- Dr. Hans Joachim Höh
The sky is falling, and you should panic sale all your Legacy cards, right?
SCG recently announced multiple changes to their tournament circuit, which will lead to the Legacy format getting used less in their highest level events. There will still be plenty of Legacy events, but due to the way their coverage works we will see less Legacy on camera. This obviously means that the sky is falling, and you should panic sale all your Legacy cards, right?
The sky is fine
Clearly this isn't the case for various reasons. First of all, other American tournament organisers have already announced that they will increase their Legacy support to make up for SCG's reduction. Secondly, this does not change anything for the tournament scene in Europe. In fact the MKM Series has just been established this year providing additional large Legacy events all over Europe. Our Legacy main events have been drawing the most players on those weekends. In Prague the Legacy trial ended up even larger than the parallel Standard and Vintage main events – despite obviously having less price support!
Legacy is a great format for semi-retired veteran players, because you don't have to update your decks all the time, like in Standard. Instead you get heavily rewarded for being experienced with your archetype, for understanding the relevance of specific cards in any given matchup, and for technically perfect play. As a youngster, a student or a professional player you might prefer the hectic solving of the Standard metagame every week over and over again, but the slower pace of Legacy evolution lets the veteran player keep up, despite having lots of other responsibilities in their lives.
Last weekend featured a 2000 player Legacy GP in Seattle, so it is quite clear that a lot of players love this format and it is not going to just evaporate. The only reasonable argument that could be made is that the time of the largest financial gains in Legacy is over. That doesn't mean the prices won't rise anymore, but it means prices could spike less often. Why is that?
In recent years SCG has been one of the biggest motors for increases in the market price of Legacy staples across the board. While prices change much more gradually in Europe due to MKM providing a market place for everyone, American prices tend to be less stable, as they are heavily influenced by a dozen large vendors. So during the period in which SCG heavily promoted Legacy as their tournament format, they created a lot of additional interest in Legacy staples. Part of their business model is to provide players with the cards they need on site. So when they sold out of their Legacy stock, they had to take measures to refill it. The easiest way to do that was to increase the buying prices they were offering to convince other players or even other vendors to sell their copies to them. Of course increasing their buying prices meant they would have to sell at an even higher price from now on. So basically SCG just kept spiralling the prices upward to keep Legacy cards in stock. This caused many European cards to be sent across the pond, as SCG was paying more than the “natural” European market value, sending the European prices upwards as well.
With SCG reducing their Legacy focus and thereby their need to keep lots of Legacy cards in stock, I would expect a more natural growth going forward than what we saw in recent years. This might be less exciting for short term investors, but it might actually help the format in the long run.
Grand Prix Seattle-Tacoma
Tomorrow we will take a more detailed look at the Legacy decklists from GP Seattle. The Shardless Agent decks did not win, but had another great weekend. I told you that you would need this card (again) after the banning of DTT, but could wait to pick it up until after the Commander 2015 release, making sure you don't get burned by a reprint. Cascade is not coming back to a Standard, so the Agent should be safe from reprints for a long time now, and it is not getting cheaper given its recent success.