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Traderous Instinct – Examining the Legacy Bump, Part 2

Don’t worry, folks. I haven’t forgotten that I still need to review gold and artifact cards in Commander. That will happen next week because it isn’t as timely as what’s going on right now with Legacy.

My article last week generated a ton of discussion, which is exactly what I was hoping for. It didn’t hit the site until late on Friday, and there’s already 40+ interesting comments spanning everyone’s thoughts on what is probably the biggest piece of Magic financial news this year. After reading through them all, I decided that we should continue the discussion for a second straight column. Let’s get to the bottom of this, shall we? I am as eager as you to discover whether or not the Legacy price jump is sustainable.

No one is buying Force of Will and Wasteland for $50+ each- false

There was a decent amount of rumbling in the comments saying that the stores could charge what they wanted, but the market would bear out the truth: no one is willing to pay the new, absurd prices for these cards. After all, who would pay ~$60-$80 for cards that were ~$30-$40 in January?

The answer, it turns out, is lots of people.

You can claim that the “sold out” cards on Starcitycames and Channelfireball is just a way for them to add some kind of false scarcity to the market, but that doesn’t pass the smell test to me. Hoarding hundreds and hundreds of copies of a single card is really bad business. Unless you think every major Magic retailer is colluding, I would suspect that any of these sites would be happy to buy cards at $35 and sell them at $60 all day long.

You want to know why those cards are “sold out?” It’s because they’re sold out! The price increase has created a ‘run’ on Legacy staples, and tons of people who spent the last 6-7 months thinking about getting into the format have decided to buy in now before the price goes up even more.

Wasteland has gone up even further since last week – true

In my article that ran JUST LAST WEEK, I said the following, “…the people raising the prices aren’t stupid. If they try to push Wasteland to $80 next week, the backlash will be quite severe and people will start to abandon the format.”

As of this moment, Wasteland is still $50 on Channelfireball and $60 on Starcitygames. Both sites are willing to pay $35 each for your Wastelands right now.

…however, Troll and Toad is BUYING Wastelands for $60. And you can’t get one on eBay for under $80 at the moment.
So, uh, think on that for a moment. We’ll come back to it later.

Myth – the majority of people buying up Legacy staples are speculators

Some people believe that the Legacy price jump is due to people buying cards not to sell, but to speculate on.
If this is true, then the prices on these cards are much more likely to go down in the near future. If there are indeed people hoarding hundreds of copies of the same Legacy staple, then they will start to flood the market once the confidence level begins to fall. This could ‘crash’ a card like Wasteland back down to the $30 level as supply would greatly eclipses demand.

That said, I highly doubt this is the case. I have no raw data to prove it, but I am reasonably active in the MTG finance/speculation world, and I simply haven’t heard about this sort of behavior on a massive level. While I’m sure there are a few people hoarding copies of these cards, the average speculator just doesn’t have the capital to do it. Even if you bought 100 Wastelands at $30 each, that’s $3,000 you have tied up in one purchase! How many people have the resources, knowledge, foresight, and desire to do something like that? A few, surely, but not enough to affect the market on any real level.

If anything, the market is being buoyed by people who bought a few sets of staples in the hopes that they would get into the format. With the price increase, they might now feel that such a thing is impossible and will get out while the money is good. Will that be enough to drop the price? Time will tell.

This Legacy increase is Starcitygames/online retailer/MTG financial columnists’ way of doing the ol’ Pump and Dump – false

If you don’t know the phrase, the Pump and Dump is when a person, company, or brokerage buys low on a crummy stock and then saturates the market with praise, hoping that the price goes up in the short term and they can make a profit. Then the person running the operation sells all their stock, saturates the market, and leaves the other investors high and dry.

To accuse Starcitygames of this is very short sighted. After all, Legacy is the blue chip cornerstone of their business model. The reason they run Legacy opens each weekend is to increase ACTUAL demand for the staples of the format. Instead of pumping and dumping by inflating the format with false confidence, they’ve breathed life into the format in order to permanently increase their profits. It’s a lot more ethical than the Pump and Dump, and a lot more profitable, too.

If you somehow think that I or any other MTG finance guy has the power to inflate the price of a single card, much less a whole format, simply look at the price of my “Pick of the Week” each week before and after I announce it. You’ll notice that while I will occasionally pick well, there are plenty of cards I pick that don’t go up for days if at all. I simply don’t have that kind of power. Some of the pros do, but they have to back up their statements with results. And those results would have increased the price of the card anyway.

Card prices have gone up 70% since January, yet demand can’t have gone up 70% since January! Thus, we are in a bubble – false

This is an interesting claim, and it bears a deeper look.

