- Dr. Hans Joachim Höh
"Preying on the weak" works all the time.
It is no secret that it has become more difficult to make a profit with Magic finance over the years. When the player numbers started to rise significantly six years ago, the surge of new players turned everything into a great investment. Unopened displays, Modern cards, Legacy cards, Vintage cards, Commander cards – you didn't need a lot of expertise for your collection to increase in value, as the demand was just so much bigger than the old print runs. With adjusted print run sizes, lots of reprint sets, and more options for cosmetic diversification, you need to be more selective with your purchases nowadays, if you are aiming to make your hobby less expensive, or to even earn money with clever trading and timing your purchases and sales correctly.
One thing that still works is buying well-established recently reprinted cards when they have reached their temporary bottom price, and waiting for their prices to recover before getting out again. You can never be completely sure that your investment won't be hurt by metagame shifts, or unexpected additional reprints, but if you are aiming for older formats those become less likely.
Eternal Masters may become a bi-yearly institution like Modern Masters, but even if it does, the next EM set (EM18?) would not contain the same cards as EMA did. Masterpieces won't effect non-foil prices, making them irrelevant for your considerations as well. Most EMA prices have stabilized by now, so it is time to pick up your favorite cards, put them in a treasure chest and bury that chest in a secret location for 1-3 years.
Which cards should you prefer? That depends on your budget and on your aims. If you would like to use those card to “trade up” for expensive cards in the future, you should pick more expensive cards, but uncommons and low price cards could easily see better percentual growth rates. The best case scenario is to buy cards you would actually like to play with. After all, I heard Magic is a game as well.
EMA gave us multiple cards for various well-known and successful archetypes. Maybe you want to test a new Legacy deck, play it for a while, but even extract monetary value from those cards after having a good time with them. Here are some of the EMA cards (presorted by archetypes) that I expect to be significantly more valuable in a few years, as they are tournament staples and have been tanked by their reprint to their current temporary low point.
I like more than these cards from EMA, but my other picks are still trending downwards, and should be revisited at a later point in time.