What I’m Trading For

By: Cliff Daigle

My goal is always to increase the long-term value of my collection. I’m not thinking in weeks or sets, I’m thinking in months and years.

Right now, there’s a few cards that I’m targeting. I’m not aggressively spending money here, but I am picking these up in trades whenever possible.

Conversely, there’s a few cards I am looking to get rid of. The idea of ‘When should I get rid of my rotating cards?’ is something that I and other writers have covered on this site, and my answer is always “Early.”

If you wait to get rid of these cards, then you’ll be one of very many people who are no longer playing these cards and are trying to trade them away. No one will be seeking these out during the summer, so if you want to get maximum value, the time is now. Keep one set for the Standard deck you’re playing all summer, and understand that you’re getting value out of the games, not the trade value of the cards.

First, the cards I’m trading away:

Desecration Demon, Pack Rat:

Right now, these cards are part of a winning strategy in Mono-Black Devotion. People want to play this deck, and it’s putting up results that give these once-bulk rares some surprisingly high prices. The truth is, between the clear lack of value at rotation, and being in the Event Deck, these have already started to decline.


That value will be even lower when the new block arrives in September and these lose their Standard legality. Keep a set if you want to play the deck, but right now you need to move these cards out.

Nightveil Specter:

Similar to the two above, only this sees play in Mono-Blue as well. There’s no future in Modern for this, and you should let others enjoy this card for six months.


To be clear: I don’t think this is going to fall down terribly far. Modern has shown that it can keep some prices amazingly high. I do think that its current price of $30-$35 is sustainable in the long term, but that is a year or more away. I think there is profit to be made in trading it away now, and then getting some back when they rotate in September. I suspect these will be around $15-$20 then. The historical example would be Cavern of Souls.

Ad Nauseam:

I’m always going to side with those to advocate selling into the hype. If you have any of these, you likely didn’t get them at $8. It will take sustained success for this Modern deck to inflate the prices much further, so you’re risking substantial profits if you try to hold out for it to reach $10-$15. Don’t get greedy.

Most of Return to Ravnica block: 

I’m not sure that Deathrite Shaman is going to be the next Stoneforge Mystic, price-wise. The amount of supply is far greater, and the Legacy demand is far smaller. Jace, Architect of Thought is not good enough for Modern. Sphinx’s Revelation isn’t either. Boros Reckoner is riding a new wave of hype, sell into it.

I do advocate holding your Abrupt Decays, though. I think there is going to be a Modern boost to that card, it’s just too good against too many things.

Now, the cards I’m trading for:

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Born of the Gods previews started this week (more on that next Friday) but I remain firmly convinced that this will be $15 around Christmas-time. This card is capable of some obscene tricks, despite its limitations. It has a chance to be amazing in Modern, too. I think there will be some very good devotion decks, and I also think that this card is a lot of fun to build around in casual circles.

Thassa, God of the Sea

This isn’t even about blue devotion. This is about being cheap and powerful and low-risk to use. Every deck that turns on her devotion sees that as gravy – making Mutavaults unblockable is a real treat. Her price may approach $10 as we get to the end of Theros block, and at that point, I might skip trading and start buying.

Any Temple

Temple of Enlightenment is perhaps the exception, since everyone likes a UW control deck. All the other Temples are around $6, and the two in Journey Into Nyx might not make it below $8, due to the smaller amount of packs that will be opened. 

In terms of trade value, these are easy picks to hit $10 during the next block, and perhaps higher. We’ve seen that many decks are currently willing to play extra Temples for the free scry and perhaps that will continue into the next block. We don’t know what the next set of dual-producing lands will be, but the Temples have demonstrated their value in Standard and are good targets to increase in value.

Any foil God

There’s always going to be players who are looking for their favorite cards in foil. The Gods (all fifteen) offer unique effects and play mechanics, but I’m not yet ready to go for blanket pickups of them all, except in foil. The frame looks good, they are mythic, and they are not that pricey. The supply of the ten multicolor Gods is going to be much lower than the original five, and that means the prices on the foils aren’t going to come down too far. There may be room for the prices to come down a few bucks, but every one I see for trade, I’ll be pushing for.

