Category Archives: Modern Masters

MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (May 9/15)

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 has occurred to us at MTGPrice that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when our writing team actually puts our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series breaking down what we’ve been buying and selling each 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: May 3 – May 9th, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted. All sell prices are net of fees unless noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)


  • 1x Myth Realized (foil) @ $7.00
  • 1x Griselbrand @ $13.50
  • 1x Whisperwood Elemental @ $8.50
  • 1x Temple Garden @ $8.25
  • 1x Mana Confluence @ $7.50
  • 1x Scavenging Ooze (Russian promo foil) @ $11
  • 2x Pharika, God of Afflication @ $3.25/per
  • 2x Siege Rhino (foil) @ $16
  • Mutavault (Japanese) @ $10
  • 1x boxes of Modern Masters 2015 @ $230


  • 6x Modern Masters 2015 @ $255 USD ($210 cost)

SOLD (Pucatrade)

  • 1x Grafdigger’s Cage (foil) @ $19.00 (pack opened)
  • 1x Tarmogoyf @ $195.00 ($135 cost)
  • 1x Wilt Leaf Liege @ $29.42 (pack opened)
  • 1x Sensei’s Divining Top @ $32.41 (pack opened)
  • 1x Horizon Canopy @ $34.65 ($18 cost)
  • 5x Steam Vents @ $13.20 ($8.25 cost)

My total haul of MM2 boxes now stands at 20+. The revelation of the full set list through plenty of folks for a loop, as the final rares list was significantly less exciting than many had hoped for. Running the Estimated Value (EV) calculation on the set however has revealed that much of the value has simply been shifted to the mythics and the current EV per pack is very close to the MSRP of $9.99. This means that opening a box at MSRP is roughly equivalent to the math on opening a box of MM1 in the summer of 2013, which featured a similar EV. Each pack you open will feature higher variance, but the more packs you open the more likely you are to even out your opens. As such, I’m expecting the EV to fall off in the weeks following the triple Grand Prix into the $7-8 range as people sell off their opens. If the set is constricted on supply and/or considered too risky by players to open frequently, I would expect the box trajectory to follow a similar path to MM1, with less total upside. My current target is $325 on boxes by December 2015. Even if dealers end up having more supply than my sources have told me they will, a neutral EV out of the gate is unlikely to motivate them to open enough boxes to further tank the singles market on the mythics. We now need to see how the draft format is received, because a great format will drive sales and pack openings, and push EV further down the curve, whereas a bad draft format could keep the price of key cards relatively stable.  More on this as the issues play out.

Most of my singles purchases this week were simply opportunistic grabs at prices below retail, or cards I expect to continue rising heading into fall.

Pucatrade was a huge help this week, allowing me to out MM2 reprints like Leyline of Sanctity, Wilt Leaf Liege and Tarmogoyf at full value. I now have about $700 worth of Pucapoints, accumulated since the end of March, and my goal is to trade into a mox on that platform before the end of summer.

Guo Heng Chin


  • Thunderbreak Regent (out) for one Dragonlord Dromoka (in).

Jared Yost

  • 4x Willow Satyr @ $13.96
  • 4x Gravity Sphere @ $11.76 + $1 shipping
Jarod says:
“I’ve picked up these Reserve List cards due to some analysis I did on Legends and potentially undervalued cards on the Reserve List.”

Note: The rest of the guys were quiet this week.

Bonus Tips:

  • Putting some money aside for the two weeks after the triple MM2 GPs across the globe is a solid notion indeed. Tens of thousands of packs will be opened at those tournaments and many of those players will be looking to sell of sweet opens that they don’t need for their own decks to recoup some of their trip costs. This should lead to a plethora of good deals as the sellers crowd each other out in a race to the bottom of the price ladder. This will also be the period where key standard cards will start to bottom out into their usual summer doldrums, and great cards from Khans block are likely to be in bargain territory with so much focus on Modern cards.
  • Before you plow too much money into the Eldrazi from MM2, keep in mind that we are very likely to get even more exciting Eldrazi this fall in Battle for Zendikar. Since the Eldrazi characters are set in stone, new versions could easily injur the price points on the earlier editions if they prove more interesting to collectors.
  • The absence of man-lands, Inquisition of Kozilek and Goblin Guide leaves me wondering whether WOTC will simply reprint some or all of these cards in the fall. This makes me very hesitant to get in on any of them right now.
  • As I’m writing this Yohan Dudognon is 7-0 at GP Paris running an entirely new multi-color Collected Company deck running Mantis Rider, Savage Knuckleblade and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. He just tapped out end of turn for Stoke the Flames tapping Riders and Knuckleblades so he has my full attention. Bottom line: Collected Company is proving to be a flexible and powerful magic card. Foils should be top targets while they’re cheap. I have them breaking $20 later this year.

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

James Chillcott is the CEO of, 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. 


A quick bit of house-keeping at the top of today’s article: as you may have noticed, I’m on the ProTrader side of the site. Overall, my writing is going to stay the same, but I’m going to limit explanations of common terms and avoid rehashing the basics as much. If you ever have a question about something I write about, reach out on the forums or in the comments—I have really enjoyed the great feedback and discussion I’ve gotten from y’all so far. Also, I’m going to try my best to keep the parallels to football to a minimum, but sometimes they work, so let’s just try and meet somewhere in the middle on that. And now, onto your regularly scheduled programming.

“We are less than a month away from Modern Masters 2”

I seriously have to tell myself that sometimes, because it really seems absurd. The accelerated release schedule that we’ve had is probably the first time where I’ve felt like things are coming out too fast. Dragons of Tarkir has been out for a little over a month, and most of us are only now realizing what a great set it is (let’s come back to this another week, though).

Realize that, three months from today, two new Magic sets will have been released. It’s unheard of.

Of course, Wizards is well aware of the potential danger of product fatigue—the company has managed to avoid it for over two decades at this point, but I definitely think they are wading into deeper waters. The solution, at this point, is branding. Modern Masters 2015, like its predecessor, is not intended for newer or younger players. Per Aaron Forsythe’s article on the release of MM1:

“And third, we hope the price difference keeps the product out of the wrong hands. The set will not be Standard legal—I repeat, the set will not be Standard legal—and we don’t want newer players picking these up by mistake thinking they can use them at, say, Friday Night Magic. The higher price should give them pause and make sure that players that know exactly what they’re buying are the ones getting them.”

One of the great things about Wizards is that so many of their choices and decisions, even at a corporate level, are informed by context and “getting” their audience. There are a lot of valid reasons for pricing Modern Masters sets like they have, and some of them are things they can’t really spell out on the mothership (WOTC really doesn’t like talking publicly about the secondary market).

I hate this reasoning though—it’s like making Hello Kitty wine and saying that kids won’t want it, because they know the legal drinking age is 21. My LGS has a very casual and very young base, but they all drool over the Modern Masters boxes we have behind the counter. Magic, as a forward-facing product that is the subsidiary of a humongous toy corporation, is always trying to keep its #brand fresh by changing how it looks every year. Right now it’s Dragon World, before it was Greek World, and a couple of times it was Robot World (we won’t talk about the year that it was “Silk Button-Down Anime Shirt World”).

The problem is that for the overwhelming majority of Magic’s audience, the brand isn’t defined by who or what is pictured on the packs this month, it’s by the allure of owning really good cards. Tarmogoyf is one of the most constantly talked about cards ever, on the level of Black Lotus and the best Jace. Want to own a Tarmogoyf of your own? Well, you can always try your luck at Modern Masters.

I say all of that to illustrate that WOTC’s branding of Modern Masters seems to imply that demand will only be from a segment of the community. Here is, in actuality, a highly scientific chart illustrating the demand for this product:


There is going to be a lot of demand for this product, across a very wide spectrum of players. Those who can afford to buy sealed product are going to do so, but that number is likely to be a small percentage of the players you typically interact with. In the short term, I expect a lot of players to be looking to convert their extra standard and EDH stock into Modern Masters. If you are looking for a sneaky good opportunity to get in on things like Khans fetch lands or other standard-legal targets, it may be coming up. If you plan on getting into sealed product, consider having a box of packs that you trade out, especially if you are able to get in at the $200 to $225 range. A lot of players are going to want to get those packs, but taking a sure thing in trade is always going to be the winning side.