In the stock market, prices are based solely on what people will buy your shares of stock at. There is an ‘actual price’ for each share of stock – the current price – and it shifts on a second-to-second basis.

Magic cards, on the other hand, have no ‘actual price.’ There’s the price any given store sells the cards for, the ‘trade value’ price two people agree on, the aggregate value of eBay sales, and a dozen other possible ways to determine the true value of a card. How much was a Treefolk Harbinger worth at PT: Amsterdam? How much was Uril, the Miststalker worth at PT: Honolulu? How much is the fast-declining Grave Titan worth right now?

More and more, people turn to the large retailers – Channelfireball and Starcitygames – to figure out what prices should be. This has no equivalent in stock terms, or in terms of other ‘expensive collectables’ in the past. There were no major online retailers for secondary market baseball cards in 1991, comic books in 1994, or Beanie Babies in 1998.

Wasteland was $30 for the past year, despite quickly rising numbers of Legacy players. Through it all, the large stores kept their Legacy staples rather stable, with most well-known cards not rising more than a couple bucks since the start of 2010.
To me, the price increase two weeks ago was a reflection of the past year of Legacy growth, not the past few months. The $30 Wasteland of January 2011 was the aberration, not the $60 Wasteland of today.

This price increase will kill Legacy – false

People have VERY short memories, it seems. Doesn’t anyone remember February and March of last year? There were articles every week on this site – some of them with over 200 comments – discussing the death of Legacy and how not overturning the reserve list will ruin one of Magic’s best formats.

Why was all of this discussion happening? Because Starcitygames massively increased the buy prices of many Legacy staples, especially dual lands, Tarmogoyf, and Force of Will. You can go back in the SCG archives and find pages and pages of Ben Bleiweiss talking about how Magic is more popular than ever and that is why the prices on everything have gotten really stupid.

Wizards even called in a counsel of players, collectors, and store owners to figure out what should be done about the reserve list and making Legacy more accessible. The result, I think, was the re-invention of Extended, which seems to have bombed horribly.
Needless to say, Legacy had its best year ever. The price increase caused a lot of grumbling, but that was all.

Remember – people last year were predicting $200 Underground Seas by January 2011. That obviously didn’t happen. My guess is that just like last year, the majority of Legacy cards will be stable for about a year…and then the prices will go up again, and the cycle will begin anew.

The price increase is based on nothing – false

I was asked in the comments why Starcitygames didn’t up the price on Force or Wasteland to $70, or $100, or $150 if they can basically set whatever price they wanted. This is worth looking into, because it gets down to the crux of the situation.
First, gradual change is much harder to notice than immediate change. That’s why it’s so easy to gain weight – you don’t notice a pound or two a month until one day you realize that you’ve gotten fat.

Second, assuming the change isn’t too terrible, people will get used to it after a while. You don’t bat an eye paying $3.50/gallon for gas, ($4+ now where I live…) even though it was $1/gallon in the late 90s.

However, what do you think would happen if gas went up to $8/gallon tomorrow? That’s not an unreasonable price, considering it’s about what people pay in Europe.

My guess is that there would be a massive wave of protests, a whole lot of media coverage, a demand that the president/congress act immediately, and a lot of attention paid on developing much more efficient cars.

Also, unless there was widespread collusion, some of the oil companies would start to lower their prices to beat competition. And eventually the price would get back down to whatever the market would bear.

Starcitygames does not have complete control of the market. They cannot decide that [card]Phylactery Lich[/card] is worth $50 because no one will pay that for a Phylactery Lich, even if they want the card for a deck.

They do, however, have an excellent idea about the demand for certain cards in Legacy. My guess is that they took a long look at cards that hundreds of people asked them about each weekend but they could not keep in stock and made an educated guess at how much they could get away with charging for them before the backlash got too strong. Then they raised the prices to those levels. If Troll and Toad is right about Wasteland, they may have even underestimated on some of them!

It only made sense for other sites to raise their prices as well. After all, even at the higher price, Starcitygames was doing brisk business selling those staples! If their prices were too high for the market to bear, Channelfireball, Troll and Toad, and all the rest would have made a huge deal about how their prices are massively lower than Starcitygames. After all, Starcitygames has a history of overpricing cards – ask anyone who was playing the game 5-6 years ago.

No – Starcitygames merely noticed that a certain section of cards were underpriced relative to demand. It made sense to begin charging more, and everyone else caught on immediately.

Wizards of the Coast will attempt to do something about this – True

If you follow Aaron Forsythe on Twitter, you already know that the long term viability of Legacy is very much on the WOTC radar.
Last week, he asked his followers – specifically those who own a full playset of duals – how they’d feel about “snow duals” being printed in order to give Legacy players a new option. He also asked people for suggestions on other, potentially cheaper formats that WOTC could sanction – perhaps not in lieu of Legacy, but as another viable constructed alternative to Standard.

