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Insider: The Effect of Judge Promos on Price

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Welcome back readers! The idea behind this article came from our very own Douglas Linn. He brought it to my attention that we haven't had any articles written about the impact of judge foil reprints on a card's value.

First things first. Below is a list of all the judge foils (I found on TCG player) as well as some cost comparison data. Note that the column denoting the difference between pack foils and judge foils is color coordinated (when the pack foil is worth more than the judge foil it's in green, when the judge foil is more valuable it's in red.)

Card Name Judge Foils (TCG Mid) Judge Foils (SCG) Regular Cards (TCG Mid) Foil Cards (TCG Mid) Difference (Foil vs. Judge Foil) Notes
 Argothian Enchantress N/A 54.99 N/A N/A N/A
 Armageddon N/A 79.99 N/A N/A N/A
 Balance 24.99 1.59 N/A N/A
 Balduvian Horde 3.11 0.58 N/A N/A
 Ball Lightning 10.56 2.29 3.99 -6.57
 Bitterblossom 39.99 17.44 32.53 -7.46
 Bloodstained Mire 142.49 39.76 169.99 27.5
 Bribery N/A 79.99 16.69 77.17 N/A *Mercadian masques foil price used
 Burning Wish 47.49 20.99 80 32.51
 Command Tower N/A 17.99 6 19.64 N/A *Commander's Arsenal foil used
 Counterspell 16.32 0.95 14.69 -1.63
 Cunning Wish 29.99 4.93 14 -15.99
 Dark Confidant N/A 119.99 56.99 109.98 N/A
 Dark Ritual 74.98 0.86 43.09 -31.89
 Decree of Justice 22.7 2.71 9.89 -12.81
 Demonic Tutor 199.99 9.99 N/A N/A
 Deranged Hermit 19.97 5.6 15.5 -4.47
 Doubling Season N/A 49.99 28.13 39.98 N/A
 Exalted Angel 46.59 4.04 20.59 -26
 Flooded Strand 194.99 62.99 289.49 94.5
 Flusterstorm N/A 19.99 13.84 N/A N/A
 Gaea's Cradle 249.95 95.34 N/A N/A
 Gemstone Mine 27.4 3.68 23.99 -3.41
 Goblin Piledriver 44.95 23 42.51 -2.44
 Goblin Welder N/A 9.99 6.99 49.97 N/A
 Grim Lavamancer 14.96 4.68 37.5 22.54 *Torment Foil Price used)
 Hammer of Bogardan N/A 3.99 0.49 1.99 N/A
 Hermit Druid N/A 39.99 1.89 N/A N/A
 Imperial Recruiter N/A 149.99 269.99 N/A N/A
 Intuition 175.49 34.67 N/A N/A
 Karakas N/A 99.99 94.99 N/A N/A
 Karmic Guide N/A 19.99 8.95 89.99 N/A
 Land Tax 49.99 14.92 N/A N/A
 Lightning Bolt 101.37 1.7 19.94 -81.43 *Player rewards foil used
 Living Death 35.62 3.22 N/A N/A
 Living Wish 15.82 4.8 14.37 -1.45
 Mana Crypt N/A 99.99 79.79 N/A N/A
 Maze of Ith 175 31.69 27 -148 *FTV: Realms Foil used
 Meddling Mage 12.34 2.74 15.67 3.33 *Planeshift foil used
 Memory Lapse 2.8 0.18 3.67 0.87
 Mind's Desire 11.68 0.83 6.39 -5.29
 Mishra's Factory 49 2.6 N/A N/A
 Morphling 9.99 7.12 N/A N/A
 Natural Order 72.54 25.09 N/A N/A
 Noble Hierarch N/A 39.99 28.56 43.32 N/A
 Oath of Druids 23.74 6.25 N/A N/A
 Orim's Chant 33.14 13.25 39.18 6.04
 Pernicious Deed 58.28 17.11 58.7 0.42
 Phyrexian Dreadnought 26.99 15.19 N/A N/A
 Phyrexian Negator 8.23 1.83 9.71 1.48
 Polluted Delta 249.68 87.37 384.79 135.11
 Ravenous Baloth 6.99 0.74 4.74 -2.25
 Regrowth 65 1.77 N/A N/A
 Sinkhole 47.82 29.98 N/A N/A
 Sneak Attack N/A 34.99 37.99 N/A N/A
 Sol Ring 124.05 10.02 18 -106.05 *FTV: Relics Foil Used
 Stifle 55.03 17.97 45.01 -10.02
 Stroke of Genius 17.75 4.82 N/A N/A
 Survival of the Fittest N/A 119.99 23.7 N/A N/A
 Sword of Fire and Ice 52.97 30.6 68.74 15.77
 Sword of Light and Shadow N/A 39.99 25.22 62.67 N/A
 Swords to Plowshares N/A 79.99 3.15 N/A N/A
 Thawing Glaciers 29.99 6.49 N/A N/A
 Time Warp 33.99 5.7 14.13 -19.86
 Tradewind Rider 8.56 2.01 N/A N/A
 Vampiric Tutor 62.84 23.24 N/A N/A
 Vendilion Clique 94.95 50.34 129.98 35.03
 Vindicate 86.84 24.95 79.98 -6.86
 Wasteland 99.11 49.99 153.4 54.29 *Player rewards foil used
 Wheel of Fortune 51.89 9.49 N/A N/A
 Windswept Heath 178.19 45.58 148.24 -29.95
 Wooded Foothills 146.99 38.33 118.49 -28.5
 Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed N/A 19.99 164.02 N/A N/A
 Yawgmoth's Will 53.93 14.98 N/A N/A

