Insider: Speculation on Legacy Isn’t Dead

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By the time this article goes live, Grand Prix Las Vegas will be history. It appears to be a successfully run event—at least from afar. Congratulations to all the GP winners, and to Channel Fireball for running the events so smoothly.

I want to focus on the Legacy event from the GP. Logically, being a format filled with Reserved List cards, one would expect my interest to be highest here. If there was ever such a thing as a Vintage GP, that surely would be even more intriguing. Alas, I will have to settle for Legacy this time around. But given how little support Legacy gets at the Grand Prix level, I am eager to look at some cards from this “dying” format. (Note the sarcasm here; there were over 2,600 players in the tournament!)

I’m also going to take a step back and look at Legacy speculation as a whole. It turns out Legacy isn’t dead and neither is Legacy speculation. Don’t believe me? Allow me to explain through a few examples.

GP Vegas Legacy Top 8

On Friday night I saw buzz on Twitter regarding Arabian Nights favorite Drop of Honey. As it turns out, the card was bought out and its price suddenly skyrocketed to new highs.

At first I thought the Reserved List card was spiking due to Old School speculation. I have seen some Old School pundits declare that Drop of Honey is very strong in a metagame where Maze of Ith is unrestricted. I have no personal experiences with the card to vouch for it myself, but I tend to trust the community’s sentiments on strategy.

It’s very likely that Old School demand did decrease Drop of Honey’s supply over the past couple weeks. However, there was one particular catalyst that created the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Deck list

Take a look at what showed up in Jody Keith’s Top 8 Lands deck from the Legacy event. Lo and behold, we see two Drop of Honey. You may wonder why people wouldn’t simply jam the far-cheaper Porphyry Nodes instead. The answer is simple: Lands typically sticks to green and red.

Granted, with Horizon Canopy and Karakas they could find white mana to play Nodes instead. It’s just a little less awkward to play the green version. And in a competitive event like a 2,600+ player GP, every little edge can count.

Other Legacy Spikes

Drop of Honey is not an isolated incident of Legacy demand driving price jumps. I’ve been fairly vocal recently on how I see a shift in dual land demand on account of changes to the Legacy metagame. BR Reanimator has singlehandedly driven the price of Badlands up to its all-time high, where it continues to reside today.

And Badlands isn’t the only dual land reaching new highs. Bayou has also hit an all-time high in the U.S. recently, presumably on a jump in demand from Legacy. Neither of these lands had much of a presence in the Top 8 at Grand Prix Las Vegas’ Legacy event, however. The event was instead dominated by blue decks, as usual.

Also absent from Top 8 were any Miracles strategies. After seeing many MTGO lists go undefeated in daily events, I almost expected to see some revamped version of the deck show up in the GP’s Top 16. Alas, none could succeed.

But that hasn’t stopped folks from trying. Take a look at the movement on Portent and Predict recently—clear evidence Legacy players are trying to salvage the Miracles strategy in a format without Sensei's Divining Top.

I have personally been very active in speculating on Portent. I had purchased over 80 copies from Card Shark a couple weeks ago and I have already sold over 60 of them. They have been moving very easily in the $5-$6-per-playset range. Considering they cost me only about $0.20-$0.25 each, this has been a very profitable endeavor driven solely by Legacy demand.

Another card that has moved at least partly by Legacy demand is Surgical Extraction, which is now the 7th most played card in the entire format according to MTG Stocks. Sure, the Dredge deck in Modern was a huge catalyst for this card’s price movement. But the data strongly suggests Legacy is also driving this demand even higher.

Another card worth looking at is Flusterstorm. Here we have another Legacy card hitting all-time highs on robust demand!

Don’t forget about Lotus Petal, that pesky common from Tempest that dodges reprint year after year despite being off the Reserved List. That Masterpiece reprint doesn’t impact supply at all, and the FTV: Exiled copy is getting pretty tough to find as well.

Looking Ahead

With most of my articles, I like to first establish a trend with supporting data and then apply that information to try and speculate on future movements. Given that Legacy demand remains robust enough to move some card prices, let’s see if we can identify what may move higher in the next 6-12 months.

One card I really like as a long-term hold is Unexpectedly Absent.

The card was just reprinted in Eternal Masters, so copies can be purchased for around a buck. The recent trend on this card has been positive despite the reprint. Why? It is another card Miracles players are using in the new build of the deck!

Being in 1,300+ Commander decks on EDH REC is not something to ignore as well, but I believe it will be a surge in Legacy demand that will gradually move this card’s price higher. Being that it just got reprinted last year, it’s probably safe from another reprint for quite some time.

