generally stock piling more than selling, but I cleaned out a few randoms this week, and I’m ramping up to out my Tasigur piles up 300% to move in on foils.

Jared Yost

  • 15x End Hostilities @ $1.60
  • 15x Whip of Erebos (Clash Pack FOIL) @ $2.60
  • 1x Saffi Eriksdotter (Foil) @ $17.00
Jared says:
“I bought End Hostilities due to the reveal of Ojutai’s Command and Narset Transcendent. U/W Control is getting good support from Dragons of Tarkir and End Hostilities will fit in the deck nicely.
 
I picked up the clash pick Whip of Erebos because I think its a nice long term hold for Commander. Whip gives a powerful effect to black decks and I like the art on the clash pack foils. It adds another layer of collectability to the card.
 
Lastly, Saffi was another Tiny Leaders pickup. In addition to Tiny Leaders she is also a decent Cube/Commander card.”

 

Travis Allen (@wizardbumpin)

BOUGHT

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Short/Mid:
  • 7x Utvara Helkite @ $3.50
  • 14x Scourge of Valkas @ $2.75
  • 60x Scourge of Throne @ $5.00 per
  • 44x See the Unwritten @ $1.30
  • 121x Battlefield Thaumaturge @ $0.25
Mid/Long:
  • 95x Hall of Triumph Promo @ $0.49
  • 6x Sage of Hours @ $1.25
  • 36x Chord of Calling @ $3.25 per

Travis says:

Scourge of Valkas: Spreading out my Dragon holdings in anticipation of DTK increasing interest in the entire tribe. 

Utvara Hellkite: Ditto.

Scourge of the Throne: Dragons and dragon-related cards have been spiking a lot recently with Dragons of Tarkir on the horizon, and Scourge is well positioned. It’s been creeping up for awhile, and Conspiracy was not opened much. When I bought in I was intending to wait anywhere from a month or two to a year, depending on how long the demand took to squeeze the market. Turns out I was only a few hours ahead of the wave as we’ve already seen a good spike on Scourge this week!

See the Unwritten: Something will be battling against our heroes for Zendikar in the fall, and it’s a pretty safe bet they’re the Eldrazi. Who doesn’t want to dump the new Emrakul and Ulamog into play with this? At a little over $1 each, the card doesn’t even have to be good. People just have to think it will be in order to make a profit here.

Battlefield Thaumaturge: I’ve liked this card since it was spoiled, but never bought in. With Assault of Dragons in DTK, alongside another red token maker, you can kill your opponent turn four with a sequence of Dragon Tempest, Hordeling Outburst, Thamaturge and Assault. At $.25 the risk is very low and the price potential is in the double digits if the deck breaks out.

Sage of Hours: I talked about this card in my article on Wednesday.

Hall of Trimpuh: Glorious Anthem effects have always been popular, as noted by the >$1 price tag on the eponymous card despite six printings. A colorless anthem from a small spring set stands to be at least $1-$2, and possibly $3-$6.

Chord of Calling: Chord used to be a $40 card. It’s fallen out of favor somewhat lately, but with Birthing Pod gone, it is the best creature tutor in Modern. With the card at a lifetime floor, now seems as good a time as any to stock up for what could be a $7-$15 card in a year or two.

SOLD

  • 3x Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (Foil Japanese): $60.00 per

Guo Heng Chin (@theguoheng)

Note: Guo Heng Chin buys from Malyasia, so his costs will tend to be different than for those of us based in the west. 

BOUGHT:

  • 1 x Foil Hypnotic Siren @ $1.90

SOLD:

  • 1 x Outpost Siege @ $3.25

Guo says:

“Both transactions were conducted during FNM at my local game store.

The foil Hypnotic Siren was for Tiny Leaders. It was a discovery by a friend and fellow Magic player, @rezaaba. A couple of weeks back he mentioned to me that Hypnotic Siren is one of the rare few control magic effects legal in Tiny Leaders.

