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Insider: Macro Market Trends

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Beyond Power Nine

Last fall, the price of Power 9 cards like Black Lotus spiked to new heights. This signaled the beginning of a greater trend of the oldest and rarest cards in Magic demanding a premium in the marketplace.

Reserved list cards, which are immune from potential paper reprints, define this category, and are especially sought-after. These cards are looked at as an extension of the Power 9, because these cards are just as powerful, and just as component to Vintage Magic.

These cards are a store of value without the same risks associated with non-reserved list cards, so in a world of increasing volatility, investors are buying into these safe investments. The prices of these cards are continuing to rise, and are poised to continue to do so.


Bazaar of Baghdad nearly doubled in price this past week, and is now up to $600 retail. $350 was a bargain, and with cheap copies drying up, $500+ is the new price going forward, and it will continue to grow.


Mishra's Workshop, which could be had for around $600 in May, rose towards $700 in June, before spiking at the end of the month towards $1000. Now these can't be had cheaper than $900, and I expect the price will keep rising.


The price of Unlimited Time Vault has been rising steadily since the second week of June, where it sat around $325, and now it's well over $400. This price doesn't seem to be based on any buyout, but rather a steady increase in demand, so the appreciation could continue at this pace.


Library of Alexandria was over $350 at the near year, but it started falling steadily to just over $200 in April. The price remained stagnant into June, spiked to over $420 by July, and has now settled at $400.

Given the earlier price decline, I would be cautious going forward, but I expect its worst days are behind it, and that Library of Alexandria has some more room for upward growth going forward.


Grim Tutor has been growing steadily all year, but this past week the rate accelerated. As copies dry up from the market, look for this price to grow higher. This one isn't on the reserved list, but the fact that it seems Vintage play means it's highly desirable nonetheless.

Modern Spike

Modern Masters 2015 has attracted significant market attention to Modern. It has driven new Modern players to buy into the format, and it has thus driven up prices of staple cards that weren't reprinted in Modern Masters 2015. With imminent reprint unlikely, we have seen significant price increases across a large swath of staple cards, with more growth expected. Some cards of note include:


The Scars of Mirrodin lands are attractive. Blackcleave Cliffs continues to rise over $15, with no signs of slowing. Darkslick Shores seems to have leveled off just under $7, where it should remain. Razorverge Thicket has grown past $9, but I expect it has reached its peak. Seachrome Coast is beginning to rise in price, but still at just $4, it's a great buy.


Manland Creeping Tar Pit is growing steadily, now past $23, while Raging Ravine has leveled off under $10 after a spike. I'd look towards Lavaclaw Reaches, a relative bargain, as a spec.


Filter lands like Twilight Mire are primed for growth. Mystic Gate has been slowly falling for over a year, but consistent Magic Online growth leads me to believe that paper growth is imminent.


We have also seen tremendous growth in mana-fixing utility lands, like Horizon Canopy and Grove of the Burnwillows. Both of these lands spiked to nearly double their price, and have since fallen to more reasonable levels around 50% higher than the pre-spike price.

This is the new price floor, and look for the prices to rise going forward. Other utility lands, like Oboro, Palace in the Clouds and Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers, have seen significant price increases. In this financial environment, any Modern land has potential to spike.


Tribal lands have seen a massive spike based around a variety of factors. The recent success of Modern Merfolk has impacted the price of Wanderwine Hub. The price surge of Auntie's Hovel is based on the reprint of Goblin Piledriver in Magic Origins providing a huge boon to the archetype's chances in Modern. Gilt-Leaf Palace has also been bolstered by Magic Origins, with the introduction of Shaman of the Pack as a very attractive splash in the Modern combo deck.


Affinity Staples, notably Glimmervoid and Arcbound Ravager, have spiked. I'd look towards other Affinity staples as potential buys, especially Steel Overseer, which over the last month has tripled in price on Magic Online.


We've also seen the rise of common and uncommon staples, like Eternal Witness, Lightning Helix, Qasali Pridemage, and Terminate. Modern prices are increasing across the board, and many commons and uncommons are finally seeing a significant price increase. We are in a world where any card that's played in Modern demands a premium, and old cards are in short supply.

With Standard rotation pending, and the release of Battle for Zendikar just a few months away, Theros block and M15 Standard cards are bottoming out in price. The time to move these is behind us, and in fact the next few months will provide early opportunity to pick up longer-term specs at their lows.

Khans of Tarkir block cards will define the future Standard format, so they are on the rise. Fetchlands have been steadily growing and will continue to do so, so now is opportunity to acquire these cards and other staples.

Keep eyes towards SCG Chicago as an initial barometer of the Standard format. Results from this event will drive the metagame and the market in its immediate wake.

-Adam

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