The price of Multiplayer

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Now lets get this straight, Multiplayer is a casual format for most of us;
So we get to play any silly cards we like with massive mana costs, and generally use cheap cards.

But what's with prices lately?
Some of the staples of Multiplayer (like Phyrexian Arena for example) are not only getting pretty damn pricey, but also getting hard to get.  Even some of the cards that could only be used for multiplayer are shooting up.  
Exsanguinate is up to dollar now, whereas a year ago it was 25c, Propaganda has hit $4, Asceticism is over $5 is quite afew online places etc etc.
The last year I've seen most good cards double in price, some have gone up exponentially.
Quite a few of the them are now priced above what I consider fair, for what is a casual form of the game.  

I know I know, economy babble yada yada, but these are non-competitive cards - It's not like we're playing with Deathrite Shaman!
 
Magic has never been a dirt-cheap pasttime unless you got on board at the beginning, but MP has been saved from the price-gouging for competitive staples for awhile.  But now even MP is becoming an expensive hobby!
Discuss.


(rant over)
Obama.
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Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
Obama.



Not american - I'm assuming you're talking about the cost of living?
My sis-in-law is in Houston, TX, right now - and she says the cost of living is cheap compared to back home in Australia. 
I personally buy all my cards from the USA, If I tried to buy them locally I'd easily be paying more than double. 
Maybe there are now enough MP players worldwide that demand has risen, and with it prices?

Then again, perhaps there are simply enough people (specifically stores peddling cards) that have read Tich's guides that much of what he recommends has spiked prices?  ;)

My solution to cost and availability issues has always been to run less-than-optimal cards.  Otherwise, I would have to break apart my decks on a far too regular basis and rebuild them to take advantage of what staples I do own.  Being lazy, the latter is NOT going to happen.

Cheers!
A shout out to Gaming Grounds in Kent, Ohio and Gamers N Geeks in Mobile, Alabama. www.zombiehunters.org for all your preparation needs. http://shtfschool.com/ - why prepping is useful, from one who has been there.
Alot of the good MP cards can be played in single player so you have alot of demand on a limit of cards.  Also with the modern format, it's made prices on older cards more.  Something I did notice this the other day when i was at my local shop.  Some people were playing magic and the one guy asked the other guy about his deck.  The other one said this deck is what the grand prix champion used.   So to me whatever is the hot deck is, it's going to affect prices.  Once them decks get old and something new comes out the prices will switch again.  Example of this is Just a year ago Phantasmal Image was like a $16 a card now it's $4.

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Single Player Decks I'm currently playing

Assault of the Minotaurs

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4 Khalni Garden
1 Thawing Glaciers

 

Artifacts
4 Didgeridoo
4 Gorgon Flail
1 Konda's Banner
1 Tenza, Godo's Maul

 

Spells
4 Assault Strobe

 

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2 Tahngarth, Talruum Hero

Rapid infenction

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18 Forest
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4 Glistener Elf
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4 Rancor
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4 Griant Growth
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Invigorate
4 Vines of Vastwood
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Use your Illusion

Lands
18 Island
4 Halimar Depths

Creatures
4 Krovikan Mist
3 Phantom Warrior
3 Phantasmal Dragon
4 Lord of the Unreal
4 Phantasmal Bear
4 Adaptive Automaton
3 Illusory Angel

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2 Swiftfoot Boots

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3 Sleep
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16 Mountain

4 Goblin Burrows

 

Spells
4 Goblin Grenade
4 Goblin War Strike
2 Brightstone Ritual
2 Quest for the Goblin Lord

 

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4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Balloon Brigade
3 Goblin Guide
2 Warren Instigator
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4 Goblin Matron
1 Goblin King
3 Goblin Chieftain
3 Goblin Warchief
1 Siege-Gang Commander
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Look out the Land is Falling

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9 Forest

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3 Vines of Vastwood
4 Cultivate
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4 Oblivion Ring

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2 Adventuring Gear

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4 Steppe Lynx
4 Ruin Ghost
2 Baloth Woodcrasher
2 Rampaging Baloths
4 Emeria Angel
4 Vinelasher Kudzu

