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Exploring Set Prices, Reprint Rates and MM2


Modern Masters is right around the corner. Spoilers (like Vendilion Clique) are starting to leak out. The hype is building towards the massive three GP weekend. What does all this mean to you and me as individuals who view the game through a financial lens? This is what we will be talking about today, in a round about sort of way. 

Instead of just listing off a bunch of cards that might or might not be in the set, we are going to be talking a more holistic, meta view on the topic by going back over the sets between Shards of Alara and New Phyrexia. I chose these nine sets in specific for two important reasons. First, they are all from the mythic era. Including older sets would make it harder to make an apples to apples comparison. Secondly, all of these sets are eligible to be reprinted in Modern Masters 2015. 

Shards block, which was part of the original Modern Masters, provides a sort of "after" picture. In fact, most of the expensive cards in the set have already been reprinted in one way or another (more on this in a minute). Zendikar and Scars block offer a "before" view; sets yet to be hit by the reprint bug (and their prices reflect this reality). But enough of this intro, this article is already a long one, so let's get to the sets. 

Shards of Alara

Shards of Alara
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10+ Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$220.52 0 6 6 26 4

1

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
33.3% 53.3% 7.5% 6.7% 1%

Of the 12 "money" cards in ALA, a full 67 percent are mythics, and all the mythics in the $10+ category are planeswalkers. The other two $10+ cards are rares; the Modern playable Ranger of Eos and the insanely expensive, twice-printed, casual only Death Baron. The second tier of cards is filled with casual/EDH mythics (things like Godsire, Rafiq of the Many, and even Lich's Mirror) along with a Modern Affinity staple Master of Etherium and the casual-only Mycoloth

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

There are really no chase uncommons or commons in the set, with the closest thing being Fatestitcher which is still hanging around $3 in response to Jeskai Ascendancy in non-rotating formats (even though the deck has all but disappeared and the zombie was bulk are recently as November). The rest of the uncommons and commons are floating in the $1 to $1.50 range and include some of the tri-lands and Relic of Progenitus

Reprint-wise, a staggering 75 percent of the cards worth $5 or more already have more than one printing (including two that are in From the Vaults, and a Prerelease Promo). 

Shards of Alara $5+ One Print List: Ranger of Eos, Godsire, Lich's Mirror

Conflux

Conflux
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10-$20 Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$203.64 1 2 6 19 3

0

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
20% 40% 11.4% 7.5% 0%

Conflux is highlighted by one of the most expensive cards in Modern in Noble Hierarch, which is currently sitting near the $60 mark (although it seems exceedingly likely to be reprinted in MM2). Apart from the world's most expensive Birds of Paradise, it's pretty much business as usual as far as rare and mythic prices. A couple popular casual mythics are more than $10 (Progenitus and Maelstrom Archangel) with a couple more floating in the $9 range. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

As for the uncommons, the percentage in the $1+ range is typical, but the actual value of these cards is higher than most. Path to Exile is still close to $6, Ancient Ziggurat is nearly $4, and Reliquary Tower is pushing $3. This is despite the fact that all of these cards have been reprinted, in one way or another, including Path to Exile which has seven different prints at the moment, with another FNM Promo on the way this summer. 

Speaking of reprinting, looking back over these old sets provides a stark example of just how aggressive Wizards is about making sure supply is high for Modern legal cards. 56 percent of the cards currently worth $5 or more have already been reprinted at least once, and this number will likely increase to 67 percent once (if) Noble Hierarch shows up in Modern Masters 2015. 

Conflux $5+ One Print List: Noble Hierarch, Maelstrom Archangel, Apocalypse Hydra, Font of Mythos

Alara Reborn

Alara Reborn
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10 - $20 Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$174.63 0 4 6 19 5

1

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
40% 70% 8.5% 12.5% 3.3%

Alara Reborn is a set completely devoid of competitive mythics, but this doesn't stop it from having the highest precentage of mythics worth $10+ in all of Alara Block. I guess this just goes to show the power of the casual market, along with the value of missing out on the reprint bug. In fact, compared to the rest of the block, Alara Reborn is massively under-reprinted, with only three of the ten $5+ cards having more than one printing. 