I also want to talk about what is in the set, because as of now (Wednesday), we are starting to get credible information and spoilers. Most recently, Spellskite was added, and Splinter Twin, first suspected to be a mythic, was downgraded to rare. I expect that we will start to get official WOTC spoilers soon, and that we will know the full set long before it gets published officially. There was a big leak over the weekend, which featured the (original) Command cycle, Goblin Guide, Noble Heirarch, and several other high-profile cards (in addition to the aforementioned Splinter Twin).


On Monday morning, at least a full day after the leak went viral, I had a friend ask if now was the time to move his set of Noble Hierarchs (which he does not currently use, so it is not impacting his ability to play). I told him no, because the best time has likely already passed. At this point, the smartest move is to wait until Magic Origins: if the supply of MM2 has dried up, then prices will start to rise like last time, and he’ll come out as well as he would have (if not better) than selling them before the leak. If you have anything you are considering selling that falls in the range of “potentially in Modern Masters 2,” my best recommendation for right now is to wait. I think most vendors are going to be very conservative on buying until we know the full set, and once something is for sure not in, the price will likely see a small, quick uptick. Anything that is spoiled for MM2 will likely see a short dip, followed by whatever impact MM2 will have on the market.

My personal expectation is that there will likely be “enough” MM2. The print run on MM1 was small, and was made even smaller by distributors stashing away cases. I think the two-pronged solution of more product plus a higher MSRP (which also means “higher wholesale cost”) will prevent distributors from holding onto as much as they did last time, so a higher percentage of the total print run will hit the market. A lot of packs are going to be shipped out in anticipation of the massive bacchanal sealed GPs that will be happening the following weekend, but I suspect that that is merely in addition to the print run, not a portion of it. WOTC wants to make sure that people feel like they had the chance to get some, without devaluing the product so much (in either price or allure) that they can’t swing Modern Masters 2017 in two years. Things like Serum Visions will plummet back to earth, but the cards like Dark Confidant and Tarmogoyf will stay elusive enough to make people clamor for future printings.


Some quick Modern Masters-themed hits to close us out:

  • In the arcana for the upcoming FNM promos, they said July and August will both be Modern staples in honor of MM2, even though the set will be released two months earlier. It doesn’t say specifically if Path to Exile (the first promo) will or will not be in the set. I could see it going either way.
  • Speaking of promos, I read that roughly 1,200 of the new Liliana promos were given out last weekend. If that number stays the same, it means less than 10,000 of them will be in existence at the end of the year. I don’t plan on trying to get my set until after the third round of RPTQs, when they will lose their allure.
  • Speaking of Liliana of the Veil, all of the cards “safe” from Modern Masters 2 (Innistrad, Return to Ravnica, etc.) are probably going to see a short-term surge, but will settle back after people realize that wasn’t a supply-driven spike, but rather opportunism. Stay away in the short term, unless you see something that you absolutely can’t live without that has stayed relatively static. Shout out to Jagster in the forums.
  • I’m excited to see what draft archetypes get included this time around!
  • It’s crazy that Blood Moon, a card that has been in Eight Edition, Ninth Edition, and freakin’ CHRONICLES is still $20. That would be a great include, but at some point you have to expect Magus of the Moon to start climbing. That card was in one set, and that set was Future Sight, so it almost doesn’t even count. Plus, do you remember the 8-Moon decks? I sure do, they were sweet. I’m tempted to just buy a ton of magi right now for retail. I also want to build Karstenbot again.
  • Profane Command is about to be reprinted for the actual hundredth time. That card gets no respect, no respect at all! Profane Command gets so little respect, American Airlines called, they thanked him for flying United!
  • We haven’t gotten official confirmation, but I don’t think there will be room for any of the Swords since the Eldrazi (and their Dust) will be taking over mythic slots. This means that there won’t be many good targets for Steelshaper’s Gift, which means the card could very likely not make it in MM2. If it’s not, I expect it to be the most expensive uncommon in Modern, unless I’m missing something super obvious. Also, I’m hoping for a Remand reprint.
  • People were clamoring after Splinter Twin got confirmed at rare that the Reddit leak was wrong, but the source had a lot of credibility from getting stuff right with MM1. If you don’t remember the old leaks (Ranc0red_Elf, et al), then it may sound like these leaks are just people throwing stuff against a wall to see what sticks, but there are a few sources with credible info. Getting rarity wrong is not a glaring error, especially since they are typically only dealing with limited information, and I’ve seen a lot of pictures where the set symbol could be either gold or orange. When you are reading spoiler info, try to get a sense of the poster’s pedigree, and if they have a high resolution, full frame picture of a new planeswalker with a crazy ability, assume it’s fake.
  • We are going to do another set review coming up soon like I did with Future Sight. I’m thinking Coldsnap, but if you have a favorite, let me know!

