“Leave the last 10 percent for the next guy.” This sound line of reasoning has been promoted by the guys from the Brainstorm Podcast and I tend to agree, although it may seem counter-intuitive initially -“Why give up profit margins on my speculation targets that hit?” Because cards are ultimately only worth what someone is willing to pay for them and while the value of a card may still be on the rise, it’s easier to move a card while it is still on the rise as opposed to trying to move it once it has peaked and is beginning to show signs of decline. If you are holding Modern staples right now and considering whether or not to move them, I think that we are now in the time frame to make that sale. Between now and the beginning of Modern season you’ll have the best opportunity to unload Modern staples at the best profit margin.
At this point it is certainly unclear how much more valuable Scalding Tarn and Misty Rainforest can possibly get. We are clearly nearing the top of the price point for these cards with Modern season looming and the hype following Grand Prix Richmond this weekend. We may in fact be nearing the top for all the fetch lands. After all, Wizards has to be salivating at the incredible draw that the Modern format has become. With the outlandish turn out at Grand Prix Richmond this weekend, any product Wizards produces with the word “Modern” on it will undoubtedly fly off shelves. The Modern Event deck that is to be available on May 30, 2014, continues to demonstrate that Wizards will increase the supply of Modern staples as long as the demand remains.
With five of the top 18 finishers of Grand Prix Richmond running Affinity, most of the contents of the deck have already increased in value. While there is still room for growth, the card from the deck I am most bullish about is a repeat call from last week. Inkmoth Nexus is a multi-format staple, being a 4-of in most decks that chose to run it as an alternate win condition. Sitting at $10 on TCG player, as well as most other major retailers, I feel that this card has not seen the exponential growth that some of the other major players in Modern have seen. I think this means that this is still a card worth targeting and perhaps even purchasing despite its recent growth and success. Given the number of decks capable of infinite life, or padding their life total through Phyrexian Unlife and Angel’s Grace, having an alternate win condition is perhaps undervalued at this juncture. By the way, if you want to go long on a spec, Phyrexian Unlife. If you can still find them. Go to your LGS and buy them up out of the bulk box. They’re disappearing across the internet.
Affinity faced off against Kiki-Pod in the finals of the Grand Prix this weekend, pod strategies also managed five of the top 18 finishes. While Affinity has already shown moderate gains, Birthing Pod is selling for almost double what it cost Friday. Many of the cards from the deck have also experienced similar astronomical growth in the past weekend. One card that I feel strongly still has room for growth is Restoration Angel. The gradual growth that Restoration Angel has experienced encourages me to target it in trades, as they are occasionally still present in casual binders, you can often get rid of standard cards in exchange for this card that is still trending upward.
The Innistrad land cycle sees play in Modern, and although they don’t see play in incredibly high numbers, both this cycle of lands as well as the Scars of Mirrodin fast lands are all worth acquiring. Sulfur Falls and Hinterland Harbor are likely the most popular Innistrad lands at this point, but they are all probably safe targets.
Snapcaster Mage had climbed to $40.00 from some retailers as early as a week or so ago. Any blue based decks that aren’t running Snapcaster Mage likely have to question why they aren’t. Copies can be had on TCG player at $30.00. This is a card that will likely not see print in standard ever again, relegating any reprints to smaller sets. $30.00 is likely the new floor for the foreseeable future.
Blood Moon was such a successful strategy across several archetypes that for the Grand Prix this week, many shifted their entire mana bases so they could fight through a resolved Blood Moon. This card is still punishing for so many greedy mana bases, that despite the handful of printings, Blood Moon is well situated in both Modern and Legacy, and is a good trade target right now.
Grafdigger’s Cage remains a highly-selected and diverse sideboard card in both Modern and Legacy. Foil copies are selling at $18. I think the way in which foil copies are out pacing non-foil copies is indicative of the direction that this card will trend in the future. Both clauses are relevant in both Modern and Legacy.
One of the major barriers to the entry to Modern not so long ago was the lack of availability of shock lands. With Return to Ravnica having resolved that issue, shock lands took a Plummet, but keep an eye on shock land prices. It is quite possible that they are currently as low as we will see them for some time. While other cards may dip when they cycle out of Standard, many players will be waiting to swoop up all of the shock lands as they rotate, and I don’t expect much, if any of a dip in their price. Now is likely a good time as any to pick up shock lands. While Steam Vents has been one of the least played during its stretch in Standard, and therefore the cheapest, it is highly played in Modern, and it’s future price will reflect this.
Modern cards are going to continue to fluctuate in value based on results from Modern tournament results, the next Modern Grand Prix the weekend of May 9-11 in Minneapolis. As I said last week, Modern cards will remain the most financially-volatile assets in your collection. Treat them as such.