Here's an unspoken truth: nobody can engage with every Magic product that Wizards of the Coast puts out these days. Between Standard-legal expansions, Masters sets, Secret Lairs, Commander decks, and the rest of it, we have to pick our battles. There is neither enough time nor enough money to engage with everything.
At first glance, Time Spiral Remastered seems like it might be a good set to skip. It doesn't have any new cards, booster boxes are $200 each, and nothing in the set is going to impact the metagame of any format whatsoever. There are no new commanders, no new Standard-legal spells, nothing is coming along to shake up Modern. Kaldheim still feels new to me, and Strixhaven is mere weeks away. Why not pass on this weird little set and save your time and money for expansions that matter more?
Except… Time Spiral Remastered is one of those sets that you're going to look back at months from now and say, "darn, why did I skip that one? There was so much money to be made!" It's similar to Jumpstart and Battlebond that way, though I expect Time Spiral Remastered to be even more lucrative than either of those two underrated sets. Seriously—this set might be the best buying opportunity of the year, full stop.
Thankfully, I'm here to help you figure out where (and when) to put your money. Let's begin, shall we?
WotC releases a lot of high-end promo foils these days. We've reached the point where most regular set foils don't command a premium over their non-foil counterparts, simply because of how easy it is to open them in Collector Boosters. For example, the cheapest Near Mint Valki, God of Lies on TCGplayer right now is $19.98, and the cheapest pack foil is $23.60. That's absurd, especially since Valki is quite a good Commander card. Collector Boosters haven't just changed the game—they've flipped the table.
Why are the Timeshifted foils going to be so different? Three reasons:
First, there aren't any Time Spiral Remastered Collector Boosters, only draft boosters. If you want to open a Timeshifted foil, you have to do it in a regular pack. You can't just buy a whole box of premium foils and open dozens upon dozens of them.
Second, each individual Timeshifted foil is going to be incredibly rare due to the massive size of the Timeshifted sheet. There are 121 different cards on this sheet, and the foil drop rate is just one in every 27 booster packs. That means you'd have to open 3,267 packs for a complete foil Timeshifted set. That's nearly 91 booster boxes! At the current retail price of $200/box, that's $18,150 worth of product to generate (on average) a single set of foil Timeshifted cards. Or, to put it even more bluntly, $18,000 worth of product will have to be opened to generate just a single foil old-border copy of True-Name Nemesis, Thoughtseize, and Chalice of the Void. Someone will have to open $72,000 worth of boxes to open a playset's worth of Ponder.
We've seen this type of math before: it's similar to how Masterpieces used to work. Your odds of opening any Timeshifted foils in a Time Spiral Remastered booster is way higher than your odds were of opening any Masterpiece in a box of Kaladesh, but your odds of opening one specific Timeshifted foil in a box of Time Spiral Remastered is similar to your odds of opening one specific Masterpiece in a box of Kaladesh. Oh—and Time Spiral Remastered has a way smaller print run than Kaladesh did, so there won't be nearly as many overall copies to go around.
Third, old-border foils are iconic in a way that most of WotC's premium foils are not. WotC is going to keep on churning out full-art foils and cool new Masterpiece-style variants, but this old-school treatment is something that WotC hasn't revisited since the pre-Modern era, save a handful of Judge foils. They feel special in a way that Collector Booster foils do not, at least to a large subset of older players. That will make it easier for some folks to justify paying a premium for them. WotC might release three different full-art foil copies of Chalice of the Void over the next decade, but I doubt they'll ever put it in the old border again. For players who want their Vintage or Legacy cards to match, this is the only printing they'll be interested in.
Add this all up, and you have a recipe for the most lucrative subset of Magic cards released in ages. They're super scarce, super iconic, and they're only showing up in a one-off set with a tiny print run. Ignore them at your own peril.
You honestly cannot go wrong buying any foil Timeshifted cards. Even product-hover id="234355" and product-hover id="233791" will see an uptick in price once people start realizing how scarce they are. That said, here are my personal favorite picks:
These are all legendary creatures within the top 200-ish commanders on EDHREC, and players always want the coolest possible version of their commander. That is about to be a foil Timeshifted copy, without question. product-hover id="233833" and product-hover id="233881" are elite and popular commanders, while product-hover id="233895" has a lot of demand as the only canonical transfemme character in Magic.
Even though Commander has been the biggest format in Magic for years now, the finance community still seems to be underrating cards like these. It's true that random legendary creature foils don't command the premium that they did three or four years ago, but these are definitive versions of commanders that are already absurdly popular. They're going to go up in price.
Popular Commander Staples (Might Also See Competitive Eternal Play)
Nearly all of these cards see play in at least 10% of Commander decks, according to EDHREC. While you might normally associate some of these cards with competitive Magic—product-hover id="234274", product-hover id="233436", product-hover id="233776", etc.—there is a huge pool of casual demand for each and every one of these cards. (Well, except for product-hover id="233437", which I stuck on this list because the players that want them are going to need to buy 30 copies apiece.) Commander players are more than willing to pay a steep premium for pretty versions of their key staples, and all of these cards are going to be in high demand for years to come. Every card on this list is a buy for me.
The "crossover" cards between the Eternal formats and Commander could end up being the most valuable members of this set overall. For example, product-hover id="233776" is one of the most-played cards in both Vintage and Commander. Because of that, I expect it to be one of the most expensive foil Timeshifted cards despite being a mere common.
Popular Eternal Staples
These cards don't see as much Commander play as the cards on the previous list, but they see enough play in key Eternal decks that I expect them to hold their value super well. Vintage and Legacy players are willing to drop a lot of money on cards like this, provided they are the new "definitive" versions. I expect they will be.
