Is Nexus Of Fate The Next $100 Standard Card?

Chas Andres had his hands full this Pro Tour! It wasn’t so much the breakout deck as it was the breakout card, as Nexus of Fate is proving to be quite the conundrum in Magic finance! Where does this ride go next?

Pro Tour 25th Anniversary is in the books, and it was quite the event.
Seeing Legacy on the game’s biggest stage was incredible, and the Silver
Showcase was…well, it may not have been the best way to introduce
Hearthstone players to our favorite game, but I enjoyed the heck out of
watching it.

I’ll be touching on all three major formats in my financial wrap-up today,
but I wanted to start by taking a couple of pages to talk about Nexus of
Fate. It was far from the most dominant card of the weekend-heck, it only
showed up in a single deck played by just six competitors-but the financial
implications of a buy-a-box promo card showing up at the Pro Tour at all,
much less looking great on camera all weekend, are incredibly

Uncharted Territory

Quite simply, there has never been a relevant Standard-legal card with a
lower supply relative to the rest of the card pool than Nexus of Fate.

Oh, sure, there are more copies of Nexus of Fate now than there were, say,
Juzam Djinns back during the Arabian Nights days, but the player
base was also a heck of a lot smaller back then. And until Firesong and
Sunspeaker came along earlier this year, all of Magic’s promos were either
reprints or cards that weren’t legal to play in Standard.

The fact that WotC was willing to make their buy-a-box promos
Standard-legal was an incredibly dangerous proposition from the start.
While I appreciate their decision to help boost LGS sales, they could have
given these cards a DCI expansion symbol, made them legal in Legacy, and
casual demand would have been more than enough to drive people down to
their LGS to buy a box regardless. Heck, they could have even made the
cards even more powerful had they done that.

From the start, there were only two outcomes for these promos: either the
buy-a-box cards wouldn’t be good enough for competitive play, at which
point there was no real upside to making them legal in Standard in the
first place, or they would end up being good enough for competitive play
and things would start getting nutty.

It only took two sets for things to start getting nutty.

The Case for Nexus of Fate, $100 Standard Card

The best mythic rares in any given set tend to end up somewhere between $25
and $60. Prices generally only hit the high end of that range if they’re
required to play multiple tier one decks or if it’s early enough in the
set’s lifespan that the available supply of cards is still very low. If
things get too buck wild, big dealers will simply start cracking cases upon
cases of the set to fill orders.

That’s why only true multi-format staple mythics will stay at or above that
$60 mark for long. Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy,
Tarmogoyf, etc. Even Liliana of the Veil spent plenty of time in the
$20-$30 range during her run in Standard, and we all know what that card is
capable of.

But there are no more copies of Nexus of Fate to open. All of the copies
that will (presumably) exist during the card’s entire run in Standard are
already out there. Plenty of them have been jammed into Commander decks,
never to return. The rest are kicking around the marketplace, being bought
and sold all over the world. There is no “just open a couple of cases”
safety valve for vendors to open if the price starts getting too high. You
cannot buy this card at retail anymore. Nexus of Fate has been

It’s also still legal to play in Standard for another fourteen months.

We’re used to crazy financial buyout shenanigans happening to useless old
Reserved List cards, but Standard has been more or less exempt from these
frustrations. There are too many extant copies of every Standard-legal card
to make buyouts worthwhile, and more are opened every day. You would need
hundreds of thousands of dollars to even attempt a buyout of Karn, Scion of
Urza, and it probably wouldn’t move the needle for more than a couple of
days-not early enough time to flip your copies at a profit.

Nexus of Fate is different. While it’s probably a bit too expensive and
ubiquitous for a single cabal to buy it out entirely, it’s incredibly
susceptible to the sort of “FOMO” buyout that’s been plaguing Legacy in
recent months. If enough people decide that they need a set of these ASAP,
they will all disappear from the internet in a matter of hours and the
price will skyrocket.

This isn’t just theory, by the way. This is more or less what happened on
Magic Online late last week, when there were basically no copies of Nexus
of Fate available for anyone to buy at any price. The card jumped from 30
tickets to 60 tickets, and even getting one at 60 was nearly impossible.
The MTGO team had to massively goose the card’s treasure chest drop rate,
which stabilized the market and caused the card to settle back down in the
30 ticket range.

It’s certainly worth noting here that there are way more paper
copies of Nexus of Fate than digital ones-there was no buy-a-box promo on
MTGO, so players simply had to get very lucky in opening their treasure
chests if they wanted one. On the other hand, there’s no way for WotC to do
any sort of paper equivalent of goosing the treasure chest drop rate in the
world of paper Magic. Even if they wanted to give out more copies of the
card, it would probably take at least a couple of months to print and
distribute them.

