Hey that’s weird. There are two weeks in a row of articles from me? It’s not a mistake, I’m changing the week that my article is publishing, so this month you get an extra dose of MTG Finance! We’re hot off the heels of some unfortunate Dominaria leaks, but we don’t know the rarities of the cards yet and there isn’t enough of the set spoiled to take a dive in. What I want to talk about this week is Modern and how it’s not as dominated by Jace, the Mind Sculptor as many people might have expected.
Last weekend, we got to witness a very odd Top 8 emerge in Dallas. If you missed the event, you can find the top decks here, but it was a wild one. The whole thing was won by Andrew Wolbers playing Ponza of all things. A lot of you may be a little confused by that because there isn’t any new land destruction spell that should have elevated this deck to a win. It turns out the biggest winner so far from the unbannings has been Bloodbraid Elf and not Jace, the Mind Sculptor. All Ponza needed was a 3/2 with the ability to cascade into a Stone Rain or Blood Moon to put it over the top. Largely, this seems to be the case across the board. Jund is also seeing large price spikes and increasing popularity as Bloodbraid Elf and Liliana, the Last Hope continue to pressure fair decks out of the format. Jund’s biggest problem has always been deploying it’s cards quickly enough to not lose, so getting a free spell from a threat has been great for them. If you’re looking to get into Modern, one of your best budget options in Storm also did very well, taking 2 of the Top 4 spots. The increase in Bloodbraid Elf deck has seemed to push Death's Shadow decks out of the top tables and allowed Storm to have a lot more breathing room. I would not be surprised to see the more rare commons see some price increases since this deck is one of the cheapest in the format. If you play Caleb Scherer’s list from the open you don’t even need to buy any fetches! My biggest fear is the rarer cards like Sleight of Hand, Manamorphose, and Pyretic Ritual can become very difficult to find because they haven’t been reprinted recently.
This brings us to the elephant in the room, where’s Jace? His results haven’t been stellar and I’m not about say it’s time to pack it in but if you’re still holding copies you’re not excited to be using, you should really consider this your last call. Masters 25 releases Friday, and with it a ton of newly minted Jace, the Mind Sculptor cards that will be burning a hole in people’s pockets. I’m not sure he will still command a triple digit card price after the weekend is over. Jace can’t keep its price tag this high if it’s not seeing enough play. Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant just finally started to turn up for the first sustained price gains in almost 2 years!
This is the price graph for the Future Sight printing, which is the most secure from reprints and price almost exclusively depends on demand. It hasn’t had any sustained growth since the release of Dragons of Tarkir in 2015! Now, with the unban of Bloodbraid Elf, it’s managed to regain its $100+ price tag and that is the kind of growth that can continue to push the price up even in the face of a reprint.
What worries me about Jace is this:
This is the price graph from MTGGoldfish for Jace’s price on MTGO. Players have a lot more fluidity to change decks as their mood or play-testing shows a deck is performing or not performing well. I’m afraid of Jace almost exclusively dropping since it was unbanned. This leads me to believe that players don’t want to play Jace decks because they’re not fun or not good. I sold my Jaces already when the spike first happened, but if you were holding onto them because you were late to sell, then now is probably the time to dump them before you lose more.
In the Dominaria front, I think there a few cards I want to talk about. Mox Amber is not going to be the all-star that Mox Opal is in Modern and likely may not even see any play in Standard. A lot of a mox’s power comes from how fast you can get the extra mana. Turn one moxes are much better than turn five moxes, and this is the kind of Mox that is unlikely to produce mana on turn one. Despite this, however, Leyline of Singularity has been bought out over the weekend due to comboing with the mox. If you have any copies, I would feel very confident buylisting them for anything more than $1. Mox Amber is currently the most expensive card to pre-order, and I think it’s a bit of a trap. It might see some play in EDH decks, but this is definitely not the (presumably) premier mythic in the set. Karn, Scion of Urza is more of the kind of card I would target if I was interested in playing Standard. It’s going to co-exist with Kaladesh block for a little to get some extra artifact synergies, and during that time I expect it to be very popular.
I know I only briefly talked about Dominaria, but I promise next time I’ll have more data to work with and more cards spoiled so we can take a deeper dive into what is going to possibly increase or decrease in price with the release of the set. If you are getting Masters 25 product this weekend, make sure you don’t sell it during the rush to the bottom. Wait a week or two if you get some non-Jace cards you don’t need. Hope you found this article informative and if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below!