A $25 card doubled in price last week. Do you know which one it was?
It wasn’t Blood Moon, although it is getting pretty hard to find those below $30. Goblin Guide is up to $30 as well, and both Inkmoth Nexus and Crucible of
Worlds gained value after being passed over for Modern Masters 2015. In fact, almost every Modern staple that wasn’t included in MM2015 is still
trending slowly upward.
The mythic rare I’m talking about isn’t in Modern Masters 2015, but that’s because it wasn’t eligible for the set. In fact, it’s not even legal in
Modern. The card in question? Dack Fayden, the greatest thief in the multiverse. His current retail price is $44.99, up almost 50% since early last week.
To be fair, Dack’s price surge was almost certainly caused by a speculator-fueled buyout. I have serious doubts that the new price will stick, and I expect
to see $35-$40 copies of Dack popping up as soon as next week. The planeswalker’s price shouldn’t drop all the way back down to $25, though, because this
sort of spike was bound to happen sooner or later. Dack Fayden has been on my speculation radar for months, and I was already planning to write this
article before his price went up. After all, Conspiracy was released almost exactly one year ago, and I think it’s high time we revisit one of the
most unusual and fascinating sets in all of Magic history.
Freedom From Rotation
It’s hard to find the right time to buy rotating staples. I usually write my yearly ‘buy in now’ article in late July or early August, but there are plenty
of cards that don’t like to play by the rules. Abrupt Decay bottomed out the winter before rotation and had already doubled by August of 2014. Cavern of
Souls, on the other hand, kept dropping in price for months after rotation.
The proper buying window on rotating cards is hard to nail down because it’s difficult to properly account for where most of the demand is coming from on
multi-format staples. We all knew that Abrupt Decay and Cavern of Souls were both played in Standard, Modern, Legacy, and casual play, but we didn’t really
know which formats were most crucial in driving up the price until the Standard mages started selling their copies. As it turned out, the price of Abrupt
Decay was mostly being driven by Eternal players, while the value of Cavern of Souls had more to do with Standard. That’s why Abrupt Decay spiked early
(Eternal players didn’t sell their copies during rotation), and Cavern spiked late (people held their copies through rotation believing that the price
wouldn’t drop, and the market flooded when demand fell through the floor). Even though both cards are worth more than their pre-rotation price now, nailing
the buying window would’ve turned your good spec into a great one.
Cards from sets like Conspiracy don’t have that problem. They aren’t Standard or Modern legal, so singles prices don’t fluctuate based on weekly tournament
results. In effect, the set has already rotated. Short of a reprint or the fallout of a buyout spike, there isn’t anything that might cause any of the
these cards to drop in price. The buying window is still wide open.
When is the best time to buy Conspiracy cards? That would be toward the end of last summer, when drafts were firing and singles were everywhere.
Many of the best cards in Conspiracy have already spiked since then and aren’t likely to make any other significant gains for a while.
Otherwise, the best time to buy is right now. According to my price charts, most of the high-end Conspiracy cards bottomed out in early April and
have finally begun to trend upward. At this point next year, some of these cards will be worth 30-50% what they’ll cost you right now. Most of the best
targets in Conspiracy are slow, long-term risers-unexciting specs on the surface, but the bread and butter of any well curated long-term
collection. If you’re a day trader who likes quick-flipping cards, this isn’t the article for you. If you’re the kind of speculator who loves buying a card
for $2 today and selling it for $5 in a couple of years, it’s time to give Conspiracy a serious second look.
Unlike entries in The Modern Series, I’m going to pay special attention to foil prices in this article. Conspiracy foils have always had a higher
than average price multiplier because the set was under-opened and most of the cards were aimed at the portion of the player base that likes foils the
most. While Conspiracy foils were underpriced when the set was spoiled, most of them spiked very quickly and never dropped in price. I doubt we’ll find too
much hidden value here, but it’s worth a look nonetheless.
