Jason’s Archives: What You’re Ignoring

Greetings, Speculators!

As a writer for the free side of QS, I like that my articles are free to read and disseminate. My philosophy about finance is to answer any question people ask me because I can’t get all the money out there to be made and I don’t benefit from keeping secrets.

However, I also believe in the founding philosophy of this site. Namely, that it takes work to aggregate and analyze data, which is worth paying for when you lack the time, training or inclination to do it yourself. Consequently I take great pains in my articles to give relevant financial information and either disguise it as metagame analysis or stray away from covering anything another writer is distributing behind the paywall.

The more I wrote, the more I tried to slip in. I have a difficult time keeping secrets, and if I have good financial information I don’t like keeping it to myself. The QS forums are an excellent outlet for me, since they let me participate a little more directly in discussions on speculation. The forums were also an excellent place for me to learn that the forums were the only place people listened to my advice.

I know my readers understand that an article examining which decks and archetypes are trending up or down at various tournaments has financial relevance. However, I do feel like there are a lot of people out there who want to get better at the finance game. I don’t personally take offense if my own advice is ignored, but the whole concept got me thinking about what resources out there people tend to overlook, and how much better everyone could be if they started noticing them.

Twitter

I probably harp on this more than I should, considering you could write an entire article about the importance of Twitter, but you’re a captive audience, dammit.

I think my exuberance about Twitter as a Magic resource stems from my early dismissal of it as a mere global facebook wall — a graffiti board for narcissists that seemed to lack any real value. But as someone who has now embraced the platform, I’ve become a huge proponent. A lot of you are not on Twitter. That’s a shame; you’re missing a lot. Magic players are people too, and people use Twitter to tease their friends about bad beats, share their new brews, ask questions about prices and trends — you name it, it’s happening on Twitter.

If Japanese players are asking for Thundermaw Hellkites from their Twitter followers before an event, could that be relevant? If Ryan Bushard sees one of the dealers buying all of the blue fetchlands in the GP hall, are you going to run with that information at 3:00 PM on Friday or will you remain in the dark until Monday’s tournament results?

Quiet Speculation does an excellent job of sending out e-mail alerts from major events but not everyone is affiliated with QS. Lots of finance personalities noticed the trend while there was still time to buy Misty Rainforests at $13, and if you didn’t, you probably weren’t paying attention to Twitter. You won’t get every hot tip by following the right people and spending time to filter your stream down, but you’re sure going to miss all of them if you don’t.

Facebook

Feel free to point out that I wasn’t on facebook until a week or two ago. I’m making up for lost time though, gradually unfriending all the people from high school and college I haven’t thought about since deleting my account in 2009 and friending a ton of Magic people I know.

Joining interest groups is a great way to let people know you buy or sell cards and a good way to organize trades or rides to events as well. So Facebook is a distraction machine, they sell your data and violate your privacy, your mother’s on there ever ready to embarrass you on your wall and you’re helping to enrich a weasely douche like Mark Zuckerberg, but once you get past all that it’s just like Twitter. Except one in six people on the planet use Twitter, while roughly half the people with internet access are on Facebook.

For all I know, I could be the only person affiliated with QS who wasn’t using it, but I’m back now so friend me already. Just like Twitter, people volunteer good information and if you’re missing it, you’re not going to optimize the time you spend online trying to improve as a financier.

Forums

QS’s forum is great. As a writer, I get to use it for free (well, I pay for it in servitude, but I don’t write a check) so naturally I’m all about spending as much time there as I can since it’s leaving money on the table otherwise. However, if I’m ever afflicted with a terminal case of writers’ block or I get fired for accidentally tweeting a pic of my junk or something, I could see paying to access the QS forums. Between the e-mail blasts and the good info being dispersed liberally throughout the forums, you’ll make your subscription back in no time.

Of course there are other websites that have merit and don’t require you to shell anything out. These can also be valuable resources.

MTG Salvation – MTG Salvation is best known for its spoiler (although I think QS’s free spoiler for RtR was far superior) but the forums on MTG Salvation are pretty informative, especially the rumor mill. While many of the “rumors” are unsubstantiated, they tend to discuss spoiled cards for a day or two before they are “officially” added to the spoiler. That lead time gives you a chance to decide whether or not you want to buy that card at its presale price. I bought 40 Thragtusks for $5 each because I saw it early and thought there was no way it wouldn’t be worth three times that. Sure, you waste some mental energy brewing with fake cards that never see print, but is brewing as a mental exercise a wasted one? I don’t think so.

The Source there is a lot of good information about Legacy posted here by players and brewers of the format. Eternal formats are important to watch because there is a lot of profit potential. When a Standard card goes from unplayable to playable, it goes from a dime or a quarter to a few dollars, and if it sees sustained play, it will go up from there incrementally. That’s not the case with Eternal cards. When no one played Energy Field, you could get them for around $1. When Rest in Peace was printed, the card shot up to $15. Who bought them at $1? This guy, because I don’t ignore Legacy.

