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Insider: The Legend of Legends Legends

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So I got a great deal on a Near Mint Angus Mackenzie the other day. The price? $49.95.

Wait, I paid how much for this Legendary Creature?? If you challenged me to tell you what the card does, or even what his power and toughness are, I would embarrassingly confess ignorance. But it doesn’t matter because of this:

This “Tim” lookalike has more than doubled in price over the past month or so. And many other Legendary creatures from Legends are following suit. Recently Star City Games has also bumped their prices on Legends Legends quite significantly, and the Quiet Speculation community has taken notice.

What does this all mean?

Casual Is King

I’ve touched upon how Magic has grown in previous articles. The game is selling at record highs and tournament attendance is so great that event coordinators have to turn eager participants away.

From an MTG Finance perspective, the most apparent evidence for the rise in popularity of Magic lies in casual prices… like this one:

You may hesitate at the chart above and challenge that the card has only risen a couple bucks recently. My first response would be that a three dollar increase in price on this card means nearly a 100% gain. My second response would be to remind you this creature has been printed four times! My third and final response would be to show you the chart for a strictly casual card which hasn’t been printed so much:

Something’s Off

The two charts above don’t look very similar, even though the end result of a 2x price increase is the same. It seems everyone knows that Platinum Angel is a casual favorite and has been rising slowly over time as a result. On the other hand, Adun Oakenshield was a card I had never heard of until it became the number one “interest” on mtgstocks.com.

It feels like I am not alone in this regard. My conclusion is that these flavorful Legends Legends were an unknown entity to the vast majority of new players. Platinum Angel can be found in trade binders everywhere, but good luck finding an English copy of Adun Oakenshield or Rasputin Dreamweaver sitting in a trade binder. Cards from Legends are probably older than many new players.

Star City Games and ABU Games have both added energy into this chain reaction. Cards which once sold in eBay auctions for $20 are now buylisting at these major retailers for twice that. A quick glance at mtg.gg reveals how these two stores have left their competitors in the dust:

Naturally, the combination of mtgstocks.com, mtg.gg, and general speculation has caused these Legends Legends to skyrocket. Their growth hasn’t surpassed that of more well-known casual staples, so perhaps these jumps were long overdue. Or perhaps someone decided these shouldn’t be affordable cards any longer and triggered this hype.

No matter the cause, the question in the forefront of my mind is what to do with this “new age” of expensive Legends Legends.

To Believe or Not To Believe

The fundamental question underlying this debate is whether or not we should feel these price bumps are truly merited.

If we accept these prices as being merited, then perhaps we can draw a parallel between this phenomenon and the iPhone. Before the iPhone was invented, no one really knew they wanted such a device so badly. Once the right marketing scheme was devised and the product gained traction, everyone had to have an iPhone. Perhaps in a similar way, someone came up with a clever way of revealing to the MTG community how awesome Angus Mackenzie really is. People naturally wanted copies and the price now reflects the newfound demand.

If, on the other hand, we refuse to accept the legitimacy of these new prices, perhaps these parallel much better with Beanie Babies. Someone decided those stuffed animals were cute and awesome and desirable, and others blindly followed suit. The difference here is that once people owned hundreds of dollars in Beanie Babies, they realized the things weren’t really so cool after all. The hype fizzled as quickly as it built and prices plummeted.

In the first scenario, prices and demand are sustained. In the second scenario, prices collapse once the market became saturated and people lost interest.

Which One?

Boiling it down we can determine how sustainable these new Legends prices are based on how much we believe in their entertainment value. After all, entertainment (and a little coolness) is what really helps drive the casual market. And it will be the casual market that keeps these prices afloat since speculators don’t want to hold a spiked card greedily and no tournament player ever wants to use these cards.

Personally, I am a believer. I absolutely love the flavor of Legends Legends. The artwork is amazing, the creature abilities are interesting, and the color combinations are valuable in EDH. Therefore, I think these prices will remain. Demand may calm down once this initial hype passes, but these are the kinds of cards that players like to play with over and over again. They’ll never rotate and they’ll never be reprinted (thank you reserved list).

With that said, I’d say if you can find copies near mtg.gg buy prices and you want to own copies for yourself, I would buy. I just purchased a Rasputin Dreamweaver, Angus Mackenzie, and Adun Oakenshield and I will be very torn on whether or not I should sell them. The speculator within me screams “take profits now” while the casual player says “enjoy these sweet cards”. I likely won’t decide until I hold the cards in my hand and try building an EDH deck with them.

After all, these are the cards that made Magic so special when I was a kid. Playing the best deck on the internet wasn’t a thing yet, and we all enjoyed playing the wackiest combos and most entertaining spells. Sometimes I lose sight of this through all my speculation and discussion of MTG Finance. These cards help me return to childhood again, and I believe the same will be true for other players as well. That’s why I think these new prices are not artificially inflated. People have been reminded these flavorful creatures exist. And they want to have fun playing Magic again.

