The second month is down. Ten months left.
February was not as positive as January, but my speculative activities this past month were still largely positive. Most of my Modern positions delivered substantial profit, and I found new targets in Standard and Pauper after a January full of Modern investments.
Today we are unlocking another Insider article from my Nine Months of Portfolio Management Series–Part 3 – M14 Mythics, a 100% Winning Blind Bet?
In this article, I described how I used trends and patterns observed with M12 and M13 mythics to realize a decent profit after buying a similar amount of all fifteen mythics from M14. The results of the experimental approach outlined in this article–observing trends and patterns, formulating theories, experimenting and analyzing data–were also applied to my current speculation with M15 mythics.
Before we begin February’s report, be sure to check out the following links (if you haven’t already):
After reviewing my speculative activity during February, I’ll share my thought process behind choosing my specs.
At the end of February, the value of the account was of 161.98 Tix. Pretty much a no growth compared to last month, and the value of the account was actually slightly higher in the middle or February than what it is now.
Some raised questions in January about the method I’m using to calculate this value, arguing that using 90% of MTGOTraders selling prices to value cards on my account is too high.
You could say that the real value of a card should be MTGOTraders buying prices, or the highest offer among MtgoLibraryBots, or the average of MtgoLibraryBots buying prices, or anything else.
The truth is that it doesn’t really matter.
First of all, I’ll stick to this method because this is how I said I would evaluate my account for the two contests related to this project. It would not be faire to change the rules of the game now.
Second, the 90% will be used every month to evaluate the account. So the difference of the account value between two months strictly reflects the progression of the positions, independently of the method used to price the cards.
Finally, I intend to convert to Tix all cards present on the account by the end of December 2015. The amount of Tix on December 31st 2015 will be the final result of this project.
If 90% of MTGOTraders selling prices were too high to evaluate my cards, then we’ll see the final amount of Tix in December being lower than the evaluation made in November.
If the 90% were too low, the result at the end of December will be higher than what it was evaluated at in November. And if these 90% are about right, I should have about the same amount of Tix in my account at end of December as evaluated in November.
Summary of the Specs
January and February were heavily focused on Modern positions.
A low point for many Modern cards, a B&R list announcement that shook up the whole format, a Modern Pro Tour, and a Modern MOCS season were some of the many reasons to focus on Modern.
I sold about two thirds of my Modern positions, and I’m still holding on to few positions I expect to rise a little bit more or are not threatened by a reprint in Modern Masters 2015.
Most of my Modern positions yielded decent profit, but some didn’t meet my expectations and are currently in the negative. That’s part of the game. .
At the end of January, I was not sure where to invest next. As usual, new trends were defined by players and announcements. Fate Reforged release events came to an end and players moved back to Standard, allowing prices to bounce back. Temple of Enlightenment and Xenagos, the Great Revel were my bets, although not really exciting at the moment.
The announcement of changes in the Daily Event schedule made me consider Pauper speculations. Pauper is an usual format to speculate with. Great opportunities can, however, be found. Especially for small bankrolls like this one, investing in commons make sense.
Among my Pauper specs, I really like Mental Note. I expect this card to be priced between 1 and 2 Tix sooner than later.
I also made a few Quickflips here and there. I lost about 2 Tix with Amulet of Vigor, but all my other Quickflips were positive. And I did take advantage of some arbitrage situations.
A question I have been asked several times is “How do you chose your spec targets?”
In the context of this project, I’ll describe what I’m looking for when buying or selling cards.
Selecting Cards Worth The Shot
For this project, I’m really looking for specs that can pay off quickly–within two to three months. As I want to grow my bankroll as fast as possible, I don’t want be waiting six months or more for a positions to mature.
For instance, I plan on getting rid of my Modern positions by mid-March. Even if it means taking losses, I would rather sell and move on to other positions I estimate to have a brighter future in the next two to three months.
Especially when dealing with cyclical positions–as Modern positions are–I’m also looking at the potential profit I can make before buying. I’m usually looking for positions that have at least 50% room to grow before reaching their previous record highs.
I have even been looking for positions that could double for this project. For example, MMA Spell Snare has a record high of 3.8 Tix, and I bought my copies at 0.97 Tix. I bought my copies of Smash to Smithereens at 0.87 Tix, which was previously priced at 3.1 Tix.
For other positions that are not cyclical, such Xenagos, the Great Reveal and Temple of Enlightenment, and positions that don’t have a history of high prices, such as Mental Note, I try to see if a 50% profit is realistic, basing my decision on previous price trends, demand, playability, supply, hype…
If a 50% profit is not at least theoretically doable, I simply avoid speculating on that card.
I have found that 50% is the minimum profit margin I’m comfortable speculating on. I also know that not all specs will turn into profit, even with a portfolio full of potential, not all of them will be successful. The goal is to be net positive with a basket of several dozens of specs, not necessarily on every single spec.
This is also why I avoid pure speculations. Buying a card with no history of play or success, simply based on the fact that its mana cost is low or its abilities are great or anything else, doesn’t offer enough guarantee for financial success.
Betting on sure positions doesn’t even always turn into profit, so betting on cards that have shown nothing is the last thing I personally want to do.
Long Terms, Short Terms or Quickflips
With this account, I aim for short to mid-term specs. I also aim for a price. If Spell Snare, for example, had reached 3 Tix in three days, I would have sold it–no reason to keep it for two more months.
This is a lesson I learned from previous investments: be flexible with time and value.
I’m willing to wait two or three more weeks for the Modern specs I didn’t sell yet, but if nothing happens, I’ll sell them independently of their price. I would take into consideration that the window for price increase has closed and I’d be best to move on.
Quickflips are usually a different business. I consider a Quickflip card one that I would buy knowing that I would keep them only two or three days before selling. I also consider arbitrage situations as Quickflips.
Regular specs, however, can be transformed into Quickflips if the situation changes suddenly–with a big price increase (an unexpected performance at a Grand Prix for instance) or a big drop (such as what the announcement of Tempest Remastered did for Wasteland).
Even if my plan was to keep a card for two months, if the its price unexpectedly quadruples in 48 hours, selling is the right move.
Thank you for reading and following.