Write to Reid – Weekly Q&A

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Welcome to another mailbag on Quiet Speculation.  These have proved so popular that I intend to keep doing them on a weekly basis as long as there are questions that need answering.  Keep an eye on my Twitter feed, @kellyreid, for when I put out the call for questions. If I like yours and think others could learn from the answer, I'll reply here in my column.

@kellyreid Is Tarmogoyf still a good investment, or will it keep dropping in price?   --@gcroucher

No, Tarmogoyf is a poor investment right now.  The only way that it will take off again is the "over-extended" format becomes a reality.  Even if it does, the demand will not change since this new format would potentially replace Legacy.  On a related note, there is an unsubstantiated rumor going around that there are big changes coming to formats at the first of the year.  I can confirm nothing, but I'd be hedging my bets just in case over-extended becomes real.

@kellyreid Do you think Mass Polymorph can grow in price after Nationals and Worlds?  --thebeme

As of right now, the card is still a 25-cent rare.  There are just so many on the market and the set is too new.  If the deck were really, really good and really, really popular, I would say perhaps, but as it stands right now there are just better decks out there.  It's a card to get as a throw-in to make up lost value in a trade, but frankly I don't see it passing a buck or two.

@kellyreid Has Primeval Titan settled down or does it truly carry the potential of Jace 2.0 or Baneslayer of last year?  --@the_stybs

Primeval Titan is amazingly popular right now.  It's hard to classify a mythic rare that goes up to such lofty heights, but $50 seems a comfortable place for the card.  Dealers at GenCon are even asking $55 right now and no one is really balking.  It's really hard to predict how high a card like this can go, but if Jace is any example, then the Titan could have room to grow.  I never speculate on big mythics, and neither should you.

@kellyreid What do you think is the best way to get started in a card buying/selling business?

You should start by floor trading at large events like Grand Prix and GenCon and PTQs.  If you can't double the value of your trade stock in a weekend, you've no business starting a business.  That's what I did, on a smaller scale.  When you do this, you will develop a network of people, learn a lot about trading, grow your net worth and most importantly, develop a keen sense of business.  Once you've done that for a while and you have a great stock of cards, then you can start scouting a retail location and bankrolling an actual storefront.  The rest of the question was -

@kellyreid e.g. initial capital? shopfront, website, ebay, or all of them? start with Standard or go for everything?

If it is profitable, do it.  Jon Medina turned a Bear Umbra into God-knows-what in about 20 man-hours of trading, so just start making good trades.  I always tell people that transactions are more important than the raw margin you make on a trade, so that they get the idea.  You just want to be turning over inventory at a ridiculous rate.  When you get started you don't really want to have to meet the overhead demands of an online store or a retail store.  Just put together a binder or two, make tons of good trades, and keep trading up.  You can sell cards for startup capital if you want to do a retail store, but I assure you that if you really become a good trader, you'll encounter people who will consider bankrolling you in exchange for company ownership.

@kellyreid In today's standard environment what is a good way to get a new player started in constructed without a mortgage being involved? --@thephoenix5

I really don't know the answer to this on a deck-specific level, but you can look at Top 8 lists and see what's cheap and what's winning.  Mono  Red decks are often a great price-power compromise.  I would honestly tell most players to start with Limited so they learn the skills of the game while acquiring cards.  Then they can use those cards to begin the trade-up process.

@kellyreid Is show and tell a card to look into or has it hit a ceiling on it's price already -- @zach5000

Show and Tell has already had one big price spike happen to it, so my first reaction is to say that it is around its ceiling.  There were a few decks at GP Columbus that really used the card to great effect, so it could have a few more percentage points to gain.  I wouldn't worry about it one way or another.  You're not going to make enough money to warrant having so much in a single card.

I pulled an expensive foil in one of my MTGO drafts. Should I try my hand on one of the bots, eBay it or other? --mtgcolorpie

Check out MTGO Library. That site is an incomplete but useful aggregator of a number of MTGO bots.  Remember that Tix are liquid, and almost as good as cash.  I know that they can be sold for about 90 cents on the dollar in general, so consider that when ebaying a card.  I'd turn it into tix, and set aside a portion of your tix each time you make them.  Use that to speculate and start turning a profit.

