Jason’s Archives: Giving Something Back

Greetings, Speculators!

Since I’ve become so used to not finding anything interesting on reddit, I have fallen into the rhythm of editorializing in this part of my article instead. I haven’t gotten any complaints so I’ve just been going with it. But the fact nothing on Reddit is worth sharing is kind of my fault, and kind of yours too.

“There’s Nothing on Tonight,” He Said

Instead of wishing there was better stuff on Reddit (something I did for a while) it’s better to take a more proactive role.

It’s been my contention that a majority of people who play Magic are casuals — casual to the point of playing entirely off the grid. That makes these people hard to quantify and their interests hard to gauge. One thing Wizards has figured out over the years is that those undocumented players (feel free to suggest a better term in the comments) are nearly all “Vorthos,” rather than “Timmy,” “Johnny” or “Spike.” (Not to mention the finance psychographic, which still remains ungraced with an official name.)

Wizards has done its best to make sure each set is jammed with a ton of flavor that engages casuals, especially because they are the group who buys most booster packs and precon decks, usually at places like WalMart and Target. If those people keep buying at those locations, Wizards can keep supplying them with boosters. And keeping large, steady customers is very important to a large company like Hasbro.

So it’s obvious that Magic appeals to those people, both because it’s a great game and because Wizards takes an active role in appealing to them. So what’s the problem? Well, it’s pretty simple. Most of what appeals to those people doesn’t appeal to you and there are more of them than there are of you.

This matters when it comes to content on reddit. Let’s have a look at today’s front page.

Bigbrass made a planeswalker:


sebbyk made an EDH combo:


CakeConspiracy made a two-card combo that results in the spell Armageddon. This submission received 537 upvotes:


Tuques made his friend sad:


It’s Not for You, Man!

Many of you remember when I used to find the good stuff on the Magic subreddit and put it up here for you. The law of diminishing returns quickly took over. In order to get enough decent content for a week’s article I was finding myself going back a week, then a week and a half, then two weeks.

So if what reddit has to offer doesn’t really appeal to us, what should we do about it?

The only thing I can suggest is to be more proactive. The QS team has begun to submit more stuff from QS to the regular Magic subreddit (r/magictcg) and the results have been… mixed. None of the stuff we’ve submitted has quite hit the 537 upvotes merited by the fascinating picture of two cards that combine to make another one. If QS isn’t for reddit and reddit isn’t for QS, what’s wrong?

One afternoon someone asked a really obvious finance question on reddit (I think it might have been “how come [card Thragtusk]Thargtusk[/card] cost so many money?”) and I said, “Ugh, there should really be an MTG finance subreddit.” Within 24 hours, r/magictcg was up and running. I think this is where QS will find the kind of content it’s looking for. We need subscribers and we need new content. The great thing about reddit is you join groups based on your interests and other people with the same interests find things they think you will like. It’s like having a bunch of lemmings searching the internet for you.

However, I’m currently the biggest contributor to r/mtgfinance and that means the entire sub is in danger of becoming an undemocratic representation of one man’s financial sensibilities. If I don’t like a writer, they don’t appear. If I haven’t read an article and liked it enough to submit it, no one else on the sub will read it unless they find it themselves. We all have an opportunity to grow another community — one that, once nurtured, will find MTG finance content for us, will drive discussions that help us crowdsource answers to our finance questions and will create new potential finance wizards. The next generation of finance writers may very well use this sub as a source. This also gives us a chance to counter any misconceptions the community may have about finance and give us all potential new customers.

If you’re already on reddit, please join the finance sub and link some articles I haven’t yet. If you’re not on reddit, join. If you don’t want me to talk about this topic anymore, don’t worry, I’m done.

But the one thing you can’t do is complain that there’s nothing good on reddit.

Something Something Something San Diego

There was a SCG Open in San Diego.

SCG San Diego Standard Decks

The event was won by Static Peddler. This deck has come a long way from the durdly combo deck it used to be, characterized by Zealous Conscripts, Deadeye Navigator and losing to everything. Beating control with an army of humans that’s easily recurable due to the absurdness of Angel of Glory’s Rise and beating aggro with a machine-gun combo that kills creatures dead, this deck is a lot of fun to play. Unburial Rites on an Angel with Goldnight Commander and a few humans in the yard is going to be GG for most decks. It’s good to see this deck win an Open. I don’t know how consistent it really is, but it sure is powerful. Congrats to Joe Lossett.