I stumbled upon a foil copy at my local game store yesterday while sifting through a collection they have just bought. I’m not sure how viable Hypnotic Siren is, but she provides a rare effect in the format and has a Nyx-ified border, which means a very low chance of reprint.

I’ve started offloading the 16 Outpost Sieges I bought at $0.49 apiece last month. Outpost Sieges are currently retailing for $4 – $4.50 and while I’m fine with selling them at $3 – $3.50, I have a nagging feeling Outpost Siege still have room to grow.

Outpost Siege is pretty insane in Standard and Caleb Durward suggested that it may even be good enough for Modern in his article last week aptly titled ‘The Best Cards Not Being Played in Modern’.

I’m optimistic about Outpost Siege’s financial potential, especially when its from a smallish set. Or maybe I should just leave the last 10% to the next person.”

So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying and selling this week and why?

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: March 2nd/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

5 Winners of the Week

1. Whisperwood Elemental (Fate Reforged, Mythic): $9.15 to $12.15 (33%)

From last week:

“Green was already the default best color in standard before Fate Reforged rolled up and dropped this sweet threat onto the table. Though many were dubious at first, recent showings at big standard tournaments has demonstrated that Whisperwood Elemental is an excellent way to close out games fast if your opponent isn’t packing enough removal. In partnership with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and various mana dorks, this heavy hitter provides especially tricky scenarios for both aggro and control decks who will often have trouble going just one for one with the lord of the groves.  With FRF not likely to be as opened as many other sets, there’s a good chance that this one falls off a bit heading into summer, only to rise again at rotation. As such you can sell now if you got in early and don’t need them to play with. Otherwise, you’re safe to hold into fall.”

More of the same. The card is seeing lots of play and you can hold to play or sell to profit as you desire.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold/Sell

2. Summoner’s Pact (Future Sight, Rare): $6.51 to $8.46 (30%)

Along with Amulet of Vigor, Primeval Titan, Pact of Negation and Hive Mind, pretty much all of the relevant cards in the Amulet Bloom deck have spiked by this point as it becomes more and more clear that the deck is Tier 1 despite being tough to master the play lines. Of the bunch, Pact of Negation and Summoner’s Pact are the least likely to get banned and the most likely to have additional applications in future decks. They’re also unlikely to be reprinted again any time soon since they both appeared in Modern Masters. As such there may be upside left to be found on both cards, with Summoner’s Pact potentially peaking around $15 in if stays relevant in Modern. I’m not holding any beyond my personal play set, but if you had some tucked away, I’d look to get out around $10 before mid-summer if possible.

Format(s): Modern/EDH

Verdict: Hold

3. Leonin Shikari (Darksteel, Rare): $6.55 to $8.23 (26%)

This card is spiking on Tiny Leaders speculation. The assumption is that the card is going to be great with friends such as Stoneforge Mystic, the 5 super swords and other white equipment specific beaters under 3 casting cost. It could push higher later as the supply is relatively limited, but for now should settle south of $10 until Tiny Leaders demand really gets beyond the speculation phase and enough players have their decks made.

Format(s): Tiny Leaders/Casual

Verdict: Hold

4. Genesis Hydra ( M15, Rare): $2.09 to $2.52 (21%)

I’ve got about 20 of these so I’d love to see this guy spike hard before rotating into irrelevancy but I’m not holding my breath despite this reasonable increase after showing up in the new versions of green devotion in Standard recently. It’s too low to be worth selling, but if it hits $4-5, my ears might perk up.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

5. Garruk, Apex Predator: $11.09 to $13.36 (20%)

Having fallen down from $30 highs on release, Garruk is enjoying a mild resurgence as a solid answer for Abzan and Sultai builds looking to contain Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or grind out longer games in Standard. Below $10 he was midly sexy, as he isn’t likely to see a reprint anytime soon and could hit $15-20 in a couple of years on limited supply, but we might as well wait until rotation this fall to snap off some copies in the $6-8 range.

