New releases always send the MTG secondary market into a period of turmoil. Dominaria Remastered may take a bit more time to process since the release began and ended so quickly. That said, as the spotlight constantly changes between different collections of cards as the week goes by, some cards continue to appreciate in the background. While a recent highlight suddenly snapped players to attention to the trends that have been happening behind closed doors, it’s honestly surprising that it took the card this long to spike. Underworld Breach is one of the most powerful cards in the game, yet it took years for the card to surpass $10. Let’s talk about what this card is doing in MTG and why it is on an entirely different level for the few who haven’t had to play against it.
The Rise of Underworld Breach
It’s been some time since I have been uniquely qualified to have a conversation like this. Underworld Breach has won me hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in Modern tournament play and has qualified me for back-to-back Regional Championships. I also sport it as a win condition in my borderline competitive Commander deck that’s too strong for a typical table. Still, I will get obliterated whenever people whip out their cEDH decks.
Underworld Breach is in the strange position where the card is absurdly underpriced by most metrics that players use to price cards. The only formats this card doesn’t see play are the ones where it’s banned. This means that Underworld Breach sees competitive play in Modern, Legacy, Vintage, and Commander. In all of the formats mentioned except one, Underworld Breach is part of a top-tier competitive deck that, when mastered, can easily put up results. A list of those decks is as follows:
- Modern Jeskai Breach
- Modern Izzet Prowess
- Modern Twiddlestorm
- Almost any cEDH deck with red in it
- Vintage Breach Combo
Breach also sees competitive Legacy play, but not at the top tables. That format currently has an Initiative problem. Underworld Breach was also a dominant force in Pioneer before the card got banned.
Recent Financial Trends
Underworld Breach has spiked a ton over the last few months, and it has also caused a more extensive collection of cards to spike in response to its successes, particularly in the Modern format. Underworld Breach has spiked to about a $10 average on TCGplayer. That said, the card has a wide range of selling prices, generally between $9 and $15. At its recent low, Underworld Breach wasn’t even worth $5 but had, naturally, stayed above the $4 price tag. Notably, this is the first time Underworld Breach has been worth over $10 since its creation, which occurred over two years ago.
The card has spiked profusely over the past month, mainly due to a new Modern deck that emerged through MTG personalities Andrea Mengucci and AspiringSpike. This card is now in two contending top decks in the Modern format.
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While Underworld Breach is finally getting the attention the card deserves, the price spike caused for this Fifth Dawn card is much more impressive. Grinding Station was relegated to a niche Commander combo piece for a while. While it is incredibly effective, Grinding Station didn’t see much Commander play, mainly due to the format being social. Players, generally, are not a fan of dying out of nowhere to a weird combination of cards.
Over the past year, Grinding Station has tripled in price from about $9 to a hefty $27. The majority of this price spike occurred in September when Ross Meriam won a major Modern tournament with what is now the traditional Jeskai Breach archetype. The card started top 8ing every modern tournament in the North American area for months after the event. While the archetype is still considered a top contender in the Modern format (and the one that I choose to play), there is a lot of debate about whether the deck is at the bottom of tier one or the top of tier two. In other words, it is widely considered to be among, but not the best deck in the game.
Most of Grinding Station’s price tag comes from its scarcity. Fifth Dawn is a rather old MTG set, and it’s the only printing of Grinding Station that currently exists. If anyone from Wizards of the Coasts is listening, this would be a fantastic card reprint.
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The last victim of Breach’s power on the secondary market is one that we’re pretty familiar with. Mox Amber initially saw a spike in price due to Underworld Breach’s success in Modern but was curbed by the reprint of the card in The Brothers’ War. Before this reprinting, Mox Amber only saw one printing in the original Dominaria set. The card is quite popular in Commander and some fringe competitive decks in other formats, creating quite an enormous demand.
Despite Mox Amber’s current reprinting, the card still demands around a $30 price tag, making it the most expensive Retro Artifact in The Brothers’ War. This is a far cry from Mox Amber’s previous $62 price tag. The card still has substantial financial value, but it’s a lot more accessible now than it was even a few months ago.
Why the Sudden Burst of Attention?
As mentioned earlier, Underworld Breach’s rise in Modern, as well as its rise in demand, mainly occurred in September following Meriam’s success. Even though this may be the case for competitive play, Underworld Breach saw a much steeper increase in price throughout November 2022. Why?
Well, pointing a finger back at Modern, Underworld Breach is now considered a part of the new Prowess deck gracing Modern’s doorstep. Underworld Breach is terrifying, combined with Prowess and Dragon Rage Channeler’s Surveil effect. With even two of these on board, the cost of Escaping cards with Underworld Breach gets cut down significantly. This allows the owner to recast cards like Mishra’s Bauble or Mutagenic Growth multiple times, stacking Prowess triggers in the process. Like the more combo-oriented Breach decks, resolving this card generally means the game is over.
Outside of competitive Magic, Underworld Breach was recently mentioned in MTG creator Rhystic Study’s video about Artist Proofs. This is an absolutely incredible watch. I could not recommend it enough. While this may bring some continued attention to Underworld Breach over the coming days, the new Prowess deck is spreading all over Modern, and that seems to be the biggest culprit in the deck’s uprising.
Should We Go Deeper?
As mentioned before, I have some history with the Modern Underworld Breach archetype. I won’t stand up to the greats who pioneered the archetype, but I’ve had a decent amount of success with the deck I could offer in an article for those interested. If you are interested in a deeper dive into the Modern Underworld Breach archetype, let us know in our Facebook comment section for this article. Regardless of the result, we will keep updating you on MTG news and trends as it develops within the community.
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