 

But this is just the first layer of analysis. The bigger question is what does the judge foil do to the current value of a card? When a new judge foil is announced, should you unload the regular copies you have?

To determine this I used data from the two sites (http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Judge_Gift_cards and http://blacklotusproject.com/). Using these two sites, I could 1) find a list of when the judge promos came out, and 2) look back in time at the existing cards' value. When values were not on Black Lotus Project, MTG stocks was used as a substitute. Most Judge Foil Announcement dates were taken from posts on MTG Salvation, though some came from CFB and SCG announcements.

It's also important to look more at the trends from BLP rather than the prices, as BLP takes its prices from MOTL and not necessary stores/ebay/etc.

Card Name Judge Foil Year Announce- ment Date Value Before Value After Comments
 Argothian Enchantress 2003 No Data
 Armageddon 2004 No Data
 Balance 2004 No Data
 Balduvian Horde 1999 No Data
 Ball Lightning 2001 No Data
 Bitterblossom 2011 02/10/11 $12.65 $8.22 Judge foil shows a downward trend for 3 months after it's announcement with a low of 8.22 before rising again
 Bloodstained Mire 2009 02/04/09 $12.91 $12.71 A very modest drop a few days after the announcement, which is more likely attributed to different online prices or minimal data. However, it plummeted down to $10.3 about a year after the anoucement, indicating the influx of judge promos was greater than the demand for the card. It's important to remember that legacy hadn't really “caught on” yet so demand was likely mostly from casual players.
 Bribery 2013 01/11/13 $10.00 $7.00 Judge foil announcement seemed to drive demand up briefly before causing it to come back down. It's important to note that there is a “flat-line” with this card's price during the announcement period which may indicate an error/issue with the data
 Burning Wish 2009 11/22/09 $5.19 $3.44 Noticeable drop after the announcement to 3.44 (within a couple months, but it began to rise again afterwards) to the $7 mark
 Command Tower 2012 03/07/12 $2.00 $2.00 No noticeable change in value, given it's low price tag this isn't that suprising. The fact that this is an EDH only card may be a strong indicator that while some still want foils, the demand is considerably lower for foil EDH staples than legacy staples.
 Counterspell 2000 No Data
Crucible of Worlds 2013 03/02/13 $18.99 $16.05 This card jumped all over the place the month of the judge foil announcement (anywhere from $16 to $24) however it has seemed to stabilize in the $23-24 range. It's use in both legacy and EDH are strong indicators that the judge foil shouldn't have affected the price (which it didn't appear to do)
 Cunning Wish 2007 No Data
 Dark Confidant 2011 07/23/11 $29.62 $29.35 This card continued trending upward even with the spoiling of the judge promo (the slight drop is most likely due to slight pricing differences online instead of a drop in demand). The modern announcement caused a much larger jump in price.
 Dark Ritual 2009 03/10/09 $1.53 $1.53 While I again would prefer to compare this with foil copies of the Masques version (the only other foil available) I don't have that data. However, the regular version did drop down by almost ½ within the following month indicating that the people who wanted Dark Rituals back then may have wanted Judge ones over regular ones.
 Decree of Justice 2007 No Data
 Demonic Tutor 2008 No Data
 Deranged Hermit 2004 No Data
 Doubling Season 2011 09/02/11 $17.36 $16.50 Card had recently shown a rise from 14.5 to the 17.50 mark within the year before judge foil announced, shortly after it dropped before climbing back to the 20+ mark within the next year
 Exalted Angel 2006 No Data
 Flooded Strand 2009
 Flusterstorm 2012 11/17/11 $17.00 $16.50 This card has shown a downward trend in it's value since the announcement. However, it's also important to note that this card was easily hyped as the most desirable “Commander” card for the legacy format upon it's spoiling and has since been relegated to sideboards as a 1 or 2 of only. Price may be more telling of over-hyping than it's judge foil announcement.
 Gaea's Cradle 1998 No Data
 Gemstone Mine 2005 No Data
 Goblin Piledriver 2008 No Data
 Goblin Welder 2011 06/09/11 $8.05 $6.79 This card showed a downward trend immediately following the announcement as well as another drastic drop 5 months later (again likely when the foils actually hit the market), but has since recovered to the $7-8 range again.
 Grim Lavamancer 2006 No Data
 Hammer of Bogardan 2002 No Data
 Hermit Druid 2004 No Data
 Imperial Recruiter 2013 01/04/13 $339.37 $308.12 This card has shown a downward trend since it's spoiling as a judge promo to it's current price of around $270. Demand was heavily due to extreme rarity as opposed to playability as it only sees play in a small group of legacy decks notably Imperial Painter and/or Aluren Combo.
 Intuition 2003 No Data
 Karakas 2012 09/19/12 $66.58 $67.03 This card showed a continual rise despite the announcement. It has seen very few drops and continued to it's current price of $95
 Karmic Guide 2012 02/10/12 $6.94 $6.23 This card showed a continual drop after the annoucement to a low of $4.5 before rebounding to pre-judge announcement values in the $6.5-7 range.
 Land Tax 2010 05/22/10 $4.77 $4.68 This card showed a dip in value within a month or so of it's announcement (down to $3.8), but given it was banned in legacy demand was again mostly by EDH/casual players so an influx of cards didn't really drop demand.
 Lightning Bolt 1998 No Data
 Living Death 2003 No Data
 Living Wish 2008 No Data
 Mana Crypt 2011 09/02/11 $55.96 $61.33 Card maintained an upward trajectory for several months after its announcement but then began a downward drop to the $50 mark (which would imply that it's spoiling didn't drop the price, but when it actually started coming out demand exceeded supply. However, it has recovered nicely and is nearer an all time high in the $70-80 range.
 Maze of Ith 2009 03/23/09 $7.84 $8.01 This minimal difference in prices is likely a better indicator of internet price differences than demand changes due to the judge foil announcement. It did not see any sudden drops to indicate the judge foils added enough to the supply to saturate the market.
 Meddling Mage 2006 No Data
 Memory Lapse 1999 No Data
 Mind's Desire 2008 No Data
 Mishra's Factory 2005 No Data
 Morphling 2010 11/19/10 $7.88 $7.94 As expected this card saw no real price drop upon the announcement, however it dropped to the $7 range a couple months later (most likely as supply entered the market). The value has been suppressed ever since. It's also important to note that creatures have gotten better and better over the years and what once was one of the most powerful creatures in the game has since been eclipsed.
 Natural Order 2010
 Noble Hierarch 2012 09/19/12 $18.43 $17.40 This card showed an upward trend for a couple weeks after the announcement before dropping around $1. It has since rebounded to it's current $28.00 price tag
 Oath of Druids 2001 No Data
 Orim's Chant 2008 No Data
 Pernicious Deed 2006 No Data
 Phyrexian Dreadnought 2010 03/02/10 $24.95 $24.55 This card showed a downward trend immediately following the judge foil announcement. It hit a low of $22.50 and then recouperated some only to fall back down. It saw another massive plummet in August which may indicate that's when supplies were added to the market. It has continued a downward trend to this point settling in the $16 range.
 Phyrexian Negator 2004 No Data
 Polluted Delta 2009 11/22/09 $16.81 $16.12 Card showed a downward trend up until the judge foil announcement, continued downward for a few more days and then began a rise to $20
 Ravenous Baloth 2007 No Data
 Regrowth 2005 No Data
 Sinkhole 2010 11/19/10 $28.14 $28.25 This card saw no drop upon the announcement, though there were two sudden drops one in March 2011 and one in May 2011 which likely indicate major events in which many judge promos were added to the supply but demand remained low. The card seems to have regained it