Josue Rojano’s deck looks pretty similar to a pile I played at FNM for lolz, only with black for Rakdos’s Return, [card Olivia Voldaren]Olivia[/card] and Deathrite Shaman instead of white for Sphinx’s Revelation and screwing up my mana base a little. This seems like a Jund deck with [card Izzet Staticaster]Staticaster[/card] jimmy-jammed main, which I don’t really have a problem with. Olivia plus [card Nightshade Peddler]Peddler[/card] can be even more insane than Staticaster plus Peddler if you have some spare mana. I like the future of Standard.

The Esper control deck is tough to play but looks like a haymaker punch of a deck. This is control with an iron fist, and Orzhov and Dimir will only contribute more cards (not to mention two shocklands) to the archetype.

Abundant Growth is popping up a few places, including here in Andrej Selivra’s GR hasty beats deck. Mana fixing and a cantrip all in one, this card seems good if you’re playing Ethereal Armor, but I’m not sure what it’s doing here. Still, it’s hard to argue with results. Flinthoof Boar is a card that’s been toyed with a bit. I think it’s a bad Boggart Ram Gang, but maybe it’s good enough right now. Stomping Ground (a card name I hate because the idiom is actually “stamping ground,” but whatever) only improves Boar. Devil’s Play over [card Bonfire of the Damned]Bonfire[/card] says that going to the face is paramount for this build. Seems easy to play, maybe try it for FNM some week.

That’s all that looks new. Standard is in a holding pattern until Gatecrash, but prepare to face Peddler decks if you want to continue to play this season.

SCG San Diego Legacy Top 8

12 Post?! Nice! Legacy continues to surprise and delight. I’d like to see a few repeat performances out of this deck before I move on any of the cards, but components of this deck are affordable and if it takes off they may be good targets.

It’s like last week never happened. The Jund list made top eight but there are no Elves, no BUG and generally no new decks here. Was the performance of the black-green decks at both the Open and the GP just a fluke? Time will tell. I think Deathrite is too good to stay out of the top eight for long.

Ryan Overturf disagrees, saying he doesn’t think the BUG craze will last and that he will continue to jam RUG. San Diego had the same idea, and RUG was the only duplicate deck archetype in the top eight. There were three more copies of RUG in the top sixteen and zero BUG, Jund, Dark Elves or similar decks. Check out Ryan’s article this week. You should find it two articles below this one.

Other than the apparent lack of what seemed like the new face of Legacy, there were few surprises here. Congrats to the top eight and to Tony Murata for getting there with 12 Post.

A Quick Congrats

Before I move on, I wanted to congratulate Michigan native Josh Glantzman for winning the PTQ in South Bend, IN this weekend. I get to do things like this from time to time. It’s good to be the king.

That Guy Wasn’t Just Lying to His Girlfriend

There Was a GP in Atlantic City. Redditors will get the reference.

The GP showed us that Standard may be evolving a bit more than we’d thought approaching Gatecrash. Not only is Peddler huge, appearing as a 4-of alongside 4x Olivia in Brad Nelson’s pile, another Limited mainstay is getting there as well.

GP Atlantic City Coverage

I have always liked Ethereal Armor in Limited, and when combined with Hexproof guys it can be quite nasty. Now imagine that Hexproof guy is Geist of Saint Traft. Now imagine he also has a Rancor on him. And he’s soulbonded to Silverblade Paladin. Now imagine you’re sitting across the table from that noise.

The U/W Aggro deck that combined Geist with cards like Spectral Flight has gone deeper with even more auras, hexproof dudes and Increasing Savagery. Maybe you shouldn’t dump all your shares into Supreme Verdict just yet! This list won the event, piloted by Jon Stern, but it also put Josh Utter Leyton in the top eight. I don’t think there is any speculation opportunity on anything in this deck, but be aware of how to beat it.

