Wyluli Wolf (Light)$13.99 (-69.63%)
Anger of the Gods$3.96 (+38.95%)
Island (1383)$8.12 (+35.56%)
Mountain (1385)$8.12 (+35.56%)
City of Death$12.00 (+33.33%)
The Face of Boe$8.00 (+33.33%)
Underworld Dreams$5.00 (-30.56%)
Faeburrow Elder$6.00 (-29.08%)
Beluna Grandsquall$2.28 (+25.97%)
Reshape$3.00 (+25.52%)
Farsight Ritual$4.95 (+23.75%)
Grim Hireling$6.69 (+22.53%)
Mountain (1359)$4.96 (-21.64%)
Etali, Primal Conqueror$7.91 (-21.29%)
Giant Adephage$5.98 (-20.79%)
Skred$3.91 (+20.31%)
Arcane Lighthouse$3.59 (+20.07%)
The Locust God$4.19 (+20.06%)
The First Sliver$30.00 (+20.00%)
Hylda's Crown of Winter$4.00 (-20.00%)
Daxos the Returned$7.99 (+16.64%)
Serum Visions$2.98 (-15.58%)
Fate Unraveler$4.05 (+15.38%)
Thunderhawk Gunship$3.49 (+15.18%)
Nurgle's Rot$2.18 (+14.74%)
Xenk, Paladin Unbroken$59.98 (-14.30%)
Waste Not$7.90 (-14.22%)
Keen Duelist$3.69 (+13.89%)
Monster Manual$4.82 (+13.68%)
War Elephant (Light)$16.40 (-13.59%)
Kalonian Hydra$9.14 (+13.40%)
Shire Terrace$10.00 (-12.43%)
Abu Ja'far$57.26 (+12.36%)
Abrade$8.32 (-12.05%)
Joraga Treespeaker$4.24 (-12.03%)
Misleading Signpost$4.40 (-12.00%)
Champion Lancer$3.01 (+11.90%)
Goblin Matron$6.70 (-11.73%)
Relentless Assault$2.50 (+11.11%)
Fastbond$28.44 (+11.09%)
Patriarch's Bidding$3.02 (-10.91%)
Plains (1382)$6.46 (-10.77%)
Fire Covenant$21.14 (-10.73%)

Over and Under: January 2023

23 Jan
by Harvey McGuinness

Welcome back to another installment of Over and Under! This month we’re talking about short-term market trends in comparison to the overall value of a card, as well as price corrections in the trading card world. So let's get into it!  

We’ll start with our first overvalued card of the year.

Mindbreak Trap

No other card does quite what Mindbreak Trap does. A potentially free counterspell which exiles from the stack directly as opposed to actually countering anything, Mindbreak Trap serves an important role as a final answer to many a storm pile. While cards like Flusterstorm and, to a lesser extent, Weather the Storm also serve as sideboard tech against similar problems, it is the exile clause on Mindbreak Trap, coupled with a conditional zero-mana cost, which truly cements the niche in which it so comfortably resides.  

Mindbreak Trap

So, with all of these upsides out of the way and a positive price trend to support it, why is Mindbreak Trap overvalued? Well, the problem with this card is that its price is currently being buoyed very heavily by a lack of supply, not an explosion in demand. In most constructed formats, the lower base cost of Flusterstorm is sufficient enough to crowd out Mindbreak Trap, meaning that its value as a sideboard staple against storm decks has eroded. As such, the demand for Mindbreak Trap currently sits with Commander, and the smaller cEDH section at that. In that format, Mindbreak Trap is an incredibly useful answer that functions similar to a second copy for Flusterstorm, padding out the roster of valuable countermagic.

Weather the Storm

This paints a bit of a dark picture for Mindbreak Trap. The card is fantastic, but the demand is low and price support rests primarily with the fact that the card was initially printed over a decade ago at the Mythic rarity and hasn’t been reprinted since. This drying-up of supply (as well as a recent uptick in the popularity of cEDH) has caused quite the short-term price uptick for Mindbreak Trap; but such a trend is not sustainable. This will likely have a similar impact on the overall price trajectory of the card as that of the reserved list buyouts; short-lived dramatic upticks followed by a price correction to a pre-spike high, but nonetheless a significant percentage decrease. So, if you aren’t playing your Mindbreak Traps now, I’d certainly consider parting ways with them soon.

Mindbreak Trap

  Speaking of contrarian price trends, up next is our first undervalued pick of the year.


Gaea’s Cradle

As opposed to Mindbreak Trap, plenty of cards printed since Gaea's Cradle have tried to do what Cradle can...and none have come close. The mana acceleration on this card is absurd, and has inspired creature-dependent ramp pieces ever since the card’s initial release. What sets Cradle above and beyond the rest is its card type - while it may not be fetchable, being a land makes it nearly impossible to remove, activatable the turn it enters, and easily tutorable by the majority of Green’s search effects. Simply put, the card is bonkers.  

Gaea's Cradle

The overwhelming power of Gaea’s Cradle has put it in a near-ubiquitous position across green Commander decks of all kinds while simultaneously making it a mainboard mainstay in its fair share of eternal format decklists. The demand on this card is incredibly high, the print run is incredibly low, and the card bears the hallmark reserved-list designation. So, why is the price trending downwards?

Well, Gaea’s Cradle has such a high absolute dollar value attached to it, frequently hovering around the $1000 mark, that macroeconomic conditions are frequently more impactful on its long term price than any news from playability developments. Gaea’s Cradle represents an investment for most, meaning that a significant uptick in demand from the playerbase is frequently met by an uptick in proxying the card, as opposed to direct market purchases. This means that the flow of money purchasing Gaea’s Cradle is composed of player and investment funds, as opposed to modern-era staples, which have little, if any, investment buy-in. Gaea’s Cradle has weathered the current bear market and macroeconomic turmoil well, but not without suffering from price erosion.

Growing Rites of Itlimoc
Circle of Dreams Druid
Battle Hymn

The price erosion Gaea’s Cradle is suffering from currently has opened up an opportunity in the markets for value acquisitions. Cradle is likely going to continue trending downwards alongside the rest of the market, but it is also primed for a rebound upwards as soon as things stabilize. No one knows when that is going to be for certain, so keep an eye out for Cradles when you can. Time in the market is better than timing the market.

Gaea's Cradle
Urza's Saga


Both Gaea's Cradle and Mindbreak Trap are excellent examples of how the current price trend of a card can belie a more accurate long-run value point. Whether it's macroeconomic pressures holding down investments or sudden demand crashing into a limited supply, prices can turn on an instant. Stay tuned for next month, when we’ll check in with the market again to ask what’s over and under, and click here if you’d like to see last month’s edition.

Harvey McGuinness
Harvey McGuinness

Harvey McGuinness is a student at Johns Hopkins University who has been playing Magic since the release of Return to Ravnica. After spending a few years in the Legacy arena bouncing between Miracles and other blue-white control shells, he now spends his time enjoying Magic through CEDH games and understanding the finance perspective. He also writes for the Commander's Herald.

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