Thanks for reading my first ProTrader article! It was a pretty difficult topic to try and cover all at once, but I am more than happy to go over anything I may have skimmed in the comments. If you want to talk about any of this below, I’ll keep a close eye on the feed. Thanks, and I’ll see y’all next week!




Welcome back, financiers! Before we get into talking about dollars, cents, and mana symbols, I want to thank everyone for sticking with me for the past 60 articles that I’ve written for Brainstorm Brewery and MTGPrice. I’m extremely excited to be on this Avengers-esque superteam that has created, and I have dibs on being Iron Man. We’re in the process of ramping up the benefits that ProTraders on the site receive, so please check out  this video if you’re interested in turning Magic into a more serious form of income that can work for you.

While some of our articles are going behind a paywall, I’m glad to report that my content will remain free to read. Now, let’s get into the real introduction to this week’s topic of discussion.

Reprints and Card Values

“Man, the reprint of Adarkar Valkyrie really killed the value.” How many times have you heard a statement or question similar to that? When done correctly (or incorrectly, depending on your view of the game and whether or not you own the cards), reprints can absolutely destroy the value of a previously expensive card by overloading the supply in the market. Back in the 1990s, Chronicles nearly destroyed the game due to the massive devaluing of collections across the board. We saw (well, I didn’t personally, as Chronicles was released when I was nine months old) the original five elder dragons tank down to fractions of their roughly $25 values.


Learning from its mistakes, Wizards of the Coast was much more cautious with the print run of the first Modern Masters. Popular and hard to find casual reprints such as Divinity of Pride  and Adarkar Valkyrie were hammered down to 20 percent of their original prices, and they don’t look like they’ll ever be able to recover anytime soon, especially since they both took an additional punch from the Commander products. Other top contenders for largest percentage price drop due to a reprint have been Polluted Delta, Stifle,  and Sanguine Bond.

Thankfully, WOTC has managed to tread the careful line between “Every card being on the Reserved List” and “Going full Yu-Gi-Oh! by reprinting practically everything, all the time”. Today, I want to talk to you about making money (or losing less money) in Magic, and how to utilize reprints to your financial benefit. In the past week or so, I’ve tuned into a subset of cards that, when reprinted, have shown enough consistent demand to warrant buying in at their floors post-reprint, because they will continue to show upward trajectory over the next several months or years.


Untitled1 Untitled

I promise that I don’t get extra money in my paycheck for pointing out the benefits of ProTrader, but these daily emails are honestly a huge help in noticing trends that I otherwise wouldn’t. In fact, the detail in these two daily emails sparked my interest for the topic of this week’s article. Blame my lack of attention if you’d like, but I was under the impression that the Conflux edition of Nicol Bolas was still only $5 or $6, closer to the price of his Duel Deck version.

The specific common trait that piqued my interest with both Platinum Angel and Nicol Bolas is that each has been printed at least three times, and yet still managed to climb in price over the next several years after each reprint. While Nicol isn’t cashing out at $20 anymore, he still managed to double up from $5 to $10 since his inclusion in Magic 2013. Platinum Angel was scraping $3 back in 2012 after consecutive printings in two core sets, and has steadily reached a plateau of about $8 since early 2014. If you bought in at the floor of either of these cards post-reprint and had been holding onto them in the past few months, you’d be very happy to sell out now. In addition to the “invisible” profit of the cards going up, these are two extremely iconic and popular cards to the casual crowd, so it shouldn’t be too much of a chore to liquidate multiple copies as long as you have a Facebook account or a TCGplayer store.

I might be exaggerating a bit here when I use the term “immortal,” but these are examples of the cards that shrug off being “killed” by reprints over an extended period of time. They’re spearheaded by popular or unique casual categories (angels, dragons, planeswalkers, having the ability to prevent you from dying), and grow in popularity with the game.

liliana ves

If we continue in the vein of planeswalkers, one of my favorite “immortals” to “speculate” on time and time again has been Liliana Vess. Heh. Get it? She gave her soul for eternal youth, so she’s—eh, forget it. I put speculate in quotations, because I really don’t think there’s a whole lot of risk buying into this version of Liliana every time she drops a bit too far below $10. Liliana Vess has been printed six freaking timesand she still refuses to be a $5 card. While I don’t think we’ll be seeing her again for a while (Magic: Origins will contain the new double-sided Liliana, and then I assume WOTC will be busy trying to prevent her accessorized version from having a $100 price tag. This isn’t to suggest to go out and buy a ton of copies right this moment, but I’ve always been willing to trade for Vess because of how easily she sells, and how casually she shrugs off reprints.


Remember when Doubling Season was reprinted in Modern Masters, and went down to $15 from the original Ravnica’s $30? Grabbing a bunch of those at their floor and dumping them today would have provided you with a much nicer investment than most sealed product that you could have purchased around that time, and would have also been easier to move with lower shipping costs. If, for whatever reason, Doubling Season shows up again in Modern Masters 2015(I do not think that this will happen, as I believe Wizards has a plan to implement a different type of Limited environment that Doubling Season would not fit well into) and the price drops to $10, I’ll trade for as many as I can find.

Did Someone Mention Modern Masters 2015?

Oh, would you look at that. We seamlessly segue’d into Modern Masters 2015. What a well-timed coincidence. If you’ve read this far, then you might be thinking; “But DJ, what about Tarmogoyf, Vendilion Clique, and Dark Confidant? They all shrugged off a reprint in Modern Masters, does this mean that they are the same types of card as those listed above? Am I safe to invest in them with their announced Modern Masters 2015 inclusion?” Well, high-pitched puppet hand voice, I’m going to have to go ahead and veto that idea.

The first Modern Masters set was a perfect storm of an extremely limited print run, a massive boom in the number of players wanting to get started in the Modern format, and the fact that opening a very expensive card has the tendency to encourage a player to build a deck containing it. While there will always be some players who are perfectly happy fire selling their prerelease pools, the following adage aptly describes a lot of what happened with the “Tarmogoyf effect” that followed shortly after the release of the first MMA set:

“Give a man a ‘Goyf, and he’s going to want three more.” – Derek Madlem

MMA2015 is already confirmed to have a larger print run than its predecessor, that much is obvious. The major question is whether the print run will have more of a noticeable impact on the top-dollar cards in the set this time around—and I expect that it will. If you were around for the release of the first Modern Masters, you might remember having trouble finding a box even at $250. SCG was selling boxes regularly at $350, but even they sold out relatively quickly. The big difference this time is that while boxes are approximately $250 retail, at least they are readily found everywhere around the web at that price.

