Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

Magic Finance 104: Modern

Having looked at Standard it’s now a good time to take a look at the next most popular competitive format: Modern.

Modern, unlike Standard, is a non-rotating format. Once a card becomes Modern legal it remains so unless banned. There is no other way out of the format. Every Standard-legal card printed from 8th Edition forward is Modern-legal, including those cards which are currently part of the Standard format. Any new sets printed for Standard are added to the Modern card pool at the same time.


The important difference between Modern and any other format is the reprint situation. With other areas it’s a concern that your card may be reprinted, reducing its value. In Modern, the reprinting of sought after cards is a certainty rather than a possibility.

This means timing is everything. The best time to buy sought-after cards is after they have been reprinted. The best time to sell is right before they are announced as about to be reprinted.


What I have noticed is that cards which are yet to be reprinted gain in price faster than those which have in response to similar demand spikes. It’s as if people still won’t believe a card will be reprinted, and one it has been, they won’t believe it isn’t about to be immediately printed again.

Some cards have a demand pool deep enough to recover quickly from a reprint. Consider Cavern of Souls, reprinted in Modern Masters 2017.


If you don’t know the set symbol, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this card was reprinted. The price trend is upwards, regardless, making this card a good one to hold.

The price chart for Damnation tells a different story:


With this card, reprinted in the same set, the price is yet to start recovering, although the price slide seems to have halted. Damnation was reprinted at rare, while Cavern of Souls appeared as a Mythic rare in its second outing. Also of consideration is that Damnation was almost immediately reprinted again, this time as a foil Mythic Invocation in the Hour of Devastation set.

Reprints are a certainty. If a card was recently reprinted that is no indication it won’t be reprinted again in the same year, even within a few months.

Silver lining


Modern is a very popular competitive format. As such, cards used in competitive decks will have a steady flow of demand. If you need to sell your cards it’s not usually difficult to find a willing buyer. This is useful since you need to be very aware of format shifts, reprint timings and more to make your investments here work for you.

Most Modern cards are more akin to trades than to investments. Be prepared to turn over cards frequently, and keep cash on hand to take advantage of temporary dips in price – while understanding the risk that this dip may not be temporary.






This entry was posted on February 11, 2018 by in Uncategorized.
%d bloggers like this: