Tag Archives: grand prix vegas

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: The Fallout from Vegas

What. A. Week.

Vegas was crazy, and while we regaled with a few stories on this week’s Brainstorm Brewery, the craziness and great time that was had in Vegas is not the focus of this week’s article. After all, with so much financially-relevant happenings going down, how could it be?

The Bird’s Eye View

A few weeks ago I wrote about my thoughts regarding the initial price movements of Modern Masters 2015, with the promise to revisit those conclusions as more data became available. We now have some of that data, so this week I’ll be looking back at my initial conclusions and seeing what has changed since then.

There were more than 88,000 Modern Masters 2015 packs opened across the world last weekend, with many more coming in side events (which I went 2-for-2 on this weekend, yay!). All told, that’s a lot of Tarmogoyfs. And while many expected that to be good enough to crater prices, reality doesn’t seem to be lining up with that.


At this point most of the product that was opened in Vegas or elsewhere has been processed by the stores that bought it on-site (and most players were selling the valuable cards they opened so they could go gamble), so we are at or nearing peak supply. In fact, given that some notable cards have already begun to rebound price-wise, we may even be past that point. With Grand Prix Charlotte coming up next week (I’ll be there working coverage, so come say hi!), we’re going to see continued demand for those cards opened in Vegas.

But before I get into specifics, what are we seeing with the set, and format, as a whole?

A quick look over the set shows that things are down sharply from a week ago, even if a few Mythics are bucking that trend. Sure, Mox Opal, Tarmogoyf and Vendilion Clique already seem to be bottoming out, plenty of other cards are still falling. Even Cryptic Command, Kiki-Jiki and the mighty Eldrazi aren’t done falling. So, for all the talk of peak supply and a bottom, there is at least some evidence to the contrary.


But on the other hand, there are those that present the opposite of this trend. Tarmogoyf is of course the main offender (and we’ll get to that in a bit), but other highly-playable cards at Mythic and Rare are already beginning to flatline or rebound slightly. Mox Opal, Clique, Noble Hierarch, Spellskite and Karn are all showing, at the least, a steadying of prices.

Notice the trend there? The highly-playable, truly A+ staple cards are holding up against the reprinting. Everything else that held a big price tag at least in part to short supply based on print run is really dropping. Wilt-Leaf Liege, Elesh Norn, Daybreak Coronet, Leyline of Sanctity and more are all still dropping, as we originally expected with the large influx of new supply.

What does this mean moving forward? It means that Modern Masters 2015 is doing exactly what Wizards of the Coast intended it to do. No, your Tarmogoyfs aren’t going to be $50 anytime soon. But you’re also not going to be shelling out $100 for a super-niche card like Coronet that was only expensive because of its laughably-small print run however many years ago. I suspect the drop on these “Tier 2” cards will continue, and we’ll see them settle lower in the coming weeks and months.

The best of the best, though? I doubt we see much downward movement in that. Grand Prix Charlotte coming up will do a little to buoy prices, though it’s possible we’ll see some more leveling out after that, similar to how Richmond went the last time around. After Charlotte, Modern won’t be on the minds of most people until we hit Modern PPTQ season and Grand Prix Oklahoma City in September.

So, to sum it up:

  • High-end staples are bottomed out, and slow, incremental growth will likely return.
  • “Tier 2” cards will continue to slowly fall over the coming month before leveling out and likely staying flat for months to come.
  • Casual stuff, like Creakwood Liege, is being destroyed, and will take at least two years to come back, if Doubling Season is any indication.

The Big Ones

Dark Confidant

Dark Confidant

Time to get more specific.

Let’s start with Dark Confidant. Formerly the gold standard of both Modern and Legacy and a huge status piece, we’ve seen Bob fall from that lofty heights.

And he’s fallen hard. While Maher is still the third-most expensive card in the set, we’re talking about a card that was pushing $100 at its height. While Siege Rhino has done a number to push this guy out of the format, I’m not sold on his death quite yet, even if a field full of Affinity and Burn isn’t the ideal world for this guy.

Still, this thing has halved in price, whereas buddy Tarmogoyf has seen just a 25% reduction, even if we’re generous with the numbers. I don’t see a super-bright future for Dark Confidant at this moment, but if he continues to fall we may see an opportunity here. I’m not dying to buy in at $45, but if this thing starts to push $30 I like it as a pickup. This may not be in flavor now, but a metagame shift could bring Bob right back to the forefront.

Vendilion Clique


The little Faerie that could. What’s interesting is that this may actually see more play in Legacy than Modern. Either way, the price here seems to have bottomed out, and I expect this to float around $45-50 for a while to come.