Format(s): Standard/Casual

Verdict: Sell

 3 Top Losers of the Week

This weeks losers are all just recently spiked cards that have fallen back a bit off recent highs as hype mellows. To wit:

1. Amulet of Vigor: $7.63 to $6.00 (-21%)

2. Wilt-Leaf Liege: $33.76 to $27.00 (-20%)

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3. Doubling Season: $29.00 to $24.55 (15%)

Quick Hits

  • Believe it or not, as of this morning we’ve already entered Dragons of Tarkir spoiler season. So far the most interesting card is probably Sidisi, Undead Vizier. StarCityGames.com continued their trend of providing tempting pricing on newly spoiled rares to get the hype train rolling, and some of us got our hands on pre-order copies around $1 this afternoon. Expect this one to settle in between $4-5 as people try to figure out if this Tasigur/Whisperwood good or just a trap card. My money is on “very good” as I don’t think we should underestimate just how much decks like Sultai Control will appreciate the ability to ramp out and drop this guy on Turn 3/4, sacrifice a mana dork that has outlived it’s usefulness and go search up the perfect answer to the current board state. As a 4/6 Deathtouch, this incarnation of Sidisi is also great at blocking all the usual suspects and fuels Delve spells. As such this is could be an easy 3-4 of in a few decks.
  • Now is a pretty good time to be ordering yourself some playsets of KTK fetchlands for future use or profit in the $210-$220 range. as this is as low as it looks like they’re likely to go. We won’t be getting any more fetchlands until at least Modern Masters 2 and if I had to guess, they’ll actually be delayed until a spring or fall 2016 Return to Zendikar block, so get while the getting is good. Foils also look tasty at all-time lows.
  • It’s possible that there are some Dragon cards you should be giving a 2nd look at given what’s coming in DoT. Cards like See the Unwritten and Atarka have room to spike if they end up great in a shifting metagame.
  • If you’re looking for any big ticket items, you might want to check on inventory with FacetoFace Games or 401 Games in Toronto and Montreal. Many of the Canadian stores haven’t quite caught up on repricing their cards after a recent 20%+ currency shift and there are plenty of deals to be had if you’re paying in US dollars on your credit cards or via Paypal.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying This Week (Feb 28th/15)

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

It recently occurred to us here that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when we actually put our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series simply breaking down what we’ve been buying this week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought without hope of profit, where appropriate. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here we go!

Buying Period: Feb 21st – 28th, 2015

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

  • Long: 5x Daretti, Scrap Savant (NM): $3.20 per
  • Mid: 12x Soulflayer (NM):  $1.50 per
  • Long: 4x Polluted Delta (KTK, NM): $12.50 per
  • Long: 4x Flooded Strand (KTK, NM): $12.50 per
  • Long: 4x Windswept Heath (KTK, NM): $8 per
  • Long: 10x Kiora’s Follower (NM – Alt Art Foil Promo): $0.25 per
  • Long: 10x Plague Stinger (NM – Alt Art Promo): $0.25 per
  • Long: 10x In Garruk’s Wake (NM – Alt Art Foil Promo): $0.25 per

My buying pattern was largely opportunistic this week, breaking off whatever deals I stumbled across as I sell off many of my better specs from earlier in the year.

First off, tip of the hat to Brainstorm Brewery’s own Ryan Bushard for turning me on to Daretti, Scrap Savant as an undervalued planeswalker currently being held back by the total value of the other rares from the red Commander 2014 deck. Anything under $5 seems like a great entry point for a 1-2 year hold up above $10.

I’m in for cheap Soulflayers all day long, as I’m still relatively certain that the card finds a home in Modern and/or Legacy in at least a Tier 2 deck that will Top 8 sooner or later. I’ve play tested the card in Deep Sea Delver a bunch, and it’s power level in the Delve/Aggro-Combo builds that are floating around isn’t that different from Tasigur and can easily be better with the right enabling cards.

