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Unlocked Insider: And the Hammer Falls

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I’ll skip right to the relevant paragraph:

“So I’ll make a bold claim that’s been gnawing at the back of my mind for a couple of months now, even though I’ve pushed it off because it goes against all precedent: Modern prices are not going up anytime soon.”

I wrote that several months ago, around the time everyone was prepping for the oncoming Modern season and the wondrous prices it would bring. I felt the pressure at the time of writing that, because I was definitely fighting against the “conventional wisdom.” In retrospect, I’m really glad I acted on my gut there, because as we all know Modern prices stagnated horribly this summer, and in many cases dropped outright.

There’s another relevant paragraph from that article:

“When the next catalyst comes, aggressively buy staples across the board.”

That time is now.

Wooded-Foothills-Khans-of-Tarkir-Spoilers-190x263

Allied fetchlands are here, and the proverbial hammer has fallen on Modern. It’s time. And it couldn’t be a better one.

The Coming Spike

Everyone is excited about Khans of Tarkir and the wedges it brings. I am too. But I’m much more excited about the future of Modern, and Khans is the reason why.

We’re going to see another round of growth in Modern. It’s not going to come in the next week. It’s not going to come in the next month. But it is coming, likely at the end of the year or right after the turn of the new one when we often see prices kick off another round of growth.

The last time there was a mass migration into Modern was when Modern Masters was reprinted. The reason for that was because people suddenly had a way to access the format. Easy packs mean that a whole slew of people who hadn’t been able to touch the format before could after busting a few high-dollar rares. We saw the effects of this immediately, with Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant actually increasing in price from where they were before.

But it wasn’t just the flagship mythics. It was a slew of other cards in Modern, from fetchlands to Splinter Twin to even stuff like Serum Visions. So many new people entered the format that everything that wasn’t reprinted saw steady gains.

That’s the world we’ll be living in again soon.

Everyone else will be excited about Khans, trading for the new Standard, picking up their specs and their new decks, and that’s great. In fact, we should also be interested in the Standard specs we have faith in. But I think it’s going to be vital to spend the next month to two months trading the Standard cards for the things you can get for Modern. I think it’s handy that fetches are coming out now right at rotation, because it means people will have better things to do than worry about what may happen six months from now.

But price increases are coming in the next 12 months for a lot of Modern cards.

But probably not all of them. The reason? I think it’s clear now more than ever that Modern Masters 2 can’t be far off. It may be the summer of 2016, but the summer of 2015 seems ever more likely, just like I’ve been saying since last summer when Modern Masters was such a success.

Preparing for Reprints

So if we accept the fact that mass reprints are coming, the next question is how to best hedge against that risk. I think there are a few valid approaches.

1) Try to guess the likely MM2 candidates. There’s certainly merit to this, since there are some big cards we can expect to be reprinted. For instance, I don’t think Liliana of the Veil or Snapcaster Mage are the safest places to park money heading into next summer. You can spec into the rest of the big cards in the format and hope for the best, which will likely yield profit as a whole.

2) Go after the stuff that is probably safe from a Modern Masters 2 set. For the most part this means older cards, even cards that were in the original MMA set. I don’t think that you’re going to see as large of gains on the cards from the original set, of course, but I think they’re safer as a whole than something that could be reprinted in a Modern Masters 2 set.

3) Aim for really recent cards that you think have Modern potential. Considering they set a limit on the first Modern Masters set in terms of time period printed, something along the same lines for the next one means that cards from the last couple years might miss the cut.

The other big question is the Zendikar fetchlands. A lot of people have speculated they’ll show up in Khans of Tarkir block. I personally disagree with that, considering that with the enemy painlands in M15 and allied fetchlands now we have balanced mana in Standard. Putting fetches into the block would ruin that balance.

Furthermore, with allied fetches taking some of the pressure off the Zendikar copies, it means a huge reprinting may not be needed, and a smaller reprinting in a supplementary product could do the trick.

I don’t have a comprehensive list of cards to buy right now, mainly because this is all so new I myself haven’t come up with what an optimal list would look like. But I’ve laid out my thoughts on the general places to look above, and I’ll be coming up with a list for next week.

The beautiful thing about this situation, and it’s something really rare these days, is that I don’t think there’s a rush here. By all accounts, we should have a few weeks if not a few months to be ahead of the wave, and that’s an awesome opportunity.

 

Thanks for reading (and enjoy the spoilers!),

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

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Corbin Hosler

Corbin Hosler is a journalist living in Norman, Oklahoma (also known as the hotbed of Magic). He started playing in Shadowmoor and chased the Pro Tour dream for a few years, culminating in a Star City Games Legacy Open finals appearance in 2011 before deciding to turn to trading and speculation full-time. He writes weekly at QuietSpeculation.com and biweekly for LegitMTG. He also cohosts Brainstorm Brewery, the only financial podcast on the net. He can best be reached @Chosler88 on Twitter.

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11 thoughts on “Unlocked Insider: And the Hammer Falls

  1. Hey Corbin, what are your thoughts about Tarmogoyf being reprinted on Modern Masters 2? Couldn’t Modern Masters be something like Masters Edition on Magic Online?

      1. That is actually the reason for it. There has to be a full cycle of land in either the last set or in m16, which is a alternate possibility. This is on the assumption of their full cycle of land for each block policy. The other option would be in the first two set block, considering your of the belief they plan to reprint zen fetches sooner rather then later. From their current history of reprints I get the impression they would rather print fetches in a block rather then say modern masters to get the highest availability to players.

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