Insider: Supply, Demand, and Dark Ascension

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Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. Is he worth the hype? Will he keep his $45 price tag forever, or will he plummet like all other Mythics seem to after release? Will this apply to the other cards in Dark Ascension as well?

Through the Dark Ascension looking glass

It is widely accepted that Dark Ascension, as a whole set, doesn’t seem to have that many “money” cards in it. Its power level has fallen from what we’re used to seeing in the past, which has reduced the number of playable cards in the current metagame. As such, many players don’t find it as desirable to purchase multiple boxes to play the Mythic lottery since the “fringe” cards have little to no value.

Sure, you’ve got Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Havengul Lich, and Huntsmaster of the Fells, but nothing else that really jumps out at you aside from possibly the Graffdigger’s Cage, Dungeon Geists (which broke out at PT Honolulu) and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in the rare slots. There are plenty of great uncommons, but we all know they will be opened time and again until we’re so sick of seeing them that even they become unexciting. (Note: That doesn’t mean throw them out, they should clearly be kept to profit on later!)

It is for these reasons that I take an opposite stance to most and feel that this set will retain value, and may even go up!

What?? That doesn’t make sense!

So why would having “bad” cards in a set make it worth more? How can that be possible? Clearly if it’s a bad set, no one is going to want to buy it!

And THAT is my point!

Supply and demand on the “money” cards in this set will be skewed. While teh hardcorez might have normally bought a case (6 boxes), perhaps this time they’ve decided that since the set is bunk they will only purchase 2-3 boxes in order to avoid the losses that naturally come with packs filled with $0.35 cent rares. Less product opened naturally equates to less cards in circulation, which means that the cards that people do want in the set will be harder to find, and therefore, more costly.

Dark Ascension = Worldwake?

Drawing the common comparison to Worldwake (another 2nd set with a chase Mythic), we can see that the sets are actually quite different. Jace and Sorin are the chase cards, but Worldwake just had so many other good playable cards in it (Stoneforge Mystic, the Man-Lands, Basilisk Collar, etc…) that the EV (expected value) of each Worldwake pack was much higher from the get-go than that of Dark Ascension.

So people kept opening more and more Worldwake, putting more and more individual cards into the open market. This eventually reduced the price of every card in the set to the point that staples like Raging Ravine went from $4 to $1 PRE-Rotation! What are the odds of Dark Ascension being opened in that quantity? Sorin is NOT Jace. People will not be able to (almost) pay off their entire box investment by cracking Sorin.

Because of these reasons, I don’t feel that comparing Dark Ascension to Worldwake is valid. As such, we cannot follow its model for price deflation after release.

The Sky is the Ceiling!

If any cards break out in Dark Ascension, you may be hard pressed to find them cheap. The perfect storm of less availability combined with an increase in demand will impact individual cards much more than in previous sets. If you think that Increasing Devotion, Predator Ooze, or Vorapede are the next big thing, don’t wait… get them now!

Sorin may have dipped after the results of SCG Richmond / PT Honolulu, but if he posts any future results, expect him to go back up. Plan accordingly!

I hope this article has helped point out the possible supply / demand issue that may be created by this set, especially after Scars block rotates and people clamor for cards that were once undesirable. If no one is opening product, no one is putting more Sorins into the market, and those that are already out there can only continue to rise along with their demand.

Carl Szalich

On a more personal note: I'd been recovering nicely only to be faced with another health challenge that requires addressing. As they say: "When it rains, it pours". It's challenging to balance Magic into a life full of turmoil, but I'm trying to get at least a few articles submitted here and there as ideas arise and time permits me to write them. Hopefully I'll be back writing more regularly soon, but that's not something I can guarantee at this point. It's ironic that the article that I last wrote before taking a leave of absence was about balancing your priorities, as it's something I find myself now in the position of needing to do, but NOT for financial reasons.

Carl Szalich

Currently found ranching Orggs in the wilds of London, Ontario, Canada, I've been playing MTG for the past 15 years. I remember when trading Dual Lands for Craw Wurms was the "in thing to do", and Shivan Dragon fought Royal Assassin to see which would carry the higher price tag. I'm primarily interested in MTG finance, and like a good Icatian Moneychanger I believe that we are all "bigger than we think" when it come to what we have, and what our potential may be.

View More By Carl Szalich

Posted in Dark Ascension, Finance, Free Insider

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2 thoughts on “Insider: Supply, Demand, and Dark Ascension

  1. I normally buy 2 boxes of a big set, 1 of a small as that gives me a playset of commons and plenty of other stuff. Reasoning pretty much the same as you Carl I have actually gotten 2 boxes of DA so that I have enough of it when there turns out to be a shortage on something. Unfortunately I then proceeded to open one of the crappiest boxes I ever have and a fairly decent one, neither of which contained a Sorin, but them's the breaks.

    I think both rare lands would be pretty good investments on the long term. They have a lot of casual appeal and if the set is opened very little you eventually get prices like those for Phyrexian Tower, Tower of the Magistrate, Kor Haven, Yavimaya Hollow and other EDH staples, maybe a little quicker even due to the limited amount that is getting opened.

    Glad to see you writing again! Wish you all the best!

  2. Hey Pi! Once again, we are parallel in our collecting habits, as I also bought two boxes when I normally buy only one lol. Opened some decent stuff (Got 1x Sorin, 2x Huntsmaster) but didn’t get much vampire value.

    I agree with you about the lands as well BUT think its going to be the foil versions that are in demand, not the non-foils. Haha I know you are a foil hater but if you’re catering to the EDH crowd, well, they dictate the market on these things and they all want foil (in my area at least). They are the kinds of cards that will end up as $12+ foils and < $5 non-foils in the future IMHO… Just like those other popular lands you quoted above. Huge difference in price between foil and non, not just because of availability, but because there is huge demand for them in foil.

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