Finance in a Flash: Modern Mystery

Written by Paul Feudo on . Posted in Finance, Magic Culture

Finance in a Flash: Modern Mystery

Paul Feudo

Paul Feudo started playing Magic in 1999 and became fascinated by the financial aspect of the game a few years later. He recently gave up the competitive dream and became focused solely on trends in the Magic economy. Follow him on twitter @plfeudo.

Did You Know?

Tristian Woodsmith’s 11th-place U/R/W control deck from SCG Indianapolis had two copies of Niv-Mizzet Dracogenius in the maindeck. I’m not sure if this will be more than a blip in the radar, but I still believe in the card’s potential.

Stewart Caldwell’s 16th place U/W/R control list from the same event elected to run Chandra the Firebrand in the maindeck. Anytime a planeswalker starts to see Standard play, it’s worth taking notice. At $3-4, there is a lot of money to be made if Chandra becomes a Standard staple.

Quick Hits

1. Thundermaw Hellkite strikes back. There were eight copies in the Top 8 of SCG Indianapolis, and it has been creeping up in price since hitting its floor a few weeks ago. And the dragon still has some room to grow. Look for the popularity to increase as more and more Lingering Souls see play.

2. Sever the Bloodline is sold out at $2 on Star City Games. The card is still considered bulk by some despite widespread Standard play. Look to pick them up as throw-ins in trades and make some money.

3. As the format slows down, Vraska the Unseen is beginning to see more play. She is great against other planeswalkers and even maindeckable against certain fields. Depending on how Standard evolves, she has room to grow considering how much her price has fallen. (She can be found as low as $15 on TCG Player).

4. Angel of Serenity is continuing its dominance over a midrange format. When one of the best trump cards in Standard is a mythic angel, it should hold its value for the foreseeable future.

5. We’re in a Thragtusk bubble. The Return to Ravnica Event Decks come out October 26, and many more copies of everyone’s favorite cow will be released into the wild. The Creep and Conquer deck oozes with value. In addition to a copy of Thragtusk, there is a Woodland Cemetery, a Wolfir Silverheart and a Disciple of Bolas. Those four cards retail for more than $43 on SCG, so look to pick up copies at the $20 MSRP if you can find them.

6. Trostani, Voice of Selesnya is steadily falling. It’s down to $15 across the Internet from the $18 it hit during States. The card doesn’t do enough on its own when the lifegain is not backbreaking against much of the field. It is subpar in the midrange and control match ups, which make up much of Standard.

7. Stromkirk Noble is $3 using TCG Mid and sold out at $3.50 on Star City Games. The cost of many Standard decks may be turning people toward more budget options like monored because other than a 10th-place finish a few weeks ago, the deck has not done well in a field of Thragtusks. There is still room for Stromkirk Noble to grow, and it could spike very quickly if a monored deck wins a big weekend tournament.

8. Hellrider is more than $4 on MTGO because of its inclusion of some of the successful B/R Zombie and monored lists. This card is very cheap right now ($2.60 using TCG Mid) and has the potential to spike fairly rapidly as the paper metagame catches up with the online one.

9. Baleful Strix is $18 on SCG and $20 using TCG Mid. This card does not seem like it should be expensive and may be undervalued by stores and traders. Any sealed Night of the Ninja boxes are a great value — the Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni, 2 Baleful Strix and Sakashima’s Student retail for more than $50 on Star City Games.

10. Second Sunrise won the Modern Pro Tour and has basically disappeared from the internet. Star City Games is sold out and TCGPlayer is just beginning to restock after the weekend. There is still some time to pick these up from bulk bins that haven’t ben looked through in a few years (or more likely, those who looked through them previously didn’t care about Second Sunrise). I doubt it’s price is coming down anytime soon, and if you find them cheap, they’re a good buy. Lotus Bloom feels like the better speculation target from the Eggs deck based on previous price and general playability. Online retailer prices have only gone up by a couple dollars, so there’s still time to pick them up in trade.

Last Word

Modern Masters is a limited release booster product of reprinted cards targeting the Modern format from 8th edition to Alara Block. There will be 24 packs per box and an MSRP of $7 per pack. There will be a Limited North American Grand Prix using this product soon after its release date of June 7, 2013. There is a foil card in every pack and Tarmogoyf is the only card spoiled so far. It is now a mythic rare and one of about 25 cards with new art.

We simply do not know enough to make sound decisions regarding the contents unknown or otherwise of this set. If you are looking to get into Modern, this is not a free Jund deck falling into your lap. If you own a Modern Jund deck, the sky is not falling.

This product is not cheap, and the potential for the secondary market to drive pack prices beyond MSRP is certainly there. But even at $7 a pack, the price alone will preserve some of the value of the reprinted cards. We also have no idea what ‘limited release’ means. We have seen that describe Commander’s Arsenal (stores are being allocated two to four copies) as well as the Graveborn decks (which I can still buy at Target). All of this uncertainty makes my default position a hold on all potential reprints (cards like Mutavault, Dark Confidant, Vendilion Clique, Spell Snare etc.) unless you’re being offered value close to or equal to what the cards were worth before the set’s announcement.

The biggest winners from this announcement are the Zendikar fetchlands, which have been steadily climbing for the past 11 months, and will continue to do so. These cards are not eligible to be reprinted in Modern Masters, and are the building blocks of the format’s manabases. Nearly every deck in the format needs them and Modern becomes more accessible, demand will only increase.

What other cards do you like as buys given this announcement? Let me know in the comments, I’m very interested to see what you have to say.

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