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Time Spiral Remastered Financial Review, Part 1

Ben Bleiweiss kicks off his financial analysis of Time Spiral Remastered with a look at print frequencies, plus notable white and blue cards.

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, illustrated by D. Alexander Gregory & Jeremy Jarvis

Welcome to my first of two articles about Time Spiral Remastered!

As you’ve probably seen, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) is previewing a new color of Time Spiral Remastered each day, and as of the writing of this article, most of the white and blue cards had been previewed with some artifacts and multicolored cards unveiled as well. Next week’s article will talk about black, red, green cards, as well as the remainder of the multicolored, land, and artifact cards from the set.

But the reprints in the main set aren’t the primary reason people are paying attention to Time Spiral Remastered. The timeshifted cards, in the old Magic card frame, will be the most sought-after cards from this set.

Gavin Verhey revealed the rarity breakdown for Time Spiral Remastered in one of his weekly Good Morning Magic videos. The set contains the following breakdown:

  • 121 commons
  • 100 uncommons
  • 53 rares
  • 15 mythic rares
  • 121 timeshifted cards

While certain commons and uncommons that will have some value, the main cards we want to look at are the rare, mythic, and timeshifted sheets.

A typical Magic sheet has 121 cards. This means for the timeshifted sheet, there are 121 unique cards and each card has the same odds of appearing in a pack (1/121).

For the rare/mythic sheet, there are 68 unique cards. Each rare appears twice on the sheet (53 x 2 = 106), and each mythic rare appears once (15).  This means your odds of getting any specific rare are 2/121, and the odds of getting any one specific mythic rare are 1/121.

Since there’s one rare/mythic rare and one timeshifted card per pack, we can therefore say that all the timeshifted cards are of the same practical rarity as mythic rares. That is to say there will be as few (or as many) of any given timeshifted cards in existence as there will be any given mythic rare from this set.

What this means is that as a general trend, the old-frame timeshifted versions of most of the cards in this set will be much, much rarer than the original versions of these cards. Take, for example, Path to Exile.

Path to Exile has been reprinted thirteen times in regular sets and three times as a promotional card. Of all of the non-promotional versions, the timeshifted Path to Exile is probably going to be the rarest non-foil version of Path to Exile ever printed!

This is compounded by a second problem: Time Spiral Remastered is going to have a print run way, way below demand. I’m thinking the original Modern Masters and Jumpstart, two sets where the reprinted versions of cards with new artwork actually surpassed the values of the cards they were reprinting. Distributors are sold out of Time Spiral Remastered. WotC has seemingly sold out of all copies on Amazon already, and prices are steadily climbing at the retail level.

This is because WotC is basically treating this set as a test run for Remastered sets. They weren’t sure how well Time Spiral Remastered would or wouldn’t do, so they intentionally set a conservative print run. They only released it as one type of product – Draft Booster Packs.

This leads directly to my next point. Let me ask a question: How many sets in recent years have fit the following criteria:

  • Released in Draft Booster Packs
  • Not released in Collector Booster Packs
  • Was not redeemable on Magic Online (MTGO), and
  • Did not automatically include one foil per pack?

This eliminates any set that was Standard-legal on MTGO (Invasion forward). All Masters sets are excluded from this list, because each one contains one foil per pack, guaranteed. This leaves just four Magic products since October of 2000 that fit these criteria.

  • Battlebond ($3.99 MSRP)
  • Conspiracy ($3.99 MSRP)
  • Conspiracy: Take the Crown ($3.99 MSRP)
  • Modern Horizons ($6.99 MSRP)

Time Spiral Remastered (effective MSRP $6.99) is the fifth set on this list (sixth if you count Unstable, but I’m excluding it because most cards in Unstable were not tournament legal). It stands to reason that the foils in this set will follow the patterns of the other sets before it. I say this because these are the sets where there were no additional ways to open foil cards aside from cracking booster packs, and no additional drop rates in the booster packs themselves.