I expect the Gods to hold strong casual appeal for a long while.

Any foil shockland

These are comfortably sitting between $25-$35 right now, and that value is not going to change at all at rotation. These have nowhere to go but up, both from casual demand and Modern players wanting to pimp out their decks. (Did you know that original Ravnica block shocklands in foil are all over $100?)

Foils are collectibles. Once someone gets their hands on a foil, it is going into a deck/binder/Cube and staying there, reducing the number in circulation. I’ve got enough doing exactly that, believe me.

Join me next week as we begin evaluating Journey into Nyx and my predictions about those Gods.

Lessons on Modern Picks

By: Camden Clark

I’ve been a writer at MTGPrice for about two months now. In that time, Magic has seen a Modern Pro Tour and a couple of Modern GPs.

I am going to take a break from my Magic Online series to do a recap on the wins and losses and go over every card that I have made predictions on (this article gave me the idea ). I have always been a major fan of learning lessons on the decisions and predictions we made and learning on them for the future. Thus, this article is the natural progression as I make predictions heading into the PTQ season (I talk a lot more on Twitter too)

I have mostly talked about Modern as that is where the energy and motion in Magic is. I have never been a big fan of Standard, while most of the Legacy market eludes me. Thus, Modern has become one of the places of progress in Magic for the past few years.

There is SO much room in this format, which means there are new opportunities all the time.

Let’s take a look at the previous opportunities that I pointed out and see what lessons those can teach us.

The Wins

Restoration Angel
Predictions: 1 ; 2 ; 3


This was a fairly major win. Restoration Angel spiked by huge margins due to its playability in some builds of UWR, UWR Twin, Kiki-Pod, and a few other fringe decks. This card wasn’t seeing a ton of play initially, but with the new changes I knew there would be some changes to the metagame. My predictions weren’t exactly correct (no Restoration Angel + Bitterblossom deck); however, I was not disappointed by the outcome. You easily could have doubled your money here on a quite cheap spec.

This teaches us to look for cards that see some play but can easily be thrown into the spotlight. Moreover, this card had price and play memory in the infamous UW Delver deck of INN-SOM standard. This is an important lesson.

Mistbind Clique
Predictions: 1


Although this card saw little play at the Pro Tour or the Grand Prix, is still saw massive gains after the initial hype died down. You could still have gotten this for five at the time I wrote about it, and you could have tripled your money.

I don’t know what the lesson is here. I didn’t exactly make a prediction to buy this, especially if it saw little play. Nevertheless, it went up. I am at a loss for how this card saw the massive gains it got.

Knight of the Reliquary
Predictions: 1


Even though Zoo put up abysmal results at every tournament, this card still went up. The niche playability in Legacy and fun factor of this card ensured it would see play somewhere. This card was REALLY cheap for being somewhat playable in a few formats. Brian Kibler will always toot Zoo’s horn. I think that’s the main reason this saw movement despite Zoo’s failure. I would sell out now if you still have them.

Cryptic Command
Predictions: 1 ; 2


It is kind of funny I hit this one right on the head. I stated at the time “this card could see sixty dollars.” Unbelievably, it hit sixty dollars.

The lesson here is that there is little roof on the staples of this format. Wizards has too much invested in Modern for this format to fail. Would you have predicted hundreds of dollars for a single dual land like Underground Sea? Although there is no reserved list, these cards will get more and more expensive.

I can’t remember who to attribute this to, but I’ve heard a saying: “the best time to buy eternal staples is now.” You should keep this in mind, it will save you a whole bunch of money going into the future.

Birthing Pod
Predictions: 1


This is probably my most triumphant success. I have no idea how this card wasn’t forty dollars from the get-go. Melira Pod and Kiki-Pod have had showings for at least two years. It was inevitable for this to see a huge spike. I’m really glad I put people on to this and you all made a whole bunch of money.

The lesson from this is that there are cards that seem like they have seen a ceiling but can still rise.


Predictions: 1 ; 2

This card has seen no price movement despite being in a deck that won a Grand Prix.

