This series is dedicated to helping you play Magic Online for free through playing and speculating better.
Our main focus remains Eternal Masters, which is two-thirds of the way through its run on MTGO. It is an incredible format---one of the top limited formats of all time, I would say. It is deep and complex, with multiple hidden archetypes and interactions, and no draft feels quite the same. The game play is also super interesting. You can win with aggro, midrange, control, or combo. It's pretty remarkable that they manage to continually deliver on these "masters" sets, which don't receive the same development resources as standard sets.
That said, it is super easy to bleed value on this format as the ratio of card prices to entry fee ratio remains abysmal. Drafting is always "consumption," but that's especially true with EMA. In our last article, we discussed the Eternal Masters draft format and how to minimize your losses by playing smarter queues (phantoms and Swiss) and by value drafting whenever possible.
The good news is that we have some profits on the horizon. Eldritch Moon does not come online until July 29, which means there will be a three week window between the end of EMA queues and the start of EMN release queues. Standard will be a lame-duck format, and I expect a lot of attention to turn to the Legacy queues.
Spotlight on Legacy
Once EMA drafts are over, the Competitive Legacy Leagues between July 6-20 will offer qualifications to the Legacy Festival Championship on July 24. I expect this to be a time of heightened interest in Legacy that will provide an ideal window to sell our Legacy specs. I expect streamers and web content will turn to Legacy, and we'll see another wave of price increases.
Our non-EMA Legacy specs have done nicely, and should see one final boost over the next three weeks. The magnitude will depend on how popular Legacy on MTGO turns out to be, but we will have done nicely by the time all is said and done.
We will want to unload most of our Legacy by the Eldritch Moon release. Once Emrakul makes her return, players will quickly turn their attention to the new limited format and the new Standard. It's wise to sell those you don't plan to play with, since EMN release events will put pressure on prices---with high-value cards suffering the most.
How should we handle EMA prices? First, I would expect an increase during the final days of drafting in the price of the marquee cards, Wasteland and Force of Will. Same goes for other staples like Sneak Attack, Daze, Pyroblast, Hydroblast, Sensei's Divining Top, etc. If you've been waiting to buy or rebuy, the next couple days will be a good and safe time to grab your playsets. While waiting a few weeks for EMN release events might bring lower prices, I think there's a good chance we'll see a speculative rise in the most sought-after cards as Eternal Masters drafting comes to a close.
This set has not been heavily drafted so no flood of supply to crash prices. The phantom option is very attractive, which means players can enjoy the set without introducing new supply. The aggregate set price dropped from 183 tix at release to 129 tix after one week of drafting---nearly a 30% drop---but has now increased back up to 152 tix. This seems to be a plateau. Wasteland is actually higher now than it was at release. On the other hand, some fringe cards that were expensive only because of low supply---such as Maze of Ith---have plummeted. There are now only four cards worth more than a booster pack.
In terms of precedent, both Modern Masters and Modern Masters 2015 hit a plateau roughly two weeks after the start of drafting before embarking on a long ascent. I don't expect EMA prices to drop much lower, though I also don't expect a rapid ascent.
In sum, if purchased over the next week or so, EMA cards make fine spec targets. However, we will also be entering in some potentially more lucrative opportunities. Release events always reward those with liquidity. Plus original Zendikar flashbacks will arrive on August 17.
Zendikar flashbacks will be very popular since the EV will be excellent. Pre-emptive selloffs will offer us an opportunity to acquire fetchlands at a discount. The number of fetchlands actually entering circulation is low, and prices should quickly correct. This is true for Mindbreak Trap, Goblin Guide, Lotus Cobra, Eldrazi Monument, and other high-value ZEN cards. I plan to hold a bunch of tix for mid August, which means I won't go in as deep on EMA as I normally would.
- This week I will be buying EMA playsets and doing some modest EMA speculating. I'll hold all Legacy specs.
- Next week I'll keep a close watch over my Legacy specs, including our Reserved List basket and our "Gatekeeper card" basket from the spring. I will be selling these positions over the next three weeks or so in advance of Eldritch Moon. This should be a period of volatility, so keep an eye out for cards/decks that might spike as a result of good press or popular streamers.
- I will stash these tickets with an eye toward picking up depressed staples during EMN release.
- In particular, I will be looking to snap up ZEN fetches and other staple rares from the set.
Before I leave you for the week, here are a couple cards that are cheaper than they ought to be. I'm targeting them with the following exit points in mind:
Editor's note: The current prices listed below are from Friday, and may have changed since.
Master of Etherium