The Indifference Curve

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Rising Waters, Sunken Hope

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Have you noticed it? It’s creeping up all around you. Prices have been slowly climbing to untold-of heights. First Innistrad block started shooting up. Now Legacy’s starting its climb. And soon, in a few months, we’re going to see the effects hit Modern when PTQ season starts. The entire MTG price floor is rising due to increased demand, and we’ve just started to feel the impact.

Some people have been calling this a bubble. Those people are wrong. This is not a bubble. This is the end result of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 and Return to Ravnica. The sold-out prereleases nationwide were a harbinger. The player base has expanded dramatically in the course of a few months as players both old and new have entered (or re-entered) the game’s player base. This is going to have enormous implications for all three major constructed competitive formats.

First off is Standard. This is going to be the one least affected by these issues. The cards pre-RTR are simply just going to be annoyingly expensive until they rotate out of Standard. That’s all. We’ve seen this happenen with Scars block last year, but this is hitting harder due to just how large the player influx was this year. RTR block, however, should be priced at a point that makes sense due to the ability of prices to hit “Box Equilibrium” from dealers simply cracking product and redeeming MTGO collections. You think the prices of Shocklands are low now? Just wait a few months. You won’t believe how low they go.

Next up is Legacy. Don’t believe there’s a demand increase? Just go take a look at JTMS, Polluted Delta, and The Abyss. Oh, and Underground Sea. The format’s edging ever closer to that point where it shuts out more people than it’s worth, but unfortunately I don’t think Modern’s in a position yet to take the “Eternal Format of Choice” mantle away if the PT results are anything to go by.) I’m very curious how the attendance disparity between SCG D1/D2 will evolve this year, as at some point, the barrier issues in the format are going to start creating issues trying to run a tournament series half-based on the format. The manabases are the critical issue, and while reprinting fetches would help, the duals are just going to keep going up up up, and at some point, the players “sitting on the sideline” will force a change. The question is just how big that untapped player volume is right now.

And finally, we get to Modern. If you thought prices were bad now… you have no idea what we’re in for. What’s happened to Legacy courtesy of the SCG series will happen to Modern, courtesy of PTQ season, and I have every expectation that we’re about to get a severe price shock to the format’s staples. Players are going to be eagerly awaiting the impact of MTGMM on accessibility. It’s going to be viewed as the format’s salvation, in a way.

But sadly, I don’t think it’s going to be enough. Tarmogoyf is already around $85-100. I expect that price to rise. And with it, I expect Modern Masters to both a) quickly sell out and b) not have the market impact they’re hoping for due to the unexpectedly massive player influx from RTR. This product was planned out before they could have know that was coming, and I strongly suspect that it’s going to underperform in re-adjusting the market, at least with that particular Green Llhurgoyf.

So what,as players, should our reaction be to all this? Simple- if you need it, get it now. You’re already late to the game if this price level rise is new to you, but luckily, most people who aren’t dealers haven’t quite caught wind of just how seismic this shift in demand is. With any luck, you’ll be able to get what you need before the rising price tide puts a severe damper on your ability to pick up a brand new deck.

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Written by kirblar024

October 22, 2012 at 10:40 pm