Finally, we come to it.

Here’s what I wrote two weeks ago concerning where I saw the Goyf heading.

“The mythics will drop, yes, but not drastically. The most frequently played Modern ones like Tarmogoyf and Clique will hold up best, but as a whole, we’re looking at just 15- to 25-percent drops here. This will make these cards more affordable, but I really wouldn’t be surprised to look back at this set when Modern Masters 2017 comes out and see the prices right back where they started.”

Before I go any further, there’s something I want to address specifically regarding Tarmogoyf. I know we look at the market as some elusive figure that can be predicted but never controlled. And while in most cases that’s true, it’s not always that way.

Take, for example, Grand Prix Las Vegas and Tarmogoyf. Before the event we saw Goyf dropping toward $150 with momentum to go below there. Then the event starts and one dealer is paying significantly higher on Tarmogoyf than anyone else. Their price? $130 cash. That’ll put the stops on $150 retail Goyfs pretty quickly.

Everyone else raised their buy price to at least compete, and because of that you saw an average buy price on Goyf $10-20 higher than it likely would have been if not for the decision that dealer made to put their money into Tarmogoyfs.

The effect was felt. Instead of a falling Tarmogoyf price we have one that rebounded to $160 thanks to dealer actions, just like last time. Considering Tarmogoyf was retailing at $190-$200 before the reprint, this also leaves my prediction two weeks ago pretty spot-on. We’re done seeing Goyf majorly fall at this point, and even if it trends down to $150 I sincerely doubt it’s headed much further below that any time soon.

So where will the final price be? I don’t think it’s going to brush off the reprint and be $200 again in a month, but I think $150-175 will be where it oscillates over the next year. As I wrote two weeks ago, I would absolutely not be surprised to see it back at the same $200 mark by the time we’re writing about Grand Prix Vegas 3.0 and Modern Masters 2017.


Modern Masters 2015 is now officially behind us, and while I’m sure there will still be plenty of drafts over the coming weeks, it’s time to look elsewhere. Grand Prix Charlotte next week will be the best place to begin to do that, and Modern has certainly proven itself to be a fairly open format at this point, something I plan to address ahead of the event next week.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

A Grab Bag of This Week: GP Vegas and More

I was planning on writing this article on the morning of June 2nd while I was at the airport on my way back from the largest Magic: the Gathering tournament in history. Unfortunately, I realized upon opening my Chromebook that I had forgotten to charge it. Damn.  That leaves me scrambling to come up with a succinct way to pack the events of this week into a short finance-centered column, in only a few hours. I actually took my finger off the pulse of the finance machine during my time in the desert so that I could play more Magic in one week than I had done in the past year and a half, but I reluctantly managed to pick up some information that I’ll spill out through this column in separate little topics.



Now that the 1970s are firmly behind us, can we stop labeling every slightly controversial issue in any community ever with the suffix “-gate”?  If you haven’t heard the news, I’ll do my best to quickly fill you in on why that particular Tarmogoyf is being auctioned off for ridiculous amounts of money (Unfortunately at this point, the auction is likely being ruined by fake bidders who have no plans on paying the number).

After Pascal Maynard rare-drafted a foil ‘Goyf in the Top 8 of the Grand Prix, several other well-respected names in the community lost respect for him and felt that he had damaged the competitive integrity of the game, copping out for a theoretical $300 bill over the Burst Lightning that was obviously the better pick for his deck. Everyone has their own personal struggles and situations that they’re dealing with in life, and it was later revealed that Maynard would likely be selling the Goyf in an auction on eBay in order to pay for future Grand Prix trips.

The really cool part about this is that Maynard is donating 50% of the proceeds to a charity that holds dear to my heart personally, called GamersHelpingGamers. It’s a group of people who have been playing Magic for almost as long as I’ve been alive, who have been giving out scholarships with donations to Magic players who are trying to afford college. I received one of their first scholarships back in 2012, and I try to encourage everyone I know to apply. If you’re in college (or planning on attending college in the next few years), here’s a Magic finance tip above almost all others: Have foil Tarmogoyfs and the likeness of Dark Confidant help you pay for your college degree instead of selling your collection to do so.


This foil Goyf from Maynard’s pile of 45 cards is special for more than just the story of being picked. It also has the GP stamp that the judges used to mark the cards, to prevent any additional unwanted cards from joining the pool. While a majority of vendors and sellers would consider the mark as a damaging aspect of the card, there is definitely a niche market out there who collect the stamped product for use in cubes and EDH decks. Foils are the big targets here; Although I’m not suggesting you should start grabbing foil Simic Initiates to make your Day 2 draft pool a bit more attractive to a niche market, maybe that’s what I should have done considering how bad I am at Limited.




