This Week in Magic Finance – Legacy, London Mulligan Rule & Modern Horizons

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Legacy Events Driving Demand

The format of this weekend’s Star City Games Open in Syracuse is Legacy. That’s drawing attention to the format that I expect will be sustained into the Legacy Grand Prix Niagra Falls towards the end of April.

SCG has been producing Legacy content, and there has been an increase in discussion of the format on social media. There have also been more Legacy players in Magic Online Legacy events testing for the event, along with an increase in the price of staples.

True-Name Nemesis, once the most expensive card online, is a good benchmark of demand for the format. It increased nearly 20% this past week, to 36 tickets. A large swath of staples is on the rise: Ancient Tomb and Stoneforge Mystic at nearly 20%, Daze at 12%, Flusterstorm at 10%, and Wasteland at 10%.

This premier-level attention and online growth is good for the health of the format, so it’s no surprise that now we’re starting to see an increase in paper staples.

I’ve read a lot of advice about picking up dual lands, which are the core of Legacy and historically a very strong Magic investment. Their prices have been stagnant since spiking last spring, which led to some great deals available by year’s end. But it looks like things have stabilized now, with increased buylist prices at major retailers. Demand from the Grand Prix and renewed format interest may turn things around for another wave of growth.

Similar investments include other expensive Reserved List staples, card like Mox Diamond, City of Traitors, Lion's Eye Diamond, Gaea's Cradle, and even The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. All of these are likely to see some increases over the next two months.

Arclight Phoenix is up to new heights past 55 tickets online, in part due to the card’s ascent to a Legacy staple. Grixis Arclight Phoenix is the newest contender in Legacy and a particularly hot topic this week leading into the SCG, where it’s in position for a wider breakout.

This could set the stage for an Arclight Phoenix-filled GP Niagra Falls next month. The deck has been something of a work in progress for months, but lists are becoming standardized and the deck’s true staples are emerging, with according price increases on Magic Online.

I’m most intrigued by Dark Confidant, which the deck plays as a four-of to accelerate into off of Dark Ritual and Lotus Petal. It’s interestingly also a staple of the Golgari Dark Depths deck, which has seen increased success recently and is on its way to breaking out as one of the format’s best decks.

This sort of cross-archetype demand for Dark Confidant by two up-and-coming decks makes me think the card is due for an increase, and in fact it’s already starting to creep up. The online price for its various printings have all grown around 50% in the past three weeks, from around 4 tix to over 6, while the paper versions look to have grown a few dollars each on average.

I liked Dark Confidant as a spec back when it was absent from Ultimate Masters. With no new supply but new demand incoming, further rises seem inevitable.

New London Mulligan Rule

Wizards announced that they will test a new mulligan rule at Mythic Championship London. If adopted, this will have serious implications for Eternal formats like Modern and Legacy.

The immediate clear winners are cards that care about being in the opening hand, since the rule increases ability to dig for a specific card. Leyline of Sanctity and Leyline of the Void are two important cards that will get better, and online growth since the announcement will probably turn into paper growth as they see more play in Modern.

The other leylines all also technically get better, so it will be interesting to see if any can be elevated to playable status. Leyline of Vitality was used as a four-of in a Hardened Scales deck that won a large event in Japan a few months ago, so at $1 might be a bargain.

Other cards of note are Gemstone Caverns and Serum Powder. The latter is already beginning to spike, but it will have much more room to grow if the rule takes off. The key word being if, since London will just be a test run. However, I’d wager Wizards is already pretty committed to the rule and will only decide not to run it out to the public if London is a disaster, which I don’t see happening.

I’ve also heard that Grenzo, Dungeon Warden becomes much more exciting as a Commander. The new mulligan rule can be used to stack the bottom of the deck, which takes the randomness out of Grenzo’s ability. The best specs here are likely not Grenzo itself, but the key cards that go with it.

Modern Horizons

The new Modern product that Mark Rosewater teased a few weeks ago has finally been revealed. Modern Horizons is a brand new set, but it’s Modern-legal, not Standard-legal. Wizards is breaking new ground here, and its implications for the Modern format are massive.

Hundreds of new cards designed for Modern means a large number of new Modern playables and staples. That said, it won’t have a massive impact on the reprint market, because while it does contain reprints, none are already Modern-legal. That means big staples like fetchlands will be absent, and all reprints will essentially be Legacy and Vintage reprints.

This could drive down the price of any Legacy cards reprinted, but I expect the impact to be minor. It seems like the best way to capitalize on the set would be to buy in on Modern staples now, which are safe from reprint for now and will have more time to appreciate. I could see significant growth in these staples in the coming months, especially when the release of Modern Horizons in June draws more attention to the format and inevitably creates new Modern players.


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