Welcome to my second article of the week! The past few days have been so dense with Magic news that I decided to split my column up into three parts. If you want to read my thoughts on the financial ramifications of Magic: The Gathering Arena, you can find that here. If you're waiting on the second part of my Ixalan financial set review, don't despair: it's coming tomorrow morning. For now, it's time to take a first look at the contents of Iconic Masters.
Back in May, I spent a week pontificating on the true meaning of the word "iconic" in hopes that it would give us a hint about what might be reprinted in Iconic Masters. In the end, it turned out that "iconic" just meant "Modern Staples that haven't been printed in a while plus some Sphinxes and stuff." I can't say that I love the set from a conceptual perspective, but the content is dynamite. I was expecting the most casual Masters set ever, but instead we got…well, take away a few cards, and you could have called this set Modern Masters 2018.
From a financial perspective, there are two major questions that come with every Masters set. First, how far are the major reprints likely to drop? Second, how good is the set's overall value? Today, I'm going to cover all of the mythics and rares (as well as some of the key uncommons) in an attempt to answer both questions.
These are all fantastic reprints. Most mythics like this lose about half of their value when they're reprinted, so we can expect them settle in the $15-$20 range.
Mana Drain is amazing, unexpected, and the clear chase mythic of the set. I can't imagine it drops below $80, and it'll probably stay closer to $100-$120. The art is fantastic, too. Consecrated Sphinx should end up in the $15-$20 range, while Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur should end up around $10.
Our first uninspiring batch. Sheoldred should end up in the $12-$15 range; the other two will settle in around $5.
There just aren't that many good red mythics, are there? Urabrask and Thundermaw Hellkite are $4-$5 cards, and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker seems pretty immune to dropping below $10 no matter how many times it's reprinted.
Overall, this is a solid but not overwhelming group of mythics. I'd be happy opening nine of the fifteen, and there are only a couple that are serious bummers. Mana Drain might be the coolest card in any of the Masters sets combined, but the fact that Avacyn, Angel of Hope is the second-priciest mythic is a little weak.
Average Mythic Value (current): $30
Average Mythic Value (predicted): $17
- Auriok Champion - $25
- Serra Ascendant - $20
- Austere Command - $11
- Yosei, the Morning Star - $5
- Restoration Angel - $4
- Emeria Angel - $1
- Path of Bravery - $0.50
Two of the seven white rares are winners, though Auriok Champion is going to take a big value hit over the next couple of months. The fact that it was only printed once, in Fifth Dawn, is a major part of why it's worth so much. Expect it to end up around $15, the same as Serra Ascendant.
- Flusterstorm - $100
- Ancestral Vision - $60
- Cryptic Command - $40
- Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir - $12
- Keiga, the Tide Star - $5
- Day of the Dragons - $0.50
- Sphinx of Uthuun - $0.50
If you open a blue rare or mythic in Iconic Masters, you'll probably end up happy. Flusterstorm badly needed a second printing, and this should cut the price in half. Ancestral Vision was also expensive mostly due to low supply, and I'd be shocked if it stays over $30. Cryptic Command is more resilient, and I expect it'll end up in the $25-$30 range as well. Teferi should stay around $10 due to the casual crowd.
- Bloodghast - $25
- Thoughtseize - $25
- Kokusho, the Evening Star - $15
- Rune-Scarred Demon - $8
- Abyssal Persecutor - $3.50
- Decree of Pain - $3
- Apprentice Necromancer - $1
- Lord of the Pit - $0.50
Thoughtseize already had a pretty high supply thanks to Theros, but the price was still ticking up thanks to how much Modern play it continues to see. It might drop below $20 for a bit, but it won't stay there for long. Bloodghast will dip a bit more, but it should still stay in the $12-$15 range. Kokusho should end up around $10, and Rune-Scarred Demon will be worth at least $3-$4.
- Magus of the Moon - $45
- Anger of the Gods - $5
- Ryusei, the Falling Star - $3
- Scourge of Valkas - $2
- Bogardan Hellkite - $1.50
- Crucible of Fire - $0.60
Magus of the Moon is another low-supply reprint, though it sees enough Modern play to stay around $20. Anger of the Gods was a great long-term buy due to how much Modern play it sees, but I'm much less interested now. The rest of these cards are bulk.