Though I believe that we will be waiting at least a couple of years to see real appreciation in the KTK fetchlands, I’ve started acquiring playsets at the low end of available pricing, while I keep an eye out for a $200 set of 20.

I also bought up a few more promo sets for the trade binder, since the price was so sweet.

Guo Heng Chin (@theguoheng)

Note: Guo Heng Chin buys from Malyasia, so his costs will tend to be different than for those of us based in the west. 

  • 1 x Cartel Aristocrat Foil (NM): $2.77
  • 1 x Anax and Cymede Foil (NM): $1.94

Guo says:

“Both cards were acquired for personal use with store credit. I’ve discussed both of them in my article a few days back; I think both cards have a lot of potential in Tiny Leaders and foils are relatively cheap now. 

Cartel Aristocrat is a nifty engine card in multiple archetypes, and is a difficult-to-remove threat on her own. I got my foil Cartel Aristocrat for my Anafenza, the Foremost deck where Cartel Aristocrat was an MVP ( she is one of the sac outlets for the Melira combo and a formidable threat by her own when bolstered with Anafenza’s counters. A sword-wielding Aristocrat was quite the menace as well). 
Anax and Cymede is reputedly a tier one leader with multiple ways to build around. The obvious path would be the hyper-aggressive swarm builds, but I’ve seen RW goodstuff builds floating around too. Red has some of the best board wipes in the format and white some of the best removals.
More importantly, optimal Anax and Cymede lists could be assembled on a budget. Though I have no plans to venture into Anax and Cymede yet, I thought I should secure my own foil copy preemptively, in case it spikes in popularity as Anax and Cymede is an ideal deck for players interested in getting into Tiny Leaders on the cheap. “

 

Jared Yost

  • 23x Rakshasa Deathdealer (NM): $0.95 per
  • 10x Chord of Calling (NM): $3.99 per
  • 1x Anafenza, the Foremost (NM, Prerelease Foil): $17.50 per
  • 1x Alesha, Who Smiles at Death (NM, Prerelease Foil): $8.20 per

Jared says:

“I decided to pick up several Deathdealers, as I feel that they are very underpriced at $1. G/B/x aggro decks have been putting up decent results even after Fate Reforged has been released. Also, when Theros rotates out Deathdealer could shine in the post-Theros Standard environment.

I picked up some Chords this week as well due to the Birthing Pod ban. I feel that eventually Chord of Calling will be quite good in Modern. It was priced at $25 and higher before the M15 reprint. $4 seems very underpriced to me for such a powerful effect.

Lastly, I picked up the prelease foil Anafenza and Alesha as Tiny Leaders specs. Both generals seem strong in the format.”

 Travis Allen

Sold:

  • 16x Whisperwood Elemental, $12.50 per
  • 1x Azusa, Lost but Seeking: $39.00 per
Bought:
Nothing

So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying this week and why?

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

ADVERTISEMENT: Get the Cube Starter Bundle with the 3rd Edition Grimoire Deck Box, the brand new Grimoire Deck Box designed specifically for the red mage in you. 

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WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: Feb 25th/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Innovation continues to define both Standard and Modern as we roll on through one of the best constructed seasons in the last decade. Winners at notable major tournaments this past weekend define our big movers this week, as the community looks forward to Dragons of Tarkir spoilers in just a few short weeks.