My theory is that last year’s Extended reworking was an attempt at fixing this problem. Old Extended was vastly more intimidating to get into, and the idea behind the change was that people could basically build a standard deck and keep tweaking it for four years though the two formats.

If you watch LSV and TSG’s Magic TV, you’ll have already heard their thoughts on why this failed. By and large, I agree with them. The format is dominated by the undead corpses of Standard’s most hated decks, Faeries and Jund, which approximately no one wants to play against anymore. Events never fire on MTGO, no one has decks built, and it is really only a PTQ format. Since the format doesn’t play that much differently from Standard, there’s no reason not to play the year-round format with more articles, more available games, and more excitement behind it.

I think it also goes back to my point about demographics. Standard is a great format for those who like a metagame that shifts weekly, the chance to play new cards, and all the latest tech. Legacy is for those who love the old style of play, powerful interactions, and decks that never rotate.

So who is Extended for? What demo is it supposed to appeal to? Right now, it just appeals to those who play and enjoy other formats more. There just doesn’t seem to be much of a point to it right now.

Wizards will try something else – some other way to slow the Legacy price creep. It may be a new format that will appeal to more people (BYO Standard, anyone?) or a massive banning or FTV: Legacy. I don’t know what, but it’ll happen this year, and it WILL massively affect the prices of some Legacy staples that are currently shooting through the roof.

No one believes me on banning duals because there’s been no discussion on it, but it seems like an easy fix to me. While the Ravnica duals aren’t nearly as good, does any archetype really die if they ban the revised dual lands? Would this really make any of the mono-colored decks THAT much more powerful? WOTC wants to find a way to make the format cheaper without gutting it. Even though no one is talking about it, to me it’s a possible solution.

Force of Will has gone up even further since last week – True

Between writing the last paragraph and this one, Starcitygames just announced that they are buying Force of Will at $60. It is currently sold out on their site at $90.

Holy crap.

Neither Force of Will nor Wasteland is on the reserved list – True

Just sayin’

Conclusions

Please draw your own conclusions on this contentious issue, but for now these are mine:

Legacy, as a format, is not in trouble. It is not dying. 2011 will see more Legacy play than any year before.

If Wizards of the Coast doesn’t act, the market will show that enough people are willing to spend $80-$90 on Force of Will and Wasteland to keep the prices that high.

However, I believe that we will see a readily available Force of Will reprint this year. I would also bet we see yet another Wasteland reprint. This will drop the prices for both of these cards back down from the $90 range into the $40-$50 range.

Remember: Tarmogoyf was $100 a year ago. While that was mostly due to the Extended changes, eternal cards do come down in price sometimes.

I do not believe that another format will come along and replace Legacy.
I would make sure I had a playset of each of the following cards:

 

All of these cards are on the reserved list, and there is nothing Wizards can do to stop their prices from rising besides banning them from the format.

I think it is a very real possibility that the dual lands will be banned in Legacy. If you disagree, pick those up this year as well.
Keep your eyes on the VERY high-end Legacy cards: Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Moat, Candelabra of Tawnos, Grim Tutor, and Imperial Recruiter. If you see any of them start to creep up to dizzying heights, look out for the others.

Moat and Tabernacle are the safest bets. They are generally played as one-ofs, aren’t overpowered, and are on the reserve list. They could hit $400 easily.

The sky is the limit with Candelabra. If it keeps posting the results it has, though, I could see the very first Legacy banning based almost solely on financial reasons/card availability. If it costs $2,000 for a set of them and it’s the best deck in the format, Wizards WILL ban it for “power reasons” (wink wink).

Grim Tutor and Imperial Recruiter may finally be reprinted in some form.

What do you think? Am I way off base? While I am going to go back to Commander for next week’s article, I’d love to keep the Legacy discussion going in the forums.

Until next time –
– Chas Andres

52 thoughts on “Traderous Instinct – Examining the Legacy Bump, Part 2”

  1. If Candelabra gets too expensive and dominant, they could just unban Mystical Tutor, which many people thought was a horrible ban in the first place, and unleash alternative strategies.

  2. Well done. Since you compared Magic to both stocks and commodities (gas), which is it more like? As far as gas goes, the difference between prices is based more on taxes/subsidies than the market. It is something absurdly cheap-less than a quarter-in Saudi Arabia where it is subsidized.

    People love to play with dual lands. Previous WOTC folks knew this, which is why they were part of extended in its early years. It is risky to mess with them. I think WOTC needs to realize that people played Magic, grew up, and are willing to spend their money on the old cards they wanted when they had less money. There is nothing wrong with that, and it happens all the time with other games, hobbies, etc. As long as Legacy GPs have the biggest turnouts of any GPs, why mess with success?

    Candelabra poses a real threat. Vintage lost steam because a small number of cards got spread too far across the globe. Candelabra is in that category as a 4 of. All they have to do is reban time spiral and it likely goes away. That card is dangerous to buy in my opinion.

  3. Wow, I actually think you’re pretty much right on the money. I don’t think that Wizards will ban the duals, although I suppose it’s possible. I think it’s more likely they…I don’t know that “obsolete” is the right term, but that they make new duals that are of roughly equivalent power level to the old ones. Think the Ravnica shock lands, but with the additional tag “if ~ comes into play tapped, gain 2 life” or something like that. Of course, they probably can’t just throw these into just any Standard environment and not have them be overpowered, but if there were an environment where life gain was less powerful than usual or life loss more dangerous, they could be fine. The “snow duals” you mentioned could be a possibility as well, in an environment where snow was a drawback rather than a benefit.

    Why do I think they’re more likely to print new duals rather than ban the old ones? Simple: their bottom line. These new lands would create huge demand for whatever set they’re in, and that’s good news for WotC. Banning old lands doesn’t do as much for their profit margin, and it might tick off a respectable portion of their player base to boot.

    Other than that, though, I think you’re pretty much right on track. Then again, I’ve been expecting them to reprint Force of Will for years, and they haven’t yet, so go figure. Maybe this’ll be the one where they finally do it.

  4. As someone who is trying to get into Legacy, I’m not so sure that I have the fortitude to stomach playing the guessing game on what’s going to happen. I recently traded a playset of scalding tarns for a NM force of will, and another playset of zendikar fetches plus a bunch of standard stuff for a pair of NM LEDs, and I’m really queasy on whether or not these will retain their value. Half of me wants wizards to reprint FoW because I don’t think I’ll have the wherewithal to pick up three more FoW at $90 a pop, but at the same time I don’t want it getting reprinted and losing $70 on the one I own overnight as it drops to $20 (which may sound self-centered/greedy, until you consider the thousands of people who own a playset or more of these cards and feel the same way, except their investment is magnified). I think the best solution for Wizards is to break out their secret backstock of old sets and release more older sets into the format (probably on the down-low, as many people wouldn’t like this sneaky way to get around the reserve list.)

  5. captshetz, you do realize mystical tutor would actually make combo much stronger, and would obviously be insane in the deck they would ban candelabra from?

    I personally hate the reserve list, I want it abolished, but barring that, snow covered duals seem somewhat reasonable. I don’t think having a functional 8 copies of dual lands makes any difference in legacy, other than hurting more via price of progress.

    It seems pointless to me, because the price of duals is related to demand, so demand and price will go down on duals anyway, so why not just reprint them?

    The reserve list really does make certain decks essentially unplayable in paper, such as Alluren and Turbo-Eldrazi. Proxies are the only other solution I can think of because of that list.

  6. Not all speculators buy in bulk. I can imagine a bunch of players who read all these articles that say BUY BUY BUY and decide to pick up a Wasteland or two. If the price goes up, then they sell the card for a profit, and if it doesn’t then they just play it in their EDH decks until it becomes worth selling again. Enough people doing this kind of thing could be a large force behind the spike in prices.

    Speculators don’t need to buy up the majority of Legacy staples to have a substantial effect on the market. I just have a difficult time believing Sword of Fire and Ice spiked because of player demand when it only sees play as a 1 or 2-of in just a few decks. Especially when Jitte, which sees more play and came from a less popular set, costs half as much.

  7. I don’t play Legacy and am not planning on getting into the format, although I find the discussion on the interwebs lately to be fascinating. I’m in love with Commander, as it allows me to play with all the cards I couldn’t afford as a teenager, without having to get playsets of them!

    Anyways, just wanted to thank you for the articles of the last couple of weeks (and your Commander articles too!). Your writing is always well-reasoned and I appreciate the thought you put into it 😀

  8. Wizards should not ban the duals. That’s half the fun. Besides decks like TA and TES would not be able to survive with shocks.

    In fact I’m getting to unload my shocks for a tabernacle and maybe a grim tutor. so stop you are making me nervous.

    Seriously though I own most legacy “competitive staples” and I hope the reprint as much as they can. I just want the format to say helathy so we can keep on playing. I wouldn’t mine picking up some P3K cards on the cheap though 😉

    some of us wprked very hard trading to get our duals. besides you know why wasteland is worth more than a tundra? because having nonbasics is often a liability. Most decks never even play with 4x any dual. unless MAYBE they are two color. don’t ban the duals though. it’s not even cool that any one would think this is an option

  9. @ “While the Ravnica duals aren’t nearly as good, does any archetype really die if they ban the revised dual lands?”

    Not only archetype, but the whole metagame would shake – for starters, every aggro deck (Zoo, Goblins, Merfolk, Burn etc.) would get significantly stronger while almost every control deck would get significantly weaker. No, Ravnica duals can’t replace original duals in Legacy.

  10. “Needless to say, Legacy had its best year ever. The price increase caused a lot of grumbling, but that was all. ”

    I don’t think you’re appreciating how difficult it is to enter the format from a Std-1.X players perspective.

    ‘Best year ever’ … ? Absolutely. That doesn’t mean the growth rate is healthy, shouldn’t the Global Financial Crisis & the housing bubble be informing us of the dangers of ‘best years’ (not to be dramatic, just to use an analogy in recent times we can relate to) … ?

  11. I’ll just comment something that gets me pumped every time I read it from a yank:

    You’re gas prices are insanely cheap. Stop complaining about that already!
    Over here we are paying 8$ per gallon, and our standard is like 3-4 times less than that of USA. Seriously…

  12. @ Justin Richardson

    actually they already have in guess which format?….Legacy.

    I played legacy back when mishra’s workshop, mana drain, and bazaar of baghdad were legal and they were all banned for the same reason: costing too many dollars.

  13. Although I own all the duals, they are killing the format, along with other cards. I used to be quite the elitist, but this format is starting to get out of hand now.

    They should ban the revised lands as you suggest, and then print new duals that are just snow dual lands. Put them in a core set, and make a TON of them. Print them in 2 or 3 years of core.

    And they WILL do a reprint of FOW and Wasteland this year in an Exiled set or something. They won’t be Judge Promos as that wouldn’t really do anything. Judge FOWS would be even more expensive.

  14. I can’t speak for the whole Legacy community, but banning the duals would be tantamount to killing the format in my area, and possibly in most of my country (Spain). The level of ragequits would be something unheard of. Legacy is the only format people have absolute faith around here, and such banning would certainly mean nothing is safe anymore.

  15. *Legacy is the only format people have absolute faith around here, and such banning would certainly mean nothing is safe anymore.

  16. I don’t think banning the original dual lands would help Legacy, at all. They are part of the allure for even playing the format in the first place.

    Going back to the previous reserve list (which allowed premium printings) seems like a good solution. Cards have also been added/taken off the reserve list in the past.

    Mystical Tutor could help Solidarity, but it completely opens the door to several other strategies (reanimator in particular… Iona on blue, how I miss you).

    On a related note, stop messing around with banning Time Spiral. Just ban High Tide (the real problem) and be done with it.

  17. Wizards shouldn’t ban dual lands and stuff like wasteland because they just make non-interactive combo stronger, which neither they, me, nor I think a majority of players want to see.

    I only just started playing Magic in the last few months, but Legacy is already my favourite format. I recently bought 3 Scrublands, but I’m going to have to hold off finishing the set and getting Wasteland because it’s just silly, and I really want them to print _something_ to make it easier to break into Legacy staples. If Dust Bowl were just 1 or 2 mana cheaper I would actually be happy with that, but speaking as someone who has used the shock lands, the alternatives are way worse than people who already have dual land and Wasteland sets realise.

  18. I would like to see them restrict duals instead of ban – u still get to use them sell your extra to others who now only need one or two. And you can supplement with shocklands or any new duals you like. Legendary duals would be cool. Maybe in commander decks?

  19. Here’s a thought you haven’t hit on: Might the very lack of rotation that appears to make Legacy prices rock solid eventually bring them down?

    Here’s my thinking: Unlike gas, you don’t need to keep buying Force of Will. Once you have your playset of Force of Will, you never need to buy one again.

    So at some point, won’t everyone who’s willing to pay $90 for a Force already have four of the darn things? At that point, one of two things could happen:

    1). Force stays at $90 forever, selling at a much lower velocity.
    2). Retailers drop the price in the hopes of finding more demand.

    If you’re Star City Games and you want to keep people playing in your Legacy events and not kill the goose that laid the golden egg, you go with 2, right?

  20. Also Wizards is not making money on Legacy craze -if they want a piece of that pie they will have to reprint FOW and Wasteland type cards and/or print new duals that are nearly as good as the others. I think they will. Just banning cards won’t help them make money.
    Speculation is which cards and when- not so much if.

  21. I have been buying legacy staples cards for the past six months and just now I started buying dual lands but I still would like to see at least the revised duals and cards that are 4 ofs being re printed.

  22. Duals can’t be banned, they are one of the reasons why people like me play legacy!

    And as somebody already posted they can’t be replaced by the Ravnica ones. Aggro decks would just become too powerful and decks like Team America, Threshold and TES would simply die. No Way!!

