Price Check

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
This week has been nothing but a scattered mess for me; after returning from a relaxing vacation this past week, the work has really piled up, which has left me in a frenzy. While running around and trying to catch up, I began thinking of a number of topics, and though they did have correlations, the cards—like my thoughts—were fairly dispersed. I like these random weeks during which I am able to cover a number topics, and with there being relatively no large news, this week seems as good a time as any.

This one has been on my mind for a number of weeks, but since I have been on vacation and had very little time to do much research, I declined bringing it up until now. With the recent rise in The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, it seems “real estate” is the place to be right now. As with most spikes, we usually see a number of cards that are related in one way or another rise within a few months of each other, and I suspect this will be no different. I don’t know that I would be rushing out to drop any cash on some of these older Reserved List lands, but I believe trading for them has never been safer. With Tabernacle gaining fifty percent, it is not out of the question to see other unfair lands such as Mishra's Workshop and Library of Alexandria—to name a few—spike to a similar tune as Tabernacle. I do see the argument that Tabernacle has Legacy going for it, but if you are in tune with the high-end market, you will find a lot of people seeking cards such as Workshop. Similar to when this happened a few months ago with Lion's Eye Diamond, it only takes that one person to overpay because he or she must have them in order for the whole market to suddenly snap to that new price. With most places sold out on a number of these older Vintage and Commander staples, I could see this being a great target if you are looking to just hold some safe money for a year.

Copperline Gorge
On the topic of lands, I believe another cycle that I have discussed being great pick-ups for a year now are the Scars fast lands. These lands are probably the cheapest they will ever be, and with the printing of Modern Masters I expect the interest in Modern to suddenly rise—or at the very least, the general moral of the format once it becomes more accessible. With this renewed interest, I am looking at the safe bets for the coming year, and these guys, along with a number of other post-MM staples, should quickly double. In addition to the post-MM cards, I would also be keeping a strong eye on the spoilers and watching for cards that may be missing. Sales on eBay and buy-list values on Modern staples right now are dwindling for fear of reprint, and if you can catch any of the cards that don’t get the nod before the market stabilizes, they are sure to return to their original prices or higher if the demand truly does increase.

On a bit of an aside, I want to thank everyone again who participated in the Modern Masters competition, and now that we have seen the first light of what appears to be spoilers, it won’t be long until the full set is revealed. I will be contacting the individuals through e-mail, so if you no longer use or don’t often check the e-mail you submitted from, please forward a new contact method, and I will be sure to update you with anything you may have won. A ton of people responded, so though I don’t know that anyone will win the elusive grand prize, I am confidant some people will at least be snagging some fetches for free.

Vraska the Unseen
This past week, I have been spending a great deal of time analyzing decklists and looking at the metagame as a financial whole, realizing that there may be some major spikes in some neglected mythics as of past. Cards such as Vraska the Unseen that are now seeing play have shifted virtually nowhere, staying stagnant while all of the other cards, even at rare, rise around it. I don’t believe Vraska is going to go wild to $30 or anything, but I can certainly see her picking up to $12 or $15 this summer. With another year in Standard, this expensive Vindicate may just be the board answer of choice against some decks. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Vraska spike in the next week or two, so I would act quickly before any more coverage features her.

On the topic of underpriced planeswalkers, I cannot see Jace, Architect of Thought or Sorin, Lord of Innistrad dropping any lower. Though the demand for Jace is not currently there, we will see what I expect to be a large opening in the 4-drop spot for the entire format come September. There is no way this card doesn’t see tier-one play again, and at $8, I feel that you would be hard-pressed to find something I wouldn’t trade for them.

Jace, Architect of Thought
Sorin is a bit of a different story since his reprint his price has dwindled to as low as $6. This is a card you want to be quick in on and just as quick back out, but I have to believe with all of the play Sorin has been seeing in recent weeks that he is poised to spike again, even if just briefly. Normally, I would fear rotation when looking at a card like Sorin, but in this case, given his previous price, which hinged mostly on casual play, he is also a fine long-term pickup. I could easily see his price doubling regardless of his Standard application, but the timeline on that could be a year or two. Given these two factors, Sorin seems very safe and can still be found fairly actively since many people bought the Duel Decks. Target the Dark Ascension copies if you can since they are both cheaper most places and preferred by many, but I would not hesitate to grab the others if you can find a good deal.

My last topic for this week is a bit off the wall and something I will probably go more in-depth on in a coming episode of Brainstorm Brewery, found here every Friday on GatheringMagic, but nonetheless, it’s something I feel should be building buzz. With the confirmed introduction to Power Nine on Magic Online, we will probably see a number of players exploring the format in a cheaper atmosphere for the first time. Assuming a number of people will find interest in this format, previously unknown to them since they did not own these expensive cards, what do you guys think the chances are of real-world Vintage staples increasing at a rate greater than usual—a spike of sorts but in a much slower fashion I imagine.

There are two schools of thoughts here, and one is that Vintage players who are currently starved for a tournament scene will flock to Magic Online to play their favorite format. Given the capability of Magic Online to fire events every minute or so, this would be ideal for those always looking for competition and a steady metagame while creating less of an attachment to their real-world Power. I don’t believe most people will be looking to unload their cards as soon as they have another outlet unless they truly need the money or have no attachment to paper Magic any longer, but there will certainly be some.

Black Lotus
The question then comes from the second category of people, those immersed in Moxes and some of the most powerful broken cards of Magic for the first time. Will there be enough interest in the format online to create an addition demand for these cards in real life? I believe the spike may be delayed given that the first reaction of the market will be to possibly lower slightly—or at least to stagnate for a month or so as those few who do decide to sell out “flood the market.” After this initial increase in supply, I expect a number of people who have the disposable income or steady check to begin to pick up their Power. I don’t foresee a huge spike at any point, as in anything over ten to twenty percent, but I do expect there to be a steady increase as well over the current rate for the year or so after the release as people slowly begin to assemble their decks. The reason I don’t expect a large spike is that I assume most people looking to make it into Vintage will probably be working on a budget, therefore limiting them to what they can spend and forcing them to acquire over time. I believe this is best for the market anyway since a sudden spike may scare those that were looking to get in from committing.

I feel that I have covered a number of very relevant topics this week, and I encourage you to leave some feedback below letting me know what you think will happen to Vintage. There are a number of people out there who I believe have their hands on the pulse of that market more than I have, and I would love to hear from you. As always, thank you for reading, and remember to snag those Sorins and Vraskas before they spike in the coming few weeks.

Ryan Bushard
@CryppleCommand

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