Ula's Deep Sea Drezins

Lands
18 Island
4 Halimar Depths

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4 Inkwell Leviathan
3 Kraken Hatchling
3 Sage of Epityr
4 Stormtide Leviathan
2 Grozoth
3 Spiketail Hatchling
3 Cursecatcher


Enchantment
4 Quest for Ula's Temple

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4 Preordain
4 Dizzy Spell
4 Clockspinning

Green Beatdown

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18 Forest
4 Treetop Village


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4 Lightning bolt
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4 Hell's Thunder
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4 Judge's Familar
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3 Cloudreach Cavalry
3 Pride of Clouds
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1 God of Awe

 

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Discard

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Everyone Burns

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Brewing a Storm

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2 Glacial Chasm
3 Sunpetal Grove
3 Greypelt Refuge
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3 Wrath of God
2 Hurricane


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2 Ghostly Prison
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4 Fieldmist Borderpost
4 Storm Cauldron
4 Ankh of Mishra
2 Sun Droplet
1 Venser's Journal
2 Horn of Greed
4 Iron Maiden
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Beast Gone Wild

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3 Kessig Wolf Run
4 Contested Cliffs
4 Kazandu Refuge
4 Gruul Turf
1 Yavimaya Hollow
8 Forest

 

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4 Krosan Warchief
4 Wirewood Savage
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Elven Rythym Nation

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14 Forest
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1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
1 Pendelhaven

 

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4 Priest of Titania
2 Fyndhorn Elves
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Wirewood Symbiote
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Elvish Archdruid
4 Sylvan Messenger
4 Imperious Perfect

 

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1 Asceticism
2 Biorhythm
2 Hurricane
2 Eldrazi Monument

I want to drink your blood

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18 Swamp
4 Leechridden Swamp
2 Cabal Coffers

 

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4 Pulse Tracker
3 Blood Artist
4 Vampire Nighthawk
4 Malakir Bloodwitch
3 Falkenrath Noble
2 Bloodline Keeper

 

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3 Underworld Connections
1 No Mercy
1 Phyrexian Reclamation

 

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4 Syphon Soul
4 Blood Tithe
3 Exsanguinate

Draw equals Pain

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1 Tolarian Academy
2 Sulfur Falls
4 Great Furnace
4 Seat of the Synod
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
2 Deserted Temple
2 Reliquary Tower
3 Island
2 Mountain

 

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4 Swans of Bryn Argoll
2 Jace's Archivist
2 Kami of the Crescent Moon
4 Psychosis Crawler

 

Artifacts
4 Howling Mine
4 Iron Maiden
4 Ebony Owl Netsuke
1 Ivory Tower

 

Spells
4 Winds of Change
4 Molten Psyche
2 Copy Artifact
2 Sunder
2 Cyclonic Rift

Rainbow Sliver

Lands
4 Ancient Ziggurat
4 Rootbound Crag
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Breeding Pool

 

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4 Muscle Sliver
4 Sinew Sliver
4 Gemhide Sliver
3 Winged Sliver
4 Crystalline Sliver
4 Homing Sliver
2 Heart Sliver
2 Acidic Sliver
1 Sliver Overlord
1 Essence Sliver
1 Necrotic Sliver
1 Harmonic Sliver
1 Brood Sliver
1 Shifting Sliver
1 Fury Sliver

 

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3 Distant Melody
1 Creeping Renaissance

 

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2 Door of Destinies

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22 Plains
2 Emeria, Sky Ruin

 

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4 Veteran Swordsmith
4 Daru Warchief
3 Field Marshal
3 Knight-Captain of Eos
3 Captain of the Watch
3 Catapult Master
2 Loxodon Gatekeeper
2 Angel of Glory's Rise
2 Stormfront Riders
1 Darien, King of Kjeldor
1 Odric, Master Tactician

 

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4 Skullclamp
2 Eldrazi Monument
1 Mobilization

 