Dack Fayden – $44.99 (Foil $399.99)
Dack Fayden would have been at the top of my spec list if he hadn’t spiked in price last week. Dack doesn’t see much Eternal play, but he’s a staple in
Legacy Grixis Control as well as in many Vintage control decks. The fact that he’s a significant player in Magic’s oldest format as well as a Cube staple
is why the foil is so darned expensive compared to normal copies, by the way-these are the players with the most money and the most desire to own rare
Dack Fayden’s playability doesn’t stop there, though. He’s also fantastic in casual and Commander play. The utility of ‘steal an artifact’ is lost on no
one, and his card filtering is useful at every stage of the game. I doubt too many casual players are willing to pay $50 for any card, which severely
limits its upside. The only place where Dack might reasonably be reprinted is as a judge foil, though, which means that the card’s price floor is
relatively high has well. A judge foil reprinting could lop $100 off the set foil price, but it wouldn’t hurt the price of non-foil Dack at all. If the
planeswalker drops back down to $30-$35 after the spike evens out, I’m going to be trading heavily for them.
Scourge of the Throne – $13.49 (Foil $99.99)
Just like most of the other casual Dragons, Scourge of the Throne spiked during Dragons of Tarkir spoiler season. It jumped from $6 to $20
overnight before settling in around $14-similar to the price curve I expect Dack Fayden to follow as his price normalizes and levels out. While Scourge of
the Throne isn’t the most powerful casual card in the world, it does give Dragon-based Commander decks exactly what they want (more attacks!) while still
giving its controller the illusion of multiplayer neutrality.
I doubt we’ll see cards with dethrone again soon, but even if we do I don’t think they’ll reprint any of the ability’s current flagship cards. WotC will
want to use that design space to create new dethrone gems. That makes Scourge of the Throne a safe long-term hold. I don’t love $13.49 as the buy-in for a
casual-only Dragon, but the other factors tell me that there’s $20-$30 upside here. Trading for Scourges at retail is totally fine.
As for the foil value, the price tag shows just how under-opened Conspiracy was. A hundred bucks for a foil mythic that isn’t eligible to be your
Commander, isn’t good in Cube, and isn’t played in a single Vintage or Legacy deck! That’s nuts! I can’t imagine it’s easy to find a buyer for one of these
if you’re trying to trade it away, but there are so few of them out there that you can pretty much name your price if you do find an interested party.
Council’s Judgment – $9.85 (Foil $79.99)
Three cards in, and we finally have a spec buy that I like. Council’s Judgment sees a ton of Legacy play, showing up in Deathblade, Stoneblade, Miracles,
Jeskai Delver, Death and Taxes, and Esper Control. It’s usually a one-of or two-of, but the variety of decks that want to play this bodes well for the
card’s future value. Council’s Judgment is also a Cube staple, though it’s not nearly as good in most multiplayer games (or Commander decks) as it is in
This is another card I doubt we’ll see again soon save for a potential judge foil. $9.85 might seem like a lot for a Legacy-only card from a recent set,
but this is the sort of card where it makes sense to grab a playset now and hold them for a couple of years. Have you seen the price of Flusterstorm
Exploration – $8.69 (Foil $39.99)
In terms of competitive Magic, Exploration is a single deck card. You’re either playing four copies of Exploration in your Legacy Lands deck or you’re not
playing the card at all. While I’d normally be salivating over a card played as a four-of in a very good Legacy build, the fact that you need a copy of The
Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale to play with Lands at all makes Exploration a fairly poor spec from a competitive perspective. The barrier to entry is just too
In terms of casual Magic, Exploration is ill-suited to current playstyles. A supremely powerful card as a 4-of in 60-card decks, Exploration is far weaker
in a singleton/Commander world where you can’t build around it as much and it’s hard to mitigate the loss of card advantage.
All of that said, Exploration will probably end up back in the $12-$15 range just based on how unique and powerful it is. That’s the reason why it’s the
fourth most valuable card in Conspiracy despite not seeing much play. As the entire set continues to trend upward, Exploration will follow. It’s a
fine trade target at current retail, though not an exciting one.
Mirari’s Wake – $7.49 (Foil $19.99)
Mana Reflection is a $20 card, and Mirari’s Wake was heading in that direction before Conspiracy brought its price back down to earth. You need to
run both green and white in order to play it, but the creature pump and cheaper mana cost more than make up for the color commitment. Mirari’s Wake is the
kind of card that doesn’t really make it into Standard-legal sets anymore, so I’d be surprised if we see it reprinted anytime soon. It’s a safe trade
target at current retail.
Foil copies of Mirari’s Wake are an even better buy, though. There are two other versions out there (the Judgment set foil and judge promo foil),
but the multiplier on foils like this is usually much higher. It’s a fine trade target at $20, and it should end up at $40 at some point.
Reflecting Pool – $6.75 (Foil $24.99)
Reflecting Pool shows up in Modern from time to time, but it’s firmly entrenched in the second or third tier of lands. The card was an all-star when it was
Standard legal, but most of the fixing available in Eternal formats is significantly better.
If you’re buying Reflecting Pool now, you’re doing it either because you expect it to show up more in Modern or you’re hedging your bet against a Standard
reprint. I don’t love the first line of thought, but the second one is actually pretty reasonable. Reflecting Pool is probably a $12-$20 card if it returns
to Standard, and that’s a nice double-up if you’re buying in at the current retail price. Since a reprint in anything other than a Modern Masters or
Commander set is actually a win for you, the risk is pretty low.
Marchesa, the Black Rose – $6.15 (Foil $99.99)
Marchesa, the Black Rose has been a $6-$7 card since the day it was spoiled. Increased supply didn’t cause a price drop, nor has it ever spiked thanks to
market manipulation or a buying frenzy. That tells me that there has been constant real-world demand without much attention from the market-all good things
when it comes to finding a spec target. The foil is crazy expensive, but it looks like a steal next to Scourge of the Throne. Unlike the Dragon, Marchesa
is one of the best commanders ever printed.
Anyone who has ever played a multiplayer game with Marchesa, the Black Rose can speak to her power level and versatility. She’s fairly unassuming on the
surface, but there are multiple different ways to take advantage of her abilities. And if for some reason you don’t want to build around Marchesa, you
don’t have to-all you need to combine her with are other creatures.
Marchesa has a ticket booked on the $14.99 express. This is one of those cards you buy a set of now, stick in a box for two years, and trade for a juicy
Legacy staple at some point in the future. I’m all in.
Stifle – $6.09 (Foil $39.99)
Speaking of cards that I’m willing to straight-up buy a few copies of at current retail, here’s Stifle! In Legacy, Stifle’s a staple in Infect, many Delver
decks, and some Omni-Tell builds. A multi-archetype blue instant with a CMC of one that’s been a staple since the day it was printed? A four-of that has
only been printed as a judge foil and in two small sets? Yeah, Stifle isn’t gonna stick around the $5-$6 mark forever.
It’s pretty clear that Wizards of the Coast doesn’t want Stifle in Modern, and it’s not the kind of card that’s going to show up in a random pre-con,
either. I don’t think we’re going to see Stifle again for a very long time, which means that you can ride this thing back up to $15 or $20 if you’re
patient enough. It’s not an exciting spec, and I doubt it’ll ever spike like Dack Fayden did, but I bet it’ll outperform the stock market over the next
couple of years.
Pernicious Deed – $5.89 (Foil $39.99)
Pernicious Deed is in the same boat as Mirari’s Wake. Neither card sees much competitive play (Deed does show up in Nic Fit decks, but it’s not really a
Legacy staple), and they’re both two-color cards that are auto-includes in the right casual decks but which are reasonably hard to find a home for thanks
to the Commander format color identity rules. Again, Deed is a nice long-term hold, but its upside is fairly low. Trade for these at retail if you can, but
buying in with cash is unnecessary.
Misdirection – $3.19 (Foil $24.99)
There’s no reason not to buy a playset of Misdirection right now. The card doesn’t see as much play as Stifle in Legacy, but it’s a very unique spell with
an absurdly high situational power level. The fact that it sees play in Stoneblade, Sneak and Show, Miracles, Omni-Tell, U/B Tezzeret, and even some Infect
builds should tell you all you need to know. This is the sort of card that smart Eternal players buy a set of when they’re cheap whether they need them for
a current deck or not. The cost of acquisition will never be lower.
