Examining Double Masters 2022

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A great deal of hype has accumulated over the past couple of weeks as Double Masters 2022 spoilers rolled in. When folks got their first glance at Imperial Seal, my Twitter erupted—I’m pretty sure that card single-handedly bolstered preorder prices for booster boxes. When chase cards like Cavern of Souls, Mana Vault, and Dockside Extortionist followed, it became readily apparent this set will be a hit.

Right now booster boxes are hovering in the $380 range. Is that a reasonable price? Is FOMO taking the Magic community by storm? Where will prices settle? Most importantly, what will the impact be on the broader secondary market?

These are some of the questions flying through my mind lately in anticipation of the July 8th release date. By no means do I claim to have all the answers, but this week I’m going to take a stab at making some predictions surrounding this hot-selling set.

First and Foremost: Preorders are a No-No

Pre-ordering singles from a new set is almost always the incorrect choice if you’re strictly playing by Magic finance rules. Rather than purchasing copies of a card when supply is artificially scarce (as it is during the pre-order season), you are far better off waiting for the set to be out for a few weeks to purchase the cards you need during peak supply.

As a most egregious example, consider Imperial Seal, a card that up until recently sold for over $1500 because it was a Commander playable card printed in just one set: Portal: Three Kingdoms.

When first spoiled, I saw people attempting to sell Double Masters 2022 non-foil copies on TCGplayer for nearly $1000. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and TCG low is $337.95, about one-third of its initial price. That number is likely to tumble even further once the set is released and readily available. The most valuable card in the original Double Masters is Mana Crypt, which sells for about $170.

Should Imperial Seal remain the most valuable card from Double Masters 2022, I have little reason to believe it would maintain a price point much higher than that of Mana Crypt as the dust settles. By the way, Card Kingdom’s preorder price for Imperial Seal is $299.99, already 10% below TCG low.

Imperial Seal is a bit of a unique case, though, since it’s a reprint of an extremely rare and valuable card. Let’s talk more broadly about the other hot spoilers from the set.

Here is a list of the other top five most expensive (non-foil, regular printing) reprints from Double Masters 2022 according to Card Kingdom’s site:

Honestly, I’m surprised these are as low as they are already—I hadn’t researched these numbers before I started this article, and the values I'm seeing now seem more reasonable than they must have been a week ago. Then again, Card Kingdom’s numbers seem consistently at parity with or lower than TCGplayer’s, which supports my theory that preorder prices were at one point a good bit higher.

Warrior's Oath is $144.99 on TCGplayer, for example. Maybe it’s just the novel reprints that started way too high during the preorder season? Cards that have been printed or reprinted more recently are closer to a reasonable price—this makes sense since there’s plenty of data out there to indicate around where these card prices will settle. Pricing a card that was printed only once over 20 years ago, however, can be difficult. Naturally, sellers are going to start high and then drop their prices as time goes forward.

My advice remains the same: hold off on pre-ordering singles unless you need them for some urgent event. If Imperial Seal is crucial to your 60-card deck for some reason, then thank your lucky stars there’s now an alternative out there that isn’t $1500. But if you can afford to wait a couple more weeks, I think you’ll find better prices.

What About Sealed Product?

This question is not as trivial. It’s well known at this point that pre-ordering singles can be a waste of money. And I want to say that preordering sealed booster boxes of Double Masters 2022 will yield the same consequence. As new cards have been spoiled, sealed boxes of this set have climbed in price.

According to eBay’s completed listings, the first boxes of Double Masters 2022 sold for around $250-$260 back in early June. From there, boxes actually dropped in price, selling for as low as $233 on June 16th. Since then boxes have rebounded to their current price point of around $375. That’s already a significant gain for folks who got in near the low!

It would be easy for me to declare that preordering boxes at this new, higher price point would be a waste of money much like the singles. That very well may still be the case. However, I looked up prices for booster boxes of the first Double Masters set, and found the below:

At $680 for a booster box, that leaves some significant upside for Double Masters 2022 boxes if we assume they follow the same trajectory. Of course, it’s not a foregone conclusion that these boxes will follow the same path that the original Double Masters boxes did. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these selling for north of $500 in a couple of years.

