A confluence of factors has brought the Modern format to the forefront of Magic finance, and the increased trading volume has had positive repercussions on the prices of many cards.
As 2016 came to an end, dwindling interest in a Standard format that many argued was unhealthy drove players to look for an alternate format to focus on. Modern had been plagued by the issue of low supply relative to demand, driving the price of the format to record levels, so many looked to the new player-created Frontier format as their savior and the natural successor to Modern.
Before Frontier could ever really take off, though, the release of a Modern Masters 2017 set jammed full of staples and valuable cards restored much consumer confidence to the Modern format, and by lowering prices it has helped to make Modern more accessible. Combined with Aether Revolt containing multiple cards with an impact on Modern, the format has become exciting again. There’s also the factor of the first-ever Team Unified Modern Grand Prix being held in San Antonio next weekend, holding the attention of pros creating content and driving buzz to the format on social media. Along with the release of Modern Masters 2017 on Magic Online this week, Modern as a whole is as high-profile as it has ever been.
Today I’ll cover some of the key Modern cards that have been on the upward move this past week, and crack some clues to determine what cards might be next to jump.
The biggest price story in Modern this week has been Seismic Assault, which has seen each of its four printings see a series of price increases to its current level of over $8, up from under a dollar. The growth of all the printings, along with the fact that the rise didn’t happen overnight but gradually over the week, leads me to believe this was no buyout but a price correction of a card that was criminally undervalued given its power and historical precedent as a competitive card in a variety of different decks.
The increase in demand this week seems to be mostly driven by the return of the Seismic Swans deck to Modern, which combines the enchantment with Swans of Bryn Argoll to create a card drawing engine that will never run out when supported by an extremely high land count. It’s effectively a true combo deck, and while it had success in an old Standard format, it hasn’t been competitive in Modern. The deck recently increased its profile by winning the TCGplayer Modern State Championships in Utah, which was likely a small event, and with what looks to be a budget deck without Scalding Tarn, but neither of these factors stopped it from catching on over social media, especially with popular content creator and QS alum Corbin Hosler doing a deck tech and spreading it further.
The Seismic Swans deck has caused a massive spike in the Magic Online price of Swans of Bryn Argoll, moving from just 0.1 ticket to over 1.3. The paper version is also trending upwards, with the Modern Masters 2015 version spiking from around $0.60 to $1.50 and the Shadowmoor version slightly increasing to match that price. There is certainly more room to grow if the deck gains any mainstream popularity, and there’s likely very little room to fall going forward.
A very interesting piece of the Seismic Swans puzzle is Treasure Hunt. The deck already needs to be a majority of lands in order for its combo engine to operate consistently, so Treasure Hunt becomes a powerful card advantage engine. It’s especially useful because it fuels Seismic Assault without Swans of Bryn Argoll, potentially killing the opponent but more likely providing the ammo to gun down the opponent’s creatures. Treasure Hunt has been sitting stable at around $0.50, but I expect this Worldwake common could see serious gains up to a couple dollars if interest in the Seismic Swans deck is sustained.
The Seismic Swans deck also uses Molten Vortex as a backup to Seismic Assault, and that’s drastically increased demand for a card that otherwise doesn’t see much competitive play. The online price has moved from bulk status at the turn of the month to over 0.5 tix today, and that makes the paper version look like a very attractive pickup at the bottom-of-the-barrel rate of $0.35. It’s now almost two years since it was printed, and barely above its all-time low price, and I think now we’ll start to see the price of this powerful and unique card appreciate as times passes, even without the Seismic Swans deck driving it.
Pact of Negation missed a reprint in Modern Masters 2017, and its price has seen a direct upward turn as a result. The original printing is now sitting above $35, up from under $30 last week, and the Modern Masters printing is approaching $40. A growing trend of Modern decks using the card is likely to bring the price further upwards. It’s a staple in the Ad Nauseam deck, for example, and it’s suddenly in the conversation as a very competitive Modern deck and is quickly growing in popularity. It’s also integral to the Amulet Titan deck, which has moved from obscurity back into the conversation as a competitive option.
The rise of Eldrazi Tron in Modern has increased demand for its staples, including All Is Dust, which has always been on the fringe of competitive Modern play, but now finds itself included in a top-tier deck. Its price has been impacted accordingly – the Future Sight printing has moved up from $11 at the beginning of the month to $20 now, with half of that increase occurring in the last week, and the Modern Masters 2015 version is up to over $16 from around $10.
Modern Masters 2017 has the effect of making Modern more accessible, so it’s likely to cause a significant increase in the player base, and that increases demand on staples across the format, particularly those not reprinted. A prime example is the shocklands, which are more accessible than ever now that enemy fetchlands were reprinted. Stomping Ground is currently the most popular and important shockland in Modern, and it has the honor of cracking into the top value gainers of the last week, up around 5 percent to over $13. That’s indication that the shocklands, which have laid dormant for years, may finally begin to appreciate.
Modern Masters 2017 Headliners Recover
An interesting trend this week has been the strong price increase in all of the Modern Masters 2017 headliner value cards that fell after they were spoiled. Liliana of the Veil and Snapcaster Mage have been the biggest winners, and all of the fetchlands have also seen strong recovery. There’s indication the previous price decreases of these cards went too far, and the market is now adjusting back to its equilibrium.
What do you make of these Modern market movements? What cards are on your radar?