Thraximundar provides a great example of how much this matters. If it wasn't for a Commander 2013 reprinting, it is exceedingly likely it would be the fifth member of the $10+ mythic team, considering it was $9.50 before the reprinting. Instead, it has been on a steady, year-and-a-half long decline, and is currently sitting at a measly $3. I'd have to imagine that the "big four" from Alara Reborn (Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, Sen Triplets, Dragon Broodmother, and Lord of Extinction) will follow a similar trajectory once more copies enter the market. And make no mistake about it — more copies will enter the market eventually. While the dragons might not fall all the way to $3 like Thraximundar, it's hard to imagine they can stay at or near the $10 after the inevitable reprinting. 

As for the uncommons, Bloodbraid Elf continues to hang in the $3.50 range despite being banned in Modern, while Mind Funeral is just about the same, even with a Modern Masters printing. By the way, did you realize that Mage Slayer and Lorescale Coatl are both worth actual money and Qasali Pridemage is still in the $2 range despite showing up in a dual deck? While it might not be able to match Conflux in quality of uncommons and commons, ARB is — by far — the set with the largest quantity of money uncommons and commons in the block. 

Alara Reborn $5+ One Print: Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, Sen Triplets, Lord of Extinction, Jenara, Asura of War (seems like a good possibility for FTV: Angels), Nemesis of Reason, Uril, the Miststalker

Zendikar

Zendikar
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10-$20 Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$444.32 6 6 8 26 2

3

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
26.7% 73.3% 17% 3.3% 3%

Zendikar is a cesspool of value at the moment, with a total of 20 cards being worth $5 or more — not to mention Iona, Shield of Emeria and the fetchlands which all come in between $25 and $53. Notice how I said "at the moment?" That is because these staggering numbers are likely about to change. Thus far, only three of the twenty $5+ cards have been reprinted (15 percent), and two of these have been as somewhat low-supply promos (the only "true" reprinting is Sorin Markov in a core set). 

So let's gaze into the crystal ball and see what Zendikar will look like a year from now. The easiest, safest, most guaranteed prediction is that the enemy fetchlands will return in Battle for Zendikar. There are about a million reason why this will happen, but the short version is Wizards wants to meet player expectations whenever possible (and players expect fetchlands on Zendikar), there are already fetchlands in Standard (the "Wizards doesn't like shuffling" argument is already off the table), more reprints were promised under the new rotation schedule (which starts in earnest with Battle for Zendikar) and the reprints of Tarmogoyf and Vendilion Clique (again) in Modern Masters 2015 shows that Wizards is serious about controlling Modern prices. I could keep going, but the long-and-short of it is there is a 99 percent chance we get another fetchland reprint this fall. 

What this does to the price of Zendikar fetchlands is up for debate. Onslaught fetches continue to command a significant premium over the Khans of Tarkir printing, with most being worth two or 2.5 times more. At the same time, Onslaught has significantly lower supply than Zendikar, and they get the old border bonus (although maybe Zendikar does too with the advent of the M15 border). It might come down to the art. If they bring in someone like Rob Alexander or Noah Bradley, watch out. I'm voting for Rob, so it will be possible to own a complete set of fetches with his artwork. 

The other consideration is that most Zendikar fetches are currently in the $25 to $35 range, which is the "after" price for Onslaught fetches. As a result, for Zendikar fetches to maintain the same ratio as Onslaught, they would have to maintain their current price during the reprinting (except for Scalding Tarn), which seems unintuitive and unlikely. It's probably more realistic that Zendikar fetches are $18-$22 while the Battle for Zendikar printings sit at $10-$15 during their life in Standard. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Fetches aren't the only reprints I would expect from Zendikar this year. Iona, Shield of Emeria is unlikely to miss both MM2 and FTV:Angels. With the mythic slots in the former filling up quickly, I'm leaning towards the latter which is probably a good thing for the card's value. I also expect at least three of the following five cards to end up on MM2, ordered from mostly likely to least likely: Goblin Guide, Oracle of Mul Daya, Bloodghast, Lotus Cobra, and Pyromancer Ascension. These cards will likely see a significant drop in price considering all (with the possible exception of Lotus Cobra) would be printed at rare. In fact, most except Goblin Guide would likely fall out of the $5+ group all together, at least in the short term. So if we assume three rare MM2 reprints, an Iona reprint, and the fetchland reprint, this would mean that, by the end of the year, the reprint rate on Zendikar would look a lot like Shards block jumping from the current 15 percent to 60 percent.

If you are holding any of the valuable uncommons or commons from Zendikar (Vines of the Vastwood, Hedron Crab, Expedition Map, Spell Pierce) I would offload them as soon as possible. A reprint will crush their value and it will take a long, long time to recover if they ever do. The problem here is vendors have already cut their buy prices in half on many of these cards (which tells you they think the reprinting is likely) and the spread is extremely weak (70 percent-ish) so you're pretty much stuck with trading, or maybe Ebay/TCGPlayer (if you are lucky) as outlets. 

All in all, it seems likely that the total set price of Zendikar will be significantly less by the end of the year, maybe in the $325-$375 range, which equals a 22-27 percent decrease across the board. 

Worldwake

Worldwake
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10-$20 Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$287.88 2 4 4 17 2

1

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
30% 50% 14.28% 5% 1.6%

Worldwake is the most top heavy of all the sets in our sample, where the three most expensive cards in the set make up half of the total set value. Thus far, only two of the ten $5+ cards in the set have been reprinted (Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Omnath, Lotus of Mana in From the Vaults), but this will change onces the six rare lands get reprinted, which they eventually will, potentially as soon as Modern Masters 2015 (although this is far from gauranteed). 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

When you combine Zendikar and Worldwake together, you get case study in how a Modern playable rare land cycle improves the Rares +$5 percentage. If you remove the Manlands or the Fetchlands from either of these sets, the percentage drops into the Shards block range. Although none of the Zendikar block lands have been reprinted (yet), the lack of reprinting doesn't explain this phenomena because it's hard to imagine the fetchlands or the blue Manalands to fall under $5, even with a second printing. 

Unlike Zendikar where it seems likely that many of the money cards will be reprinted in the near future, most of the Worldwake cards (discounting the lands) seem relatively safe. Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic are both banned in Modern, the most reprint heavy format. The rest of the $5+ card could be reprinted, but do cards like Admonition Angel and Amulet of Vigor really need another printing? Maybe eventually, but it doesn't seem like there is any rush. 

Rise of the Eldrazi

Rise of the Eldrazi
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10 - $20 Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$431.05 6 4 7 23 6

2

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
53.3% 80% 7.5% 10% 2%

Talk about oozing value, Rise of the Eldrazi comes in at the top of the sets we've examined thus far by every metric other than rares $5+ percentage. More than half of the mythics are currently worth over $10, highlighted by the three mythic Eldrazi and Linvala, Keeper of Silence, all of which come in between $35 and $50. Furthermore, twelve of the fifteen mythics are worth at least $5, and the already-reprinted Gideon Jura just misses out at $4.98. 

Probably more startling is the massive number of expensive uncommons and commons. One out of every ten is worth more than $1, and most of these cards aren't just slipping in over our arbitrary $1 cut-off. Wall of Omens and Pathrazer of Ulamog are $2, Forked Bolt is over $3, and Inquisition of Kozilek is $8 despite showing up in last year's Modern Event Deck. By the way, did you realize Distortion Strike is a $2 card? 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

One of the main reasons these cards are so valuable is most have not been reprinted yet. Out of the 17 cards worth over $5, only four have more than one printing (23%), and two of these are the relatively low supply promos All is Dust and Vengevine. The other two are Inquisition of Kozilek (which I mentioned a moment ago) and Kor Spiritdancer in planechase. 

In some ways, ROE is more like Worldwake than Zendikar. It has a ton of valuable cards, but not a lot of likely reprints (at least as far as Modern Masters 2015 is concerned). My initial thought was that all three of the mythic Eldrazi would show up in the set, but they really can't be knocked down to rare and there are only so many mythic slots to go around. If the Praetors are in, which everyone seems to take for granted for some unknown reason, it's really hard to imagine all three Eldrazi making the cut. 

