Tag Archives: Modern Masters

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: Modern Masters 2015 Review Part Deux

By: Travis Allen

One thing’s for sure. The texture of Modern Masters 2015 is very different from the original Modern Masters. Modern Masters was a highly synergistic Draft format (which led to an atrocious Sealed experience, by the way) with money up and down throughout the set. Of the original release, a full one-half of the rares were good pulls. It’s tough to nail down exactly how many you’d consider worth the pack, as we each have our own personal metric for that, but if we consider a rare to have been a good pull if it was worth roughly at least as much as the pack was, there are about 26 good rares. In a set of 53 rares, that’s damned impressive. In contrast, Dragons of Tarkir, which also has 53 rares, only has about 10 good pulls.


Mythics in the first Modern Masters weren’t bad either. Twelve of the 15 were at or above the curve, which meant that 80 percent of the times you opened a mythic, you were pleased with it, or about four of every five times.

The commons and uncommons were quite rich, as well. There were 14 or 15 solid commons and uncommons, with all-stars like Path to Exile, Kitchen Finks, and Lightning Helix hanging around. Overall, there was a fairly robust distribution of value through a Modern Masters pack without even considering the foil slot. It’s not hard to see why packs regularly sold for over MSRP: there was a lot of cash jammed into each one, and simply finding them to purchase could be a challenge.

What About the New Modern Masters?

This time around, things are quite different. On the mythic side of things, Modern Masters 2015 hits a lot harder. Now a full 14 of the 15 mythics, 93 percent, are excellent pulls. Not only is all but one mythic a good pull, they’re good pulls. Ten of those 15 mythics clock in around $30 or more right now, with several in the $40 to $55 range. Compare that Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre to Keiga, the Tide Star or Sarkhan Vol and you can see how much better the mythics are in Modern Masters 2015.

When we move over to the rares, things swing hard the other way. Where MM13 had a full 26 solid rares, MM15 has maybe 13. Part of that is that the pack MSRP is a full $3 higher, which means cards in the $7 range don’t justify the cost of an MM15 pack in the same way that they used to justify a MM13 pack. The result here is that while half the rares you opened last time just about covered the cost at MSRP, this time only a quarter of them are going to. That puts us a lot closer to the Dragons of Tarkir ratio than the Modern Masters ratio.

The commons and uncommons are weaker this time through, as well. Remand shows up, which is great for sure, but then after that, the goodies fall off quickly. Instead of multiple uncommons worth around $2.50 to $3, there’s only the one now. Electrolyze is back, which is fine, but it’s not covering half the value of the pack like it used to. Lightning Bolt is certainly no Kitchen Finks when comparing dollar signs. Eldrazi Temple is cool, but copies are already down below $3 and MM15 hasn’t even hit shelves yet.

What Does It All Mean?

Let’s boil this all down for analysis. The mythics in Modern Masters 2015 are better than in the original run. There’s more of them we want to see, and they’re individually worth more money, as well. Only a quarter of the rares are valuable enough to cover the pack’s MSRP in MM2015, as opposed to half of them originally. There’s some decent commons and uncommons in the new set, but overall not quite as many, and aside from Remand, they’re less strong individually as well.

All of this leads us to a few conclusions. When the top end is top-endier and the dregs are unequivocal gutter trash, as we’re seeing now, prices are going to remain much more stratified than they were in Modern Masters, a far more egalitarian set.

We can look back at a past discussion of box prices to understand how we arrive at this conclusion. The long and short of it is that a $240 MSRP box needs to be worth $240 somehow, and if people aren’t paying eight bucks for Comet Storms or six bucks for Mirran Crusaders now, they’re not going to start when more copies hit the market. All of that value is going to exactly three places: good mythics, the absolute best rares, and some of the foils.


This is in contrast to the first Modern Masters, where the $168 MSRP boxes had far more configurations to get you your money back. With so many valuable, in-demand uncommons and rares, and a less heavy top end, there wasn’t as much pressure on individual cards to carry the weight of the box.

