Hello, fellow financiers.
This time I wanted to devote an article (possibly another) to some of the questions that caught my eye over on the subreddit. I know there are other writers who covered the subject over the last several months, but I wanted to delve a little deeper behind the exact market reactions to some of these questions.
So, here is my take on the upcoming Modern Masters 2015. It’s an entirely different animal from the first time around, a time that most of us have lived through, and saw some very interesting trends. This topic has been covered in the past months on this very site, by some great financiers, but I wanted to also convey my thoughts on the subjects. I will do my best to get you all ready for what will be another wild ride in MTGFinance.
Modern Masters 2015 Preparation
Now, I’m not going to sit here and try to speculate or crunch numbers on a set that isn't even out yet. Besides some rumors buzzing around, they’re still simply that, rumors. Wizards has been very tight-lipped on what is about to happen, and how much of this product will be hitting shelves.
So, let’s start with what we know, straight from the source:
Modern Masters 2015 Edition takes players back to some of the most remarkable planes from recent history, including Zendikar, Mirrodin, Ravnica, Lorwyn, Kamigawa, and Alara.
Modern Masters 2015 Edition
Number of Cards:
May 22, 2015
Initial Concept and Game Design:
Erik Lauer (lead), Ben Hayes, and Ken Nagle
Final Game Design and Development:
Tom LaPille (lead), Ben Hayes, Max McCall, and Adam Prosak
English, Japanese, Chinese Simplified
Every box of Modern Masters 2015 Edition contains 24 booster packs—each with 15 randomly inserted game cards, including one premium card in every pack
Additionally, to celebrate the second Modern Masters set, we're running a triple Grand Prix weekend, May 30–31, 2015, in the following cities:
Las Vegas, Nevada
So, that’s what we know and quite frankly everything else is hearsay. Multiple store owners who are weighing in on the exact allotment can shed some light on this, but there isn't actual confirmation yet to quantify the exact numbers. We can crunch numbers and speculate until kingdom come, but that won’t get us anywhere. So what we are left with are the facts, and that is how we are going to try and approach things to prepare ourselves to generate some profit.
So, let me break down some of my considerations from the last time around. At the time reprint sets like this were unprecedented and new to everyone, and there was no shortage of discussion among financiers. I think some of the same rules will apply to this release as well. In my opinion there are four ways we can approach this release:
- Buy MM2 in early stages and sell older versions now.
- Do not buy MM2 and sell older versions now.
- Buy MM2 now and keep older versions.
- Do not buy MM2 and keep older versions.
Let me elaborate a little more about each of these approaches.
Buying MM2015 during early stages and selling the older versions now is the position I am currently in favor of.
Advantages: I think the prices of Modern Masters 2015 cards will go down by a fair margin a couple of weeks after the release because the supply will be quite high. This trend happened exactly the same way during the first MM release. Thus, selling older versions now allows one to realize a return at a peak, even if the market somehow tanks.
Further, the MM2015 replacement cards will be purchased at little relative value, no matter if you go the singles route or the box route, so there is little downside with the purchase and a ton of upside. It is the way to minimize risk while making an expected profit.
Disadvantages: It requires the most work, by far. Also, there is only a limited time for this to be possible. If one wants to hold their current singles, then the profit potential is higher but with much greater risk. In addition to this risk, the cards' prices won't decrease at all during this time period.
So as an example, purchasing cheap copies of Tarmogoyf during this mass opening frenzy is a way to re-invest, and one can either horde them or re-sell them as many financiers and large stores will be purchasing drafted copies up at an aggressive rate, believing those cards will keep appreciating during these time periods of release. Although that’s assuming they will keep the Modern Masters sets going, and that these trends keep repeating themselves.
Not buying MM2015 and selling older versions is what people will do if they feel prices will tank because of bad experiences with other various reprints. I think people who do this are just a bit nervous. While it is the least-risky route, it can also deny one of the ability to have playsets for usage and reap the potential profits of the new set.
Now the caveat here, is that we know for a fact MM2015 will be printed on a larger scale than before--to fill the needs of the large Grand Prix, and then to continue hitting shelves after that. So, not re-purchasing during the initial frenzy of the set being opened lends one to potentially lose out, and miss the opportunity to re-stock on the new versions at a lower cost.
Buying MM2015 and holding onto current versions has the highest potential return. If the prices do tank, financiers want to be protected against price movements. And selling the older versions and "replacing them" at a lower value is the way to do this.
Not buying MM2015 and not selling reprints will likely cause one to be at the whim of the market. Again, the caveat here is that Modern Masters 2015 is a much different story than the first time around. Especially if this set is set up to be a yearly, or bi-yearly set.
What’s in Modern Masters?
Let’s look at a few of the trends of what happened during Modern Masters release to re-printed cards. For the graph, note that the set was released on June 07 2013.
So looking at the graph, Cryptic Command saw a fairly good decline in retail price once the June 07 2015 date hit and Modern Masters was being purchased and drafted. The price depressed for a little while, but it wasn't long until it started to appreciate again. Very sharply, and right around February, just seven months later. Roughly a 111% increase.