- Lotus Cobra - $16
- Genesis Wave - $8
- Jugan, the Rising Star $2.50
- Genesis Hydra - $0.80
- Curse of Predation - $0.50
- Heroes' Bane – $0.50
- Glimpse the Unthinkable - $32
- Knight of the Reliquary - $10
- Supreme Verdict - $10
- Savageborn Hydra - $2
- Blood Baron of Vizkopa - $2
- Malfegor - $1.50
- Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind - $1.50
- Shadowmage Infiltrator - $0.80
- Firemane Angel - $0.70
- Simic Sky Swallower - $0.60
- Spiritmonger - $0.60
- Hypersonic Dragon - $0.50
You almost never want to open a multicolored rare in a Masters set, and Iconic Masters is no exception. Glimpse the Unthinkable is a fantastic reprint, though, and we've needed a second printing for years. Even with the additional supply, I don't see it dropping below $18. Knight of the Reliquary and Supreme Verdict should stay between $6 and $10 as well.
- Horizon Canopy - $100
- Grove of the Burnwillows - $45
- Graven Cairns - $9
- Nimbus Maze - $7.50
- River of Tears - $7
Wow. This land cycle doesn't scream "iconic" to me, but Horizon Canopy and Grove of the Burnwillows certainly did need to be reprinted from a supply perspective. This should take Canopy down to $60 and Grove down to $30. Don't expect Nimbus Maze or River of Tears to stay over $3—they're not great cards, and they were only at $7-$8 because they're rare lands from one of the most under-printed sets of all time.
This is a very strong group of rares, led by Flusterstorm, Horizon Canopy, Aether Vial, Ancestral Vision, Grove of the Burnwillows, Glimpse the Unthinkable, Cryptic Command, and Magus of the Moon as top-tier reprints. And that's not even counting $30 cards like Thoughtseize and Serra Ascendant! Not only is the average rare value for this set fairly high, it's likely to remain fairly high due to how in-demand these cards are.
Average Rare Value (current): $14.18
Average Rare Value (predicted): $8.21
Key Commons and Uncommons
- Mishra's Bauble - $20
- Thran Dynamo - $10
- Lightning Helix - $7
- Monastery Swiftspear - $2.50
- Jace's Phantasm - $1.50
- Wrench Mind - $1.50
- Thought Scour - $1.25
- Rosheen Meanderer - $1
- Bladewing the Risen - $1
- Dragon Tempest - $1
This isn't the most exciting bunch of commons and uncommons, but Mishra's Bauble was a $20 card (it was $50 a few months ago!) that should end up in the $6-$7 range now. Thran Dynamo, Lightning Helix, and Monastery Swiftspear shouldn't drop much, though—the first two are fairly immune to reprints, and Monastery Swiftspear sees tons of play all over. The others aren't anything special, but you shouldn't sort them into your bulk.
Will any cards gain value by virtue of not being reprinted in Iconic Masters? I doubt it. There weren't a lot of expectations for this set like there are for Modern Masters, and anything that might have been overlooked (Bribery? Rishadan Port? Ensnaring Bridge?) could easily show up in Masters 25, which drops this March.
Overall, Iconic Masters is a better set than I was expecting it to be. I didn't expect we'd get cards that needed a reprint but weren't particularly "iconic," like Mishra's Bauble and Horizon Canopy, but I'm happy to see them here. At this point, I'm mostly curious about how big the print run will be: there are two other sets (!) being released this holiday season, so it's possible that Iconic Masters will come and go without as much fanfare as the other Masters sets. It's also possible that you'll be able to buy boxes at or below retail well into 2018.
Personally, I'm hoping someone decides to give me a box of Iconic Masters as a Christmas gift (hint, hint!) because it seems pretty darned rad. Otherwise, I'm holding off to see how large that print run ends up being. There might be some really juicy buying opportunities in late December. If so, I'll be sure to let you know.