Eternal Masters (EMA) will be released in June this year. There was some speculation on Reddit as to the existence of the set but most people thought it was unlikely that Wizards would do for Legacy and Vintage what they did for Modern. However, WOTC surprised us all and have consequently set off, not only the recurring Reserved List discussion, but a series of price spikes on Reserved List cards as new and established players, and speculators, look to secure cards for decks that will see support from cards released in EMA.
With today being the first day of EMA spoilers, we thought it would be fun to make some educated guesses as to the effect of EMA on Legacy.
Firstly there will be an increase in interest in the Legacy format, as you would expect. Players already hoping to play Legacy will be incentivised with the prospect of cheaper, more available cards and many new people will hear about the format because of the release. The news of release also comes at a time with the Eldrazi Modern Pro Tour – Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch – fresh in people’s memory and the news that Modern will no longer have a Pro Tour. This may mean some of the people consequently turned off of Modern now have an easier entry to Legacy. However this is not to say that anyone will quit Modern for Legacy, people obviously play and enjoy both formats.
The meat of any discussion around EMA is what effect it will have on the prices of Legacy staples. The easiest part of that discussion is around the Reserved List, and we have already seen a jump in price of cards on the Reserved List that are Legacy playable and a smaller but no less insignificant jump on general Reserved List cards. One can make an understandable case for the increase in price of Mox Diamond or City of Traitors say, they are both staples in successful decks, but the spike of Null Rod, a card played as a one-of in some Shardless and Delver sideboards as an answer to Sensei’s Divining Top and Aether Vial seems far less rational. Even cards that see no Legacy play, such as Lake of the Dead and Squandered Resources, have spiked lately, such is the fervour to not get left behind with acquiring the Reserved List card you will need, or even may hypothetically need in the future. Cards that are not going to be reprinted again but are integral to some Legacy decks have gone up because people think their demand will increase as the Legacy player base increases with EMA’s release. Provided the player base does increase and demand to play Storm, say, increases there will continue to be corresponding increases in Reserved List staples (in this case Lion’s Eye Diamond).
|Reserved Card||Jan 2016||EMA announced||Current (ish)|
|City of Traitors||$58||$160||$130|
There has also been the reverse effect, with cards not on the Reserved List losing value due to the risk of a reprint. Although note that as the news of the relative scarcity of EMA has emerged, and that the Legacy is likely to gain in popularity, confidence has somewhat returned to the markets for these cards, at least with the drop in price tapering off.
Non-Reserved List card
Old Price (circa. Spring 2015)
Dipped Price following EMA announcement
Force of Will
The discussion of price gets much much more complicated however when we start to talk about reprints and what cards could be in EMA. Nominally more cards will be available, but these may well be absorbed into the market of new players entering the format, further pushing up prices. It is not easy however to generalise like this and there are more factors at play that will effect a reprinted cards price change.
Reprinted cards will have two main factors affecting their price, provided there is an increase in Legacy players as we expect. The first is the rarity it is reprinted at and the second is whether the card is used across multiple decks or just integral to one.
For example, Force of Will will be printed at Mythic and is a four of in multiple decks. With only a relatively small increase in copies due to mythic printing and the fact it is essential to nearly 50-60% of the format we should see this card sky-rocket in price. Gamble however should it be printed at rare, is useful in only one deck, that has one card prohibitively priced as an essential piece. This should mean a reprinting in EMA drops the price significantly. Our reasoning for this is sound but the price slump of Pernicious Deed after reprinting at Mythic in Conspiracy should be warning enough. Wasteland is much harder to guess at. Printing at rare means the price should not spike upwards as quickly as FOW but the demand for such an important format staple should push it steadily upwards over the year after EMA. Furthermore although it has seen recent reprints, these are as premium cards not easily obtainable. Thus the supply of this staple has barely increased since its printing in Tempest back in 1997.
This guesswork is looking at the price in six months to a year’s time. As soon as spoilers start the price of any card seeing reprint will drop a little bit, then as players decide on what cards they actually need the prices of each card will start their increase/drop, sharply or steadily. Another thing to remember is that EMA is a draftable format. Therefore, if you can predict what themes EMA will have as a draft set you will have a really good idea about what decks will be ‘easier’ to get and also what rares are likely to be in the set. This should affect your speculation accordingly.
It is also worth mentioning non-reserved cards not reprinted at this time but integral to decks containing reprinted cards. Their price should rise simply due to increased demand for it.
Foil copies of Legacy staples are something of a different beast, but in a nutshell they are of course more desirable than regular copies. As such they will be useful for new players as they represent highly tradeable cards that they can utilise to get the cards they need for that first Legacy deck. A couple of quick observations on foils are that demand for foils of cards previously not available in foil will be high. Similarly new foil printings with aesthetically pleasing artwork will be particularly collectible.