5 Winners of the Week

1. Whisperwood Elemental (Fate Reforged, Mythic): $8.98 to $12.12 (35%)

Green was already the default best color in standard before Fate Reforged rolled up and dropped this sweet threat onto the table. Though many were dubious at first, recent showings at big standard tournaments has demonstrated that Whisperwood Elemental is an excellent way to close out games fast if your opponent isn’t packing enough removal. In partnership with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and various mana dorks, this heavy hitter provides especially tricky scenarios for both aggro and control decks who will often have trouble going just one for one with the lord of the groves.  With FRF not likely to be as opened as many other sets, there’s a good chance that this one falls off a bit heading into summer, only to rise again at rotation. As such you can sell now if you got in early and don’t need them to play with. Otherwise, you’re safe to hold into fall.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold/Sell

2. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx (Theros, Rare):  $4.12 to $5.45 (32%)

Prices on this most wondrous of mana generators range anywhere from $5 to $8 at present, with scant few copies available anywhere in the $3-4 range it was trading at just a few weeks back. Blame the rediscovery of mono-green and green-X devotion builds, within which Nykthos is often the glue that binds the deck together, powering out Temur Sabertooth, Whisperwood Elemental and Hornet Queens with equal finesse. I’ve been a buyer thus far on any copies I could find under $4, but your best entry point may now be at rotation, where you should be able to scoop copies up and sit on them for a few years to double up.

Format(s): Standard, Modern, EDH/Casual

Verdict: Hold

3. Outpost Siege (Fate Reforged, Rare): $2.12 to $2.80

The other deck that is doing exceptionally well right now is R/W aggro, but in truth, getting a free card per turn for the low low cost of just 3R is likely to appeal to many decks over the next year. Heck, we use to pay 4 a turn for this effect! With constant play, this card could easily rise into the $6-8 range next fall, so if you can score some under $4, it seems like a reasonable bet on card advantage continuing to be worth of a few card slots for the rest of the year.

Format(s): Standard, EDH/Casual

Verdict: Buy

4. Genesis Hydra (M15, Rare): $1.95 to $2.44 (25%)

I’ve been holding some of these since they first came out, but they never really got there as a spec, so those 3 playsets will be finding homes in my trade binder and various casual decks once I’m done with them in Standard. The card is great, and there is some version of the future where it might even catch fire in Modern with Nykthos to power it out and do something ugly, but I wouldn’t be caught holding my breath on that, or very many of these at rotation either.

Format(s): Standard, EDH/Casual

Verdict: Trade/Sell

5. Asuza, Lost but Seeking (Champions of Kamigawa, Rare): $30.13 to $36.11

It’s hard to believe that I was picking these up last year at $6 as an EDH spec, and now here we are with Amulet Bloom earning Tier 1 respect in Modern and this card ensuring it has enough consistency in comboing off to make those bones. There is a solid chance this single print rare shows up in Modern Masters 2 this summer, so it’s probably time to claim whatever profits you can and look to pick some up on the cheap when MM2 prices bottom out in July.

Format(s): Modern EDH/Casual

Verdict: Trade/Sell

 3 Top Losers of the Week

1. All is Dust (Rise of the Eldrazi, Rare): $20.32 to $14.00 (-31%)

This is a great card in EDH/Casual environments, and cool factor has kept it up, but the threat of a reprint in MM2 is just too great for it to not recede into fearful territory. You should be unloading these.

Format(s): Modern EDH/Casual

Verdict: Trade/Sell

2. Whip of Erebos (Theros, Rare): $4.87 to $3.93 (19%)

This card’s been on a bit of a roller coaster lately with it’s price tightly tied to how well GBx Reanimation strategies are doing at big Standard tournaments. It will likely oscillate in the $3-6 range heading toward rotation, but you don’t want to be caught holding too many because this will be a low demand casual card come the fall. There’s also a fresh printing in the Clash Pack for the spring, which hardly helps.

Format(s): Standard/Casual

Verdict: Trade/Sell

3. Pact of Negation (Modern Masters, Rare): $14.78 to $13.07 (12%)

Given that this key card from the Amulet Bloom deck has been on the rise of late, I wouldn’t give this minor pullback much thought. Having just been printed in the last Modern Masters set, it’s pretty unlikely to see yet another reprint in MM2 this summer, so you are likely safe to snag these in the $12-14 range or in trades where you can, hoping it will rise into the $20 zone on the back of one deck or another.

Format(s): Modern/Legacy

Verdict: Buy/Trade

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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