Supply and Demand can make collectors and players do funny things. With all of the recent MTG Buyouts of Reserved List cards I have been feeling impulsive with my Paypal account as of late. I think my first bead of sweat appeared after watching a card I have coveted for a few years now, Moat, skyrocket out of my financial comfort zone and into the stratosphere. I had always contemplating dropping a few Christmas gift cards for the mythical enchantment from Legends but never pulled the trigger. If price stays where it is, I never will.
While I considered this an anomaly, I felt my gut tighten as I watched the price of two more cards on the reserved list, Gaea’s Cradle and Serra’s Sanctum, swell abnormally like a finger being smashed in a card door. Damn it. While I have a copy of Serra’s Sanctum sleeved in my Sigarda Enchantress deck, I had always wanted to reclaim a copy of Gaea’s Cradle. Shamelessly I have to confess, I traded mine off for about $50 in store credit when I started playing Magic again in 2012. Sigh. Next up, I watched Humility and Helm of Obedience double in value overnight. Thank goodness I already have these two cards in my collection. Enough is enough. This shit is getting real. There are still some cards on the Reserve List I want for future EDH decks. Time to hit the panic button and shore up my collection.
I indulged in heaping spoonfuls of #MTGFinance articles and podcasts and convinced myself it was time to pull the trigger on a few Reserve list cards before they met the cross-airs of a buyout. In my opinion, if a card that I wanted on the reserve list gets bought out and doubles in price before I get a chance to pick up a copy, then I only have myself to blame. I mean, that is the biggest irony of reserve list buyouts right? A card gets a price tag makeover and we go nuts claiming the buyout catapulted the card out of our price zone. When, in reality, if we wanted the card we should have bought it already (or had plans to buy it).
TCGPlayer.com Response to Buyouts
TCGPlayer.com seems to be the initial battleground for cards to get swallowed in mass by the financial card gobblers and the “TCG Low” price tier was easy to manipulate with regards to buying and flipping cards for profit. Thankfully, TCGPlayer.com, made some quick adjustments to their price listings and published a step-by-step plan to help ease the sting of card buyouts. In a nutshell, TCGPlayer.com now lists a Market Price and a Listed Median. Market Price is a compilation of recent sales of a particular card where Listed Median is the current price that the card is listed for.
For example, (as of the date of this article), Serra’s Sanctum has a Market Price of $54.80 but the Listed Median is at $74.09. My recommendation? There is some serious price gouging going on here. Watch and wait. If we all refuse to pay bloated prices, they will eventually come back down.
I’ll admit my interpretation of the TCGPlayer.com changes probably rests on the “I don’t know what I’m talking about” side, so, for your own education, I recommend reading the original article here:
TCGPlayer.com Response to Buyouts
Hitting the Panic Button – Reserved List Cards for EDH
So to ensure that I have the reserve list cards I want, I sold my MTGO account (I haven’t played it in 2 years) which gave me about $120 in spending money. Within the past week, here is what I targeted for my collection, that I did not have already.
Grim Monolith: Just received this card today from an Ebay buyer. I paid $38 with Free Shipping. It is in slightly played condition with a slight crease in the corner. I love it and was extremely pleased to add it to my collection. I will probably put it in Brago or Hanna. Checking the Listed Median today, Grim Monolith now sits at about $60.
Intuition: Intuition is a fantastic tutor that allows us to search for three cards. Sure our opponents choose one to go in our hand and the others in the graveyard, but with the correct amount of manipulation we can put them in a no-win scenario. I’ve been wanting a copy of this for Bruna, Light of Alabaster for a while now. I can search up three auras for Bruna and it doesn’t matter if the cards go in hand or in graveyard because she pulls them out of both when we attack or block.
I felt that Intuition may be a good target for a buyout soon. I was right. I think. I purchased one on TCGPlayer.com for $24 with Shipping, slightly played condition. Within two hours I watched the price on Intuition go up into the $30 range. To make matters worse, I ordered this on a Friday and it did not ship right away. When a card spikes in value, there are quite a few vendors on TCGPlayer.com that may claim they “miscounted” inventory and cannot ship a card. Why? Because they want to relist it at the higher price. A pat on the back to vendor Gamers Paradise. They shipped my card on the following Monday and I have received it. Well done. Intuition now has a Listed Median of $33.
Here are a few more cards on the Reserved List that I did not have in my collection. As of the date of this article they are still available at about the same price I paid, but I feel better knowing that I now have a copy of each just in case they are ever the target of a buyout.
Deranged Hermit: I played a lot during Urza’s Block but never owned a Deranged Hermit. Years later, I finally have one. This card will be nutty in the Rith, the Awakener token deck I am building. Looking forward to it!
Bought this Moderately Played for $6.85
Listed Median is currently $8.50
Undiscovered Paradise: My future Red/Green deck will revolve around multiple lands per turn therefore limiting the drawbacks of this card. Undiscovered Paradise also guarantees a land drop every turn for those juicy Landfall triggers.
Bought this at $5.15 Moderately Played
Listed Median is currently about $6
Time Spiral: I’ve been running a proxy of this card in my Oloro deck and I really dig it! I had always wanted to buy one, just didn’t want to fork out the cash. I don’t use proxies very often, but when I do, I feel like a dirty little wizard boy. Looking forward to casting the real thing! Conscious has been cleared.
Bought a Lightly Played version for $25.99
Listed Median is about $27
Earthcraft: I’ll slide Earthcraft into my Sliver Queen or Rith token deck to get full use out of the little guys and untap a ton of lands. This also makes mana ramping auras like Overgrowth extremely efficient. Of course there is always the idea of being “That Guy” and including Squirrel Nest for wacky combo time.
Bought this one Lightly Played for $27.55
Listed Median is about $30.
Final Thoughts on Reserved List Buyouts
I am assuming that you and I are both fairly up-to-date with regards to recent information and promises by Craig and Martin with regards to their primary target, the Reserved List. Interestingly enough, I had just started an article series on how to collect cards from the Reserved list on a poor man’s budget. I still fully plan to continue this article series, but hope that there is still some meat left on the bone by the time I consider it complete. Ironically, if you followed the advice of my July 1st article you would have been able to pick up a copy of Academy Rector for $16. As of the date of this article, the same condition Academy Rector has started to climb and is crawling into the $20 territory.
Personally, I have no grudges against buyouts or “investors” that decide to clear the market of a reserve list card and crank up the price 600%. Hey, the system is there to be taken advantage of, and this is the result. However, as an avid Commander player and collector, I will be boycotting cards that have had their prices manually bloated by #MTGFinance. I implore you, the reader to do the same. If a price is doubled leave it alone and let them sit on those cards. The price will come back down to normal someday. Well, hopefully.
As of the publishing of this article the community commotion with regards to Reserved List discussion seems to have cooled. Are we safe or is this the eye of the storm? With that, I’ll end the article here. If you’re interested in following my Reserved List Collecting for EDH on a Budget article series I’ll post links to the first article below my signature. The second article is almost done, so check back soon.
What did you think of my Reserve List Buys? Do you play any of them in EDH? Did you buy any Reserved List cards in fear that they may be the target of a buyout? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
On to the next!