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By: Procrastination, Christopher Giovannagelo
Nov 18 2014 1:00pm
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Welcome back to The Modern Perspective! Before I took a break from writing, I was monitoring the prices on many of the Modern legal lands. I wanted it to be a resource for new players, budget savvy players, players that were thinking of switching decks or anybody in between. I feel using a budget approach is one of the best ways to acquire a Modern collection. Taking away the pressure of a huge up-front investment can make it easier for some players to transition from Standard to Modern.

I liked the inclusion of the prices in my articles, but it added time and length to them, for both me and the readers, that I wasn't sure I could squeeze on top of an already tight schedule. Heck, I still hadn't found a way to do an article every week.

Then it dawned on me: What if I wrote a regular article one week and an article about prices on the other?

Could it work? I already had the table layouts in place. After that, it's only a matter of finding a format that works. I'm always down for some experimenting, so here we go.

Part I: The Slump
Part II: Card Spotlight
Part III: The Modern Land Prices

Part I: The Slump
Currently, Modern price are really starting to drop. A combination of any of the following could be the cause:

  • The oversaturation of UR/x Delver in the Online Meta
  • The completion of the last official Modern PTQ Season
  • Players leaving MTGO because they dislike playing on V4
  • The introduction of Vintage online

No matter what the cause, lower prices, while bad for investors, are great for those of us that want to acquire cards to actually play in decks. The last month and a half, thanks to powerful new cards like Treasure Cruise and Monastery Swiftspear has seen previous powerhouse cards take a tumble. Now is the time to strike for those that have been itching to up the power of their collections.

Here is an example of 10 of the most expensive cards at the end of September, compared to now:

Higher End Non-Lands SET 30SEP2014 16NOV14 Change %
Tarmogoyf MMA 100.13 77.41 -22.72 -23%
Mox Opal SOM 86.23 51.13 -35.10 -41%
Liliana of the Veil ISD 79.14 49.24 -29.90 -38%
Vendilion Clique MOR 61.07 46.55 -14.52 -24%
Batterskull PRM 41.39 37.19 -4.20 -10%
Noble Hierarch CON 41.41 27.63 -13.78 -33%
Karn Liberated NPH 36.80 25.41 -11.39 -31%
Linvala, Keeper of Silence ROE 32.34 20.78 -11.56 -36%
Dark Confidant RAV 30.69 19.99 -10.70 -35%
Cryptic Command MMA 25.06 25.37 0.31 1%

As you can see, those are some gigantic drops. Most of those cards have dropped by 30% and more. That's a lot of savings from 7 weeks prior.

Will these cards continue to drop? That I don't know. I do know it's the first time in a long while that the thought of saving up for Tarmogoyf isn't completely out of the question.


Through the Breach

Through the Breach

Price on 13NOV2014: 2.90

Price on 16NOV2014: 6.93

If you don't believe that Grand Prix results, and a bit of speculation, can rapidly change the price of a card, I present to you Through the Breach. With the R/G Breach deck having an impressive undefeated Day 1 record, players rushed to buy up Breaches. That the price more than doubled in a 3 day span is astounding.

Any time a card from an older set puts up good results, keep an eye on it. Especially if it's from a set that is shunned the way Kamigawa block is; they aren't going to put up many flashback drafts for that one...

Will Through the Breach maintain this new price? Hard to say. The deck is clearly strong enough to hang in this meta, 17-1 probably wasn't a fluke, but it will take several Online victories before the card has proved its worth.


Part III. The Modern Land Prices
All prices are from The version linked was the cheapest when the land was added, but be sure to check for the best available price!

The Zendikar Fetch Lands
The Fetch Lands are the lynchpin of most mana bases in Modern. Being able to fix your colors by finding a Ravnica Shock Land is critical to the various top tier multi-color decks. The price of Fetchlands is often considered the defining cost barrier of Modern, however, the return of the original Allied Fetches in Khans of Tarkir has helped stabilize all of the Fetch prices.

