Happy holidays! 'Tis the season for giving gifts and receiving awesome Magic stuff. However, there is now more product than ever! What gifts are great versus bland? Here are some ideas that will spark joy for your favorite Magic player or even yourself. Done with your holiday shopping? There are some opportunities to flip as well!
Lands are the triple threat of Magic and easily the best permanent type. They are necessary, the fundamental building block of every deck, and have always been some of the most valuable and collectible cards as well. Of course, that means the best lands have long been the most expensive cards. However, right now, prices are extremely attractive on some of the absolute best lands ever printed.
Let's take a look at the horizon lands, named for Horizon Canopy. Personally, I think "canopy lands" is a cooler name, but I digress. These debuted in the $15 range and have been steadily creeping to the $5 range for most versions. Can they go much lower? I don't think so. Yes, they will be reprinted, likely in the next Modern Horizons set. However, between now and then, there are a lot of games of Magic to be played, and these lands are straight value in most decks, particularly Commander.
Not only that, but foil versions have decreased, if by quite a bit less, in the last year. For example, Cardkingdom is paying $21.45 in store credit for foil Waterlogged Grove, and there are quite a few available for just about exactly that amount on both TCGplayer and eBay. When I can buy cards for the same price or less than a large card store, it generally means it's a good idea. Here I am leveraging the data, sales, and sentiment of a huge retailer in addition to my own. It's usually been the right move!
Triomes? More Like Du-Omes!
The Triomes are good lands in multiple formats. My empirical evidence has conclusively shown that they are easily as good as any other two-color land, and since they tap for three colors and have cycling, they're just plain better. It is my opinion that they are near the bottom in the pricing cycle, so I am ready to purchase several. Additionally, I cannot see a reason for a reprint in the next year considering they just completed the cycle with Streets of New Capenna. In much the same way as the horizon lands, the foils had dropped previously but are mostly stable or climbing now.
Here we are almost entirely talking about Revised edition dual lands. The icy reception to Magic 30th Anniversary did have a chilling effect on ABUR card prices but, in general, expensive Revised cards were hit the hardest. However, it appears that they have mostly recovered in price and are starting to trend back upwards. If you have been waiting for the price to drop on these, well, you mostly missed it. However, it's still a good deal to buy near the bottom. I've picked up several of the cheaper duals and even a graded one for absolutely bargain basement prices but now's sort of a last-chance window to snap them up.
While lands aren't the most exciting or flashy cards, they are some of the most needed. Horizons and Triomes are better than a random pack of cards and a true dual is better than an entire box (or two or three) of new cards. Seriously! Additionally, these lands range at all different price points. Whether regular, foil, showcase or vintage, there's a land for every budget.
Serialized Brothers' War
The name is Quiet Speculation, but here I have to open my mouth. I'm very surprised by the somewhat mild prices for serialized cards. With just a handful in existence and the fact that retro and schematic cards look amazing, it's a no-brainer to conclude these have value. However, the price premium is not unattainable. If these cards, particularly "meme" numbers, don't skyrocket in price over the years, I'd be shocked. Now imagine giving or receiving a desired card with a special, personal number? Talk about the perfect gift for any Magic enthusiast, and very nearly one of a kind. There may just be someone out there who would kill for a seemingly random number down the line.
One of the Best Sealed Products Ever, Jumpstart 2022
I'm not a huge fan of the crazy amount of reprints that Wizards dumps into the market. However, Jumpstart 2022 is very good. It's built for packwars, which it does exceedingly well! Furthermore, these aren't just vanilla reprints. You get some very cool, new artwork. And hey, they aren't $250 per pack like 30th Anniversary proxy packs. They are very reasonably priced. I give credit where credit is due. This is a successful execution of what this type of product must be for Magic to grow.
The target audience loves cracking packs, drafting, and sealed, and Jumpstart checks all the boxes. Commander player? There are a lot of great legends. New player? Packwars is an easy way to learn. You cannot go wrong here! Instead of the standard "this product is not for you," Jumpstart really is a product for everyone. That is what makes it a great gift!
The Only Thing Better Than Cards? Accessories!
Dice, sleeves, playmats, life counters, deck boxes; Magic players need a lot of stuff besides cards! A huge number of small businesses produce nothing but completely custom, one-of-a-kind accessories that any Magic player would enjoy. You might expect the price for custom accoutrements to be high, but turns out it's only a slight premium!
Getting matching sleeves, a deck box and playmat for that completed Commander deck is the cherry on top that makes an excellent and thoughtful gift for anyone.
What Not To Gift
Alright, let's talk about bulk lots, grab bags, repacks, mystery boosters, that sort of thing. These are marketed as gift ideas and, for the right person, they are okay. However, if you compare the price paid versus what you could have gotten instead, these are not good buys. Here's just one real life example how.
A good friend of mine from many years ago made a deck full of Yotian Soldier, and I mean full. He rule zero'd and told his opponent his deck had far more than the legal four of and no one complained during casual play. All the time people would hand him another one or two Soldiers and he would add them to the deck. At last count it was something like 100 of them.
He would appreciate finding a Yotian in a bulk lot and it wouldn't matter that the other cards were worth pennies. However, for the same amount of money, I could hand him a stack of Soldiers. Alternatively, I could get them a few copies from Antiquities.
Which would make such a player happier? I'm sure they would rather get either original copies or mass quantities of the single card they want versus a pile of generic cards and only one Soldier. More cards does not equal more happy, but more of the right stuff does.
Of Course, the Best Gift Is You
One gift every Magic player treasures is more Magic players. New to Magic? Well, there's still a great opportunity to learn to play with either Jumpstart or the new Commander Starter decks. These could be the easiest and best ways to introduce your friends or significant other to the game. The gift of time is the most valuable and special of all, and these products allow you to make good use of it.
Hopefully I've helped cut through the myriad choices in the Magic market. There are over 25,000 unique Magic cards and many of them are downright awful. Don't waste your money on awful cards or bulk gambles when there are a lot of sure wins out there. Whether it's sealed, singles, or accessories, you can't go wrong with some of the above items. Believe me, your Magic player will thank you!
What's the best Magic gift someone gave you? What was the best gift you've given? Let me know in the comments!