With the culmination of a great weekend of Modern Grands Prix and a triple format StarCity Open, it’s time to look to the future of Magic set releases. Did you know that we’re less than a month away from the release of Modern Masters 2017?! I know we haven’t seen any spoilers yet, as Wizards of the Coast has been tight lipped,but there is still so much to think about before the set is released. Everyone is hyped for the big ticket cards but I’m going to take a closer look at some cards that you may not realize are worth as much as they are and up for reprint.
I’m going to start out by saying that as much as I’d love to correctly predict the cards that will be reprinted in Modern Masters 2017, it’s almost impossible at this point to pick anything with any kind of accuracy. My suggestions in this piece will be purely based on the risk of reprint. Some cards are naturally more pre-disposed to getting reprinted and as such have more risk involved in keeping or buying them at this point. That being said, even low risk cards can and are reprinted sometimes. No predictions will be perfect but I will do my best to limit the amount of risk take on.
High Risk Cards
These cards have a lot in common. They’re cards that are expensive, popular, and long sought after reprints. Well, usually. Right some of the most obvious high risk cards to keep are Snapcaster Mage and Liliana of the Veil. Both saw recent promo printings that basically didn’t affect the original printing pricing. I’m sure everyone has thought of them which would be reflected in Snapcaster Mage being the cheapest it’s been in years. Do you remember how many Mythics in Modern Masters 2015 were from the newly added blocks? I’ll give you a hint, it was Zendikar block and Scars of Mirrodin block. 8 of the 15 mythic rares highlighted new cards added to the Modern Masters rotation. Other cards I think that will follow this pattern are some high risk cards from Innistrad and Return to Ravnica block. The cards I’m most expecting to get reprinted are Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Griselbrand, Past in Flames, Craterhoof Behemoth, and Voice of Resurgence. They’re not all Modern powerhouses but they’re cards recently added to the rotation that players will be happy to open in a pack. I think Wizards of the Coast learned from their mistake of putting all 5 Kamigawa legendary dragons in the Mythic slots of Modern Masters. If you’re hanging onto any of those cards and not actively playing with them, I’d probably use this as an opportunity to sell them. You have a little bit of time before spoilers start; but, if you wait until it gets spoiled as a reprint, the price will drop in anticipation.
Medium Risk Cards
The risk of a card getting reprinted is influenced by a number of factors and price is definitely one of them. However, there are some caveats to this. For example, the price of a card a year ago is a much bigger influence than what it is today. Obviously the recent spike of Chalice of the Void will not be a contributing factor to whether it is getting reprinted. The set was sent to the prints far too long ago for any changes like that to be made. Price considerations likely had to be made over a year ago, which is why some cards that are expensive now may not have made the cut because they weren’t as expensive then. Cavern of Souls is a card that fits into this category pretty perfectly. Cavern of Souls was about $40 and decreasing in price roughly December of 2015, or about 13 months ago. It saw a $10 spike with Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch as the Eldrazi were tearing up Modern. But when was this set put into design and testing? Cavern of Souls was only $22 in March of 2015. So the question is when were reprints based on money locked in? If it was too early then Cavern of Souls might have missed the boat. If you are thinking about playing Cavern in the future I would probably just keep them. It’s possible they could fall as low as $20 with a reprint at rare but it’s also possible they could climb to $70+ if they missed getting a reprint. Ultimately I can’t fault you for doing either. Another card that I think is pretty medium risk is Noble Hierarch. It was hard to get into Modern Masters 2017 because it has Exalted and they generally don’t include just 1 card in a set with a mechanic. Once again it follows a path similar to Cavern of Souls and is mostly falling until Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch. It’s possible that the set designers decided it wasn’t necessary for Noble Hierarch to take a victory lap in Modern Masters 2017 and it could see a big gain after not being included. After this weekend, I’ve thought a lot more about Death's Shadow. It’s a card that has been close to a bulk rare for almost all of its life but (man I’m beginning to sound like a broken record) Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch was really a tipping point that invigorated this card.
Lowest Risk cards
While I don’t have a ton of things I can put into this category I can give you a few rules on what I would consider a “low risk” card. Anything with a keyworded ability is much less likely (albeit not impossible) to get reprinted. For example, Desperate Ritual, Lava Spike, Dismember, Inkmoth Nexus, Mox Opal, and Kitchen Finks. Cards that would be moderately more risk but still unlikely to see a reprint are cards that require a lot of setup to be good in draft. Cards that fit into this category are Ancient Stirrings, Mishra's Bauble, and Eldrazi Temple. And lastly, any card that was in Modern Masters 2015 I believe to be pretty low risk. It’s clear when they chose to reprint Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant, Vendilion Clique, and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker again that the price of those was still higher than they wanted. The demand for the cards was there and made the reprint worthwhile. Although a lot of cards have rebounded since Modern Masters 2015, there are far more cards that have increased past their pre original Modern Masters. This is especially true with more casual cards that were used to add value to the set like Doubling Season.
It’s pretty uncommon to be this close to set release and not have any spoilers yet. I applaud Wizards for keeping a tight lid on the situation and making sure the leaks of past aren’t able to ruin the surprise. As we hopefully start getting spoilers next Monday, keep an eye on what gets spoiled so you can eliminate things from contention and pick them up. I’m going to try to keep my thoughts on Twitter (@Phrost_) as the spoilers are shown and keep people up to date on what cards to buy and sell in preparation for what will likely be the largest Masters set release yet!