Over and Under - February 2023
Welcome back everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. Just as
But before we do, a little recap of our stars from last month.
Over the past month, Mindbreak Trap has taken a moment to breathe, rebounded a little bit, and has started trending sideways. I’ll be honest - this is a stronger trend than I had at first anticipated. Between negative market pressures and the limited overall demand for the card, Mindbreak Trap’s limited price retrace and steady sideways drift mean that we’ll likely be seeing more and more transactions at the $50 valuation for the immediate future. I still think this is an overvaluation of the card, but it looks to be steady for the moment.
Unsurprisingly, Gaea’s Cradle has had very little movement since my last check-in with it. The card essentially has no momentum in either direction at the moment, but has nonetheless held up well over the broad market attrition experienced in the past year. Similar to Mindbreak Trap, I don’t expect much to change soon with this card, but I would certainly keep an eye on it for future movement. This is an emblem of both the reserved list and of competitive play, so the card certainly holds an important role in the market.
Alright, with our recap out of the way, on to our overvalued pick of the month.
Another piece of countermagic like dear old Mindbreak Trap before it, Counterbalance here is an example of a card that hasn’t had a printing in quite a long time - last seeing the light of day as a Masterpiece from the
Counterbalance has long been outclassed in Legacy, and the variety of average mana values throughout Commander deck lists means that it can’t be nearly as reliable or as oppressive as it was in sixty-card formats. This means that the price for Counterbalance is far more supply-side oriented, as the $30 floor which it has been testing in recent weeks is primarily supported by a scattered stream of small purchase orders, not the rampant cluster buys which are often associated with break-out competitive success (the data for this is public, courtesy of TCGPlayer’s Sale’s History Snapshot).
Supply issues aside, it is important to address the elephant in the room: Secret Lair. Several weeks ago, Counterbalance began its price upswing, gradually drifting noticeably higher past the pre-spike $25 range. About halfway into this swing, it was announced that Counterbalance would be getting a Secret Lair reprinting. Now, the price ramifications of these sorts of reprints usually take a while to sort themselves out, but by the time new copies of Counterbalance hit the market one thing is certain - there will be more copies out there, and along with it the price floor will likely falter. So, as tempting as the recent upswing may make things seem, I wouldn’t be buying Counterbalances on the secondary market right now.
|Secret Lair Series|
|Masterpiece Series: Amonkhet Invocations|
Next up, our undervalued pick of the month.
Craterhoof Behemoth has been among the quintessential Commander cards for a while now. A big, green, flashy, game-ending Beast, Craterhoof Behemoth has had a handful of reprints, each time causing the cards price to..erm..crater…for a short while, only to gradually drift back up to a stable price afterwards. Right now, it looks like Craterhoof is starting to have its upswing again.
Courtesy of our Premium Trends feature here at MTGStocks, Craterhoof Behemoth was selected as being an excellent candidate for a continued upwards price trajectory. Unlike cards such as Counterbalance and Mindbreak Trap, both of which have had a short burst of dramatic upwards price pressure followed by a rebound contraction, Craterhoof Behemoth has had a stable, sideways price trajectory for nearly a year now, followed by its current month-long period of gradual upwards mobility. This means that each end of Craterhoof Behemoth’s price is getting support pressure, as the price floor drifts higher to support the new average price. Craterhoof hasn’t retracted yet and, given its reprint history, doesn't appear to have any indicators pointing to a collapse anytime soon. So, if you haven’t ended a game by slamming down a Craterhoof Behemoth yet, now is as good a time as any to pick up a copy of a historically expensive Commander card.
|Secret Lair Series|
Since we last looked at the market, tides have started to shift and prices in the Magic card world have started to stabilize and, for some, drift upwards. Mindbreak Trap had its first contraction since spiking, while Gaea’s Cradle continued to stay steady at the near-$900 mark. Our overvalued pick, Counterbalance, looks like a crash is imminent courtesy of a Secret Lair reprint, while our undervalued pick, Craterhoof Behemoth, was picked by our Premium analytics as an excellent example of natural price growth. Stay tuned for next month, when we’ll check in again and ask, what’s over and under?
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.