At a per-card level, we can make two predictions. Rares that aren’t currently worth much are going to be absolutely pummeled by the MM15 printing, while cream of the crop rares and nearly all mythics are going to see way less of a drop in price than some may have hoped. Gone, for example, are my expectations that Tarmogoyf may finally have his price cracked and end up south of $150 for an extended period. With the amount of work the mythics are going to have to do carrying this price tag, we really can’t expect that much of a loss in value.

In fact, I’d venture that we see maybe a 10 to 20 percent loss of value on the mythics, and maybe not even that much on some of them. Kozilek has dropped from a fair trade price of $53 about a month or two ago to $46 today. I’m dubious that he’ll ever get below $40, and if he does, it won’t be by much, and it won’t be for long.

I’m going to extend my predictions here beyond the immediate price drops as well. If the mythics have to work hard to support box prices, they’re not going to see a deep loss of price, and it’s not going to last too long, either. They won’t dip deep, and they won’t dip for long. When they begin to rebound, we could see them rebound quite hard—potentially above where they were before the reprint, perhaps within six months to a year.

Why is that? Well, this was it. Modern Masters 2015 was the chance to make these cards more affordable and available. Prior to the release of MM15, there was this dark cloud hanging over the head of all of these cards. Even before the announcement, it was assumed that MM15 would happen and that cards like Fulminator Mage and Spellskite would be in it. Now that cards not in the set no longer have the immediate fear of a reprint over their heads, we may see prices surge. In three months time, we’re going to be saying, “They just reprinted Emrakul. They’re not going to print him again for at least a year or two.” That will be right about the time copies start hitting $70 and $80.

magic the gathering eldrazi rise of the eldrazi emrakul the aeons torn 1920x1080 wallpaper_www.wall321.com_22

Knowing all of this, it will be important to react quickly during the coming months. The good stuff won’t have far to fall, and when it gets there, it won’t be there for too long. Maximizing profits will require identifying when cards have stopped dropping and moving in within what will probably be a window of only a month or so. What cards, that I didn’t already talk about last week, should we be considering?

Well, first of all, basically all of the mythics. I don’t like Comet Storm at all, of course—stay the hell away. Primeval Titan isn’t exciting to me, either. This is its umpteenth printing, and without terribly strong demand backing it, I don’t expect it to rebound from all of this nearly as well as some of the other orange set symbols. Tezzeret the Seeker isn’t anything I want to be a part of, either. With zero competitive demand and only mild casual appeal, there’s nothing here that really excites me.


Other than that, all the mythics are good. You’ll notice that prior to MM15, Elesh Norn was climbing. Despite everyone being aware of her potential inclusion in the summer’s Modern product, we saw her price climb from $30 last November to $40 in early April. This tells me that there’s real and powerful demand for her, which will support her price considerably as we get a few months past the MM15 street date. This demand, combined with Wizard’s hesitance to reprint iconic legends, has me looking to trade for copies when prices bottom out. I’ve never been able to keep an Elesh Norn in my binder longer than a few days.

Despite lukewarm Modern performance, Bitterblossom has sustained a surprising price tag. Tokens has evergreen appeal, even in competitive formats, it seems. With the Modern event deck last year being BW Tokens, there’s probably quite a few people out there looking to start or finish their sets of Blossoms.

As for the big colorless three, Battle for Zendikar is going to bring us additional enablers for Eldrazi, which will only make them more playable in more formats. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that BFZ may bring us just enough to push multiple Eldrazi into a competitive Modern deck, which would be a tremendous boon for their price tags. Imagine some sort of deck that runs eight to 12 big, honkin’ Eldrazi, Temples, Urzas, and a few Eyes to hurry them out, Sylvan Scrying and Maps to find lands…could it be real? I don’t know. Depends on what we get. I’m just daydreaming now. Let’s move on.

