Thanks to the internet, many finance realms are now 24/7, and the Magic finance realm is no different; though there aren't as many players in this particular realm. You may be wondering why I bring this up. The reason is that it's easy to miss important price changes and the reasons behind them. Every morning I check MTGStocks' Interest page to see what cards moved the most the previous day.
Sometimes the price changes make sense, especially when an old card is found to combo with something recently spoiled. Other times, we get very odd spikes typically driven by market manipulation. It may be obvious it's manipulation, it may not be. The purpose of this series of articles is to highlight some price changes in sub $5 cards and to dig into why the price changed, and hopefully, to help consolidate information and ideally serve as a great list of cards worth digging out of your bulk.
Aphetto Runecaster's recent price movement is tied to the fact that it was not included in the Faceless Menace (Sultai Morph) Commander 2019 deck. Repeated mana free card draw is definitely something every player wants in Commander so this seems like an obvious "upgrade" card choice for the deck. This was a bulk uncommon right up until August 12th when it started to move. I have been selling these pretty easily in the $3.5.-$5 range the past few days and this is definitely the type of card that you would find in bulk boxes.
Ideas Unbound and Psychic Puppetry are both recent price jumps due to the Twiddle Storm deck that has emerged in Modern. The deck uses the power of Lotus Field and various Twiddle effects instead of the usual rituals to generate large amounts of mana very quickly. Like many Modern Storm variants, it also uses Past in Flames which has also seen a price jump recently.
Ideas Unbound serves as a 2-Mana Ancestral Recall, given that the deck only casts it the turn it's trying to go off. It is also important to know that Ideas Unbound is arcane so you can splice Psychic Puppetry to and then cast the puppetry later in the turn. Ideas Unbound has been found in some older versions of Pauper storm, so it was already a card worth separating from typical bulk.
Psychic Puppetry was also a big jumper recently thanks to the Twiddle Storm deck; however, this card is one that you're very likely to find in old bulk boxes as it hasn't really been used since it left standard; I didn't play during Kamigawa block so I don't even know if it was actually used then. I've sold multiple playsets at $3+ per card so the demand is real.
Coretapper has started popping up in some versions of modern colorless Tron decks as well as the occasional Urza deck, which look to power out a fast Karn, the Great Creator and lock the game up using Ensnaring Bridge and/or Mycosynth Lattice. It has actually been above typical bulk for quite some time, having a steady price of over $0.75 for the past few years, however, there's a lot of power behind it and Surge Node artifact decks looking to abuse charge counters.
This one may be a bit harder to find in bulk bins thanks to the fact that it has been above $0.75 for so long, but it still may be worth digging for. Interestingly enough Surge Node has also doubled in price recently, however, going from bulk to $0.4-$0.5 means it's really not worth digging for. However, this is definitely a card to keep a watch on and it's worth pulling from bulk if you're already in the process of going through it.
Soothsaying was the poor man's Sensei's Divining Top in many a budget Commander deck. Couple this with a single printing from 20 years ago and it isn't surprising to see it's price gaining momentum. It originally spiked in price after Top was banned in Legacy and some Miracles players picked up their playsets in hope of rebuilding the deck. Sadly, I was not one of them as the lack of the instant speed card draw made it a much weaker substitute.
While one might expect Primal Amulet's recent price movement to be tied to Twiddle Storm, as it might seem like a possible inclusion, I couldn't find anything tying this movement to any sort of breakout deck. However, it is fair to acknowledge that this card is fantastic in any mostly-spells Commander deck, so it's quite plausible to be an "upgrade" option for the Jeskai flashback Commander 2019 deck, Mystic Intellect.
I and many of my fellow writers here at QS believe many of the Ixalan block flip cards to be good potential speculation targets, thanks to the difficulty of reprinting them. Any reprint would require checklist cards to be printed as well, and the fact that they are often quite powerful once flipped adds to that. I will admit that this card's price has basically been above $2.00 its entire lifetime, so it was never really "bulk." It is currently sitting below $5.00 and has room to grow.
This is a card I've actually been speculating on for awhile. In an article Niels Rietkerk wrote, he mentioned how instead of resolving a problem it may very well be exacerbating it. However, in cEDH decks, it serves as both a removal spell and a clone for any non-land permanent. Basically, it turns it into at least a 2-for-1 spell. It's also the type of card you'll see in homemade cubes, so it's likely that the price growth is organic.
Grenzo, Havoc Raiser saw a pretty major price spike back in July of 2018 after sitting under $2.00 for almost a full year. His price since that jump has remained stable with some mild continual growth, so it's likely to stick. With the initial jump being over a year ago it's unlikely you will find these in bulk rare bins at major events, but if you do see them they are most likely going to be a good pickup at typical bulk rare bin prices which I've seen to be $0.33-$0.5 per card.
This is the first installment of what I hope to be many in a series highlighting recent price movement in cheaper cards that you might find in bulk boxes or bulk bins. I am currently ignoring some of the Core 2020 commons that have spiked recently as those look to have no merit and are solely due to market manipulation. Did I miss anything? Feel free to comment below or message me on our Discord chat.