Tag Archives: Modern Masters 2015

Modern Masters 2015 – Release Weekend Update

First, the good news. Modern Masters 2015 can be reordered, so you can all rejoice about how easy it is to get packs.


Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 5.23.43 PM


Now, the negatives. If you want those MM 2015 packs right away please keep in mind that there are several issues going on with the first print run of the set. This first run might not be that desirable due to printing and packaging errors. And let me be clear, there are many errors with this product. James did a good job in pointing out the issues.


Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 5.27.56 PM


Non-Tamper Proof Packaging


Since Wizards decided to be Earth-friendly for the release of Modern Masters 2015, they are putting these packs in cardboard packaging and using glue to keep the packages closed together. This youtube video shows why that maybe wasn’t such a great idea. Modern Masters is going to have value, but please make sure to get your packs from reputable dealers or people that you trust.


In-Pack Card Damage


Next on the list is in-pack card damage. This Twitter picture pretty much tells it all.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 5.38.03 PM


I find it quite sad that every single foil common in the box was nicked in this manner. What do you do if you open a money common foil and it had this type of issue? What if every card in your pack had these kind of nicks? Not a very good feeling to see that pack fresh cards aren’t coming out NM and knowing that you have a good chance with this first run to get stuck with cards that are damaged due to the loose-packing style of the cardboard boosters.


Collation Issues


This reddit post does a great job explaining how cards in packs seem to be having collation issues. Washed out colors, misprints, badly centered cards – these are all basic things that shouldn’t be happening in sets like Dragons of Tarkir, let alone Modern Masters 2015. I’m wondering if the cardboard packaging did this to the cards or if the quality control was just that bad. Maybe it’s a one-of case that just happens to be anecdotal? Not sure, but based on what others are saying I find it hard to believe that this is an isolated case.


Pack Rarity Distribution Errors


This reddit post gives an account of packs containing no rares coming out of a sealed box. In the comments, a user gives an account of a friend opening packs containing multiple rares per pack. With this issue, I believe that Wizards will replace the defective product (that is, packs containing no rares) however it is still just another example of the low quality control seen so far.


Another issue with this is that you can even get these crazy DISCARD cards in your slot, or worse your mythic rare slot:


Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 10.28.15 AM


These DISCARD cards are a bit more common, as they have happened over the years in plenty of recent packs of sets, but to get one in a $10 pack is still pretty disheartening.


Wizards’ Response So Far


Unfortunately, I don’t think there is going to be a lot that you can do about many of these issues. Wizards was listening to feedback starting on Friday and through Saturday about the reported print run issues and released this Twitter statement along with an official statement from the mothership.


Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 5.39.58 PM


Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 5.40.56 PM


This statement doesn’t address anything with the concerns that people have been bringing up. It’s kind of a slap in the face to players, especially those who have bought boxes at WPN locations and discovered the issues with cards were nicked upon opening. Some of the louder voices on Twitter are continuously asking what we can do if we get packs with these types of print run issues. Hopefully there will be recourse in the future for the issues but for now we’ll just have to wait and see.


Continuous Discussion About Value and Condition


I’ve talked about potential issues with value for Modern Masters 2015 in my last article, but this video by Tolarian Community College does an amazing job explaining exactly why or why not to buy into Modern Masters 2015. He does get a bit preachy, especially when calling Wizards greedy for pricing packs with Goyfs in them at $10, but after seeing everything that has been going on with Modern Masters 2015 at this point I am inclined to agree with him. He also provides more documented footage of card conditions of cards that are coming out of pack fresh boosters. Great, straight-to-the-point coverage by The MTG Professor.

I realize that the vocal minority always complains the loudest. However, in my many years of playing Magic I have never experienced the amount of card quality complaints that I am seeing with this set over the past weekend. One factor could be because of the higher cost of entry – since players are paying more, they expect a higher quality product, and who can blame them. I have certain expectations when purchasing a Cadillac versus purchasing a Ford, however with Magic cards it should be even easier to guarantee that the product is up to snuff. Another reason might be the bandwagon effect – since it is popular to complain about Modern Masters 2015 during opening weekend, why not chime in with your own personal anecdote even if most other players haven’t experienced it. I mean, we’re all just kind of shooting from the hip here since we don’t know how exactly how much of the product is defective. However, recently players have said the Commander 2014 decks were also having issues, and I don’t remember the feedback for those decks being as negative as for Modern Masters 2015. This is only the first weekend, so maybe over time we’ll see that this is just overblown. However, I felt it was important to write this article because if you experienced these types of issues with your premium Modern Masters 2015 packs then please know that you are not alone and that several other community members both on Twitter and Reddit have been documenting and adding issues they are finding with the set.