The rest of the cards seem most likely to be reprinted in supplemental product or in a Standard-legal set. Things like Khalni Hydra, It That Betrays, Kargan Dragonlord, and Lighthouse Chronologist all maintain a significant price based on their relatively low supply and high casual demand. These seem like things that will pop up in Commander decks or other supplemental product sooner or later, but may be safe for the near future. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

The other thing that sets Rise of the Eldrazi apart is a ton of bulk-looking rares that are actually worth between $3 and $5. These are the Keening Stones, Bear Umbras, Training Grounds, and Guul Draz Assassin of the world. None of these cards show up in competitive decks, but they are all casual hits that have not been reprinted in the five years since ROE was released. All of these cards have potential to continue to grow on the Rings of Brightheart trajectory, but buying in now is risky and you'll be sweating every set and supplemental announcement from now until you sell. Once they are reprinted the fun is over and the increased supply means it will be years until they are financially relevant once again. 

Scars of Mirrodin

Scars of Mirrodin
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10 - $20 Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$246.34 1 4 7 27 2

1

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
33.3% 60% 5.7% 3.3%

1%

 

The most interesting thing about Scars of Mirrodin isn't the cards that are included in our charts, it's the cards that are missing: specifically the rare land cycle. While the fastlands (Darkslick Shores and friends) obviously aren't Modern staples like fetches or shocks, they are still Modern playables with one or two copies showing up in various builds. Unlike the core set buddy lands they only have one printing, but still, only one member of the cycle (Blackcleave Cliffs) manages to push past the $5 mark with the other falling between $3 and $4. Come to think of it, the fastlands aren't significantly more expensive than the buddy lands which were reprinted in four straight core sets. Four. Now all of this could end up not mattering if the fastlands are reprinted (which is certainly possible given the lack of the ally part of the cycle and the generic names), but doesn't it seem like this cycle should and could be worth more heading into the four-and-a-half year mark post SOM?

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

That said, the rares of SOM in general are lacking with only 5.7 percent coming in at $5+ (the lowest average in our sample). This is especially concerning for casual staples like Mimic Vat and non-rotating format playables like Leonin Arbiter  and Etched Champion. It goes to show just how much supply increased from set-to-set a few years ago. It seems likely that if these cards were printed earlier in the Zendikar or Alara blocks they would have pushed past the $5 mark by now. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Mox Opal is by far the most expensive card in the set coming in close to $50 based on Modern play in Affinity, as well as various fringe builds in both Modern and Legacy. This seems likely to change if/when it is reprinted in Modern Masters 2015. While it certainly isn't a shoo-in based on the rapidly decreasing availability of mythic slots in the set, it also doesn't seem completely absurd that it could be downgraded to rare. It's not like it would break limited showing up in every couple of drafts. Either way, if it is reprinted, the price should be trending downward; it's only a four-of in one major build after all. I've been holding off on buying copies to play the Puresteel Paladin/Monastery Mentor Cheerios deck for this very reason. 

Mirrodin Besieged

Mirrodin Besieged
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10 - $20 Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$168.98 1 5 4 13 1

0

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
50% 70% 8.5% 2.5% 0%

Just looking over the set, Mirrodin Besieged feels low in value, but by the percentages it is actually average, especially as far as mythic prices. Where the set is lacking is the low-end. It only has 13 cards in the $1-$5 range which puts it as the lowest in our sample, even if you adjust for set size. As a result, MBS has an oddly unique price distribution — a good number of cards at the top and in the middle, but nothing at the bottom.

Why some of these currently bulk rares (and even mythics) haven't been able to push past the $1 mark is a mystery. It might just be that the cards just aren't very good. You can count the number of non-mythic tournament playables in MBS on one hand: Inkmoth Nexus, Creeping Corrosion, the recently reprinted Phyrexian Revoker, and a bunch of fringe cards like Mirran CrusaderPhyrexian Crusader, Go for the Throat, and Blue Sun's Zenith

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

It's also possible that four years isn't enough time for these types of cards to grow, especially for Modern sets which are heavily opened. But this seems odd; if you jump back one more year you have tons of expensive fringe and casual cards in Zendikar (although to be fair, Darksteel Plate is a $7+ dollar rare from the set). It's not like Mirrodin Besieged has been reprinted into the ground, but it's sure to happen eventually. Even if the most expensive cards in the set miss MM2, what are the odds they miss MM3 and MM4? MBS illuminates the problem with holding casual cards these days. Apart from obvious all-stars, they take a long time to obtain meaningful value and the threat of reprint is always looming.