Will Jace, TMS stay at the 60-70 plateau for the next 3 yrs? Considering Standard into Extended rotations? --@bottsthoughts

Three years is a long time to be predicting.  I'll say this; if Jace stays as a Worldwake-only printing and Islands don't get banned, I see him settling around $100.  That being said, there is another unsubstantiated rumor traveling the TCG hall at GenCon that might see Jace, the Mind Sculptor reprinted in a Sony video game at the end of this year.  Once again, I can neither confirm nor deny this.  I am only parrotting what I hear on the winds.  If this happens, his value will fall.  The severity of the fall will depend on the size of the print run.

Do you think the possibility of split packs in Scars of Mirrodin will effect the pricing of individual cards? --@thebeme

For those who don't know, he's actually referring to the rumor that the second set in the Scars of Mirrodin block will contain two miniature sets to represent two warring factions.  Cards will be packaged in faction-specific packs if this rumor is true.  This will surely be interesting if it proves to be the case.  I can see a problem occuring if one side of the "war" has a bomb-tastic mythic and the other doesn't.  If one side sells faster than the other because of this, it could be seriously bad news.  I would keep a close eye on secondary market prices and I'm sure Chris McNutt will have a bunch of fancy charts to tell us which side has better EV.  Remember, this is yet another unsubstantiated rumor that I am just musing about.  I really have no idea if there's any validity to it

That'll do it for today!  If I didn't get to your question, don't be sad.  I get a lot of them, so shoot another one my way next week.  Catch you guys in a few!

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

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13 thoughts on “Write to Reid – Weekly Q&A

  1. Um, in your response to the fifth question, did you just spoil the ending to Jon Medina's Pack to Power quest? Or was this some other project of his that also happened to begin with a Bear Umbra?

  2. Sounds like the ending of Pack to Power was indeed just spoiled.

    That's a shame, I was really looking forward to the grand finale. It'll still be a good read, but now it just loses quite a bit of "oomph."

  3. Hah, that was just me making a guess at what power he'd end up at. I know he didn't want a Twister or anything and Pearl is one of the cheaper Moxes. Emerald is also lower-end. Just to clarify, I changed it so I don't confuse people.

    I -did- get to watch him make some pretty bad-ass pack to power trades, so you're going to wanna check in with his article this week. GenCon was good to him.

  4. What do you think will happen to the the price of JItte, since it is being given away now at the GP's (it has already decreased in the last few months)?

  5. Ah, cool. Thanks for the clarification.

    I enjoy these Q&A articles. Keep 'em coming! If possible, I'd like to see an article about trading up to bolster and build a personal collection. A common theme for trading for "profit" is to not be attached to the cards you're trading. But what's a good strategy for trying to acquire those expensive staples that you want to keep for yourself? Think of it in terms of multiple mini Pack to Power quests? When should you "bank" a card to your collection? Etc…

  6. I'm seeing Destructive Force showing up in a lot of decklists lately and I remember how popluar Wildfire was back in the day. Playsets can be had for about $9 or less on ebay….do you feel this is a good investment right now? Or is the demand too narrow to see a significant bump in price?

  7. I will answer these questions and more next week, so leave your questions here as well as on Twitter. WIthout saying too much, I'm picking up Destructive Forces. They're good 🙂

  8. Another question, sorry.

    Regarding From the Vault: Relics. Which cards do you THINK will drop the most in value after its foil reprint? Especially Aether Vial, and Mox Diamonds?

  9. Nice article. Mailbags are a fun column topic, and introduced me to a few rumors I hadn't heard yet.

    @Womby I try to do this is my articles (that run Thursday or Friday). I try to offer some tips on trading up and I track my trades each week.

  10. Hopefully you are still checking this for question fodder…anyway:

    In a Mananation article you said to pick up FTV: Relics, without question. You can find them for $100 on ebay pretty easily, and I was wondering if that is a good price at which to pick them up, and if one should then break them up to trade/sell or keep the thing sealed and try to resell it later?

    Sean in MInneapolis

  11. I am not the best person at 'trading for profit' mostly because most of the players in my community are stone cold sharks. However, I have enough money saved up to be starting my own retail store (Magic, Warhammer, DnD, board games, and a high-tech gaming zone (top end computers, monitors, big screen tv's and comfy chairs)). Even though I didn't make the money trading magic cards, do you think I can be successful as a Magic and gaming retailer? (I know this is a loaded question, I'm mostly just looking for any advice 🙂 )

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