I wouldn’t go hunting down stamped foils in order to speculate on a big spike, but if you have a choice between a foil cube playable card and a non-foil ten cent Vampire Lacerator for your UR Elemental deck…  it’s definitely worth picking up and finding the person who wants to pay extra.

Box of Shattered Dreams

Although there were a few hiccups with side events starting late on Thursday and Friday, the Grand Prix as a whole was overwhelmingly smoothly run. Product was distributed at a reasonable pace, players didn’t have to wait in a two hour line to acquire their promos or playmats, and Day 1 ended by 10:00pm local time, making sure there was enough time to get sleep for the draft the following day.

One of the key aspects of making sure the product was moved from the judges to the players quickly was packaging playmats, life counters, promo packets, pens, packs, and deck registration sheets inside the 800-count long boxes that I talked about last week, so that every single person in the room had an easily accessible container of all their GP swag. It was easy to tell if someone hadn’t received their box of products, and everything was kept neat and clean.

If you’ll remember to last week, I was complaining about the price increase from BCW Supplies on the boxes that I regularly ordered. As I traversed the floor of the event, I watched hundreds and hundreds of people throw away their boxes into the garbage. I didn’t bring a large enough backpack to fold them up and take them with me, and I sure as hell didn’t have the room to take them back on the plane with me, even unfolded.

Maybe I’m being a bit too frugal here. but I would have loved to collect as many boxes as possible from those who weren’t using them, and bring them back by the hundred to my house if the GP had been local. I would have saved so much money, and I had to just watch my potential deals get thrown away. If ChannelFireball continues this method of product distribution (or if another vendor smartens up and decides to use the idea for themselves), you might be able to cash in on some cheap or free card storage if you brought the space to move a large quantity of boxes.


At some point over the weekend, someone decided to buy out all of the copies of Omniscience off of TCGplayer and eBay. While I have no idea how many copies there actually were before the buyout or how much money it cost the person to do it, the cheapest available copy I can find right now is $30, several days after the spike.

Screenshot 2015-06-02 at 9.37.38 PM

Aether Games’ Goyf buy prices were the talk of the town over the weekend, but they were also extremely aggressive on a significant other number of staples, targeting cards that were safe from a reprint anytime soon and poised to go up. They were paying retail prices on Creeping Tar Pit, Omniscience, and other staples that would continue to go up in price due to their exclusion from MM2015. If you’re on the floor at the next GP that Aether is vending, I recommend snapping a picture of their hot list and using it as a guide for trades, as an easy way to turn cards into cash for full retail, or hold onto the cards on their list in hopes for a steady increase. Personally, I’d be selling them all of my Deathmist Raptors, but joining them on the Cavern of Souls and Tar Pit bandwagon.

Retracting after a Buyout

Following its ancestors Fist of Suns and Sylvan Safekeeper in “cards that spiked in price due to an artificial buyout and have yet to prove themselves at a competitive level in an actual event,” we have Retract, a rare from Darksteel that is an integral piece in a fragile Modern combo deck called “Cheerios,” presumably due to all of the 0-drops that would be of a similar shape to the cereal. While the deck has been a very fringe player on MTGO for months now, someone decided to make the move over the past weekend. I’ve owned copies of these for a little over the month, at the advice of my co-writer Travis Allen:


While buylist prices haven’t caught up to the hype, now is your time to get out if you like locking in profits, or holding if you’re more of a risk-taker and expect more of the deck. Remember that Amulet of Vigor spiked several times over the course of a couple years, every time it saw coverage at a large Modern event. If you bought in at the floor with Travis and I, you might want to hold off a bit and see if you can sell into another hype wave later on. Either way, I definitely don’t think buying in now at $2-3 is the correct answer.

End Step

Normally I have some sort of coherent theme throughout the article, and this is where I add in random tid-bits of information about what happened last week, where to plan for next week/month/year, or something to that effect. Considering I spent an entire week’s article on one giant “End Step,” I’d like to instead open the floor to do some sort of mailbag article, or “Ask me Anything” style article, where I take questions from readers and provide in depth answers as to what I would do in your situation.

If you would like to have your question answered, please provide at least some degree of context. Letting me know what type of player you are, how often you play, what your usual methods of acquiring and moving cards are, and what your goals are in Magic can help me answer your question more thoroughly. Questions can be sent to my email at djohnso5@oswego.edu, or hit me up on Twitter if you can somehow pose it in 140 characters or less. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week!