I overestimated the amount of people that were playing this card and the amount they were playing in their decks. Unfortunately, this means that there was no money to be made here. I think this card has reached a personal ceiling and won’t go above it for a while.

Deathrite Shaman

This one has been all over the place. There were no short term gains, but this is a long term pick, like I outlined in my prediction. I have no fear that this will go up in the long term. It has significant Legacy play and somewhat of a casual appeal. Hold your copies if you didn’t unload them after the bans.

Splinter Twin

Although there has been a small gain here, it wasn’t significant enough to call this a “win.” I would hold on to these copies as we head into PTQ season. You will not be disappointed by this investment once it is easier to move copies and there is more demand.

There is huge potential for this card. It sees tons of play in the Splinter Twin deck which is currently No. 2 in the meta on Magic Online. I have no doubt this will go up.

Huntmaster of the Fells
Predictions: 1 ; 2

This one is quite hard to tell. All of the major retailers are all but cleaned out of this card. There is little data for how much this card has moved up or down.

I looked on TCGPlayer and there are still quite a bunch of copies. I don’t know how to feel about this one. However, the buylist on this card isn’t very good. I’d hold if/when this sees some real play.


 1 ; 2

Unfortunately, after my predictions, a reprint was announced. It’s pretty annoying that this was announced in the weeks after my prediction. However, this was the only loss to speak of. There wasn’t even that big of a loss; here’s a picture:


I think this card will eventually go back up. If you still have copies and don’t need the capital, I would hold on to this. It is a staple in Modern and will see invariably see play in this format.

The lesson from this card specifically is the inevitability of randomness in your speculations. You can’t always be right. You can’t avoid having unexpected announcements or reprints in your catalog eventually. You have to take the good with the bad. This should be a lesson to never invest too much in one card. If that card falls or stays put, you are out all of your overhead such as shipping and spread between buying and selling.

From my perspective, the value that you could find in my articles was fairly good. My predictions, for the most part, have panned out or at least stayed the same. So far, I’ve had amazing triumphs and some disappointing losses but Modern was quite prolific. I hope I’ve displayed to you that there’s some value in my decisionmaking and choose to take the ride with me into the PTQ season where the swings will be massive and decisive.

I don’t think Mana Bloom and Amulet of Vigor type cards with niche applications are a good way to profit. However, that is mostly my style of investing (although others think the same way) It is too easy to get burned if you are playing with hot coals. The upside could be major, but staying out of these one-off cards is a great way to stay objective and not get carried away.

Despite my warnings, you should be as optimistic as I am about the Modern format. There is so much excitement and energy that surrounds this relatively new way of playing Magic. That excitement is only beginning. The Pro Tour set the stage for the run into PTQ season. You can ride the excitement to major profits if you time it right. There are still opportunities, don’t miss them.

Consuming Aberration is a $4 Card

By: Travis Allen

Consuming Aberration is a $4 card. Consuming. Aberration. Is a $4 card. Are you really reading these words? Do you understand what they mean? Read them again. Think about them. Consuming Aberration is a $4 card. Huh. What does that mean?

Well, it means we should take it out of our bulk boxes.

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this. I remember plugging it into MTGPrice for some reason and seeing a price of $4.10. I assumed it was a mistake. The site is great, but there are always algorithmic problems and such. I flipped over to my magiccards.info tab. I plugged it in. $3.72 mid.


I flipped back to MTGPrice. The buylist was $2.32. ABU Will give you $2.32 for copies of Consuming Aberration. ABU Games will give you more than two American dollars for a copy of Consuming Aberration.


Where is the demand for this card coming from? Who is driving the price up to $4? It’s not an old, out-of-print diamond-in-the-rough gem. It isn’t on the reserved list. It’s a Standard legal rare that sees absolutely zero play in any constructed format.

Think about your local store. Have you ever, since Gatecrash released, heard someone unironically ask if you had any Consuming Aberration for trade? 

Nobody wants this trash. It’s complete and utter garbage. It is the absolute worst kind of rare. 100% bulk. (Or so we thought.) The next time you’re at your LGS, yell out “does anyone want a free Consuming Aberration?” It is entirely possible that not a single person will want the free card. Think about that. In a room full of Magic players, you literally could not give this card away. This will not be true of every store, but it will certainly be true of some.

