Welcome back readers/speculators!
Today's article idea comes from Doug Linn, courtesy of our writers/editors forum. Many of you might think it's easy to come up with one article idea a week, but sadly it isn't (as my plethora of "unfinished" ideas in my queue can attest to). Luckily for me, Doug had the idea to come up with a post for article ideas when we get stuck. This is one of those ideas.
Modern Masters 2 Breakdown
The premise is an interesting one. A set of all reprints that caused Modern prices to jump dramatically by creating demand for the format and exciting people (see GP Vegas breaking the sealed GP record and me waiting in line for 2.5 hours to try and get into a MMA Mini-Masters). The experiment that was Modern Masters (MMA) will likely be repeated, though likely with a different card set.
The original reasoning behind Modern Masters was to reduce the cost of the Modern format. It didn't accomplish that as the marquee cards were printed at mythic (with the exception of a small few) and they are now more expensive than before Modern Masters came out. It's almost assured that MM2 will also be all reprints and likely include a lot of Modern staples from Zendikar block and forward.
I expect the following cards to make an appearance.
- Inquisition of Kozilek (they could print this at rare like they did Aether Vial so as not to tank the value)
- Sword of Feast and Famine (at mythic)
- Sword of War and Peace (at mythic)
- Sword of Body and Mind (if only to fully complete the cycle)
- Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur (these will likely replace the mythic "dragon" cycle)
- Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- Sheoldred, Whispering One
- Urabrask the Hidden
- Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
- Karn Liberated
- Dark Confidant
- Vendilion Clique
- Liliana of the Veil (if she's not reprinted before then)
- Birthing Pod (if it doesn't get banned)
- Chord of Calling
However, there are a lot of potential rares. If you're wondering why I didn't include the Zendikar fetchlands on this list it's because in MMA WoTC only had three rare lands (two of which tapped for mana of any color) and the other was Blinkmoth Nexus. WoTC has a love of printing cycles and I don't think they'd devote five rare slots to the Zendikar fetchlands.
Effect on Singles Prices
The fact that card prices actually rose after the printing indicates that the player base can absorb a much larger print run of the staples without crashing the secondary market. If we review the price graphs of the following MMA reprinted staples we can see how the rares were affected. (The only mythics that budged were the Kamigawa dragons, because they had casual appeal and demand didn't increase to meet the influx of stock, unlike the actual Modern cards.)
I've chosen to stop the graphs around October of last year because MMA was released in June, so the packs that would have been opened were mostly opened and the card prices had enough time to settle.
You'll notice that across the board these main staples dropped a little but not really more than 15-20%. Certainly not the $60 to $0.5 drops we saw with Chronicles. It's also important to note the current price of these cards have them back closer to (if not greater than) their previous price.
The other subset of cards are the sideboard or "niche" cards like Kira, Great Glass-Spinner which have yet to really recover.
What we learn here is that Modern-legal sideboard cards whose price is due principally to lack of supply are likely to take the biggest hits. While a lot of MMA rares dropped the value of their respective original printings, the ones that had the biggest plunge were like Kira.
While MM2 is likely still about a year away it seems wise not to stock up on the sideboard tech cards unless you can get rid of them in a timely manner.
Wizards' Goal for MM2
If WoTC's goal for MMA was to lower the price of Modern, they did a terrible job (in the long run--short-term they did drop the prices of some staples considerably). If it was to sell a ton of cards in almost no time and make a nice profit, they did an amazing job.
Now it does appear that a lot of MMA boxes were scooped up by speculators because the writing was on the wall regarding their price. Many of us have been saying the price of boxes was assuredly going to rise and likely hit $500 or so within a year or two.
Boxes of Ravnica and Future Sight already hit that mark, and the chase cards of those sets were also in Modern Masters, as well as a ton of other highly valuable, sought-after cards. This leads me to my next point.
I honestly believe WoTC could print five to ten times as much MM2 as they did MMA and the Modern staples would drop by maybe 15%, if that. Now, I still doubt they'd print that much, but three to four times the print run is more likely.
The fact that MMA stopped at Shards block, after which quite a few Modern staples have been printed, indicates that MM2 will likely differ quite a bit from MMA. So the concern that MM2 boxes would cause MMA boxes to drop in value is unjustified--after all, the announcement of Return to Ravnica didn't cause boxes of Ravnica to drop in value.
The reason is simple. The people who tend to buy older boxes want them for:
- Chase cards
Only #3 would actually get "appeasement" from MM2. So there would still be demand for MMA from a lot of camps.
Another important point to consider is if WoTC will make MM2 a draft format like they did MMA. This is an interesting thing to consider because the rarity of some cards was likely determined so as not to make draft un-fun.
However, the number of MMA drafts I was able to enjoy can be counted on one finger. The format was fun, but to be fair, given the cost of packs and the value of many of the cards, making it a "draft" set was rather pointless. Very few people passed the rares they cracked (even if they were bad) unless the pack contained a more valuable uncommon, common or foil.
I hope that WoTC realizes that throwing in a lot of bad commons to make a box "draft worthy" is really just wasting space. Players would be thrilled if they cracked packs and most of the commons were just good staple cards as opposed to cutesy draft fodder.
What's Not in MM2
Lastly we want to look at what doesn't show up in MM2. One of the most obvious cards in need of a reprint in MMA was Thoughtseize, which escaped the set entirely, much to the anger of many players who wanted it for the upcoming Modern season. Lo and behold it showed up in Theros.
So if any "obvious" reprints don't make it into MM2, I wouldn't stock up on them for the next Modern season. They are strong candidates for reprinting en masse.