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Insider: [MTGO] Potential Vintage Targets on MTGO

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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.

Your oldest new toys!
Your oldest new toys!

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 WastelandForce of WillLion's Eye Diamond or Show and Tell, a couple of such reprints are expected in VMA.

However, there's absolutely no certainty at the moment. Other moderately priced Vintage cards such as Mana CryptMishra's Workshop, and the Alpha dual lands could also be reprinted in VMA.

Low-Value Targets

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.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Master of the Pearl Trident appear again in my card picks this week. They are both unique creatures with playability in Modern, Legacy and Vintage.

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.

High-Value Targets

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

Innistrad Mythics

As suggested by Matt Lewis here and here, digital junk mythics from ISD may benefit from the increase of paper ISD prices.

Mirror-Mad Phantasm, Angelic Overseer, Tree of Redemption, Essence of the Wild, Skaab Ruinator, Grimoire of the Dead and Reaper from the Abyss are likely to be good mid-term investments.

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.

Selling Positions

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!

Sylvain Lehoux

8 thoughts on “Insider: [MTGO] Potential Vintage Targets on MTGO

  1. Great article – just a thought – should Karn and Metamorph be a pickup after the flashback drafts in late March, rather than right now? (Article was probably put out after the announcement)

  2. Hi Blake,

    Good question. I saw the announcement after I finished my article. I would way until the flashback drafts. Nothing really exciting is supposed to happen between now and the SOM/MBS/NPH flashback drafts, so prices should remain rather flat or should keep moving downward. The flashback drafts should constitute the low peak.

    This should help Karn, Phyrexian Revoker and Phyrexian Metamorph to dip significantly more.

  3. Sol Ring is often in many vintage decks, though restricted. Null rod is good as well. If it really takes off, Deathrite is very good, as well as scooze and snaps. Swords to plowshares and abrupt decay are the premium removal spells of the format, and voltaic key combos with time vault. skullclamp is vital to that affinity-shops list that popped up a while back. Steel sabotage is, one of the best removal/counterspells in the format. Trinisphere is way good for shops. There’s more I’m sure I’m forgetting but those are some of the really big players.

  4. There’s many other cards that could be mentioned here. I based my judgment on the very few lists that I have seem on Vintage championship and others, and from a speculative point of view.

    I was trying to focus on cards that could see the most play despite being restricted (Tolarian Academy or Strip mine for instance) or other cards for which a full playset will be legal (Lodestone Golem, Phyrexian Revoker or Sphere of Resistance) whereas restricted now.

    I’m not sure sword to plowshares and abrupt decay will be good speculative targets considering for Vintage. The MTGO legacy format is currently using them, not sure the introduction of vintage will drive their price high.

    Time vault and Sol ring could be good target as well.

    Steel sabotage is an common and voltaic key an unco from 2 sets, not enough to make them viable speculative targets to me.

    Trinisphere is legal in Modern and Legacy and restricted in Vintage & Classic. I don’t see a big potential here.

  5. Skullclamp seems a good target that isn’t mentioned. Next to no play now, played in the format, and next to no risk of it being reprinted.

  6. I think we have good chances to have some kind of “older” lands reprinted in VMA. I would rather think about the ABU since they can’t really be reprinted IRL. I can see the other fetches (old or new) being reprinted in MMA2 or any other future standard sets.

    In the very long run, I’m sure some kind investment on the P9 cards can be made.

    As for Skullclamp, I didn’t see a lot of, if any, Vintage deck lists with it. For sure the Classic format on MTGO as a affinity/craddle deck with Skullclamp. With the introduction of Vintage, the P9 and a modified B&R list (Vintage and Classic are substantially different) I don’t really see why Skullclamp should be a good target, but I might be wrong, and I’m certainly not aware of all Vintage possibilities.

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