Time Spiral Remastered is bringing old-bordered cards back, giving the boomer treatment to a stack of iconic cards from Magic’s history. With everything that’s being done at the moment to attract new players to the game, it’s nice to see Wizards doing something for the old guard. I only started playing in 2012, so these old-bordered cards are a bit of a miss for me, but I’m pleased to see how much they’re resonating with old fans of the game.
It’s also worth noting that, by and large, Wizards have done a terrific job on selecting which cards to give the old border treatment. This isn’t like the Tree of Perdition fiasco in the era of Masters sets – the new Timeshifted cards are either eternal staples, Cube mainstays, Commander favorites or thematically appropriate picks. It’s a good idea and it has been well executed.
Today, however, I’m here to talk about a slightly different aspect of these new old-bordered cards. Most of them are Modern legal – only a handful of them aren’t – and you can bet that there are players out there who will be scrambling to pick up Timeshifted versions of their Modern favorites. Here at Modern on a Shoestring, we’re not all that interested in cosmetics, but this is an opportunity to pick up some cards that will accumulate value as time passes.
These Timeshifted cards are a unique opportunity to pad out a Modern collection with cards that’ll only become more desirable and therefore more expensive as time goes on – and here we are, on the ground floor. It’s plainly obvious that a sizeable section of the community is excited about these old-bordered cards, and there’s a fair bit of hype around them – but think of it this way. How likely is it for these cards to be printed like this again? Even if Wizards remasters another set and fills it with more old-bordered cards, will they run back the same card list, or expand to include new ones?
In my view, this is a chance to pick up a bunch of highly desirable cards at their lowest price point, before a lack of supply and the scarcity that comes with time kicks in and drives their price up. When, if ever, will Wizards print another old-bordered Dismember, one of the most-played cards in the entire Modern format? It’s worth snagging this card now, on the cheap, and sitting on it for awhile, all the better if you can get more value from them by playing with them in the meantime as well!
Today, I’m going to go through the list of old-bordered cards and chat about some likely-looking options that should mature nicely. This week, it’s white, blue and black, while next week I’ll cover red, green and the rest. Let’s get underway!
After being an expensive Legacy card for a good while, Containment Priest’s price took a nosedive after a series of reprints. Right now, I don’t think it’s a high priority card for the Modern format. Conceivably, Modern could lurch in a direction where this card becomes a sideboard staple, but I don’t know how likely that is.
While Ethereal Armor is a must-have card in the Bogles archetype, I don’t expect it to become a highly sought-after card. While this is a bit of a sweeping generalization, Bogles isn’t the type of deck that old-school players tend to gravitate towards (more on this in a bit), and as a result I don’t think it’ll become one of the most popular Timeshifted cards. Pick ’em up if you feel like it, but there are better options.
Lingering Souls is an iconic Magic card, fueling Pro Tour victories, tempting Rock players from Jund into Abzan and defining Modern whenever it becomes a midrange slugfest. It’s not unreasonable to think Modern might end up back there one day, and this card will be very popular if that happens – particularly the old-bordered version of it, with its boomer tombstone icon like the flashback cards from years ago.
Path to Exile
As one of Modern’s preeminent removal spells, there is next to no chance that this printing of Path to Exile doesn’t immediately become hot property. It’s played in a majority of white decks, and despite having been reprinted a thousand times, still has people seeking out particular versions for their decks. This is a slam-dunk, no-risk pickup. People are going to want this card forever.
There was a time when the humble Thraben Inspector had a real role in Modern. It’s not inconceivable that the sorts of decks that want to play this card reemerge in time, but I don’t think it’s likely. Still, this buy-in is very low and the ceiling on it will remain high, so I think it’s worth getting a few copies if you get the chance.
Despite Laboratory Maniac being a win condition in all sorts of weird decks across all sorts of weird formats, I still don’t support it as a speculative pickup. The main reason for this is that it’s commonly played as a one-of, and hardly ever as a playset. Demand for this is much lower for this card than, say, Path to Exile, and that’ll keep the price low. Give Lab Man a miss, I reckon.
Master of the Pearl Trident
Master of the Pearl Trident is a deceptively good investment. Why? It’s not a hugely flashy or powerful card, and Merfolk isn’t about to turn Modern on its head, so what’s special about it? Check this out – Merfolk is a classic, iconic tribe that has spawned powerful decks in everything from Modern to Vintage over the years, and it’s the sort of deck that Magic boomers love. Master of the Pearl Trident is indispensable in Merfolk decks, and ancient, old-school players will be falling over themselves to have their Masters match their Lords of Atlantis. I don’t want to call Master a “sleeper,” but make no mistake that this version of the card will be deceptively popular.
For similar reasons, Remand will also be highly sought-after. Already it’s one of the most expensive Timeshifted cards, and with good reason – again, it’s the sort of card that old Magic fans can’t get enough of. Maybe it’s a bad pickup purely because its price is already so high, but you can safely expect it not to tank. Despite not being a hugely powerful card in any format – at best, it’s a role-player in Modern – Remand has maintained a relatively high price tag for years, and much of that is because people just really like the card a lot.
Unlike Remand, Dismember is a good pickup for practical reasons. As one of Modern’s top 10 most played cards, Dismember is and will remain a popular card in the format, thanks to its flexibility and efficiency. Whereas I think Remand is overpriced, I think Dismember is underpriced and the Timeshifted card will start out the same as a result. Snag these early and often, as the old-bordered versions will prove to be highly-prized in coming years.
Leyline of the Void
I’ve talked a little bit about price memory with Remand and Dismember, but Leyline of the Void really demonstrates how strongly price memory can impact a card’s finances. This card peaked at around $60 when Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis was terrorizing the Modern format, and even after falling out of Modern’s top 50 most-played cards and being reprinted in a core set, it’s still a $7 card. Why? Because it’s played in Vintage? Don’t fall for the hype – this card’s price is going nowhere but down, and old eternal interest in it isn’t going to change that.
Thoughtseize is a no-brainer, just like Path to Exile. A multi-format all-star, people are sure to be interested in the boomer version of this card, and its price won’t collapse as a result. Like Remand, however, the buy-in is kind of high, so don’t feel bad about missing out on it. There are cards that offer a higher rate of return (Dismember, for example), so if Thoughtseize is too rich for your blood, don’t feel bad about not buying in.
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
I’m ready to go out on a limb with this card and say it’s not going to live up to the hype. People are excited about an iconic character from Magic’s olden days being printed on an olden-day card, but I don’t think that’ll translate to a steadily-growing price over time. I’m ready to be wrong on this one, as I wasn’t around for all the sets where Yawgmoth was a thing, but I just don’t see this card offering a good return. Plus, like Thoughtseize, the buy-in is prohibitively high.
That’s it for this week – I’ll be back next week to round up the rest of the Modern-relevant timeshifted cards, but in the meantime I want to hear your thoughts! Did I miss anything, or am I way off base with these predictions? Let me know!