Planeswalker
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Life Test

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16 Plains
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2 Emeria, the Sky Ruin
1 Miren, the Moaing Well

 

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4 Wall of Reverence
2 Divinity of Pride
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4 Martyr of Sands
4 Kami of False Hope

 

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2 Test of Endurance
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1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Beacon of Immortality
2 Fracturing Gust
3 Congregate
2 Well of Lost Dreams
2 Proclamation of Rebirth
4 Chastise
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Debtors' Knell

 

Planeswalker
1 Ajani Goldmane

 

Once them decks get old and something new comes out the prices will switch again.  Example of this is Just a year ago Phantasmal Image was like a $16 a card now it's $4.



Good call - once things rotate out of standard I tend to pay attention.  Before that = pass.
I'd say the popularity of Commander might have something to do with it. Modern, to a lesser extent. Also, supposedly more people are getting into MTG lately also.

I also notice that the examples you used are cards that have been pushed lately. Kind of "flavor of the week" cards so-to-speak.
Obama.



Not american - I'm assuming you're talking about the cost of living?
My sis-in-law is in Houston, TX, right now - and she says the cost of living is cheap compared to back home in Australia. 
I personally buy all my cards from the USA, If I tried to buy them locally I'd easily be paying more than double. 




It's sort of a running joke...
HOW TO AUTOCARD! When posting in a text box, type [c]Plains[/c] to make your post showPlains.
Are you making a casual mill deck? Please read.
Control is the key of a mill deck. You should free up your mana as much as possible so that you can respond to whatever your opponent is doing. Having some way to remove threats, both real and percieved, is necessary to survival. Real threats are those that are already on the field, and are something a simple unsummon or doom blade can remove. Percieved threats are those that aren't on the field, something a simple duress or counterspell can deal with. Controlling the board will allow your mill deck to continuously perform, if you use permanent style mill, that is. One-Shot Mill spells are something you should avoid. You can toss tome scours at your opponent until your hand runs out, but that isn't going to be enough to mill them to death. With 1-shot mill spells, like tome scour, you have to treat them like burn spells. Therefore, the only "good" 1-shot mill spells are sanity grinding (in the right deck) and mind funeral. Try to find more permanent styles of milling, like memory erosion, hedron crab, and curse of the bloody tome, so that you don't have to waste your mana each turn doing something that those permanents can do with a single mana/turn investment. Keeping your mana open allows you to respond with control elements. ​Traumatize Rant​. Traumatize is a terrible card for a multitude of reasons. First, it costs 5 to cast, which is a large investment for a mill deck. Milling half a library sounds neat, but if you do the math, it really isn't that much. An average 60 card deck starts with drawing 7 cards. Then, barring any draw spells on their end, or ramp on yours, 5 turns will go by, where they draw 5 more cards, leaving 48 in the deck. Unless they had a deck with more than 60 cards, or you ramped it out, the most you'll ever mill with a single Traumatize on turn 5 is 24 cards. That's not too shabby, but hang on, there's more! If they drew any additional cards or if they were milled before turn 5, that number will be much lower. In addition, any more Traumatize's you draw will only mill less and less as the game goes on...which is the point of a mill deck. My whole point on Traumatize is the it is NOT worth the 5 mana investment, not even with haunting echoes. You can mill more than 24 before turn 5...which you can then cast the echoes. If you look at a mill deck like a burn deck, you'll notice that it takes longer to win with mill than with burn. For example, lightning bolt costs 1 and does 3 out of the 20 damage needed to win (barring any lifegain or damage prevention). For mill, that same investment of 1 would have to mill 9 cards out of an average 60 card deck to be the equivilent of lightning bolt. The problem is that there is no mill card that can do that...except hedron crab, over a period of time. The initial investment of 1 will pay off in 3 more land drops to make the crab equal to a bolt. However, the crab nets you more mill beyond those 3 land drops, making it better as the game draws on. Other cards, like curse of the bloody tome, are excellent ways of milling an opponent because the initial investment of is all you have to pay in order to put your opponent on a clock. All you have to do is stay alive, which is the true goal of a mill strategy. There are other ideas for mill decks that are specific to certain types of strategies. Combo mill decks can mill an entire player's library out from under them. Secondary mill strategies are usually tied to another strategy, like drowner of secrets in a merfolk deck, or halimar excavator in an ally deck. Milling can be done in certain decks that are able to ramp out enough mana to make use of the higher costing mill spells, like using 16 post to pay for X on sands of delirium or for ambassador laquatus. Multiplayer mill decks are even tougher to build, but can be done. Being a slower environment, it is easier to ramp in multiplayer, allowing for big X spells, like mind grind, to be useful. Consuming aberration is another star player. The more straightforward strategy is to use mesmeric orb and dreamborn muse while being the only deck at the table that can deal with it. There are always new strategies coming out with each set, so check gatherer for any new mill cards that you find to be the most fun for you! Now you can say that you haven't fallen into the trap that most new players fall into when they build their first mill deck!
I think Sacrifice is right; Commander has drawn attention to multiplayer formats. I don't think that would drive up prices too much on its own due to the singleton rule (aside from a few staples like Sol Ring that go into pretty much any Commander deck), but maybe players start playing Commander and move into 60-card multiplayer games. I expect there's an influx from the non-budget crowd driving up prices for the staples. I imagine the prices will drop at some point.
I hope you're right, and that prices do drop. But I doubt that will happen in the forseeable future; EDH staples (many of which are also multiplayer staples) have been creeping up, or at least holding steady, in price over the past few years. There does seem be to some variance due to format fluctuations and reprints, but those cases are greatly in the minority.

