Legacy’s Allure – A Legacy Financial Forecast

SCG 10k St. Louis Offers First Chances to Qualify for the 2010 StarCityGames.com Invitational!
Tuesday, December 8th – With the bounty of tournaments in 2010, including the SCG 10K St. Louis this weekend, Legacy is set to see many cards increase in value or hold steady to already-high prices. This week, Doug outlines several categories of cards with examples to help you understand which cards should be picked up now, which can wait for later and the cards that could jump in price. Get your necessary financial and trading advice for Eternal formats in this week’s Legacy’s Allure!

Hot off the heels of my Income Tax final (finished half an hour ago), I’ve got money on my mind. Dovetailing with last week’s article about the 2010 Legacy schedule, I have been making a list of cards that are worth picking up now because they are likely to go up in price as 2010 progresses. I ranked them using a highly scientific method of subjective titles regarding the probability of them staying the same general price or rising in value. Call it a speculator’s hedge list or a collector’s savings sheet, sticking to it (should) save you money if you plan on playing a significant amount of Eternal magic, especially Legacy, in 2010.

The Sure Bets: Cards That Will Increase in Value

These are cards that are worth picking up as soon as possible because they will not lose value and will gain money for you as increased demand drives up the price.

Dual lands and Fetchlands: 2009 has seen Underground Sea hit $70 in some places, a gain of $30 over one year! The other dual lands have all increased a bit in value, with the best gain on the Blue duals (unsurprisingly). While Taiga has only seen a gain of about $5 and Scrubland[/author]“][author name="Scrubland"]Scrubland[/author] and Savannah are basically standing on the same price they were throughout 2009, the demand for them over several Grands Prix and all the StarCityGames.com $5,000 Legacy Open events will make them more desirable, and thus worth more.

Fetchlands have always had solid value; Blue fetches, like Blue duals, have seen the highest values. I don’t see the new fetchlands reducing the prices on existing ones by very much, even though the Onslaught lands are no longer Extended-legal. In years past, we’ve thought that when cards rotate out of Extended, they lose their value. This isn’t the case with more recent cards, as players are holding onto their chase cards and demanding chase-card prices on them if they are Eternal-playable. As an example, Pernicious Deed remains basically the same price that it was in Extended because of Eternal and casual play appeal. Vindicate is probably the best example of this. Anyway, let’s get back to fetchlands — they enable dual lands, which are the cornerstone of Legacy. If you’re going to pick up sets, do it soon.

Daze: Did you know that, currently, StarCityGames.com is sold out of Daze at $2? The card is a common, sure, but from an unpopular expansion several years old. It’s the cornerstone of several Legacy decks like Merfolk, which I peg as a popular choice for players just getting into Legacy. I see it rising moderately, probably not more than a dollar. That said, it’s worth getting your set now so you don’t have to shell out more later.

Wasteland: In a recent article, I found that 40% or more of Top 8 decks in a tournament pack 4 Wasteland. It’s the best non-basic land hate in Legacy, and it sees plenty of play in Vintage right now, too. It’s a hot card for aggro decks and will see more demand in 2010. It’s from set that’s over ten years old, so the supply is limited. Humorously, in the Vintage event I played in yesterday, an opponent had proxied Wasteland onto a Strip Mine, highlighting the relative values of those cards!

Buy and Hold: The Cards That Will Likely Stay The Same Price

These are cards that I’m not sure will go up in value, but will certainly not decrease in price. They’re subject to outside factors making them much more expensive, but I doubt we’ll see much fluctuation in price.

Lion’s Eye Diamond: The other Black Lotus has seen a dramatic rise in value over the past few years, to an average current value of $35. The two most common uses of the Diamond are in Dredge and Storm Combo. The former is moving away from the all-in requirements of the artifact for more flexible dredge enablers like Putrid Imp. The latter is a rare archetype to run into at a Legacy event and, barring some awesome new cards in the 2010 sets, will likely remain rare. Because there’s a low demand for the card, I see it retaining its value but not jumping very high. Compare it to Mana Crypt, a card that has also seen increases in value, but has hit a plateau at a price of around $35 now, compared to $30 in 2004.

Phyrexian Dreadnought: Barring the unbanning of Illusionary Mask, a remote possibility, the 12/12 will probably stay at its current value. Dreadtill, the premiere deck for the artifact creature, has fallen into disfavor primarily because of the ubiquity of Krosan Grip and Qasali Pridemage. Like the Diamond, this Mirage rare won’t be coming down in price, but it hasn’t seen any price jumps since they hype of GP: Chicago drove it up to $28 last year.

Tarmogoyf: There was a brief period where this dropped to the impecunious price of $35, but with Extended back in season and Zoo at the top of the leaderboards, this mistake is up to $60 again. I don’t foresee any big value drop for this monster until Future Sight rotates out of Extended. Bummer.

Swords to Plowshares: Thanks to being printed in two sets and several anthologies, the format’s best removal is easily acquired. It has sat at a little over $14 a set for several years now and I don’t predict it going up by any measurable amount. That said, trade for them or get them if you can find them cheaply, since Swords to Plowshares is always good for trading.

