Preparing for a Paper Future with Double Masters

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Double Masters has been a weird set for me. I get pretty hyped for fancy reprint-based sets - why wouldn't I? As a player who started in 2012, they often have cards that I never got a chance to play within a standard environment, cards that have been outside of my limited budget, and more so lately cards with very stylish alternate arts.

When I started seeing the Double Masters spoilers flooding Twitter, I couldn't help but be a little excited. Then the sticker shock won over and I realized that there wasn't any way I would be buying much of the set with how expensive it was. It's hard being at a point in your life where you have to be extra careful with your budget at the same time Wizards is announcing so many cool, expensive products!

My circumstances shifted enough that I was actually able to buy a VIP Booster Pack and a Booster Box to open on my YouTube channel! I was a little nervous because I'd been seeing pretty awful value being pulled from other creators' boxes, but I ended up getting lucky and making my value back (at least at the time of opening) on both boxes. Then my friend asked me to open his box of four VIP Booster Packs on my channel and the value was a completely different story. If you were rating them purely on the monetary value pulled the were absolutely awful. 

However, as I was editing the footage and getting it ready to upload, I realized that under other circumstances there were cards in there I would have been super pumped to open at previous points in my Magic playing career! I mean, there were two different packs with borderless Goblin Guide and Batterskull which are both cards I love dearly and have sleeved up for plenty of tournaments over the years.

At one point in my Magic playing career cards like these were expensive pieces for decks that I’d have to budget and save for or hope I got lucky and was able to pull them - and that got me thinking about how paper Magic is coming back someday!

Paper Magic is Coming Back Someday

At some point (hopefully), the Pandemic is going to wind down and we'll be able to go back to playing paper Magic again. It could take a while, but I think Wizards of the Coast will be able to outlast the effects of the virus and push to bring us all back to the table to shuffle real-life cardboard.

When that happens, all of the long-time paper players will need cards for new decks and all of the new players who have been drawn to the game through Arena will be wanting to get their hands on cards to play in actual tournaments. When that happens, I don't think all of these competitive cards are going to stay as low as they have been.

Let's take a look at a few cards reprinted in Double Masters that I think have the potential to rebound in price once competitive paper tournaments begin to happen again in earnest.

Goblin Guide

A card that's very dear to my heart that saw a reprint in Double Masters is [card]Goblin Guide[/Guide]. A long-time staple in both Legacy and Modern burn variants, there was a time when this intrepid goblin explorer was one of the pricier cards in the deck.

At one point, the original printing cost over $80 for a playset for non-foils, and now you can get a playset for around $17 from Double Masters. The non-foil and foil versions are both super low right now at close to $38 for a playset of either version. Like I said in my Core Set 2021 Speculations article, I think that competitive players looking to add style to their deck without the risk of failing a deck check for having curled foils in their decks (which can count as a marked card) will be gravitating towards the non-foil full arts. For this reason alone, I have been prioritizing picking those versions up with my trading.

There was a playset of Goblin Guide in a Lurrus of the Dream-Den Burn deck that went 5-0 in a Modern League on MTGO on 9/11/20, as well as in a Legacy burn deck that took a 5-0 in a Legacy League on 9/5/2020. When paper Magic comes back, people will be turning to MTGO league results as one of their primary resources for assembling their paper decks. Taking a look at decks that consistently put up 5-0 finishes is a good way to anticipate which cards will be in higher demand once paper tournaments come back.

Blood Moon

Blood Moon is another one of those cards that I always wanted to have a playset of when I was a newer player that took a long time to finally trade into. It's a common sideboard card in many decks that have access to red in eternal formats, and part of the foundation for most red-based Modern and Legacy prison archetypes.

Blood Moon has seen quite a few reprints that have helped keep its price down, but there was a time where it could run you close to $100 for a playset. A lot of the printings now will run you close to $80 for a playset, but you can get Double Masters non-foil regular printings for less than $30 for all four. The fancier, borderless versions are a bit pricier - running close to $23 for a single copy, but Blood Moon is such a commonly played card in eternal formats I still think that's a decent price to pick them up at.

A Gruul Midrange deck featuring four Blood Moon in the mainboard had a 5-0 finish in an MTGO Modern League on 9/1/2020 as well as showing up as a four-of in the mainboard in a sweet Mono-Red Prison list that took a 5-0 finish in an MTGO Legacy League on 9/12/20. I think picking up Blood Moons is a pretty solid choice as you round out your Double Masters speculations.

Meddling Mage

I'll be honest, I was stunned when I was editing the footage from the box opening and realized that the gorgeous, full-art foil Meddling Mage I'd pulled was only worth around $7. Admittedly it's been a while since I was paying active attention to Modern, but before the pandemic when I was actively playing, Humans was a force to be reckoned with, and Meddling Mages weren't the cheapest pieces of the deck to pick up.

The recent inclusion of Meddling Mage in Mystery Boosters drove the price down a lot, but I'm honestly super surprised with how affordable they are these days. You can get a playset of the full art, non-foil Double Masters version for around $23 or foil for around $25. You can get a playset of the regular art non-foil for $6.

I think Humans is still a pretty prominent deck to look out for in the Modern format. Piotr 'kanister' Głogowski recently took humans to a first-place finish in the MTGO Modern Challenge on September 13th with a list featuring four Meddling Mage, as well as four Ignoble Hierarch, another Double Masters reprint that I would encourage people to pick up right now while prices are down. I'm picking up playsets of both Meddling Mage and Ignoble Hierarch non-foil full-arts for my own collection, and I'll for sure be looking to pick up even more copies for my speculation box.

A Quick Note on Modern Horizons

Speaking of that Modern Humans list, I think taking a look at Modern Horizons cards again if you haven't yet is a very good idea. Humans runs four Unsettled Mariner as well as a Waterlogged Grove. I'd start taking a look at Modern and Legacy decks that are doing well and featuring Modern Horizons cards like Force of Negation, Seasoned Pyromancer, and the Horizon Lands. If you're looking to pick copies up to play or shore up your collection, now is the time to do it before supply really starts to dry up in earnest.

With that note, I'm out of here for now! What did you think of Double Masters? Are there any cards, in particular, you're speculating on? Let me know in the comments or hit me up in the QS Discord. If you'd like to chat with me live, I stream on Twitch every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. You can find me @MTGJoeD on all the social media platforms or say hi in the comments section on my YouTube. I hope you are all doing okay out there in the world and taking care of each other! Stay safe, and I'll see you next week.

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