The trends are there to be documented. Using Trader Tools to determine how long the time frame was on the price deflation and the subsequent appreciation can help one plan and invest accordingly. With numbers--it’s phenomenal stuff, to be honest. Telling a story, just with numbers.
Cryptic Command wasn't the only card, but that was a rare. Let’s try looking at good ol’ Tarmogoyf:
So, that’s odd, that graph is nothing like Cryptic Command, and in fact the price on Tarmogoyf never dropped. It actually increased. At the same time, the freshly printed Modern Masters version was able to keep a more reasonable price (around $109 retail) for about…12 days.
Now, before you jump all over me about picking the approach before, this was Modern Masters. The facts are Modern Masters 2015 will be different. We already covered the facts earlier in the article. We don’t know how the market is going to take another new wave of reprinted cards.
We've been discussing a technical analysis, trying to look at these trends as something that will repeat itself. I’m more of a fundamental financier, and while there are trends in MTGFinance, there are also intangibles as well. Most other stock markets don’t have to really worry about if X Stock is in the next new Y best deck. Or if stocks get "reprinted" in Modern Masters.
In that regard, another intangible here is a player's perception of value. This is Tarmogoyf's third printing, and the second MM set. One can assume there will be more, and if they decided to jam Tarmogoyf into every reprint set here on out, there’s no way that the trend before can continue on. Players won’t want to shell out that kind of money on something that’s going to be shoved into a supplemental product every other year, or even more.
However, I think there will be a very small window to start re-acquiring some of the cards that are reprinted. Whether that window is any longer than last time will remain to be seen--it’s a larger market, and many more financiers are out there. We haven’t seen any spoilers at this point, but with boxes being sold somewhat close to MSRP, it could depress them for a little while longer.
What’s Not in Modern Masters 2015
As much as Modern Masters 2015 is the focus on many financiers' horizon, there are also important cards not being reprinted. These can create some profitable investment opportunities as well.
Let’s isolate a card that was left out of the first Modern Masters:
The chart looks back to the release date of Modern Masters, June 7 2013. Fulminator Mage increased 142% the very next month in July. So the time frame on certain cards was very drastic, while others took a few months to suddenly jump in price.
There were probably many different factors at play, but I think the technical analysis here is probably going to hold true for non-reprinted cards. It could very well be pushed by the finance market itself--either way, the cards left out of Modern Masters 2015 will probably react in a similar way. Maybe not as drastic as the very next month, but I wouldn’t expect Snapcaster Mage, for example, to be slowing down anytime soon without some reprint elsewhere.
The caveat is that we have seen Wizards reprint select cards that were left out of the Modern Masters set as early as the very next block, so hedge bets accordingly. An example here is Thoughtseize. If we see an important card in dire need of a reprint omitted, be sure it's on Wizards' radar. Unless it’s a specific card--again I use Snapcaster Mage--where flashback would have to be a part of that block.
To always have full disclosure to my readership, I’ve been picking up copies of Abrupt Decay very aggressively. To be truthful, I think it’s almost a crime to be picking up copies in the 10-11$ range. I understand RTR was very successful, and there are a lot of copies floating around out there, but eventually it’s going to start trending upward. It’s arguably one of the best removal spells ever printed.
Innistrad was also very popular, and while everyone knew Snapcaster Mage was "good", and "worth purchasing", here we are looking at 50$ retail price-tag. David Schumann recently highlighted Abrupt Decay in his article as well.
I will continue to flesh out my portfolio with cards that will be omitted from Modern Masters 2015, since I think the trend will continue. I think it’s a great strategy alongside purchasing cheap copies of newly printed staples of Modern Masters 2015. It’s also far less risky, so if you’d rather not be so bold to play the market, rest assured investing into cards like the ones listed above is sound.
Well, that about wraps things up for this time. Hopefully this article sheds some light on past trends and helps you draw some conclusions on your own. Sometimes in this particular market, things aren't always cut and dry, but it's good to evaluate what has happened.
My stance on this subject has been clearly outlined, and I think selling copies and re-purchasing will be the best way to yield profit, and act as a security blanket at the same time. Worst case scenario, you're basically just pay shipping fees on purchasing new copies, should every card fail to budge in price. Best case scenario you have a situation like this:
Pile A: 4 Karn. Pile B: 4 Karn and $40.
Which one do you take?
With this approach, you minimized risk and maximized potential gain by selling and re-purchasing. Over the course of time, this method will pay off. Even if some of the reprinted cards don't end up losing value, you will have secured yourself and may have paid a higher price just sitting on the sidelines at the whim of the market.
There has been much literature written about Modern Masters 2015, so by all means consider others' thoughts along with mine. I think taking the proper steps and keeping the literature on-hand will yield some great opportunities to generate profit. So stay prepared and...
What will your strategy be?
Until next time!
Feel free to post any comments/questions/concerns below. I'd be happy to discuss things further!