Most MTG secondary market trends aren’t too difficult to place reasoning for. Generally, breakout cards will have appeared in a competitive tournament, or have been featured on a prominent MTG content creator’s Commander channel for a good reason.
That said, there are, sometimes, some less honest answers to price spike questions. Buyouts are a relatively common form of speculation on the MTG secondary market and create ‘fake’ price spikes based on a dishonest relationship between supply and demand. A buyout makes the MTG card seem more desirable to the average player than it really is. Should others buy into the increase, the original source of the buyout sells all their cards for a marked-up value, crashing the value of the card in the process. Anyone else who bought in is left in shambles.
Then there’s an even more bizarre cause for a market price spike that is more difficult to explain, but very important to identify. The biggest price spikes this week approach the ten thousandth percentile! While that would make for a fantastic title, the price spikes are dishonest, and should not be taken seriously. Here’s why:
One Outlier Sale
According to some financial outlets, the most significant financial increase seen week over week was for Invasion of Theros. This card has quite a strong application in EDH, capable of searching your library for an Aura, God, or Demigod card while presenting a potential significant threat.
Should the Invasion flip, you get access to an enchantress card that turns all of your Enchantments into cantrips. Ephara also gains Lifelink and Indestructible as long as you control three other Enchantments, which should be easy in a focused decklist.
As impressive as this card is, it’s only been selling for about 50 cents. The deck that wants this card really wants it, but there aren’t too many decks that can fully utilize a card that offers such specific payoffs. That said, over the weekend, the market price for this card approach $50! That’s an absolutely incredible increase – if it were a sincere one.
One bizarre sale of $985 that occurred yesterday has messed with the market price of Invasion of Theros. The price spiked a little bit as a result, but buyers and sellers weren’t overly fooled, continuing to sell the card for under a dollar shortly after. Having this happen for one card may just be an accident, but the two other biggest price spikes this weekend occurred for the same reason.
$985 Strikes Again
Unlike Invasion of Theros, Species Specialist actually has a somewhat relevant price tag. This card only has one printing from Commander 2020, making it a bit tough to come by for interested parties. Species Specialist also offers an ability that can be applied to any tribal deck that can run the card. Should a creature of the chosen type die, Species Specialist draws a card.
Notably, this doesn’t just apply to your creatures. If your opponent brings out their pesky Elf Tribal deck again, you can play this card and name Elves. When that inevitable board wipe appears, Species Specialist can draw a ton of cards off of your opponent’s tribal deaths.
On average, Species Specialist appears to sell for between $6 and $7 – at least with one familiar exception. Yesterday, this card also experienced a bizarre $985 sale that sent its secondary market price out of whack. Even though its market price is listed for $45, the card continues to sell for around where it did previous to its sale, maybe even for a little more.
Plumb the Forbidden
The last card to suffer a similar fate is called Plumb the Forbidden. This unique spell from Strixhaven has some powerful applications in token decks. Should you be creating a ton of tokens that, otherwise, are not too powerful, Plumb the Forbidden can sacrifice any number of them and turn them into cards! This could be particularly powerful in Beledros Witherbloom Commander decks since the Pests will help replace the life otherwise lost by Plumb the Forbidden.
This is only an uncommon from a relatively recent MTG set, so its price tag shouldn’t be too expensive, especially since it’s not seeing competitive play anywhere. Regardless, the card does offer a unique ability that is very useful to common archetypes in Commander, so it tends to retail for $1-$2.
As you can imagine, another $985 sale has sent the market price of this card over $40 once again. The following sales saw a small price bump, but nothing too significant. Just note that if there are some stores charging a premium for this, its likely because of this bizarre sale (in accordance with the market price increase).
Real Price Spikes
With the MTG community still consuming the new MTG LOTR spoilers, it may take some time before we begin to see new innovations, thanks to these cards affect the secondary market. For now, one interesting price spike is for the card above. Nicol Bolas, the Ravager from the Cute to Brute Commander deck has seen a significant financial increase, but not in the way you think. Instead, the thick version of the card commonly seen as an add-on to Commander products is the thing seeing an increase.
This card is made out of significantly different material than a normal MTG card, so putting it into your Commander deck is a no-go. The card will stick out like a sore thumb, making your deck seem fixed. What the thick stock card can be used for, however, is as your Commander. It seems that the art on this card is incredibly popular, hence the potential for many Nicol Bolas fans to use the card to replace their old Ravager cards, or even creating new decks around it.
As a result, this not-so-real MTG card has seen an increase from under $2 to almost $5 over the course of the week!
Interestingly enough, the real version of this card has also seen a massive financial increase, which could contribute to the thick stock copy sales. After Cute to Brute released, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager saw its price fall in line with its other copies – about $25. The card, in its premium variant, has since spiked to a massive $50!
Do Not Buy These Cards for $40+!
I hope it doesn’t have to be said at this point, but just in case it does, do not buy these cards for their current market values. They are absurdly inflated thanks to these bizarre sales. If you want these cards, buy them instead for what they’re selling for (outside of the $985 sale, of course). This is a fantastic example why players should research what is causing MTG market spikes instead of blindly buying on a market increase.
There’s more than just this price spike in the works, but we won’t have enough time to discuss that here. If you want to read on about the cards you should actually be paying attention to, we will be taking a look at those soon.