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Revisiting the “New Power 9” in Magic

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If you didn’t catch the reference in the title, I’m referring to this article by Kelly Reid. He wrote it in February 2010, when we were considering the rumored introduction of a new, “OverExtended” format, which would have extended from Mercadian Masques forward. Tarmogoyf, dominating both Extended and Legacy at the time, was skyrocketing and Star City Games Legacy Open series was starting to pick up steam.

Kelly’s article at the time picked out a few Legacy cards that he dubbed the new “Power,” referring to the original Power 9. This seems like an appropriate time to revisit this concept since Star City Games and Channel Fireball have both made massive upgrades to their Legacy buy lists in an effort to get your cards.

Today I’m going to look at the cards Kelly pointed out as Power, as well as identify some other cards you need to be aware of in the Legacy format and where their prices have gone since Kelly’s article, and where they are going.

Let’s start with the cards Kelly specifically pointed out in his article. As usual, prices will be from BlackLotusProject whenever possible.

Tarmogoyf

Feb. 2010 price: $64

Current price: $50

At the time of the original article, ‘Goyf was pushing $100 on major sites. Today, he’s actually fallen, but I don’t think we can fault Kelly for that, since none of us knew Tarmogoyf wasn’t hanging around Extended for another few years. Since ‘Goyf hit a low of $40 in August, he’s climbed back up to $50 and is trending up. Still the best 2-drop ever printed (arguably, I know), the Lhurgoyf is headed nowhere but up for the foreseeable future.

Force of Will

Feb. 2010 price: $30

Current price: $44

$44 on BLP and up to $75 on SCG. Force of Will is the single best card to invest in for the foreseeable future. I’ll repeat that for effect: If you want to invest in or play Legacy, Force of Will is the single best investment you can make, especially if you do it now before everyone catches on the insane trajectory this card is taking. It has doubled in price in the last year and half, which is very impressive for cards in Eternal formats, which tend to move slower than Standard cards, which see drastic short-term jumps (see: Stoneforge Mystic).

Another upside to investing in Forces is that they are practically immune from the banhammer. If you ban Force, every degenerate combo deck in the format is free to do whatever it wants. Force holds the format together and makes it such a deep and entertaining format.

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale

Feb. 2010 price: $215

Current price: $223

While the card hasn’t moved much since the article (though it doubled in price shortly before Kelly’s article), it certainly can be considered “Power.” It sees play in some decks, but mostly it’s just an incredibly powerful and sought-after card. I’m not sure how much higher it can go, since its price keeps player demand depressed since its nearly unaffordable. But I don’t see it dropping below $200 any time soon, either.

Of the three cards Kelly mentioned, only the ‘Goyf is showing a loss at this point in time, but barring any crazy new creatures from Wizards I think it will be back to its 2010 price within a year.

Now let’s look at some other very expensive cards in the format that might be considered “Power,” which I’m defining as something akin to the original Power 9, in that it’s a very powerful, rare and expensive card that offers one of the safest long-term investments you can make in Magic. I’m going to continue to use Feb. 2010 as our baseline for these card’s prices.

Moat

Feb. 2010 price: $130

Current price: $213

Although Counterbalance has fallen out of favor recently, Moat is an important part of some of the lists of the formerly dominant deck. But Moat also fits into a number of other archetypes, and the decline of CounterTop hasn’t done much to its price. Another card I don’t see dropping below $200.

Candelabra of Tawnos

Feb. 2010 price: $32

Current price: $156

After Alix Hatfield’s Time Spiral deck won the title a few weeks ago, the Candles have doubled in price. They also appear in “12-post,” a deck that uses the Candles to power out Eldrazi. This card is extremely rare, a situation where supply actually has a hard time keeping up with demand. As such, I think Candle could push $200 and sit around there, and it’s probably not falling below $125 in the foreseeable future.

Imperial Recruiter

Feb. 2010 price: $110

Current price: $191

It’s crazy to think that such an innocuous creature carries such a price tag, but the absolutely impossible-to-find Portal cards will do that to a price. I’m not sure how good of a long-term hold this is, since its effect is one that isn’t all that hard to see duplicated, but it’s still a relatively safe investment that you should pick up if you’re lucky enough to find one.

Grim Tutor

Feb. 2010 price: $125

Current price: $129

This card has had a pretty swingy history in the last 18 months, but it’s still an important piece to one of the format’s best combo decks: Ad Nauseam Tendrils. Hailing from the fondly-remember Starter 1999 set (you do remember it, right?), the Tutor is just too powerful to ever become obsolete.

Dual Lands

They’ve all seen massive gains in the last year, and that trend isn’t going to stop any time soon. If you can get your hands on them now, do it. There isn’t going to be a better time.

Not going to be reprinted, not ever going to be obsolete.

I’m going to stop our list of “Power” there, since I’m trying to limit it to current Legacy cards rather than every old card with an absurd price tag. I think all these cards have serious potential to continue their price growth, and I would consider all of these a good long-term investment at this point.

I’ve also got some other cards that have plenty of room to grow, though I don’t classify them as “Power.”

Umezawa's Jitte

Feb. 2010 price: $18

Current price: $13

Like Tarmogoyf, Jitte suffered from its early removal from Extended, but it has rebounded nicely. There’s only one more set left in New Mirrodin, and it's unlikely we'll see equipment as powerful as Jitte in it or any forthcoming set. Jittes will continue to dominate creature battles in Legacy, something that will become more and more commonplace as Wizards continues to push creatures.

Sword of Light and Shadow / Sword of Fire and Ice

You can sell these for $20 and $25, respectively, right now, which is crazy since they are both still under $20 on BLP. But pick these up now, because Stoneforge Mystic has already seen some Legacy play, and the plethora of good targets mean the full cycle of Swords is going to hold long-term value.

Wasteland

Feb. 2010 price: $17

Current price: $32

Wasteland-based strategies are very powerful in Legacy and not going anywhere. Next to Force, this is probably your safest Legacy investment. Snap these up now while you still can.

That’s all I’ve got for this week. This obviously is not an exhaustive list of the most expensive or powerful Eternal cards, but it does hit most of the high points. I keep saying it, but we are nearing the end of the time to buy into Legacy. If you’ve waited this long, you’re way behind, but it’s still worth your time and energy to put work into the format.

Until next week, remember to check out the forums and welcome the new Insider members who have joined in the last few weeks!

Thanks,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

Ninja-edit Bonus Content!

*Baneslayer Watch*

I wanted to continue tracking Baneslayer Angel, which I pointed out two weeks ago as a card to watch. Since then, the card has continued to decline a little. There were 7 copies in the Top 8 of Dallas, which has been about par. I think the card still has an opportunity to see a resurgence in the new "Naya" decks coming out, as well as if Goblins becomes more popular. It's also likely we'll see a number of new Goblins in the third set of the block, which could make the deck stronger, and in turn bring out more Baneslayers. The Angel is still a relatively safe investment due to the "Angel rule" propping up her price for some time to come.

8 thoughts on “Revisiting the “New Power 9” in Magic

  1. Another excellent and highly-readable piece, Corbin. I think it says something about the site's content that I can read articles like this all the way through and be very entertained, and I don't even trade let alone engage in the financials of the game.

    1. I feel the same! I haven't bought or traded for a MTG card (okay, sans MTGO) in ages, and yet I find myself reading through a surprising amount of the Insider content 🙂

      Good stuff, Corbin.

    1. I think Swords popping up has a lot to do with Stoneforge Mystic and the casual appeal of "collecting all the Swords," in addition to the fact that they are occasionally played in Legacy.

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