Reprints have always been a risk for collectors. I remember being a teenager when Ice Age came out, and now
Counterspell was in the commons bin instead of being $8. Chronicles made Wizards announce the Reserved List, because of the outcry from collectors.
Thankfully we don't get the collector complaints anymore, instead we're inundated with people begging for certain reprints because they want their current cards to be expensive, yet the cards they want to acquire need to be as cheap as possible.
Doesn't really work, sadly.
Commander Legends previews begin Monday, and I prefer not to indulge with the leaks/stolen product. One day, I might get a preview card, and I'd be royally pissed if someone ruined that experience for me. Next month, I'll be able to evaluate the entire set, including the sweet etched foils, but for now, I want to address the reprints that are coming.
Specifically, I want to talk about the fear of reprints. If you're on this site, you know your cards have value, and you’re aware of our policy that freezes cards in trading, to help you maintain the desired value.
Reprints are going to be a big factor going forward. Don’t despair, though: there are some things you can do to prepare yourself, and your collection, for the inevitable.
1. Don’t Sweat It
This seems simplistic, but let’s do a thought exercise: if you have a $20 card in your Commander deck, and it gets reprinted, it will lose value. It’ll drop to $15, or $10, or maybe more depending on the reprint. Are you going to take it out of your deck?
A friend of mine likes to say that if 10% of Magic players sold their collections, it would crash the secondary market. We’re collectors, hoarders, Gollum cooing over his precious. Reprints don’t do anything to the actual card you currently have, your
Doubling Season is still likely the best card in your deck.
Reprints hit your binder, your haves list, and perhaps you have picked up some cards at their cheapest in hopes that they are going to get expensive. Reprints aren’t going to affect the utility of the cards you currently have, just the price of the things you want to get.
Generally speaking, when it comes to cards that I pick up cheap in order to trade away after they go back up (Maybe you picked up some copies of
Mana Reflection based on last month’s article?) I stop at a dozen. Three playsets means that when it goes up, I’ve got four to use for myself, and eight to sell and cover the cost of all twelve.
I admit it, every time I’ve gone deep on a card, I’ve gotten very little for it. I’ve mentioned 40+ copies of
Prophet of Kruphix, but I’ve also got 50 copies of
Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering that I hoped would go nuts when War of the Spark came out. Never did, and likely never will. Large quantities are difficult to sell to anyone but a buylist, or a GP vendor. Going too deep on a single card is asking for trouble, especially if I get even more unlucky and Offering is in Commander Legends or some other set.
Rather than buying a big brick of cards, get a playset or three, and then move on to your next target.
3. Premiums and Special Versions are Safer, but Not 100%
In the last six months, we’ve had two instances of a card being in a special frame and getting reprinted: Magic 2021 had a reprint of
Fabled Passage in Extended Art (and EA foil), and then The List has the Showcase version of
Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft on it. These reprints aren’t clones; one is a different expansion symbol and the other has the planeswalker symbol in the bottom corner, but these are the only instances of the same special treatment showing up. Player Rewards cards being on The List doesn’t count for me, as they were promos to start and they remain there.
So far, anyway.
We haven’t seen a redo of special frames, though I wish they’d picked a different name for the Zendikar Rising Expeditions. Going after the most premium version of a card should be able to insulate you from subsequent reprints, but there’s an increasing chance of a reprint going forward. I would not be too shocked at Secret Lair: Inventions someday.
Here’s the price graph for the Invention version of
Solemn Simulacrum, a card that’s been printed a bunch of times since getting this sweet version, including an Extended Art in Magic 2021:
Solemn has resisted losing value due to reprints, but regular foils have not had such luck. Let’s look at Judge Foil Mana Crypt, which was the first foil at the time and has really ridden a rollercoaster given the other foils of this art that have arrived and two different special arts:
But compare that to the Masterpiece’s graph:
This is a stairstep of a graph, which hasn’t flinched even as two reprints at mythic and a new Extended Art. So I’d feel pretty good about having this, and not worrying about how a reprint would affect the value.
Very few cards that are good in Commander get expensive, get reprinted, and then never get expensive again. Repeated reprintings (Sol Ring, Solemn) are a sign that it’s a staple, but an occasional reprint doesn’t make the price flinch forever. It lowers the price for a while, but doesn’t permanently depress that value.
Toxic Deluge, which was first printed in 2014.
Reprints happened in Eternal Masters (June 2016) and recently in Double Masters. It’s no shock that the price has dropped by half. I’d feel good about picking them up at this point, at the very least copies I wanted for my decks and likely a couple extras. Price memory has kept the Eternal Masters foil at a much higher price than the Double Masters foil or the DXM Box Topper foil, a state I wouldn’t imagine would last forever.