Insider: Planechase and Uncommon Finance

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In every set, there is at least one uncommon worth paying attention to. There is usually at least one card that is not bulk that inevitably gets lumped in with the rest of the draft leftovers. So take a second and look through the discarded pack chaff to see if you find some gems. Typically, these are cards like Aether Hub and obvious to anyone paying attention to finance, but sometimes they are not quite as obvious cards, like Harnessed Lightning. To start things off, here’s a quick list of Standard uncommons to be on the lookout for.

Of these cards, there are a couple that actually look good post rotation from Standard. If you follow my articles, I talked about how amazing Aether Hub was in my Legacy top-eight deck from Eternal Weekend. This widely applicable land should be utilized in eternal formats for a long time. Get your set now while they are in Standard. The other uncommon I like is Hedron Archive. This screams Commander staple to me. It does everything you want to be doing in Commander.

I’ve been thinking a lot about picking bulk lately because with the introduction of Masterpieces, my thought was that these money uncommons would cease to be a part of the financial landscape of Standard. That theory appears to be wrong. I think the demand for these tournament staples has superseded the supply increase from Masterpieces.

The topic of picking bulk came up for me because I was sorting Eternal Masters cards from this past Summer. Sets like that have a much higher percentage of money uncommons and are well worth your time to pick through. Luckily, I’ve done your homework for you, so take a look at your quick list.

Wow that’s a lot of bang for your buck. Unfortunately, the mythics and rares aren’t holding up their end of the pack’s price. The “small reprint” has added a ton more stock to the pool and dropped the price of the singles even lower. Can you believe that after what seems like fifty printings, Counterspell is still worth picking? What about Peregrine Drake or Ashnod's Altar? Those cards are great because most players won’t value them, but they can help you get more out of your bulk.

You even have cards like Hydroblast, Wirewood Symbiote, Ancestral Mask, Invigorate, and Worn Powerstone that aren’t worth much right now but are still worth holding onto.

Planechase Anthology

Next up, we have a new product that was recently released, Planechase Anthology. This big box set looks gorgeous sitting on the shelves at my store, but the problem is they aren’t selling well. Let’s get a frame of reference as our starting point.

Planechase Anthology comes in three parts. The bright orange box contains the four Planechase decks, all of the printed planes (the big cards), and a set of dice. All of the cards in the decks have been reprinted multiple times at this point, but some are still worth a couple bucks. The planes as a whole are worth some money too, but they are only worth something to a select group of players who enjoy the chaotic nature of the Planechase format. And, let’s face it, everyone loves dice, so that’s always a winning part of any product release. We’ll go through each category individually and break it all down so we can see what’s happening with the finance behind the scenes of this product.

The Decks

Let’s face it. Most players don’t care about the decks because they aren't excited to play the decks as they are built. Players do get psyched up about the individually powerful cards themselves, and those are the ones worth looking at. They also happen to be the ones that are valuable, so it's doubly important to us in the finance community.

Unfortunately with all of these cards being reprints, many players already have the cards they need from these decks. With that being the case, of course the price will drop on these cards due to lowered demand. The ones that haven’t been reprinted much will have prices that are more stable. Take Maelstrom Wanderer, for example.

This commander is one of the more popular generals and it’s still sticking above the $10 mark for now. All of the rest of the cards in the set have fallen below that mark, though. Even the legacy staples like Shardless Agent and Baleful Strix that once made these decks highly sought after have fallen considerably thanks to their multiple reprints this year. When these cards were first released in the Planechase decks, there was some serious money to be made if you were able to hunt down copies of these decks and resell them.

Since we are mainly concerned with the price of the high-profile singles, as we so typically are, I took some time and listed them all here for you to see.

