Rewind$4.94 (-79.19%)
Rowan, Scion of War$3.99 (+66.25%)
Food Chain$30.75 (-37.17%)
Sheoldred's Edict$4.69 (-34.86%)
Angel's Grace$2.00 (-33.33%)
The Girl in the Fireplace$10.00 (-33.33%)
The First Sliver$39.99 (-32.79%)
Jeska, Thrice Reborn$13.97 (-30.15%)
Rampant Growth$16.63 (-29.95%)
The One Ring (Borderless)$49.00 (-26.54%)
Mass Hysteria$14.97 (-25.15%)
Questing Druid$3.74 (+24.67%)
Solphim, Mayhem Dominus$8.00 (-23.52%)
Preordain$2.59 (+22.17%)
Alluring Scent$2.72 (-22.06%)
Serum Visions$2.76 (-21.81%)
Rakdos Signet$2.02 (+20.96%)
The Locust God$4.19 (+20.06%)
Inquisition of Kozilek$9.59 (+19.88%)
Mountain (1363)$6.43 (-17.35%)
Mountain (1365)$6.43 (-17.35%)
Mountain (1367)$6.43 (-17.35%)
Treebeard, Gracious Host$5.31 (-17.03%)
Kellan, the Fae-Blooded$3.50 (+16.67%)
Slip Through Space$6.25 (-16.67%)
Gaea's Blessing$5.01 (-16.50%)
Seething Song$2.56 (+16.36%)
Forest - Innistrad Cycle$3.49 (+16.33%)
Hallowed Haunting$19.49 (+15.60%)
Fleshbag Marauder$8.47 (-15.30%)
Mirror March$2.05 (-15.29%)
Ondu Spiritdancer$14.04 (+15.27%)
Swamp (1384)$12.41 (-15.12%)
Forest (1386)$12.41 (-15.12%)
Mountain (1385)$12.49 (-14.57%)
Island (1383)$12.49 (-14.57%)
Blood Artist$2.29 (+14.50%)
Abu Ja'far$43.54 (+13.95%)
Flamekin Harbinger$7.80 (-13.24%)
Grim Hireling$3.60 (+13.21%)
Selfless Savior$2.92 (-12.57%)
Plains (1382)$12.94 (-11.49%)
Spirit Mantle$2.53 (+11.45%)

#ButWhy is this card so expensive... Tarmogoyf

13 Jun
by Arjen

When a price changes drastically, there's usually a reason for that, for example an unbanning, spoiling of a new card that complements a card, or some new tech. But why are cards expensive that, well, already are expensive? That's what I'm going to try to explore in this article series. This instalment, we'll be talking about Tarmogoyf, arguably the best creature ever printed.

Aim of this article

Many articles require (some) background knowledge about formats, the metagame and price history of a card and similar cards. We also like to serve newcomers, casual players and infrequent players in the community who would like to understand how or why a card got to where it is now. If you have been dealing with Magic finance for some time, this article probably contains a lot of information you're already aware of. A card with a high price tag, which probably looks like a terrible card to new players. What's with all the fuzz for a 0/1 creature? Maybe 1/2 when you play it on turn 2? Kird Ape can be bigger than that on turn 2... Let's start by exploring the prices for the various reprints.


Please note, that this card is not on the reserved list, but it's still around $70 for the Modern Masters 2017 version. Since we started recording data in August 2012, Tarmogoyf was around $90 on average, however, StarCityGames started preselling the card for $3 when it was announced. I mean, it's just a vanilla creature, right? ;)

The only version that existed back then was the Future Sight print. When looking at the graph, I feel most of the price is set by a somewhat low supply with natural demand. The card sees a lot of play in Modern, Legacy and Vintage and almost always as a playset. After the reprint in Modern Masters, the price actually went up. By then it costed around $110, and went to $135. As far as I can remember, this had to do with it being reprinted at Mythic instead of the anticipated rare. Everyone knew the supply wasn't overwhelming and considered it safe investments. Tarmogoyf became the chase-card of the set.

