Welcome back, readers! It's time for another MTG stocks article. I'm happy to say I've gotten a lot of positive feedback for this series of articles so I plan on continuing them until you guys and gals get sick of them. As usual we start with the "Penny Stocks," or the cards that started out sub-$5 (in some cases they remained sub $5...but sometimes they breach that point).
#1 Aggravated Assault (+42.5%) - This one isn't a surprise. It's a very solid EDH card that combos really well with Sword of Feast and Famine and Bear Umbra or any other effect that untaps lands on combat damage. I mentioned this one weeks ago when I talked about the other Narset cards that had spiked and I expected this one to follow suit. This one has a lot going for it (single printing in an old set, combos in EDH, mono-colored) so it can go in a larger number of decks.
#2 Cyclonic Rift (Commander 2014) (+30.4%) - This one actually made the list two weeks ago as it was $1 back then and had jumped closer to $2. It's continued to rise and is still under the price of a Return to Ravnica copy (which is sitting at around $3 on TCG-Mid). The lack of popularity of the blue deck likely means that there are less of these out there than RtR ones, but the "first printing rule" means that demand for the RtR one will likely remain higher than the Commander 2014 one (although given the past month it's likely they'll get closer and closer until they reach an equilibrium of sorts).
#3 Thran Dynamo (Commander 2014) (+29.7%) - Another Commander 2014 card that showed up in my last article this one continues to rise (similar to Cyclonic Rift) and again was in the blue commander deck. This rise has finally put it on par with its brothers from Urza's Legacy though it still falls below the Archenemy and FTV: 20 printings. I don't expect much more upside to this one though. As you can see by the graph it appears to have plateaued.
#4 Hooded Hydra (+28.1%) - This card has been getting a lot of hype because of how well it plays with manifest. Because of the similarities between manifest and morph and the fact that his unmorph trigger simply states "when this card is turned face up," people realized that you can use his manifest unmorphing cost to flip him instead of his regular morph cost and get a 5/5 for two green mana. This same trick works with Master of Pearls, but being a regular rare in Khans means that his price ceiling is pretty limited.
I like the Hydra call, mainly because it's a mythic, it's not bad on it's own, and hydras have a dedicated fan base (see the value of Primordial Hydra, which despite seeing no play in any sanctioned format still commands a $6 price tag with three printings, counting the media promo).
#5 Sliver Hive (+25.4%) - Another casual favorite tribe, this one with an actual historical pedigree. Sliver Hive is a truly awesome land to compliment the existing Sliver land base. It gives you a painless City of Brass and the ability to make slivers (from a land) which is pretty impressive. This is one of those cards that we would have called a slam dunk a couple years ago. I think it has a lot of potential and the price is still very reasonable. This is one of those cards that barring a reprint will be $10 some day.
Unfortunately, that caveat is a pretty major one. WoTC has shown that they have no problem reprinting things (almost randomly) to appease the casual crowd. Why else did we get Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in M15? I like picking these up in trade and if you can buy them for under $2 you should be capable of making some decent profit before any eventual reprint (unless they just jam it in M16).
Next up we have our "Blue Chips" or Legacy staples which we use not only to monitor the health of the Legacy format, but also as a good indicator for the health/stability of the MTG singles market. Similar to gold, these are the cards people buy when they are concerned about volatility.
Blue Chip Stocks
#1 Dark Confidant (-2.76%) - Not surprising, poor Bob continues to trend downward as the Treasure Cruise decks of Legacy/Modern continue to prove that you don't need Bob for pure card advantage in either format. Their dominance also just pushes black back as a whole, as Black's bread and butter (outside of some combo decks) is hand disruption at one black mana. When all it takes is one blue mana (and seven previously used cards) to get three cards back...it's hard to fight that battle.
#2 Scrubland (+2.09%) - Finally some positive gains for a dual land that for awhile has either been in the top five movers (almost always downward) or just outside of them (also in a downward trend). Scrubland is finally back to around what it was before the big March/April '14 spike. This again proves that the spike was artificial and the demand wasn't actually there.
#3 Bayou (+1.95%) - This dual has been one of the few non-blues that has had some price increases since the big spike (though it's still lower than its spike price). The strength of the Elves deck in Legacy lies with its speed and ability to outdraw the Treasure Cruise decks (Elves players often get to laugh at "draw 3 cards") when they get two-plus Glimpses active. This is one of the duals that has the most potential if Treasure Cruise were to get banned in Legacy (though I honestly don't see this happening at the moment).
#4 Taiga (+1.66%) - It seems Taiga has finally had a chance to rise in value a bit. It's consistently been on our top five (almost always trending downward) similar to Scrubland and it's nice to see it get a bit of a breather. While seeing very little Legacy play anymore, it happens to be a green dual which is the best color in EDH.
I'm seeing more and more EDH players wanting to get duals for their decks as more and more decks become "static" and instead of players having one or two EDH decks they often just continue to make additional ones rather than take one apart. I even find myself in this camp as building a well running EDH deck can take many hours of practice and playtime, tweaking the number of mana accelerants and bombs until the decks run smoothly.