That said, MBS doesn't have that many likely reprints for Modern Masters 2015. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is my pick for the second planeswalker in the set mostly because of the artifact theme suggested by the spoiling of Etched Champion, but otherwise, the mythics feel relatively safe unless they are shifted down to rare. Blightsteel Colossus feels like an odd choice in an Eldrazi set, and most of its demand comes from Vintage and casual formats anyway. Thrun, the Last Troll isn't that expensive yet, and assuming the speculation on the Praetor cycle proves to be correct, we already have two green mythics in the set, which is likely all each color will get accounting for colorless and multicolor mythics. Sword of Feast and Famine already has two printings and the rest of the cards are in the $10-and-under range. I'd like to think that the number of mythics worth less than $10 will be minimal just because opening a mythic that doesn't cover the price of a pack takes away from the special "I just won the lotto" feeling that should come from opening a pack with a mythic rare. 

New Phyrexia

New Phyrexia
Set Price Cards $20+ Cards $10 - $20 Cards $5-$10 Cards $1-5 Uncommons $1+ Commons $1+
$288.70 4 3 5 15 4

1

 

Mythic $10+ Mythic $5+ Rare $5+ Uncommon $1+ Common $1+
60% 90% 8.5% 10% 1.7%

This seems like a good time to talk mythics in Modern Masters 2015 since most people assume that up to half of the set will be made up of cards originally printed in New Phyrexia. We know Karn Liberated is in, most people assume the Praetors cycle is in, and both Batterskull and Phyrexian Obliterator are reasonable options. Regardless of which of these cards make the final cut, the most important question is what will happen to the price?

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Let's start by talking about the huge three GP weekend coming up in a little over a month. It's all but guaranteed that 12,000 people will play MM2 sealed that weekend, and 15,000 isn't an unreasonable estimate (personally I don't expect GP Vegas to hit 10,000, between 7,000 - 8,000 is most likely). Let's say the final number is 15,000 between the three locations. That would mean that 90,000 MM2 packs would be opened on day one of the main events. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% of the field will make day two (so 1,500 players) and draft with three more packs of MM2, bringing the total number of packs opened at the GP main event to 94,500. Even though it's impossible to know how many packs will be opened in side events, let's just round up to an even 100,000 (my guess is it will actually be slightly more). This is the equivalent of 4,166 booster boxes or 1041 cases. Considering that the initial MM2 allocation to stores is 2-3 cases for Basic, 5-6 cases for Advanced, and 9-12 cases for Advanced plus, the GP weekend will account for about 208 stores worth of boxes (assuming an average of 5 cases per store). 

So, I went and searched the official Store and Event Finder on the Mothership and found there are approximately 30 WPN stores in the entire state of Oklahoma, about another 30 in Arkansas and 30 more in Iowa. While this is obviously a relatively low-population part of the country, it seems likely that the GP put as many Modern Masters 2015 cards into the market as the entire initial allocation for a seven state area of the Mid-Western US. The supply coming from the GPs is huge.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another way of looking at it is by individual cards. Let's take Tarmogoyf for instance. Since one of every mythic is opened every 5 boxes (on average), the GPs alone will account for 833 fresh copies of Tarmogoyf entering the wild. That seven state block in the middle of the country will account for another 833. Florida (which has around 100 stores in and of itself) will push out another 400, California and New York somewhere in the 1,200 range. I could keep going on, but the world is a big place, and coming up with an exact estimate would take forever (plus I'm not sure how reliable the Store Finder actually is). Either way, it seems likely that between the GP weekend and the initial allocation (in the US), up to 10,000 new copies of Tarmogoyf, Vendilion Clique, Karn Liberated and all the other mythics will enter the market. 

So the next question is, will the release of Modern Masters 2015, the hype for the Modern format it generates, and the perception (whether true or not) that this summer is the best time to pick up reprinted cards, generate demand for more than 10,000 copies of the reprinted mythics? It's actually more than 10,000 considering we are talking US only and initial allocations, but bear with me. I can see a reasonable argument for a card like Tarmogoyf — which has a certain aura as the best creature ever printed and is almost exclusively a four-of in any deck that plays it — but what about an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite? Or worse yet, a Sheoldred, Whispering One? Almost all of the demand for these cards comes one copy at a time, either for fringe Modern or Legacy builds, or for EDH and Cubes. No one, except for kitchen table casuals (who are often budget conscious) needs four copies of any Praetor.

