Try to say that title five times fast. No seriously, it will mess you up.
If you’re anything like me, you might sometimes lose track of the price of certain cards, especially if those cards are infrequently played, and the next thing you know, MOTHER OF GOD, WHY IS HORIZON CANOPY $90?!
Yeah, it’s kind of like that. And while Horizon Canopy is a great card and a staple in numerous G/W decks (often as a 1- or 2-of, however), today I’m going to take a look at some uncommon cards that are more obscure. Modern has been a driving force behind the price of cards in recent Magic history, especially cards that see little-to-no play in other formats. Cards like Blood Moon and Engineered Explosives have risen exponentially in just this past year even, and I recently had to pick up my last 2 Cavern of Souls at about $50 each. That still seems crazy to me. You know what else seems crazy? Take a look!
5. Conflagrate: $6
I’m starting with the least expensive card, but also the least played. Conflagrate is basically in two decks, in Dredge and as a 1-of in Ad Nauseam—and sometimes it’s not even in those! I mean, you have to remember that this is the same price as Eternal Witness, and while Eternal Witness has been printed about 5 separate times, it’s still a much more versatile and heavily-played card. Okay, I’ll stop sugar coating it: Eternal Witness is just better. I’m sorry Conflagrate, you knew what this was.
Interesting to note that as of writing this article, Conflagrate is sold out on ChannelFireball. There are either a lot of people out there who are planning on trying out the new Dredge deck in Modern, or one dude who is planning on discarding a lot of cards (many of which will likely be the other Conflagrates he picked up).
4. Might of Old Krosa: $11
Seeing a pump spell on this list just warms my heart, which has nothing to do with the fact that I would frequently sing “On Top of Old Krosa” to the tune of “On Top of Old Smoky” when playing the card. While Might of Old Krosa is in fewer decks (one), it is a 4-of in that deck, and that deck is pretty good. Just ask Tom Ross. Of course I’m talking about Infect, which has been a Modern mainstay pretty much since Modern was a thing.
I would even love to think that the fact that Infect is a popular Legacy deck contributes to the card’s high price tag—you know, twice as many formats playing the card—but Might of Old Krosa isn’t even played in the Legacy version! Infect in Modern seems solely responsible for causing a playset of Might of Old Krosa to cost around $44.
3. Cursecatcher: $11
This one makes a little more sense, as you can find Cursecatcher in both the Modern and Legacy versions of Merfolk, but again, that’s about it. Unlike Might of Old Krosa, this one doesn’t have the potential to slot into something more obscure like a Zoo deck or a R/G Aggro deck (you know, because Cursecatcher is blue, but you get the point). In fact, for any other deck that wants this effect, they could just as easily play the upgrade in Judge’s Familiar. That’s a 1/1 that flies and can also fit into any white deck that may want it. It’s also sick in my Bird tribal deck, but you guys don’t know anything about that. Yet here we are, with Cursecatcher, that fits into exactly 1 archetype, hitting the $11 mark! That also seems crazy to me.
2. Dryad Arbor: $14
Ah, everyone’s favorite 1/1 Forest that looks like a regular Forest when it’s hiding among your lands to surprise block or kill you out of nowhere!
So you’re thinking, “man, Dryad Arbor is in a ton of decks, like Infect, Bogles, Elves, Zoo, anything with Natural Order—no wonder it’s $14!” But in every one of those decks, it’s basically a 1-of. So here you have Dryad Arbor, a card you only need one of in some very specific decks, commanding a higher price tag than something like Cursecatcher, which is a 4-of in its respective deck. Another crazy thing. Man, how do Magic finances work?
1. Mishra’s Bauble: $20
Finally, I get to the most obscure card on the list. Mishra’s Bauble. This is the third most expensive uncommon in Modern right now, period, and it falls behind two very obvious front runners.
The first is Aether Vial. Come on. Aether Vial is huge and has a solidified position in both Modern and Legacy, in multiple archetypes. It’s good in Death and Taxes, it’s good in Merfolk, it’s good at looping Cryptic Commands and Eternal Witnesses, and making your opponent question their life choices.
The second card is Counterbalance, which is only ahead of Mishra’s Bauble in price by a hair. This makes a lot of sense as the 2 cards are both found in Coldsnap, both uncommons, both 4-ofs in their respective decks, and they’re both found in exactly one archetype. For Counterbalance, that archetype is Miracles in Legacy. For Mishra’s Bauble, that archetype is Death’s Shadow Aggro in Modern (with some appearances in Abzan alongside Grim Flayer).
On the surface this is an extremely weird card. Like, what does it even do? “It does nothing,” said Hanna. But seriously, 0 mana? Look at the top card of a deck? Draw a card during the next upkeep like you do if you’re a weird Ice Age card? And…? That’s it, on the surface. Underneath the surface it fills your graveyard for delve, it functionally lets you play 4 fewer cards in your deck, it triggers prowess, and it lets you peek at the top card of your deck in case you want to shuffle it away with a fetchland.
Yeah, that’s actually about all it does. As far as $20 uncommons go, as far as $20 cards in general go, this one if fairly underwhelming, but you can thank the popularity of the Modern format and the rarity of cards from Coldsnap for that one I suppose.
Now some of these prices are probably going to seem obvious because the cards were printed in a single set, they’re in top tier decks, they’re old, etc., but I remember a time when your average uncommon cost around $0.50 and a chase uncommon would top out at around $5.00. I wanted to write this article because it feels weird for something as obscure as Conflagrate to fly past my preconceived notions about uncommon pricing, but the Modern format does strange things to card prices.
Hopefully some of these prices surprised you guys and maybe you can root around through your own collections and find some extras that you might have lying around to trade for cash! Either way, thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you guys later.