Tag Archives: modern card prices

Spawnslicer Seas

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I really enjoy when I get to spend an entire article talking about a single card as a case study. I find it fun to break down every single aspect of a card, dissect the possible reasons and explanations behind shifts in price, and use that card as a textbook example for future buyouts, price spikes, or other shifts. My two other written examples of this in the recent past were on Spawnsire of Ulamog and Mindslicer, which were both interesting examples of phenomena in the Magic finance ecosystem with trends that were supposed to be easily predictable.

While Spawnsire was alleged to be a purely speculator-driven buyout, the levels of consistent demand that the card has shown since proved its true worth as a casual stalwart in 60-card kitchen table Eldrazi lists that were juiced up by the introduction of Battle for Zendikar. Now that a large number of those players have already picked up their Spawnsires for their non-competitive decks, we can see the demand for the card recede; Oath of the Gatewatch wasn’t nearly as exciting for Spawny.


Mindslicer has not been as resilient to decline, but it’s certainly surprised me that the card has not dropped to dollar-rare status after the past two weeks. While none of us will ever know exactly how much money the mystery person made by buying out all of the internet of this stupid 4/3, we’ve already seen the price drop to a more rational level.


It’s down 50 percent from the $10 that it was hanging at when I dedicated a week to discussing the buyout, and it seems to have settled for the most part. While I’m sure some of you are preparing to shout, “But DJ! The Master Buyoutmancer was able to maintain the price of Mindslicer at a level over 1000 percent higher than what it started at! You said that these evil people can’t make cards jump by ridiculous percentages and stay at those prices without actual demand.”

That’s right, I did say that. The key here is that we’ve finally reached a point in the race to the bottom where other stores are willing to partake in the transactions, and feel safe enough about selling Mindslicers at the new price that they’re putting the card on their buylists.

buylist price

ABUGames (excellent buylist) and StrikeZone Online (eh…) are both willing to take your copies of Mindslicer off your hands, and pay you actual cash dollars due to their confidence that they can resell these copies at the new established price point. While everyone’s  initial reaction (including my own) to the Mindslicer buyout was that it was going to fail, crash, and burn back down to bulk, the individual(s) who made the decision to purchase all of the available copies was confident enough that a new price would be somewhat sustainable. Instead of the good old Aluren example where the card was bought out and then forced back down to its original value due to no true demand, Mindslicer has proven against the odds that it has legitimate demand from stores and players alike.


Washed Off Topic

Wait, where was I? Oh, right. I was going to try and write another article about a card in which I’m fairly confident in preparation for the Modern Pro Tour (yes, the same Pro Tour that I said I couldn’t care less about on the latest episode of Cartel Aristocrats). Before I go any further, I’m going to make a tiny, tiny disclaimer. Yes, I own roughly 60 copies of this card. Yes, I recognize that my writing about this card has the potential to act as a catalyst, speeding up the process at which players purchase their copies in a race to lock in their sets before risking supply running too low. For the umpteenth time, I link you to Derek Madlem’s well-written article about The Observer Effect.

However… I believe that the Pro Tour and those watching coverage will have a much stronger impact on the price and demand of a card than my content creation here at MTGPrice does. Due to the fact that my article comes out on Thursday, February 4, and the Pro Tour starts on the 5th, you should have plenty of time to buy non-foils of this card if you need them for future Modern endeavors.  I would hope that sellers on TCGplayer don’t cancel orders for a card that’s this cheap with such a low expected price jump, but you never know.




By the time this article goes live, it will probably be too late to buy foil copies of Spreading Seas. There are zero on eBay below $15, and the ones that are $15 are being shipped all the way from Europe. TCGplayer has a whopping two foils as of February 2, and they were both probably fished out of a toilet.


The only online vendor that I can personally find with any reasonable number of copies left is SCG, with twenty MP ones at $7.88 each (disclaimer on the disclaimer: I bought ten SP foils tonight at $8.99 each). For those of you who have been holding onto foil copies in anticipation of a future spike, I suggest selling into any Pro Tour hype you see, and trying to get around $20 for a solid double-up.


As for the non-foils, there are still at least 500 copies on TCGplayer alone, and another 100 on SCG. That should prevent any immediate “oh my god, Spreading Seas is a $5 common, the world is ending” tweets. I highly doubt that happens. Don’t buy a ton of Spreading Seas at $2 each expecting to make a billion dollars, because you won’t. If you happen to own some non-foils, I would wait and see what the Pro Tour does to the card. If Merfolk pounds some faces in or an alternate controlling shell shows up housing Seas, then we could be in for a nice little bump, mimicing the trends of Slippery Bogle and Wild Nacatl (speaking of Nacatl, Spreading Seas does an excellent job of making sure that cat stays wet, in addition to washing away the manabases of Tron and Eldrazi).



If Seas shows even a drop of on-camera play this weekend, we could certainly see a bump up to $3 to $4 on non-foils in the short term.

So what are your other spec targets for the Pro Tour? While I’ll unfortunately be too busy to watch coverage of the event, our own James Chillcott will be providing up to date text coverage to make sure you don’t miss any potential new decks or cards seeing play.

Until next week! By then, I’ll be on my way to Georgia, but I should still have an article up on that day to keep you busy.

End Step

  • Laboratory Maniac is four times more expensive than you thought he was. “Oh, that card is a silly little dollar rare. It can’t possibly affect me.” WRONG. Card is four freaking American dollars, courtesy of the non-competitive market. Excuse me while I run to the store and pull a dozen of these out of my dollar box before it’s too late.
  • Ad Nauseam is finally starting to perk up from its’ bottom of $2 to $3. If you need these or Phyrexian Unlifes, buy them now. The deck can be very hard to interact with, considering it draws its entire deck for answers to kill the Leyline of Sanctity that you put down.

Grinder Finance – “Taiga is a strictly worse Grove of the Burnwillows”

I’ll talk a little about Modern because it’s all the haps these days.  You know them hip kids and buying out the internet and whatever.


grove of the burnwillows

The worst part about these graphs is that the Grove of the Burnwillows one isn’t even as high as it should be.  Almost every store that MTGPrice.com pulls price information has stagnated because they are out of stock (it is common practice not to update the prices on sold-out cards).  Let’s look at the less steady but technically more accurate TCGPlayer prices.grove tcg

You know what’s really bad about this?  Convergent Mid and Low pricing.  With big shakeups like this even though the mid pricing seems to dip a little, copies are still being bought.  A steady price between mid and low indicates supply and demand are satisfied at this price point.  At the end of November that all changed and we haven’t settled since then.  It’s insane to think that the most expensive dual land in a pair of colors is not the ABUR dual.  Hence the title of my article, Grove of the Burnwillows is strictly better because of the formats it is legal in and it’s interaction with Punishing Fire.  Which brings me to my first point.

A Lot of F***ing People Play Modern

Excuse my French but that is the truth.  A lot of people are picking up Modern decks and playing them because of great strides to reduce the cost to play.

hallowed fountain

Do you remember the time when Hallowed Fountains were $45?  Modern was in it’s infancy and barely anyone played it.  Do you know how bad had they not reprinted them with such vigor 3 years ago?  If you think Modern is expensive now, let me tell you, it could have been so much worse.  Fetchland reprints in Khans of Tarkir also brought some needed reduction to the cost of Modern but that also made cards more expensive.

Bans and unbans make stuff more expensive

Pour one out for my homies – my binder

People knew the writing was on the wall for Bloom.  The deck defied some ground rules for the Modern format but getting blindsided by a Splinter Twin ban is causing some really  bad panic buying.  Scapeshift is the easiest deck you can port Twin into (most of the shell is similar) but Scapeshift isn’t a card that got reprinted 6 months ago.  The original printing is from Morningtide which is even older (and smaller print run) than the original Splinter Twin printing.  The ripple effect will continue until probably a month after the Pro Tour as people try to figure out what to play now.  The security knowing the “pillars of the format” is lost in Modern now and we might see a cascade of price changes as people adjust their strategy.  At this point unless you need to play in a Modern event until Shadows over Innistrad, I would just stop buying Modern cards.

But this ban brings new brews!