Here’s a surprising one: Ponder.

Despite multiple printings, we haven’t seen a fresh supply of the spell hit the market in a few years. Being banned in Modern means it’s even harder to reprint Ponder. I don’t necessarily think this card is “iconic” enough to be in Iconic Masters, and it’s not a particularly splashy Commander card. Therefore, I expect this card will continue to hit new all-time highs month after month as it gets older and older.

Turning attention back to the Legacy GP’s Top 8, it would appear that Delver decks are now king of the hill in Legacy. Now, we know that the next From the Vault series will be about double-faced cards. So I obviously won’t recommend picking up Delver of Secrets. Instead, I’d stick with a tried-and-true card with plenty of long-term upside: Volcanic Island.

The blue-red dual land was all over the Legacy Top 8. Of course this one is already very expensive, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a bounce from here. The price of this near-$300 dual land has been a bit soft over the last few months, and I think that will reverse course at some point in 2017. Don’t rush out to speculate on this card, but if you’ve been dragging your feet on acquiring some copies for personal play, I’d suggest bumping them up on your priority list.

Lastly, it appears Stoneforge Mystic is bottoming after its Grand Prix Promo reprint.

It’s currently the 29th most played card in Legacy and it was a four-of in the GP’s winning decklist: Death and Taxes. This card has always been a mainstay of the format, and perhaps more players will rotate towards this card as they move away from the recently-downgraded Miracles deck. One caution, however, is that this card may seem way more “iconic” than some others, so perhaps waiting until more of 2017’s products are released is the right play. There’s no need to rush on this one.

Wrapping It Up

So many people are leaving Legacy for dead, even though there are clearly some exciting things going on with the format. The recent banning of Top has really shaken up the format, leading to some new innovations. Speculation on the format may not be as widespread as Commander, but there are still occasional spikes as cards sellout.

More importantly, Legacy cards have a tendency to gradually rise over time in a systematic, healthy manner. As long as your investments are dodging reprint, there are far worse places to park some investment money.

I shared some ideas this week of where you may consider making some purchases. But the most important thing is to pay attention to the Legacy metagame going forward. I don’t pretend to be a Legacy expert, so the best thing we can do is to pay attention to how the format slowly shifts in light of the recent banning. MTGO lists can often showcase new ideas people are tinkering with. The same goes for the smaller SCG Legacy events that take place from time to time. When in doubt, stick to the heavy-hitting Reserved List cards and you won’t regret it.


  • I think Ifh-Bíff Efreet may be the next Arabnian Nights card to spike. There aren’t many copies on the open market and demand has been strong lately with a recent surge in green decks. Star City Games has just one MP copy at $29.99 in stock, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it sell soon given that it’s consistent with TCG Player pricing.
  • Did you see the buyout of Citanul Druid? It’s hardly an exciting card, but there are very limited quantities available for sale right now. While I don’t see a $10 price tag sticking, there’s something to be said about SCG’s current price point of $4.99. They’re also sold out completely at that price, so maybe another price bump is on the horizon!
  • Did you see Legends Spirit Link on the move lately? This card is legit! It is played in Old School and has real demand behind it. In fact, Card Kingdom recently had a buy price as high as $5.50 on the white common! Star City Games has one SP copy in stock at $4.99 but that one won’t remain in stock for long. I highly encourage you to sift through any Legends bulk you can get your hands on to track down copies of this card.

3 thoughts on “Insider: Speculation on Legacy Isn’t Dead

  1. I always enjoy seeing a bit of innovation in a format that many think is “solved”, however, I don’t honestly know if the drop of honey speculator(s) will actually profit from it or not. While it is an old reserved list card, the lands deck is extremely expensive (even by Legacy standards) so the number of players is small and thus the expected demand is likely small. I am also cautious of cards that WoTC has reprinted (but in a different color), like Porphory Nodes as WoTC could always make a “hybrid” version that does the same thing and is hybrid w/g.

    1. I think it’s also gambling on casual, old school and collector demand, but you’re right in saying Lands is too expensive for most. Personally I’ve owned a set for casual play for around 15 years.

    2. Lands is expensive for most. But if people have enough money to play Lands, they’re going to have enough money to play Drop of Honey over Porphyry Nodes. The Green version of the card is strictly better than the White version in this deck given that it is mainly G/R already.

      The card is showing more play in Old School as well. Add the fact that this is RL and extremely old, and you have the makings for a spike.

      I think anyone who bought copies in the $70 range will easily make profit on this. I would not advocate buying at over $100 for speculation purposes.

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