What else in Standard costs $4 right now? Supreme Verdict, sweeper du jour and playable in the four largest constructed formats, is $6. A bit more, yes, but it’s still in the same ballpark. It’s a lot closer than most of us would have guessed without looking. Desecration Demon, scourge of the skies and bane of green decks everywhere is $5. This is a card that has a good 70% chance to win any given Standard GP and it’s only $1 more than Consuming Aberration. Puzzled yet?

Most of the Scrylands are around $4 to $5 as well. Temple of Enlightenment isn’t, but the rest are hanging around there. The most important lands in the largest sanctioned format are about the same price as Consuming Aberration. That tells us something curious.

Price is a factor of supply and demand. For the most part we can assume that Consuming Aberration and any given Scryland should have the same supply. (Really, the Scrylands should be lower supply right now if anything. Gatecrash has come and gone, and there are virtually no new packs being opened. Theros and BOG are still being drafted, so there is still some flow of Scrylands.)

If you assume that the supply is equal between the two cards, and their prices are still just about equal, what does that mean for the rest of our equation? It means that the demand for the Scrylands is equivalent to the demand for Consuming Aberration. Consuming Aberration is just as desirable as the Scrylands. If everyone at your LGS is looking for Scrylands but nobody wants Aberration, just where is this demand coming from?

Welcome to the invisible majority. All of us – the tournament grinder and speculators, the heavy traders and constructed players – are the minority of Magic players. Of course, we FEEL like we’re the majority. We’re all loud, we talk on every form of social media, and we’re the ones represented on official coverage. Wizards isn’t broadcasting kitchen table “anything goes” four-Sol-Ring four-Tolarian-Academy Magic on their Twitch channel. But the reality of the situation is that you and I and everyone like us comprises a far smaller portion of the Magic world at large. 

Obviously the price swings on tournament staples is nobody’s fault but our own. Casual players aren’t making Sphinx’s Revelation and Voice of Resurgence $30. But they are capable of making Consuming Aberration a $4 card, with absolutely no help from any of us. It requires some serious demand to move a Standard rare to $4, and by golly they did it. When the the casual market can push a bulk Standard card that hard, we need to be paying attention. The market force is bigger than any of us, but if we hop on the wave we maybe be able to ride it.

Price behavior is going to be quite different than we’re used to. Most of us have come to be familiar with the wild nature of constructed staples. Cards rise and fall by factors of ten semi-regularly. We understand rotation, we understand “constructed playable,” and we understand ban lists. This is all irrelevant when dealing with casual cards though. There are no rotations. There aren’t “staples” or fear of reprints or ban lists. There’s a large, quiet group of players and there are cool cards. Column A wants Column B. It doesn’t matter whether its March or September or whether the card is legal in Modern. Players want cards and they order them online or purchase at their LGS from the total finite pool available. Slowly the supply dwindles, and as it does, prices rise. Occasionally copies make it back into rotation if a player sells their collection to a friend, but for the most part the supply is evaporating. The result is a plodding, semi-smooth rise in price.

With the recent influx of players in the last few years, there’s going to be growing demand on old casual staples. This is why Vigor is $20. Yet there is stilll profit to be made. There’s plenty of other old casual cards that haven’t adjusted their price. While they may not spike as often, and they aren’t sexy, they’re going to be practically guaranteed profit. Buying quiet casual allstars means you can’t brag about looking like a genius because you bought ninety Heralds of Torment at $.40 before they jumped to $7. But you can fill your collection with $1-$5 casual cards that are virtual locks to double or triple (or more?) in price within a year or two.

Born of the Gods from January until Now

This week I would like to take a look back on cards that I was watching before Born of the Gods was released to see where they are currently in price and what I expect from them moving forward. Before I start, I want to quickly mention that I’m now on Twitter and you can follow me @gildedgoblin.


Brimaz, King of Oreskos

Presale Price in January: $23-25

Current Price: $27.50

Looking at the chart below, we can see that Brimaz started out around $30 retail once Born of the Gods was released (many presales were available on TCGPlayer for far less though, some as low as $23) then within a month of the set release he spiked to $42, and then throughout March and April he has been on a steady decline to current the retail price of $27.50.


