So here we are again, looking at the financial value of a Modern Masters set. I mean, the ~*~ FINANCIAL VALUE ~*~ of Modern Masters 2017! Sorry, it’s kind of hard to get excited about this stuff. If you want to have yourself a good laugh you can go back a few years and read my hilariously erroneous takes on the FiNaNcIaL vAlUe of Modern Masters 2013 and Modern Masters 2015.

Ha ha that was fun, wasn’t it? Anyways, this time I’m not here to talk about the expected value of a box of this set or the potential impact of reprinting Damnation and Abrupt Decay. I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should buy packs or sell everything you picked up at your LGS’s release party.

None of that matters because Modern Masters 2017 is fundamentally different from its 2015 and 2013 ancestors. It’s not meant to sustain the financial value of your Modern collection. It’s meant, unfortunately perhaps, to bring the value of your collection down. Way down. If I had a time travel machine, I guess I could go back in time and warn you that Modern Masters 2017 is going to have a high print-run, is going to re-print tons of valuable cards (Damnation!), and so on and so forth. But where would the fun be in that?

So now that your Modern collection is basically worthless what should you do with it?

Most of you might be thinking it’s finally time to cash out. It can only go downhill from here right? As the supply of Modern staples continues to grow, where’s the bottom? Maybe it won’t be until Modern Masters 2019 or Modern Masters 2021 but the trend is clear. Modern as a format is going to become something no other Magic constructed format has been for a long time: affordable.

According to MTG Goldfish, the top Modern decks will run you anywhere from $400 to $1,600, a big leap up from Standard’s price tag of $200 to $400. To be honest that’s entirely backwards. Standard should cost two-to-four times what Modern costs, not the other way around. If a Standard deck is $200 to $400, then a Modern deck should be $100 to $200.

Why should Modern be more expensive? Why should Modern be expensive at all? Standard is the premiere format of the game. As Anthony wrote about last week, if you want to play with the latest and greatest competitive cards then there’s a premium on that. If you are willing to be patient and build up your collection—you shouldn’t have to break the bank.

There isn’t much to say on this topic because it seems so painfully obvious now that I think about it. Take a long hard look at Modern as a format. The goal was to provide Magic players with a large-card-pool format that never rotated and allowed players buying Standard cards to keep their cards after rotation.

Instead we ended up with a format with limited card availability for staples of top-tier decks as well as the core pieces of top combos being routinely banned from the format. Where did everything go wrong?

The first mistake was a failure to adequately test new cards in the format. Cards like Green Sun’s Zenith, Splinter Twin, and Eye of Ugin were only tested in the context of their relevant Standard and Limited environments. This problem was solved by removing Modern from the Pro Tour to reduce the focus on Modern from the competitive scene.

The second mistake was failing to make cards from the earlier sets in the format’s card pool more readily available through reprints. Cards like Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant, and Cryptic Command were printed almost ten years ago now, when the game was far less popular and far fewer cards came off the printing press. This problem was solved by creating Modern Masters.

Unfortunately Wizards took a long time to come around to the idea that they have no responsibility to artificially inflate the value of your Modern collection the way they believe they’re legally or ethically beholden to do so for Legacy. (That’s a topic for another day.) Yes, a product like Modern Masters has its intrinsic value in the secondary market value of the cards, but that’s not the business model Wizards is built on—nor would it be sustainable.

So here we are. Wizards has shown a complete change of heart on Modern and has decided to go all-in on reprinting format staples. What’s the future of Modern finance? If we’re lucky we’ll eventually stabilize in a world where Modern decks cost half or a quarter of what Standard decks cost. What will we do when your Modern collection is worth a fraction of its former glory?

I guess we’ll just play Modern.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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