Hello all, this week I thought I'd write up a bit about planeswalkers. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are often the most powerful pieces of a deck. Paying three to five mana for a permanent that has a constant sorcery-like effect can turn the tides of a game quickly. However, that isn't quite what we are here to discuss –- we are here to discuss the money side.
Whenever a planeswalker is released, there is a huge rush to get it. As we saw in RTR, Vraska the Unseen was $38 when it was new. I sold a few at $25 from the case I purchased on release. Now I have three sitting in my binder that won't go away. This phenomenon is caused by a few different things, which I'd like to cover in this article. I will also offer my opinion on a few 'walkers.
Mister Planeswalker Collector
This has become one of the largest “collectors.” Many of them collect just one of each, others go so far as to get a copy of every version, and a few go further than that, with foils and other languages. I'm sure you have them at your LGS. These people fuel the planeswalker market. Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded is $2.63 right now. He isn't above bulk mythic because he's a good card, but simply because his text says "planeswalker."
These people often have the front of their binders full of planeswalkers –- and they will usually pay big money to get the rarer ones. Try to identify these people, and find out what they are missing.
The Best Time to Pick Up ‘Walkers
The best time to pick up a planeswalker is once it has hit rock bottom. This sounds obvious, but it is a bit tougher when you are dealing with 'walkers. It is hard to tell what rock bottom is when the card is seeing less play. Most playable planeswalkers are way overpriced on release, and drop fairly quickly to a low price if the card sees less play.
Planeswalkers at Rock Bottom
Jace, Architect of Thought
If this guy starts to see play again, he can easily be $20-$25. He is a four-of in a control shell, because you can always kill him and play another for card advantage. He protects himself, and god help your opponent if you ultimate the thing.
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
These dropped fast with the new Duel Decks. You may be able to pick up a few panic sales online at low prices. Even with the reprint, the card should demand about a $12-$14 price tag. However, I am interested in picking up a few extra Duel Decks and sitting on them for a bit. This one has a ton of good cards in it, and will likely increase quickly.
Notable Interests in Current Play
This guy has increased quite a bit due to the weekend GP that featured Channelfireball’s White Jund list. Even though Modern season is over, Modern FNM, side events, and small events are still in session. These guys shot up, and it is time to get rid of them.
He has seen Modern play, and I’ve heard musings about Legacy play. Recurring card advantage, creature removal, and an ultimate that screams hurry up and kill me. He may be seeing less Standard play right now, but I see him increasing after rotation. I am holding my foil copies on the possibility of eternal popularity.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
This guy has skyrocketed in price. A few short months ago, the foil was at $250, and the nonfoil was $75. Now, we see the foil at nearly $600, and the nonfoil over $100. As these are hoarded and decrease in stock, we will continue to see increases. It may sound unreasonable, but we could see $150 on this guy, making him by far the most expensive card printed since even before Tarmogoyf.
Liliana of the Veil
This gal is on the move! She is seeing heavy play in every format, and may be the second best planeswalker ever printed. I got out at $33, and I suggest you out any copies quick if you know what’s good for you. I can see it holding around $30, but I can’t see it holding $40 for very long. However, I have this feeling in the back of my mind that next Modern season, we could see this one skyrocket again.
Jace, Memory Adept
If this guy is in M14, he may see play again, but for the time being he is a sell. We saw a fun little spike, and he will be getting back to reality shortly. No one should expect him to hold such a huge price tag for very long.
Great for Traders
There are some advantages to planeswalkers on the trading floor. They demand a high premium with casual and lower level players. No one really likes to pay double digits for a card, so they would rather trade $2 cards into it. Take advantage of this while they are peaked, and fill up your binder with tradable small stuff.
I would like to also point out one outlier –- did you all know that Sarkhan Vol was an $18 card? This goes to show what casual play –- and the word "dragon" –- can do to the value of a card. Do not underestimate them.