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Insider: Using Indicators to Predict the Next Price Spike

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Figuring out that a card is going to rise in price, or even spike in price in the form of triple-digit growth, is a path to big profits in Magic finance, but doing so isn’t an easy task. It’s impossible to know to for sure that a card is heading to new highs, but there are a lot of clues out there that help us predict that a card is due for upward movement.

One indication that a card is due for massive growth is the simple fact that it’s already starting to move, as small movements could make way for large increases if the pace accelerates. Another indicator is noticing growth or outright spikes on Magic Online, because trends generally occur ahead of the paper market, so movements there often precede paper movements. Today, I’ll explore some cards that these indicators tell us to pay attention to, with the goal of shedding light on some potential profits.


A potentially great Pauper buy is Echoing Decay, which has multiple indicators pointing to a spike. For one, its online price doubled online this week to 1.36 tix. It’s also beginning to see a paper increase after years of being stable, up from $0.20 to $0.25, so there seems to be nothing but upside for this one-printing card.


Geth's Verdict is another staple of black Pauper decks, being even superior to Diabolic Edict in Mono-Black decks, but often being used in conjunction with it. It has seen an online price spike this week, from 0.10 tix to 0.40, matching the paper price of $0.40. It has only seen one printing, in the relatively under-opened third-set New Phyrexia, so I see the price heading right to $1 or more as Pauper gains popularity.


The Visions printing of Crypt Rats spiked this week from around $0.75 to over $2. It’s played in black Pauper decks of different varieties, so it’s a true staple of the format.

This spike is more notable because it has another printing in 7th Edition, so it shows a lot of strength. That said, the 7th Edition versions has yet to spike, and sits around $0.85, so it seems like a given that its price starts to head towards the $2 price of the other copy, and in the long term, I see both versions heading even higher.


Prohibit is a staple of blue Pauper decks, which explains its online price of over 7 tix, up a ticket this past week, and up from 3 tix in December. Its paper price has grown from $0.20 in December to around a quarter, and I only see this trend continuing. There is an alternate Duel Deck printing, but it should be in low enough print that it won’t significantly suppress the price.


Another blue Pauper staple in a similar situation to Prohibit is Exclude. Its Invasion printing is around $0.30, up a few pennies in the past few weeks, but the Commander 2014 printing is actually down from around $0.40 last summer. Still, there should be plenty of upside for both of these versions.


A potential one-printing price spike candidate is Mental Note, which is used to fill the graveyard in Pauper Reanimator decks. It has had a tumultuous few weeks online, down to 0.20 tix from 0.70, but then right back up again. Its paper price has seen very slow and steady growth for almost exactly the past two years, up from $0.20 to $0.35, but I foresee this rate accelerating to bring the card to a solid $0.50 and potentially $1 or more as the format grows.


Ninja of the Deep Hours has seen multiple printings, so it’s still under $1, but it’s a true staple of Pauper. Its price keeps growing online, and while its multiple printings will likely keep it from seeing a true paper spike, it’s certainly poised to break $1, and will continue to grow over time.


The Mirrodin artifact lands have all seen a few reprints, some more than others, but they are all staples of Pauper. They are essential to Affinity, which is one of the best decks in the format, and they see play in some other decks, like Red-White Kuldotha Boros. Great Furnace deserves a special mention, since it’s used in both of these decks. The lands are trending up both online and in paper, so it seems to be only a matter of time before they pop off.


Chromatic Star is another staple of Pauper Affinity, as well as being a staple of Pauper Tron decks of all types. It’s also an essential inclusion in Modern Tron, which had a solid but low-profile Pro Tour but has, however, been discussed by pros as a great way forward in the format, and is currently the most popular deck in the metagame online. It’s also used in the Ironworks Combo deck, which had a strong finish at the Pro Tour in the hands of Shaheen Soorani. It has two printings, with the Tenth Edition at $4.50 and the Time Spiral around $4.15, and both have grown significantly in the past few weeks, up from $4.00 and $3.50 respectively since the release of Rivals of Ixalan. Between Pauper hype and Modern play, these cards will continue to appreciate.


Moving away from Pauper over to Modern, there are some cards on the move due to the recent Pro Tour. One card that has caught my eye is Dragonlord Ojutai, which has seen an online move from under 1 tix to over 2 tix because it was used in Alex Majlaton’s White-Blue Control deck that he played to an impressive 9-1 finish. If the deck catches on in any of the upcoming big Modern events, demand will increase, and its stagnant paper price of $5.30 will begin to rise, even spike, if the deck has a big finish. The card has a lot of casual appeal too, so I like its long-term potential.


Another online spike after the Pro Tour has been Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, which is a sideboard staple of Lantern Control, up to over 10 tix from around 7. Its paper price is also increasing, up from around $19 to nearly $20, but I expect this increase has been tempered by fears about the Lantern Control deck seeing a major ban. If the deck escapes the axe on Monday, then the planeswalker should march higher.

What do you like from my list of targets? What are you looking to move on this week? Let's discuss below.

–Adam

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