Swords to Plowshares – $3.15 (Foil $19.99)
Swords to Plowshares has been trending upward since late fall. Whenever Swords goes for more than six months without a reprint, it tends to start climbing
at about a dollar per year. Buying a set now if you want them for personal use is fine, but it’s worth knowing that WotC will find a way to bring this back
sooner or later. They always do, and that makes Swords to Plowshares a poor long-term hold. I keep a personal playset around, but that’s it.
Quick Thoughts on Sub-$3 Rares and Key Commons and Uncommons
Hydra Omnivore – $2.89 ($19.99 foil) –
Hydra Omnivore surged to $15 before Conspiracy came out. $2.89 is approaching bulk mythic status, and I have to believe it can only go up from
here. I’m buying a set of these and hoarding them.
Deathrender – $2.79 ($4.99 foil)
– Deathrender’s price has already started a steady climb, and it’s the next card in the set I expect to spike. Deathrender is the perfect card to play with
the Eldrazi titans, and people are going to want to combine this with their Modern Masters 2015 and Battle for Zendikar pulls.
Get a set of these ASAP. Foils are underpriced and should make for a decent buy as well.
Muzzio, Visionary Architect – $2.59 ($39.99 foil)
– Muzzio is a fine build-around-me Commander, but you need an expensive artifact in play and you need to invest seven mana before you get anything other
than a 1/3 out of the deal. There’s some upside here since all artifact-based legendary creatures see some Commander play, but I like most of the other
mythic legends in the set a lot more.
Coercive Portal – $2.25 ($24.99 foil)
– Remember when this showed up in Legacy and the foil spiked to, like, a hundred bucks? Coercive Portal does show up in MUD from time to time, but it
hasn’t really become an Eternal staple like some people thought it would. I like Portal at $2.25 because there’s no downside, and it is a colorless mythic
that has somewhat proven itself in Legacy, but it’s far from a sure thing. It might be a $30 card three years from now, but more likely than not, it’ll
still be a $3 card. I’ve got a few socked away, but I’m not looking to buy any more.
Vedalken Orrery – $2.05 ($7.99 foil)
– Vedalken Orrery was a $10 Commander staple until it was reprinted in Conspiracy. This card has the opposite profile of Coercive Portal-I can’t
ever see it spiking to $15 or $20, but I bet it’ll gain a dollar or two every year for the next three or four years. At $2, the risk is very low. Grab a
set and hold.
Phage the Untouchable – $1.89 ($9.99 foil)
– Phage gets a couple of points for being unique and cool, but she’s massively underpowered compared to today’s creatures. I can’t see her rising above $3.
Pristine Angel – $1.89 ($12.99 foil)
– Pristine Angel is very hard to kill, and I’ve certainly been on the frustrating end of this card in many a game of Commander. You can do so much better
than a 4/4 for 4WW these days, though.
Altar of Dementia – $1.79 ($5.99 foil)
– Altar of Dementia is a good mill card, and good mill cards always go up in price. I could see Altar hitting $5 again at some point, so I like it as a
trade target. Foils are also underpriced right now.
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden – $1.75 ($14.99 foil)
– Grenzo is a fantastic Commander and an underrated Cube staple. I could see the normal version of this hitting $5 without much trouble, and the foil could
spike to $30-$40. It might take people some time to jump on the bandwagon, though-you really need to play with Grenzo before you can get a sense of how
powerful he is. I’m a buyer, but cautiously.
Brago, King Eternal – $1.25 ($14.99 foil)
– Brago is powerful if there’s a clear route of attack, but I’ve found him to be slow and clunky unless I’m playing a four or five player game where
there’s someone I can take a bite out of every turn. People love to build UW and Bant comes-into-play decks, though, and this is an auto-include. Both the
foil and the normal copy have upside.