#5 Jace, the Mind Sculptor (+1.622%) - This one is quite surprising. Jace is often seen in only a handful of Legacy decks (the most predominant one being UWx Miracles) and we've seen some of those deck stalwarts (Joe Lossett most notably) switch to different decks.
However, there is a Banned and Restricted update coming and the complete lack of a real control deck in Modern has some players (though not this one) speculating on him being unbanned, which would cause his price to skyrocket. As much as I love casting JTMS, I don't have much hope of him ever being unbanned in Modern so it's not worth chasing that rabbit and tying up large sums of money playing the B&R lottery.
Normally these are the stocks I think have a lot of long-term potential. I usually target lands for these spots because they are often the most stable and are pretty consistent in their growth. That being said, I've been about 50/50 on my calls in this section with lands. Some have been good, while others have remained stagnant. This week we'll branch out (a little bit) in that three of my value stock picks are not lands. This week's "value stocks" are all recent reprints of valuable cards (save the last one) which dropped by 80% or more upon the reprint. Even more, all the reprints were from sets that were predominantly unpopular among the majority of Magic players (mainly Conspiracy and M15).
#1 Stifle (Conspiracy/Scourge) - Stifle used to be the bane of many Legacy decks' existence. It is the ultimate punishment for running a heavy fetch mana base. Currently the format is being dominated by U/R decks which, while they run a good number of fetches, also operate on a very low land count. This means that Stifle/Wasteland strategies have potential to come back--their biggest hindrance is that they are best against a three-or-more-color mana base, while two-color ones run enough basics to stymie the mana denial plan.
Back in RUG's heyday, Scourge Stifles were $30+ dollars each. Thanks to Conspiracy and the metagame shift they can now be had for under $11 (and the Conspiracy ones can often be found sub $5).
I'll be 100% honest and say I've put my money where my mouth is on this one and accumulated 17+ copies of the Conspiracy version (simply because I was able to buy a lot for under $5 each). Either way, all we need is for the format to swing back to a tri-color deck and Stifle is back in business.
#2 Chord of Calling (M15) - Birthing Pod decks used to run this as a one- or two-of and it was $40 freakin' dollars. All of a sudden M15 rolls around and the price plummets and then continues to drop (I remember trading for my personal set when they were $10 thinking there's no way they don't go up from here.) Now you can buy them for $3.50.
If you thought 17 Stifles was a lot, I'm sitting on closer to 30 Chord of Callings. I am actually surprised this one hasn't shown up in Standard yet as the ability to pay 7 mana and instantly tutor up a Siege Rhino or a god still seems really powerful.
#3 Exploration (Conspiracy) - While both the Urza's Saga version and the Conspiracy version are far lower than I'd expect, the Conspiracy one is sitting at under $7 (TCG-Mid). This is a card that sees occasional Legacy play (in Lands, which when they are doing well cause all kinds of weird spikes like Gamble), but more importantly is amazing in EDH. I rarely run an EDH deck with green that doesn't have Exploration in it as it often serves as a really fast ramp spell that couples well with the typical Cultivate/Kodama's Reach most green decks also play.
The Conspiracy printing slaughtered the price, but that just means that now is the time to pick them up. As existing copies get thrown into EDH decks the tradeable supply will begin to wane and we'll see the price gradually start to rise. This one I only have a few extra copies of, because when I find them for trade and my trade partner finds out they are worth less than $7 they often don't want to trade them...which is a good sign that the card's price will rise.
#4 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - Another recent reprint (you've probably noticed the pattern by now), this was another $40+ card before it's second reprinting (as the FTV: Lands print didn't seem to hurt it at all). The M15 printing obliterated the price though and it was such an odd throw-in that most speculators didn't see it coming. This is another one that's hard to find in trade binders and is often removed from the trade when the other person finds out it's sitting at around $6 (price memory is a very real thing).
This card was a major part of the old Thepths decks (allowing you to play turn 1 Dark Depths, Turn 2 Urborg into Vampire Hexmage, now I have a 20/20 flying indestructible guy) and helps EDH decks with black power out massive spells via Cabal Coffers. This one I feel has a lot of potential, but the oddity of its reprinting might suggest that WoTC feels okay just throwing it into a set for the casual appeal.
#5 Sliver Hive - I know I mentioned it earlier in the penny stocks section, but this land has a good amount of potential. With WoTC ending the "core set" run after this year, we're far less likely to see Slivers return much. That being said, the sliver fan base is rabid for sliver cards and this is one that goes in every sliver deck (from casual to those Legacy Meathooks stalwarts).
It is both a mana fixer and a card advantage machine (in a land) as making a sliver per turn can be brutal with enough synergistic slivers on the battlefield. It's a single print run rare in a relatively un-opened set makes it a very attractive speculation target. I expect it to continue its upward trend as we move further and further away from M15.
Usually I end with growth stocks, but if you caught my last article I did a graph showing the price trends of the various sealed products from when I started this series until the beginning of this year. Almost all the graphs showed virtually no gains (or very minor ones) and thus it seems like a waste of space and time to review them on a bi-weekly basis. Any expected growth is likely far more long-term, so I will continue to follow them, however, I will bump that section out to once per month.