Mutilate was a good spec before and now seems better. You can still get Mutilate around $2 or $3 if you’re lucky, so go out there and make sure you’re lucky. Wraths are going to be at a premium when spot removal doesn’t do the trick. Even Olivia plus Peddler doesn’t do anything against a deck full of hexproof murder machines. Hexproof with auras took Modern by storm, and if it’s good enough for Modern, why not Standard too? I’m happy this worked out.

There isn’t much new here other than Nelson’s tech and the auras. The Geists make it hella expensive, but if you’re looking for a fun FNM deck, I think you should try this. There isn’t much time to play it competitively before Gatecrash hits, but it was good before Rancor and Savagery, and it’s better now.

The format continues to improve and new archetypes are being developed every day. Compare this Standard to two and three years ago. No bannings, just new decks all the time, a diverse top eight and unprecedented playership. This is what competitive Magic should be.

That’s All I Have to Say About That

Disagree? Hit me up in the comments of the forums. Got a question? E-mail altjason17@gmail or hit me up on Twitter @JasonEAlt. One article a week not enough? Check out the Magic Finance subreddit where all of my contributions to the community are carefully cataloged for posterity. Check here next week to see if BUG was a flash in the pan or the new face of Legacy.

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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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  1. Deathnstuff says

    I’m unsure of what valued comments/finance information can be sought from reddit. When you see people posting pictures of derpy combos and crazy multicard EDH shenanigans hoarding all the up votes on the mtg subreddit I doubt the magic community on reddit has the ambition or knowledge to create and facilitate serious speculative discussion that isn’t fueled by over hyping cards that would be awesome in my Captain Sisay or sharuum commander deck. The problem with a place like reddit is the comments and collaborators don’t have to go through a peer review process like the scientific community does so it’s just a bunch of people shouting anything they want into the wind. So I’m guessing 90+% of the comments will either be overly obvious (Ex. Thragtusk is worth lots I have stock pile I r smart) or will be completely troll comments. I think one of the issues in finance is that its secretive, it’s like you guys are free masons or the knights or insert any other secretive group that conspiracy theorists love. The point of getting into mtg finance is to make money with the knowledge you have that others lack so why would we create an area where that knowledge can be generally shared? Although yourself and Ryan bushard are very transparent with your methodology (Calling shots and going deep vs Medina buying low selling high on established cards) you don’t really go into how to call cards that have space to grow or how to “own” the trade tables. I feel like as much as the finance I community wants to let us in at the same time they want to keep their knowledge to themselves. I just feel like intricate knowledge of mtg finance takes years to ascertain and allowing people that might never travel outside of their kitchen table drive a financial discussion isn’t the greatest idea. Would you trust an at home day trader with your investment portfolio?, I wouldn’t.

    In the spirit of reddit let the down votes begin.

    Tl;Dr Allowing people that upvote derpy combos might not be best community to have mtg finance discussions with.

    @Deathnstuff on twitter

    • jayp says

      You make some good points – I feel the same way, I’ve been trying to get into this to help cover my costs and, frankly, to feel like the smartest guy in the room when my spec hits. In hindsight, helping cover costs, for me, is a reasonable goal but the whole impress-my-friends-and-rivals fantasy is ridiculous because it muddies the waters and makes it harder to trade with people if I’m secretly nuturing some play. In my experience, people catch on if you’re being cagey and go elsewhere. Most people are looking to get new cards with the ones they already have, they’re not generally looking to “buy low sell high” on everything with a profit motive. They’re there to play competitively, or round out their EDH deck, or… everything but try to make money. I’ve had decent success with “Sorry, I can’t trade that one for that price unless I get X, because I think it’s about to go up because of this other interaction” – sometimes people get defensive but other times it’s the start of a longer conversation where they start to value the forward-looking viewpoint we tend to take. In short, when I acted like I was trying to trick people, they acted like I was trying to trick them. When I acted like I was having a conversation with people, they acted accordingly. Even if you sat down with someone for hours and explained every possible spec you were working on, it wouldn’t matter. The amount of work we’re all doing to stay on top of it is a high barrier to entry, and every PTQ or invitational or GP or whatever risks pressing the reset button on all of it.