Yeah, maybe?  To be quite honest, the Eldrazi deck is already bringing enough of a shake up to Modern I’m not sure we needed to ban Splinter Twin.  While it’s true the boogie man that was Twin allows for other decks to flourish, if you couldn’t beat Twin what makes you think your brew can beat the remaining decks?  I think people think that removing one of their bad matchups all of a sudden makes their deck playable.  What I am expecting is the opposite.  If your brew couldn’t beat a 3 mana 1/4 blue creature it probably can’t beat a lot of the decks in Modern.  While this is a finance column, I can not advocate people go out and buy a new deck right now because the format will be very unsettled.

Rise of the Rise of… Wait no – Oaths of Oath of the Gatewatch

kozilek's return 2world breaker

These two are likely to become a dynamic duo in Standard in the coming months.  They have both seen non-stop upward movement since their very early spoiling.  If you got in early you are probably feeling great but at this point I think I’d rather trade for them than buy copies.  Baring an unusually high finish (or large percentage of the top 8/16), they will likely not see a big jump next weekend.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion

This guy has been gaining the past week also.  He probably won’t see as much play as Ulamog (Kozilek is much worse in multiples) which means he probably can’t maintain a $18-20 price tag for very long.  I expect him to dip in the coming months and I’m a buyer at $10-12.  Kozilek, the Great Distortion (like Kozilek, the Butcher of Truth) will likely retain a higher price tag than he should due to being a casual favorite.  The only thing I can think that may change this course is if some Tron team at the Pro Tour adopts a large number of Kozilek in the main deck.  That will probably lead him to disappear from the internet in a few hours.

Thought-Knot Seer

The best card in the set. I regret not pre-ordering these at $4, $7, or $8 because the internet thinks they are worth $15.  I’m not interested at that point.  I’m not sure it’s good enough for Standard and Modern demand likely won’t push it close to the price of the rares of the Eldrazi deck.  My rule of thumb is it can’t be more than Ulamog or Eye of Ugin.  If you need them for a deck, I’m sorry but you probably wont find a better deal at $15 so good luck.


This is a potential “sleeper” of the set.  I’m not sure how much upside there is at $5 but if you like the cut of his jib I wouldn’t fault you for getting yours.  Outside of Cracking Doom, nobody is really set up to kill this guy.


I’m totally on board buying all of these lands.  They’re $2-3.50 each which is in the ball park that the lower man land (Lumbering Falls) from Battle for Zendikar dropped to.  If these get a lot of play in Modern and EDH… Well I guess really it’s “when” they get a lot of play, they will go up.  There are not a lot of choice of good enemy colored dual lands.


Some people swear by this guy, and on paper he looks pretty good.  The reality is he’s actually pretty difficult to cast unless you reshape your mana a lot to support it.  I’m not sure people will and I’m not on board buying into a $7 rare.  This is one of those “I have to see it to believe it” kinda cards.  But I’m not always right, I felt that way about Collected Company before that was $15.


This is the last card I’ll touch on.  He’s great.  He’s $2.75 but he’s the buy a box promo.  I would not fault you for buying or trading for some.  I may have done it myself.  While this unlikely another Goblin Rabblemaster, he’s got enough value on a sturdy body to be around for a bit.

One last bone to pick

So you guys know I used to advocate Pucatrade.  It was a fantastic service.  Was.

puca point bonus

This is the current Pucatrade plan page.  They have tripled the bonuses you get for signing up for paid plans and have the same bonus for new referrals. That’s a huge amount of additional Pucapoints flowing into the market that will cause more inflation.  At this point I don’t think there is an upside to using Pucatrade because there is such a large possibility people just stop sending you cards.  The fact that at this point, your entire Puca subscription cost turns into pucapoints is VERY concerning.  Without a way to take them out of the market it’s possible pucapoints just turn into Zimbabwean Dollars.  It is just a really bad way to get caught with your pants down.  I don’t know if the new website will fix these issues but it should be pointed out as something to watch.


Thanks as always for reading, hopefully if my weekend goes to plan and you’re watching the StarCity open in Atlanta you will see me on camera!   Gotta keep up the facade that I play more Magic than every other writer on this website, right?