Over and Under - May 2023

15 May
by Harvey McGuinness

News never sleeps. Or more specifically in Magic’s case, the product pipeline never stops.

Since our last edition of Over and Under, we’ve had the full release of both March of the Machine and its supplemental set, March of the Machine: The Aftermath, plus a confirmation on the titular Temptation of the Ring mechanic for the upcoming summer The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set release, and finally some extra sneak peaks on Commander Masters. It has been a lot to handle, and has certainly generated some buzz as players come to grapple with an ever-shifting card pool.

Even so, most of this has been limited to simply market noise, without much staying power or significant effect. I say most, because there has certainly been a diamond in the rough. But before we get to that, let's start things off with a recap!

Review: Leeches

When we last looked at Leeches, this obscure reserved list speculation was hovering around the $18 range, with a price eroding significantly after a recent spike largely attributable to the renewed presence of poison counters in the Magic zeitgeist. In the month since then, Leeches has fallen back down to the $15 mark. While $3 in a month might not sound like a lot, it is representative of a near 15% weakening of the price, a trend which doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. While Leeches will almost certainly stabilize higher than its pre-spike price due to it being a reserved list card with increased demand, it hasn’t found its stabilization level just yet. Even if you really want a copy of this card, I recommend holding off for the time being - similar to overhyped Standard cards right after a prerelease, the market is softening now that demand has cratered.

Review: Mystic Remora

Unlike Leeches, our undervalued pick of last month hasn’t had much of a price trend in either direction, which is to be expected given that it was reprinted in large quantities only several months ago. Mystic Remora continues to be a crucial piece of any Commander deck that can run it, and now that the price is below the $5 mark it has become readily accessible to its principle demand audience: players. It will likely be some time before Mystic Remora begins to tick back up again, but the card has already reached its bottom and won’t be any cheaper any time soon. If you need a copy of Mystic Remora, I implore you to grab one while it's as cheap as it is now.

Alright, now onto the new picks for the month, starting off with our overvalued selection.

Ally-Colored Fetchlands

Back in our March edition of Over and Under, I wrote about the enemy-colored Fetchlands and how they had reached all-time lows. Scalding Tarn hovered around $20, Marsh Flats briefly broke $10, and players were rejoicing at the opportunity to pick up multi-format staples at far cheaper prices than anything before. In that article, I also mentioned how - unlike the enemy Fetchlands - the ally Fetchlands (specifically the [set]Khans of Tarkir[/set] printings of Polluted Delta, Flooded Strand, Bloodstained Mire, Wooded Foothills, and Windswept Heath) had continued to drift upwards in price and were reaching all-time highs. Well, that trend has only continued since then, and now it is time for us to discuss the current valuation of ally Fetchlands. 

A bit of a disclaimer regarding something I mentioned briefly earlier - when I say ally Fetchlands, I’m going to be discussing the price of their Khans of Tarkir printings specifically. Without getting too in depth, the principle reason for this is supply. The original [set]Onslaught[/set] printings are so far removed from their Khans of Tarkir cousins in terms of supply that evaluating the two of them together would be a mistake along the lines of lumping together Revised Edition and Unlimited Edition. These two sets - and the Fetchlands they contain - are different beasts. 

The mass availability of enemy Fetchlands has had an inverse effect on the price of their ally counterparts, as renewed excitement from players to invest in more developed manabases - those necessary to play Modern, for example - has had the consequence of increasing demand for the ally Fetchlands as well. Think of a player trying to play Jeskai (Red/White/Blue) in Modern for example - while the affordable Scalding Tarns and Arid Mesas cover two thirds of the Fetchlands required for the deck, the missing ally-colored Flooded Strand is now pushed upwards in price as it hasn’t received its reprinting yet.

Keyword, yet.

Fetchlands sell sets like hotcakes. [set]Khans of Tarkir[/set], Modern Horizons 2, both of these did incredibly well in no small part due to the cycle of lands they contained. Looking to the future - more specifically, Commander Masters - I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a reprint soon as Wizards of the Coast attempts to cash in on the reprint equity which Fetchlands provide. There is certainly demand for a reprint, and the product stream for the remainder of 2023 offers plenty of opportunities. This is certainly speculative, but as we saw with the enemy Fetchlands, prices will crater as soon as a reprint is confirmed. I’d keep that in mind as I eye the market.

Moving next to a recently released reprint, however, it is time for our undervalued pick of the month.

Flooded Strand
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Wooded Foothills
Windswept Heath

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Alright, onto the monkey in the room. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer has been the bane of numerous formats since its release, racking up a ban in Legacy and a blisteringly high share of the Modern metagame. Alongside that success, it also racked up quite a hefty price tag, with the initial Modern Horizons 2 base printing of the card hovering around $75 for the majority of its lifetime. That is, until it was reprinted in March of the Machine: Multiverse Legends.  This crashed the price of Ragavan, with the newest printings currently selling for around $50. And boy is it selling - the sales data on TCGPlayer.com is a testament to this; the price may have fallen for Ragavan, but the demand has not.

This continued demand is key to understanding why Ragavan looks to be quite the value pickup right now. Since it can be found in any booster pack of March of the Machine, be it Draft, Set, or Collector, the supply of Ragavan is going to continue to saturate the market. This may seem a bit counterintuitive to making a value play, but the end result of this is going to be along the lines of the enemy Fetchlands - as Ragavan inches slightly cheaper (the current price trend has it as falling very incrementally and nearing its bottom), more and more players will have an entryway into playing with it, which will plant the seeds for the card to spike back up in price once March of the Machine finalizes its print run. While buying a Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer today might not be the cheapest it will ever be, it is very close, and in the long run you’ll certainly find that you wound up with a discount.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer (Foil Etched)
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

Wrap Up

The market for staples right now is a bit of a turbulent one, but overall it is certainly trending in the favor of cheaper singles and broader availability to players in the months to come. Ragavan is the cheapest it has ever been despite its widespread popularity, a new and upcoming Masters set serves as yet another opportunity for the reprint (and corresponding price crash) of the ally Fetchlands, and Commander allstar Mystic Remora is at an all time low. Check back next time where we’ll look back and see what’s over, and what’s under.

Check out these other articles:

Reinventions by Jason Alt

Modern Times - Ragavan, Yawgmoth, Aether Vial by Corey Williams

Hidden Gems #3 - Something Colorless This Way Comes by Adam Berg

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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