No article about Eternal Masters would be complete without a complete guess at the cards coming up for print. So below is mine, influenced by Chas Andreas and Richard Stebbing. I will also have a guess at the price change of the portion of these cards. This will be for the card generally, i.e. all printings not just the EMA one. Obviously foils of cards previously non foil will be insane. Unfortunately this list may still be too ambitious on the cards getting reprinted, but the basic logic is around 75% of expected mythics will be Legacy staples, and around 2-3 rares per colour will be either Legacy staples or cards that see moderate Legacy play
As to draft archetypes my guess would be Elves, Goblins, White Humans, Black graveyard value and Blue ‘Flyers’ or spells matter cards, Delver etc. Perhaps there will be a Cycling matters theme as well, cycling lands, Gempalms, Astral Slide? If this is true then EMA is likely to contain cards at uncommon important to these archetypes. Things like Goblin Lacky, Goblin Matron or Gempalm Incinerator etc and some cards that fit these themes but not played in Legacy like Mogg Fanatic or Gempalm Strider…
Onto the wholly inaccurate guesswork!
|Avacyn, Angel of Hope||EDH likely Stable||Containment Priest||Stable|
|Balance||Cube – Stable||Enlightened Tutor||Down|
|Isamaru, Hound of Konda||Down|
|Mother of Runes (UNC?)||Stable|
I may be wrong and Mother of Runes gets printed at Uncommon. Swords to Plowshares will be printed at Uncommon and Aven Mindcensor may be reprinted.
|Force of Will||Up steeply||Bribery||Down|
|Show and Tell||Up||Counterbalance||Up|
|Teferi, Mage of Zalfir||Down|
It will be interesting what cards emerge from Blue. Counterbalance for example is in fairly low supply historically, however will see a surge in demand, as it sees play in one of the most popular (and dominant) Legacy decks.
We have already seen Daze announced, and we will probably see some another counterspell or two printed at Uncommon like Spell Pierce, Forbid or Counterspell. Delver of Secrets is a possibility and Brainstorm at Common is likely.
|Entomb||Up||Bridge from Below||Stable|
|Infernal Tutor||Stable/Slow Up|
I think we are likely to see Cabal Therapy and Cabal Ritual printed at Uncommon. Dark Ritual and Hymn to Tourach are less likely but entirely possible. Inquisition of Kozilek is also a possibility, although this may be being saved for Modern Masters 2017.
|Sneak Attack||Up, linked to Show||Gamble||Down|
|Past in Flame||Up, due to demand||Goblin Guide||Down|
|Imperial Recruiter||Down steeply|
|Burning Wish||Stable/Slow Up|
By Rare Goblin I mean a card that suits the draft archetype of Goblins. Perhaps Krenko or Siege-Gang Commander? Cards Likely to be printed at Uncommon, Fireblast, Kird Ape, Price of Progress, Lightning Bolt/Chain Lightning and some roleplayers in Goblins, Matron etc.
|Natural Order||Up steeply||Birds of Paradise||Stable|
|Sylvan Library||Stable||Glimpse of Nature||Up|
We will probably see a Heritage Druid reprint and other useful and less useful elves, think Nettle Sentinel and Gempalm Strider. We keep talking about Elves (and consequently Goblins) because of the likely reprint of Wirewood Lodge. This is because of the collectors number on the spoiled Wasteland. Wild Nacatl at Unc seems likely.
|Animar, Soul of Elements||Stable||Baleful Strix||Up|
|Kaalia of the Vast||Stable||Shardless Agent||Up|
Baleful Strix and Shardless Agent are both highly playable cards. As such, despite a reprinting, we would expect demand to outstrip supply, at least in the long-term.
|Grindstone or||Stable||Coat of Arms||Down|
|Crucible of Worlds||Stable||Lodestone Golem||Down|
|Dark Depths or||Stable||Lotus Petal||Stable/Up|
|Chrome Mox||Up||Phyrexian Altar||Down|
|Sensei’s Divining Top||Up|
|Thorn of Amethyst||Stable/Up|
We have not included several Colourless cards at rare. Chalice of the Void and Grafdigger’s Cage have been suggested but they strike me as too good and not really focused. Things like Eldrazi Monument, Lux Cannon or something like that seem more likely.
At mythic, we learnt today that Chrome Mox will be reprinted. This makes sense, as this card is banned in Modern, thus ineligible for Modern Masters reprints. It is also a premium card in Legacy combo decks, including the glass-cannon decks like Oops All Spells and Belcher which are perfect for a player entering the format (or looking to Top 8 the Bazaar of Moxen!). Thus at mythic, supply will be low in terms of what EMA can offer, for this multi-archetype cards, and I would expect it to trend upwards.
I hope you have enjoyed my wild speculation on Eternal Masters. I would love to hear your thoughts on what cards are likely or what I have missed out above.