I’ll leave you with this – even after seeing all of the issues with Modern Masters 2015, I still think Wizards has a chance to get it right with the next print run. They seem to have recognized that there is a problem, due to them Tweeting about it and releasing a statement on Saturday, however now we need action from Wizards to follow up with their mistakes. I expect great things from Modern Masters 2015 and hopefully future waves will correct the mistakes we are seeing on release weekend.

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Modern Masters 2015 Early Movements

We’re just a week away now from Grand Prix Vegas and the Modern Masters 2015 onslaught that comes with it. I know I’m looking forward to it, and I’m not alone. We have a house rented in the city, and I’m looking forward to meeting both old friends and new ones while enjoying a great week in Vegas.

Of course, there’s another reason we’re there, one that isn’t a party. That would be Modern Masters 2015, and it’s looking to be a vitally important weekend financially. Much has been said already about the expected value of the set: complaints about it not being high enough or about it being too unevenly distributed. All may have some merit, but they’re also irrelevant at this point. As someone approaching this from a MTG finance angle, your goal should not be to discuss what should have been, but rather what is. And what “is,” means a set with some value at the top end and a pretty drastic dropoff after that.


Where Will Prices Go?

The million (or something) dollar question. I’ve been aksed this more times than I can count over the past month, and I’ve given a pretty consistent answer to it: I don’t know.

I realize as an “expert” in this field that’s not the answer people want to hear, but it’s being honest. When there’s no real precedent for this set given the much-smaller print run of the original Modern Masters, it would be incredibly disingenuous of me to tell you a month ago what Tarmogoyf will cost in six months. I don’t have any information to form an educated opinion, and I would rather say nothing at all than provide misinformation based on nothing but me wanting to hear myself talk about it.

My stance from the start was that we needed some empirical data before we could draw any conclusions, and that meant waiting, no matter how unfun that was.

Well, we’re finally starting to see some data, and so I think it’s time to begin analyzing it.

The Numbers

There’s this misconception that the first Modern Masters didn’t lower prices, or actually raised them, because, “Tarmogoyf, Cryptic Command, and Vendilion Clique!”

While didn’t-lower-prices complaint did hold true for those few cards, it’s far from true across the board.

Stonehewer Giant

Stonehewer Giant is just now starting to recover from Modern Masters, and it’s not the only card in this boat. So, before I go any further, let’s be clear about that. The vast majority of cards in Modern Masters 2015 are going to get rekt (I use words like that to sound cool. Bad idea? Okay, no more).

That’s not to say every casual or EDH card in the new set is going to tank and never recover. Doubling Season, for instance, has recovered very well from its printing in Modern Masters. But Modern Masters 2015 is going to depress them for a long time to come. That means something like Tezzeret the Seeker or—perhaps the best example—Creakwood Liege is going to tank and take a long time to recover.

Creakwood Liege

I expect Liege to tank down to  below $5 and sit there for a few years to come. This is all something we can determine just from comparing to the first set, and with the larger print run of Modern Masters 2015, this effect is going to be even more pronounced.

So that handles what will happen to the low-end, and that’s information we have access to and can easily extrapolate from. But it’s the high-end that everyone wants to know about, and it’s the high-end we’re just now beginning to see some data for.

The ‘Goyf Level

Tarmogoyf 2

Take a look at that Tarmogoyf chart. We’re seeing it predictably slide down. Compare to this chart from the Future Sight Tarmogoyf when the original Modern Masters came out on June 7, 2013.

Tarmogoyf 1

You can see there that the original Tarmogoyf not only didn’t drop, it actually rose in between the announcement of the set and its release. Viewed in that lens—a price increase despite a reprint incoming—it’s really not surprising that ‘Goyf spiked after the first GP Vegas.

Magic was growing very quickly around that time, and that growth makes sense. While Magic isn’t shrinking in 2015, it’s not experiencing the growth that it was then, either. Throw in a larger print run and the fact we’re seeing a price drop this time around, it makes a lot more sense for Tarmogoyf to fall lower in the coming months.

