Today, I'm writing about some potential positions for the future Vintage format on MTGO. Born of the Gods release events have lowered the price on several cards across many formats, with the exception of the Modern cards that shined during PT Valencia. Therefore, this time of year might be a good moment to consider investing in potential Vintage cards.
Last October, Vintage Masters (VMA) was announced, promising the long-awaited arrival of the Vintage format to MTGO. So far, we only have access to Classic, which is basically Vintage without the Power Nine (P9). Expected to be as good as Modern Masters, VMA is set to be released just before summer 2014, less than four months from now.
I'm frankly not an expert in these exotic formats, but as far as I understand, the inclusion/exclusion of the P9, in addition to other B&R differences, makes Classic and Vintage two substantially different formats.
For instance, cards such as Lotus Petal and Gifts Ungiven are legal as four-ofs in Classic, whereas they are limited to one-of in the Vintage format. Alternatively, cards such as Lodestone Golem and Sphere of Resistance are restricted in Classic, but a full playset is authorized in Vintage.
For players and/or speculators, a few things are unclear at this point. Will the online Vintage format attract people? How affordable will it be, i.e. how expensive will the P9 cards be? And the question that interests us for our speculation purposes, which cards will be reprinted?
In addition to the "mythic" P9 cards, the remaining cards in VMA can come from the entire pool of Magic: the Gathering.
WotC made clear that they don't want Black Lotus and colleagues to be less valuable than other cards currently online. To reduce the price of several very expensive cards online, such as Wasteland, Force of Will, Lion's Eye Diamond or Show and Tell, a couple of such reprints are expected in VMA.
First, some low-value suggested picks. These cards appear in several popular Vintage deck lists. Their current prices make them pretty attractive with low risks and high potential.
All these cards appear in several decks in Vintage. Lodestone Golem, a key card of the MUD decks, is of particular interest. As mentioned before this card is restricted in the current Classic format. Its demand could simply quadruple as it will become a four-of in the new Vintage format.
Online, the only two available versions of Lord of Atlantis are around 10 tix now. Merfolk decks play eight copies of their lords, and I think it's only a matter of time before Master of the Pearl Trident reaches such heights.
Also, Merfolk will certainly be one of the most effective, popular and cheapest decks to triumph in Vintage. With long-term perspectives, Master of the Pearl Trident is a must-buy at 1 tix or so.
Goblin Welder, which sees some fringe play in Legacy, is at its historical low right now. In the long run, independently of the success of Vintage, this goblin is also probably a sure bet.
These cards are a different deal. Not only they are more expensive and involve more inherent risks, most of them also have a fair chance of being reprinted in VMA. However, they are all recurrent cards of the Vintage format (or at least of the idea I have of the Vintage format). If Vintage takes off online, these cards should see an increase, provided they are not reprinted.
A good pick here is probably Bazaar of Baghdad. At 12 tix, its price is still okay and the Bazaar is an absolute four-of in Vintage Dredge, which, with the exception of the Arabian Nights land and Ichorid, is a fairly cheap deck that doesn't require any P9 cards.
Similar to Lodestone Golem, Sphere of Resistance is restricted in Classic and authorized as a four-of in Vintage. MUD is a pretty easy and popular deck--four Sphere of Resistance are mandatory for this deck.
Keeping an Eye on VMA Spoilers
All the picks I suggest here remain valid with our current, and limited, information about the cards in VMA. As spoilers are revealed, I would sell with no second thought any reprints of the cards mentioned here.
For Modern Masters, the announcement of reprints of popular cards dramatically affected the original version of the cards. Modern Masters reprints finally rebounded because of the popularity of the format. I expect Vintage to have a much more narrow popularity.
Alternatively, other cards could become potential targets once the full spoiler of VMA is available. Once again, it will depend on how popular you think Vintage will be online.
Other Picks of the Week
Under-the-Radar Modern Specs
Tron decks were kind of silenced at the Modern PT last weekend. However, they are still fairly popular online. Two of their key cards have been under-appreciated at this point. Oblivion Stone is low now and played as three- or four-of in every Tron deck. Similarly, Karn Liberated has seen some decrease recently to its price from more than half a year ago.
Phyrexian Metamorph is also back to its previous lowest and may constitute a good opportunity for the Modern season, or even in anticipation of Vintage.
Some cards have reached a price I was waiting for to cash out. Among them, Rakdos's Return seems to have climbed to a small peak at around 11.5 tix. Time to get rid of my few copies bought several months ago (after I missed the two previous peaks).
Despite having the Modern season ahead of us, some cards have already exceeded my goals. Lotus Bloom sits at a nice 2.5-3 tix that I'm totally happy to sell them for. I have also sold my Daybreak Coronet at 18 tix each--they have met my expectations, time to move on.
Thank you for reading, see you next week!