Probably one of the most recognisable Magic the Gathering cards whether shown to a pro player or a fresh beginner is Tarmogoyf. Known mostly for his unreasonable prices and multiple ‘master’ set printings, Tarmogoyf is one of the most recognisable creatures to anyone who has been exposed to the Modern format. Tarmogoyf was a four-of creature in mostly any Modern deck that played green, with some exceptions of course. Tarmogoyf was not only a powerhouse in Modern soon after his printing, he quickly became one of the most played creatures in Legacy! So, why has Tarmogoyf always been so expensive? And how has his priced changed over the years beyond its printing? These questions are some of the most common I’ve heard over the topic of Modern, and I believe its makes for a great article, so let’s get started!
Firstly, let’s go over the card itself, Tarmogoyf being a 2-cost creature is almost always the best card to play on turn 2 for almost all decks that play it. This is something that is already affecting its price, being one of the best things to do on turn 2 in a format means that the card is going to be played, and always as a four-of meaning people want them. And as with anything valuable, the more people that want the product, the higher the price will be. Not only is Tarmogoyf a solid card being played in Extended (Future Sight printing), but he quickly caught on and became a staple in Legacy as well, exposing the card to more players which held the price up.
Tarmogoyf has always been a strong part of the Modern meta, the main reason as to why its price never really drops hard is because there will always be certain time periods where it will absolutely dominate, meaning that not many people are willing to get rid of them if they are planning on playing in the future, which is most people. This of cause drains the market of copies to actual sell, driving the demand and price up.
However, Tarmogoyf wasn’t always one of the priciest cards around, when Future Sight was first released it was only a three to five dollar rare that saw little play, until people finally realised the true power levels that came with the card. So, over the coming months a five-dollar card turned into ten, then twenty, then forty and then suddenly you couldn’t buy a single copy for under eighty dollars! Seems outrageous right!? Well, it was just around this time that players were realising that Tarmogoyf was playable not only in most formats but also in most of all decks, which drained the market of most copies. And this was also beginning of the trend and stereotype that was placed on Tarmogoyf being the ‘expensive card’.
So now that we have briefly gone over the history of Tarmogoyf’s impact and price history, how has this changed over the course of many years? For the simple and easy answer, not much. But recently there have been very big changes to the thoughts and mentality about Tarmogoyf as a card in Magic. Over the past recent major Modern and Legacy events, Tarmogoyf is appearing in less and less in the top finishing decks, which is a little concerning. In Legacy, Tarmogoyf has had a major decline, for Modern, it has had some decline but midrange decks that idolise its power the most such as Jund and Abzan still remain strong deck choices. Why such a decline in playability? That is due to one specific card recently printed into Standard, Fatal Push. Fatal Push is one of the most powerful cards that has been printed recently and has outright changed the meta of Modern and Legacy almost singlehandedly. Fatal Push for one black mana kills Tarmogoyf with no draw backs, this is terrible for Tarmogoyf, no question. As well as the rise of Death’s Shadow decks this means that almost all Modern decks have access to Fatal Push to just ‘push’ away all the Tarmogoyfs, making it a lot less playable because your opponents can just destroy him not only consistently but also very effectively.
So how does the printing of Fatal Push effect the price of Tarmogoyf? Surprisingly, not very much, as we already stated Tarmogoyf is a card that people identify as a ‘holder’, meaning that it will always see play in periods of time. Not only that but Fatal Push doesn’t completely crush Tarmogoyf’s playability, it still is an amazing Magic card and one card printing isn’t going to eliminate it from any meta, in Legacy maybe a little though. Modern is a different story though as it has seen decline in numbers played but its price doesn’t relate to this playability decline which makes the card very interesting.
Tarmogoyf is a one of a kind card, period. Even when new cards are introduced into the meta it still remains very playable and the price holds its high point. Very few cards in Magic would be able to have this same effect which makes Tarmogoyf very unique. I truly believe that it will always hold a sixty dollar plus price due to its effect on a game solely. Being such a powerful creature for a very long time and going of the history and its price points it will always remain a ‘top end’ Modern staple. Even though it may not such much play in Legacy anymore, Modern is becoming more and more popular which will only keep the price going up.
Tarmogoyf is one of the most interesting cards to talk about not only for the impact on formats, price and overall playability, but also for the fact that it is able to always stand strong in game and on the Magic market as one of the most powerful creatures ever printed. Even if it can be seriously hard countered by cards such as Fatal Push and Relic of Progenitus, nothing can stop Tarmogoyf from stomping with midrange decks in the modern meta.
I hope this article has been very informal and I pray that your Tarmogoyfs never get Fatal Pushed because it is one of the most iconic cards to all players and deserves to quick its spot on the market and multiple format meta games! ‘Till next time, believe in the heart of the cards!
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