How low? I think that’s still to be determined, and what we see the price of the newest printing do in the next month is going to determine it. While I do expect a drop, I’m not quite sure I expect $100 ‘Goyfs, and I have a few reasons why.

The first is the recent news that there won’t be a second print run of Modern Masters 2015. Wizards got a lot of heat over the print run of the first Modern Masters not being large enough since it didn’t drop prices as much as people would have hoped, but people have to remember WOTC’s goals here.

The goal isn’t necessarily to make Tarmogoyf a $20 card, or even a $50 card—it’s to make it more available. While it’s easy to conflate availability with price, it’s not the same. Yes, there may be enough demand that Tarmogoyf stays around $200, but there’s also the chance that a player might pull one from a booster pack. The median price on TCGPlayer may not move much, but that possibility counts for quite a bit.

People are going to always spend money on some sort of Magic product, and over the next few months that money will be on Modern Masters 2015. The whole, “You know what goes good with a Tarmogoyf? Three more!” makes sense, of course, but it’s always used to explain why the prices are still unreasonable. But looking at it in the context of completing a playset, someone spending their typical monthly “budget” of Magic money won’t be spending much more than they usually would, but when they open a Tarmogoyf the cost of completing a playset is no longer $800, it’s now $600. That chance of opening a ‘Goyf is something that wasn’t available to players before, even if the prices are the same.

That’s the difference between “availability” and price, and the goal of Modern Masters 2015 is to make Modern more available, not necessarily cheaper, even though there is obviously plenty of overlap.

So when we talk about the lack of a second print run, it means this opportunity is going to be available for a shorter window of time for most players, and there won’t be enough time for supply to really flood the market. That’s a recipe for some short-term price dips but long-term stagnation or even growth, especially combined with this second factor.

That factor is the apparent lack of movement from some of the cards. Sure, we’re seeing some drops from the original printings as we expected, but the versions in Modern Masters 2015 aren’t starting anywhere near as low as we may have guessed. Fulminator Mage, for instance, has always felt odd as a $30 card, and it made a lot of sense when the new version opened at $20 in preorders.

But it didn’t stay there. Those cheap copies went fast, and the next wave of preorders came at $30. It’s settled around $25, lower than the original printing but not anywhere near as low as we might have expected. This is a trend spotted in several places in the new set. Of course, this price will likely continue to dip once copies actually hit the market, but given the single print run, this dip may not be as much as expected.


I was reticent to offer opinions before we had any data, but now that we do, I’m starting to form some suspicions about where we’re headed.

To summarize:

  • Low-end cards, commons/uncommons, and casual-demand cards like Creakwood Liege are going to tank, and they’re going to stay tanked for at least 12 to 18 months.
  • High-end rares like Noble Hierarch and Cryptic Command will end up being down 25 to 40 percent. This means $30 to $35 Noble Hierarchs and $35 to $40 Cryptic Commands. This is, of course, still just educated guesswork on my part, but it’s a start to some theories that will be refined in the coming weeks.
  • 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.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Take Advantage of Modern Masters 2015 Emotions

Emotions can frequently fog one’s judgment in MTG finance. In fact, the same is true for stock market investing. Emotions explain why stocks and Magic cards can be over-valued and under-valued in the short term.

However I am in the camp that the Invisible Hand finds the correct price…eventually. It may take months or even years – but I firmly believe that over a long enough time horizon, fundamentals outweigh emotions. The true value of a stock or a Magic card will be reflected in its price over enough time.


Take for example the recent Twitter drama I caused by pointing out the low stock of Promo Command Tower on TCG Player. At the time, there were approximately seven copies in stock across five sellers. I purchased three copies and highlighted to the community how few remained.


In rapid fashion, the remaining copies were bought out, sending this card’s market “value” much higher. Disgruntled players criticized me for pointing out this shortage of stock, wrongly accusing me of a pump and dump or at the very least, market manipulation. I tried to explain that the true value would be identified given enough time, and that any short term spike was artificial.

Well, here we are a month or two later and Judge Promo Command Towers are back down to $28, only about 15% above where I bought my copies. It took a while, but the Invisible Hand eventually did take action to regulate the market and help identify the right price.

