My first FNM promo was Krosan Warchief, and I still have it in a binder with cards that hold sentimental value. For me, FNM promos have been the core of Magic and a great part about the game. All of that is about to change, though. If you want my thoughts on the new change, skip to the end of the article, because first we’re going to dive into a little history and finance of this core concept to competitive players.
The FNM promo was originated in 2000, and the first one printed was River Boa. In case you weren’t playing back then, River Boa was an absurd bomb. We all know blue is the best color (maybe I should start playing it more since I keep claiming this), which makes islandwalk is such a crazy ability. Pair that with regenerate and you have a promo that’s still worth $4, because it holds up even after all these years since its original printing.
FNM promos have always been a nice bonus for attending weekly competitive events at my local game store. They have always been chosen from the common or uncommon rarity, but when Wizards made solid competitive choices like Gitaxian Probe, Path to Exile and Glistener Elf, it gave players a great way to start foiling their decks. Even casual favorites like Reliquary Tower, Evolving Wilds and Acidic Slime were great because they fit right into everyone’s Commander decks. Even less powerful cards, like Banisher Priest and Disdainful Stroke, were cool because they saw lots of Standard play.
Another great aspect about FNM promos is that sometimes they get reprinted. One of my favorite hate cards was Magma Spray. So, if you kept those promos around from the first printing, then you’d already have a swag set of them to slot into your Standard decks right now.
What you’re really looking for here, though, is the finance surrounding this aspect of the game. What are these promos really worth today? Of course, many of them are not the most valuable parts of your collection, but I bet you have some cool memories from getting them. Let me know your cool FNM promo stories in the comments. For now, though, let’s dive into the finance of the FNM promo.
What I’ve done is break down the long list of these FNM prizes into categories.
The Under $2 Section
The $2 Section
The $3-to-$5 Section
The $6-to-$9 Section
The $10-to-$15 Section
The Insanity Section
- Swords to Plowshares $97
- Brainstorm $49
- Quirion Ranger $32.50
- Fireblast $23
- Forbid $19
- Capsize $27
- Priest of Titania $24
- Reanimate $30
- Mother of Runes $19
- Duress $23
- Cabal Coffers $26
- Goremand $20
- Eternal Witness $29
- Pendelhaven $17
- Kitchen Finks $21
FNM Promo Price Summary
As you can see, there are many price ranges for FNM cards over the years. Before writing this article, I didn’t know that there were so many cards with actual value to them, let alone that there were a dozen of them over $20. So what happened to cause this genre of card to fall so drastically in price?
If you have a bad opinion of what an FNM card is, I’d guess you’re thinking about the past three years. During this time, Wizards decided to primarily print Standard cards as FNM promos. It was easy to fill in the list above for this time period, because other than Path to Exile and Serum Visions, all of these promos are essentially worthless. The next highest card is around a dollar. Finding the next older cards reprinted during this time period, we get Fiery Temper and Goblin Warchief, but both of these already had promos and Goblin Warchief was already an FNM promo!
What I’m getting at here is that, yes, players might have been upset about the FNM promos, but what we’re upset about is getting unplayable Standard commons and uncommons. If Wizards would just go back to printing actual good Standard cards and mixing it up with older cards as well, the FNM promo would regain its allure and be anticipated weekly.
So where we’re headed now is apparently double sided tokens. I doubt these will have much value, even with them being foil. Competitive players just don’t care about tokens much. Wizards sees FNM as casual, but players don’t. Wizards has the concept of Showdown Packs and FNM promos backwards, but there’s not a lot we can do about that.
With FNM promos moving into a part of Magic history, I’d expect the good ones to get a small bump in price. Players will sense an iconic part of the game going away and want part of it for themselves. Lots of players need the old promos for Cubes and Commander decks as well as Modern or Legacy decks too.
Cards Most Likely to Increase in Value
When I think about the most likely cards from this list to grow, I went immediately to the $3-to-$5 category. (Also, I’d grab all the cheap Ancient Grudges as well, because they are really cheap right now.) Here’s the narrowe- down part of the list that I really like:
Tormod's Crypt only being $3 is crazy to me. Maybe there are just too many options for graveyard hate these days, but this will always be an option for any deck. It also has sweet art.
Five-Color Aggro has popped up from time to time in Modern. As more and more powerful creatures are released, I find this deck concept to be more and more likely to find success. It’s sitting at $5 right now, and if this deck ever becomes more than just a casual favorite, it will skyrocket.
As one of the best one-drops ever printed, Wild Nacatl should definitely be more than $4.50. Both Ancient Ziggurat and Wild Nacatl suffer from the Alara foil packs, but eventually those will become less of a reason why the price is so low and they’ll start growing once more.
Everflowing Chalice is probably never going to make waves in Modern, or any competitive format for that matter, but it’s huge in Commander, and we know that drives a ton of prices up. Just look at Doubling Season if you need a reminder.
Wall of Omens has been reprinted a million times, but there’s only one FNM promo. At $5, that’s a steal for this Modern-playable.
Infect may be on the low side of popularity right now, but when it swings back to tier-one again, Glistener Elf will jump in value. Under $4 is a steal for this future gainer.
Tectonic Edge may seem underwhelming, but I like it a lot in Modern. The format might be a little fast for it right now, but I think it will slow down again. Ghost Quarter has been the go-to card, but Tectonic Edge is right behind it. I like the Expo Version at $23 as well as the FNM Promo for $3.50.
We probably need a Death's Shadow banning before Lingering Souls will resurge in Modern, but then again, it actually sounds like a great counter to that deck. At only $5, this is again pretty cheap for this card.
This list would not be complete without the $3 Serum Visions making the list. There are still a lot of copies of this promo floating around out there as well as the recent Conspiracy: Take the Crown and Modern Masters 2017 printings flooding the market. Without another printing, I love this draw spell to bump up in a year or two.
My favorite FNM promo printed in recent years is Aether Hub, as well as the up-and-coming Fatal Push. When Hub was released, it made my top 10 for that set because it’s applicable in every format. I utilized it in my Legacy Eternal Weekend top eight deck last year, and others have found other creative uses for it as well. A price of$4 is a fine long-term investment for this versatile land.
Hopefully all this information helps you realize which of your FNM promos are worthwhile and you can use this article to help you in picking up or flipping some of these cards. In addition, I’ve given you some particular ones to keep an eye out for to pick up. I put a ton of work into this article, so hopefully you guys enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts about these promos in the comments.
If you’re interested in when these promos were released, check that out here. Shoutout to Gamepedia for its helpful wiki on this topic.
Until next time,
Unleash the Force!