I’ve avoided it for long enough, but I think it’s finally time.
I’ve talked about Modern Masters in generalities before today, but never in specifics, for a few reasons. The most important of which is how seriously I take this column. I didn’t want to delve into specifics just to ride the “it” topic of the day or week. Despite how much we guessed or asserted, the truth is we didn’t know what would be in the set.
Now we do.
Another vital question still remains unanswered, namely how much of the set will be printed. Obviously this is a subject of immense importance, but it’s one I’d only be speculating on at this point.
But I do think it’s time to talk about Modern Masters. Over the next few weeks I'm going to address the topic from several different angles.
- General impressions/predictions on singles/box prices and trajectories (today)
- Modern Masters misses and opportunities (next week)
- Post-Modern Masters targets (two weeks from now)
I want to break this up to avoid giving short shrift to anything, because I think there’s a lot to cover. And the tradeoff for my relative silence on the set in the past is that I’ll be talking about it a lot for the next few weeks. It’s safe to say managing this set correctly is probably the most important thing to hit MTG finance since the creation of Modern itself.
So let’s begin.
If supply stays as it stands now, there’s not going to be any real difference in the price of mythics. Rares will move a little bit, and anything lower will take a substantial hit.
This article illustrates a lot of what we’ve been saying, and attempts to apply real (though estimated) numbers to the discussion.
With all the hype this set is getting, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more people attempt to enter Modern, which means prices aren’t dropping far. Sure, there will be some drops in the first month or so, but once boxes begin to dry up, they aren’t going anywhere but up. For most of the mythics, this is basically a non-starter in terms of price, because I don’t think it’s going to do much. And how many players really want to sell the Tarmogoyf they just opened? Instead, they’re going to start looking for three more.
Now, I will make a note here on Goyf, which is that I hate picking the card up despite what I just said. Why not just wait for Scavenging Ooze to bottom out in Standard and pick those up instead? Ooze is not just the cheap man’s Goyf, it’s actually just as good (or even better) in some cases. There are Legacy decks that use Ooze but not Goyf, and I think that keeps Goyf’s price from going too high, at least as long as there are cheap Oozes to grab.
The opportunity will be in rares and uncommons, which could actually flood a bit in the weeks following the Modern Masters event at GP Vegas (See you all there, I hope!). That means I’m moving on stuff like Manamorphose and Spell Snare and the like. Kitchen Finks, I will note, gets worse with Ooze entering the format, so keep that in mind.
And just a hint of baseless speculation. It’s my belief Wizards will issue more Modern Masters onto the market, even if it’s not a true second wave and instead just another part of the narrowly-allocated first wave. This is something that has been hinted at in their release materials to stores, and I have to imagine they have this in mind since prices so far haven’t moved at all.
Boxes are way too much right now. I even put my money where my mouth was on this and sold the fourteen I had at $200 apiece. At the time of the sell that wasn’t as sweet of a deal as it is now, but I wanted to lock in profits rather than take a chance that Wizards disappointed with the set.
I’m glad that they didn’t, but people paying nearly $300 a box right now is insane. Sure, maybe it’ll be worth $400 in two years, but they could also keep the reprints flowing and it could not move much. This isn’t like a From the Vaults where the cards aren’t likely to show up again. Instead, these are all cards Wizards is actively trying to reprint, which makes me like it less as a long-term investment. I also don’t like spending double the MSRP just to get into your position.
If you want to do this, wait a few weeks after the release and find out if any more waves are coming. If not, and you still want to invest, that will be the time. Box prices won’t be much different and there will be less risk.
These, I think, are the only rares/mythics that will see big movement. I haven’t heard anyone say “I really want Modern Masters” for my casual cards!” No, they want it for the tournament staples, and that means stuff like this is going to get sold to help recoup box costs.
Even though I do expect these to move briskly on the market, there’s a lot more for a popular-but-not-ubiquitous casual card like Valkyrie to lose than there is for a Vendilion Clique to lose.
There’s also a ton of “money” commons and uncommons you may have totally missed while skimming the spoiler.
Etherium Sculptor is a great pick from bulk, as is Manamorphose, Flickerwisp and Faerie Macabre. While on some level that sucks for people who pick collections like I do, it also adds a little bit of unseen value to a pack, so remember that even the commons in the draft leftovers from a set like this are worth looking through.
Overall, I’m excited to draft the set, and I’m excited for Vegas, where I and the rest of the Brainstorm Brewery crew have rented a house (come to our cookout on Friday and Saturday night!). I think this has created a ton of hype for Modern, and even if it doesn’t move prices as much as Wizards hoped there’s a lot for us to profit from here. But you can’t lose your head. Stay disciplined and make the safe moves, and it will pay off in the end.