Let’s pretend we’re playing the Pick the Pic game Doug sends out regularly in the newsletter. I show you a pile of cards worth a buck or so and I throw in a Darksteel Plate.
I trust that most of you reading this will know that the Darksteel Plate is worth the most. After all, it’s been worth a dollar bill to dealers since it was printed. And, if you had asked me a week ago, I would have said it still was.
But I’d be wrong. Darksteel Plate is up to $5 retail and dealers are buying at $2 or more.
As someone who prides himself on dealing in casual cards, I was taken aback that I missed this rise. As you can see from the chart, all the growth has come in the past few months.
Armed with this information, I began checking out other casual hits from the past few years. Sig touched on this earlier in the week, and it holds true across the board. We are seeing large gains in previously-stable casual cards.
I can’t overstate how important a development this is. This growth in the casual market is a direct result of the growth of Magic as a whole, and it’s turning people’s “near-bulk” bins into gold. All of a sudden digging through a box of old Zendikar cards has become a lot more exciting.
I’m writing this article to make you aware of these developments because it’s the sort of thing that can slip by if you’re not paying close attention. Unlike the headline-grabbing Modern cards that double in price overnight, this slower but steady growth flies under the radar but is arguably more important to be aware of.
Cards like these are the reason I do the “Casual Hits from...” series. For the rest of today I want to look at cards from the last few installments to see if there’s any movement on those fronts yet and stay ahead of the next wave.
Here’s a card from Avacyn Restored that I called when it was around $5-6 dollars. Since the beginning of the year it’s up a dollar or so to $7.50. This card never really bottomed out despite seeing virtually no Standard play, which is interesting. As such, I don’t ever expect this to go down from current levels unless reprints are involved.
This has been on a tear. It’s nearly doubled since the beginning over the year and is pushing $8 now. Sure, some of this is from Legacy play, but it takes more than that to hold $8, and the casual appeal is doing that.
For a Core Set mythic, I think this has a lot higher ceiling than some of the other cards on this list, which is something to keep in mind.
After the first printing of this card in M12, it was a little secret of mine and I got them cheaply even though they were around $5. The reprint disappointed me in this regard, but it’s shown that it can quickly shrug that off. It's now back up to $7, making it one of the most surprising comeback stories of the year.
With another reprint the ceiling lowers, but without one this will push $10 before too long.
This is still sitting at $4, which I feel is way too low for a card that used to be $20. The next time vampires get pushed this card is going to rebound hard, so picking them up at current prices is an excellent prospect.
Another card up 50% since the beginning of the year. I feel like we’re pretty early in the spike here, so there’s time to get in on these before they hit $8-10 again. Do so now.
Of course, not everything I initially had eyes on has spiked, at least not yet, and the Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash stuff won’t happen for another six months or so at least. But if the evidence tells us anything, it’s that it’s going to happen, and something like Sylvan Primordial (and especially foils) is looking at a nice financial life once the set is done being drafted.
That’s good news for us, and this type of low-risk, easy-money investment is an invaluable tool in the good speculator’s arsenal.
Thanks for reading,