Reparations | Mirage | Art by Douglas Shuler
4, Jun, 24

Potentially Problematic Reserved List 'Meme' Spikes Over 900%!

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MTG finance is a funny thing. Sometimes price movement is driven by logical factors, such as a card’s popularity or scarcity. Other times, a card’s price jumps on account of it being a ‘meme,’ much like the now-infamous Gamestop incident of 2021. This week, it would seem that the latter has occurred. Reparations, a forgotten MTG rare from Mirage, has seen a serious price spike.

Alongside memes pushing the prices of classic cards, eternal formats are driving other, more reasonable spikes, too. New combo pieces from Modern Horizons 3 are sparking buyouts of older cards which make ideal enablers in Commander and Pauper. Standard isn’t slacking off either, with cards from Thunder Junction still having their true value discovered.

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The MTG Reparations Spike

Reparations | Mirage

The big story of the financial moment in MTG is, of course, the Reparations price spike. Until a week ago, Reparations was just another obscure Reserved List rare. It sat at around $3, which isn’t nothing, but isn’t very exciting for a card so old, either. All of that changed this week, however, when popular streamer PaymoneyWubby shone a spotlight on the card on Twitch.

The streamer predicted that, due to the racially charged name, the card could become classed as ‘problematic’ in the future. If that happened, as it did with the likes of Crusade and Jihad, it would become much more difficult to have the card graded. Many grading companies refuse to engage with problematic cards, after all. As a result, thousands of viewers and non-viewers alike flocked to buy the card, nearly obliterating TCGPlayer’s entire stock.

Because of this, the price of Reparations skyrocketed to around $28; an increase of 933%. Is this huge change sustainable? All bets are off on that one. The card is on the Reserved List, which makes a reprint impossible. In addition, it’s actually quite a useful card in Commander, especially with all the new Crime synergies running around.

Despite Reparations being a good card, current demand does appear to be driven by external factors. If Reparations does end up on the problematic cards list, then graded copies could be worth a small fortune. If not, then this price will likely crumble very quickly indeed. Be careful on this one.

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Outcaster Trailblazer

Outcaster Trailblazer | Outlaws of Thunder Junction

Moving on to a much safer bet now, we have Outcaster Trailblazer. This is a card from Outlaws of Thunder Junction, Magic’s most recent Standard set. It’s a bit of a Swiss Army Knife of a card. It gives you a mana boost, draws you cards, and can even be Plotted, so you can time the other two abilities perfectly. This flexibility has earned the card a spot in many a Standard list, and even some in Pioneer, too.

The Trailblazer is showing up mainly in Ramp decks, be they Gruul, Selesnya, or Jund. These decks all play plenty of creatures with 4+ power, meaning that second ability will be getting plenty of use. The extra mana is also very welcome in decks with such high top ends. It took a while for players to pick up on the power of the card, but now that they have its price is adjusting in kind.

Where Trailblazer was once a $0.75 card, it’s now spiked to nearly $3. That’s a near-400% increase over the last week. This isn’t just a blip caused by Standard experimentation, either. The card is obviously excellent in Commander, and the scattered play it’s seeing in Pioneer is driving prices up too. Unlike the Reparations spike, this is an MTG price jump you can expect to stick. It may even climb higher, if Ramp starts to pick up steam in Standard.

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Sadistic Glee

Reparations-Spike-MTG-Sadistic-Glee

It wouldn’t be an MTG finance report at the moment without Modern Horizons 3 getting involved somewhere. It’s the most anticipated set of the year and with good reason. A huge number of the cards within, all the way down to the commons, look like game-changers for multiple formats. In fact, a common is the reason for the spike we’re discussing here.

Basking Broodscale is the common in question. It’s an innocuous-looking Eldrazi Lizard with a vicious combo sting in its tail. Whenever a +1/+1 counter is placed on it, you create an Eldrazi Spawn token, which you can sacrifice at any time for one colorless mana. Throw in Sadistic Glee, a fellow Common from Tempest that puts a +1/+1 counter on the creature it enchants whenever another creature dies, and you have yourself an infinite loop.

This doesn’t win you the game on its own, but it gives you an infinitely large Broodscale, and infinite enters and dies triggers. All of which can potentially lead to a win when combined with other cards. Since both cards are common, you can even run this combo in Pauper. As well as Legacy, Vintage, and Commander, of course. The card has been climbing since the middle of May and over the last week it’s more than doubled in price yet again, going from around $1.20 to around $2.60.

While this is an old card with only two real printings, it’s also not on the reserved list, and it has a name generic enough to be reprinted pretty much anywhere. I’d be cautious going in on this one now, especially if it climbs any higher.

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Sylvan Paradise

Reparations-Spike-MTG-Sylvan-Paradise

We’ll round things out with another card Modern Horizons 3 has dredged up out of obscurity. Sylvan Paradise is an uncommon from Legends, which can change the color of any number of creatures in play to green for a turn. Sounds useless, you might say, and in most cases, you’d be right. However, Modern Horizons 3 introduces Nadu, Winged Wisdom, an immensely powerful new legendary that plays perfectly with this card.

Thanks to its ability to essentially draw you cards whenever your creatures are targeted, Nadu has caused several price spikes so far. Both Shuko and Sea Kings’ Blessing have seen significant movement. Sylvan Paradise is next on this list, as a one-mana way to target all of your creatures at once. The card has jumped from around $8 to nearly $30, with some copies even selling for more than $40.

This makes a tonne of sense. Sylvan Paradise has only ever been printed in Legends, one of Magic’s oldest sets. Now that it has the potential to see play in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander, the already-low supply is under strain. Like Reparations, this is a Reserved List card, and can therefore never be printed again. Unlike Reparations, Sylvan Paradise has real competitive applications, and is, therefore, a much more solid spike to speculate on, if you see fit.

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