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Insider: There’s Something About Jace

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Jace, the Mindsculptor has been climbing steadily since January of this year.
That's pretty impressive growth for a card that's only legal competitively in Legacy and Vintage, though it's fair to say some of that demand was from Commander players picking the card up while it was 'cheap'.
The break from the steady upward trend recently is very odd; when analyzing the card from a competitive standpoint not much has changed beyond the success of U/W Miracles in Legacy the past few months, and I'm unaware of anything that would dramatically increase demand for the card from casuals.
Channelfireball raised their buy price to $55 the week before GP San Jose, selling the card for $80, something we hadn't seen since before the bannings. A few weeks later, Starcity raised their buy price to $60 and began selling them for $100. The internet consequentially went insane.

And hasn't stopped.

My question is, why?

The card obviously holds a special place in the game's history for both good and bad reasons along with the notoriety it holds because of that. It's the best planeswalker ever printed, and probably one of the best cards ever printed. It's name is Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Patrick Chapin loves it. Maybe people just decided their Jaces were worth more than the old buylist prices, but that doesn't feel like the whole story.

The only reason I can think of for this price spike is speculation that Jace, the Mindsculptor will be unbanned in the Modern format as some pros have called for.

If Jace was unbanned the internet would go insane again, and most copies available online would be bought out within the hour. Retail outlets would adjust their prices, I wonder if would SCG stop at $150? The exact price doesn't really matter, what matters is the reaction to the unbanning itself along with the new presumably higher retail price.

Part of Jace's infamy will always be tied to the $100 retail price tag he held when he was in Standard, and the feeling of being 'priced out' many players had who wanted to play the format. Why would Wizards want those feelings brought back into the fold for a Modern format without the type of support Standard has? A format they are trying to make more accessible. A format that can't afford that kind of bad press unbanning a $150+ Jace would cause.

Modern Masters has shown us how serious Wizards is taking establishing the format, and shows us the way unbanning Jace could work. Of course, Jace isn't eligible for Modern Masters itself, but some type of artificial supply increase is needed before the card is unbanned to lessen the public backlash as well as alleviate legitimate price and supply issues. That of course brings about several questions that there are no answers to yet: If the supply increase happens, how big will it be and how much will it effect the price? Will it come before the unbanning or after?

The uncertainty that these questions brings make me want to stay away from holding copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor in the long term, I have no problem acquiring the card in general, but a hold has too much inherent risk, especially when factoring in the initial investment required.

Paul Feudo

Paul Feudo started playing Magic in 1999 and became fascinated by the financial aspect of the game a few years later. He recently gave up the competitive dream and became focused solely on trends in the Magic economy. Follow him on twitter @plfeudo.

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Posted in Finance, Finance History, Free InsiderTagged , ,

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13 thoughts on “Insider: There’s Something About Jace

  1. I think more decks in legacy besides Miracles started playing this. It has showed up in some Omni Tell decks and that new tesseret deck ( I know tezz isnt a real deck yet tho)

  2. I haven’t been able to find the thread and/or posts you’re referring to, I certainly didn’t intend to rehash already known information if that’s the case. Regardless, the pricing trend hasn’t stopped, Jace is up to $73 on BLP, so I figured it was worth talking about.

    1. use the link i provided. also, something can be worth talking about here and on the forums 🙂

      QED does a really good job in the link of articulating an approach to mtg investment. his approach could actually serve the reader with a way to invest.

      this article links some card prices and talks about what if Jace gets un-banned and previous prices. there is not much actionable content unless i am missing it. also, wizards isn’t going to make card choices considering price. they are going to want healthy formats to sell into and that’s it imo.

      1. Modern Mastery (and is $7 msrp) itself is evidence of wizards taking price/ the secondary market into account in my opinion.

        This article is a warning about a costly play I’m seeing evidence of in the market but don’t agree with. I provided said evidence and gave my opinion and the reasoning behind it, I’m sorry if this is unsatisfactory.

        1. One of the problems with Modern before this year was a perceived barrier to entry that was much higher than the real one from semi competitive players who assumed every deck had 10-12 shock lands which combined with $30 steam vent was very intimidating. Expecting them to create similar situations after all the work they’ve done making the format feel accessible is ludicrous.

  3. I see it as unlikely that it gets unbanned. Tarmogoyf is 100 dollars and played in legacy and modern, Jace is 100 dollars and only played in legacy. If he were unbanned in Modern, I think the argument that bloodbraid elf and lightning bolt keep him in check is ridiculous. After all, he was kept in check before, and became a 100 dollar card while lightning bolt was legal- why unban a card with so much potential to destroy a format? If unbanned, the price becomes unfathomable. The limits to its price would be hard to wrap one’s head around. If unbanned, I will be horrified with Wizard’s lack of forsight.

    1. I think the presence of combo in modern would do as much if not more than bloodbraid elf to keep jace in check personally. Everytime Modern is played by pros it seems like the same list of cards are called to be unbanned in order to make control more viable, Jace usually being at the head of the list.

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