The Ion Core Scanner is awesome.
I jumped headfirst into using Quiet Speculation's Ion Core Scanner last month as a tool to buylist my collection to online stores. I had a great and fruitful experience that I cataloged in a three-part series, and it’s certain that the Ion Core Scanner both saved me time and helped me extract more value from my cards. With my cards shipped and sold, now I’m eyeing the scanner for its potential to quickly sort and sell any new cards, which seems perfect for acquiring collections and turning them into cash.
The Ion Core Scanner is simple to use, and it doesn’t require anything special but a cheap laptop and a functional camera. It’s also portable, which is why I’ve seen dealers use it at events to help them buy cards. Kelly Reid even used it on a plane to sort a 1,000-card box on his hour flight en route to Eternal Weekend!
Wizards announced that Standard is going back to the old rotation schedule, meaning some cards just earned an extra six months in Standard, which immediately made all Standard cards more valuable because players have more time to play with them. It’s a good thing for everyone, and the community is celebrating the decision.
Confidence in Standard is high, but the utter dominance of Smuggler's Copter at last weekend’s Grand Prix double-header, being found in nearly 90 percent of decks, could change things. Those numbers rival the dominance of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic, and there are already loud people talking about potential bannings. There is hope, however, because the finals of Grand Prix Providence featured two decks that fought through a field of Smuggler's Copter specifically by not playing it themselves. Black-Green Delirium has emerged as a very clear rock to the Blue-White Tempo's scissors, and with time the Standard metagame should balance itself out to reasonable levels of Smuggler's Copter.
My favorite buy from the deck is Gisela, the Broken Blade, which has proven itself as a staple sideboard card. It’s even seeing some play in maindecks alongside Bruna, the Fading Light. This mythic hasn’t seen much play yet and is still a bargain, but I expect the price to only rise.
From BG, Ishkanah, Grafwidow is a staple that has been steadily decreasing in price, and it seems like a bargain under $9.
Wandering Fumarole spiked after the Pro Tour, but Hissing Quagmire is the real winner in this new Standard, especially because the ultimate winner of the Grand Prix actually played Sylvan Advocate instead of Grim Flayer. At just $3, it has room to double to $6, too.
Vintage Powerless Eldrazi
Powerless Eldrazi is a Vintage deck that can be had for around $1,000, which makes it closer to the price of a Standard gauntlet or a Modern deck than a Powered Vintage deck worth five digits. It makes the format much more accessible, and even thought it might not be the best deck, it's competitive enough to warrant playing. Today begins the Vintage Championships at Eternal Weekend, the first time the event has been held since the Eldrazi have invaded, and it’s certain that Powerless Eldrazi will be a popular choice. There are even prizes for the top finisher without the Power Nine or other broken cards, and Powerless Eldrazi qualifies, so there is additional incentive.
The card that stands out to me for speculation is Null Rod, which is on the Reserved List, and at around $25 is relatively cheap given its age and low print run. The price nearly tripled after a spike in February with the release of the Eldrazi, but it was a price correction that has maintained through the year. There will be more room for growth, and a buyout could spike this price higher, so it seems like a safe card to target in trades.
Holiday Shopping and Modern Masters 2017
The holiday shopping season is here, so stock your online and brick and mortar stores and take advantage of the increased sales opportunities. Stores are hungry for inventory, so it’s also a great time to buylist cards when prices are high.
There has been a phenomenon every winter when the prices of many Modern cards spike, partially related to the holidays and mostly in preparation for Modern season, but I am hesitant this year with the release of Modern Masters 2017 imminent next spring. I might look to sell staples when demand is high this fall, because the risk of reprint is high on many cards.
There are plenty of expensive staples that are liable to be reprinted, and while history shows that the most icon and expensive mythics aren’t likely to drop at all, anything else is fair game, and an unexpected reprint as a rare instead of a mythic could crash the price of any card. This is the first year Innistrad gets the Modern Masters treatment, so it’s all but certain that Liliana of the Veil and Snapcaster Mage will be included. Cavern of Souls is the most expensive cards from Avacyn Restored and a very likely inclusion.
The Return to Ravnica block is also included, which seems a bit too soon, but there’s room to reprint staples like Voice of Resurgence.
There’s a dire need to reprint some of the more expensive Modern cards from past sets, like Horizon Canopy and Grove of the Burnwillows, or even Crucible of Worlds. I expect any of these would be mythic, but because their demand is lower, I have to imagine their prices would still fall.
That’s not to mention the possibility of Zendikar fetchland reprints. I expect these will be released as rares when they are finally reprinted, because the market is so starving for them and Wizards will want to make a significant impact.
What is your experience with the Ion Core Scanner? Will/should Smuggler's Copter be banned? Is Powerless Eldrazi competitive in Vintage? What do you expect to see (or not to see) in Modern Masters 2017? Let me know in the comments.