In a typical Magic set, there’s a foil card approximately once every three packs. The odds of opening a foil rare in a typical Magic set are one in eighteen packs. The odds of opening a foil mythic rare are one in every 144 packs.

Given that there is one timeshifted card per pack of Time Spiral Remastered, we can put forward one of three scenarios on the rarity of foil timeshifted cards.

  1. They mirror foil rares and appear once per eighteen packs.
  2. They mirror foil mythic rares and appear once per 144 packs.
  3. There’s a different drop rate from either of these, which we won’t know until the set releases.

I can extrapolate the numbers for the first two scenarios, and give you comparable data from the other four sets involved (Battlebond, the two Conspiracy sets, and Modern Horizons). For illustrative purposes, I’ll also include data for every set in Standard (both regular foils and enhanced foils) and some data for Double Masters (the most recent comparable reprint set to Time Spiral Remastered).

Foil Mythic Rare Values

Draft Pack Only Sets

  • Battlebond foil: 15 mythic rares, average value $46.80 each
  • Conspiracy foil: 10 mythic rares, average value $42.30 each
  • Conspiracy: Take the Crown foil: 14 mythic rares, average value $81.57 each
  • Modern Horizons foil: 15 mythic rares, average value $76.13 each

Standard (Regular Versions)

  • Core Set 2021 foil: 15 mythic rares, average value $13.46 each
  • Ikoria foil: 15 mythic rares, average value $6.53 each
  • Kaldheim foil: 20 mythic rares, average value $12.30 each
  • Theros Beyond Death foil: 15 mythic rares, average value $13 each
  • Throne of Eldraine foil: 15 mythic rares, average value $14 each
  • Zendikar Rising foil: 20 mythic rares, average value $8.14 each

Standard (Variant Versions)

  • Core Set 2021 foil variants: 24 mythic rares, average value $24.29 each
  • Ikoria foil variants: 21 mythic rares, average value $22.95 each
  • Kaldheim foil variants: 22 mythic rares, average value $35.36 each
  • Theros Beyond Death foil variants: 14 mythic rares, average value $41.64 each
  • Throne of Eldraine foil variants: 15 mythic rares, average value $50.60 each
  • Zendikar Rising foil variants: 20 mythic rares, average value $15.60 each

Double Masters

  • Double Masters foil: 40 mythic rares, average value $35.80 each
  • Double Masters foil variants: 20 mythic rares, average value $78.65 each

As you can see, the inclusion of redeemable MTGO sets alongside the heavy increase of supply from Collector Packs on Standard-legal mythic rare foils has made them less valuable by multiples than the sets that are only available through draft packs.

From top to bottom:

  • Average value of a Variant Double Masters Foil Mythic – $78.65
  • Average value of a BBD/CNS/CN2/MH1 Foil Mythic – $61.70
  • Average value of a Regular Double Masters Foil Mythic – $35.80
  • Average value of a Variant Standard-Legal Foil Mythic – $31.74
  • Average value of a Regular Standard-Legal Foil Mythic – $11.24

One note here is that there are 121 unique timeshifted cards in Time Spiral Remastered. This is triple the number of mythic rares in Double Masters and 8x – 12x as many there were unique mythic rares in the above mentioned booster-only sets. If the foil timeshifted sheet drops at foil mythic rare rates (one in 144), the scarcity and value of the foil versions of these cards will be incalculable. I would go so far as to say that if this is the case, the foil timeshifted sheet would be one of the most valuable subsets of cards released in a regular set release in fifteen-plus years for Magic.

Draft Pack Only Sets

  • Battlebond foil: 53 rares, average value $10.62 each
  • Conspiracy foil: 43 rares, average value $10.59 each
  • Conspiracy: Take the Crown foil: 50 rares, average value $11.88 each
  • Modern Horizons foil: 53 rares, average value $19.33 each

Standard (Regular Versions)

  • Core Set 2021 foil: 53 rares, average value $2.94 each
  • Ikoria foil: 53 rares, average value $4 each
  • Kaldheim foil: 64 rares, average value $3.34 each
  • Theros Beyond Death foil: 53 rares, average value $3.15 each
  • Throne of Eldraine foil: 53 rares, average value $3.07 each
  • Zendikar Rising foil: 64 rares, average value $2.64 each

Standard (Variant Versions)

  • Core Set 2021 foil variants: 53 rares, average value $5.68 each
  • Ikoria foil variants: 58 rares, average value $11.98 each
  • Kaldheim foil variants: 54 rares, average value $7.12 each
  • Theros Beyond Death foil variants: 49 rares, average value $11.14 each
  • Throne of Eldraine foil variants: 53 rares, average value $13.45 each
  • Zendikar Rising foil variants: 64 rares, average value $4.17 each

Double Masters

  • Double Masters foil: 121 rares, average value $6.11 each
  • Double Masters foil variants: 20 rares, average value $23.45 each

The prices become much more sane if we’re comparing foil timeshifted cards to foil rare cards. Again, I’ll note that there are 121 timeshifted cards in Time Spiral Remastered. This would make any one given card twice as rare as foil rares from draft pack or Standard sets, and equally rare to a Double Masters foil rare (though those had a much, much higher drop rate due to containing two foils per pack).

From top to bottom:

  • Average value of a Variant Double Masters Foil Rare – $23.45
  • Average value of a BBD/CNS/CN2/MH1 Foil Rare – $13.10
  • Average value of a Variant Standard-Legal Foil Rare – $8.92
  • Average value of a Regular Double Masters Foil Rare – $6.11
  • Average Value of a Regular Standard-Legal Foil Rare – $3.19

The only advantage that the draft booster-only sets have are that some number of the cards from each set were new cards and not reprints.

  • Battlebond – 66% new, 33% reprint
  • Conspiracy – 60% new, 40% reprint
  • Conspiracy: Take the Crown – 57.2% new, 28.5% reprint, 14.3% Conspiracy subtype
  • Modern Horizons – 100% new

So to recap before I even get to talking about the cards in Time Spiral Remastered:

  • If Time Spiral Remastered timeshifted foils drop at a foil mythic rare level, their value will be insanely high and will dwarf the values of cards from any recent sets that we’ve seen. I’m talking MPS-level prices for virtually all of the foil cards in this set.
  • If Time Spiral Remastered timeshifted foils drop at a foil rare level, we’re still looking at an expected value (blind) of somewhere between $10 and $20 per card.

The Cards — Regular Sheets

In general, the reprinted version of cards on the regular sheet will serve to drive the value of the original versions of the cards downwards.  The two exceptions to this are as follows.

The first exception is if a card is rarity-shifted upwards. Time Spiral Remastered has 53 rares and 15 mythics. This is a 1/121 chance of any given pack containing a specific mythic (0.8%) and a 2/121 chance of any given pack containing a specific rare (1.65%) Time Spiral proper had 80 rares. This meant there was a 1.25% chance of any given pack containing a specific rare.

Planar Chaos had 50 rares. However, ten of the cards were colorshifted. These cards came in their own slot and you could get two rares in a pack. For regular rares, there was a 1/40 chance of getting a specific rare (2.5%). Looking back on my notes, colorshifted rares appeared roughly once every four packs, making them having identical odds to regular rares (also 1/40 & 2.5%).

Future Sight had 60 rares. This meant there was a 1/60 chance of any given pack containing a specific rare (1.66%).

In sum, Time Spiral Remastered mythics are rarer than any rare from any of the original sets in which they appeared. Time Spiral Remastered rares are slightly more common than Time Spiral rares, as rare as Future Sight rares, and more rare than Planar Chaos rares.

The second exception is if a card has new artwork. We saw this with Modern Masters back in the day. There was a limited-release set with a print run that was far, far lower than demand. The cards with the new artwork went up to beyond the prices of the original printings of the cards (Sword of Fire and Ice, Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf).

I’ll also note that I expect the print run on Time Spiral Remastered to be lower than that of any of the original sets in Time Spiral block. In the short term there will be more copies of a given Time Spiral Remastered rare in circulation, due to the cards being opened right now. In the long run, I’m fairly certain that fewer copies of Time Spiral Remastered Pact of Negation will exist than Future Sight Pact of Negation.

Today, I’m just going to go in alphabetical order and I’m only going to talk about cards that push beyond bulk price. No $0.50 rares here!

Ancestral Vision (M) — $3

The previous versions of Ancestral Vision are at $5. With this one currently sitting at $3, it’s a prime target to shoot up significantly in price very, very shortly after set release once people realize this version is harder to get a hold of than the Duel Deck, Iconic Masters, or Time Spiral versions.

Angel’s Grace (R) — $13

The previous printings of this card are at $20. We’re starting this one at $13, but it also has new artwork. You’re going to hear this a lot in this article — the short-term supply right now is going to drive the price down, but I fully believe the post-release price (like one to two weeks after release) on most of these cards are going to equal or exceed the original printings of cards like this once people realize how little has been opened.

Aven Mindcensor (U) — $2

The two previous printings of Aven Mindcensor are both at $3. This is the first time the Future Sight artwork has been used in a standard Magic frame (previously it was futureshifted). The Future Sight version also appeared in 1/20 packs (60 uncommons in the set, three per pack). The Time Spiral Remastered version appears roughly 1/33 packs (100 uncommons in the set, three per pack).

Delay (U) — $2.50

The Future Sight printing (different artwork) costs $5 right now. We’re starting the new art Delay at $2.50 for now. You know the drill though — this is probably as low as it’s going to hit.

Lotus Bloom (R) — $7

And now we’ve finally hit the first card on this list that didn’t fall into the ‘upshifted rarity/new artwork’ paradigm. Lotus Bloom is both the promo card for this set (with the original Prerelease artwork) and in the set as a regular card. This is one of the few cards I expect to go slightly down in value against the originals because of the supply hitting at once coupled with moderate demand in Commander.

Mana Tithe (C) — $1

Previous printings of Mana Tithe were in the colorshifted frame. I don’t think most players care too much about the colorshifted frame versus the regular frame (as opposed to the futureshifted frame, which many people disliked). This is a solid common that has a great deal of interest. I see the supply from Time Spiral Remastered driving the price down in the short term, but this is a card that should rebound nicely.

Pact of Negation (R) — $25

The previous versions of Pact of Negation are all a solid $40 and sell through almost as quickly as we can get them in stock. Every time Pact of Negation is mass-reprinted (Modern Masters and Masters 25) the price dips slightly, and then recovers almost immediately. Pact of Negation is a staple in multiple formats at this point, and I expect this version to go up in value to meet the other versions, and not vice-versa.

Pulmonic Sliver (R) — $4

The original Time Spiral version of Pulmonic Sliver is double the price of this version. This is one of the cases where I feel the original will go down in price. Most people who wanted this card for their Sliver decks probably already own the original. This means people who have a passing interest in building that deck will want this version, but I expect the new supply (however small) will exceed the existing demand on the card.

Stuffy Doll (R) — $4

Another card that we’re starting at half the price of the original version. Stuffy Doll only sees a 1% rate of use on EDHREC, so we now have two cards in a row that I expect to go down in price overall.

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir (M) — $5

Slightly lower than the $7 price tag for the Iconic Masters and Time Spiral versions. However, it’s also upshifted in rarity from both of those other versions.  I expect this version to go up to $7, rather than for the other versions to go down to $5.

Venser, Shaper Savant (R) — $8

Venser is nearly a Top-1000-played card in Commander (#1045 on EDHREC). Previous versions (both rare) are in the $12 range. While there isn’t much of a difference between this printing and the Future Sight printing (new legendary frame, less reminder text on flash), the demand on Venser is high enough organically that I don’t think this version will stay down in price once the initial rush of release is over.