 Sneak Attack 2012 03/07/12 $20.66 $20.66 This card showed almost no change due to the judge foil announcement. Though it began to rise 2 months after the annoucement to a high near $38. It's important to note that Sneak/Show has been putting up very good numbers since around this time until now. Though the card has seemed to stabalize more in the $25 range, which may be lower than expected due to the addition of the judge foils and the fact that it's only played in one legacy deck.
 Sol Ring 2005 No Data
 Stifle 2009 06/23/09 $10.46 $9.00 This card started a downward trend within 2 weeks of it's announcement until reversing the trend and moving back up to it's $18 price tag.
 Stroke of Genius 1998 No Data
 Survival of the Fittest 2009 10/16/09 $10.36 $10.30 This card saw virtually no change upon the announcement. There was a noticeable dip when cards were added to the supply but it continued it's trend upward until it's banning in legacy where it plummeted back down and has remained steady.
 Sword of Fire and Ice 2011 12/08/10 $12.84 $13.02 This card continued it's upward trend peaking at $35 before slowly dropping back to it's $30 price tag. The judge foil seems to have had no effect on this card's value (again due to it's demand in both EDH and some legacy sideboards)
 Sword of Light and Shadow 2012 02/10/12 $20.83 $20.85 This card showed almost no change due to the judge foil announcement. It has slowly dropped in value towards the $18 dollar range, but this may be due to it's falling out of favor in legacy rather than the judge foil announcement.
 Swords to Plowshares 2013 No Data Unfortunately there is no data for the FNM promo of StP which would be the only good comparison as the regular StP has been reprinted numerous times and the judge foil is aimed heavily towards legacy players.
 Thawing Glaciers 2010 06/02/10 No Data Unfortunately there is no data on BLP for this card and it was spoiled as a judge promo before MTG stocks was available.
 Time Warp 2004 No Data
 Tradewind Rider 2002 No Data
 Vampiric Tutor 2000 No Data
 Vendilion Clique 2011 02/10/11 $8.28 $7.78 Again another minor drop within a week or two of the announcement, with a much larger drop (to $6.5) a few months after (again indicating this may be when they began be awarded), however the price rebounded nicely thanks to the modern format and it comfortably sits at $50.
 Vindicate 2007 No Data
 Wasteland 2010 09/03/10 $20.65 $20.69 This card saw a minor drop in price a few weeks after the announcement, but the fact that demand is predominantly from casul/EDH players is a likely indicator of price stability despite any “new” supply. It's currently at a $9.50 price tag and likely stable.
 Wheel of Fortune 2010 09/03/10 $4.65 $4.03 This card saw no downward trend from the announcement, however it reached a high of near $53 in April of 2011 before dropping down to the $40 range, this could be due to judge foils being added to the supply (I don't know when they actually began being awarded) but this sort of massive drop is a strong indicator towards a sudden increase in supply.
 Windswept Heath 2009 06/23/09 $13.22 $12.52 Similar to Stifle, this card continued upward for a few days after the announcement only to reverse direction and drop about a dollar before continuing back up to it's current $45 price tag.
 Wooded Foothills 2009 06/06/09 $13.72 $13.77 This card saw a drop of about 15% within 2-3 months of the announcement, again signaling that the cards were added to the market, but demand was lacking.
 Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed 2012 11/17/11 $199.00 $176.00 This card plummeted upon the judge foil announcement. A good indicator that it's value was solely based upon it's extreme rarity. It has settled closer to the $100 mark, though some ebay auctions are as low as $45 indicating the demand really isn't there.
 Yawgmoth's Will 2007 No Data

