It’s the New Year, people! Time for reflecting on how the year went, what worked and what didn’t work. For me, in this space, that means it’s time for a dose of honesty, for soothing my ego and for teaching me humility.
I’ve written about how I want to change how I choose my specs, for reasons that will be reinforced today. I want to buy cards with a reason beyond ‘It’s a staple that got cheap.’ I want to anticipate moves, commanders, new decks. So let’s dive into cards I said were worth some of your money, and what I was right about, and what I was wrong about.
On MTG Fast Finance, we do a review of our picks, and I do that here as well. Today, we’re looking just at cards I called out in the first half of this year, as the more recent things haven’t had time to shine up yet.
On February 10, I said you should sell the hell out of Mercurial Spelldancer, as it was going for $11 early based on some great Legacy interactions.
It doesn’t take a galaxy brain to sell cards early, but holding too long is an extremely common error in this realm. When the price is hot, get out. This is also an excellent demonstration of how most rares go, even new ones. If it’s not picked up by multiple formats quickly, then it’s headed to the bulk bin.
A week later, I looked at the Pro Tour that was coming up and told you to be ready on Indomitable Creatvitiy, at the time $15 or so for the nonfoils. Within a month, thanks to the PT, it had doubled to $30. I told you to sell into the coming hype, and I hope you did, because you needed to be out before the end of summer:
Currently $6, and still no reprints! It’s a great graph that shows yet again why you need to sell right away and not get too greedy. If you bought at $15, and it hits $30, you should be listing the card because metagames shift or reprints come along. It was a small-set mythic, and I understand why you’d want to hold out, but this is why we say to sell into hype: when the hype goes away, so does the value.
I also would not be in a rush to stock up on these. The combo has fallen out of favor in the current meta, and I’d be fine seeing the deck do well and buying up some $10 copies at that point.
When we found out that The Ur-Dragon would be in Commander Masters, there were a couple of cards I called out on 2/26. I’ve been right that with new copies of His Eminence running around, there would be a lot more people building the deck and EDHREC bears that out, with The Ur-Dragon being a top 5 Commander for most weeks since its new printing.
In that same article, I said to buy Hellkite Courser at $40 in FEA and it is still $40. I think this is an attention problem, because there’s no Commander that the Courser fits better. I feel like a Secret Lair printing is due for this card, but we’ll see.
In that same article, I pointed out Urza’s Incubator (Borderless foil) got as low as $15 nonfoil/$20 foil and is now trending upwards. If you bought at those lows, I would start to sell the copies you picked up, as we are now up to $30 for nonfoil and $40 for the foils. This is a premium card in typal decks and more copies are inevitably coming down the pipeline.Take your profits and get out.
On March 3rd, I told you to be aware of All Will Be One. I said it would fall a little further from its then price of $11 on 3/3, and it did, down to the $7 range before spiking hard in May. I hope you sold into that spike, when it hit $20, because now it’s available for around $11 again, but creeping upwards.
A week later, I wrote about Oil-Slick foils and had one of my biggest misses: Ichormoon Gauntlet was $35 and is currently just under $20. Ouch. Most of the others have gone down or stayed flat, but Solphim has gone up $10.
A case study followed after that on March 17, when I gave a series of picks about Tom Bombadil, who I felt was going to set some Sagas and Saga accessories into the stratosphere. Here’s the summary:
Kiora bests the Sea God picked at $3 or $6 in foil, hit $17/$22 in July
Historian’s Boon was available for fifty cents in nonfoil EA, got up to $3 in July
Hex Parasite was called at $4 regular and $15 foil, went up to $9/$22 but didn’t get the predicted double up on the foil.
Resourceful Defense went $3 to $6, handy double up.
However, I was wrong about Hall of Heliod’s Generosity. It was $12 then, and with Tom’s release it perked up a little but is now $6. It’s still an extremely busted card for Tom, and I’m surprised the inclusion rate isn’t a lot higher.
After the first wave of March of the Machine previews, I made some predictions:
I said wait on Faerie Mastermind when it was at $8, got down to $4, now $9.
I told you to buy Tribute of the World Tree at $3, it’s also now $9.
However, I must confront two very incorrect calls as well: Invasion of Ikoria, I said it would be $1 and it never went under $5. I also missed badly on Etali, Primal Conqueror, I didn’t see his Commander popularity or the combo/reanimator decks coming at all. Big ouchies.
With Aftermath, I looked at the Halo foils on 5/19, and my mistakes are best summarized as being too early:
Sarkhan Soul Aflame did indeed go under $50, can now be had for $25. Mega-oopsies.
Ob Nixilis at least went up by $10, but Training Grounds went down to $8 from $24.
Coppercoat Vanguard is indeed seeing some play, but every version is cheaper now than it was then. I just needed to be more patient.
Finally, on 5/26 I peeked back at Dominaria United. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse hasn’t caught a reprint or a ban yet, so all versions keep climbing and they aren’t going to stop until the reprint or the ban happens. It’s in lots of formats, though rotation in late 2025 might affect the price a little, that’s 18 months away!
I’m surprised that Leyline Binding has gone down in price, though it’s all over the place. If Up the Beanstalk had not been banned, perhaps it would have had a chance but the graph says that’s unlikely.
I hope this look back helped you as much as it did me. We’ve got to be honest and empirical, looking for trends and rules, so stay tuned for the next one of these!
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.