Dark Confidant may not fare all that well once the dust settles. While he’s currently one of the better mythics to open, his price is supported fully by the competitive scene—a scene which has been sorely lacking any Confidants for some time now. Neither in Legacy or Modern have we seen much confidanting, really. Even though MM15 is poised to do a great job supporting the prices of its mythics, that relies on the assumption that those mythics are still desirable to their respective crowds. I’m probably staying away here, actually.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker won’t drop dramatically, but his will be one of the slower ascents. Like Dark Confidant, he just isn’t making the rounds quite as much as he used to, which means we’re combining a reprint with an overall loss of demand. He’s still an extremely powerful card though, both at the kitchen table and the feature-match table. If a Modern deck pops up that needs Kiki-Jiki rather than Splinter Twin again, he’ll move fast.

How about the rares? What looks exciting to us?



I didn’t intend to choose these such that they represented all five colors and an artifact, but here we are. That’s balance for you.

These are the rares that are best situated to rebound after the set hits its price floor. Each enjoys a strong competitive demand profile, which bodes well for rapid recuperation of price. A lot of people are still missing their own copies of these, especially Cryptic Command, Leyline of Sancity, and Fulminator Mage.

A year or two ago, I had given up on owning Fulminators until they were reprinted. I have been completely removed from the market for Fulminator Mages. If you counted all the people worldwide that needed Fulminators, I wouldn’t have been included. Now that they’ve got their second printing, this is the cheapest they’ll be for a long while, basically until they completely fall out of the format or they get reprinted again (and again.) Because of that, I’m now coming into the market looking for a set. I’m an example of how a card that has been reprinted can see its price rise rather than fall, because total demand can increase faster than the number of copies on the market.

All of these cards are capable of that behavior. Anyone that plays Modern regularly will be looking for their own copies, and many personal playset binders are missing these. I’d expect each of these to possibly double from their floor within a year, depending on how far they end up actually falling.

Hot News

  • Serum Visions has been confirmed for the August FNM promo (with Path to Exile coming one month before it.) The increased supply isn’t going to be enough to lower prices, especially with art that cool, because even those that already own sets of Visions may want this promo (like me.) I’m thinking Wizards got caught with their pants down on this one and didn’t expect Visions to be $10 ahead of Modern Masters 2015, and now there’s no way to get more copies into the system for at least six or nine months. I’d expect an overall increase in price on Visions, possibly north of $15. I wouldn’t want to be holding copies past the end of the year, though.
  • Completed listings for Tarmogoyf are in the $140 range. This strikes me as a reactionary or fire-sale price. It may slip lower yet, probably about two weeks to a month after the GPs when supply is extremely high, but I don’t believe its price will remain that low. It’s too good in too many formats, too iconic, and these packs are too expensive for it to suddenly lose $40 to $60 in value.

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: A First Look at Modern Masters 2015

By: Travis Allen


This article will have been the most fun I’ve had writing in months, possibly ever. I say this without any consideration for the content within. What am I talking about? I recently purchased a mechanical keyboard, and ho boy, let me tell you. This thing is amazing. Every key press is simultaneously a musical note and a distinct tactile sensation. Typing is akin to receiving a massage, and each muscle plays it’s own sound when relaxed. You see, most keyboards, such as those on your laptop or the one many of you are using on your desktop, use a series of rubber membranes underneath the keys. You push a key, some rubber moves, an electrical circuit is formed, and the computer registers a key press. On the surface of the board the keys are independent, but the inner workings beneath the keys are all connected.

Mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, hearken back to a time before advanced manufacturing techniques had turned its eye toward computers, before capitalism drove down both the cost and quality of everyday keyboards. Each key on the board is completely independent of the others, and they use a fully self-contained mechanical process to register key presses. (This website does a good job of illustrating the function, as well as educating you on which type you may want to invest in. I chose Cherry MX Brown switches, and I’m quite happy with them, though they don’t have the same distinct tactile bump mid-stroke that the Blues have. I’d be happy with either.) The end result is a wildly satisfying typing experience that I can’t recommend strongly enough if you spend any appreciable time at your computer. Be forewarned, though. If there are any light sleepers in your home they will be immediately aware of your new purchase.

