Insider: Recent Price Drops Means Opportunity

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Not surprisingly, I received an infant “wake-up call” in the form of a crying baby at around 5:15 am this morning. Having a son has been one of the most rewarding and challenging endeavors of my entire life. While he is absolutely adorable at this age, I cannot wait for him to be old enough to learn Magic.

To help myself shake off the early morning fatigue, I resort to two routines each morning: I have a cup or two of coffee and I check Twitter.

This morning I saw a particularly interesting Tweet from our very own Paul Feudo.

After my cup of coffee kicked in, I headed over to Star City Games to see some of the changes. Sure enough, there had been some prices slashed. This should come as no surprise as the initial Return to Ravnica hype has finally faded. After avoiding the vast majority of RTR cards like the plague the past couple months, it may finally be time to begin acquiring these strategically (although I still like AVR specs better).

Prices Slashed on Lands

One of the price reductions I noticed right away was on the lands of Standard. Shock Lands have been gradually dropping as more copies entered circulation, and Star City Games has finally joined the party.

Steam Vents, which seems to be one of the cheaper RTR Shock Lands, is down to $11.99. I remember just a couple weeks ago when SCG was still paying $8 on this and other RTR Shock Lands. Whether this was by design or not, their lowered buy price of $5 is much more in keeping with reality.

Channel Fireball went even further, reducing their buy price to $4! Needless to say, now would not be an optimal time to buylist this card. (chart from blacklotusproject; note that BLP hasn’t added RTR cards yet, so the Guildpact entry combines prices for both Guildpact AND RTR copies).

Overgrown Tomb, Temple Garden and Blood Crypt have also seen price reductions, while Hallowed Fountain seems to be the most expensive RTR Shock Land as it still buy lists at $6.

The Innistrad Duals haven’t faired much better. While Clifftop Retreat remained at $9.99 and Isolated Chapel remains at $11.99, the other lands haven’t kept their previously high prices. Hinterland Harbor has dropped to $9.99 from $11.99 despite having potential demand increase with Simic cards coming in Gatecrash. Sulfur Falls has taken a real hit by dropping to $7.99 (I hope you cashed out of these like I did). But Woodland Cemetery wins the prize dropping from previous highs down to $11.99.

Finally, these prices have been reduced to be a bit more reflective of reality. The chart on indicates that Woodland Cemetery has peaked and is on its way down.

The same is true for Sulfur Falls as well. And while Hinterland Harbor and Isolated Chapel show a plateau in price on BLP, their fate may depend on Gatecrash. Regardless, there is almost no reason to acquire these for speculative purposes any longer as upside is just so minimal.

Other Price Cuts

Admittedly, I have not been paying close attention to the retail prices on most other RTR cards. I knew they were overpriced at release and so I was in no rush to acquire most of them. With the exception of a few Shock Lands for Modern, Sphinxs Revelation and Deathrite Shaman, I’ve largely been staying away from RTR cards because their prices were bound to drop.

For some cards, this has happened. Abrupt Decay was once touted as a breakthrough removal spell for Eternal formats. While SCG has been resistant to dropping the price too much (it’s at $6.99), their buy price reflects their anticipated price trajectory of the card: a whopping $2. When SCG gives just 33% buy list on their cards, you know they really aren’t anxious to acquire more.

Armada Wurm is in a similar boat selling at $7.99 and buy listing for $3. Other big price drops include Dreadbore, Lotleth Troll and Mizzium Mortars. All these initially hyped cards have finally met reality. Star City Games has likely had their fill on these RTR cards and so they are in little rush to acquire more. All that original hype is slowly fading away…

How I React

When Standard rotates, I love to invest in the older block because those cards often disappear from trade binders and increase in playability. The sudden decrease in card pool means cards which once seemed underwhelming suddenly have a fighting chance.

Even as Gatecrash is released, I will still look for speculation opportunities in Dark Ascension and Avacyn Restored, as their quantities are smallest. This is likely a key reason why Terminus retails for $11.99 card while Supreme Verdict is $5.99. It’s also one reason why Craterhoof Behemoth was a safe pickup when it was hyped.

While I’m focusing on the old, prices on the new continue to drop. Eventually they will be priced favorably. Sets of Lotleth Troll are dropping to $10 and are likely ending even lower at auction.

A set of Loxodon Smiters are in the same price range. Both these creatures have promise for being relevant in Standard as the metagame evolves, and thus they will become good speculation targets... eventually. The key is to acquire as close to the bottom as possible.

In my opinion, that bottom is nearly upon us. As Gatecrash spoilers begin, players will temporarily forget about the $2-$6 RTR rares. These creatures, along with spells like Abrupt Decay and Supreme Verdict, will be ignored in favor of the flashy new spells in Gatecrash. This will be the beginning of discount RTR season, and it’s when I’ll gradually trade into the underappreciated RTR cards.

The tricky part will be to identify the best bets. Last time around, it was almost a sure thing that Innistrad Duals would jump in price. Could Shock Lands see a similar trajectory? It’s possible – they’ve already been dropping and their long term price stability is likely as long as they aren’t reprinted again. But the risk is a little higher since these won’t dip to $2 like the Innistrad Duals did.

Going deep into a card like Lotleth Troll can be risky because his fate in Standard is murky at best. Should he see diminished play, his price can conceivably drop even further. I would advocate trading away RTR cards to anyone still over-valuing them and trading into RTR cards with players who are anxious to rid of them in favor of expensive Standard cards such as Terminus and Sphinxs Revelation (chart from

Change is Good

These recent price reductions are your friend. They indicate changes are taking place. Change is good because we profit on price fluctuations. Since the game of Magic is still healthy, it means that if some cards are dropping in price, others must be increasing. This time around, it will be Gatecrash cards taking center stage while RTR cards lie in the background. These are brilliant opportunities to speculate.