Applying This to Modern Masters 2105

The above example to me is a classic case study showcasing how markets can overreact due to emotions. The result is a brief moment in time where market inefficiency could be exploited for profits. While I did not make such a greedy move with Command Tower (I still own the same three copies), there are other short term opportunities that are worth considering.

With Modern Masters 2015 on everybody’s mind I thought I would take a look at some reactions to being either included or excluded from the set. In certain cases, we will be able to identify emotionally driven price changes. Perhaps there will be some situations where rampant sell-off could soon generate a buy opportunity. Conversely, cards dodging reprint may have overreacted to the upside creating a chance to sell into hype.


Let’s start with a couple cards that have sold off dramatically since being spoiled in MM2015. The first card that comes to my mind almost immediately is Leyline of Sanctity. The Core Set rare has dropped nearly 40% since being spoiled in the reprint set.


This reprint was a major hit to the white enchantment. But my outlook isn’t such extreme doom and gloom. The card is still a clutch sideboard player in a metagame where Burn is relevant and even dodging Thoughtseizes and Inquisition of Kozileks (two excellent pickups, by the way) is quite handy. That being said, the card went from very low supply to…marginally higher supply? Think about it: will Modern Masters 2015 have a long-term impact on the supply of this card? Could an increase in Modern interest help drive demand, supporting this card’s price in the future? It’s certainly possible. My advice: keep an eye on this one – it’s selling off now and for good reason, but activity over the last day or two may suggest there are buyers at this lower price point. Once it stabilizes, Leyline can be a solid target.

Spellskite is another such example.


Like Leyline of Sanctity, this is another highly relevant sideboard card in Modern. After peaking over $30, the card rapidly sold off and crashed down to around $15, only to recently rebound back over $18. This is another example where the market is emotionally over-reacting to news. Will Spellskite’s price continue to drop? Possibly. But much of the drop is likely already priced in at this point. I’d keep a close eye on this one as well because as long as Splinter Twin remains dominant in Modern, this will be a highly in-demand card with plenty of fundamental strength. Don’t give in to short term panic selling if you can avoid it.

At this point you may be thinking only sideboard rares are experiencing this emotional sell-off. Guess again.


The most valuable card in Modern, Tarmogoyf himself, is also selling off in light of Modern Masters 2015. While his pullback has not been as drastic, a move from $220 to $171 is nothing to sneeze at. In this case, I suspect the selling may not be over just yet. But the bottom will arrive swiftly. And when it does, it will likely last for only a brief moment. If history is any indicator, we may see Goyf’s price recover almost as quickly as it drops. Let’s zoom in on June 2013, when the first Modern Masters was released.


We can see in the chart above that Tarmogoyf peaked at $180 in 2013, only to drop down to around $110 in light of Modern Masters. Less than a month later, however, the card recovered nearly 100% of its drop. By early 2014, Goyf recovered the full price drop and started to set new all time highs.

Using this data, I suspect we haven’t hit the short-term bottom on Tarmogoyf just yet. But we need to remain extremely vigilant. A major price drop out of fearful selling could generate the best opportunity to make short-term profits. The same theory will apply to other reprinted cards like Noble Hierarch and Mox Opal.   These two cards have also sold off dramatically since being spoiled in MM2015.  A short-term selloff will again be a terrific time to obtain copies. We just need to be very careful with our timing – when the panic selling is over we need to be prepared to acquire quickly. The window of opportunity may be very small.


It’s no secret a few obvious exclusions were made from Modern Masters 2015. Cards dodging reprint in this set are bound to move higher in price. However in some cases emotions took cards into overbought territory, meriting a short term pullback.

Inkmoth Nexus is the poster child for such overly enthusiastic buying.


The nonbasic land skyrocketed 100% after we confirmed it would not be reprinted in Modern Masters 2015. I suspect this is driven highly by speculators, although it’s possible that some players held off on acquiring copies they needed in the hopes of a reprint. But you can see how the card over-shot to the high side in recent price action, and since the peak at $25 it has actually dropped 20% back down to under $20. The euphoric buying has subsided for now, but I’d watch this one closely. Another surge back to $25 is not out of the question, especially since the top buy list price hasn’t budged from $15. If we get back to $25 again I’d advocate moving extra copies to take advantage of everyone’s bullishness on the card.

Goblin Guide is another card worth a closer look after dodging reprint.

