Insider: Major News and Trends This Week

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It has been a big week in Magic finance, though these days it seems like every week is. Card prices have been on the rise for the past few months, and it has been exacerbated by enthusiasm for Dominaria.

Additional Older Sets Increasing in Value

The growing demand for Magic’s oldest and most iconic cards has dramatically increased the price of Alpha, Beta, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, and Legends. This demand is now spilling over to the next releases of cards, which for the longest time have been mostly ignored by speculators and collectors. Now, cards from The Dark and Revised are starting to appreciate. Given their age and relatively short supply compared to current releases, I suspect that these sets have been underpriced, and much of this growth will hold up. Now looks like a good time to acquire these cards if they can be found at a bargain. Condition is also very important for these sort of specs, with buyouts seeming to target near-mint copies for their higher collectability.

There's also been some movement in select cards from Alliances, Homelands, and Fallen Empires, including Kaysa, Koskun Falls and Elvish Farmer. As The Dark and Revised are bought up, buyers will turn to the next-best thing, which at this point are these cards, and in theory, the trend could continue to even later sets like the Mirage block and Tempest. We've already seen this happen with big-ticket reserved list cards like Mox Diamond and City of Traitors, and it's now happening with reserved list cards lower on the totem pole.

Widespread Reserved List Spikes

In addition to increasing demand for the oldest sets, which are desirable for their classic feel and nostalgia and are thus mostly immune to reprint risk, there has also been a huge increase in demand for reserved list cards. These cards have been rising for a while now, but now huge swaths of reserved list cards are being bought up, from iconic cards like Recurring Nightmare to what essentially amounts to penny stocks, cards like Ventrifact Bottle and Teferi's Realm.

I wouldn’t be too attached to the post-spike prices of cards like these as shown on sites that aggregate prices, and recommend doing some digging to see what cards are actually selling for, but people certainly are buying them, often at the higher prices. Acquiring any of these at the old price when possible doesn’t look to have any downside, but I’d reserve going deep on a spec for the most playable cards that might have the highest long-term potential.

Dual Lands, Power Nine Rising

There looks to be increased demand for dual lands and Power Nine, which makes sense given that so many other cards are rising. It seems that these cards increase in value whenever lots of other cards do, like four springs ago when fetchlands spiked, which was followed by dual lands spiking. It makes sense that some are trading up with their gains now to acquire Magic’s biggest-ticket items.

There are some other factors driving growth. Dual lands could be seeing renewed attention because Legacy will be featured on the Pro Tour later this year at Pro Tour 25th Anniversary, which is a large endorsement for the format by WotC.

I’ve heard that some increased demand for Power Nine is due to the upcoming SCG Con, which will have a Vintage “Power 9 Series” event that will give away the copies of the iconic cards. It’s another huge endorsement of the format by SCG and indication that they could host more events in the future.

Commander Decks Re-Release

One important piece of news this week not to overlook is the announcement that revealed what cards will be included in the Commander Anthologies V. II release. Four Commander decks will be reissued, meaning that many cards will be reprinted, some for the first time, so some prices will fall. I don't expect this release to really plummet the price of cards, so I wouldn’t panic to unload copies of soon-to-be-reprinted cards that you do have. On the other hand, I’d watch the prices of the reprinted cards if they do fall, because there are sure to be bargains at the low prices before the cards inevitably rise again.

An important factor to consider is that the Commander decks have have the new legendary border, so many legends will be receiving the border for the first time. If it’s desirable to Commander players or collectors, these versions may hold a premium over the old copies, although I could see old copies demanding a premium if the classic border is desirable to more players. I’m not sure how the border will go over, so I’d pay attention to which hits a higher bottom and spec accordingly.

All of the details are in the official announcement, so check that out for the decklists and a look at which cards will receive the new border. Someone on Reddit made a nice list of what notable cards are being reprinted.

The card that is likely to fall the most in value is Lightning Greaves, which is found in two of the decks, so might be the best spec once it hits a bottom. Another card of note is Fiery Confluence, which recently saw its price spike. Wurmcoil Engine is also a notable, but it’s in such high demand from Modern and beyond that I don’t see its price really falling.

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