Masters 25 has been completely revealed and the Dominaria spoilers are incoming. There has even been an alleged leak of that new set, it will be interesting to follow the effects on card prices that both sets are going to have.
Once again, right in time for FNM, I will now tell you what cards will be the talk of the town tonight!
Gemstone Caverns is a nice example of what in Magic finance is called a price correction. That's lingo for a card that has always been underpriced and is now either bought out by speculators, or simply because demand trancends supply. In the case of Gemstone Caverns it was a little bit of both. The organic demand was already high and the organic supply too. Time Spiral was not a set with a huge print run, which means that even at rare rarity, there are far less copies of Gemstone Caverns available than rares of sets from the past years.
Wednesday afternoon there were only 18 copies left on TCGPlayer, which combines the supply of many, many stores on one site. Shortly after someone noticed this and posted it online, all other copies were gone. So, either several individuals chose to complete their playsets, or one speculator bought the remaining copies.
This means, shockingly, that Gemstone Caverns is now listed as a $35 dollar card. Which might be a little, or a lot, on the high side. It does see play in Modern and Legacy, albeit just fringe play in mostly lesser used decks. But its old price, around $10, was probably a tad, or much too low. The card is unique in the sense that no other card does what it does, by combining the power of a Mox, by using a Leyline strategy to get 'cheated' into play. It sees tournament play, and like I said above, it is from a set with a smaller print run. Top that off with organic demand and you have a nice mix for a price correction.
When cards are cheap, small moves in price make a big difference. In the case of Deepchannel Mentor, a $2,41 price increase warrants an almost 200% spike this week. With the printing of a lot of Merfolks in Rivals of Ixalan, that tribe has become increasingly popular in EDH. Especially commander decks revolving around Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca.
In both Casual Free-for-All and in EDH, dropping a Deepchannel Mentor when you have the battlefield full of Merfolks means that you now have an unblockable horde of creatures coming your opponent's way. All you need is to hope that it doesn't get countered, your opponent does not have Fog-type tricks up their sleeve or a bolt in hand. So, it is not an instant guaranteed win. But your opponent(s) do need an instant out to prevent you from winning.
Also note that Deepchannel Mentor has a fairly unique ability. Only two other cards have been printed with a similar effect. And both other options are special, as you can see below:
Dread Charge is cheaper to cast, but both black and more prohibitive. Black creatures can still block your dudes (intercept was portal lingo for blocking). It could be sideboard tech, but hey, how many people actually sideboard when playing casual or EDH. Some might, in that case this card could be useful as a finisher.
As long as you are the monarch, Keeper of Keys is better than Deepchannel Mentor, since all creatures you control can't be blocked (not only blue creatures). But being, and staying the monarch is going to be a hell of a job when you land Keeper of Keys, since you might possibly be able to kill all, or most opponents when all your creatures are unblockable. Losing your title can happen fast, especially when you play against 3 or more players in multiplayer, who can all steal your crown by:
- Playing a card that makes someone the monarch.
- Dealing combat damage with a creature to the monarch.
- Being the active player, when the monarch leaves the game.
- Being the next player in turn order, when the monarch is the active player and leaves the game.
Just like with Gemstone Caverns, Gaddock Teeg spiked this week because of a buyout, driven by organical tension in supply and demand. Which in normal English means: Teeg is popular, there are always little copies available and when it becomes popular, supply cannot keep up with demand.
Gaddock Teeg is not a prime speculator target however. Its historical price history shows more ups and downs. The current $39.99 price tag is not its all time high, that was in late 2015, when it spiked to almost $38. Only a pump and dump could be profitable, but this is not easy when a card is in such low supply. Also, the market price lags behind the listed price. As you can see in the graph, we list both prices. The market price is the actual price that people are willing to pay for Gaddock Teeg. Currently that is $22.25.
On top of this Gaddock Teeg is a card that can easily be reprinted in another set. Maybe because it was omitted in Masters 25, this has driven up de demand for the card on the short term. That is another reason I don't believe that this spike was a buyout by speculators, simply because it would be a lousy one, where you do need to drop a lot of cash into, since the old price per copy was $20.
Also note that the Judge Promo did not spike (yet). It lazily sits around $38. Making the foils in fact cheaper than the non-foil printing. As of writing, several (but not many) stores on TCGPlayer have the near mint foil version listed up form $34.95 per copy. I have never seen this before, and is strange, but also interesting. So either the stores in question did not update their stock, and are in fact already bought out, or something else is going on.