When a Legacy card spikes, the supply is so much lower that players scramble to get their copies and will pay anything. Hellrider spiked and the average player said “Oh, rad. I have a set of those in a box somewhere.” Academy Rector spiked and the average player said “#$%^, ok, how much?” and got out their wallet. Be the guy holding the Academy Rector, not your wallet in one hand and a bottle of lube in the other.

Pojo Seriously, hear me out. Yes, Pojo has a reputation for being monkey mecca. But good info comes from even bad forums. Between the forum on the mothership and the one on Pojo, I watched people talk about the Izzet Staticaster/Nightshade Peddlar combo. I laughed at them for being bad, until someone tried it and got there.

The deck isn’t great, but it had enough merit for the SRS community to give it serious consideration for a minute. Not every bad idea is a bad idea, and forums that only super casual brewers frequent have merit. Sure, a lot of the stuff is bad, but if there is anything you find yourself agreeing with, how many other people are going to be on it?

Try Sending a ^$*% e-mail Once in a While

I’ve never refused to answer a question via e-mail or Twitter even if the person was asking me for information QS charges for. Most people will answer e-mails if they make their addresses public. It’s just that no one really thinks to ask.

If you want to get better at financial analysis, you’re not going to do so by reading the same info everyone else is reading and the same time they’re reading it. That approach makes no sense, but it’s the most common approach. Sure, you can carve out a few bucks exploiting lag and buying Thundermaw at $19 before it hits $25, but wouldn’t you rather have been ahead of the curve and gotten them at $8 or $10? If you wait for everyone else to be on the card, you’re not making much money, and if you’re not making much money, why bother? Use your free resources and maximize your profit potential.

Texas Was Messed With

I used to make up stupid puns but when they start recycling event cities it became too much of a hassle. I’m not saying you guys aren’t worth it, but… you aren’t.

GP San Antonio Top 16

Did you get the e-mail blast about the B/R deck that is fast enough to race Thragtusk? This has been a lopsided format where the control decks came early and easily and it took players a bit longer to figure out aggro. Thragtusk is almost solely responsible for this, but the printing of decent planeswalkers, Detention Sphere and Angel of Serenity made it more obvious this time around. Aggro may have finally been solved, and if you didn’t get Hellriders at $2 when I told you to I actually don’t feel sorry for you. You can buy mine for $8. Knight of Infamy is another breakout star in Tyler Little’s winning list, but there isn’t a ton of profit potential. If you can buy cheap, buy in fours because these will trade better than they sell and having a whole playset to trade out at a premium is the play.

There actually weren’t too many surprises, here. Nearly equal amounts of the new B/R beatstick, U/W Flash, Reanimator and Bant made up the top sixteen. Breakout cards from the weekend were few, but a G/W Humans deck emerged that Sam Black and Jackie Lee both really liked. Gavony Township in a deck with Precinct Captain was a long time coming, and it’s good someone finally cracked the code. Mayor of Avabruck pumps humans when he’s not flipped. Perhaps that’s why he’s so biggity bonkers. I sat on a million copies of Mayor before I finally got fed up and dumped them. Bad move — that card’s on the rise again and I can’t keep them in my binder or my store.

Get [card Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]Thalia[/card]. It’s getting a ton of play in Standard and it will never go down because it’s a giant beating in Legacy. Get Thalia. Pay retail right now if you have to, it’s cheaper than you’ll pay later.

Both Garruks made appearances, often in the same deck. One of those is overpriced. The other is underpriced. Which is which? I don’t know, this is a free article.

Seeing a Naya deck before Boros and Gruul and a Grixis deck before Dimir makes me think the post Gatecrash standard could bear up to 10 solid archetypes, maybe more. U/W Flash gave a lot of people heartburn but I don’t think we’ll see one, monolithic, “best” deck in Standard again for a long time. We’re more likely to see the “rock-paper-scissors” formats of Mirrodin Standard that were so much fun to watch. Standard keeps getting healthier.

I will be posting my thoughts about how Standard develops using the #brewdontbitch hashtag I started using when people were calling for Thragtusk to be banned. Standard is much more fun than it’s been in a while.

Commentary on This Topic Will Be Ridiculed

I’ll Just Leave This Here

I’m going to do my best to congratulate my good friend Aaron “The Godslayer” Sulla on taking down a 5k. I don’t want to hear about how small the event was, how there were no pros there or whatever negative crap people feel compelled to spout whenever a Seance deck wins an event. I’m sick of hearing it. My friend won an event and that’s awesome. That’s all I will say about that. You can hear his soothing Baritone when he tries to stump us on BSB’s “Guessing with the Godslayer” segment or troll him by calling his pizza shop and having him deliver a pie to “I.C. Weiner” at a fake address. Your call.

Bye! Have a Beautiful Time!

That’s it from my end. Hit me up in the forums, on Twitter, on my e-mail, on my podcast, on facebook, on google+… I’m pretty reachable. Don’t ignore potential sources of info, and remember to go with your gut. “How can that possibly be bad?” is a phrase that rarely describes a bad card, concept or spec. You can do it, I believe in you. Now go make some money.

Jason Alt

Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on Gatheringmagic.com. He is also the Community Manager at BrainstormBrewery.com and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

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