Many would consider him to be the best card in Born of the Gods so why is the price on Brimaz going down? If we browse the statistics on mtgtop8 for Standard cards we can see that he is played in only 4.4% of the current decks that are making Top 8 appearances. Even when he is played, he only averages three copies per deck. Clearly this didn’t warrant a $40+ price tag so Brimaz’s price has adjusted to reflect this demand.

My advice in January was to passively pick up Brimaz if you knew you wanted to play him but otherwise avoid him because he was a very risky target unless you knew you wanted to trade or sell back into the hype. Brimaz did spike yet it did not take long for him to come crashing down due to the commanding presence of devotion to black and devotion to blue decks that make up 33% of the current metagame. So far Brimaz has played out to my expectations however once Journey into Nyx comes out it could change the game again. Going forward, lookout for Brimaz to perform in any Standard decks throughout the summer and if he does well you should pick up your copies accordingly. If not, then wait until the set rotation because at that point Brimaz will be at his lowest and it will be the perfect time to pick him up. His board presence is very powerful so even if he isn’t played in RTR standard I expect he will almost certainly be played in THS Standard.

Kora, the Crashing Wave

Presale Price in January: $20

Current Price: $20

I expected Kiora to come crashing down to the single digit range but she has not done this yet. She is barely a presence in Standard, being in only 1% of the current Top 8 metagame, and yet still three months later her price hasn’t budged. My guess here is that the price will drop however not enough time has passed yet. Planeswalkers take more time to drop than other types of cards due to the awe factor, and I would say this one in particular has a lot of awe going on since it is the first UG Planeswalker that the game has seen. She is within the “Jace” casting cost range (the first sign of a good planeswalker) though I don’t think the abilities and starting loyalty will be enough to send her price soaring. Like Brimaz, wait this one out through Journey into Nyx and if she creates some buzz then try to capitalize on it. Otherwise pick her up in the fall for around $10 since she may see some play in the next Standard cycle.




Xenagos, God of Revels
Mogis, God of Slaughter
Phenax, God of Deception
Karametra, God of Harvests
Ephara, God of the Polis

Presale Prices in January:
Xenagos – $20
Mogis – $11
Phenax – $9
Karametra – $7
Ephara – $7

Current Prices:
Xenagos – $12
Mogis – $9
Phenax – $8.30
Karametra – $4
Ephara – $7.60

Xenagos has certainly dropped the most out of all the gods, going from as high as $25 retail in January to now $12 and less. png;base64a62ef6480e887d52

Based on what I said in January now would be the time to start picking up this version of Xenagos if you plan on playing Gruul Monsters or a similar build that will utilize him. He has dropped to that sweet spot of around $12 retail and can be picked up from TCGPlayer for less than $10. Though he is on the expensive side for a god his ability is really powerful and I can see him making a splash in Block constructed and the future THS dominated Standard.

I believe that Ephara has maintained her price because she is the second best god from BNG. She creeped up a bit in price because of the expectation that someone will break her but honestly I think it is going to take a lot to make this happen. Stay away for now until results are present since she could go a little lower. I did say to actively pickup Ephara as I don’t think it will drop below $5 and I still believe this yet at the same time I do not think they would trade away easily.

The other three gods have dropped or are continuing to drop slowly as many people realize that they are not a strong force in Standard. I don’t think Karametra can go much lower than $4 – if she does, I would be looking to pick up a lot of copies just to hold them for the long term (2+ years) because she is a great casual target. Phenax is a great target for the same reasons. I think as time goes on he will continue to maintain his price or even go up regardless of Standard demand. Mogis is not as weak or linear as Karametra or Phenax, however since he isn’t relevant in Standard and doesn’t hold a lot of casual appeal I would avoid him unless B/R or B/R/x becomes a thing in Standard. All said I would continue to hold off on these three gods. The Journey into Nyx gods could be really good so I want to wait and see which of the 10 are the best.