Around February 2014, goyf went up to a whopping $190, touched the $200, and when it got reprinted again at Mythic in Modern Masters 2015 the price slowly went down. Ever since that peak moment, goyf has been getting cheaper and went to around $65 for a MM version.

Since the B&R Announcement of February 12, 2018, the price has slowly been creeping up again. Because Bloodbraid Elf got unbanned in Modern, Jund once again became a viable deck, spiking the interest for Tarmogoyf.

Future Sight

Future Sight was released on May 4, 2007 and was the third expansion in the Time Spiral block. The set contained 180 cards, of which 81 were futureshifted. Tarmogoyf is one of those futureshifted cards. This was derived from the "Future" theme that was going on in the Time Spiral block, and thus contained cards that have not been printed before but may appear in a future set. All futureshifted cards contained some mechanism that have never appeared before. Each of these unique mechanisms have appeared only on a small number of cards, indicating that they may be more explored in later sets. These cards were also printed in a new futuristic card frame.

Several Future Sight cards still see competitive tournament play. Some of the more notable examples are: Bridge from Below, Grove of the Burnwillows, Magus of the Moon, Narcomoeba, Sword of the Meek, Dryad Arbor and Tombstalker.

Lhurgoyf is a creature type that first appeared in Ice Age, namely on the card... Lhurgoyf. The power/toughness on lhurgoyfs is never fixed, but always determined by certain aspects of the graveyard.


Compared to the other Lhurgoyfs, it didn't seem like Tarmogoyf could easily become large. For example, Terravore could actually become huge, since getting 12 lands in your graveyard is doable, but at the time Tarmogoyf could "only" become a 6/7 which would be very difficult to achieve consistently. Because of this, it took a few weeks before people realised its potential.

At GP Montreal, May 2007, there were three decks in the Top 8 that contained Tarmogoyf. The winner of this GP was Celso Zampere Jr. with the following list:

GP Montreal Winner - May 2007 by Celso Zampere Jr.
Creature (19)
3 Saffi Eriksdotter $0.99
4 Riftsweeper $0.39
4 Serra Avenger $0.55
4 Mystic Enforcer $0.15
4 Tarmogoyf $10.00
Instant (2)
2 Thrill of the Hunt $0.15
Sorcery (8)
4 Call of the Herd $0.15
4 Edge of Autumn $0.40
Enchantment (8)
4 Temporal Isolation $0.20
4 Griffin Guide $0.15
Land (23)
1 Pendelhaven $2.83
2 Terramorphic Expanse $0.24
4 Llanowar Reborn $0.24
4 Forest $0.10
4 Plains $0.10
4 Flagstones of Trokair $2.14
4 Horizon Canopy $10.32
Sideboard (15)
3 Cloudchaser Kestrel $0.25
4 Whirling Dervish $0.29
4 Sunlance $0.20
2 Bound in Silence $0.19
2 Serrated Arrows $0.35

The aim of the deck was to make Tarmogoyf as large as possible. By this point, the power of goyf was proven and people realised you don't have to build around him to make him worthwhile. It was easy to have a 2 mana 3/4. If you can, just play goyf.

Eternal Play

Because of this, Tarmogoyf also stayed a wildly popular card in Modern and Legacy. Even though the card was reprinted several times, people also got more interested in acquiring the card, which, rather than make it cheaper, drove the price up. In February 2014, during the Modern Pro Tour, Tarmogoyf was played in archetypes like Jund and Zoo, and after that kept being played in -decks. If a deck contains , it contains Tarmogoyf. The best defence against goyf, was to play goyf.