Undiscovered Paradise: This land enables Landfall, pure and simply. It’s risen $7 in a month because it sees play in Eternal Dredge decks looking to use Bloodghast. I could be completely wrong that it’ll stay at $10 if the next two sets in Zendikar bring us any other Landfall cards for Eternal formats. I don’t see it rising over its current price if it remains only played in Dredge. This is also the time to mention that Oboro, Palace in the Clouds and Ghost Town both enable Landfall triggers every turn if you need a critical density of them.

Cabal Therapy: The pricey uncommon has remained at its current level since it rotated out of Extended. There are great applications for the sacrifice effect in Legacy, from Persist creatures to Protean Hulk. Again, barring some unprinted card that really, really wants to be sacrificed, I see this remaining at a few bucks.

The Good Bets: Cards That Will Possibly Increase in Value

These are cards that I can’t bet will rise in value, because they’re already at a high price or are only played in certain decks. However, they stand a good chance of seeing some increase in demand, especially the cards that are playable in inexpensive aggro decks.

Mystical Tutor and Enlightened Tutor: These two both maintain a great value due to casual and Eternal play. All they need is one new card to get and I see them being very popular. Thanks to Sensei’s Divining Top, the topdeck tutors are a little better. I would place these in the above category if it weren’t for the fact that I am fairly certain we’ll be getting new tools to dig up with these cards in 2010.

Moat: Moat has seen a spectacular rise in price in the past year. I was astounded, for example, that my heavily played English Moat that I got for $56 last March was now worth over $100. It’s got an insane power and we’ll never see anything on its level again. I only put it here because I don’t know if it’s reached a ceiling yet. If there were ever something like a stock market bond in Magic, Moat and Underground Sea would be the analogs, since they’ve shown consistent, steady, investment-worthy growth over the years.

Bloodghast: Extended players are discovering that Bloodghast is amazing in Dredge, just as Legacy players found out. It’s holding at $10 right now; I predict that we’ll see it spike a few dollars if Dredge wins an Extended Grand Prix or Pro Tour. Outside of that though, Bloodghast is very available and won’t likely see a jump. I do not see it declining as long as Extended has a playable Dredge deck.

Engineered Explosives: Hovering between $9 and $14 in value, depending on how popular it is in Extended, Engineered Explosives is great to pick up for your collection. If we see a deck like Next Level Blue that banks its strategy on recurring the artifact with Academy Ruins, expect the Explosives to shoot up to $15 or so. They have that magical property of being from a third set (did you pick up your Sword of the Meeks for this very same reason when they were a quarter apiece?).

Price of Progress: Another third-set uncommon, this has been a big favorite since its printing with red mages. It sees a bit of play in Legacy, thanks to burn and Zoo. If it jumps in value, it’ll be by a dollar or two. Get your set now, since you will probably need them in the future.

Cephalid Coliseum: If Dredge gets better, expect this land to go up in price along with Bloodghast and Undiscovered Paradise. It makes for truly sick turns and it’ll never drop below what you buy it for now.

Aether Vial: Have you checked the price on this recently? Wow! That’s based entirely on its appeal for casual and Eternal players. Fueling Goblins and more importantly, Merfolk, the busted Darksteel accelerant can see an increase of a dollar or two near the GP and other large events.

The “Maybes” and Outside Bets

This category includes cards that are either going to go up marginally or will go up quite a lot if they become popular.

Force of Will: it’s strange seeing this here, but Force of Will has been at a very standard price for a number of years. I don’t see its demand going up much, so I listed it here. It’s very unlikely to see any big gain in price.

Mishra’s Factory and Standstill: The cornerstones of Landstill and, to a lesser extent, Merfolk. These two can see three-dollar gains in the right climate, but I don’t foresee much action on either. Standstill being $8 is amazing for an uncommon printed in a large, popular set.

Exploration and Manabond: These cards get their value primarily from Lands! decks. If it occupies a good spot in the metagame or gets new cards to make the deck better, I predict we’ll see some unfair prices on these two enchantments. It’s an outside bet, but 43 Lands is a strong deck in the right hands and can easily become very popular on the basis of a good showing at a large event.

The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale: Sigh. For being a church, they sure aren’t charitable. Tabernacle launched over $100 this past year, from a several-year-long average of $30. If 43 Lands becomes popular or another deck has a use for this card, the Tabernacle will see big gains. I wouldn’t pick them up now and I’d regret getting them later if they went up a lot in price. There’s no winning with this card.

The Abyss: While Qasali Pridemage hurts this card a lot, repeatable destruction effects for a reasonable manacost are worth remembering. Abyss, The can lock out many strategies when used in decks with good spot removal to clean up problem creatures. All we need is one or two decks that can rock this Enchant World to see it easily rise to the value of Moat or Tabernacle.

If you plan to attend several Legacy events in 2010, use this list to pick up the staples that you know you’ll need before they go up in price. If you’re the gambling sort, try speculating on a few cards and selling them in the weeks leading up to the Grand Prix, when they will be at their highest. If you think I missed a card or over/under-evaluated it, please post in the forums or shoot me an email!

Until next week…

Doug Linn

legacysallure at gmail dot com