Goblin Guide

I want to highlight how much more subtle the price jump is in Goblin Guide. He went from $18ish to around $24, only to sell back down to $21. While less drastic, the trend matches that of Inkmoth Nexus. Emotionally driven buying by speculators and players who recognized cheaper copies won’t be entering the market any time soon, followed by an ensuing sell-off. If there’s another surge in the coming months, make sure you’re ready to pounce. Selling into emotional hype is the best way to maximize value from your cards when looking at a short-term time horizon.

The last example I want to cover is Serum Visions.


When news broke that the blue sorcery dodged reprint it shot up to $11.66. Euphoria was short lived however, as the card quickly pulled back to $9.45, not even $1 above its pre-hyped price. Yet again we see this same trend – overextended buying followed by an immediate pullback.

Should this price behavior happen again in the coming months, I’d be ready to cash out of excess copies. Not only does this net you higher gains, but it also ensures you dodge future reprint risk, such as an FNM Promo in the case of Serum Visions or perhaps a Battle for Zendikar appearance (Goblin Guide? Inquisition of Kozilek?).

Wrapping it Up

In the three examples I shared of cards overextending to the high side, I want to point out one important consistency. In each case, the card value jumped on emotional excitement only to pull back immediately thereafter. However in all three cases, the top dealer buy price did not drop alongside the value. They all jumped up and have so far been able to stick.

If this trend continues and buy prices remain elevated, it will provide very strong support for these cards. Therefore, before cashing out in future price jumps, I’d highly encourage you to inspect buy price trends first. It’s one thing if speculators are getting a little too enthusiastic about a card’s absence from MM2015. It’s a completely different story if dealers also join the fray. In cases where buy prices jump and remain higher, you may be best served by holding for a longer time horizon.

Either way, one must be very observant of trends over the next couple months. There will continue to be rapid price fluctuations as people overreact to market changes. Should prices seem to overextend either to the upside or downside, we need to remain vigilant and prepared to act. If a sell-off becomes overdone, the window to acquire cheaper copies may only be open for a couple weeks. In the case of rampant buying the window to capitalize is even smaller, lasting only a few days.

We’re entering a highly volatile time period in MTG finance. This isn’t the time to sit on inventory complacently. We need to be acting if we wish to maximize value from our collections, adding positions where appropriate and cashing out of others after a spike higher. Perhaps the best strategy shortly after Vegas is to move spiked cards into reprinted cards – selling high and buying low. It may be challenging to move cards that everyone is euphoric about into cards that everyone is dumping. But if you time things correctly you’ll be selling into hype and buying into fear, the perfect trading strategy if you ask me.

Lastly, if you’re truly too afraid of how low prices can go on reprinted Modern staples I urge you to at least consider moving overbought cards into more stable holdings. Cashing out of overpriced Inkmoth Nexus at a dealer, taking trade credit, and acquiring that Dual Land you’ve needed for your EDH deck could be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. This is especially sound advice if you don’t want to actively manage your MTG portfolio throughout Modern season.

No matter what you do, keep your emotions in check. We should use historical data from the first Modern Masters to try and anticipate where prices may go from here. With a little planning, we just may add incremental value to our collections simply by timing things right. Good luck to everyone!

Sig’s Quick Hits

While everyone knows about Inkmoth Nexus and Serum Visions, a few cards that dodged MM2015 reprint have remained under the radar this past week. Here are some cards worth keeping an eye on and possibly acquiring before the hype train leaves the station.

  • While it was printed in the first Modern Masters, there’s no Rift Bolt in MM2015. The result: this $2 common is poised to rise in value as long as Burn remains relevant in Modern. Star City Games has a dozen or so copies in stock across Time Spiral and Modern Masters, but keep an eye on dealer stock going forward. We could see some gradual, more sustaining price increases this summer.
  • There will be no Spell Snare in MM2015. I suspect this will mean stock of this card will be dropping in the next few months. Star City Games currently has just one Dissension copy in stock at $5.59, though they have 17 MMA copies at $5.65. Picking up these – perhaps even in foil – could lead to some gradual price gains throughout 2015.
  • Another solid target due for gradual price increase is Hive Mind. The blue enchantment has seen only one printing, back in Magic 2010. The card is relevant in Modern, and may see some casual demand as well. SCG has 11 total copies in stock, with NM pricing at $4.89. This seems very low for a card played in Modern as a 3-of or 4-of. If Scapeshift can be a $24.15 card on SCG, I don’t see why Hive Mind couldn’t move higher from here.

