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Insider: Winners This Week

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Last weekend, the Grand Prix double-header in Seattle was a rare look at Legacy at the premier level, and it also helped shed light on the state of the Standard metagame on the precipice of Dominaria. Today I'll discuss how some of the biggest price gainers this week were related to the Grand Prix and identify some other trends to take note of as well.


Mono-Red Prison has become a hot deck in Legacy, and an essential component is City of Traitors to accelerate into its lock pieces. The new demand has driven up its price considerably. The price showed some rumblings over the past couple weeks as it started to climb towards $200, but has now spiked to around $250. As a Reserved List card with a lot of applications in Legacy, there’s likely more room to grow in the near-term, and its long-term outlook is great.


There’s also been movement on Ancient Tomb, another critical part of the Red Prison deck and an even more important Legacy staple that’s played in a variety of decks. It’s not on the Reserved List and has had a Masterpiece reprinting, so I’m more cautious about it than City of Traitors, but its price has jumped from $45 to $60 this week and is likely to keep heading higher.


The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale is also moving up, as two successive increases this week brought the price from $1600 to $2000 and now to $2400 for mint copies. Old cards in sets like Legends have seen massive growth over the past months, so it makes sense that the cards that were already expensive will catch up and grow along with them, and I think that’s some of what we’re seeing now.


Engineered Explosives is notable as a key Modern staple that wasn’t included in Masters 25, so with no reprint in sight for at least the coming year, its price is due to rise. It started to increase right after the Masters 25 release, where it was $50, up to $60 a week ago, followed by two successive spikes to $75 and now over $80! It seems like Engineered Explosives is Modern’s next $100 card. I’d pay close attention to the Kaladesh Masterpiece, which at around $100 now seems like a bargain compared to the other versions that are nearly that price. Masterpieces seem to spike all the time, so it could be next.


Combat Celebrant saw huge growth after it broke out in the Blue-Red God-Pharaoh's Gift deck that crushed GP Seattle. Now at $10, I imagine the price doesn’t have much more to grow and is likely to fall, but the deck is the real deal and will continue to excel after Dominaria.


The best card in GP Seattle seemed to be Bomat Courier, which is not only a staple in red aggressive decks, but in the new UR God-Pharaoh's Gift deck, and was found in an incredible seven of the top eight decks. Its no surprise its online price spiked from 1.3 tix to 3.3 overnight. Its paper price has actually begun to fall significantly, which is likely due to it being a four-of in the red Challenger deck that was released last week.


Dire Fleet Daredevil, on the other hand, has only begun to grow. Snapcaster Mage is one of the best cards in Magic and a staple of all formats, and Dire Fleet Daredevil offers a taste of that power. It already sees some Modern play, and it will only get better, so its future is bright, and its price is starting to reflect that. Its price fell as low as $4, but has been growing for the last month, reaching $7 last week, and now spiking over $8 before coming back a bit. I’ve heard some people mention the card as a speculation target, so I’m sure there are some people sitting on a bunch of copies that will start to sell them, so based on that and the price finally moving down a bit, I expect this is the new price for the time being, but I am optimistic about its long-term potential.


Liliana, the Last Hope performs well in Modern and Legacy, and it sees plenty of casual play. It’s one of the top planeswalkers in Magic, so it has a lot of long-term potential, and its price reflects that. It sank to around $30 by the time it rotated out of Standard with Ixalan, and to a low of around $27 a couple months ago, but it rebounded to $34 by the release of Masters 25, and this week jumped to $38. I see it soon heading towards its all-time high around $50, and beyond even that over the next couple years.


Pauper continues to grow and prices are marching along accordingly. The big winner this week was Circular Logic, which is a staple of the Tireless Tribe combo deck that’s the most broken in the format. A move from $4 to past $7 represents huge growth, but I believe it’s real demand that represents a new price point that’s not likely to fall, and growing to $10 in 2018 seems inevitable.


Another staple of the Tireless Tribe deck is Shadow Rift, and it has spiked from around $1.50 to past $4, on the basis of it being from one of the oldest sets in Pauper.


A surprising spike has been Swirling Sandstorm, which for most of its existence has been overlooked, but is a staple sideboard card in Pauper, specifically in the Blue-Red Delver deck that’s the top-performing deck in the metagame. Over the past few weeks it moved from under a quarter towards $0.50, and has now spiked above $2.

The price increases on these cards indicate that there’s still a lot of room for Pauper cards to grow, and more than just the big staples. There are gems out there that are still underpriced, and it’s only a matter of time before they have price spikes of their own.


A card I have my eye on is Sinew Sliver, which has grown in price extremely slowly but steadily over the past five years, from $0.60 to over $2.30, at which point the Pauper boom accelerated the growth to the point we sit now at $3.25. Slivers is a real but fringe Pauper deck, but it has also seen increased attention lately as a viable Modern and even Legacy deck. It’s also a key Sliver in one of Magic’s most popular and iconic tribes, and it only has one printing, in a set that’s relatively old and underopened. There’s certainly some risk for reprint, whether in a Masters with a Slivers theme or a rebook in Standard, but I expect it will continue to grow at least a few dollars higher until then.

–Adam

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