      And I agree to an extent about durdly combos etc – except if people are getting excited about stormtide leviathan plus boil, that means if you want to stick to your profit motive you better pick up some boils and stormtides if you’re heading down to your LGS. It’s not my place to tell someone I’m trying to trade with “that combo sucks, you’re an idiot”. That is how the French say “screwing yourself over”. SCG prices and PTQ decklists are the bible for us (I check that stuff daily) – but a good portion of the MTG community (30%? 50%?) doesn’t give two squirts what a given card is going for, or exactly what won the PTQ, if they don’t plan on using it – they want to know if the card they opened the other day can get them what they need for their wolf tribal deck or whatever. If they want stormtide+boil, give them stormtide+boil – you might get their shocklands on the cheap if you have it in your binder ready to go. First and foremost, you’re dealing with people – if you know how to do that, you’re already going to do better than an asshole with perfect market knowledge – because no one talks to that guy, let alone trades with him.

      Jason, your articles are awesome – (“How come thargtusk cost so many money?” Hilarious!) keep it up dude.

  2. Deathnstuff says

    I agree with you a great deal. The only reason is i bring up dirdly combo is as you stated people like us hang on ptq winning lists and Gp happenings we want to have a lot of the cards that main stream competitives play because thats where the big profit/turn around is at. Having said that some of the best trades i have had is with casuals because they will do anything for that one foil that completes their EDH deck.

    I agree demeanor and attitude when trading goes a long way in any trade because as you states no one wants to try and trade with the meanest guy in the place.

    I want a community where finance can be discussed in a constructive matter but the advice is only as good as the source. Again as you stated its a full time job keeping up on the numbers for current cards, cards you are specing on, buylist prices etc. everything that can get you value at some point. I have a full time job and i keep up on popular standard cards, spoilers, and then i know my modern and legacy staples and have a couple of specs in modern currently and that is streching me. Most people arent willing to put in that much time in to allow themselves to have an educated opinion that can contribute to a constructive discussion about finance.

    Great reply and as always great article jason sorry i didnt mention that before. I think this article starts a very important discussion about mtg finance what it is and who it is etc.

    @Deathnstuff on twitter

  3. Jason AltJasonAlt says

    There is something I think everyone is missing. The sheer amount of effort that it takes to subscribe to a new subreddit is going to weed the monkeys out. The \”durr why are Bonfire so much more than Devil\’s Play?\” crowd won\’t come to a finance subreddit, and they certainly won\’t dominate the discussion. This is going to be a small subreddit, populated by those small number of redditors who are interested in finance. It may pique some interest in finance, and that\’s excellent. What it is not going to be is another place for the general reddit magic community to say things that aren\’t all that intelligent because those people will have no interest in even joining.

    As far as speculation being secretive, it\’s about timing. If you buy as many copies of a card as you can afford to buy, then why not let other people in on it? If they make some money on your spec they will like finance more, and the more stores that get bought out, the faster the price goes up and your spec becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I really forsee this subreddit resembling the QS forums in a lot of ways, only since it\’s not exclusive people keeping specs to their chest. What will instead drive the content is articles about trading, etiquette, metagame analysis and that sort of thing. Not all finance is speculation.

  4. michael crowell says

    What you forget it Reddit is FILLED with morons from the asshole of the internet…4chan. We also got overrun with DIGG users when it died.

    Reddit is not what it once used to be. It’s full of a bunch of fickle bitches. I love reddit and have for a long time, but it’s true.

      • Jason AltJasonAlt says

        But if someone is truly a \”moron\”, how likely are they going to be to frequent a sub that is dedicated to finance? If we make a sub our own and fill it with our content and our people then it\’s on our terms. If you really think the finance sub is going to be similarly overrun, you don\’t realize what an optimist that makes you considering I\’ve been trying to get people to join for over a month and we only have 50 subscribers and I\’m the sole content contributor. I can\’t even get the mods from the general magic sub to include our sub in the \”complete list\” of magic subs despite them linking to subs like r/altered

        • michael crowell says

          No no no, thats not it at all. In fact I just signed up. It was more of a statement as to why the magictcg sub is becoming more like /r/trees than a good info sub. I totally agree with starting one of our own. infact I will post good stuff I find also. I hate to admit it, but I have been to 4chan and seen the threads about messing with reddit AND the mtg sub in particular!

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