Insider: The Next Modern Spike: Will It Last?

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It’s become one of our favorite pastimes these days, analyzing the latest Modern card to spike in price and wondering if it’s for real. A lot of times people either look at something and say “yup, it’s real,” or “just a buyout, nothing to see here,” without ever bothering to check back in.

So that’s where we’re going to do today. I'll look at several spikes on Modern cards in the last six months and see how they did in the weeks following the spike, how they’re doing today. This will help inform our decisions on the upcoming spikes in the Modern format that are surely coming. I was able to call the last one in Shadow of Doubt, but what’s next? That’s the important question.

I would say Elesh Norn, but since I talked about it a few months back at $10 it’s nearly doubled, and is probably headed the way of the Eldrazi, of course to a lesser extent.

Let’s start with one that illustrates an important point: Nivmagus Elemental. This thing was all the rage for a weekend, but even by the end of the event the floor was beginning to fall out. It spiked hard to $4, but today is back down to bulk pricing.

I think the lesson to draw is that Standard cards, even if hot in Modern, are not worth speculating on. Voice of Resurgence also supports this theory, since its spike to $50 was influenced by the play it saw in Modern. Since then, Scavenging Ooze has come out and seemingly helped to neuter Pod decks. That has helped bring Voice’s price back to Earth.

Moving forward, something like Ooze certainly had some upside a few weeks ago, but the lesson is that even though it will likely remain an all-star in Modern for years to come, its price at the peak of Modern season may not be indicative of its price come Standard rotation. On the other hand, it may go the way of Snapcaster Mage and not budge. Only time will tell, and we have a while before we have to make a decision there.

Okay, so far I’ve discussed Standard-legal cards and not really the stuff that spiked overnight because of Modern. So let’s take a look at some of those.

Paradise Mantle

Already popular casually, this had the hard spike to $10 when a quirky little Modern combo deck began playing it. Despite that, and another printing in Modern Masters, it’s still over $4, or 30 percent more than it was before the spike.

I think this is an important one to mention, because it basically has all the hallmarks of a one-hit wonder. It’s an uncommon, it’s not in a “real deck,” and it was reprinted. And yet the original printing is still worth more than it was before the spike.

It also means that something seemingly fringe like Keen Sense may no be seeing the bulk box anytime soon.

So what about some other fringe cards?

Cloudstone Curio

Another $2 card before the spike, which in this case was due to the printing of Beck // Call (and was the recipient of an e-mail blast). The spike was to $10, and the subsequent drop in the next week brought it down to $8.

Since then? Still holding steady at $7.

That’s some pretty powerful data. This card has zero top eights to its name in the nearly six months since it spiked, and hasn’t moved much. And it’s not alone. Chord of Calling spiked to $40 before coming down some, but since then has held steady at $35.

Noticing a trend yet? Even when we go back further, and look at something like Leyline of Sanctity, one of the first Modern spikes, we see a trend of prices stabilizing well above where they started. Leyline, for instance, started at $4, then peaked to $15 before settling to the $11 it sits at still today.

I hear what you’re saying. These are all playable cards, even if not heavily so. Of course they’re staying higher.

So what about Hall of the Bandit Lord?

We all (correctly) called “buyout” when it disappeared at a dollar and spiked to $8. It started to come back down after that and we all forgot about it and moved on.

Today? Still $4.

I want to believe these buyouts won’t have this effect, but the evidence I found while researching this article all points the opposite. Makes you feel a lot better about those Horizon Canopy.

I know my adage is always to sell into the hype, and in every one of these cases that’s been the right play. But it’s not the only play. If you’re legitimately interested in these cards to play with, it’s worth knowing that they really aren’t dipping back down to where they started.

I somewhat expected this with the playable cards like Daybreak Coronet. Sure, it seemed insane that it spiked to $25 back in Modern season, but here it is still $16 (and was still $14 before Reid Duke’s recent performance with the deck).

But I didn’t at all expect these results with stuff like Paradise Mantle and Hall of the freaking Bandit Lord.

Modern: The Real Thing

To some extent, this is true of all cards, that the new price doesn’t usually match the old one. But it seems Modern cards are going even farther to that extreme. Aluren, for instance, was bought out at $5 and spiked to $25. Based off the examples we’ve looked at so far, it would still be something like $18-20 if all cards (Eternal-playable ones, even) followed this path.

So where does Aluren rest today? $8.

Sure, that’s more than it was, but it didn’t even maintain a double-up, which is insane when the cards we’ve discussed so far are measuring their growth in terms of multiple hundreds of percent.

Like I said, that’s powerful data, and further reinforces the notion that Modern is not only here to stay, but is still a force. It took one event for an already-played card like Living End to go from $2 to $10, and since then it hasn’t budged at all.

This is somewhat dangerous advice to give, but at this point it seems you really can’t lose. Even if you don’t buy in at the lowest price point on a moving card, it seems those investments aren’t as risky as we might normally think on a spec.

So how does this benefit us going forward? Well, I have several cards I like right now. I’ve talked about Birthing Pod a million times, and even though Ooze hurts it some I still like it as a play.

Looking further down the line, Eiganjo Castle seems very similar to Shadow of Doubt in that it’s seen steady growth, and one buyout could trigger a run and push it to $15 or more.

As far as mythic targets, I'm not sure any are better right now than Thrun, the Last Troll. This has fallen from $15 to $8 after its own buyout a while back, and we’ve yet to see how the new legend rule will affect PTQ season. If RWU Control stays popular, which I’m sure it will, Thrun could come into the limelight. $8 is going to look like a bargain then as he moves to $20.

Worldwake manlands (and still Scars fastlands) are another great bet right now. We’ve seen Celestial Colonnade move, and I suspect Raging Ravine will follow suit first. I’m also picking up the staple uncommons that were reprinted in Modern Masters.

The Modern season being pushed back several months just means we have more of an opportunity to acquire these cards before the Magic community really starts gearing up for it. Trading new, overpriced Theros goodies in the next few months and turning them into Modern staples is going to be a profitable strategy.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now with Modern. I see a lot of opportunity, and a strong demand base propping up the market. That’s a good thing. We’re living in the boom times now, and I’m going to milk Modern for all it’s worth.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

9 thoughts on “Insider: The Next Modern Spike: Will It Last?

  1. Great article and analysis. I too have been picking up the modern master’s reprinted uncommon staples (Kitchen Finks, Path to Exile, Spell Snare, etc) over the past month or two in order to build up a supply come modern season. The other target has been fetchlands which, while expensive will likely grow by 30-50% come modern season (barring some sort of reprint).

    1. The last few paragraphs I spent talking about what I’m picking up right now, starting the the Birthing Pod paragraph above if you want to see it.

      Disclaimer: I’m not a MODO expert. But I assume it’s a fine time.

    1. Well, it definitely got nerfed because Ooze is played and Ooze hurts the deck, but whether or not that’s enough to knock it off “top deck” status is another question, and looks like the answer is “no.”

    1. 1) Makes sense and agree. I like Raging Ravine secondarily, but Creeping Tar Pit is more exciting because it occasionally shows up in Legacy as well.

      2) Also makes sense, but hope Melira Pod can at least remain Tier 1 even if weakened by Ooze.

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