I'm already seeing a lot of hype around product-hover id="233864", so expect that one to lead the pack early on. product-hover id="233438" is also going to be a strong chance card. The burn staples are where I'm focusing my attention early on, though. Cards like product-hover id="233912" and product-hover id="233938" could fly under the radar for a bit, but they've been playable for years and I don't see that changing anytime soon. They're a safe buy with high upside.
If you want to invest in Time Spiral Remastered without having to pick and choose specific Timeshifted foils, Time Spiral Remastered booster boxes should hold their value incredibly well over the long haul. Unless WotC chooses to reprint this exact set again—I highly doubt they will—these boxes are going to be super desirable for years to come.
First off, this is a set designed to recreate a popular but inaccessible draft format. People are going to want to draft this set, but that's not possible right now due to the pandemic. Some people are probably going to buy boxes and hoard them for a few months, but many will simply get impatient and crack them for singles when they arrive. Other players don't have that level of foresight or available cash, and they will simply enter the market for these boxes once their draft groups are back up and running again. By then, the supply is going to be a lot lower, and prices will rise.
More importantly, as we've already discussed, foil timeshifted cards are going to be worth hundreds of dollars. They're similar to Kaladesh masterpieces, and those boxes sell for almost $400 now. Time Spiral Remastered will have a fraction of Kaladesh's print run, and its per-box price is starting off twice as high. These boxes could easily be worth $600-$800 at some point within the next four to five years.
The conditions that make Time Spiral Remastered are hard to recreate, too. I was very high on holding Modern Masters booster boxes over the long haul, for example, but a lot of those gains were negated by the fact that WotC started churning out newer Masters sets with the same cards in them. Even if WotC makes another "Remastered," set, which they probably will, they likely won't have old-bordered timeshifted cards in them—that's very much a Time Spiral-centric theme. It's certainly possible that WotC will start printing more old-bordered foils, but right now they're acting like this is a one-off gift to old-school players. I don't see it being a trend, and if it isn't, these cards will just get more and more expensive.
For me, this all adds up to the realization that these boxes are the best "buy a few and stuff them in the top of your closet for a few years" hold we've seen in a long time. Granted, the fact that it's obvious might mean that a lot of people will do this and the market will take a while to develop, but the print run is so small that I think it'll work out regardless. I'd be shocked if sealed boxes of Time Spiral Remastered don't outperform the stock market over the next…let's say three to four years, and I'll be socking a few away myself.
As for cracking packs for value… I never recommend doing that, and I won't start today. There's too much variance, and you're more likely to turn your $200 box into $140 worth of hard-to-move singles than you are to open $700 worth of sick old-border foils. You can certainly crack packs if you love to gamble, but remember that it's rarely ever going to be anything other than a gamble. At the very least, try to draft the set as you crack packs if you can!
None of the cards in Time Spiral Remastered are likely to be extremely bad buys. In a normal set, a given card might pre-sell for $20 because it looks cool, but it might end up at $2 because it's not actually very good. That can't happen in Time Spiral Remastered, because we already know these cards. It's more like a Masters set than, say, Kaldheim.
The only issue, then, is predicting which cards might drop the most due to increased supply. In my experience, it's rares (not mythics) that have never been reprinted before. In Time Spiral Remastered, that list is as follows:
Since a card tends to take its biggest financial hit upon its first-ever reprint, these are the cards with the furthest to fall. The $2-$3 cards probably won't drop much further, granted, but I'd be patient picking up Cloud Key, Reiterate, Nether Traitor, Walk the Aeons, and such. It's safer to wait until price memory dissipates a little, and then buy in. Two to three weeks from release should do the trick.
On the other hand, I'm pretty bullish on targeting cards that have proven resilient already. It's quite likely that folks will overestimate the set's print run, and the price will drop hard and then rebound quickly when supply dries up. My favorite cards like this are:
Lastly, I think both Sliver Legion and Gemstone Caverns will rebound well despite having never been reprinted before. Since both are super expensive cards to begin with, and both were reprinted at mythic rare, the available supply is likely to dry up quickly and the price will surge. I'd be fine targeting these cards fairly early, too.
Time Spiral Remastered releases on Friday, March 19th. That makes March 19th through the 21st the set's opening weekend. This is likely going to be the best time to buy most of these cards, and it's when I'll be looking to pick up nearly all the singles I plan to buy.
Why opening weekend? Let's take a look at how supply and demand played out on opening weekend for Double Masters, which released on Friday, August 7th: Here's Doubling Season:
As you can see, the majority of sales happened on Saturday the 8th through Monday the 10th. The price actually bottomed out on Friday through Saturday, before ticking up a bit as the weekend went on.
A similar thing happened to the foil borderless version of the card. Take a look:
In this case, the card actually bottomed out on the 5th—two days before release—before steadily increasing throughout release weekend and beyond.
On the other hand, the foil borderless copy of Jace, the Mind Sculptor bottomed out on Saturday the 8th. Take a look:
What about a slightly less-heralded borderless foil from that set? Here's Wurmcoil Engine:
I didn't cherry-pick these cards, by the way—they're just the first couple of cards that I checked on. You can find similar cards for nearly every borderless card in Double Masters, showing that the best time to pick these cards up was generally within a day or two of release.
While some of these cards did lose a bit of their value later, and some of these cards are cheaper now than they were on release weekend, I don't expect the same to happen with Time Spiral Remastered due to the set's uniqueness, attractiveness, and short print run. I'd feel pretty comfortable investing heavily in this set early on, especially in Timeshifted foils.
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