Maelstrom Wanderer $12
Sakashima's Student $10
Silent Blade Oni $7
Shardless Agent $6
Vela the Night- Clad $6
Preyseizer Dragon $5
Thromok the Insatiable $5
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni $4
Awakening Zone $4
Krond the Dawn-Clad $4
Baleful Strix $4
Quietus Spike $3
Beast Within $3
Glen Elandra Liege $3
Ghostly Prison $3
Bloodbraid Elf $3
Mycoloth $3
Spirit Mantle $3
Exotic Orchard $3
Krosan Verge $2
Dragonlair Spider $2
Indrik Umbra $2
Three Dreams $2
Etherium-Horn Sorcerer $2
Brindle Shoat $2
Felidar Umbra $2
Rancor $2

If you total up just these 27 cards worth $2 or more, you will have a total of $107! I’ll let you in on a secret: that’s basically the price of the whole Planechase Anthology set, and we haven’t even gotten past the first category yet. Since this product just came out, the price of the singles is still unstable, though. I’d imagine that once more copies of the decks are opened, the prices could drop further than their current price point. If not, this could be a great product to invest in.

My gut tells me, though, that it will be difficult to make money on this if you try to split it up. Because all of these cards have been reprinted many times now, what players need these cards? Certainly players need change and new players wouldn’t have been around in 2012 the last time these came out, but they very well could have picked up the singles individually or opened them from another products where they were printed, like Conspiracy 2 or Eternal Masters.

One positive aspect about these cards though is that they are Commander Gold™. Each of these cards offers a unique effect on the game and many players find cards from this set quite desirable for their fun 100-card decks.

The Plane Cards

Next up we have the planes themselves, which are extra-large cards. This plus-size deck functions as a chaotic way to play any casual format, but mainly players pair their Commander decks with the planes for some wacky fun.

In case you didn’t know, some of these planes are worth some real money. I’ve happily sold individual planes over the years for a couple bucks each to a variety of vendors. Most of the time though, the desirability of these unique cards is linked with them as a complete set. If you are into Planechase, you might as well have all the planes so you can have the fullest experience, right?

Anyway, if you want to buy the full set, my quick eBay research tells me you can acquire them for about $50. I believe this is way down from where they were before this reprint, but $50 isn’t too big of an investment for something you can pair with any decks and have fun with.

My only issue with the plane cards is that they don’t apply to a wide audience. I’ve played this format recently with some friends using our Commander decks. I found the randomly generated effects the planes grant you to be much too silly for my tastes most of the time. I think many players agree with me on this point, which leaves fewer buyers in the market for this product. From the perspective of a store owner, I know we didn’t order many copies of this big box because of these very reasons. Also, over $100 is a lot to spend on one product for most people, so that’s definitely a factor as well.

The Dice

In this set, you get four black spindown 20-sided dice along with the cool blue planar die to help you visit all the planes in the multiverse. Dice from these unique sets are always worth picking up if you find them cheaply, because players will seek them out. Everyone loves dice – remember?

eBay listings confirm that these dice definitely do hold value on their own. In fact, if you want to buy just the planar die itself, you will have to spend at least $8! To get the whole dice set, you’re looking at over $20.

Planechase Wrap Up

So, if the singles themselves are worth over $100, the plane cards are $50, and the dice are $25, this product is looking like a great investment. The problem is that the price keeps dropping. TCGplayer has copies available for barely more than $100. That says to me people aren’t buying much. If sellers have to continuously drop the price on a $150-MSRP product, then each of my categories aren’t really worth as much as they seem. What I think will happen is that the three parts of this product will all drop in value to match the full buy-in price of $100.

If you are one of the people interested in this set, I’d hold off for a couple weeks and see how the market adjusts. You may be able to get a better deal than what’s available right now. The same goes for the price of the singles as well. If someone can open one of these boxes and instantly turn a profit, people will do that until the market adjusts. Believe me, people are already trying to squeeze every penny out of this set. I’m not the only one who had thoughts about trying to make money on Planechase Anthology.

If you have experience about any part of this topic, please feel free to add your two cents below in the comments and we'll discuss.

That’s all for me this week. I hope my cautious tone came through about Planechase from a financial perspective, but if you’re in it for the fun, this is definitely a great buy. Don’t forget to pick that bulk too and get your value from that avenue as well.

Until next time,
Unleash the Finance Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

2 thoughts on “Insider: Planechase and Uncommon Finance

  1. I can provide some input regarding the pre reprint price of the planes. I bought a collection 3 years ago and it happened to have the full set of the original planes. I got $170 for the full set off eBay about 2.5-3 years ago.

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