This Week in Legacy — The Rising Cost of Eternal Magic


Howdy folks, it's Joe again and we're here to talk some more about the Legacy format and everything in between! However, this week will be focused a little less on gameplay and metagame and a little more on something that's impacting us all: Cost. With the 25th Anniversary Pro Tour on the horizon and Legacy as a part of that, it's important to keep some perspective and some awareness.

The Expense of Eternal Play

As we all are mostly aware of, playing Magic, in general, is not a cheap venture. There is some measure of cost associated with playing this game we all love, but as we are now finding out the cost of playing Eternal formats such as Legacy, Vintage, and even Commander are ever-growing and ever-higher thanks to either price speculation, buyouts, or natural long-term demand for scarce old cards.

For example, let's take a real hard look at this guy:


Arguably the most popular dual in the Eternal formats, Revised Underground Sea are now pushing $800, and look to show no signs of stopping. As supply dwindles and speculators hoard cardboard, where does it stop in pricing players out of their format?

This of course, doesn't stop at Legacy or even Vintage. Commander players themselves are feeling some of this heat over a certain commander from Dominaria and one of her Reserved List best friends:


Lion's Eye Diamonds are now a stunning $270, partially because of the sheer popularity and power that Muldrotha can bring to a game of Commander. And while, sure, you don't need to build a version of the deck with the RL card in it, it is for sure a strong and powerful option in the deck if you do have one.

The facts are that the cost of playing Eternal magic is forever rising, and it's not just the Reserved List cards that are doing so. As of this past weekend, Stoneforge Mystic rose again in price to roughly $70, all in anticipation of whether or not the card would potentially come off the Modern banlist.

So Magic is Expensive. What's your Point?

My point is simply one of awareness and education so that you can help mitigate the rising costs of the game as best as possible. I don't consider myself a speculator by any means, but I do follow the finance trends for one sheer reason: Cost to myself.

While I have a day job and make decent enough money, there are just some cards that I cannot readily or easily afford. It happens, and while it's unfortunate, throwing a fit over it helps no one in the long run. Instead, I opt to follow and watch the trends, using them to understand what is good and what isn't cost-wise and using them to make smart purchasing decisions when I need to buy cards.

Regardless of whichever Eternal format you play, it's a smart thing to be aware and educated on price trends and to also pay attention to the finance side, even if you don't agree with the dirty speculation. Doing so may result in you saving some money here or there in your MTG ventures.

This also comes into play not just when you're buying cards, but also when you're selling cards. Do research, follow the trends, and understand how much you can reasonably sell for if you ever find yourself in a position where you need to sell. We've all been there (I have as well on occasion), so being smart and self-educated will help you maximize your effort when you need to make the sale.

One site I recommend in this regards is MTG Stocks. Even though they only update once a day it's great for following trends of prices over greater time to get a good idea of what ups and downs a card has seen.

But What if I Want Magic to Be Less Expensive?

This is a valid concern, especially for formats like Legacy/Vintage, but the unfortunate truth of the matter is that it's unlikely to be the case going forward. Outside of options like Magic Online for Legacy/Vintage, the cost of paper Magic—especially in formats defined by the Reserved List—are unlikely to go down.


The Reserved List itself is a different beast, and while we could talk about it until we're blue in the face (much like old Tobias up above), the harsh reality of the situation is that it's highly unlikely anything will ever actually happen with the RL long term. There are a lot of "what-ifs" in this scenario, and even as someone who plays a lot of Eternal Magic that would be okay with the RL being gone, it's doubtful that it will ever happen.

While this is unfortunate, it does mean one very important thing and that's that Eternal formats like Legacy/Vintage are not going to get any cheaper; they're only going to get more expensive due to the Reserved List. Thankfully there are the options like MTGO that allow Legacy/Vintage to thrive and continue to be seen by many.

Wrapping Up

Bit of a short article this week, but I hope that you gleaned a little from it in regards to how you can use the MTG finance trends to help mitigate your own costs of Eternal Formats. It's rough out there, but I have faith in you guys that you can do it!

Until next time, may all your Magic be Eternal!

Joseph Dyer (@volrathxp) is an avid Legacy enthusiast. He's admin of the /r/NicFitMTG subreddit, as well as a regular participant on the Source and MTGLegacy subreddits. His knowledge of the Legacy format is deeply rooted in constant analysis, playtesting, and lots of discussion of the format. Joseph's primary accomplishments include a 10–5 finish at GP Columbus 2016 with Rhino Fit, and a 32nd place finish at SCG Columbus Legacy Classic with Sneak Fit. 

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