Jund - Modern by Naonari Hoshide
Creature (15)
3 Scavenging Ooze $0.25
4 Grim Flayer $0.50
4 Tarmogoyf $10.00
4 Bloodbraid Elf $0.25
Instant (9)
1 Fatal Push $2.10
1 Abrupt Decay $3.30
3 Kolaghan's Command $1.72
4 Lightning Bolt $0.49
Sorcery (9)
1 Dreadbore $2.15
2 Maelstrom Pulse $1.03
2 Thoughtseize $13.71
4 Inquisition of Kozilek $0.60
Planeswalker (3)
3 Liliana of the Veil $11.20
Land (24)
1 Twilight Mire $4.99
1 Blood Crypt $17.43
1 Overgrown Tomb $12.99
1 Stomping Ground $10.19
2 Swamp $0.10
2 Bloodstained Mire $32.01
2 Forest $0.10
2 Wooded Foothills $30.79
4 Blackcleave Cliffs $2.91
4 Verdant Catacombs $14.99
4 Raging Ravine $0.30
Sideboard (15)
1 Thrun, the Last Troll $1.81
1 Tireless Tracker $2.40
1 Huntmaster of the Fells $1.99
2 Fulminator Mage $0.85
1 Fatal Push $2.10
2 Deglamer $1.71
2 Crumble to Dust $0.25
2 Anger of the Gods $0.50
2 Collective Brutality $2.26
1 Grafdigger's Cage $1.99

In Legacy we also see it being played as 4-off in archetypes like Team America, 4c control and RUG Delver.

Threshold UGR - Legacy by Kendrick Lentini
Creature (14)
2 Hooting Mandrills $0.24
2 True-Name Nemesis $1.92
3 Deathrite Shaman $5.29
3 Tarmogoyf $10.00
4 Delver of Secrets $0.45
Instant (21)
1 Dismember $3.20
4 Daze $1.30
4 Brainstorm $1.09
4 Force of Will $49.99
4 Lightning Bolt $0.49
4 Stifle $7.08
Sorcery (7)
3 Gitaxian Probe $2.32
4 Ponder $2.55
Land (18)
1 Underground Sea $707.46
2 Volcanic Island $685.25
2 Polluted Delta $37.97
2 Misty Rainforest $18.99
2 Flooded Strand $30.99
2 Scalding Tarn $19.00
3 Tropical Island $494.91
4 Wasteland $17.67
Sideboard (15)
1 Counterspell $0.67
2 Ancient Grudge $0.25
2 Surgical Extraction $3.25
2 Pyroblast $4.40
2 Flusterstorm $20.80
1 Rough // Tumble $0.25
1 Forked Bolt $0.35
1 Life from the Loam $8.98
1 Pithing Needle $0.99
1 Umezawa's Jitte $7.20
1 Grafdigger's Cage $1.99

So... #ButWhy is Tarmogoyf so expensive? He's an absolute powerhouse for just . This little 0/1 creature can easily grow to a 3/4 or 4/5 without even trying. Being that big, he dodges removal like Lightning Bolt, which used to be an extremely popular removal card. He is almost an auto-include in most decks. Even though his several reprints, the card remains popular and relatively scarce. Mainly, because the reprints have all happened in the Mythic slot.


Arjen has been playing Magic since Ice Age and has mostly played the Legacy format. Ten years ago he founded MTGStocks because he and his friends wanted to buy Magic singles at the right time to play with.

More from Arjen:

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Wilds of Eldraine released on Arena last week and will be released on paper today. And cards are moving this week because of it!

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I would have expected some more Wilds of Eldraine spikes by now, but it all seems pretty quiet, except for one card! Yet, the Lord of the Rings cards are still moving up!

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A slow week. It seems people were mainly waiting for the previews from Wilds of Eldraine and holding off on buying cards. With the entire set now revealed, I expect next week to have more spikes.

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This week we have a card moving up because of Modern, the Commander Masters Eldrazi precon is still stirring things up, and there's a Secret Lair Angels deck!

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The recent unbannings have made sure that these cards are moving up. Plus, we'll discuss a new Legacy archetype, and a card that seems to be pretty powerful in Commander.

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Of course cards are moving because of Lord of the Rings, but we have some interesting cards from several constructed formats as well.

Lorien RevealedShowdown of the SkaldsFlumph (Extended Art)

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One winner from Lord of the Rings, but the rest are moving because of Commander Masters.

Sauron\'s Ransom Ichormoon Gauntlet Sliver Hive

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