Edric, Spymaster of Trest – $1.19 ($7.99 foil)
– Edric spiked to $15 when it saw a bit of Legacy play back in 2012, but it hasn’t sniffed a tournament table in a while now. At a buck, though, you can’t
really go wrong. This is a Cube and Commander staple at the very least, so it’ll slowly climb back toward $3-$5.
Brainstorm – $1.19 ($69.99 foil)
– I suppose there technically aren’t infinite copies of Brainstorm out there, but thanks to the Ice Age printing it sure feels that way. There’s
no real upside in the normal copy-it might hit $2, but that’s not worth buying in now. The foil could hit $100 at some point, though. I don’t think we’ll
see it reprinted again anytime soon, so buying your copy now is fine if you really want one. It’s not a great spec target, though. The buy-in is just too
Dack’s Duplicate – $1.09 ($11.99 foil)
– I like both foil and non-foil copies of Dack’s Duplicant. It’s one of the best causal clone variants ever, and the fact that it’s just a buck makes it a
supremely low risk buy. The Dack-related flavor here hints against a reprint, too, so it’s a safe hold. Grab a set.
Silent Arbiter – $1.05 ($3.99 foil)
– The $3.99 price for the foil (and my own personal experience) tells me that very few people want to run Silent Arbiter in their Commander decks. It’s a
neat card in the right brew, but it’s fairly vulnerable, and most causal players don’t like shutting down their own attacks. I doubt this will fall to
bulk, but I don’t think it’ll get above $2-$3 either.
Reya Dawnbringer – $0.95 ($6.99 foil)
– Reya Dawnbringer has been printed into oblivion before, and it spent years in the dollar bin before the price finally started ticking up again a few
years back. Reya is fine in Commander, but she’s a tad expensive for what she does. I don’t think we’ll see her over $2-$3 again.
Selvala, Explorer Returned – $0.89 ($12.99 foil)
– Selvala is good, but she’s too narrow to see much play. There’s some upside in foils-I could see a double-up there at some point-but I doubt the non-foil
will ever be worth all that much. The foil is intriguing, but there’s no upside at $13. Stay away for now.
Decimate – $0.85 ($3.99 foil)
– Buy one or two of these so that you can stick it in a Gruul or Temur Commander deck if you ever build one. Other than that, it’s a low end spec. Getting
a set or two is fine, but there are plenty of cards on this list I’d buy first.
Squirrel Nest – $0.69 ($4.99 foil)
– Squirrel Nest has long been a casual favorite, and I don’t see that ever changing. The art on the Conspiracy version is awesome, too. I can’t
see Squirrel Nest hitting $3 again soon, but $1-$2 certainly isn’t out of the question. Foils seem underpriced to me as well.
Sulfuric Vortex – $0.65 ($9.99 foil)
– Sulfuric Vortex is an all-star in Cube play. It also shows up in some Legacy Burn and Delver decks, usually out of the sideboard. At just over bulk for
the non-foil, it’s a low risk spec with a reasonable amount of upside.
Basandra, Battle Seraph – $0.55 ($9.99 foil)
– Stay away from non-foil copies, but foil Angels tend go up in price over time. This is the only foil copy of Basandra out there, so I like it as a steady
riser. It could easily hit $20 at some point over the next few years.
Magister of Worth – $0.55 ($7.99 foil)
– Magister of Worth was the Prerelease foil for Conspiracy, so the price is low and the supply is high. That said, I still like it as a spec buy.
It’s an excellent casual card in a popular tribe and a great color combination. I could see it hitting $4-$5 at some point-not bad for what is essentially
a bulk rare right now.
Quick Thoughts on Foil Conspiracies & Draft Manipulation Cards
All of the prices here are for foil copies of these cards. If you want non-foil versions, they can all be found at bulk or near bulk prices, and I don’t
recommend buying them. I don’t think demand will ever outstrip supply for a Draft-only card like Canal Dredger or Cogwork Librarian.