How many potential Tron player are out there that must have four copies of Karn Liberated? How many want a single copy for cube or EDH? If you don't think there are 2,500 wanting sets, or 10,000 wanting singles immediately, or maybe 7,500 wanting sets or 30,000 wanting singles by the end of summer (a very rough guess at worldwide supply for both allocations), you should expect the prices to drop which means you should sell your copies now, or better yet, a couple months ago with the help of a time machine. 

The numbers are even more staggering for rares since it only takes 2.5 boxes to open a copy of each and every one. The supply is double that of mythics. This means if 833 Tarmogoyfs will be opened at the GPs, 1666 Etched Champions, Spellskites, and every other rare will be opened at the same time. If we assume 10,000 Vendilion Cliques for the initial US allocation, this means 20,000 Cryptic Commands (assuming it's reprinted). This means even more demand is necessary to keep prices from crashing, and at some point there are simply going to be more Tarmogoyfs in the market than there are buyers for Tarmogoyfs and the price will drop. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Back to New Phyrexia; I expect Wizards to use Modern Masters 2015 to reprint both infect and phyrexian mana cards because they are difficult to fit into Standard. This doesn't mean every card with these mechanics will be reprinted (Blightsteel Colossus seems doubtful), but many will be. As a result, Spellskite, Dismember, and Gitaxian Probe seem like locks to me. Get out while you still have the chance. In the worst case you can buy them back for a minimal loss once spoilers confirm these cards are not in the set. In the best case they are reprinted and you buy back in later this summer for a fraction of the price. Not to keep harping on this, but managing your risk is becoming increasingly important in the Modern world of 75 percent reprint rates.

A Visual Representation

 

Five Things We've Learned

  1. Modern cards are going to be reprinted, especially expensive ones. More than half of the cards from Shards block worth $5 or more have already been reprinted, with Shards of Alara leading the way at a massive 75 percent reprint rate. Thus far, Zendikar and Scars blocks have a reprint rate that is much lower in the 20 percent range. What this means is, over the next couple years, in Modern Masters, in supplemental products, and in Standard-legal sets, we should expect around 50 percent of the most valuable cards in these blocks to be reprinted.
  2. Sets can achieve an above average total set price in multiple ways, but having a large number valuable mythics is the most common path. The four most expensive sets in our sample are Zendikar, Worldwake, Rise of the Eldrazi, and New Phyrexia. Three of these sets also have the highest percentage of $5+ mythics. The exception here is Worldwake, which has the second lowest percentage, but it makes up by having the single most expensive card in our sample: Jace, the Mind Sculptor
  3. Having valuable rares is helpful, but not necessary to having a high overall set price. Zendikar and Worldwake have the highest percentages of rares $5+, and also have two of the four highest set prices. Rise of the Eldrazi and New Phyrexia, on the other hand, have only an average number of valuable rares but still maintain significant value in part by having an abnormally high number of expensive uncommons (three to four times as many as Zendikar). 
  4. As for the total set prices, these numbers are not adjusted for set size. If Worldwake and New Phyrexia were large sets with the same amount of value, a complete set would cost significantly more ($383 compared to $287). If we adjust the set price of other small sets we find that Conflux would be worth $270 as a large set, Alara Reborn $231, and Mirrodin Besieged $223. 
  5. The most consistent number in our data is the rare $5+ percent for sets without a Modern staple rare land cycle (Worldwake and Zendikar are outliers based on Manlands and Fetches) where six of the seven sets come in at between 6 and 8 percent. Uncommons $1+ is the most inconsistent, with three sets coming in over 10 percent, while another three come in below 3 percent.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Sorry for being so long-winded; nine sets is a lot to work through. What do you make of these numbers? Does the 50+ percent reprint rate for Shards block surprise you? Is this what we should expect for sets moving forward? Three or four valuable cards being reprinted within 5 to 7 years? How about the number of Modern Masters 2015 cards entering the market? Are my numbers close? Do you think there is enough demand to keep these cards from decreasing (or even crashing) in price? Are the Praetors in? What do you make of all the set percentages? Do you see any patterns? As always, leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments and you can reach me on Twitter (or Magic Online) @SaffronOlive. 


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Welcome to MTGGoldfish. We display prices for both ONLINE and PAPER magic. By default, what prices would you like to see?   

Paper Magic Online Magic Arena