    Anyways Wizards could reprint some cards that are not on the reserved list: Force of Will and Wasteland. This would be helpful for people that don’t have legacy staples yet.

    And.. Old Layout >>> New Layout

  23. Gandalf_the_Red

    Agreed that banning duals would cause a huge backlash. People have paid high prices recently to acquire them based on the fact that they are the backbone of the format and won’t rotate out. A much better option would be to print Snow duals or even Tribal duals (Tribal Land: Goblin Mountain Swamp) – there would be a drop in the original dual prices but nothing drastic. Or just revise the Reserved List and reprint them – and I say that as someone who owns half the original duals along with plenty other Legacy staples.

  24. I agree with-
    -A Reprint of FoW this year IF the SCG opens keep gaining/staying at their current level of popularity.
    -A Reprint of Wasteland for the same reason/s as FoW. These are 2 of the 3 most played cards in the format, they need to be readily available at a reasonable cost.

    Don’t agree with-
    -Banning duals. Duals are to Legacy what the power 9+1 is to Vintage. banning them will cause more players to leave than higher prices.

    How to make the revised duals more widely available and not warp the standard and extended formats is answered by one thing only-remove them, and only them, from the reserve list, and make a special set similar to FTV(Preferably no foils and older card frame, but that’s irrelevant right now). It is a fair and balanced compromise to collectors and competitors. Collectors get to keep there power 9, library of alexandrias, bazaar of baghdad, illusionary masks, LED’s, etc, but the legacy players get to get reasonable prices on staples for competition.

    To everyone saying they can’t afford legacy trade in your standard stuff at an SCG open for trade credit. I did and built 43 lands, bought 4 tundra, 4 natural order, plus a bunch of common/uncommon staples. I already had FoW, Wasteland, and a few duals, but the fact remains, standard is a format too and as a result there is a demand for cards in that format as well.

  25. If they’d print any kind of dual that was strong enough to be a budget altenative for legacy, the se would surely destroy standard alltogether. they might reprint FoW and Wasteland in some box (maybe the commander thing), but I wouldn’t bet on it…

  26. That idea about tribal dual is actually kinda nicely.
    Tribal Land: Faery Island Swamp
    Tribal Land: Merfolk Island Plains
    Tribal Land: Elf Forest Plains
    Tribal Land: Dwarf Forest Mountain
    Tribal Land: Warrior Mountain Plains
    and so on.
    Very appealing and would sell as hot cake just the way WOTC likes 😉

  27. @Luca: Those three cards have never been allowed in Legacy, they were banned from the start. It’s hard to prove the real reason, but it’s clear especially the two lands would totally warp the format. Dredge is already good and Workshop decks would dominate 90% of existing archetypes.

  28. I agree that restricting the old duals in legacy would help alot but only if supplemented by new forms of duals or cards similar to murmuring bosk.
    I expect a FtV:Counterspells to be a big fix for FoW, also would give opprotunity for some cool new foils/art for other cards like Counterspell and Daze, without totally destroying their current value.
    A FtV:Lands would also be really neat to see, with wasteland, stripmine, and some other utility lands included.
    The reserve list needs to have something done with it, if not completely removing it, take off a bunch of cards so reprints make them viable for players; there are too many people who say “I would love to play [deck] but cant afford [cards].

  29. Don’t agree with “Card prices have gone up 70% since January, yet demand can’t have gone up 70% since January! Thus, we are in a bubble – false”

    First of all, the demand for the cards went up whether we are in a bubble or not. Since the price went up and people are paying it. What matters is if the cards is seeing 70% more play, which would include basically any form of magic where people sleeve up a card for use in a game. This is the part I completely disagree with. Even combining Legacy, Commander, Cube, and Casual these cards are not seeing 70% growth in use, or even 25%.

    Someone was arguing before that small increases in growth will lead to exponential increases in price if the quantity of a good is fixed. I don’t know enough about economics to know if that is true or not, but if it is true it would be a good explanation. However, it still doesn’t completely explain the prices to me because interest in the format has been growing at a steady rate so the rise in prices should have increased in a predictable curve, not shoot straight up.

  30. I have pretty much all non-combo staples in legacy. It took me years to build the collection i have. I’m nineteen now and i doubt i would ever buy sealed products from wizards again if they destroy the value of my collection by functionally reprinting fifty dollar staples. They should just create overextended starting at invasion and be done with it. And seriously, why do people complain about legacy prices while many standard decks cost the same or more, while losing their value very quickly?

  31. Thank you for attempting to dispel the ridiculous myth that online retailers are hoarding cards to drive up prices. Thank you! It cannot be stressed what a ridiculously stupid idea this would be, how it couldn’t work, and how there’s no way this can actually be going on.

