A Real Look at Legacy Deck Costs 2011Q2

A Real Look at Legacy Deck Costs 2011Q2

Are you looking to get into Legacy, or are you looking to build up your Legacy collection or expand it a bit? If you’re just jumping in or seeking those last few staples for the decks you might want to play, you’ll no doubt find that prices are rapidly rising.

There has been an influx of new Legacy players across the globe as places like SCG and Wizards of the Coast and other large European tournament organizers have started really supporting Legacy by organizing what have turned into regular or semi-regular huge tournaments with attractive prizes. This has driven up demand, and along with it prices across the board for most things that rotated out of old Standard and Extended formats and have become staples of the surging Legacy landscape. Among the gnashing of teeth and speculation of the future of Legacy, a lot of people have been wondering, debating, and generally astonished at what it costs now to build a Legacy deck. So join Eternal Central as we dive in to analyzing the real costs of building a Legacy deck in 2011Q2.

When a consumer looks at the prices for an item, they can help keep the costs of items down by shopping around, and promoting competition among sellers. If there was only one seller of men’s underwear, candy bars, or Magic cards, the prices would be much higher given the demand. So when polling prices before making a decision, most of the people I know will search around for the best or most attractive deals on cards, scouring sites like Magic Online Trading League (MOTL), eBay, CardShark, MagicCardMarket.eu, FindMagicCards, and more. Others are content to buy everything from one vendor who they trust (such as StarCityGames or AlphaBetaUnlimited), to save time and hassle. If you are not concerned with monetary expenditures and have a comfortable lifestyle you are often willing to pay more to save time and effort. Card may also be higher or lower in your regional market, and you might be able to score even cheaper deals or trade unwanted loot for goods you need. As such I realize there are a number of different venues to buy Magic cards, but for the sake of this article and exercise we will assume someone who is concerned about prices will shop around to stretch their buying power if they are concerned with the “price of Legacy staples.”

In this article and attached spreadsheet we’ll break down many current popular Legacy decks, and look at the actual costs of the decks in both paper Magic form as well as Magic Online (MTGO). The prices referenced throughout this article are what I’ll refer to as “street prices,” or prices that most people could reliably find a given card for using the Internet. For MTGO this as simple as searching MTGO “bots” and vendors such as SuperNovaBots (often the cheapest), MTGOTraders, CardHoarder, ABUMTGO, or any others you prefer. For paper Magic this means searching sites such as MOTL, eBay, CardShark, MKM, SCG, ABU, and other online vendors. The big online stores will occasionally have the best deal on a card, but more often than not you will get the best bang for your buck on eBay or MOTL for paper cards. A couple of valuable tools in gauging street prices are the MOTL Sales forum, the MOTL price guide (which averages out recently completed eBay items), ApathyHouse (which does the same with a slightly different algorithm), and eBay recently completed items themselves, which is often a good source for more granular information or to research specific up and down trends and hard to find items (foreign, foil, promo, etc.).

There are a ton of Legacy decks out there, and variations of all of those decks, and while we can’t tackle them all we’ll take a look at a variety of archetypes from recently performing decks around the world. While Force of Will and Wasteland are both very expensive, the general trend is that the more dual lands are in a deck the more expensive it will be. Accordingly, of all of the decks we surveyed we found that the cheapest were of course the decks with few to no dual lands, and the most expensive were generally decks where the manabase is composed entirely of fetchlands and dual lands (and some throw in Wasteland for good measure too). Some exceptions to this are when the deck has four very expensive cards, like Spiral Tide playing 4 Candelabra of Tawnos, which clock in around $200 each in paper Magic. With no more hesitation, here is a link to the full spreadsheet (as of 4/18/2011), which we will update from time to time and try to keep current. If you have suggestions or request for specific decks to be added we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below or in the forums.

