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Insider: What’s Not In Modern Masters

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Paper Modern Master's is now out with the MTGO release coming up this week. The drop in the entry fee for regular drafts should mean a substantial amount of product is opened online. This is not news and hopefully you've steered well clear of speculating on anything pre-Zendikar. But, the set has a few holes that I'll go over here.

In the next four months, there will be three set releases where cards could be reprinted, namely M14 at the end of July, From the Vault: 20 (FTV) in August, and then Theros in October. The FTV release is the real wild card as a couple of money cards are usually included in this type of set. Historically there has been no limit to the number of FTV sets you can buy online, so if there is value in this set, it will provide downward pressure on the price of the originals. If Thoughtseize is a 30+ tix card, and FTV:20 retails for $40, it wouldn't take much more value in this set of reprints for a number to get bought and cracked by players.

Confirmed Reprints

Mutavault

Although not officially confirmed yet, the reliable folk at mtgsalvation have reasoned this will be included in M14. This makes sense with the presence of slivers, suggesting a soft tribal theme. Also WoTC historically likes to balance out multi-colour blocks with cards that support mono- or bi-colour strategies. Mutavault is a great choice for the core set, showing new players how they can get utility from their mana base. I'm sure the first time that a new player realizes Mutavault is a sliver will be a nice little thrill. Like Thoughtseize, this card getting printed at rare in the current core set will nuke any speculative potential in this card for the next Modern season. Stay away.

Unlikely Reprints

Ajani Vengeant

This card was featured in a Jund build late in the Modern PTQ season and triggered a price spike at the end of March. The late appearance in the PTQ season probably meant it was not considered for reprinting in Modern Masters. Also, it has already been reprinted in a duel deck. It looks like Ajani, Caller of the Pride will be coming back in M14, and it's doubtful that WoTC would revisit this R/W planeswalker in Theros while there are still two-colour combinations yet to see planeswalker (G/W and U/G).

While the duel deck is available at the MTGO store, there is a natural price cap on this card. I'd be more interested in this card in the Fall and if it fell to 10 tix or less. This card has some speculative potential overall, but it's no slam dunk.

Fulminator Mage

This card had seen some play, mostly as a sideboard option, but it has gone though large price swings online due to its relative lack of availability. As a mechanic, hybrid doesn't appear to be on the horizon for M14 or Theros so the only spot this could see a reprint in the near term would be in FTV:20. The fact that this card is more of a metagame call reduces its speculative appeal. Overall though, if it sees a dip in price into the 7-8 tix range, get ready to buy this up.

Oblivion Stone

Showing up as a staple of Tron decks means this card will be in demand as long as the Urzatron is legal in Modern. It's seen a reprint in the Commander deck, but that set was not widely opened online while it was available. There is the possibility this could be reprinted in M14, but it's doubtful to be included in Theros where I'd expect a more resonant board sweeper than a holdover from the plane of Mirrodin.

Keep this one in your back pocket. It's fallen in price by about 50% since the end of Modern season and hasn't bounced back yet. Jump on this one if it dodges a reprint in M14 and FTV:20.

Future Sight Lands

Future Sight is one of those sets that you always have to pay attention to on Modo. TPF was an unpopular draft format, and thus not opened much online. Both Grove of the Burnwillows and Horizon Canopy see fringe Modern play. Grove sees play in R/G Tron and Canopy shows up in decks like Zoo or as a one-of in decks featuring Knight of the Reliquary.

Overall, WoTC has recently indicated they don't like printing incomplete dual land cycles, so the Future Sight lands seems to be safe from a reprint in a core set or Fall expansion. Grove has already seen a reprint in FTV: Realms, making it doubtful in my mind to return in FTV:20. Keep an eye on both of these cards, they'll be on my list of speculative targets in the Fall.

Likely Reprints

Thoughtseize

This card is coming, make no mistake. It must have been identified as a shoe-in for reprint, due to its wide usage in Modern and high price tag. I put my money on seeing this in M14 as a rare. Take this one off of your spec list for Modern season.

Noble Hierarch

Keyword mechanics are a good way to infer how or where a card could be reprinted. With exalted showing up in M13, a double dip of exalted seems unlikely. There's literally zero chance of seeing this in M14. The return of exalted as a mechanic could work in the Greco-Roman themed Theros, or it could just show up in FTV:20.

Lastly, I think there's a small chance that WoTC decided to hold back a few cards for a second iteration of MM. This could be one of the cards that doesn't get reprinted in the near term, but is at the top of list for next time. If it dodges a near-term reprint, it will be a great card to load up on as soon as Theros is completely spoiled.

Wrapping Up

There are a bunch of Modern playables that did not show up in MM. After looking at the Movers and Shakers tab at MTGGoldfish, one can see that Primeval Titan, Daybreak Coronet, Scapeshift and Chord of Calling have all moved up in price over the last week. All of these carry reprint risk of their own, but I'm not inclined to buy them at the moment. Once Theros release events are rolling, it will be time to carefully examine what cards have not been reprinted with an eye to the Modern PTQ season.

Portfolio Update

This is a brief rundown of what I am buying, selling and watching in the market.

Selling:

  • It's just about time to start selling Gatecrash boosters. As expected, the Nix Tix draft queues in the Wide Beta Spotlight have triggered a temporary price increase on DGR drafts sets. I'll be unwinding my position over the next six weeks before M14 release events begin.

Buying:

  • Nothing to buy at the moment, but in a week or two we'll be able to see how popular Modern Masters turns out to be.

Watching:

  • Standard prices seem to have mostly stabilized for cards from Innistrad block and M13. With a few Standard PTQs on the horizon, prices should rise in the coming weeks. Geist of Saint Traft has been a solid pick up, but Restoration Angel and Thragtusk are still depressed from where they were a few weeks ago.
  • Although it's too early to be speculating on Modern staples, this article has highlighted a few cards that could have some value. If prices on cards from Modern Masters tank in a substantial way, it should lower the barrier to entry for Modern and trigger higher prices on cards that were not reprinted this time around.

3 thoughts on “Insider: What’s Not In Modern Masters

  1. There is no limit on quantities, to buy online FTV sets, but do we have any approximation of how popular these packages are?

    Mutavault has been confirmed to be in M14, and rumors are that Thoughtseize is included in the core set as well. That will be interesting!

    1. No, we don’t have a good idea about the popularity of FTV sets. But, roughly I would say that if there is ‘value’ in FTV:20, it will be bought, opened and resold until the ‘value’ disappears. There will also be people willing to buy and hold these for the future.

      My general take on special sets is to not speculate on them, but consider closely how they could affect original printings. Typically they put a price cap on the original printing.

      The best example I remember is when Stoneforge Mystic was in a precon. The WWK version got up to 15 tix at one point, which was the highest price a mythic era rare had reached to date. That didn’t last though, because the precon had 3 copies in it, and you could buy that for less than what 3 WWK SFMs sold for.

  2. At best, special sets can be a good way to “buy” cheap Tix, like the Ninja Planechase 2012 deck.

    After a while, once the valuable card has reached its top value, people forget about the mid cards and the deck/set can be resold for 10 to 40% more of it’s $ value, making 1$ worth up to 1.4Tix!

    Time limited set/deck with new cards, like the commanders, also appear to be good in the long run.

    Is there any time limit for special set still available on Mtgo? like the planechase 2012?

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