  32. “The reserve list really does make certain decks essentially unplayable in paper, such as Alluren”

    The reason Aluren is unplayable in paper is because of Imperial Recruiter…which ISN’T on the reserved list.

    People blame the reserved list for way too much. As was pointed out:

    Force of Will
    Wasteland
    Grim Tutor
    Tarmogoyf
    Imperial Recruiter
    Imperial Seal (for Vintage)
    Mana Drain (for Vintage)

    are all NOT on the reserved list, and yet Wizards has shown no interest whatsoever in decreasing the price of these cards. FoW and Waste especially are as staple to the format as duals, yet Wizards has let their price go way up. What makes people think that, if not for the reserved list, Wizards would reprint a bunch of old hot cards cards? I’ll believe it when I see the above cards get reprinted.

  33. I do not think they should ban the duals. It would really hurt the communities confidence in the format. People like to fetch for duals, and lots of people have invested lots of money in getting those. As much as i don’t want to see the value of my wastelands and forces and such go down. If the need is that great to increase the number of people that are able to play the format I’m all for that. Starcity has as you said “breathed life” into the format which is great. I think they could have a judge foil force of will easy enough as a way of putting cards into the system without bringing them into standard format or something like that. Not sure honestly how they can get more wastelands and cards that they obviously can’t reprint in standard sets or have already been judge foils and such.

  34. Another great article on the topic. The fallout from all of this has been utterly fascinating to follow. Good thought on the subject, and I think you’re spot-on in every manner.

  35. @Steven: The reason people are ok with paying high prices for Standard is that you know you will get to play the deck all the time, and there are a TON of events for it. While Legacy is gaining in popularity it is no where near where Standard is, and will never get there.

    As a fairly new player I want to get into Legacy but I just can’t drop $300+ on a set of 4-8 cards for a format I am not familiar with and is not large enough to guarantee play every week. A reprint of FoW, Wasteland, Duel Lands (in some form), and other harder to find cards would encourage growth in a format that right now is in the spotlight. These prices might not let me get into the format, but they sure do make me interested.

  36. I wish the dual lands weren’t considered essential to Eternal formats. Aside from the prices, I think they’re too overpowered. I have a hard enough time accepting the costs of the decks I build without the dual lands. There’s no way I could accept getting even a single copy of one. As someone who has an interest in Legacy but would never join with the prices required. Some writers talk about budget decks that are somewhat capable in the format, but they’re rarely ever what I’d want to run, so why play a format that makes me play a deck I don’t like because I can’t afford the cards everyone else seems to be able to get?

  37. my legacy deck costs about $1500 in its current state… i cant think of a standard deck that is that high.
    also, the judge foil wasteland is like $80, isnt it? how is that better than $50?
    They need to put these cards into a FtV or Premium deck series; judge foils arent cheaper alternatives. Sensei’s divining top and chain lightning hasnt seen drastic price destruction since FtV:Exiled and Fire and Lightning, but Force and Wasteland would likely see their prices stabilize and perhaps drop to more reasonable levels.

  38. Only two decks in the top 8 of the Atlanta open had duals, making 12 duals total in the entire top 8 spread across 3 decks. There were also only 12 duals in the top 8 of the LA event spread across 4 decks. Before that, there were only 24 duals in the top 8 when one of the decks was 43 lands. The viability and competitiveness of decks without duals is quite high, and even if a deck calls for duals it doesn’t necessarily call for a full playset.
    Regardless, you might drop $200 on duals to play a deck, but if you don’t like the deck you can always just sell the duals for the exact same price you bought them for (or more as the case may be) then purchase different duals. Duals are pretty liquid right now, and the volatility in their prices as of late seems to only bring their price up.

  39. I still say the announcement to reaffirm their dedication to the reserved list was a slap in the face. I have playsets of all the Legacy staples you mentioned above on the reserved list. I have a set of Candelabras and tons more – because Legacy is just awesome!

    And even with all I stand to “lose” monetarily from reprints, I want WOTC to do it to support the format. They’re really shooting themselves in the foot with every day they stick to their antiquated reserved list.

  40. WoTC should not renege on the reserve list or ban cards simply because of their prices, especially when there are $100 cards in Standard — which should be the more accessible format.

    Chas, it’s very hard to talk-up the “demographic” attraction of Legacy on one hand and then argue that its players should have their collections severely compromised because a few of the duals have cracked $50. For a lot of Legacy-era players, a decent percentage of their collection value is in duals. There’s also a semi-bogus “accessibility for the health of the game” attraction to targeting duals, but precisely the newest players will be the least sensitive to power differences between duals and alternatives. If you’re already into the game enough to realize that you didn’t Top 8 because of the life you lost from running 1 dual and 3 fetches vs 4 duals, then maybe you can pay-up for another dual or two.. if you have “professional” aims.

