The Modern Revival: thoughts on reprinting

So Modern Masters 2015 just dropped, and the results are very interesting from an investment point of view, for lots of reasons, some of which I will touch on today.

First of all, there's the "stay of execution" effect for cards that were suspected to be targets for reprint in MM2015, but dodged the reprint. The first example that I noticed this time around was Inkmoth Nexus, which jumped from ~$10 to ~$20 overnight, after the full spoiler was revealed for MM2015 and showed no reprint of Inkmoth Nexus.

More recently, this past weekend, a handful of not-reprinted modern staples were bought out by one or more speculators, causing significant price spikes on what were considered blue-chip, slow-and-steady holds (examples include Oblivion Stone, Eternal Witness, and Snapcaster Mage). These are unlikely to collapse in price, but rather partially correct over the next few months then continue climbing as they were.

Then there's the point to make that the MM2015 reprint has not caused significant reduction in price of the format staples that it reprinted (with the public goal of reducing the price of the staples). Consider Tarmogoyf: now in his third printing. These dropped from about $190 (and only very slowly climbing) to about $140 (and still climbing, now that the reprint hammer came and went). Consider the Eldrazi: less than 30% loss in price and sure to rebound before too long. Combining the small impact of the reprinting on prices and the "stay of execution" effect for the much larger set of Modern staples that did NOT get reprinted, I would speculate that the overall change in the market price for modern cards (that is, the average cost of a competitive deck in Modern) has been caused to INCREASE with the release of MM2015, with the "stay of execution" effects outweighing the reprint suppression.

Now I would like to discuss the "foil in every pack" promotion for MM2015: Holy shit! Naively, this makes foil versions of cards in this set 8x more numerous than in, for example, MM2013 (given an equal print run, which is not the case, but set that aside). So shouldn't the foil multiplier (i.e., the ratio of the foil value to the non-foil value of the same card) decrease for cards from this set, and won't that at least slightly effect the foil multiplier for other, older printings of the same card? I don't think that this effect will be fully accounted for by the market, at best it will settle somewhere like half the normal foil bump, not one eighth the normal foil bump, for reasons of tradition. When I've done expected value calculations for boxes, something like 1/4 of the value comes from foils (one day I'll do this calculation explicitly in an article). If there are 8x as many foils (one in every pack instead of one in every eighth pack), and if their eventual added value is only half (a guess) of a normal foil's added value (due to their known prevalence), then this makes the foils worth about AS MUCH as the non-foils in each box/pack, instead of worth 1/4 as much as the non-foils in each box/pack. For this reason, I think MM2015 will have a very high long-term value, unless the market of foils falls out.

Till next time!

Joe (Urza)

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