Eternal Masters has been speculated about for months---some believed it would be announced at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch---but it’s now official. It will be released this June, and anything not on the Reserved List is up for being included. It’s clear the set will focus on Legacy and Vintage format staples, and while some Modern cards are sure to be included, the most marquee Modern cards will be held for next year’s Modern Masters release.
The set is presumed to include the Zendikar fetchlands as a nod to the Modern format, but calls for Snapcaster Mage and Liliana of the Veil are awfully ambitious. Force of Will and Wasteland are already spoiled, and surely droves of other historic eternal staples will follow.
Most of these cards will presumably have new art, and old printings will demand a premium, but we can expect the prices of these cards will fall. Consider, however, that this is a premium product with a high price point and a relatively low print run.
Also, because the set will generate considerable interest for the format and increase demand, it could make a light impact like the first Modern Masters, which did nothing to alleviate high prices of Modern cards.
That being said, I would recommend selling any inventory likely to be reprinted. I’ll be keeping my playsets of Legacy staples, but if I had extras I’d eagerly attempt to trade them away.
Picking Investment Targets
Determining exactly what will be in Eternal Masters is difficult, but it’s very simple to determine what won't be. Cards on the Reserved List are ineligible to ever be reprinted, so the supply of cards like the dual lands will simply never go up.
With Eternal Masters reducing the price of staples and increasing demand for the format, the price of eternal staples on the Reserved List must rise. We have already seen the dual lands begin to rise significantly, and Lion's Eye Diamond and Mox Diamond spiked to new highs.
The plan of action is simple: buy cards on the Reserved List, the more playable in eternal formats the better.
There are a lot of good opportunities, but with so many it’s unclear which cards are the best places to put money. I have scoured the Reserved List for eternal highlights that I recommend acquiring in anticipation of Eternal Masters.
The Power Nine
Yes, the Power Nine cards headline the Reserved List, and they are big winners from the printing of Eternal Masters.
Vintage players with Power Nine won’t be very impacted by the printing of new staples they already had or could have afforded, but surely the new set will draw new players to Vintage, especially Legacy and similarly hardcore players that it pushes over the edge into Vintage. These players will create new demand for the Power Nine, driving up prices.
There will also be a price increase because, historically, whenever the value of cards in a format become inflated, players transfer that value into cards of older formats. People holding onto stacks of rising Legacy Reserved List staples, like dual lands, Lion's Eye Diamond, and Mox Diamond will be looking to trade up that value and capitalize on high prices. The Power Nine will be their prime target.
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Cards beyond the Power Nine that are just as old and rare are also great targets. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale screams to me "great buy." With Wasteland being reprinted, and Rishadan Port likely to come, the Lands deck has nearly become affordable, but the pesky Tabernacle is holding it back.
Eternal Masters is going to have players looking towards the Lands deck so they can use their shiny new cards, but they will be forced to shell out for The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Buy this card now.
Moat is another high-price Vintage and Legacy one-of staple that is set to rise. It has been stable around $300 for five years on the back of high appeal and low supply.
Renewed interest in the Reserved List will increase demand and constrain the low supply, potentially increasing the price significantly. Conservatively, the card just isn't going to fall, and it's positioned for steady growth in perpetuity.
Moat also happens to be an excellent card against Eldrazi decks, so there's some potential for the Legacy Grand Prix this summer to spike its price.
Gaea's Cradle is a staple for Elves, one of the oldest Legacy decks and one that I don’t expect to ever die. As a four-of in Elves, demand for this card is high, and its great appeal in casual formats means it has more going on than just Legacy. The price has been stable after spiking over two years ago, and now the conditions are right for the price to start rising again.
Grim Monolith has already grown by around 33% since the Eternal Masters announcement, but Metalworker is lagging behind and has grown just a few dollars. Metalworker is a potential inclusion into Legacy Stax decks and Vintage Workshop decks, and I don’t foresee ever being able to get them cheaper than they are now.
What Would I sell?
Wasteland and Force of Will are being reprinted, but what else? Rishadan Port seems like a great candidate. Show and Tell is another card that’s almost a given.
Imperial Recruiter is another card that screams to be reprinted, so I anticipate their price falling. Karakas is not on the Reserved List, and a reprint seems likely. Where I imagine prices falling the most is in potential Commander reprints, like Flusterstorm or Shardless Agent.
A friend assembled a list of staples liable for reprint, and I have further whittled the list down. These are cards we might expect to see when we open Eternal Masters packs under four months from now:
Capture of Jingzhou
Crucible of Worlds
Force of Will
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Maze of Ith
Mother of Runes
Oath of Druids
Price of Progress
Sensei’s Divining Top
Show and Tell
Swords to Plowshares
Tendrils of Agony
What Won’t We See?
I have mentioned Snapcaster Mage and Liliana of the Veil, and I’ll add Grove of the Burnwillows and Horizon Canopy as two other expensive Modern cards I would not expect to see. Damnation is another card that we just won’t see in Eternal Masters, and I’d also expect the cycle of Swords like Sword of Fire and Ice to be held for a future release.
A Note on Selling Reserved List Cards
Recent history has shown that eternal cards are liable to spike at any time, whether through an increase in demand or a buyout. I'd recommend against selling any eternal-playable card on the Reserved List until it has spiked in price.
There are people looking to make the most from Eternal Masters, and this is only the beginning of cards rising in price. If a card does spike in price, then it's a great opportunity to sell a card at high profit. With many cards rising, it will be important to determine why a card is rising, so we can determine which cards have stable footing and which are sitting on thin air.
What do you make of Eternal Masters and the discussion around it? Any card you think is an automatic inclusion or unlikely to see the light of day? Let me know in the comments.