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Decision-Making Strategies for When You Know Reprints Are Coming

After Birthing Pod was banned, I sold most of my Modern collection. I wasn’t even a Pod player, but I lost a lot of confidence in putting resources into the format, especially since I don’t play a lot of paper Magic these days, meaning my cards weren’t even being used.

It wasn’t just the banning, though. By that time, Modern Masters 2015 had been announced, and it was clear to me that if I wasn’t using these cards and they were likely to be reprinted soon, I should probably get what I could for them while I could.


I didn’t sell everything, though, and I’d like to go over my thought process with some examples of cards that fit four different categories:

1. Did get reprinted, but I didn’t sell.

2. Did not get reprinted, and I didn’t sell.

3. Did get reprinted, and I did sell.

4. Did not get reprinted, but I did sell.

As I often do, I’m drawing some examples from personal experience, but am also looking for overarching themes and lessons we can all learn from moving forward.

1. Did Get Reprinted, but I Didn’t Sell

There are a few cards in this category, but the two I want to talk about are these:

karnliberated crypticcommand

The main reason I didn’t sell these cards is because I got in cheap, but there are other factors, too.

When Karn rotated from Standard, I traded for three copies at $15 each (how I wish I could say it was 30 copies…). One of those has since been traded out, but the other two reside in my cube and my Maelstrom Wanderer Commander deck.

When considering whether to sell these Karns, I considered it like this:

  • Is the retail price of Karn likely to drop below the $15 point where I previously acquired these?
  • If I buylist these out for $35 right now, that represents $20 profit. Am I likely to be able to purchase reprinted Karns for $20 or less?
  • Do I want to go through the effort of trading these away and then trading back for them after a reprint?
  • Do I want to play with a cube or a Maelstrom Wanderer deck that lacks Karn?

The answer to each of these questions is a solid no in my mind, so I kept my Karns.

I employed the same logic to my playset of Cryptic Command, which I acquired (shortly after Modern Masters was released) in slightly played condition for $70 and a Deathrite ShamanIn Cryptic’s case, I was not as sure that it would see another reprint, but I figured that even if it did, I probably would not be able to beat that deal (they are Lorwyn version, too). Since I’m not currently using the full playset, though, I mitigated my risk by trading out one copy at its peak. As of now, I don’t really have any regrets about trading that one or not trading the others. We’ll see if some other factor changes that.

Overarching Strategy: Consider the price you got in at, the profit you could make, what you expect the post-reprint price to be, how much you risk you’re willing to take, how much use the cards are currently getting, and any other relevant factors to determine if you should sell a card you anticipate is getting a reprint soon.

2. Did Not Get Reprinted, and I Didn’t Sell

I admit, I was skeptical of everybody immediately assuming that Innistrad was not included in Modern Masters 2015. The text in the original announcement was vague, stating, “Modern Masters 2015 Edition takes players back to some of the most remarkable planes from recent history, including Zendikar, Mirrodin, Ravnica, Lorwyn, Kamigawa, and Alara.” By contrast, the first Modern Masters announcement set a very specific range: “Cards are reprints from Eighth Edition through Alara Reborn.” I don’t think I was wrong to think Innistrad cards might be included, but luckily for me, I eventually got on board with what the community at large.

As a result, I didn’t sell my Snapcaster Mages (thank heaven, it’s nearly doubled in the last six months) or Geists of Saint Traft (I don’t own Lilianas). But Innistrad cards were easy.

Other than Innistrad cards, the main category of cards I held onto were lands. The first Modern Masters didn’t have a cycle of rare duals, and while it was certainly possible for Modern Masters 2015, seeing fetches in Khans made me feel basically safe holding everything I owned. So I did, and none of it got reprinted. Phew.

Overarching Strategy: Consider the information that is official, compare it to past situations that are similar, listen to trusted community members, and draw your conclusions.

Just like you shouldn’t marry the first pick of your draft, though, you shouldn’t cling to your early conclusions just because. If I had stuck with my immediate thoughts regarding Innistrad‘s inclusion, I would have sold off my Snapcasters and Geists for a (relative) pittance and would now be looking at sharply increased prices should I be wanting to reacquire.