Sigbits – Casual Edition

  • Legends Legends have jumped drastically in price, but they’re not the only casual cards on the move. Kaalia of the Vast is up 33% in the past week according to mtgstocks.com. Despite not being an Angel, she’s still an awesome EDH commander that screams “build around me”. Only another reprint will keep her price in check in the coming months.
  • Someone recently noticed Tariel, Reckoner of Souls was a cheap, Legendary, Mythic Angel and they sought to correct that. Like Kaalia, this card’s jump won’t likely be reversed any time soon.

  • Got any Battlegrace Angels for trade? You may want to find some because these have more than doubled in price since the fall. I’m guessing this is again casual driven, which means I think the price is sustainable. I wouldn’t go deep, but grabbing these cheaply in trades can’t be a bad thing. Especially when the mtg.gg buy price on this card is nearing $2.00.

-Sigmund Ausfresser
@sigfig8

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Sigmund Ausfresser

Sigmund first started playing Magic when Visions was the newest set, back in 1997. Things were simpler back then. After playing casual Magic for about ten years, he tried his hand at competitive play. It took about two years before Sigmund starting taking down drafts. Since then, he moved his focus towards Legacy and MTG finance. Now that he's married and works full-time, Sigmund enjoys the game by reading up on trends and using this knowledge in buying/selling cards.

View More By Sigmund Ausfresser

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13 thoughts on “Insider: The Legend of Legends Legends

  1. I’m pretty sure I mentioned Adun a few times in our chats. In fact we made a trade including a copy… (And an Angus too, that trade has started to look pretty incredible from my side).

    I’ve been on top of Legends Legends for a while. They are reserved and reserved cards tend to rarely come down after they go up. Their rise is powered by casual, EDH in particular. Demand is not likely to go down anytime soon. These cards are quite popular as generals and hard to find, especially now that speculators have jumped on them.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure I consider $50 for an Angus a great deal. SCG is raising the price while they have no stock. Who is buying this card at $80? This push upwards is still a bit too artificial for my taste. I have faith in the rise in itself, but I do expect other shops to start undercutting the SCG price. I would still be hesitant to get in on Angus anywhere above $35. In fact I passed on an opportunity to get in at about that price recently (but I already have a few spare copies).

    1. Yeah, that trade just got really bad for me :(. But I guess I wouldn’t have even known these cards existed if it hadn’t been for our chat. They are so flavorful and I love their artwork – I suspect many others agree.

      The price spike does seem a bit artificially forced, I would agree. That being said, any NM Angus at $35 should be an immediate snap-buy for one big reason: SCG pays $40! Ultimately that’s why I thought $50 was solid. I sold Card Kingdom about $38.50 in cards for $50 in credit and used that credit to buy Angus. Now I can either sell the Angus for $40 (increasing my net for my sold cards by $1.50) or I can keep it and try to trade it with a value around $80. Either way I am grinding a little value in the deal while also having the opporunity to brew in EDH with him 🙂

      1. While I did make that trade expecting to see an increase over time on those Legends I also figured the foil Reya should stay at least stable or rise over time. I did not expect an increase this quickly.

        I very much like playing with little known legends. For me the originals from Legends are ideal. Their abilities are often a little wacky for their colors, they are often strangely costed and quite a few are not half bad. I definitely like their art too, but I don’t focus on the art of cards much beyond recognition.

        For me what SCG pays is largely irrelevant, way too expensive to get it there from here and likely the price has come down by the time it arrives. Of course if I could use credit that way I probably would. I have an Adun and Tetsuo reserved at the shop I trade in at, at about $40 together (building up to a larger order, they also have 2 Chains reserved for me in the same way). I almost feel like I should just get all their Legends stuff as I got 2 The Abyss from them too not very long ago.

  2. i just got my Adun for 31$. had to let Angus go as bidding got too hot for my tastes. these are fun generals and with 19300 copies made of each rare, these spikes aren’t that surprising. there is not enough supply to accommodate small increases in demand.

    1. Interesting how actual numbers exist. I assume that’s English copies, or does that include Italian as well? Thanks for the comment – tough luck on the Angus. But auctions are definitely a good way to go when purchasing these!

  3. Please sir. If you don’t know and have some sort of opinion one way or the other about Angus Mackenzie (I’m talking cards, not faceless vouchers), please don’t buy Angus Mackenzie.

    This post was years ago and it occured to me while reading your article, which was well read btw so excellent job there, that people who could care less about the cards are the ones who will have them and arguably worse, raise the prices for the people who actually intend to play and appreciate the cards.

    I understand that you do this for a living and Im just an outdated magic player who still thinks Cyclopean Tomb is a great card. It is.

    But there is something to be said, I think, for those who invest with integrity. Even if it merely artistic, personal, or otherwise “valueless” integrity. I realize Im speaking to a ghost of four years past, but thank you for writing about old school. Even if I spent this whole Reply going on about it. Haha

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