Modern Reforged

What does this have to do with our topic for the week? Nothing, really. I just wanted a chance to type more words on this thing and I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you all this nifty new device I’m enjoying. As far as content goes, I had planned on starting this week off by continuing from last week’s topic—that is, what cards to trade for heavily over the summer as Khans of Tarkir block prices fall.

After pulling up Fate Reforged, though, I find really only a single card that looks to be immediately underpriced: Tasigur, the Golden Fang. He’s making waves in Standard, Modern, and Legacy right now, quickly cementing his place as a stalwart eternal staple. With FRF feeling under-opened, I see non-foils cresting $10 to $15 this fall, and foils are an absolute slam dunk in the $25 to $30 range. Realize that foil Abrupt Decay, another recent eternal staple, is nearly $70.

Beyond Tasigur, there isn’t much in Fate Reforged I’m too excited about right now. I do believe that Ugin, the Spirit Dragon will ultimately rise, though I’m not entirely sure of exactly how his price curve will play out over the next several months. I believe that it’s highly likely we see him above $50 before the end of 2016, though that doesn’t mean that this August is necessarily the best time to buy in. And if we’re looking for places to stock up on cards that will be rising this fall in order to cash out, Ugin may not be the best choice with both a high barrier to entry and uncertainty about when exactly he’ll reach his full price potential. There’s also the looming specter of the spring’s Duel Deck, for which Ugin is a serious candidate. Should that come to pass, it will add another year at least to his growth cycle.

I’m a big fan of Monastery Mentor, as well, especially foils, though again, with such a high price tag already, it’s going to be hard to build up too much of a portfolio this summer. I would recommend trading for all three of these FRF cards as much as possible over the coming months, and for any other cards you want to park value in, refer to what I wrote last week.

Just the Thing

While staring at the Fate Reforged price list and wondering what the heck I was going to write about this week, I noticed that Modern Masters 2015 official spoilers began today. Well, hey, that’s something people care about, right? Perfect. We’ll look at what’s official up through Tuesday, May 5.

It won’t be too surprising to learn that most cards in MM2015 are going to drop in price, at least initially. Our goal isn’t to just guess at which direction everything is going to go, but rather, to understand how far it will drop and consider the point at which we want to buy. Having said that, there is one culprit that may once again escape the pitfalls of reprint.

I had two reactions to the official reveal of MM2015. First, that Tarmogoyf was going to be in, and second, that its price would finally fall. Finally, I reasoned, supply would begin to outstrip demand.

In the intervening months, however, my opinion has wavered. I am no longer so sure that the amount of Goyfs introduced to the market will be enough to satiate public demand. My fellow writer, James Chillcott (@mtgcritic), has been trying to hone in on the number of copies that will be introduced relative to the existing population of Goyfs, and I’ve got to say, it’s less than I would have initially expected. When you consider just how few people out there actually own sets, it’s easy to see how this could once again fail to slay the green monster. Next time you’re at Modern or Draft or FNM, ask around and see how many players actually own playsets. Almost everyone that isn’t a die-hard Spike won’t own any, and even among the competitive players, I’m guessing you’ll find perhaps a 25 percent ownership rate. If the printing of MM2015 creates more players that are seeking playsets of Tarmogoyf than playsets themselves, demand rises, and so too will the price. My estimated price on Goyf right now for the initial months following the release of MM2015 is somewhere between $160 and $190. Time will tell, I suppose.



