Time Heals All Wounds
The entire world has been going through great changes the last few years, and Magic has changed a lot as well. Wizards of the Coast has cranked up the production line, pushing flashy products and slamming us with a packed lineup of releases. It's a departure from the previous consistency and modesty of past product lineups. The release of Double Masters came smack dab in the middle of that transition. It's not a surprise some of its better qualities were underappreciated at the time. Packs of Double Masters VIP Edition, the most blingy and exclusive version were nearly $100 a pack at release, an astounding price. They've since risen nearly an additional 50%, (if it hits $200 a pack it will be fitting, seeing as the set is called Double Masters). Draft booster boxes for the set are also performing well as we move past the one-year mark since Double Masters' release, making it is a good time to revisit this product and see what stuck to the wall, and what fell off, and take a look at its possibilities for future growth.
Why VIP Matters
With all of the flashy products of our day, and Wizards seeming to continue to raise the bar with each release, it's hard to process why Double Masters VIP Edition matters. Like it or not, the style of cards in this set is something truly different. It is very much akin in spirit to the Masterpieces of 2015-2017. The increased accessibility is what tightens the chase. These cards only come in foil, and only in VIP Edition packs. With all of the lottery sets like Kaladesh or Amonkhet, you could buy a pallet of cases and not pull any Masterpiece cards. That kind of odds does very little to chase up the price of sealed. With Double Masters VIP Edition packs, however, you already know that something is in it. Is it gonna be a filter land or a Cavern of Souls is the question, not whether or not you are gonna get one at all. This is what makes VIP Edition important. What makes this product so good is that anyone with a couple of hundred bucks can walk into a store and walk out with a Masterpiece of their own. I can say with a certain amount of confidence that in five years this product will have aged like a fine wine, a taste worthy of any player, gambler or not.
Modern Is Back with a Vengeance
With the return of in-store play and tournaments from minor organizers popping up all over the place, Modern prices are on the rebound. I think that while a lot of that value has shifted around to newer staples from Modern Horizons 2, the rising tide has truly raised all ships. While the tide has fallen and the waves have steadied, this ocean has taken a turn up. With this resurgence of Modern, it's important to note just how many staples and must-haves are in Double Masters. There's Mishra's Bauble, Manamorphose, Fatal Push, and that's just in the uncommon slot. When you look at the rare slot almost every other card is either on the top 20 cards in Modern, or is a crucial sideboard card. The foil commons, uncommons, and rares from Double Masters VIP Edition are so plentiful, you can get some of these foil cards for the same price as non-foils. Some of this is due to poor quality control, but the rest is due to the pure flood of VIP Edition packs that were opened around release time. As supply has dwindled, especially with the uneven quality control of the product, the scarcity of those foils in good condition could reach a point where they might demand a higher premium. This adds to the draw of this product long-term, with its abundance of Modern cards, foils, borderless, and all. Modern staples aren't the only goodies found in VIP Edition though.
Commander, the Shepherds Crook
Commander is now the most popular format in the game, and blinging out your deck is a more commonplace thing to do here than in any other format. It's obvious Wizards knows this because the abundance of Commander cards printed in Double Masters VIP Edition is incredibly high. The inclusion of premium versions of cards like Kaalia of the Vast and Atraxa, Praetors' Voice was a very good idea and makes the set as a whole better, but the Masterpiece-style versions were what really put VIP Edition over the top. Add format staples like Toxic Deluge and Mana Crypt, and there are just so many chase cards. Commander players can open several boxes, get fancy new versions of cards for their decks, and still be left longing for more. Remember, Commander players are like shepherds guiding the prices of cards upwards. They have a powerful influence, and should never be left out of the equation.
Marketing, That’s Their Job
Wizards of the Coast is a company, and like every company, their main goal is making money. To make money, people must buy their products. Who would've guessed? Regardless of what people's objections to their treatment of the game itself may be, Wizards are very good at getting people to buy their products. Double Masters is the magnum opus of that vision. The set has dozens of chase rares and mythics, an all-star uncommon lineup of highly played cards across several formats, and in VIP Edition, an exclusive specialty version of many of those cards found only in an increasingly expensive, cheaper to produce, and easier to ship sealed product. VIP Edition will only become more scarce as time goes on and the game continues to grow. As 2020 era product supply dwindles, Double Masters VIP Edition just might be the crème de la crème of 2020 era sealed product.
As time goes on, I think these will perform very well. This was a home run set for a reason. Draft boxes are already sitting at around $500. Because of the scarcity of the VIP Edition, it will perform better long term, especially as the unique borderless foil treatment cards increase in value. The prospects for the normal foils are not as high, and their ceiling may simply be equivalent to the price of the normal card, meaning there is not much of a reason to go out on a limb for them. The ceiling for the next four years on sealed VIP Edition is about $1K for a quarter case. I can see it going higher but I feel a moderate estimate is appropriate. We shall see as time goes on.
What to Do?
My suggestion is to take notice. Take a minute to examine where we have passed. VIP Masters was easily the best of the specialty products, but in this age of flashy products coming one right after another, it can seem to all blend together. It is very hard to not feel fatigued. This is why you must take a step back. Reflect on what you missed. Try to remember what you forgot. If you get the chance, pick up a few packs. Above all, stay for the ride. The real money to be made is in the patient reflection of thought, a concept we all seem to be growing a stranger to after a year of cheap tricks and quick money. We spend so much time waiting for the next thing it can be easy to forget what we already have. Leave what's gone behind in the past. Remember to trust your gut and your mind, for the real work has only just begun. Have a great rest of your week, and I hope to see you all soon.