 

You can check out my comments above to see on a card-by-card basis how each judge foil announcement affected prices. There were, however, several patterns I noticed. These are summarized below.

  1. EDH/Casual favorites rarely lose value upon the announcement or when supply is added to the market.
  2. Legacy staples often lose some value upon either the announcement or the introduction into the market, but for the most part bounce back. The only exceptions are cards that have fallen out of favor for other reasons.
  3. The artwork on the judge foil and more importantly the typical reaction to it will have a large impact on whether it becomes more valuable than a pack foil (if a pack foil exists).
  4. The older announcements seemed to take a little longer to disseminate; i.e. the card's value might not immediately change within the first day or two of the announcement, but as more people learned, its price would change within a week or two. Whereas with newer announcements the price can often change within days. This is a strong indicator that more people are paying attention to this information and reacting accordingly.
  5. Cards with iconic artwork that have not been foil before tend to be more valuable judge foils (see Lightning Bolt and Sol Ring).
  6. Some Judge Foils are a major miss and worth very little (Balduvian Horde/Ravenous Baloth) more often than not these are foils based on good Standard cards, but which see little to no Legacy and EDH play.
  7. Reprinted cards tend to have the following values in foils Original Printing>Judge Foil>Latest Printing
  8. Cards that aren't Legacy or EDH staples tend to have Judge Foil values similar to the original printing foil (see Living Wish/Memory Lapse).
  9. Cards that are valuable due to extreme rarity, but aren't played much, will see a massive drop in value with a judge foil announcement (see Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed).
  10. Staple Legacy lands (Polluted Delta/Flooded Strand/etc) seem to be far more valuable as pack foils than judge foils, something to keep in mind should they make the Zendikar fetches into judge foils.

 

*****EDIT*****
I fixed the Wasteland/Wheel of fortune switch; so it is now correct.

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David Schumann

David started playing Magic in the days of Fifth Edition, with a hiatus between Judgment to Shards. He's been playing Commander since 2009 and Legacy since 2010.

View More By David Schumann

Posted in Finance, Free Insider

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5 thoughts on “Insider: The Effect of Judge Promos on Price

  1. I think Wasteland and Wheel of Fortune might have gotten mixed up?

    Balduvian Horde used to be at the level of Birds and Wrath (about 10 guilders, this was well before the euro) when the judge foil was released. It was so rare to come across a judge foil that I don’t remember any kind of value change for it. I do remember the few I saw being in the 45-50 guilders range. Horde was hurt much more by being outclassed.

    I find it intresting to see the impact on Recruiter being much less than on Xiahou Dun, though it makes sense. Xiahou Dun is played 1x in EDH decks, Recruiter 4x in Legacy decks (and sometimes 1x in EDH decks). Likely Recruiter demand increased now that (somewhat) more affordable copies have become available, while I would guess that Xiahou Dun demand has remained somewhat similar. I wonder what their prices will be like a couple of years from now as they remain super rare, will they rebound?

    Could there possibly be a print size difference between older and newer judge foils? I reckon that could be part of the reason Sol Ring is worth so much.

    1. Pi…Wasteland and Wheel of Fortune..definitely got mixed up..I believe the Judge Sol Ring is worth so much is probably based on several factors, one of which is the increase in the judge program would require a larger print run, the other is that the judge sol ring is the original artwork (#5 on my summarized list) which I believe carries a lot of weight. I do remember the days of Balduvian Horde being amazing (and valuable) and you have a valid point; creatures that at a time were valuable based on their power level will most likely be less valuable as judge foils because WoTC seems to be pushing more powerful creatures as opposed to more powerful spells.

  2. This article is a true tour de force. David, this is one for the ages and I love and respect the time and effort you put into it. This will be a lasting resource. This is the kind of research I love on this site – it gives definitive answers to a common question.

    Though it\’s not a judge foil, could you/did you run an analysis on Loyal Retainers?

    1. Not yet…I have plans of doing another article with regards to a general reprint, specifically in regards to the actual price drop % wise (since I can’t think of any exceptions in which a reprint in a major set didn’t drop the price of a card) and it would be very useful to determine what kind of % we can expect a card to drop when it’s spoiled as a reprint.

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