The Maze is actually rather similar to the dual lands from Battle for Zendikar in that it cares about what basic land types you already control. But it’s a unique land in that it was one of those one-of oddities from Future Sight. Another land from that set, Grove of the Burnwillows, became widely successful and very expensive. So why not Nimbus Maze?
Why not, indeed? It’s a valuable land in EDH, where people play Hallowed Fountain, Prairie Stream, and other lands with the basic land types Plains and/or Island. But as far as competitive play is concerned, especially Modern, you just never really see it. So why did this once $5 land slowly creep up to $8 over the course of 2016, and suddenly spike to nearly $40 (before settling around $25 for a bit) in late June of 2016?
Copies of Nimbus Maze were slowly trickling off of the internet for some time. Usually it’s one at a time, which is why the price increase has been so slow, but steady. A few speculators have bought multiple copies over the past few years, which has eaten up some of the supply. But these sales are rare enough that it’s made the card widely unavailable. It’s not a card that’s in high demand. Still, there is enough of a desire to have it available for Commander decks that people have been hoarding their copies.
What is a fair price for Nimbus Maze? Clearly, $25 is most certainly not. This simply isn’t a sustainable price for this card. The race to the bottom on TCGPlayer would be fairly quick. By “race to the bottom,” I mean sellers continuously undercutting each other until a price equilibrium is found.
At best, Nimbus Maze is probably a $10 card long-term. We saw the market price of this card fall to around $8-12 by June 2017, depending on condition. What made this a fair price is based mostly on the card’s overall scarcity. It was doubtful that this land would be reprinted as there is really no expansion set that it makes sense to include within. There was once speculation that it would be included as part of a new land cycle in Theros. But nothing ever came of that.
However, it would be reprinted in Iconic Masters, a set that sort of came out of nowhere... and that spelled the end of this card's steady rise...
Still, if Wizards of the Coast decides to create a cycle of lands similar to it, which is totally possible, Nimbus Maze would definitely become a lot more valuable. Vendor buylists weren’t willing to pay much more than $4 to $5 after the spike, with the outlier being high as $7. In mid-2017, the buylist price was closer to $8, which was a good sign for the future of this card.
While the market did regain some sanity in regards to Nimbus Maze, and there was a fairly substantial reprint, there may yet be another spike in its future. For quite some time, there weren't a bunch of near-mint copies left on the open market. The reprinting led to quite a sell-off, though. Still, with this spike in its price history, we can take away a few things from this event which can tell us a lot about what people think about this card.
Clearly, lands that are unique in some way are going to be worth something. White & Blue is a popular color combination, especially in Control-type decks. It’s actually a bit surprising that we don’t see Nimbus Maze more often in Modern. This may be due to the fact that the filter land, Mystic Gate, is much more playable in Modern. Being able to fix your mana by filtering the color you don’t need is very, very valuable when you need to cast cards that require 3 White or 3 Blue or some other tricky combination of colors.
Another factor that's still holding back this card is Mystic Gate. That’s about a $20 card as of November 2017, about the same price as Nimbus Maze was post-spike. So if you want to put your $20 into a good dual land, I’d put it on the "strictly better" Mystic Gate. It’s already been reprinted as a foil Expedition in Oath of the Gatewatch, and it’s unlikely we’ll see these filter lands reprinted again soon. Filter lands in general seem to be a pretty solid investment. Nimbus Maze is a cool land, but the reprint really cratered it as an investment.
Clearly, Nimbus Maze’s price spike was due to a buyout. Yes, it was due to hit $10 eventually. But as the market sometimes does, there’s an opportunity seen by a few people who have the cash to buy out a ton of copies at once. Oddly enough, this usually benefits those who are holding onto single copies more than it does those that actually initiate the buyout. It also benefits those who had the foresight to stash away copies in anticipation of a price jump. There are a lot of happy people right now, and you have to give them credit for their foresight.
This is a card that simply wasn’t widely available any more. Anytime that happens, silly price spikes can occur. While the story of this Nimbus Maze price spike has come to an end, it may not be the last for this unique land. However, having been reprinted in Iconic Masters has really put a damper on this card's price ceiling.
But for all those that have called this card a great investment over the past few years, it wasn't a bad idea. Congratulations on your crazy gains if you sold out at the right time and bought back in when it came back to earth. If you wait to let the Iconic Masters versions bottom out, you may have a chance to make a bunch of money again eventually.
Even if this card never enjoys a second spike, Nimbus Maze was definitely worth a $10 price tag before it was reprinted. Maybe it will get there again one day.