Price of Progress: Ultimate Masters – To Open or Not to Open

It has officially been 3 weeks since the release of Ultimate Masters, Magic the Gathering’s last Masters set for the foreseeable future, and we are still left in the wake of what do we do with these packs? Do we open them in hopes to get a quick buck, or do we sit on them waiting for the prices to slowly but surely raise back up? A year and a half later and Modern Masters 2017 boxes are still going for $330 average on Ebay – their price has held fairly strong and only dropped recently because of the release of UMA. Looking at the values of UMA and having 16 of the 20 Mythics still over MSRP of a pack tells me the overall value of this set will be worth it in the long run. Lets take a closer look at the current value in the aftermath of UMA’s release.

The overall pricing on Ultimate Masters boxes has held fairly well. In my last article, we talked about how the Box Toppers of the set really helped gain the full value in a box and helped even out the overall value. For those still hiding under their rock, The Ultimate Masters Box Topper is a new kind of chase card opened in each sealed box of Ultimate Masters. The Box Topper pack contains a single card, 1 of 40 different options of Mythic-Uncommon. I still believe Box Toppers are the saving grace of sealed boxes. My immediate reaction was to BUY!BUY!BUY!, I ended up with 5 boxes after my initial investment in UMA. If you read my last article I opened and showed you the case in which I barely made my investment back. I have since opened another box, and this box by far was the worst. Yet again, my Box Topper Noble Hierarch was the redeeming factor of the box – saved by the Box Topper once more! Now we look forward at where pricing will go and where we see sealed product stabilizing for the future.

Boxes of Ultimate Masters have stabilized right around MSRP which is what was expected, even we here at ABU Games are beating MSRP by only about $5. This is a very tough place to be in right now for a set. The initial price drop of boxes with the initial buy out of Rares and Mythics at astronomically low prices is over. We are now left with MSRP box prices and the slow trickle of raising Mythic and Rare values going up. Now, I believe, is the time to hold. If you have unopened boxes, hold them, their values will rise over time with the values of singles going back up. The thoughts of “What’s in the box” can dwell in your minds until one day it can either be opened for potentially more value or sold sealed at a higher rate than which you bought it. If you can still find them in large chain stores, the 3 pack of UMA boosters I believe is still a great value. I’ve opened 2 of these 3 pack booster packs from large chain stores and in both, I pulled high-value Mythics – I’m not saying your luck will be the same but hey, why not? My first pack I opened a Cavern of Souls and in the other set a Bitterblossom. The value is still there, it is just a wheel of fortune chance you pull value.

We discussed Mythic pricing earlier in the article and how 16 out of the 20 Mythics are still above pack MSRP. With the ability to pull 2-4 of these in a box that helps with the initial value quite a bit for a box. Let’s take a look at the rares’ value now and see our smiles turn quickly to frowns of despair. Out of the 53 possibles rares you could open in Ultimate Masters 8 are over the price of MSRP on a pack. FREAKING EIGHT! You heard me correct that leaves you with 45 disappointments… You have tons of cards that are played in tier 1 Modern, Pauper, even Legacy decks, but no value to show for it. Now what does this do for the singles market, well currently it’s a buyers market, and I mean BUY! Buy now before the prices start to spike back up to their previous values. The new artwork is absolutely amazing on some of these cards like Tarmogoyf, Back to Basics, and Through the Breach. There’s really no reason not to pick them up at these prices. My advice for the singles buyer is to buy now and hold your investment, these prices will go back up. This is an allocated set so stores will start to sell out of sealed products and when they do the singles prices will rise.

In conclusion, Ultimate Masters was foretold as the greatest Masters set of all time because it would be the last Masters set in the foreseeable future. Is this true? … maybe. Only time can tell and with the way sealed products are stabilizing and the current low state of the singles market it seems as though it wasn’t the best set but maybe just another OK set. It was and still is buy-able, but be smart in your purchases. If you were late to the party buy singles. Sealed product just isn’t worth it in its current state unless you can get it for far below MSRP. Singles will start to rise once sealed product is sold out and demand for the card printing becomes higher. For those of you still holding sealed boxes though, your time has passed, put them away in a dark corner and wait, your day will come.