Fetch Lands SET 09NOV14 16NOV14 Change %
Arid Mesa ZEN 16.07 12.98 -3.09 -19%
Marsh Flats ZEN 8.52 7.75 -0.77 -9%
Misty Rainforest ZEN 23.99 22.90 -1.09 -5%
Scalding Tarn ZEN 44.89 36.19 -8.70 -19%
Verdant Catacombs ZEN 15.42 14.82 -0.60 -4%
Bloodstained Mire KTK 3.39 3.41 0.02 1%
Flooded Strand KTK 7.05 7.81 0.76 11%
Polluted Delta KTK 5.13 5.62 0.49 10%
Windswept Heath KTK 3.69 3.79 0.10 3%
Wooded Foothills KTK 3.31 3.30 -0.01 0%

Even after dropping a nice chunk in price, Scalding Tarn is still much more expensive than the other Fetches. Back in February, being in the mid-twenties was enough to make it the most expensive. That it reached into the forties seems crazy. I've personally been waiting for Flood Strand to hit the 6.50 range, but it usually only dips to 6.80 and then climbs back up again. I haven't needed them yet, so I'll keep holding out.

The Ravnica Shock Lands
The Shock Lands, with their dual basic land types, are very important pillars of the Modern format. The nickname is derived from the 2 life paid to put the land into play untapped compared to the 2 damage from the card Shock. After being reprinted in the Return to Ravnica block, the prices dropped dramatically and it is now much easier for players to acquire these lands with a modest budget.

Shock Lands SET 09NOV14 16NOV14 Change %
Blood Crypt RTR 2.36 2.13 -0.23 -10%
Hallowed Fountain RTR 3.20 3.32 0.12 4%
Overgrown Tomb RTR 2.80 2.18 -0.62 -22%
Steam Vents RTR 6.92 6.52 -0.40 -6%
Temple Garden RTR 2.57 2.53 -0.04 -2%
Breeding Pool GTC 3.89 4.13 0.24 6%
Godless Shrine GTC 3.14 2.70 -0.44 -14%
Sacred Foundry GTC 3.82 3.37 -0.45 -12%
Stomping Ground GTC 3.60 4.19 0.59 16%
Watery Grave GTC 3.42 3.12 -0.30 -9%

I was concerned that after RTR drafting was reduced, that the Shocks would get out of hand. Instead, they've stayed in roughly the same stable price range they had when Standard legal. This is good for newer players wishing to get their hands on some.

The Scars of Mirrodin Fast Lands
The Fast Lands are a great way to ensure two colors of mana in the first few turns of the game. Only available in allied color pairings, they see the most use for colors that have strong aggressive themes that are not affected by the drawback. The Fast Lands have a relatively low price threshold and are an inexpensive way to add mana consistency to a deck.

Fast Lands SET 09NOV14 16NOV14 Change %
Blackcleave Cliffs SOM 1.23 1.01 -0.22 -18%
Copperline Gorge SOM 1.11 1.06 -0.05 -5%
Darkslick Shores SOM 0.64 0.41 -0.23 -36%
Razorverge Thicket SOM 1.61 1.06 -0.55 -34%
Seachrome Coast SOM 0.85 0.53 -0.32 -38%

The current meta has really done a number on the Fast Lands. More Fetches, plus the strength of Blue + Red, has left the Fast Lands in an odd spot. They are still great for the budget minded player who wants to improve their land base, so keep that in mind.

The Worldwake Man-Lands
The ability to produce two colors and provide a creature with an ability makes these lands rather attractive. More useful in mid-range and control oriented decks that don't mind the drawback as much. Currently only one of these lands appears as a '4-of' in a deck; so while they have a moderate price threshold, keep in mind that you usually only need about 1-2 copies of each per a deck.

Man Lands SET 09NOV14 16NOV14 Change %
Celestial Colonnade WWK 10.52 10.52 0.00 0%
Creeping Tar Pit WWK 4.85 5.18 0.33 7%
Lavaclaw Reaches WWK 0.44 0.44 0.00 0%
Raging Ravine WWK 1.88 1.75 -0.13 -7%
Stirring Wildwood WWK 1.44 1.44 0.00 0%

The Man Lands are roughly the same as they were all those other months I watched them. Colonnade used to be a little higher and Tar Pit is strong despite not having a home in Modern.

The Core Set/Innistrad Check Lands
While they do not provide mana on the first turn of the game, the Check Lands still have enough potential to see use in Modern. When combined with the Ravnica Shock Lands, the Checks are an inexpensive way to create reliable 2 color mana bases. New players to Modern, as well as those with very tight budgets, may want to start with these extremely cheap lands.

