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Why Hasn’t Modern Masters Gone Up?

Modern Masters logoFor those of you expecting another movie review, I did warn you that this site would be a bit random.

Modern Masters was an amazingly fun set to draft. There were obvious decks waiting to be tweaked in saprolings and affinity and a host of more subtle archetypes. Or you could just crack Kiki Jiki and pair it with any creature, ideally one with a come into play ability, and generally win.

When Modern Masters came out there was another factor that drove its immense popularity. The cards were expected not only to be valuable but to continue to rise in value. Packs generally sold at almost double the suggested retail of $6.99 a pack. Given the limited print run, many thought packs would shoot up in value like Bitcoins and Apple stock combined. That hasn’t turned out to be the case.

A few weeks ago CoolStuffInc.com briefly had booster boxes on sale for $199.99 before raising their price back to $219.99. Ebay values have gone up a bit in the last few months, from a common price of around $220 a box to the current average of around $240. Individual prices on key cards like Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant and Vendilion Clique have all flatlined since July. What gives?

Tarmogoyf

The chasiest of chase cards.

I think there are several reasons that Modern Masters values haven’t gone up like some expected.

  • There was a second wave of shipments, as discussed on mtgsalvation.com and elsewhere. Could it be that supply is actually higher than we originally anticipated? Did Wizards go back to the well and print more cards or did they just release the set in two shipments?
  • During the modern season kicked off by the set’s release, many players who wanted to start playing the format were able to participate in release events and drafts which increased their supply of cards. They were also able to trade with friends rather than having to buy singles. The cards were more generally available than they will ever be again (barring further reprints).
  • After modern season, M14 and Theros block and the start of Standard season has removed the focus from modern.

I also have to wonder if the hoarding factor is at play here. Some supply of new Magic cards is taken by those who just play casually or just don’t take care of their cards. However, I would think most people buying Modern Masters are more serious players who will take better care of their cards, hoard packs, and already have many of these cards. In other words, is the after market supply actually higher than expected because more people bought the set with the intent of reselling rather than keeping the cards?

I do expect demand to go up even if supply is higher than anticipated. The next modern season isn’t until June 7, 2014. It will be exactly a year between the set’s initial release and the start of the next modern season. Grand Prix Prague and Pro Tour Valencia are both modern but won’t drive demand much here in the States. However, Grand Prix Richmond from March 7-9 might. Prices might start increasing as soon as February. If not, we still have the modern format GP Minneapolis from May 9-11.

Between all these events and increased interest in the modern season, culminating in Pro Tour Honolulu in October 2014, I would expect prices to start creeping up early in 2014. If not, and you’re getting impatient with that box of Modern Masters in your closet, you can always invite some friends over and have a lot of fun drafting.

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Roy Z

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