Insider: Have You Sold Out Yet?

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I'm betting this article isn’t for you. After all, you’ve sold out of all your Modern stuff already, right?

You’ve been reading or writing about the coming end of Modern season and the looming reprints from Modern Masters. You own zero cards that are subject to reprints in the set, and there’s no way you still have a bunch of Goremands sitting in your binder.


After all, my readers have proven time and again to be smarter than me in some cases, and this is one of them, correct? You certainly haven’t made the same mistake I have, right?

What to Do, What to Do

Witty introductions aside, the truth is I have some Modern stuff that I haven’t moved yet, even though I know I probably should have. I’m sure some of you are in the same boat, so today I want to look at our options for outing or holding onto these cards and see what we can come up with.

The cards I have left are mostly higher-end stuff that, while I feel it will be in Modern Masters, isn’t easy to trade away. For instance, I had two Vendilion Cliques in the binder, which are selling for around $50. I wanted to turn these into Legacy cards instead of Standard stuff, but the opportunity never arose.

This left me with two Cliques that are somewhat stable in price for a bit, but are going to see lessened demand since Modern PTQ season is over and MM is on the horizon. That leaves me with depreciating assets sitting in my binder, and although they’ve gone up quite a bit in the past few months I’m pretty sure they will show up in MM and bring the price back down, which means I’m best off getting out of them now.

Well, I’m half out of trouble. I traded one a few days ago for an [card Emrakul, the Aeons Torn]Emrakul[/card] and a [card Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre]Ulamog[/card]. It’s a fairly even trade, and all three cards are at all-time highs. The good news is that the new cards I received aren’t subject to reprinting in Modern Masters.

So that’s the first suggestion I have for you if, like me, you still have some Modern cards you think should be moved. Remember, everything printed in Zendikar and after is safe from a Modern Masters reprint, so it’s primarily the cards before that we need to get rid of.

Trading “sideways” is perfectly acceptable if you are getting out a “riskier” asset (anything subject to reprints in MM) for a less risky pick like EDH cards or newer Modern stuff. You may end up getting a little less in trade over the next month than you would have in the previous month because prices are tailing downward, but it’s still better than waiting around until next season.

The buylist is always an option, even though it’s not as attractive as it would have been during the height of the season. I bring this up because I assume it’s our “default” action, but it’s one we’re looking to best since the time to buylist was a month ago, not now.

The reason for this comes from the effect of price memory. Stores may still list Spell Snares for $10, but MTG.GG tells us the best buy price is $5.50. A few months ago I saw lists as high as $7. But because people have grown accustomed to Spell Snares being $10, the retail price will come down much slower than the buy price, at least until the reprint hits.

That’s why I think trading is still the best option for those leftover Modern cards in our binders. We’re ostensibly losing money on these as we get closer to MM, but the hit to the trade price won’t come as hard as the hit to the cash price, and that’s what is important to take advantage of, especially on truly staple cards like Cliques.

Lower-Value Staples

But what about the lower end? The next set of cards I have is a little more difficult to move than an Eternal staple like Clique. I have a bunch of slightly played Goremands that dealers don’t give a great price on because of the condition.

I was hoping to find someone to take these off me during Modern season, but it never happened. So now I have a bunch of mid-level Modern cards almost certain to be reprinted, and buylisting isn’t an option.

Again, trading is the best option, but my trading partners have shown even less interest in this kind of card which “everyone knows is being reprinted” than in big-ticket items like the Cliques. For the cards around the $10 level, if trading doesn’t come together, I’m more inclined to sell these myself, whether that’s through an auction site or locally. Even if I give someone a good deal, I may be able to beat buylist prices, and I’m sure going to do better than letting them rot in my binder.

I know it may seem like two contrary ideas, but there’s a happy middle in there somewhere. We want to hold out for trades, but keep a close eye on prices and be ready to cash out if things start to go downhill faster. Remember, cutting a really good deal today may not seem optimal, but sometimes it’s about taking the lesser of two evils.

I want the takeaway from this to be that you still have time. We’ve all been hyping “the end of Modern season,” but while buylists may have dropped and there’s certainly less demand from the regular FNM’er, you don’t need to panic-sell quite yet. Hold out for those trades and don’t be afraid to take a bit of a hit on your “value” if it allows you to get into cards with more upside.

After all, a big part of Magic finance isn’t just about making the big calls and getting paid that way. A lot of the work for the successful binder comes from keeping an eye toward the future, and sometimes that requires you to take less than you’d like today. It’s not perfect, but it’s the reality sometimes.

At least it is for me. After all, I’m sure none of you let this happen to you.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

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Corbin Hosler

Corbin Hosler is a journalist living in Norman, Oklahoma (also known as the hotbed of Magic). He started playing in Shadowmoor and chased the Pro Tour dream for a few years, culminating in a Star City Games Legacy Open finals appearance in 2011 before deciding to turn to trading and speculation full-time. He writes weekly at and biweekly for LegitMTG. He also cohosts Brainstorm Brewery, the only financial podcast on the net. He can best be reached @Chosler88 on Twitter.

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Posted in Finance, Free Insider, Modern, SellingTagged , , , ,

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12 thoughts on “Insider: Have You Sold Out Yet?

  1. Great article. I’m in a similar situation, and I’m generally trading towards Shocklands currently and they’re such a stable reliable MTG currency to deal with. It doesn’t feel great getting equal value for much older cards, but needs must. And it’s more futureproof.

  2. Clearly Modern rotation is a going to drop prices. But wrt MM, it’s hard to know how to respond to MM without knowing the print run. In fact there may be opportunities to buy low once stuff is spoiled if people overreact. In the medium term, a short printing with Clique and Goyf at Mythic may not drop their price much at all. Seems the real risk is with the Cs and Us that will be reprinted. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

    1. I was told 2 cases for a basic level store (i forget what that lvl is actually called), but I have no idea how much of that is distributor and how much is wotc.

        1. We really can’t speculate accurately without knowing the print run, and WOTC very tightly controls these numbers for all printings. I agree the main danger is to the C/U and to another extent the Rares. I think the Mythics will be mostly unaffected, but I do expect trade demand to fall somewhat, because who wants to pay $50 for Morningtide Clique when you can get a MM one for $35? Numbers are obviously estimated, but’s a valid concern.

  3. I feel like this was about two paragraphs of excellent advice, padded out to two pages. Kind of phoning it in. Let’;s get some meat in there next time.

    1. I agree. At least make this post interesting such as “my modern calls/trades that never panned out” since it looks like he’s closing out on Modern cards. It would be a good time to reflect and what he can do better in the future. People tend to focus too much on the upside and freely buy up cards but freeze when cards start declining because of softening demand… and cards start to “rot in the binder”.

      I have taken losses on some of my speculative plays by selling to buylists quickly at a much smaller loss then I would have if I waited even just 2 weeks.

      1. Sorry you guys feel that way! I agree that there’s not enough attention paid to when to sell, which is why I wrote an article a few weeks back about “what I’m selling.”

        As for this article, I tried to walk through my thought process here rather than just say “do this.” I think the reasoning behind the advice is important, so I wanted to walk through how I approached it to come up to my conclusions.

        1. While the thought process is important for true understanding of the motives behind the market, I could see the use in having a list of valuable modern cards.

          1. Thanks for the feedback. The companion article to the What I’m Selling (which focused somewhat on Modern), the What I’m Buying article (also focusing on Modern) is coming. I wanted to let prices from PTQ season settle down some before I went there, so the advice is actionable when I give it, and not a month or so down the road.

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