Insider: Trading for Modern Masters

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Today we're going to go over the immediate price impact Modern Masters has had on many of the Modern staples. Normally, this isn't something you'd do when a set first releases because people keep opening packs, thus adding to the supply and dropping prices rather rapidly after the first few weeks.

Using WeQu's EV calculations for MM we can see something similar has already happened with Modern Masters, at an accelerated rate. The irony is that many people probably believe the prices will continue their downward trend for the next few weeks (as that's what we are accustomed to). The catch is that most Modern Masters that will be cracked already has been. There won't be a gradual increase of the supply as time passes.

I know my local area is dried up already. And we even got a Modern Masters GPT for Las Vegas (one clever store owner got WoTC support to increase the amount of Modern Masters he'd have by doing it this way).

As many conjectured however, the release of Modern Masters has increased he player base for Modern. (I'm starting to see more people post on my LGS facebook page requesting Modern staples.) You'll want to make sure you get your staples quickly before this increase in demand causes prices to rebound.

However, it is crucial to keep in mind not all prices will rebound the same, and some may not at all. Cards that are limited to one per deck or 1-2 sideboard slots, as well as cards that don't see play in Modern, will most likely show no immediate rebound. Most will probably go back up in value somewhat, but cards like the mythic dragons and/or the swords will not do so in a timely manner.

Trading for (Discounted) Staples

If you are planning on playing Modern competitively (or expect to have enough trade partners in your area who will) I suggest picking up the following Modern Masters cards. They are broken up into specific categories to aid with trade priority.

Top-Tier Staples

The Top-Tier Staples are good in multiple formats and will most likely be the most desired cards from Eternal players in your area. I'm only looking at Kitchen Finks for $5.00 or less and Path to Exile at $3.50 or less.

Modern Archetype Staples

The Modern archetype staples have some bleed over from Top Tier, but are more likely going to be desirably only by players playing that particular archetype (i.e. something running Jund won't need any of the cards on that list). Look for Spell Snare at $3.00 or less and Lightning Helix at $1.75 or less.

EDH Staples

The EDH staples are cards that may or may not see much Modern play, but have a strong demand among the casual/EDH crowd. Here I don't want Woodfall Primus over $3.00 or Eternal Witness over $1.25.


Trading for foil MM versions of any of the previously mentioned staples is obviously appealing. Another set of cards to target are foil copies of highly desirable commons like:

All of these were valuable commons at some point. Some dropped a bit after reprints (Stinkweed Imp, Kodama's Reach), but for the most part foils of these cards are valued roughly two times their non-foil price. This is standard for most foils, but these cards used to be worth far more than that. Even if they don't match their previous price, it's not inconceivable for them to go up from current prices.

Last but not least,

Sealed Product

I feel that Modern Masters sealed product will be extremely valuable in the future. My reasoning is simple: most stores sold out within the first 24 hours and I saw more people than not cracking it immediately. My estimate is that in three month's time 80-85% of Modern Masters will have been opened.

I've heard numerous opinions on Modern Masters as a limited format. Personally I found it challenging and very similar to Cube, in which there are a lot of high-power cards and your decision tree is more complicated. This is a good thing (to me at least) and makes me think that it will be highly sought after by friend groups looking to set up a side draft (the considerable cost and lack of availability does imply that larger stores won't be able to run these events themselves.)

A friend of mine (and fellow QS writer) has already garnered support to do a draft with his box, even at $40 per person. With seven people (excluding himself), this translates to $280 for the box. This shows a strong enough demand for product that in 4-5 months prices of $350-400 might be commonplace, which means with a bit of patience (and a good box purchase price) one can net a 100%+ profit.

I will say that the ROI on these boxes has dropped dramatically in the past week. Originally it was around $14 per pack and now it's close to $9, but that will probably go back up as people realize just how limited the product is.

It's also important to note that supply was so limited that the boxes may not be mappable (as people were typically unable to get enough product to run the numbers for the algorithm.) This also means that even individual sealed packs will maintain a higher value as fear of getting mapped packs should be virtually non-existent.

10 thoughts on “Insider: Trading for Modern Masters

  1. Nice article! I agree with a lot of your assessments on the singles. I think prime time to pick these up will be the week after GP Vegas when people will flood the market with their singles from the side events, hoping to recoup some of the cost of their trip.

    I think there is some additional risk in holding sealed product. There’s really nothing to stop wizards from printing and releasing this exact set again in the near future if they feel the supply was not affected enough by this printing of cards. It’s relatively easy fo WOTC to do this as they just need to account for printing and logistics costs and not all the other costs that go into a set such as design, new art, etc. It may be unlikely they will actually do this but I’m just pointing out that reprint potential exists for this set when it normally doesn’t for other sets. Even with another printing, the boxes will never go below $200 but it would hurt potential profits.

    1. It does…and the artwork is gorgeous (I can see this foil being more desirable than the original simply because of the new artwork).

  2. i have 7 players @40$ each. took like 3 hours to fill up. looking forward to the draft but holding boxes is a better play. even if wizard prints more, demand for this stuff is huge. they won’t have regular set run #s in any case. i can sell manamorphose for 25 cents to dealers, lava spike goes for the same. non-foil versions.

    if MM translates into more Modern players than all these dealer cards (10 cents + commons/uncommons) look like decent pick-ups. i’ve been trading up using buylist prices all week.

    1. Do you draft all the rares/foils at the end?

      I have a group to draft a box, but some of my more risk-averse friends have suggested immediately listing any card >$50 on eBay and splitting the money amongst the drafters.

    2. Nice…I agree 100%. Having seen the kind of turnout’s with MM, I believe that demand was nowhere near satiated and prices will reflect that in the next month or so.

  3. I noted that my box the packs where not perfectly sorted makeing maping harder… Which I’m happy about.

    man this format is fun to draft though! My second MM draft I won 3-0 UB faries! never lost a game.

    1. Ya…we saw that too..they weren’t packaged as tightly so the top layer got mixed up a bit. Glad to hear your draft went well. I did one draft and did quite poorly, but I got a Cryptic Command, Engineered Explosives, Deathcloud, Spell snare, and foil Desperate Ritual…so it’s hard to complain.

  4. at worst prices decline until Las Vegas. after that, dealers have their product back and they aren’t going to sell on the cheap because they know they can’t get more and have all the pricing power.

    if you have sealed product no rush to open it. if you have staples, no rush to sell them, unless you somehow don’t have shocks yet.

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