- Dr. Hans Joachim Höh
MtG Finance between the Double Modern GP weekend, MM17 and the WMC announcement.
Last weekend there was an announcement of various changes to upcoming organized play structures. The most important changes resolve around the World Magic Cup. WMCQs will be discontinued in favor of a return to the former National Championship structure. While we could also discuss the (dis-)advantages of the team size reduction at the World Magic Cup, in today's article I want to focus on the Modern format, which takes some collateral damage as well:
“Based on this feedback and combined with the fact that we are looking at ways to highlight more current formats (i.e. formats based on current sets and accessible to all), we will be making the change back to Standard as the Constructed format that will be supported by the 2017 World Magic Cup.
This means that the format for all Nationals will also be Standard.”
Last year the Modern format was discontinued as a PT format, now it was removed from the WMC and from the WMCQs as well, which are now called Nationals again. This isn't a deathblow to the format, as Modern is by now well-established as the format of choice in many stores and at local tournaments. It is also the format that regularly has the highest attendance numbers at the MKM Series, and we expect it to stay that way. We expect all of our attendance numbers to go up this year though, as there will be less privately organized tournament series events in Europe.
We will keep supporting all four Constructed formats with main events. Traveling for your favorite formats has never been more exciting!
So Modern isn't going to die, but what are reasonable financial plans, given this announcement, the upcoming MM17 and the double GP weekend?
Wizards doesn't see any further need to highlight Modern events at the highest level anymore, so we will see less price spikes in the future. Cards will still gain value over time, but less often explode over night. The double GP this weekend will be the last chance to sell into a hype before MM17 will hurt the prices of at least some Modern cards. As we have learned by now, the most expensive and most played cards don't lose all that much from a MM reprint. There is also no need to panic sell everything. While the reprinted cards lose value, all the other cards gain some value, evening out the value of an average collection.
That is why you want to try to predict the reprints, sell your predictions and keep the rest. By repurchasing the reprinted cards later, you can keep your card pool the same while securing profit. This effect is especially pronounced for cards that have high prices for any other reason than being a highly played 4-of Modern staple. Commander cards, sideboard cards, typical 1- or 2-of cards, staple (un-)commons and cards in tier3 decks will be hurt the most. Those cards can have very inflated prices if they weren't reprinted for a long time, but they will crash once the reprint happens.
So it is important to identify those cards and remove those positions from your inventory via trading or selling. Let's look at some past examples from MM15. Holding onto your Tarmogoyfs wasn't a problem, but typical 1-ofs like Vendilion Clique or Iona, Shield of Emeria lost a lot of value, despite being printed at mythic rarity. The same is true for Bitterblossom, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, and Primeval Titan, which often show up in larger numbers, but only in fringe Modern strategies. The biggest percentual value decrease will happen for the reprinted (Un-)commons. Of course, losing a few Euro on your personal playset of Mutagenic Growth, Remand and Expedition Map wasn't a big deal, but if you are a professional vendor who is sitting on hundreds of these cards, the difference between moving those cards before or after a reprint can add up to relevant numbers.
What would be examples looking forward instead of backward?
Let me be very clear: I am not saying that those card will be reprinted in MM17. I am saying that these are typical cards that would lose a lot of value on reprint, as they are currently too expensive for how (un-)important they are for Modern. They are mostly used as Commander cards, Legacy cards, 1-ofs, or in low tier Modern decks. Selling such cards should help you reduce your reprint induced value losses significantly.
Feel free to add more examples in the comments!