Hello Magic players, and welcome back!
Today, I’m going to be looking over some of the more unique possibilities for cards that are currently priced on the lower end, and where they are seeing play.
Occasionally, we have the opportunity as financial observers to gain a large percentage on a singular investment. I use the term percentage specifically because it is far easier to see a percentage increase on a cheaper card than on a more expensive card. For example, if a card is only worth $1, and it spikes to $20, that is a 2,000 percent increase. However, a card spiking from $40 to $80 is "only" a 100 percent increase.
When these cheaper cards see play in competitive decks, particularly in a new potential archetype, the knowledge and observation of all types of players can spark a price increase through heavy purchases made on those cards. With large demand comes limited supply. I’ve referenced Goblin Lore a few times in recent weeks as this example, which continues to increase from its former $0.50 price tag.
What lower-end cards have price increase potential? Factors can include limited printings, consistent heavy play in competitive formats, and general potential strength in the future. Here are some recent possibilities!
Possibility #1: Revenge of the Hunted
The miracle mechanic is one of the most polarizing mechanics in Magic history, maybe only second to Storm. The incredible level of variance that spawns from the sheer power level increase of a card’s miracle effect is absurd.
MTGO user Atomic piloted a Simic Control deck to a 5-0 finish recently with some very value-oriented cards. Coiling Oracle, Mystic Snake, and Courser of Kruphix are all present as a value creature base, but the interesting deck manipulation strategy of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Nissa, Steward of Elements to knowingly get a Revenge of the Hunted on the top of the deck could do massive damage.
Revenge of the Hunted has only been printed one time, in Avacyn Restored, the final set in Innistrad block. While Innistrad was very popular, Dark Ascension was a bit less popular, and the lack of a strong draft format led to a weak amount of product printed for Avacyn Restored. Additionally, much of the Avacyn Restored product was opened during Standard because Bonfire of the Damned was once a $70 card.
All of these factors, and the unlikelihood of miracle cards getting reprints outside of Masters and Commander sets, contribute to a possible $3-$5 spike in this card sometime in the future if this strategy catches on. It is also worth mentioning that foil copies are only a dollar as well.
Possibility #2: Thing in the Ice
This card absolutely baffles me from a financial perspective. Once upon a time, when Shadows over Innistrad was spoiled, Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror was the next big thing. Everybody seemed to know that the card would see play, and it was well into the $15-$20 price range upon release.
Over the course of its lifespan, it has always seen play. It was mid-level popular in Standard, there were many decks playing around with it as a possibility in Modern—it has even floated around in some strange niche spaces in Legacy at times, albeit without the greatest success in that particular brutal format.
Today, it has a very stout home and an entire archetype named after it, as decks playing it are often listed as “UR Thing in the Ice.” This archetype is also secretly a dual-archetype, as there is a UR Control list that uses Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror as a win condition with Snapcaster Mage and a heavy control package. There is also a slightly-less-but-still-relatively-popular version that plays Kiln Fiend and sometimes even Enigma Drake alongside Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror with draw spells and cycling spells.
Despite all of the play that the card sees, usually as a four-of but almost never lower than a three-of, it is still somehow under $5 per copy. On top of its popularity, it is also very difficult to reprint the flip mechanic that creates Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror and wins games, especially given many of the opportunities for a reprint have recently happened.
Blue and red cards, when combined into one deck, have had quite a history of price increases. Blue-red decks are considered among the best decks that have ever existed, and the color combination always tends to find a way to slot right into any format. It might take a bit of time, but I would highly recommend having a playset of these bad boys hidden somewhere in your binders.
Possibility #3: Part the Waterveil
Whenever a card says, “Take another turn after this one,” it will often see play in every realm, particularly casual play and Commander games. However, every now and again these cards will bleed over to competitive play as well.
Lately, the Taking Turns archetype in Modern has been an up-and-coming option for players. This has been markedly true with the unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which is just one more way for a mono-blue deck to thrive. The recent printing of Search for Azcanta // Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin has also been fairly beneficial to the archetype as well.
Part the Waterveil is one of the easiest ways for the deck to win, creating a land that can hit the opponent multiple times in a row while the deck chains together as many turns as necessary. Other cards like Time Warp and Temporal Mastery also allow for multiple turns, but Part the Waterveil is a true win condition.
The card, as of the time that I am writing this article, is under $2 per copy. It is also a mythic rare, and exists in a pretty weak overall set in Battle for Zendikar. If not for the Zendikar Expeditions, Battle for Zendikar essentially would have had only Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger as a relevant Magic card.
The biggest danger for Part the Waterveil is that it has a medium probability of being reprinted, which would happen almost certainly in a Commander set if it happened at all. Fortunately, there is about an equivalent chance that the card goes up in price due to casual play alone. If the archetype takes off before a reprint opportunity happens again, then this could easily match the price of Time Warp, which is around $15 despite having five printings in the past.
Possibility #4: Bring to Light
Okay, I’ll be honest…this one is a bit of a stretch. It only sees play occasionally as part of the Scapeshift archetype and package, and it serves as another way to cast the win condition for an extra mana. The mana base required to play well with the card also requires evading a Blood Moon, which the Scapeshift decks need to do anyway, so it is a natural fit.
On the other hand, this card cannot get any cheaper than it currently is, and it has some interesting possible implications in other Tier 2 and Tier 3 decks. It is also constantly played casually because players who can only afford one or two copies of their favorite card want easy ways to get it into play. Bring to Light offers possibilities on hundreds of casual cards.
The reason that I’m mentioning it briefly is because any increase on the card would be a few hundred percent of an increase. The card has an average market price of a quarter, and is still a rare. From looking around, I’ve been able to find them as cheap as $0.11 per copy. There are pretty good odds that anyone reading this could find enough change in their couch to buy a playset of these…maybe even two!
Magic is full of perpetual possibility, so any one of these cards is only a good showing away from a massive popularity increase. We never know for sure, but we can do our best to be prepared!
Are there any cheap cards that you have your eye on? Let me know in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading!
@smash_pacman on Twitter