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I’ve been involved in Magic for about 25 years now, so you could say there isn’t much in the game that surprises me anymore, especially when it comes to Magic finance. I’ve seen it all: buyouts, sell-offs, major overhauls of buylists, changes to eBay and TCGplayer fee structures, etc.
However, despite this experience, there are still occasional cards that show up on MTGStocks’ Interests page that I could swear were on the Reserved List. However, they don’t have that star next to their name that would indicate they are. You’d think I’d have that list memorized by now (and for the most part I do, for Magic’s earliest sets and expansions).
But for the last few sets containing Reserved List cards, it gets a little muddled. This week I want to touch upon a handful of cards that show up as Interests for gaining significantly in price, yet aren’t on the Reserved List. Some of these cards may surprise you!
This card was the catalyst for this week’s article. I talked about Enchant Worlds at length last week, so I won’t harp on it again here. When I saw that this card was getting a reprint, I had to do a double-take. Surely they were violating the Reserved List by reprinting this green card from Legends, right?
It turns out this card was also reprinted in Chronicles and is not on the Reserved List after all. Seeing its price tag, I fell into the trap of assuming its Reserved List status before remembering the Chronicles printing. It makes me wonder what this card would have been worth had it been on the Reserved List!
This card just recently spiked, going from $6 to $20 over the last month or so. I’ve seen it played in Legacy in the past, but there must be some new creature in Commander that really exploits Manabond’s ability. But on EDHREC all I could find is Kura, the Boundless Sky but that doesn’t really add up. Maybe there’s something newly spoiled I overlooked?
In any event, it could simply be speculators buying up this card, which has only been printed once back in Exodus. You may actually hypothesize that it’s on the Reserved List, and that’s why it isn’t seeing reprints. Surprisingly, that’s not the case. There are only nine cards from Exodus on the Reserved List, and Manabond is not one of them.
Without looking, do you know what this one-mana artifact from Ice Age does? Sadly, I remember because I’m pretty sure I opened this card back in the day. It left an impression, because I still look at this card today and wonder, “Why would I ever want to intentionally destroy something I put into play?”
It turns out there are some corner cases where this is relevant. For one, if your opponent has a habit of stealing your stuff it can provide some insurance (it destroys something you own, not necessarily control). There are also probably cards with powerful effects that you don’t want to hold onto for too long—Demonic Pact comes to mind.
Whatever the reason, Despotic Scepter has spiked very recently from a couple bucks to nearly $10. While it is another really old rare that has never been reprinted, it is absent from the Reserved List. Speculate at your own risk.
This enchantment has gone from $3 to nearly $20 over the past couple of months—significant spikes just like the previous examples. I know this card used to see Legacy play a while back as it is a handy sideboard card for certain matchups (Enchantress comes to mind). It also probably has some powerful implications in Commander if you are in the habit of being the “fun police.”
But is this rare from Weatherlight also spiking because of its presence on the Reserved List? Absolutely not—Serenity was actually reprinted once before, way back in Sixth Edition, nearly 23 years ago today (April 21, 1999). Of course, after all these years without another reprint, I’m sure this card is particularly difficult to come by unless you’re willing to pay up and buy it from TCGplayer or equivalent. I’d be wary speculating on this card, however, as the card isn’t exactly “too powerful” to see a reprint in some modern-day set. Minimally, a Masters set reprint could be in order.
Tower of the Magistrate
Here’s yet another old rare that recently spiked, with market price going from $5 to almost $20! I can definitely see its utility, and in a format like Commander, it feels like there would be minimal downside playing this card in a one or two-color deck. Why not include it?
Well $20 may deter you, for starters. This is a rare from Mercadian Masques, and it has never been reprinted. Is it on the Reserved List, however? Nope. It can’t be. No cards from Mercadian Masques are on the Reserved List—it was the first expansion that fell outside of Wizards’ updated Reserved List policy. Every card from this set onward is fair game for a reprint.
It feels extremely easy to reprint Tower of the Magistrate in numerous sets or preconstructed products. If you’re holding copies of this card, congratulations on the great call! I’d recommend taking your profits and moving on.
Not to be confused with the more recently printed Reconnaissance Mission, Reconnaissance is actually an uncommon printed all the way back in Exodus. It has been a valuable uncommon for a while, but it very recently doubled in price from nearly $10 to about $20. You guessed it: zero reprints.
However, being an uncommon means this card doesn’t qualify for the Reserved List (rares only, sorry!). Regardless, Wizards of the Coast either doesn’t want to reprint this combat-disrupting enchantment or they simply haven’t prioritized it. Perhaps this article will give it some well-deserved attention? The enchantment is fantastic at getting attack triggers and baiting out combat tricks without having to commit.
I also remember using this card back in the day to simply annoy my opponents. I’d make an ill-advised attack, observe the blocks my opponent would make, and then take all my creatures back. It’s almost like having a free Maze of Ith for all your own creatures! It’s quietly a very powerful card.
However, it can be reprinted (and I suspect it will be one day). It’ll probably be reprinted at rare, mind you, but that’ll be enough to chop this card’s price way back down again. Hold copies at your own risk (but be on the lookout for this card when picking Exodus bulk… if any exists in the wild anymore).
Wrapping It Up
MTGStocks is as active as ever, with cards spiking left and right. Streets of New Capena spoiler season triggered a number of buyouts, indicating the speculators are out in full force yet again. Paper demand should also be on the rebound now that there are many in-person events on the horizon. It’s a Magic card Renaissance of sorts!
I have noticed that only pockets of Reserved List cards have participated in the recent rally. There’s no rampant buying of these older, unreprintable cards at the current moment. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, just worth noting.
However, some older non-Reserved List cards have been on the move lately. This week I touched on a few that have been climbing significantly over the past month or so but are deceptively not on the Reserved List. Most have never seen a reprint despite it being possible. What I don’t know is whether the lack of reprint is for any particular reason, or if the cards just haven’t been prioritized for one yet.
“Yet” is the keyword here. If the cards continue to climb in price, then there’s “reprint equity” of sorts—Wizards can include the card in a new product to help it sell, and this will damage the price of these older cards. Even if they see play in Commander, any significant reprint would be detrimental to their price, at least in the short term (and in some cases, permanently). For this reason, watch these closely and consider cashing out if you’re holding copies before any sort of reprint does happen.
One thing is for sure: Wizards will continue to churn out new products that contain reprints for years to come. The strategy has proven successful for its parent company Hasbro, and that keeps shareholders happy. Since the game is made by a major corporation, this always will be the top priority.