The fact that Nexus of Fate has now been proven to be a tournament-caliber
card changes everything. While Bant Nexus didn’t make the Top 4 in
Minneapolis, you could make a reasonable argument that it would have done
so had the Pro Tour not been a team format. The deck’s top two pilots had
an incredible weekend of Standard, and I see no reason to believe that
Nexus of Fate won’t be a real player in the current metagame.

Quite simply, there has never been a relevant Standard-Legal card with a lower supply relative to the rest of the card pool than Nexus of Fate.

Quite simply, there has never been a relevant Standard-Legal card with a lower supply relative to the rest of the card pool than Nexus of Fate.

And even if I’m wrong, what happens if Nexus of Fate ends up in some sort
of U/R Combo brew once Guilds of Ravnica is released? What if it’s
in a tier one deck next spring, when the available supply of Nexus of Fate
promos has dwindled even farther? The fact that everybody knows how scarce
this card is only exacerbates the situation, because even the slightest
whiff of playability is going to cause people to start throwing sets of
these in their digital shopping carts and hitting the “buy” button as fast
as they can.

I know it seems odd to put Nexus of Fate on the same financial tier as
former format powerhouses like Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Tarmogoyf, but
there are just so few copies of this card out there. It won’t take much for
someone or something to tip Nexus of Fate over the edge, and I feel like
there’s a very good chance that this thing will hit at least $60 at some
point over the next year with a shot at triple digits. In fact, had the
card made Top 4 this weekend, it would likely be $60 already. For all I
know, it was bought out last night and it’s there already.

The Case Against Nexus of Fate, $100 Standard Card

These are the three things that prevent me from going all-in on Nexus of
Fate right now:

  • We’re currently in the lame duckiest of lame duck Standard formats.
    Not only are we only about a month and a half away from set
    rotation, but the Pro Tour proved that red-based aggro decks still
    rule the roost. Almost half the field brought some variant of R/B
    or Mono-Red Aggro to Minneapolis, and that’s simply not different
    enough from the Pro Tour Dominaria metagame to entice a
    whole bunch of new blood to Standard right now. Even if Bant Nexus
    or another Nexus of Fate deck takes off, there just aren’t a lot of
    players looking to buy in at the moment.
  • Bant Nexus isn’t going to survive rotation. It loses one of its
    fogs when Amonkhet rotates, and that’s probably the
    ballgame. So if we’re not expecting a ton of buyers immediately
    after the Pro Tour, then we’re probably banking on Nexus of Fate to
    still be relevant (or that it will become more relevant) once Guilds of Ravnica is released. That’s far from a sure
    thing. It’s possible that we’ll have completely forgotten about
    Nexus of Fate by this time next year.

  • It’s far easier for WotC to ban Nexus of Fate than any other
    Standard card. Since it isn’t being opened in packs, they can just
    sort of say, “our bad, we never should have made buy-a-box promos
    legal in Standard in the first place, from here on out they’ll just
    be Legacy- and Vintage-legal like Battlebond and Conspiracy cards.” They wouldn’t even have to wait until
    the card broke the format to do this, they could simply announce it
    as a policy change at any point. This would drop the price of the
    card back down to $10.

To Nexus or Not?

It completely depends on how risk-adverse you are. There’s a very real
chance that people continue to ignore the current Standard format and that
Nexus of Fate doesn’t amount to anything later in the year. You could also
get completely blown out by a policy change banning. At $35 a pop, the
going rate for Nexus as of this writing, the downside here is fairly

On the other hand, there hasn’t been a Standard-legal card with as much
upside as Nexus of Fate in years. It won’t take much play for this thing to
shoot up the charts, and even a hint of post-Guilds viability
could have this thing in the $60-$70 range. If everything breaks in your
favor, this is the sort of spec that can buy you a new Modern deck all by

So. How lucky to you feel?

R/B Vengevine: The Real Breakout Deck of Pro Tour 25th

Let’s leave Nexus of Fate behind for a moment and talk about the most
financially-relevant deck of the weekend. A week ago, R/B Vengevine was
essentially unknown. Now it’s a tier one (or at least tier two) deck in
Modern. That is a very big deal.

You have already missed the first round of price spikes. Vengevine went
from $25 to $85 this weekend, and Bridge from Below surged from $10 to $40.
I’m sad that all of this happened in between articles, because
I wish I’d been able to tip you off ahead of time
. As it was, I barely had time to figure out what was going on before both
of these cards were bought out everywhere. In 2018, these things happen in
hours, not days.

If you have either if these cards and you’re not planning to play R/B
Vengevine, I’d sell ASAP. It’s not that the deck isn’t good-R/B Vengevine
is quite good-but selling into the initial hype with these sorts of things
is almost always correct. Even if R/B Vengevine doesn’t end up suffering
from the fact that it’s no longer a secret, take advantage of the deck’s
shiny newness and current community focus.