How about the rest of the spoiled cards? Let’s start with some big ones. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn was spoiled very early, and as a result, he’s dropped from $60 all the way to…$50. There will be further loss here, though don’t expect prices south of $30. He’s still the preeminent reanimation and cheat-into-play target in every format where he’s legal, and is a casual all-star to boot. Our best course of action here is to wait for Emrakul to hit his floor, and as soon as he begins to rise again (likely sometime this fall), begin scooping up copies like mad. We won’t see him again for quite some time after this, and I’ve no doubt he’ll return to $50 within a year or so of his appearance here in MM2015. The only way he doesn’t climb back up to that price is if he’s somehow trumped in Battle for Zendikar, which I consider highly unlikely. Right now, Emrakul is a prime target to trade all of your Siege Rhinos and Rattleclaw Mystics into this October.

Kozilek returns, the last of the three to receive a second printing, and boy did he need it. He’s been more expensive than Ulamog for quite some time, despite the fact that Ulamog is fringe-playable in any big mana deck and Kozilek is resigned to casual-oriented formats. That his price stayed that high without a modicum of tournament success tells us just how much casual demand there is for this guy. The only reason I see his price suffering much at all this year is because of just how packed with value the mythic slot is this time around. Kozilek will be another excellent trade target as MM2015 prices bottom out in several months.

Karn should follow a similar path as Emrakul as a giant, colorless, awesome card. In fact, Karn seems even more resilient here than Emrakul is. He was just about $50 before he was officially revealed in early March, and he’s still about $50 today. He won’t be able to sustain that price, as the market always seems to react rather slowly to reprint news like this, but like Emrakul, I’d be surprised if he made it under $25 or $30. I’m less bullish on scooping up copies of Karn this fall, though. While very cool, he’s not actually played in nearly as many places as Emrakul is. There’s clearly appeal from casual players, EDH tables, and cubes, but he isn’t a mainstay of combo decks in both eternal formats in the same way as Emrakul. You could do worse than picking up Karn this fall, but he won’t be my first choice.

While we’re talking about colorless cards, Mox Opal is yet another high-profile colorless mythic, though unlike the Lovecraftian horrors detailed above, is vulnerable to corrosion and violent storms. Another $50 to $60 mythic before its announcement, Opal too hasn’t budged much yet. The path for this will be similar to Emrakul. It will drop into the $30 to $40 range, then given its utility in various formats and status of being a Mox, will only stand to gain once we get past the initial supply glut.

I’m a bit surprised to see Iona here, as she was widely expected to show up in the upcoming From the Vault: Angels. Given that she’s so casual-oriented, she makes sense in an FTV product, while Linvala was expected here in the competitive product. With Iona in MM2015, did Wizards switch things up on us and put Linvala in the FTV? It would seem that way for now.

As for Iona, the hits at the mythic slot just keep on coming. There will be an interesting tension between this many high-demand mythics and $10 pack prices. Looking at Swords of Fire and Ice and Light and Shadow from the first time around, I see the Darksteel copies losing about 15 percent  after the reprint. Given that Iona is similarly a casual-oriented card with a very minor competitive play profile, I’d expect something similar here. She’ll probably dip below $25, but don’t expect anything south of $20 unless the whole set drops more than people expect.

If we divide the mythics into “better than average” and “worse than average” piles, I’m putting Bitterblossom in the worse half. The current price tag of $40 is based entirely on scarcity. While a mythic run in MM2015 isn’t going to add “one in every box of Cheerios” quantity to the market, it’s going to add quite a few copies of a card that is relatively unpopular right now. Add to that the same artwork, and there’s no reason to believe this will fare well. With the uncontested popularity of so many other mythics, Bitterblossom’s outlook is not great here. Could we see prices south of $20?

Vendilion Clique is probably the worst positioned mythic at the moment. The trio is competing against a slew of useful rares that plenty of players have been waiting ages to pick up, as well as several high-profile, heavily-played mythics, all while losing competitive ground in both Modern and Legacy. I picked up a small stack of these about a year ago at around $50 because I anticipated they would reach $90 to $100, as Dark Confidant had done, but they just never saw enough play to get that high. It seems they’re not used any more today than they were then, and if anything, it seems like I see them less often, particularly in Legacy. With another printing increasing both availability and competition among expensive cards, Clique could end up being one of the mythics with the furthest to fall.

