Welcome back readers. With the positive responses I got from my article about how judge foils affect a card's value I thought I'd delve deeper into the question of reprints. While judge reprints and limited print runs (Commander/Duel Decks/Planechase/etc.) can potentially devalue a card, chances are much higher for a reprint in an actual block or core set to decrease a card's value, as many more are added to circulation.
So we want to get an idea of price changes that occur after general reprints. I've compiled some data on several reprints, found below. I'll comment on each one individually, and then sum up my findings in the final section.
First a side note about what I call "immediate reprints." This term refers to reprints like the M10 buddy lands (Glacial Fortress, Dragonskull Summit, et.al.) which are released within a year of the previous printing. Immediate reprints are much more difficult to track down. The price may or may not have had time to stabilize and often won't change since the card remains in Standard for an extended time frame. For this reason, we'll focus exclusively on cards that had a significant time gap between their last printings and their reprints.
Our working hypothesis is that the sample cards will show relatively stable prices up until the time they were spoiled, at which point they will drop slightly as people unload their old ones. Then prices would drop even further when the set is actually released.
Let's define the criteria we're looking for in our sample cards.
- Cards whose first printing was at least somewhat valuable. When bulk rares are reprinted they will usually stay bulk.
- Rares and mythic rares. Uncommons are occasionally valuable but usually not.
- No Timeshifted cards. The probability of getting a Timeshifted rare is lower than that of a regular rare, so they enjoyed lower print runs.
All prices come from Black Lotus Project, when available (at times there is a lack of information, or a plateau for an extended period). When this occurred I used MTG stocks for replacement data. I mention this because BLP prices are often noticeably lower than elsewhere on the internet, since their prices are all pulled from MOTL.
It's also important to note that I did not include data from two months after a reprint became legal. For example, Meddling Mage, while maintaining its price 1-2 months after its release, continued to drop to the $2-3 range where it remains today.
|Card Name||Original Printing (Release Date)||Reprinting (Release Date)||Gap|
|Grim Lavamancer||Torment (Feb 4, 2002)||Magic 2012 (Jul 15, 2011)||9 years|
|Mutilate||Torment (Feb 4, 2002)||Magic 2013 (Jul 13, 2012)||10 years|
|Time Warp||Tempest (Oct 13, 1997)||Magic 2010 (Jul 17, 2009)||12 years|
|Quicksilver Amulet||Urza's Legacy (Feb 15, 1999)||Magic 2012 (Jul 15, 2011)||12 years|
|Darksteel Colossus||Darksteel (Feb 6, 2004)||Magic 2010 (Jul 17, 2009)||5 years|
|Haunting Echoes||Odyssey (Oct 1, 2001)||Magic 2010 (Jul 17, 2009)||8 years|
|Ball Lightning||5th Edition (Mar 24, 1997)*||Magic 2010 (Jul 17, 2009)||12 years|
|Mindslaver||Mirrodin (Oct 3, 2003)||Scars of Mirrodin (Oct 1, 2010)||7 years|
|Akroma's Memorial||Future Sight (May 4, 2007)||Magic 2013 (Jul 13, 2012)||5 years|
|Gilded Lotus||Mirrodin (Oct 3, 2003)||Magic 2013 (Jul 13, 2012)||9 years|
|Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker||Conflux (Feb 6, 2009)||Magic 2013 (Jul 13, 2012)||3 years|
|Meddling Mage||Planeshift (Feb 5, 2001)||Alara Reborn (Apr 30, 2009)||8 years|
|Rites of Flourishing||Future Sight (May 4, 2007)||Magic 2012 (Jul 15, 2011)||4 years|
|Door to Nothingness||Fifth Dawn (Jun 4, 2004)||Magic 2013 (Jul 13, 2012)||8 years|
* Not actual original printing. Ball Lightning was printed several times in a row in under-printed sets.