Modern Masters ‘Mmortals

Remember that Divinity of Pride and Adarkar Valkyrie were absolutely crushed by their first reprints, and that there will be similar cards that will be targeted this time around. Our goal here is to find the Doubling Seasons of the set, that will take the hard-hitting reprint with a grain of salt, but slowly grow back over time and provide us with a consistent and steady gain. While there will be a larger print run, I have faith that we will be able to find specific casual cards at their floors when the dust settles, and take advantage of their slow and inevitable gains. I’ll point out one today:

Tezzeret the Seeker.full


What metal-armed, ambitious artificer sounds like a good candidate for the task? Tezzeret has already been locked in for the set, and he fought back from his Duel Deck reprint steadily over time. As these get cast aside and sold off for more ‘Goyf lottery tickets, I can definitely see him plummeting back down to $6 to $7. When he does, I’ll be more than happy to target all of them in trades, or maybe buy in if I’m looking to place my money in a solid long-term hold. If Tezzeret can survive being ripped apart by angry rat ninjas and being mind wiped by Jace, then certainly our “immortal ” half-metal walker can survive a Modern Masters 2015 reprint.

What do you think? Is there anything in Modern Masters 2015—confirmed or expected—that you are targeting at its floor price? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Going Mad – The Horizon

In Magic finance, there’s always the next thing. Up-to-the-minute pricing, smart phones, Twitter, and daily articles are all things in Magic that have given us access to a knowledge base that would have made the Magic financier of yesteryear a fortune.

Before smartphones permeated local shops, we could gain an edge by watching prices go up on SCG and take advantage of the analog lag time for that new information to reach the stores. Now we just log onto MTGStocks every morning and check out the interests page to find out every card that’s moved more than two percent.

These days, we’re forced to look to the future to gain an edge. We evaluate cards in a vacuum. We test cards to evaluate them in context. We predict what cards will do if X,Y, or Z are true in a given format … but at best, most of what we do is make educated guesses based on historical trends.


Modern Masters 2015

Modern Masters 2015 is just over a month away and the speculation at the treasures inside is already rampant. We’re mere days away from spoilers—there’s just another week or so of articles featuring Mark Rosewater and friends patting themselves on the back for the resounding success of Dragons of Tarkir before we get to see the contents.

But the fix is in.

I’ll go ahead and block quote that for dramatic effect:

“But the fix is in.”

–Derek Madlem, 2015

On a level playing field where everyone has access to the same information, the guy with access to hidden information reaps the greatest rewards.


Khans of Tarkir

But first, let’s go back in time to summer 2014. A friend of mine told me, “Hey, a friend of mine knows a guy that works at Wizards and he said that the Onslaught fetches are getting reprinted in Khans of Tarkir.”

I didn’t really think much of it, as I bought in on my playset of Onslaught fetches at the $15 mark years ago, so I could absorb any price crash without taking a loss … and then other friends told me that they knew a guy who heard from a reliable source that fetches were getting reprinted. I took a look at the card values and saw that Polluted Delta was over $100 at the time so I decided to “short sell” my Onslaught fetches, keeping only the copies I had in my Commander decks, and left the funds in limbo in case I had to rebuy.

Obviously, I did not have to rebuy.

Polluted Delta

Holding Pattern

At this point, you should already be in a holding pattern with your Modern staples. Now is not the time to be buying Tarmogoyfs or Dark Confidants, or anything expensive for your Modern Deck, for that matter.

Most of you know not to be making any big moves right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still move out of vulnerable positions if the opportunity presents itself.


The Fix is In

Just like before, a guy that knows a friend of an uncle of the gal that works out with someone that is married to a guy at the factory that has friends at Wizards has heard some stuff and that information has come to me through multiple channels. If there’s any guarantee in life, it’s that as soon as you swear someone to secrecy, that person will tell at least one person as long as they promise not to tell anyone.

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Ulamog, the Inifinite Gyre
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn (already confirmed by Wizards)
Karn Liberated (already confirmed by Wizards)
Tarmogoyf (duh)
Mox Opal
Noble Hierarch
Cryptic Command
Kiki-Jiki, the Mirror Breaker
Dark Confidant

Wink-wink, nudge-nudge, say no more. Well, maybe a little bit more: it’s not like any of these cards are a surprise to anyone … except maybe Kiki-Jiki, not sure what that guy’s doing here.

High Tide

The Rising Tide

There’s another phenomena associated with Modern Masters that I want to talk about—the rising tide. As the saying goes, a rising tide floats all boats.