Other Mythics

Presale Price in January:

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix: $7

Chromanticore: $2

Champion of Stray Souls: $2

Current Prices:

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix: $2.50

Chromanticore: $2

Champion of Stray Souls: $1.40

Like I predicted, these mythics haven’t moved upwards and are all trending towards $2 and less. Champion of Stray Souls is a great casual long term target, especially foil copies. I would otherwise avoid these mythics.


(I skipped over bulk cards from the January article unless they have spiked in price since.)

Spirit of the Labyrinth

Presale Price in January: $7
Current Price: $2.20

Wow, this rare really dived in price. It went even lower than I predicted it would. I guess Legacy doesn’t really do much to drive the price of Standard cards when that card is not Deathrite Shaman. On the plus side, I don’t think she can go much lower than $2. Keep an eye out and if it drops even lower than start buying in.

BNG Temples

Presale Price in January (ALL): $4.50
Current Price:
Temple of Enlightenment: $9.45
Temple of Malice: $5.25
Temple of Plenty: $5.25

This is miss for me, at least in terms of retail prices. On TCGPlayer you can find Temple of Malice and Temple of Plenty for less than $4 and Temple of Enlightenment for about $6. Regardless, these lands haven’t dropped at all in price and in the case of Temple of Enlightenment have doubled up. 

In retrospect, knowing the U/W control deck existed before the U/W scry land was released should have been a warning sign. I should have foreseen that a scry land that fits into those colors would be in high demand. When you play a control deck you want to play more lands than an aggro or tempo deck because your land drops are really important. Having lands that fix your mana and provide additional bonuses like scrying are really powerful for control decks. I should have noted Temple of Silence and Temple of Deceit, which have stayed near $5 while the other non-Esper Theros scry lands lagged behind. Esper Control and Orzhov control are also decks in Standard, even if seeing Devotion decks all day might make you think otherwise. Temple of Enlightenment not only goes in Esper but also U/W control which helps drive demand. Demand is also driven by the fact that Temple of Enlightenment is in a small set, so there are less copies of them out there.

Going forward, I would expect the scry lands to start trending down in price. I believe they are still in their “spiking” phase. Wait until mid summer to pick them up at this point because that is when they will be at, or near, their lowest prices.

Herald of Torment

Presale Price in January: $2.50
Current Price: $1.60

Herald is starting to hover near bulk prices so I believe the time to start picking them up is now. I have a feeling that this Demon will see Standard play once Desecration Demon rotates, as he is a very efficiently costed flyer that also has the benefit of bestowing itself onto creature if you draw him later in the game. He is less than $1 on TCGPlayer. I am not sure if he can go any lower. Pick up your copies now before he starts trending upwards in price.

Courser of Kruphix

Presale Price in January: $4
Current Price: $9.20

I mentioned Courser briefly in January as I could not find a price for it at the time I wrote the article. When I saw it I thought the card was good for casuals however I missed the mark on how excellently it fit into Standard. This is my biggest miss from Born of the Gods. I’m not sure if the price can rise much more as it doesn’t provide ramp but I would keep a close eye on this card moving forward into the next Standard.


None of the uncommons from my article in January have gone above $2 retail yet. Not to say that they won’t, however I believe that throughout the summer they will continue to decline in price as Theros block is drafted. Keep picking up extra copies of these until the draft format stops. Then later down the road in the fall and winter you will be able to trade them well as they will be harder to find.

Final Thoughts

While the set’s mythics have followed my predicted price trajectory, I did miss Courser of Kruphix and Temple of Enlightenment, which have doubled up in price. For the most part though, unless you are playing Standard you want to stay far away from Born of the Gods for some time. Many of the cards are still propped up in price based on a hunch or predicted success in the metagame. I have a feeling we still haven’t seen the lowest prices on many of these cards so unless you are really sure of a pick from this set hold off until the summer to pick it up. Since the Standard season has been moved to the beginning of this year it ended a month ago so keep in mind that later in the year there will be less demand for Standard cards than there was in years past. Sealed Deck season continues until June 1st and then we move on to Modern PTQ season. Keep this in mind as you move forward and hopefully you can get some good Standard deals during Modern season from June 7th through August 24th.