Check Lands SET 09NOV14 16NOV14 Change %
Clifftop Retreat ISD 0.32 0.16 -0.16 -50%
Hinterland Harbor ISD 0.23 0.11 -0.12 -52%
Isolated Chapel ISD 0.52 0.23 -0.29 -56%
Sulfur Falls ISD 1.65 1.17 -0.48 -29%
Woodland Cemetery ISD 0.28 0.10 -0.18 -64%
Dragonskull Summit M12 0.05 0.05 0.00 0%
Drowned Catacomb M12 0.08 0.08 0.00 0%
Glacial Fortress M12 0.05 0.05 0.00 0%
Rootbound Crag M12 0.05 0.05 0.00 0%
Sunpetal Grove M12 0.06 0.06 0.00 0%

No surprise; Sulfur Falls is the most expensive one on the list. The others are all way into Budget Friendly territory now.

The Utility and Deck Specific Lands
This section covers Utility Lands, off cycle mana fixers and Deck specific lands that you might need if you want to build a Modern deck. Whether it's the Urza Tron Cycle, Affinity or you just want to know how much the most used lands that blow up other lands cost, this should give you some idea of what you are working with.

Utility & Deck Specific SET 09NOV14 16NOV14 Change %
Grove of the Burnwillows FUT 12.68 16.35 3.67 29%
Horizon Canopy FUT 15.97 16.71 0.74 5%
Tectonic Edge WWK 1.52 1.52 0.00 0%
Ghost Quarter ISD 0.15 0.15 0.00 0%
Urza's Mine ME4 0.14 0.14 0.00 0%
Urza's Power Plant ME4 0.15 0.15 0.00 0%
Urza's Tower ME4 0.15 0.15 0.00 0%
Academy Ruins MMA 1.02 1.13 0.11 11%
Gavony Township ISD 0.15 0.10 -0.05 -33%
Treetop Village PRM 0.25 0.25 0.00 0%
Blinkmoth Nexus MMA 3.21 3.21 0.00 0%
Darksteel Citadel DKS 0.15 0.15 0.00 0%
Glimmervoid MMA 2.10 1.93 -0.17 -8%
Inkmoth Nexus MBS 6.95 6.61 -0.34 -5%
Mutavault M14 7.38 6.16 -1.22 -17%
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx THS 0.56 0.71 0.15 27%
Eye of Ugin WWK 4.70 4.70 0.00 0%

I'll be making some changes to this table in the next Market Watch, but overall, little has changed here too. Both of the Future Sight lands had dipped much lower than they are now, but the set doesn't drafted too often and the prices are recovering. 

Much like my regular articles, the Market Watch editions will continue to evolve over time. Prices can be a dry topic, but I want to inject some fun into it. I have a bunch of different ideas, from Staple Tables to Deck Focus Price Break downs and more. I'm hoping to find a combination that really clicks, but it will probably take a lot of dabbling to get there.

Something that would really help improve the experience is feedback from you, The Readers. Please feel free to leave comment and suggestions. I'd love to hear what expectations you have for the Market Watch and what ideas you would like to see me incorporate.

As mentioned above, I eventually plan on doing Market Watches on the off week from regular The Modern Perspective articles. Will two week gaps on prices prove to be useless? I want to hear your thoughts on that as well!

We don't have to find out next week though, as next Monday will be me working out the kinks with another Market Watch.

High Market

Until next time,

- Gio

The Modern Perspective Archive

You can follow me on Twitter @TehGioSays


It's V4 by Jyalt at Tue, 11/18/2014 - 18:23
Jyalt's picture

Some of the slump can be explained by the normal format rotation, but the rest of it is just V4. You can't make decks well in the deck editor. You can't look at your collection like in V3 or even V2. That means all the constructed formats have the 'V4-sucks-I'm-Fighting-The-Deck-Editor" barrier to entry. I've no personal interest in overcoming that barrier, so I haven't bothered to play constructed since V4 was released.

Eh, deck building isn't an by Procrastination at Thu, 11/20/2014 - 22:00
Procrastination's picture

Eh, deck building isn't an insurmountable problem. I think it takes some getting used to, but after while it's about the same as before.

I agree more with the nod to format rotation. Now that there is no formal rotation and currently no real focus for Modern on MTGO, there's less enthusiasm. Hopefully Modern gets some love early next year (or spring if MMA2 is on the horizon).

for me, I've 100% lost by Psychobabble at Fri, 11/21/2014 - 00:47
Psychobabble's picture

for me, I've 100% lost interest in modern thanks to treasure cruise. One anecodte only, but that's where I'm at atm.