3. Did Get Reprinted, and I Did Sell

This is, of course, where I was hoping to be most successful, and I did okay.

I sold my Emrakul, I believe before it was officially spoiled, but not because I necessarily thought its price would crash—more just because I wasn’t using it. There are three big cards that I sold or traded specifically because I wanted to avoid a big crash:

splintertwin noblehierarch spellskite

Each of these cards was pretty obviously going to be targeted for reprint, and although I could see a world where Wizards would print these at mythic, their earlier rare printings suggested otherwise.

The nice thing is that I got great deals on each of these cards, too: each was acquired at 10 to 25 percent of its current retail price. However, Cryptic Command aside, a reprint at rare does a lot more to crash a card’s value than a reprint at mythic, and I wanted to make sure I locked in profit on these while I could. I did keep a single Splinter Twin and a single Spellskite for my cube, but Noble Hierarch got proxied—I’m not playing a $70 mana elf in a casual format when I could triple up instead. Good thing, too, because it’s already down to $50. Expect it to drop more.

Then we have commons, uncommons, and casual rares, which I anticipated would just get wrecked, even compared to the above three cards. In this case, I sold off my Smash to Smithereens (reprinted at common and has already dipped from $5 below $3), Remands (keeping a couple for Cube and Tiny Leaders, because this is honestly one of my favorite cards), and Mirran Crusaders (which I still had around from Standard rotation and clearly weren’t going anywhere). I feel quite good about selling these. Remember what happened to Spell Snare after the first Modern Masters?

Overarching Strategy: Of the cards you most expect to get reprinted, consider which ones are most likely to get hit hardest. Those are the ones you should most prioritize trading or selling, as you want to lock in any profits (or minimize any losses) as soon as possible.

It’s important to note that if I had been actively playing Splinter Twin in Modern tournaments, I would have eaten the anticipated loss and kept them. It really all comes down to how much use the cards are seeing versus how much money you expect to lose based on the reprint.

4. Cards I Did Sell, but Didn’t Get Reprinted

I always knew this would be the most painful category, once I could identify the cards that were in it. I traded out my last set of Serum Visions, and I’m still having a hard time believing it’s not in the set. Again, though, I’m not playing Modern right now, and Visions is only good in that format, so I’m not feeling too much regret. The best part? I pulled three or four sets out of five-cent bulk bins back in the Avacyn Restored days, so I made plenty of profit off of this card. I can always rebuy for the stupid $10 price if I feel the need.

Inkmoth Nexus is where most of my regret lies. I got in on about 10 or 15 copies of this at $5 or $6 each a while back, and had been anxiously watching for it to go up ever since. This seemed like a likely include for this set, given Infect’s perpetual-if-not-dominating presence in the Modern metagame, but a reprint was not to be. Now Inkmoth is sitting at a retail price of $20, while I’ve sent all my copies out on PucaTrade for 1000 to 1200 points. If Infect wins an event or two in the next year, I expect it to go up even more.

Overarching Strategy: Considering this is the “screw-up” category, maybe it’s not wise to recommend anything here? Then again, it’s not like I lost money on my Inkmoths or Visions. I don’t mind a cautious approach, and I don’t think you should, either.

Too Few To Mention

You know what? I feel like I made a lot of good calls in anticipation of Modern Masters 2015, and even if my decisions regarding Serum Visions and Inkmoth Nexus were ultimately incorrect (and disappointing in hindsight), I don’t think my thought processes were wrong, nor do I regret taking a cautious approach.

I locked in value on all kinds of cards that got reprinted, successfully managed to not fire-sell cards that I want to own and don’t believe will lose anything on, and correctly identified cards that were not at all likely to be reprinted. There are too many variables to say how much money I “made” or “saved,” but I know that it’s more than what I “lost” by selling my Inkmoths and Visions for a smaller profit than I might have otherwise gotten.

So what are the big lessons here?

1. Think things through critically.

2. Have a reason for each of your decisions.

3. Don’t second-guess incorrect decisions that were made for the right reasons.

4. Don’t dwell on decisions that didn’t work out, especially if you made a bunch of decisions that did!

5. I made a lot of presumptions in making these decisions, and you know what happens when you presume, right? It makes a pres(ident) out of (yo)u and me! Yep, I’m pretty sure how that’s how the saying goes. Presume away, folks.


That’s it for this week. Have questions or comments? You know what to do.