Deck Name Online Cost (tix) Paper Cost ($) Last Updated
Affinity (McCracken Tezzeret) 206.84 $326.25 4/14/2011
AggroLoam RGB 626.84 $1,048.88 4/17/2011
ANT (UB with Grim Tutor) 672.06 $978.06 4/14/2011
ANT (UB no Grim Tutor) 664.81 $660.06 4/14/2011
Bant (New Horizons Tempo) 1206.24 $1,472.52 4/17/2011
Bant (Stoneforge Tempo) 1200.12 $1,750.75 4/17/2011
Bant (Zenith NOPro) 986.42 $1,459.52 4/17/2011
Canadian Threshhold 1087.71 $1,279.52 4/17/2011
Cephalid Breakfast 755.54 $1,079.75 4/14/2011
Charbelcher (RG Burning Empty) 531.27 $341.00 4/17/2011
CounterTop NOPro UWG 1229.81 $1,535.28 4/17/2011
CounterTop Thopters (Guibault) 946.83 $1,219.73 4/14/2011
CounterTop UWRG (Wienburg) 1128.04 $1,521.33 4/14/2011
Dredge (LED-less) 146.17 $156.85 4/14/2011
Elves (Zenith Glimpse Emrakul) 127.46 $363.89 4/17/2011
Elves (Zenith NOPro) 153.26 $224.92 4/17/2011
Enchantress 277.8 $717.75 4/17/2011
Forgemaster MUD 723.49 $869.35 4/17/2011
Goblins R 305.66 $626.32 4/17/2011
Goblins RB 342.51 $790.80 4/17/2011
Goblins RBG 352.6 $872.79 4/17/2011
Intuition Painter 1343.99 $1,136.16 4/17/2011
Junk and Taxes 570.15 $1,234.28 4/17/2011
Merfolk U 813.35 $754.63 4/17/2011
Merfolk UB 921.75 $1,207.03 4/17/2011
Naya Zoo 425.39 $830.53 4/14/2011
Naya Zoo (Zenith) 428.17 $841.73 4/18/2011
Reanimator 972.66 $1,077.04 4/14/2011
Sligh (MTGO Burn) 53.15 $104.69 4/17/2011
Sligh (Sullivan 12 fetchland ) 163.1 $262.64 4/17/2011
Spiral Tide 800.26 $1,325.32 4/17/2011
Team America (Confidant) 1417.35 $1,866.00 4/17/2011
Team America (Tombstalker) 1221.86 $1,652.26 4/17/2011
TES 665.88 $679.25 4/14/2011

In the spreadsheet you will find a tab for ‘Deck Costs,’ which is linked to the total cost on each other tab for the total deck cost for that deck. You will also find a tab for ‘Staples,’ which contains tons of Legacy staple prices, which the other tabs are linked to. For example when the price of Thoughtseize says $17 in the ‘ANT (UB with Grim Tutor)’ tab, it pulls that information from cell C95 on the ‘Staples’ tab. So if you want you are welcome to download the spreadsheet and then manipulate the cross linking cells and sheets as you wish.

Next week we’ll look at some of the current crop of Standard decks and their approximate costs, and then we can compare how one season of Standard stacks up against Legacy in terms of cost. Keep it tuned to Eternal Central for the lowdown!

UPDATES 04/18/2011:
– The price for Thoughtseize was linked wrong on the ‘Team America (Confidant)’ tab (was showing $48; linked to Savannah mistakenly; now linked correctly at $17), dropping the price of paper version of ‘Team America (Confidant)’
– The price for Noble Hierarch was linked wrong on the ‘Bant (Zenith NOPro)’ tab (was linked to Preordain rather than Hierarch; now linked correctly at $4 MTGO $10 paper), increasing the price of both MTGO and paper version of ‘Bant (Zenith NOPro)’

I have updated both the spreadsheet and the table here with the updated prices. If you see any other errors with the cross-linking please let me know and I’ll get them fixed ASAP. Thanks!

UPDATES 04/20/2011:
– The price for paper Volcanic Island was linked wrong on the ‘Canadian Threshold’ tab (was showing $10; now linked correctly at $55), increasing the price of paper version of ‘Canadian Threshold’
– The prices for SoFI and SoLS was linked wrong on the ‘Bant (Stoneforge Tempo)’ tab (now linked correctly at 13 MTGO $30 paper and 11.5 MTGO $25 paper, respectively), increasing the price of both MTGO and paper version of ‘Bant (Stoneforge Tempo)’
– Added source information for ‘Bant (Stoneforge Tempo)’ list, as this was Ben Wienburg’s exact list from a couple of events ago (hence the Tabernacle in the sideboard, even though it’s unneeded in that list)
– The price for MTGO and paper MOAT on ‘CounterTop Thopter (Guibault)’ were not linked correctly (now correctly linked), increasing ‘CounterTop Thopter (Guibault)’
– The price for paper Chain Lightning was wrong, and has been updated resulting in slight increase in price of the paper Zoo and Burn decks
– Changed manabase slightly for both ‘ANT (UB no Grim Tutor’ and ‘ANT (UB with Grim Tutor)’ lists to drop to 2 Underground Seas and another fetchland and basic, as this seems more common in the lists we’re seeing in Top 8’s the past few months, resulting in a price drop of both MTGO and paper versions of ‘ANT (UB no Grim Tutor’ and ‘ANT (UB with Grim Tutor)’
– Deleted ‘Death and Taxes’ tab, which was not updated at all with modern decklist or prices; this will be revistited later during the next update with more decks

I have updated both the spreadsheet and the table here with the updated prices. If you see any other errors with the cross-linking please let me know and I’ll get them fixed ASAP. Someone on EC suggested using the VLOOKUP function and in the future that’s probably how I’ll rework this in the future for fewer clerical errors. Keep the recommendations and comments flowing!