This is also the time for Modern cards to rise in price. Modern PTQ season is nearly upon us and players will be anxiously seeking out the cards they need for their decks. In fact, some surprising price increases have already taken place. Which brings me too…


  • Is Cryptic Command even seeing much play? It must be seeing some sort of demand as the card is retailing for $20 and the cheapest buy it now for a playset on eBay is my own listing, at $65.99.
  • I know Vengevine is still not quite a Tier 1 creature in Modern, but that hasn’t deterred Star City Games from maintaining their high price of $17.99. As much as I hate acquiring this card before seeing it prove itself, it’s difficult for me to pass up on auctions that end sub-$10 a copy when stores are paying this much for them. Keep an eye out for low-ending auctions for quick flips.
  • I WISH I took Eldrazi creatures more seriously. While I picked up a couple Emrakuls for Show and Tell shenanigans in Legacy, I ignored the lesser Eldrazi creatures. Big mistake. Did you know Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre retails for $29.99? Kozilek, Butcher of Truth also retails for $29.99 and SCG only has 2 SP copies in stock! Foil Kozileks are sold out at $79.99!!!! Hold on a second, be right back *searches internet for foil Kozileks… buys the only one on Card Shark….* Yeah, these are hard to find.

-Sigmund Ausfresser

12 thoughts on “Insider: Recent Price Drops Means Opportunity

  1. Don’t get me started on Kozilek: bought presale at $20 each, it then dipped hard and I traded them in at $6.5, cutting my losses and it bounces back up beyond that presale price. *sigh* Not my best set of moves.

    1. Lol we’ve all been there. As Legacy just started getting traction ~3 years ago I came into a set of NM (I got them from a collector, so they were NEVER played) Force of Wills. When I found out my LGS would pay me $85 for the set I jumped all over that – easy cash! Then the store started weekly Legacy tournaments and I sort of had to buy them back…at a 50% premium :-(.

      I can’t wait to receive that foil Kozilek. Hopefully it’s in minty condition as stated.

      1. Or the Forces I could have bought at fl 3.50 (say about $2) each back in the day when I started with Magic. Moved through quite a few though, just wish I sat on them for a while.

        A reason I very rarely move out of playsets is the disappointment you’re referring to. On one end I don’t think it’s worth the effort for me to keep moving in and out of cards for my collection, but the other is the serious disappointment upon being wrong and having to rebuy much higher when you need them back.

        As I move cards fairly slowly I’ve already started moving shocks when I find good deals. I know they’re likely to rise when Innistrad block rotates, so only moving them towards cards I see rising as well though. Recently and overgrown tomb and damaged winding canyons towards a foil Kaalia.

  2. Trostani seems like a sweet bet to me.

    1. MYTHIC. Speculating on rares sucks.

    2. End of 2013, when ISD block rotates, the format will slow down again. Trostani dominates the board and gains you a whole lot of life.

    3. She looks like Olivia Voldaren did last year; incredibly promising, but constrained by the metagame.

    I’ll be trading for these at $6 for as long as I can.

    1. A reasonable spec – also some EDH / casual appeal if I recall correctly. I look forward to stocking up on the RTR Mythics that should have an opportunity to shine come rotation. As you wisely mentioned, it’s good to compare potential sleeper Mythics with ones that have been successful in the past such as Olivia Voldaren, Falkenrath Aristocrat, Craterhoof Behemoth, etc.

      1. Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius might be a similar, if not better, spec. He’s lower now (about $3.50 on TCGPlayer), many people see him as a pretty good finisher for Standard and there’s also a lot of EDH appeal.

        Either gives you card advantage in a way, but I think Niv-Mizzet’s is better as most would prefer extra cards over a random token. Niv-Mizzet’s damage over Trostani’s life gain also seems better and then there’s the flying. Of course Trostani wins on casting cost, but the casual players will not care much for that. Also consider that they would play different roles: Trostani buys time until you win, Niv-Mizzet makes you win, certainly the latter could be priced a little higher.

        Even if Standard never pushes Niv-Mizzet up I have no doubt casual players will. Just look at the original for comparison, even with several reprints it’s about $10 on TCGPlayer. I think the new Niv-Mizzet is comparable to the original playability wise.

  3. The good thing about Eldrazi is most people have no idea what they are worth because other than Emrakul they aren’t played in anything. You can easily scoop these up in trade for half that price since most people’s price memory is when they were in ROE at 10ish. Also, I had no idea foil Kozilek was $80 now, I think getting my EDH pimped out when I did was inadvertently the best speccing I’ve ever done haha.

    1. Lol, don’t you love when things just work out that way? It’s sort of like picking up a “rogue” deck for cheap and then watching a pro win with the deck causing it to break out. (I’m still waiting for Melira-pod to break up in value, fingers crossed!).

      The Eldrazi prices are insane. I had no idea about foil Kozilek as well, and neither did the Card Shark seller. His sell price: just under $38. 🙂 If that card arrives safely I’ll be flipping for immediate profit on eBay.

    2. Similar things happened in my group. We were a bit early with our choice for EDH and got a lot of cards before they started rising. One guy got a foil Yavimaya Hollow for a couple of euro’s as the shop was out of non-foils. I’ve seen many cards rise much beyond what we got them for, though that was probably the most extreme example.

    1. It’s likely a bit late to buy into Innistrad Duals now. Clifftop Retreat may have a little upside but I’m not bullish on any of the others. I’d prefer Shocks over Innistrad Duals, but I’m waiting a little longer to start moving in.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation