Welcome back everyone! Hopefully you enjoyed last week’s foray into MTGO redemptions, even though it is unfortunately not as profitable as it was in the past. There were lessons to learn there for the future. I was struggling for a topic this week, and then a miracle happened, Star City Games decided to post a buylist that will more than likely change the financial landscape forever. This buylist has already forced a change reaction that has been felt from everyone on eBay to every vendor on the planet to the casual player sitting in their local game shop, hoping to finish off their EDH deck or cube. Even Facebook has exploded with 100+ message conversations on walls of different members of the financial community. One such example that blew up this past week was this post by Dan Bock:
Dear Magic Players and Michael Angelo Russo,
Do you dislike high prices for Magic cards? Guess what? You're not going to enjoy the next 3-6 months of MtG.
This set off a firestorm of 100+ responses in a matter of 12 hours. That is quite impressive for a personal account, not one that is advertising a product or service.
Almost 2 years ago, Star City posted a list similar to this, looking to buy duals, power, and hard to find Vintage cards. These would eventually find their way into packs as “Priceless Treasure” as part of the marketing plan for Zendikar. This caused a sudden surge in the price of duals, where many of them gained 25-50% more value than they previously had. Last week, they posted a list with a similar list of cards, but at significantly higher numbers. Before this past week, you could find Sensei's Divining Top and Aether Vials for a reasonable amount of money, at least under the $10 they are currently asking for such cards. Force of Wills was hitting eBay at $35-$40 regularly, but now they are hitting $60-$70. Wastelands last week were $20-$25 most of the time and now they are $50. Kind of funny when Ben Bleisweiss said in his article at the beginning of the year that he thinks FoW will outgain Mana Drain, and low and behold, his company’s buylist has forced a decent condition Force to reach the price range of a VG conditioned Mana Drain. These sudden price spikes have altered the landscape and people will now fall into one of three categories.
Category 1: People that will hold steady.
A segment of the people that play legacy regularly will just continue to do what they are doing now, not selling their cards and just play legacy. This could very well be the majority of players too. Ok, yeah, this category is pretty boring but it is still an aspect to consider.
Category 2: People that will sell out.
Now, this is where it gets exciting. Getting $50 for your Forces or $40 for you Badlandss is pretty tempting. Badlandss have been $30-$35ish for a long time now, and with SCG offering to buy them at a number much higher than market makes it for enticing for players to just say “screw it” and ship everything and laugh to the bank. If the majority of people choose this route, you could see a bubble burst when vendors have an overstock of cards and can’t move them for profit. This could cause a lot of vendors to have to sell out at much lower numbers and see profits drop significantly. A bubble burst could also scare people out of the format permanently. The question with this category is when will the bubble burst and how bad will it be?
Category 3: People that will never enter the format.
The simple truth with this category is that people have mostly been priced out of the format. A competitive Counterbalance deck is already reaching 4 figures. A lot of players just can't jump into a format like that; it almost makes Standard look tame with the $80 mythics. This hurts the growth of the format. It will start to get stagnant like Vintage did after its boom in the early part of the century.
It is a shame that the financial landscape has come to this. Personally, I think that the prices on this buylist are boarding on irresponsible and obscene. They are well over what the market was offering for these cards and just caused this huge spike instead of letting inflation take its normal course and let prices rise gradually. I would feel a lot safer investing in Legacy if the cards were going up on their own and were not artificially inflated. I think to solve this situation, WoTC should step in and find a way to lower the price of cards. After a long conversation with a friend of mine who is a very influential vendor, I think a “Master’s Edition” in real life that includes cards like Force of Will and Wasteland is the best option. Make it limited edition and a onetime shot like From the Vault sets. They will make money on the sets, cards will settle back down and new players will be able to enter the format which will get them buying other cards that are needed, causing vendors to make more money.
Speculation picks based on the bubble continuing to grow:
Dark Confidant: This guy is the key in quite a few decks and he offers such an insane amount of card advantage if left untouched he will quickly take over the game. He is currently $12-15 on eBay, but if he dominates a Top 8 for the GP or SCG event, I would see him spike into the $20-$30 range.
Goblin Piledriver: One of the lynchpins to the Goblin deck that will just never go away. He is already hitting $20 on eBay and a lot of vendors just do not have a significant quantity of them in stock. I would expect to see him hit at least $30 at the GP, if not sooner. Every Top 8 he makes, it adds another 10-15% to his value, and soon he will be the most sought after cards in the format.
Vindicate: This is another card that falls into the Piledriver category of a card that people just don’t have a lot of. It is used as a catch-all in the Junk decks that consistently put up quality results. I would expect this card to be at least $25 come GP time, if not higher.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Next week I will talk about, well, haven’t decided yet. I am sure something exciting will happen between now and then to write an interesting article on. I will be PTQing in Columbus this weekend if anyone wants to say “Hi”. Unless you are Dr. Jeebus, I would not recommend saying “Hi”. Have a good weekend everyone!
Store: The Vault- Greensburg, PA