I’m one card short of finishing my Legacy deck. One card. And I’m going to sell off the whole deck before I get a chance to play a match sans proxies. I’m going to sell it a few days before there is an actual big Legacy event in my area, the SCG Providence Open.

A while back this guy Travis Allen wrote an article called “Leaving Legacy” advocating that you sell off your Legacy cards because Modern will eventually replace the eternal format. Allen wrote about how the downward price trajectory of Terravore and Llawan, Cephalid Empress could be used to predict the way actual Legacy staples would fall given the long term demise of the format, and quietly suggested that it might be an okay time to start pitching extra Legacy stock.  While I don’t agree with Allen that Legacy is a dying format, or that you should liquidate cards on the reserve list for Modern cards that can easily be reprinted, the article made one salient point about the dual lands. Allen writes, “Our current supply of dual lands is it. It is the total amount we as a community have and will ever have. It is impossible to add more dual lands to the market. That means only two things can happen: 1. the number available can stay the same or 2. it can decline. Given that Magic cards are flimsy pieces of cardboard, it’s a safe bet that the number will slowly decline. Cards are damaged or lost or forgotten in basements and attics. Slowly but surely, the most essential cards to the format will become harder and harder to find.” 

While the scarcity of dual lands may prevent Legacy from having as many players as a format like Modern, as long as Legacy is a popular and supported format on the SCG circuit as well as the GP scene, I only see the prices of dual lands going up. Basic supply and demand. In the last couple months we’ve seen a price correction on the dual lands, since they are the backbone of the Legacy format, with many of the dual lands more than doubling in price. As long as people continue to play Legacy, which I believe they will, the prices of dual lands can only go up.

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What I’m really getting at here is that, while I think it’s a bad financial decision to sell off dual lands now, I’m going to do it anyway.

But wait Shawn, is this a finance article or something else? Are you selling your cards because you think Legacy sucks as a format?

I’m glad you asked that question, theoretical reader, in short I think that Legacy is awesome. It is diverse and skill intensive and really fun to play. While I generally skip watching coverage of Standard events, every Sunday I tune into coverage of the SCG Legacy Opens. Even during a “boring” match, perhaps an Esper Deathblade mirror, the number of decision points in the game makes it worth watching to me. I would be happy to just sit around and watch people resolve Brainstorms all day.

The reason I’m selling my Legacy deck is that I need the money for something else. This seems like a simple concept. Article over right? Well, I’m not quite done, give me some time to unpack my reasoning.

All of the time on the MTGfinance subreddit, someone will post something like this, “Hey guys, should I sell my Noble Hierarchs? Could they go up more? I really need the money.” The solution is pretty simple right? If you need the money more than you need the Noble Hierarchs, well, yeah, you should sell them. The reason the question is being asked is because no one wants to be a sucker. If Noble Hierarch is projected to go up in value again in the next few weeks, well, even if you need the money, maybe you could find it somewhere else and then eventually sell the Hierarchs when they’ve reached their ceiling.

I get this mentality. I want to maximize the value of my cards too. However, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the money could be better spent elsewhere. The cards in your collection may be gaining value over time, but what are you missing out on by not having that money now? Sometimes life experiences trump money. In my case, I’ve really wanted to train to become a pro-wrestler (it’s totally okay to laugh, I get it). It’s been a pipe dream of mine for a long time and only recently have I looked at it as a realistic goal. I started doing some research and found a school within a 30 minute drive from me that offers a training program. The problem is, it’s not cheap, and I don’t have the money in my savings to even start classes. However, if I sell my Ad-Naseaum Tendrils deck, which has been collecting dust on a shelf, I can pay for all of the classes and still have money left over to put a dent in my credit card bills. I realize that this means I won’t be able to play Legacy anytime in the near future, and while that kind of sucks, to be honest, I have played Legacy only a hand full of times in the past year anyway.

What I’m getting at is that it’s important to consider the long term financial value of your cards, but, this shouldn’t prevent you from making decisions for the now. While I wish I still had the Dark Confidants I sold a while back, I sold them because I needed money for rent, and not moving back to my parents house was worth more than four pieces of cardboard. While it wasn’t financially smart to trade Liliana of the Veil for a foil Hanna, Ships Navigator, I have gotten more enjoyment out of my Hanna EDH deck than I ever would the black Planeswalker. Make smart financial decisions when you can, but more importantly, make decisions that make you happy.

At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities, plays guitar in an indie-pop band, and keeps a blog about pro-wrestling.


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