    The problem is that it would be more just and cause less outrage to reprint the high-fliers that aren’t on the reserve list, but then you might mess with Standard.

    As to whether or not this is a bubble, it is true that there is no linear relationship between prices and fundamentals (e.g. rarity, print runs, number of active players, 1-of/4-of etc.), but the problem is that you can use that argument at any price level.

  41. Just an observation re: FoW and Wasteland. Yes, Wizards could reprint those and drive the price down. However, one consequence of that would be increased demand for the Legacy staples not reprinted – dual land prices might spike even higher and faster than they would have otherwise.

  42. Jonathan W, Yes that’s another problem, but if reserve list prices then spiked, they could be more sure that they were dealing with rampant speculation and hoarding. With that additional information, I’d be more willing to print near-equivalents.

  43. Why is grim tutor so expensive? Diabolic tutor is 1 mana more, and is typically considered total jank

  44. Average price of Legacy Goblins : $450.51
    Dredge : Estimated Deck Price: $529.12
    Zoo : Estimated Deck Price: $773.94

    Average price of Caw-Blade : $679.81

    Just saying …

    I think everyone should stop freaking out about legacy prices going up. Legacy has been very successful and very rarely looses value. Banning or reprinting Duals is just non-sense.

    I’m more worried about my $400 Jace playset loosing half its value in a few month, my $200 Baneslayer playset that is now $40, my $200 Elspeth playset that now costs $60-80, , etc etc
    Prices in standard and introduction of mythics should be what people are complaining about.
    Legacy NEVER ROTATES.

  45. @dan

    Seriously i have to say “lolwut” U really bought all those t2 sets? And in theyr Highest peaky times? I HARDLY doubt that.

    No offence, but those cards, even the jace2 (tho in that u had to have insight of sorts.) Did come in boosters u could buy more or less 3-4dollars/euros. Also t2 players “atlease they do” play also limited in a way they can get those cards.. Also because they come from boosters that ppl constantly buy and rip the quantity of them (jace2 is a slightly difrent on this case agreed)

    My point is. I have also sets of those all cards. But i never bought any one of them by paying some ridiculous prices. Just trading or ripping from boosters. ur 400jace set cost me maybe 200tops. your baneslayers maybe 50tops at set and so on.. ON legazy staples u dont have that kind of luxury or alternative ways to accuire the cards in same kind of volymes. (yes some ppl still trade legazy stables or shops do so too (tho prices on those cases are even more higher))

    Yes t2 cards have peaky prices and yes they sometimes cost more than some legazy stuff. Yes they also drop in prices more than legazy ones do. Still there are much more ways to accuire them and generally u get them alot cheaper even the expensive ones.

  46. @ Kgb

    I respectfully disagree. Availability doesn’t matter. What matters is monetary value.
    1 year ago, you could have sold your 4 baneslayers for $200 and get 3 Tundras on Ebay.
    Easy transaction.

    I’m honestly thinking about selling my 4 Jaces now for $400 because I KNOW that they will be worse $200 in 3 months. Same for Green Titans and most Zendikar block// M11 staples.

    With these $400, I can buy a Tabernacle, or a Moat, then save $200 and rebuy 4 Jaces at $200 in 4 months.

    This pretty much means that since the introduction of Mythics, I will be playing standard 9 months of the year, and sell staples right when the last set of a block comes out.. Sad but I can’t bear keeping a $150 Playset of green titan that will be worse $40-$50 in 3 months.

    Does this make any sense ?

  47. There are functional reprints of moat, tabernacle, and candlabra of tawnos. The magus cycle from Planar Chaos gave us budget options. Magus of the Candlabra is the only one that doesnt really fit into the deck it needs to. In reality, Stormtide Leviathan and Teferi’s Moat are two other Moat-replicas (of course not as good).
    Grim tutor costs so much because there is not a huge supply of them, also why its not in many legacy decks, but of someone abuses it to victory in a SCG open, id expect it to break $300.
    The Rav shocklands are the only other functional duals, and for a starter, they arent terrible to get into tournaments with, but that still leaves you with having to deal with cards that could be better or dumping your wallet for the real deal.

  48. “I just have a difficult time believing Sword of Fire and Ice spiked because of player demand when it only sees play as a 1 or 2-of in just a few decks. Especially when Jitte, which sees more play and came from a less popular set, costs half as much.”

    – Agreed, SoFI just isn’t worth 50 bucks a piece to really only see play in casual.

  49. @dan

    “Dredge : Estimated Deck Price: $529.12” — Only the lists that run 4x Underground Sea and 4x Lion’s Eye Diamond.

    Most dredge list run closer to 150 if you bought the whole deck tomorrow.

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