|Card Name||Price Upon Spoiling ($)||Price at Reprint Release||Price 2 Months After Reprint||% Change in Value||Comments|
|Grim Lavamancer||$7.43||$5.76||$4.13||-44.4%||It's interesting to note that Grim Lavamancer, after a minor downturn upon spoiling, actually went up to $9.51 before plummeting back down. This is likely due to old school players seeking the original Torment prints for Standard use. It also helps that this is a Legacy staple for burn decks and was originally printed in a middle set.|
|Mutilate||$2.48||$2.42||$2.2||-11.29%||This card didn't really change a whole lot, which makes sense given its value before being spoiled was primarily related to casual and EDH.|
|Time Warp||$2.88||$2.44||$5.84||+102%||Time Warp actually saw a price increase two months after being released in M10. This may be due to the fact that it was primarily a casual card until its reintroduction into Standard and also because it was printed at the mythic rarity, thus reducing the number added to circulation.|
|Quicksilver Amulet||$3.34||$2.41||$2.33||-29.6%||This is a highly desirable casual card and while its pre-spoiled price was only $3.34, I was easily able to trade these at $5 prior to their reprinting solely based on casual demand and scarcity.|
|Darksteel Colossus||$9.76||$7.79||$4.69||-52.04%||This was the original king of the robots, one of the prominent Tinker targets in Vintage before he was replaced by his nastier brother Blightsteel Colossus. It's interesting to note that unlike Time Warp, which also jumped in rarity, his price still dropped dramatically.|
|Haunting Echoes||$4.99||$3.6||$2.04||-58.91%||Haunting Echoes saw play during its Odyssey block stint in the powerful Traumatic Echoes deck, which utilized mill and library removal to empty the opponent's deck as early as turn 5-6. Mill is often a "casual" win strategy and the people who enjoy the mill strategy love doing it.|
|Ball Lightning||$5.42||$6.34||$4.49||-17.15%||Ball Lightning was considered an iconic card, especially for burn players, so its reprinting caused a lot of excitement. People seemed to scramble to get old copies, thus the rise in price, before the M10 copies pulled the price back down.|
|Mindslaver||$2.26||$2.69||$2.31||+0.02%||It's important to note that this card shot up upon its spoiling and then trended downward to its previous price. It did go from rare to mythic rare though, thus limiting the influx of supply.|
|Akroma's Memorial||$14.27||$7.33||$4.26||-70.14%||I have to admit my surprise at how much this card dropped with its reprint. This casual all-star was difficult to find in trade binders prior to its reprinting. Its price may also have taken a blow courtesy of Eldrazi Monument (which competed for the same spot in most casual decks).|
|Gilded Lotus||$6.53||$3.51||$2.48||-62.02%||If Akroma's Memorial was difficult to find in trade binders, Gilded Lotus was nigh impossible prior to its reprint. This was quite often an automatic inclusion for any EDH deck as it allows for massive ramp while color-fixing, however being reprinted at regular rare in a highly-opened set dropped the value rapidly.|
|Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker||$16.99||$12.66||$10.66||-37.25%||This card is a casual player favorite, a planeswalker, an iconic Magic character, with very powerful abilities. It still dropped by 37%.|
|Meddling Mage||$7.45||$12.38||$8.21||+10.2%||While Meddling Mage saw a nice jump upon being spoiled, its value continued to drop after release, eventually settling into the $3 range.|
|Rites of Flourishing||$1.12||$0.69||$0.59||-47.32%||A good "slightly above bulk" casual/EDH card for group hug decks, this card has fallen to the "bulk" status courtesy of its reprint.|
|Door to Nothingness||$1.63||$0.6||$0.5||-69.32%||Another casual favorite as it has the "instant win" factor. It dropped dramatically as many more copies hit the market and demand was unable to catch up.|
Important things to take away from this chart:
- The average value change caused by reprinting was -27.66%.
- Cards from smaller sets (or 3rd sets) whose value was heavily based on lack of availability plummeted the most (Akroma's Memorial/Gilded Lotus/Door to Nothingness).
- Often many cards shot up in value upon being spoiled, but quickly plummeted back down. Thus, if you have original copies (and don't care which version you play) unload within a day or two of spoiling.
- The shorter the time gap between the reprints the higher the likelihood of a massive price drop.
- Changing from regular rare to mythic rare doesn't necessarily prevent a card from dropping in value (in fact one of our worst offenders did just that; see Akroma's Memorial).
- Another factor to consider is if the card is still legal in Standard. Many of the cards on this list are still legal (M13 reprints) and Standard card values tend to be dependent on the metagame. Often the best gauge for a card's casual value doesn't occur until after it has rotated and the influx of rotational supply has died down.
- A reprint with different artwork can be worth more or less than their original printing, depending on the overall attitude towards the artwork itself (similar to the judge promos mentioned last week).
- While the chart doesn't always show it, there are two outcomes when a reprint is spoiled; a) it begins to drop almost immediately as players unload their original copies understanding they will most likely drop in value or b) they get a sudden jump in price as players try to pick up the originals believing, however, it's important to note that if b) occurs it's almost always followed by a sudden drop again. So if you have copies of the originals and you see the price going up after spoiling, don't expect it to remain up. (This trend was noticed on Meddling Mage, Grim Lavamancer, and Mindslaver)
- Casual reprints at the mythic rarity may rebound back to their original price or even above (Time Warp is now listed at $4.78), however this will most likely not occur until after they've rotated (see #7). Cards to watch out for are Akroma's Memorial and Nicol Bolas, both of which I expect to rebound somewhat (although Bolas had another printing in the Duel decks, which is likely to deflate his long-term value). My guess is that both will end up above $10 within the next two years, barring anymore reprints.