- Dr. Hans Joachim Höh
Sometimes one month can be eternal.
While most of you were entranced with Innistrad's madness, and the large amounts of options it has brought to the Standard table, something else has been crawling closer and closer in the shadows! In this case it is (supposedly) something positive though:
By now it is only one more month until Eternal Masters will be released on June 10th! We have not received any additional official spoilers since the set was announced, but with time flying by while I will be busy providing coverage of our MKMS event in Frankfurt, this may change very soon after my return to our regular schedule. So let's start looking at some general predictions for which we don't need to know the actual content of the set. This is the retail price as suggested by Wizards:
Booster MSRP: $9.99
Booster Display MSRP: $239.76
(24 boosters per display; 4 displays per carton)
That is the same price suggestion that we saw for MM15, which translated to display prices around 200 € in Europe. While the set was embraced by the community, MM15 is still not completely sold out a year after its release. The original Modern Masters on the other hand sold out much faster.
I expect Wizards to have learned from both cases, and would therefore expect the average value per booster pack to be a little higher than what it was in MM15 (where it was too low to send players into an opening frenzy), but not as high as in MMA where the vendors doubled the price due to the “too high” value per pack. Balancing the amount of printed product will be a challenge as well, as WotC can not directly use their acquired knowledge from the Modern reprint sets, as EMA is appealing to a different audience – being meant to ”enhance your Cube or your favorite Commander, Vintage, and Legacy decks.”
While we support every kind of Magic format with the MKM Series, the fact that our player numbers vary by format can also be looked at as proof that not all formats are played by the same amount of players. It is hard to guess whether the kitchen table Commander players will come out in droves to buy EMA, or not. My guess is that Wizards will definitely avoid “overprinting”, which means you should act fast if you consider buying boxes or cases, once the confirmed reprint list looks convincing to you. Of course, there will be enough single cards offered on MKM to pick up anyway, so I will discuss the timing to buy various single cards during spoiler season.
Time to sell them all?
If you are a Legacy player I would not suggest to panic sell all your “reprintable” cards now (especially not reserved list cards). Most cards reprinted at rare and mythic won't drop all that much, and unless there is an extremely epic new artwork, the old versions will still be more desirable and more expensive than the new ones in most cases.
Keep in mind that “the missing pieces” (the cards that were not reprinted in each archetype) can easily spike in price, while the reprinted cards drop, leaving complete decks at a similar or even higher total value despite having a different value distribution.
If you are really good at guessing the reprinted cards, you can of course turn a profit, but just selling everything and rebuying everything later is not a good plan. I would just downsize a little on cards that you don't play at the moment and that also fit into one of these three categories:
Cards primarily expensive due to a high rarity in comparison to demand
Cards primarily expensive due to being Commander staples
Cards being hard to find nowadays despite having been printed as (Un-)commons 15-20 years ago.
Here are some examples of cards fitting into those three categories:
Keep in mind that these are not the only cards in those categories, but that there is also no guarantee at all that these cards will be in the set. It just means that these cards would take the biggest hits by getting reprinted, because of their respective reasons for being as expensive as they are right now. So if you have extra copies you were too lazy to list yet, this might be your best chance before they drop for a year or two.
Let us know more examples of cards fitting into those categories in the comments!