Walk the Aeons (R) — $4

Who doesn’t love a good Time Warp effect? The original sits at $7 and is a swift seller. I think that both the original and this version will probably end up settling in the $5-$6 range. It’s a card that sees decent casual play. It’s also a card that was cheap enough that anyone who really, really wanted one to play with previously had already picked up a copy.

The Cards — Timeshifted

I’m going to go on record right now and say that the timeshifted cards in general are being undervalued right now. To restate what I showed mathematically before: every timeshifted card is as rare as a mythic rare from this set. The rarest (non-promo) printing of the majority of these cards will be the Time Spiral Remastered timeshifted version.

I know that people are going to see the price on these suppressed due to the initial and immediate supply for preorder and the week following, but everything about this set is following Jumpstart’s trajectory — demand a multiple of the supply, sealed prices climbing significantly during the preorder period, and reprints that are significantly more rare than the original versions.

In addition, the timeshifted sheet was chosen to have a particular eye towards Legacy and Vintage. Yes, there are plenty of cards like Ajani’s Pridemate or Banishing Light. The majority of “good” cards previewed so far are staples in Magic’s oldest eternal formats.

This is going to fuel the demand for these cards significantly, especially the foil versions. A lot of people who have these decks are interested in getting the most interesting/rarest versions of cards. In addition, a lot of the decks run cards that only exist in old face. The ability to fully turn some decks into 100% old face is going to be a lure that many players can’t resist.

When I look at the original Time Spiral timeshifted sheet, I see that there are a lot of cards that are essentially valueless right now. If so many of those cards are now considered bulk, what makes me think that history won’t repeat itself for Time Spiral Remastered?

Don’t forget that back when Time Spiral was originally legal, drafting was much more popular, there were significantly more events where people were opening packs, and the base set lasted for nearly a full year (3x Time Spiral, then 2x Time Spiral and 1x Planar Chaos, followed by 1x Time Spiral / 1x Planar Chaos / 1x Future Sight).

Here are our current prices on timeshifted cards above bulk price ($0.99). I’m going to separate them into two lists. I feel all of the following timeshifted cards are going to go up 50%-100% within a month of release.  These are the Legacy/Vintage staples that will have heaviest demand. And again — this set is showing Jumpstart levels of demand versus print run, and that was before preview season started.

  • Baral, Chief of Compliance: $10
  • Chalice of the Void: $55 (already had to raise this one)
  • Containment Priest: $6
  • Laboratory Maniac: $8
  • Master of the Pearl Trident: $6
  • Ponder: $7
  • Thraben Inspector: $2.50
  • Treasure Cruise: $3
  • Trinket Mage: $2
  • True-Name Nemesis: $18 (and I expect the foil version to hit $200+ quickly)

These are above-bulk timeshifted cards that will have demand due to other formats, but likely will remain stable or show more moderate gains.  They are generally well-played in Commander, which will help their demand.

  • Lingering Souls: $2.50
  • Mirror Entity: $5
  • Mulldrifter: $2
  • Mystic Convergence: $6
  • Palace Jailer: $5
  • Path to Exile: $9
  • Relentless Rats: $3
  • Remand: $7
  • Restoration Angel: $5
  • Silence: $8
  • Sram, Senior Edificer: $5

Time Spiral Remastered one of the few Magic sets where I feel completely confident in saying that the floor on prices will be its release date and the price of singles are only going to go up from here. This makes it a rarity among Magic sets, but we’re hitting a convergence of “testing a new product and lowering the print run,” a high-demand sheet, and a distribution of cards within rarities that makes the cards themselves more rare than we’d usually expect from a booster pack release.

I’ll hopefully have updates before release about the foil timeshifted sheet (if they fall at foil mythic, foil rare or another rate), but even at worst case scenario (which I think is foil rare), they are still going to be twice as rare as other rares we’ve recently seen (by pack odds) and by multiples in shorter supply due to no supplemental supply (collector boosters / MTGO redemptions / foil per pack) aiding the market.