One of the main things a financial Magic player does is attempt to predict the value of old and new cards. This can be a tricky situation because while one can see the value of the card alone, they have to decide if it will make movements in the tournament scene. While casual and EDH formats also predict the value of a card, tournaments are the major factor for price changes among cards.
Today, we will look at 3 cards that show how predictions can create current card values. Prices are current from March 7th, 2012.
Our first card is one that started with a lot of hype and predictions but quickly fell to the wayside. This card being Skaab Ruinator.
As you can see from the history Skaab Ruinator had a value of $25 before it’s release. The card had talks of so many possibilities. A 3 drop that could come back multiple times. By the time of release though, it has dropped to $15. People were realizing that maybe exiling 3 creatures in your graveyard wasn’t as easy as expected. A 5/6 flying zombie is nice, but it does die pretty easily. As the months went by, Skaab Ruinator was absent from any major tournament, making its price drop to around $3. People who invested early on this card took a major loss and now it sits in binders waiting for it’s chance to shine.
Now it’s possible that the card will make a comeback and be of some use, so if you think that will happen, this is the perfect time to pick up multiple copies.
The next card is a tournament staple in Standard and Legacy. This card was predicted to be great and has lived up to that prediction. This card is Snapcaster Mage.
Snapcaster started strong out the gate and rose to it’s current value before the release of Innistrad. It has kept it’s value since then with the exception of a brief drop. Since the card has value in so many formats and is a rare, it will keep this value for a while. I would say as long as it is in Standard.
The final card in this article is one that started off with a decent value and has rose to about 5 times its initial value. This card is Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite.
As you see from above, Elesh started with the normal beginnings. A mythic rare usually has a pre release price of around $5 and will adjust accordingly after the set releases. Elesh was seen as that type. At 7 she was more expensive than a titan so was largely seen a a fringe card. As the months went on and we saw a rise in token decks, her use became more important. The -2 can shut down your opponents decks while her +2 can set you up for the win. Her legendary status and cost can still be seen as a reason for her gradual rise. Any financial player could see her potential though and would be able to grab her while she was below $20. Could this have been predicted when she was released? Possibly, but the fact that it took her this long to rise shows that she wasn’t always in the spotlight. With her recent rise to $30, she may have peaked out, but I think she may stabilize there for a little while.
The Magic market can be volatile at times and pretty steady at others. If you are looking at making good financial choices, the best thing is to understand the card and its potential. Knowing the value of Snapcaster shows that you can keep or trade it and not worry too much of loss down the line, while in the case of Skaab Ruinator and Elesh Norn, it may not be easy to see at first.
Check back for more articles on the current Magic market.