A couple months ago I wrote about the prospect of low-supply Pauper staples showing up in Eternal Masters and tanking the price of cards like Daze, Hydroblast and Cuombajj Witches. Witches is not yet confirmed in EMA, though my advice to sell off of Daze and Blasts has proven wise, even if not losing money isn't quite on the level of making money.
I don't know that EMA will impact paper Legacy all that much with regard to making the format more accessible, though I do know that when it comes to digital Legacy and Pauper the set will have dramatic impact on the accessibility of these formats.
As we approach the full spoiler we can watch prices decrease for cards that will be reprinted, though now is the time we're starting to get information on what won't be in the set. As of now, Zendikar fetches are confirmed out mathematically/alphabetically, though speculating on those would have more to do with Modern than Legacy.
If Legacy is going to grow online, then the most obvious place to start is the same place we've seen exclusionary growth in the paper game---dual lands. Vintage Masters introduced a ton of these duals to Magic Online, though we are getting further from that release and we know they won't be in EMA because of the Reserved List. There are very few options to play Legacy without original duals, and I can think of many worse places to park some tix if this set leads players to try out Legacy online.
There are a ton of Legacy (and Vintage) staples showing up in the set already, though some major players are sure to be left out. It's important to remember that things like flashback drafts can increase the supply of cards like Tarmogoyf at any given time on Magic Online. Thus more obscure cards or cards that have recently been part of a flashback format are a good place to look.
Counterbalance was just part of a flashback draft, for example, and if and when it is confirmed not to be in EMA I would expect some significant growth on that card. Realistically, Counterbalance could even be a good paper buy without a reprint given the fact that Miracles continues to dodge bans.
The Impact on Pauper
As somebody who really enjoyed Legacy for a long time, I never cared much for Legacy on MTGO. I may be in the minority here, though given the general popularity of the format and my personal feelings, I expect the boost in Pauper popularity to be more significant than Legacy. Pauper has in general been seeing an increase in support and exposure, while that for Legacy has been diminished. As such, I'll personally be keeping a closer eye on the Pauper market.
I don't expect Pyroblast and Hydroblast to rebound very well after the EMA printing, though Daze is a special card that I'd keep an eye on. It's already tanking, and EMA copies will be pretty cheap as the set is drafted---though given just how few were previously available, it will still feel like there's only one print run for Daze.
Depending on just how much EMA is drafted online and how far Daze drops, I expect it to be a good card to buy into when the dust settles. It's already a Legacy staple and a fringe Pauper staple that likely won't be printed for some time after EMA drafts stop.
If flashback drafts slow growth in Legacy, they outright cripple growth in Pauper. Something to keep in mind when investing in Pauper is that the format is supposed to be cheap by definition.
The Daze reprint was definitely a when, not an if. As an uncommon, Sensei's Divining Top appearing in a flashback format kept the card under five tix even without EMA. In Pauper flashback drafts prevent cards like Delver of Secrets from really being worth anything.
With Daze being the go-to example of an actually expensive Pauper staple, most of the "expensive" cards are closer to the 1-5 tix range, with reprints basically killing the value of any of them. The following cards are about to be worth nothing given their inclusion in EMA:
The blasts might recover the way that Daze is likely to, but there's a big difference between tanking from 20 tix and tanking from 6 tix. As the days pass, more and more cards that were once of some value due to Pauper are spoiled and will be worth very little in short order.
This is great for the format, and as somebody who sold out of Pauper entirely as a player, I welcome these reprints so that more people will be able to play. As somebody who enjoys flipping cards, there will be some opportunities here for sure.
I'd wait until cards are confirmed out, though there are two ways to potentially profit on Pauper with Eternal Masters. The first is by low-supply cards being left out of the set. Basically, this makes prime targets of cards in oddball sets that don't have Modern implications and are therefore unlikely to see flashback drafts.
Here's a short list of cards to look out for in case they are left out of EMA:
Fireblast is a little loose due to the VMA printing, though the Legacy implications make it tempting and the card is actually seeing growth right now. Gush was also in VMA, though it isn't seeing much growth currently. The Masques copies are still worth over a ticket though, and barring another reprint I could see that version seeing solid growth.
The other way that cards could gain value in Pauper is by more indirect means. We are seeing some cards bumped down to common from higher rarities, specifically Werebear and Emperor Crocodile confirmed in EMA. I don't see either of these cards being impactful to Pauper, though if a "new" common shows up in EMA and spawns a new archetype featuring a more obscure common, then you can expect growth in that obscure card.
While I'm not very confident in Nimble Mongoose, you'll notice that Mental Note is on my short list above. This is due to the popularly of the card in Dimir graveyard-based decks, though some random demand from people trying out Mongoose wouldn't hurt the price.
Right now, it's all about what's not in the set, which is the best way to approach these all reprint releases. Until we have the full spoiler we'll just have to play things by ear, though in this piece I highlighted important guidelines and some specific cards worth paying attention to.
As cards are mathematically eliminated from the set, and when we have the full spoiler, there will be a short window to act on these positions. Remember that the MTGO market moves very quickly---to capitalize on these opportunities you'll have to act fast.
Thanks for reading.
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter