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Insider: Metagame-Driven Price Increases After #MMA3

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The release of the entirety of the Modern Masters 2017 spoiler has led to a massive amount of trading in the Modern market with price implications for a huge swath of cards. What has been in highest demand is staples that weren’t reprinted, and many cards are being bought up in anticipation that they aren’t likely to be reprinted for two years until the assumed released of Modern Masters 2019. There’s always the chance for reprints in a supplemental product or even a Standard set reprint, but most of these cards are going to be safe from reprint, especially because many of them have unique abilities and keywords.

There’s also the issue of the ever-changing Modern metagame, which very recently was shaken up by bannings and the printing of many Modern-playable cards in Aether Revolt, including the paradigm-shifting Fatal Push. This shifting metagame has changed demand for cards and has some serious implications on prices, which I’ll explain today.


A great cross-section between not being reprinted and a sudden increase in competitive value is Merchant Scroll, which is being used in the new breed of Gifts Ungiven Storm decks. The card has suddenly risen from a couple dollars to one of the most expensive uncommons in Modern, with the price momentarily spiking to over $10 before settling at around $6 for the Eighth Edition printing and $7 for the Homelands black-bordered version.


One of the biggest percentage-gaining cards of the last week was the lowly common Tarfire, which missed a reprinting immediately after entering the very top tier of Modern as up to a four-of in the format-defining Death's Shadow Aggro deck. It is now retailing for $2, up from under a quarter a couple weeks ago.


Ancient Stirrings is the most efficient, powerful and effective card-selection spell in a format without Ponder and Preordain. It missed reprinting, and its price has been buoyed to $6 by a massive wave of colorless-based decks including it. There’s been a surge in Green Tron decks, including the new Fatal Push-wielding Black-Green Tron deck, Amulet Titan decks have suddenly re-entered the competitive picture, and Bant Eldrazi has firmly solidified itself in the top-tier of the metagame because of its ability to hold its own against Death's Shadow Aggro.


Simian Spirit Guide is one of the most broken cards in Modern and has been growing in price all year, from $5 up to $7, before spiking over $10 this week and now settling around $8. I expect we’ll see this move back over $10 eventually, especially with Ad Nauseam gaining converts after it won the SCG Modern Open in Indianapolis.


There’s been a bona fide spike in the price of the Antiquities Urzatron lands: Urza's Tower, Urza's Power Plant, and Urza's Mine. Each card has multiple versions, and each artwork is a unique card with its own price, but there were increases across the board. Part of this is due to demand from new Modern Tron players who wanted the oldest lands possible, but I suspect there’s also demand from Old School 93/94 players.


Faeries is suddenly back in the picture as a competitive option with the release of Fatal Push giving it a perfect removal spell and no longer forcing the deck to splash into Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile. The Scars of Mirrodin fastlands didn’t see a reprint, and that leaves room for Darkslick Shores, a staple of the Faeries manabase, to appreciate. It’s now up from $9 to $10 and growing.


Another staple of the Faeries deck is Ancestral Vision, but I expect its significant price increase this week, around 10 percent up to $50, was driven from the fact that it was skipped over for a reprint.


This buoying of prices after being suppressed before a potential reprint impacted multiple other high-value staples as well, like Dark Confidant.


Noble Hierarch also saw its priced buoyed by the lack of a reprint, and after being kicked down from Infect’s decline, it’s back in the tier-one picture as part of Bant Eldrazi.


Interest in Bant Eldrazi deck has meant good things for the price of Eldrazi Temple, which has seen its various printings bumped up in price.


There’s a renewed interest in Leyline of Sanctity in Modern due an increase in Ad Nauseum-Phyrexian Unlife combo and Amulet-Titan decks decks, both of which use it as a sideboard card. It’s fantastic against Death's Shadow Aggro, which typically contains up to 12 discard spells to stop.


One of the most startling price increases of the past week was Fulminator Mage, which saw both its printings double in price. There was a perfect storm of factors leading to this increase. It’s an inclusion in the sideboard of Death's Shadow Aggro, which has vaulted to become the best deck in the format. There has also been a general increase in Tron decks in Modern, which has led other decks to play this land-destruction spell. These factors, along with the news that it was not being reprinted, led to the price of Fulminator Mage skyrocketing in price.


Through the Breach was a bigger winner last week and saw 50 percent growth – from around $40 to $60. It’s been a premier Modern card since day one of the format, reaching top eight of the first Modern Pro Tour, and today it has taken a central role in multiple decks based around its interaction with various creatures. It will only get better as more powerful creature are printed. It’s also quite difficult to reprint in a normal set because of its inclusion of the splice keyword, so I think this price is here to stay unless it’s printed in a supplemental product like a Commander deck.

--Adam

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