In the meantime, it’s worth thinking about other cards from this deck that
might not have spiked yet. Gravecrawler appears to be lagging a bit behind
the other two, but it’ll probably be sold out by the time you’re reading
this. Hangarback Walker is my favorite buy after that, but the fact that
it’s more recent (and was printed in that weird Standard pre-con) should
keep it from going too far past $10. Don’t sleep on foil copies of
Stitcher’s Supplier, either, and we could see slight upticks for sideboard
staples like Thoughtseize, Collective Brutality, Leyline of the Void, and
Surgical Extraction.

Cashing Out on Ironworks

Last week, Emma Handy wrote a compelling article about why
Krark-Clan Ironworks should be banned in Modern.
She’s right on all counts, and the deck’s on-camera shenanigans at the Pro
Tour over the weekend only bolstered her argument. If Second Sunrise is
banned in Modern, Krark-Clan Ironworks should be as well. Don’t forget that
WotC has a different bar for decks like this than something like Humans,
which might be more ubiquitous but which will almost certainly be left

Don’t wait around and hold onto these cards through a banning. Krark-Clan
Ironworks would be a $4 card if it were banned in Modern, but it’s selling
for a cool $25 right now. Unless you’re planning to use this card at some
point soon, sell your copies ASAP.

Luckily, there aren’t too many other must-sells in this deck. Mox Opal and
Engineered Explosives will both drop a bit if Ironworks is banned, but I
don’t expect either of these cards to get the ban hammer themselves, and
they both see play all over the format. Chromatic Star is also a staple in
Tron, so that one’s not going anywhere. I guess Grove of the Burnwillows
might fall off, but that one didn’t really spike much during Ironworks’
latest run of dominance regardless.

And, of course, don’t buy into this deck right now. I know you were excited
by what you saw on camera over the weekend, but it’s the sort of degenerate
strategy that WotC does not like to let thrive in Modern. Even if it
survives the next B&R Announcement, Ironworks’ days are numbered.

Lingering Death

Death’s Shadow is back for yet another go-round at the top of a metagame,
this time in the hands of Josh Utter-Leyton’s Pro Tour 25th Anniversary
Legacy deck. Death’s Shadow has been kicking around the Legacy metagame in
the weeks since the Deathrite Shaman banning, but this iteration of the
deck seems likely to take it into the format’s top tier.

Financially, it’s worth noting that this deck is completely free of
Reserved List cards other than a whopping two copies of Underground Sea.
Replace one of them with a Watery Grave and another with a Darkslick Shores
or something and you’ve got yourself 98% of a tier one Legacy list without
having to dip into the Reserved List at all. If you’ve been looking to get
into the format, I highly recommend taking this path.

While Legacy doesn’t tend to move the finance needle very much, there are a
few interesting pick-ups here. Death’s Shadow is still under $10 thanks to
its reprint in Modern Masters 2017, but I fully expect it to hit
$20 again before its next reprint. It’s a great “throw it in a box for a
year” spec with an incredibly low risk profile.

Wasteland is also likely to keep ticking up. The card is far more powerful
in a post-Deathrite world, and it’s gone from $25 to $35 in just a couple
of months. This is one of those cards where you can blink and it’ll be $50
again. Get your set now if you’ve been putting it off.

Lastly, Utter-Leyton came up with the cool idea of adding Throne of Geth to
the sideboard of this deck as a way to fight off opposing Chalice of the
Void issues. Right now, copies of this card are just $0.50 and foils are
just $5. Since Throne of Geth only saw one printing and it was back in Scars of Mirrodin, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up at $3
with foils around $20-$25.

This Week’s Trends

  • For the third straight week, a couple of enchantment-related cards
    spiked thanks to Commander 2018. This time, it was Greater
    Auramancy and Starfield of Nyx. Next up? Take a look at Idyllic
    Tutor, which ticked up a couple of bucks over the weekend and looks
    poised for more.

  • Lastly, Mark Rosewater

    confirmed yet again on his blog

    that WotC has no current plans to revise or repeal the Reserved
    List. As I said earlier in the year, if this was going to happen
    anytime soon, it would have happened in conjunction with Masters 25 or some other part of their 25th Anniversary
    Celebration. Mark’s re-confirmation was likely a response to a
    poorly-written fake Reserved List repeal that was going around
    Facebook last week. It was shared way too many times on my
    wall, and nothing about it stood up to the slightest bit of
    scrutiny. Just like with political news, it’s important to be
    scrupulous about checking the sources of your Magic: the Gathering
    posts to ensure that you’re not contributing to an ecosystem of