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Insider: Targeting Ultimate Masters

Welcome back, readers!

Ultimate Masters has been out now for around a month, and it appears to be bucking trends followed by other Masters sets. I’m honestly quite surprised by this—prices have stabilized a lot faster than they did with previous Masters sets.

This means the buying window will be much shorter, and I believe it has already arrived. This means we can’t sit around and wait for prices to drop and then plateau, as they likely already have. The store owners I’ve talked to haven’t heard any rumors about additional product availability—so it appears this will be a single-print-run set.

While UMA prices seem to have stabilized a lot faster than expected, it still followed the basic pattern I’ve outlined in previous analysis. The mythics stabilized first, than began to slowly rise. Now some of the rares are beginning to rise.

Let’s look at the cards in UMA I like as short- to medium-term investments right now.

Mythics


Mikaeus, the Unhallowed has been a great seller for me for the past two years, as it enables a significant number of infinite combos in Commander. It sat at $20 for about a year before rising to $25 about four months ago, where it has stayed.

Copies have been available occasionally on various Facebook buy/sell groups for around $10-$11 since UMA released. I’ve been buying all copies at $10 I could find. Current TCG Market Price is a little under $16. Given that is 63% of the pre-reprint price, I think it could easily recover to $20-$22 within a year.


With the exception of the Masterpiece version, this card hasn’t been reprinted since 1997 in Fifth Edition. Mana Vault helps power out big cards faster, which is obviously something most Commander players want to do. The downside is rather minimal—it acts more like a colorless Dark Ritual than anything else—though it can easily be abused in various combos that untap artifacts.

The UMA version hit a TCG Market low just below $22 before rising to almost $30. I do think that we are approaching the ceiling on this, as played copies of the white-border options can be had for closer to $20-$21.


I imagine most people opening boxes of UMA are pretty dismayed when they see this as one of their mythics. However, the current UMA price is about a third of the previous Innistrad price, which stabilized at the $15 mark about a year ago. Picking up UMA copies in the $4 range seems like a pretty easy double-up in a year or so.

Rares


Runed Halo had one of the largest price drops with the UMA reprint announcement. Most of its demand was as a Modern sideboard card, and supply was extremely limited thanks to a single printing from Shadowmoor.

With UMA copies available for around 10% of the old Shadowmoor price, it seems like now is a great time to pick up UMA copies. I don’t see them returning to anywhere near the old price, but UMA supply is drying up quickly and this could easily be a $10 card again.


Phyrexian Altar is a Commander staple that is instrumental in numerous infinite combos. The original Invasion version had jumped to $55 prior to the reprint and would likely have continued to trend upward. UMA copies are available in the $16 range online and can be found even cheaper on various Facebook groups.

I’ve managed to pick up six extra copies. Barring any additional reprints this is easily a $25 card in 6-8 months.


Engineered Explosives is the 26th most played card in Modern according to MTGGoldfish. The previous price was sitting around $85-$90 for both the original 5th Dawn printing and the Modern Masters printing. UMA copies are available in the $20-$24 range.

While I imagine the additional supply from UMA will keep the price from returning back to the $80+ highs of last year, it seems quite plausible that EE could return to $40+ within the year.


Fauna Shaman is a casual favorite that occasionally finds a home in random Modern decks. Due to the deckbuilding rules of Commander repeatable tutor effects are extremely valuable, and Fauna Shaman is one only a few options.

The M11 version was sitting at $13-$14 prior to the reprint, and UMA copies are available for under $4. I particularly like foil UMA versions as they are almost on par in price with the original M11 versions.


Demonic Tutor is powerful enough to be restricted in Vintage, and is definitely an auto-include in any deck that can play it. This card hasn’t dropped anywhere near as much as the other cards on this list.

Currently UMA copies are selling between $18-$23, depending on your purchasing platform, with older Revised versions down to around $22. Either option actually seems like an easy way to make profit, especially considering that the Revised artwork is iconic.


Gaddock Teeg is an extremely powerful Modern sideboard card. Even with a recent judge printing, the original Lorwyn copies were sitting at around $45 prior to UMA’s release.

While that price was definitely heavily influenced more by lack of supply than demand, UMA copies can be picked up for as low as $5 on some Facebook sales posts and are readily available in the $7-8 range. This represents an almost 85% drop in price. I’m a big fan of this one as well and have picked up six copies (including one foil) myself.

Keep in mind that even when this card finds a home in a sideboard it’s rarely more than a two-of, so the price ceiling is lower than if it were a four-of. Teeg is particularly good against the UWx control decks of Modern as he prevents all their wrath effects, as well as both Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.

Uncommons


Eternal Witness is a Commander staple that also occasionally finds a home in some Modern builds. This card has been reprinted nine times and has bounced back every single time to around the $5-$6 mark. Currently UMA copies are sitting in the $3 range, and while it may take months for it to rebound, I can’t imagine this card doesn’t return to at least $5 within a year.


Sleight of Hand is one of our best one-drop blue cantrips in Modern. Prior to the UMA reprinting this card was a $4 common with four printings. Thanks to Arclight Phoenix we have seen a resurgence in blue-red spell-based decks in Modern, so it would seem logical that the best cantrip spells will see continued demand growth.

Conclusion

These cards represent my favorite speculation picks from UMA. There are others I’m picking up when I get the chance, but these are the ones I feel the most confident about.

Many saw massive drops in price compared to their pre-UMA prices. While it’s true that for some of these cards, values were dictated principally by low supply, the UMA supply is drying up quickly. As long as we don’t see any additional print runs from WotC, expect UMA prices to begin trending upward in the very near future.



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David Schumann

David Schumann

David started playing Magic in the days of Fifth Edition, with a hiatus between Judgment to Shards. He's been playing Commander since 2009 and Legacy since 2010.

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