Primeval Titan was shown off on Monday by perennial green mage Brian Kibler, and while the price hasn’t dropped much yet, expect it to in the near future. This will mark the titan’s fourth printing, and even with Amulet Bloom running rampant in Modern right now, it still hasn’t been enough to push its price much past $15. With so many other, more desirable cards in the set, things don’t look good for Primeval Titan in the near future. Given how long it took this to rise in price the last time, unless we see PrimeTime in the sub-$4 range, I’ll be inclined to stay away. This goes doubly so for the rest of the cycle, which all have far fewer competitive applications than Mana-Hulk.


On the rare side of things, the reprint everyone saw coming before MM2015 was even announced, Noble Hierarch, is going to present a lucrative opportunity. Its price will crash hard, with Jason (@JasonEAlt) and James looking for prices in the $10 to $15 range. I’m right there with them, and I’m also in total agreement that this is an excellent long-term gainer. Hierarch is all over the place in basically every format, including the kitchen table. They even printed Llanowar Elves in the most recent Commander product, which means that mana dorks can find a home just about anywhere. I’ll be looking for as many copies of Hierarch as possible this fall when she’s at her lowest, and hopefully she’ll climb all the way back to $40 given a year or so to grow. It took less than a year for Cryptic Command to go from under $20 to $55, and I expect the same here.

Fulminator Mage is likely to end up in the top five or ten most useful rares in the set, but that won’t save its value. I expect the price to take a nasty hit, just as Hierarch will, though the rebound should happen slower and softer. Hierarch is on the whole much more popular across a wide spectrum of players, while Fulminator Mage does exactly two things: fills out Modern sideboards and annoys people at kitchen tables. Mostly the former, I’d guess. In any case, I’ll be glad to finally have a set back.

Spellskite should fare as well or better than those two, given its ubiquity in Modern. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it being one of the top ten or even top five best rares in the set. Still, we’re going to see more of a drop from the current price tag of about $25. I’d anticipate prices in the low teens,  perhaps even below $10 depending on how great supply actually is, and what the rest of the rares look like. I certainly like Spellskite at its floor in a few months. It isn’t seeing any less play in Modern than it was, and will be good for at least 50 percent profits a year from its lowest point.spellskite

Splinter Twin is going to eat it hard. There’s exactly one deck that wants copies anywhere in the world, and even then, it doesn’t even necessarily run four. I don’t like it as a gainer, either. Once the boost in supply drives the price low, there won’t be sustained illiquid demand to drive it back up.

Daybreak Coronet was spoiled with a worse border and less interesting art, and like Adarkar Valkyrie and other casual cards, should suffer greatly. Boggles is hardly a major component of the competitive Modern scene, and beyond that, demand for Coronet exists only in casual circles. It will join the ranks of the slaughtered rares with nearly no hope of recovering. It won’t be the only white rare down there either, as Mirran Crusader will be joining it.

Another casual all-star, All is Dust, maintains a $20 price tag despite being GP promo’d. A rare printing is going to hurt like hell, though. Adarkar Valkyrie dropped dramatically when it was reprinted, from double digits to under $2, and I don’t expect other expensive casual rares will fare much better this time around. I can see Dust dropping well south of $10.

Next week should bring us quite a bit more to discuss, although there’s no way the density of absurd mythics can continue at this rate. There’s been a sort of semi-unofficial spoiling of Dark Confidant and Tezzeret via an MTGO announcement, so I’m assuming we’ll see those, as well as the rest of the Titan cycle. Probably a great deal more rares, as well, which I’m quite curious about. Once we have the full spoiler list in, we can begin turning our attention to all those left behind. Until then!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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