- Lore Seeker – $39.99
- Backup Plan – $15.99
- Worldknit – $12.99
- Paliano, the High City – $9.99
- Deal Broker – $9.99
- Canal Dredger – $5.99
- Power Play – $3.99
- Advantageous Proclamation – $2.99
- Double Stroke – $2.99
- Aether Searcher – $2.99
- Agent of Acquisitions – $2.99
- Cogwork Grinder – $2.99
- Cogwork Librarian – $2.99
- Iterative Analysis – $1.99
- Secret Summoning – $1.99
- Unexpected Potential – $1.99
- Brago’s Favor – $0.99
- Muzzio’s Preparations – $0.99
- Secrets of Paradise – $0.99
- Immediate Action – $0.75
- Sentinel Dispatch – $0.75
- Cogwork Tracker – $0.75
- Lurking Automaton – $0.75
- Whispergear Sneak – $0.75
- Cogwork Spy – $0.49
I’ve always been higher on foil copies of these cards than most. It probably comes from the fact that I love to mix the Draft wackiness of Conspiracy with
the serious nature of powered Cubing, so they were attractive to me from the start. The Cube I play with has Sol Ring and all nine pieces of power in it,
but Worldknit is also a windmill slam first pick. That’s just how I roll.
The price of foil Lore Seeker leads me to believe that I’m not alone on this island. That card spiked to $50 on the back of a buyout shortly after the set
was released, but the fact that it’s held most of its post-spike price tells me that there’s still hope for these oddballs. While most of the Draft-only
cards aren’t great outside of Conspiracy Limited, Backup Plan is an auto-include for any Cube that supports combo, Paliano, the High City is top
tier mana fixing, and both Lore Seeker and Worldknit are among the most fun Cube cards ever printed. I still think that foil Worldknit will be a $30 card
at some point within the next year or two, so that’s the one I’d focus on. Lore Seeker is also a fine trade target at current retail.
This Week’s Trends
Back in the world of Standard, Collected Company was last week’s big winner. Yohan Dudognon’s 9-0 record on Day 1 of Grand Prix Paris is a big
reason why the card spiked, and a different Collected Company brew piloted by Zan Syed managed to finish the event in second place. I was fairly
high on Collected Company in my Dragons of Tarkir set review, but I
thought it was going to find a home in Modern, not Standard. Needless to say, the card doubled in value immediately, and it’s hard to find copies
for less than $10 right now. If Collected Company takes over the metagame, I could see it stabilizing in the $10-$15 range. If not, it should be
back to $6-$8 before long. Regardless, I expect we’ll see a lot of different Collected Company brews as people attempt to figure out the best way
to use the card. That should keep demand very high for the next few weeks at least.
Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector are last week’s other big Standard winners, and neither card appears to be losing steam. While I can’t imagine
Den Protector seeing more play than it does right now, it is starting to give off that Sylvan Caryatid/Courser of Kruphix vibe. I’m not a huge fan
of trading for these at $10 each unless you need them, but I’m holding onto my copies for now. I wouldn’t be shocked if Den Protector ends up as a
$15 rare for the duration of the summer.
If Yohan Dudognon’s Four-Color Company deck ends up being the go-to brew for Collected Company, don’t sleep on Mantis Rider and Savage
Knuckleblade. Both cards are around the dollar mark and are very powerful. There’s some real upside there. I also still think that Rattleclaw
Mystic is underpriced at $2.
While the Modern cards not in MM2015 have all been trending upward, the cards in Modern Masters 2015 continue to drop in price. Even
Tarmogoyf, which was $174.99 just last week, is down to $159.99. As we explored last week, the expected value of a Modern
Masters pack was just about at the retail cost of said pack. That number is lower now, which makes buying singles a better deal, and buying packs
worse. I’m still happy to draft the set at retail as many times as I can, but I can’t recommend anyone buy a box at any markup beyond the
$9.99/pack retail price right now. I also wouldn’t be surprised if some of these singles prices rebound once people realize how top-heavy the set
is in terms of value. If you’re in the market for a Vendilion Clique or a Tarmogoyf, monitor these trends closely. The prices might actually bottom
out this week.