/ Finance

War of the Spark in the Long Term

I don’t like spending cash on Magic cards.

That may sound funny coming from someone who writes as much about Magic finance as I do, but it’s the truth. I’m most content when I’m trading cards for credit for cards for credit and so on. I’m quite lucky in that my favorite local store likes to buy and sell singles too, so I get to trade in cards and do drafts that are basically free. Win!

As a result of my miserly ways, I’ve developed a sense for when cards are at their lowest, so I can sell at their highest. I’m merciless about this, too: I traded for a foil Nicol Bolas, the Ravager for my Ur-Dragon deck, but sent that guy right back to a store when I was offered $60 in store credit due to the recent spike. Once that card rotates, I’ll grab another foil copy in the $40 range (I hope) and my Dragon deck will be restored.

Right now, the timing is awesome to look at War of the Spark cards as many stores shift from those drafts to Modern Horizons drafting. I haven’t drafted the set yet, but I hear it’s fun, and more importantly, quite profitable. Even if all stores don’t change over, that’s a dip in product opened and the Grand Prix format is shifting to Horizons as well.

For all its pomp and circumstance, the carefully planned series of previews, the uncommon planeswalkers... we’re done with this set. Time to get while the getting is good and the supply is at maximum.

There’s one caveat to picking up WAR cards: the Promo Packs.

If you’re not sure of what those are, let me direct you to the mtgWiki description. Wizards is going (well, at this point, has probably already decided, due to the lead time you need to print these) to add more cards into Standard this way, and that makes me really not want to try and pick up cheap cards in hope of a Standard spike before they rotate.

Instead, I’m (mostly) focusing on the WAR cards that have appeal in other formats, and this will hopefully let me avoid paying cash for something down the line.

Enter the God-Eternals (currently $2/$4.50 foil)

I’m hoping that Enter the God-Eternals sinks even lower, to the $1 range. At that price, it’s hard to go wrong on the long-term plan. This feels like what every blue-black control deck wants to do: take out a creature, get a 4/4, gain some life and have an incidental mill. It just feels too strong to be so underplayed. I know I just said that I’m avoiding Standard cards, but I’m too Dimir to just not have a few.

Dreadhorde Arcanist ($4/$30 foil!)

That, my friends, is the kind of spread that says “Only the non-rotating formats care about me." And by golly, they are right. There’s a couple flavors of Delver decks romping happily through Legacy, and only 15 NM foil copies on TCG, including the prerelease versions, which are cheaper because older players (like me) used to devalue the prerelease foils because until just a few years ago, everyone got the same foil.

arcanist

A foil multiplier this high grabs my attention very strongly. The nonfoil Dreadhorde Arcanist much lower, and so I want to pick up a couple of playsets in hope that they bounce back up into the $10 range. (oh how it hurts to see that I could have gotten these foils for $10!)

Vivien’s Arkbow ($1.50/$6 foil)

I have to admit that I have a very strong love for Vivien's Arkbow, but it’s a late-game Commander card. Not something you want to activate early, or for less than six or seven mana. It’s a rare Commander deck that really wants the tenth land when activating this for nine won’t find you something, and now you’ve turned that land into a useful creature, and likely the best of a couple possible choices.

Teferi, Time Raveler ($18/$45 foil)

Yes, Teferi, Time Raveler is a good pickup, even with the additional copies that are coming into the market with the promo packs. We know the JP versions of planeswalkers are coming in some of those packs, but the demand for the awesomely-nicknamed-yet-surprisingly-hard-to-type Tef3ri is very high in Modern in addition to his status as a four-of in most Superfriends decks in Standard.

tef3ri

He’ll be $30+ at Christmas, so if you might ever play with the card, I strongly suggest you get your copies now.

Narset, Parter of Veils ($4/$50 foil - not a typo!)

Yes, Narset, Parter of Veils is a $50 foil uncommon from an in-print set. As far as I’ve been able to tell, that’s a record. Fatal Push broke that number briefly, but that was three sets later. Push was also $10 in the nonfoil, and thank goodness Wizards could give us the FNM version not long later to help the demand.

narset-non

She wasn’t $1 for long and while she seems like a gimme inclusion in the Promo Packs, the demand is real. People want her, and lots of her. Will she break $10 like Fatal Push did? Possibly. What I do know is that this is her low price for the future, and as I’ve said, if you’re going to play her, get your copies now. Spend $16 now, or perhaps a cool $2100 if you want to have the playset of JP alternate art.

Blast Zone ($6.50/$25 foil)

You may not have noticed this, but Blast Zone is a popular choice in Modern right now. Granted, it’s almost always a one-of, but if a card is a singleton in decks ranging from UW control to Tron to Dredge, it’s worth looking at. The foil multiplier being close to 4x helps solidify this as a non-Standard choice, and so my advice here is to go for either version. I think the foil is going to give you greater returns, but the nonfoil is easier to pick up.

With so many decks playing this card in Modern, all it’s going to take is one good showing on camera and then the rush will be on. Get your copies before that happens.

Cliff Daigle

Cliff Daigle

I've been playing Magic since 1994 and had serious financial interest since about 2001, when I sold out to pay for a new transmission. I'm a high school teacher by day and a father of two.

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