It's purely anecdotal, but I think the fact that EDH is a singleton format actually drives prices higher than if it were a 'normal' one. I know I've been more willing to shell out a fair amount of cash for a card I only need one of, whereas I'd be searching for a budget alternative if I needed four copies (or shelving the deck idea entirely). That may have something to do with traditional multiplayer's seeming inability to drive card prices as much as EDH.

This is also anecdotal, but the guys in my group have gained more purchasing power over time. We're nearly all through college now, and have moved on to career-type jobs.  As Magic's audience grows older, so tends to grow their budget.
Aye, that's very true. But it gets balanced out by many of those college grads who go on to get married, have kids, buy houses, cars, etc. I know a few of my friends actually have LESS to spend on MTG because of the expenses of life. Most of them COULD buy cards still, but it gets harder to justify to the wife or husband as the bills multiply. In other words, it's EASIER to justify "blowing cash on a game" when you're young. It would be interesting to see which type of person outweighs the other.

Honestly, I think rarity has more to do with it than anything. As time marches on there are less and less of the good playable rares availible. People lose interest in the game and sell off, but far more players collect what they play and aren't letting the cards go. If you're one of these "players-for-life", once you have some of these cards, you're gonna hang on to them, and there will be less and less availible in the market. 

  
Aye, that's very true. But it gets balanced out by many of those college grads who go on to get married, have kids, buy houses, cars, etc. I know a few of my friends actually have LESS to spend on MTG because of the expenses of life. Most of them COULD buy cards still, but it gets harder to justify to the wife or husband as the bills multiply.   


That was true for me, but as I got over first few tough mortgage years, I got to the point where I could afford to drink again. Yay!
And then we start playing Magic with the kids....


I like that they started Commander.  It's meant reprints of a lot of cards that were hard to get, or fairly expensive. 
I think you guys are right to say that commander has also drawn attention to a lot of these good cards too. 
There's been quite a few commander cards that are good (or at least playable) in mono-colour decks as ways to combat a colours' weaknesses too, like Chaos Warp.   Commanader has given WoTC a license to reprint heaps of cards as mtg gets more popular.  I like it, and I hope they continue reprinting anything that is popular, hard to get or expensive. 
Cos lets face it, the reserved list is stupid.  I'll leave that discussion for elsewhere...
 If cards like Thragtusk, Deathrite Shaman, fetchlands etc., were only a dollar, WoTC would literally be printing money, everyone would snap them up immediately.