2013 has been a really interesting year in Magic finance. There have been some great financial developments along the way (calling a lot of this year’s biggest gainers has been a point of pride for me), as well as some personal highlights, from a great first year of marriage to the continued success Brainstorm Brewery has found.
Financially, we’ve seen both easy-to-predict cards (Jace) and harder-to-predict spikes (Nightveil Specter), but overall there’s been a ton of opportunity in the market.
So, what will 2014 hold?
1.) It’s a Different Market
In the past, we as a QS community have been really the only ones speculating and buying up copies of cards. That’s changed in the past year in a big way. From the MTGFinance subreddit to even more financial articles going up around the Internet, it’s been a banner year for MTGFinance.
The major effects, for us, have been how quickly cards can spike. Phyrexian Obliterator and Disrupting Shoal prove this. Shoal, in particular, has no reason in the world to spike from $2 to $10. Exactly two people in the world have played the Delver/Bear aggro deck, and it’s never won anything larger than a MODO 8-man.
But, because one pro and one good player endorsed the deck, the “finance community” (oftentimes these days known as “greater fools”) jumped all over the card. And because it’s from an old set it spiked like crazy. The only possible way it can maintain $10 is if the deck becomes a real thing. If it does, I doubt Shoal goes to $15 or $20, so if you did get in cheap there’s no reason not to sell now.
What it goes to show, though, is how little it takes to move the market on these older cards, even if it’s just the greater fools buying in after a little momentum takes hold.
2.) Fundamentals Still Matter
Despite the point above, we saw time and again in 2013 that you can’t just blindly move the market forever. It still takes fundamentals for a card to sustain a price gain. It’s why Aluren dipped back down hard, it’s why Obliterator dipped, it’s why Shoal will and it’s why Splinter Twin hasn’t.
Likewise, we can draw some lessons from Jace, Architect of Thought. The card saw a lot of Block play, and we identified it as a good target for rotation. It took some time for that prediction to turn out, but it did eventually and made us a lot of money, because it had the fundamentals to back it up.
3.) Everyone Thinks They’re a Financier
In a way, this isn’t bad. I know there’s not as much low-hanging fruit when everyone gets into the finance game, but on the other hand it means more people to buy the cards we identify early. Remember, the best way to make money is not to buy a card when the price is already spiking, it’s to identify it before the spike and buy in then. That’s something we have a good track record on here, so that works out fine.
But I bring up this issue for a larger point. Thanks to tools like MTGStocks, everyone can easily follow the finance game and participate in it. And while it may be annoying that some people might think themselves newfound “experts,” it also means more people are paying attention to the finance side and in theory learning how to play the game by spending less money. That means more people playing Magic longer, and that’s a good thing for us all.
4.) Modern Will Explode
So since the last Modern season ended, we’ve had a pretty long layover. But in that time Modern Masters hit the scene and was hugely popular, and the game as a whole has grown.
These two factors, along with a vastly increased supply of shocklands, will all combine to make Modern a much more affordable format. It doesn’t hurt that it’s shaken out to be a little more than just Jund Jund Jund.
More players playing Modern means that some of those long-term specs we’ve had like Birthing Pod and Scars of Mirrodin fastlands will likely take off. It’s really a convergence of all the factors Wizards has put in place, and I think it will result in a relative explosion for Modern at more than just the GP level.
I also think Legacy will continue its malaise. Basically every big spec these days is related to Modern, and Legacy has taken a back seat to that. The format isn’t dying, as the continuing increase on Wasteland shows, but the growth it will experience will pale in comparison to Modern. Plan your activity accordingly.
5.) Fetchlands Won’t Be Reprinted
My reasoning is this. Wizards has put the following things on record:
- They don’t love fetches in Standard because of the amount of shuffling they create.
- They design sets one year in advance.
- They wanted to determine how successful Modern Masters was before going forward with anything else similar.
- They want to actively reprint Modern cards.
Which means that we’ll likely see Zendikar fetchlands in a non-Standard set. It also means that any sort of Modern Masters 2 wouldn’t have been decided on until after GP Vegas (which I Top 32’ed, yay!). That means they wouldn’t have even decided to put Modern Masters 2 on the calendar until last fall, at which point the Summer 2014 set would have already been decided on.
The earliest they could slate it for would be Summer 2015, so I suspect that’s when we’ll see fetchlands reprinted. In the meantime, expect them to continue to climb higher.
2014 Upon Us
So after a busy 2013, that’s how I see 2014 unfolding. Let’s hope it’s as great a year for Magic as this past one has been!
Enjoy the holidays, and thanks for reading 🙂
@Chosler88 on Twitter