Long term, these seem like find products to hold. The big question is when to purchase them. I suppose if you bought boxes now for $375 and held for a few years and sold for $500-$600, you’d make some money. However, I wonder if box prices will drop between now and then before resuming their climb higher? It’s possible. One of my Magic finance Twitter friends seems confident that this will be the case, and that boxes will drop once the product is officially launched and more readily available in stores.

I’m inclined to agree, and this is why I recommend holding off on preordering booster boxes at this point. If you didn’t buy before spoiler season began, you missed the first chance at cheap boxes. But you should get another chance in the coming months—monitor the market closely, and you should find a better price point.

The Rest of the Secondary Market

One last thing I wanted to touch on is the boon this set may be for the rest of the secondary market. Every time people are opening $100+ cards from booster packs, it gives them an opportunity to trade their recent windfalls for other staples. Think about it: a playset of Imperial Seals could be used to trade for an Underground Sea. A smattering of mythic rares opened from a booster box could be used to trade for a Mox Diamond.

I think you get the point. Every time a new set comes out with a good deal of fanfare and hype, it infuses more cash into the Magic market. As the old adage goes, a rising tide lifts all ships. I wonder if this will transpire again with Double Masters 2022? If it does, it’ll probably take some number of months before we see the effects. With the backdrop of a contracting economy and rampant inflation, it may not happen at all. That said, the healthy pricing of this set so far gives me hope that the market remains healthy and robust despite a less-than-optimal economic backdrop.

What About The Reserved List?

Though this article is mostly about Double Masters 2022 cards and prices, I'd be remiss to not mention Reserved List cards when talking about the greater Magic market. Lately, I've been watching Reserved List prices fade.

A successful reprint set like Double Masters 2022 could be the ideal catalyst to rekindle interest in Magic’s oldest, most sought-after cards, and could propel prices to new highs in 2023. Some of the lesser Four Horsemen Reserved List cards have pulled back more significantly and may offer attractive entry price points if you’ve been holding out on purchasing them.

I’m not screaming to buy Dual Lands from the rooftops, mind you. I’m just speculating that, with Reserved List prices ebbing and flowing in waves, we could be due for another wave of buying sometime over the next twelve to eighteen months, and a successful reprint set like Double Masters 2022 could help provide the liquidity needed in the market to drive that wave of buying.

The key takeaway is that there’s no urgency here. I’m just mindful of this set’s success (so far) and it gives me optimism for a healthy secondary market.

Wrapping It Up

Reprint sets have historically been a huge success for Wizards of the Coast, so it’s no surprise to see yet another coming out this summer. Considering how expensive the first Double Masters set has become, combined with an impressive array of valuable reprints, it stands to reason that Double Masters 2022 will follow suit and be equally successful.

This makes me very happy—a successful premium set like Double Masters 2022 will be a boon for everyone involved with the Magic market. People will scoop up this product left and right, which bodes very well for retailers and brick-and-mortar stores selling the product. Naturally, this means heftier profits for Wizards of the Coast and their parent company, Hasbro.

Most importantly (from my vantage point), a healthy, successful set release means a cash infusion for the secondary market, bolstering confidence in the game’s health. As long as the game remains healthy and strong, singles will maintain their price points. This means older, more collectible cards will also have an opportunity for further growth. This last part doesn’t happen quickly, mind you, but I hope to see some effects by Spring 2023.

In the meantime, hold off on ordering any Double Masters 2022 product for now. Prices will come down a bit as we approach peak supply post-release. That’ll be your chance at acquiring Commander staples like Phyrexian Altar as well as booster boxes near their lows.

While you’re at it, have a shopping list ready for older, Reserved List cards you’ve been wanting. They’ve been dropping in price lately, and this may be a good chance to pick them up before the tide rises once again, sending prices of Dual Lands and the like even higher.

The cycle continues, and we rinse and repeat once more.

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