A few months after the first Modern Masters release, we saw a sudden surge in price for many of Magic‘s most expensive cards. Dual lands, Power 9, and other Legacy staples all surged upward in price in the winter of 2014. Many theorists think there is a direct correlation.

What Does That Even Mean?

Glad you asked. So with the first iteration of Modern Masters, players were essentially able to spend $7 to get a pack of cards that had a high likelihood of being worth significantly more than $7. Other players had the opportunity to buy sealed product by the box or case at or below retail from unwitting shop owners. Months later, many players and collectors were flush with”new money” from these gold-stuffed boosters and stockpiles of appreciating sealed product.

Then the trade-ins began. As a retailer you notice when your customers are flush with cash, whether that be actual cash or virtual dollars like we see in the value of Magic cards. When you have more and more customers trading their virtual dollars in for your high-end inventory, you adjust that price upwards. The mountains of trade inventory that was being thrown at dealers from the release of Modern Masters and the infinite wealth contained in Return to Ravnica caused a groundswell for high-end card prices.

Or maybe it was just a coincidence.

I know that at the time I plopped down a mountain of trade stuff for a sweet Mox Sapphire at a pretty reasonable price and did not wait long for it to appreciate substantially in value.

Even at $20 or more a pack, you still see players throwing money at packs of Modern Masters for a chance at hitting that $200 Tarmogoyf. Most of us have seen these savages… and most of us know someone that hit it big opening a ‘Goyf or two among their winnings. What did they do with their new-found wealth?

Dual lands have settled back down a bit—they’re still up significantly from the time of the Modern Masters release, but they’ve cooled a bit as the pressure from all that “new money” being spent combined with a slight humbling of Legacy at the SCG Open series.



So what’s your strategy going forward?

First of all, you shouldn’t be buying any Modern staples until the spoilers for Modern Masters 2015 come out. Is everything you need for your deck going to be in it? Unlikely. Is every rare in the set going to be worth the big bucks? Unlikely. But you can virtually count on some of the cards you need showing up and experiencing a subsequent price drop.

If you’re able to “deleverage your position” on any cards that you are certain will be reprinted, now’s your last chance. I wouldn’t recommend trading all your expensive cards to your best friend and laughing when they get reprinted, but there are still people that “just want to finish the deck” and don’t really care if a reprint is coming. Besides, we don’t know what artwork is going to come with the reprinted cards and some people just prefer the first editions, so don’t feel guilty. Keep in mind that no information other than what has been publicly spoiled by Wizards is 100 percent.

Be ready to buy the cards that don’t get reprinted. There are already rumors circulating that Serum Visions is being skipped over in this printing, a common that is already seeing significant play and floating around $8. Cards like this will jump in price almost immediately if they dodge a reprint because that very risk is keeping a number of these cards’ prices in check. Once that risk is gone, people are going to take action.

For those that are trying to complete their Modern decks, there’s a good chance that many of the cards you need will plummet in price with a reprinting. For every card price that takes a brief hit and recovers like Tarmogoyf, there’s going to be a Keiga, the Tide Star that drops 40 percent and never regains an inch.

If you’re trying to complete your Modern deck, be ready to trade with a lot of people. Because the retail of these packs is starting at $9.99, the packs are likely going to be bought in smaller numbers by more people. Drafts will be upwards of $35 instead of the $25 we saw last time. Psychologically, it’s a lot easier for a player to lose $50 on drafts than it is $70, so expect the more casual players to draft this just a single time or not at all.

Be ready to watch many of your other Modern, Legacy, and even Vintage staples see some renewed growth. Once the risk of immediate reprint is removed and combined with an influx of players that all have parts of Modern decks, we’re sure to see a few new players at the weekly Modern events. Players that already have everything they need from Modern will push this wealth towards something bigger. Maybe that’s Legacy … maybe it’s the last piece of power … maybe it’s a big dumb foil for their Commander deck. If you are sitting on the cards that people are going to desire, bide your time. Being the first seller is often great, but being the last seller can often yield far greater rewards.