A Little Bit of Everything

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While last week, my article was pretty focused, today is going to be a bit more widespread in regards to topics. A lot of stuff has crossed my path over the past week, so I’ll do my best to talk to you about all of it.

First off I’d like to just put in some brief thoughts about Pete Jahn’s article. This one has been getting a ton of feedback across the internet, and at least from the sites I’ve been reading, mainly negative. However, I feel Pete Jahn makes the same argument against traders that kitchen table players do against PTQ grinders or Pro Players. Essentially, Pete Jahn feels like traders don’t interact with the game in the “right” way. From my point of view, though, there is no “right” way to play or enjoy Magic. In fact, I’d say the only “wrong” way is cheating. Other than that, I couldn’t care less about how often you play, or your level of commitment to the game, so long as you have fun and Magic continues to prosper. Every so often, one of these articles surfaces bashing another play group (and to be fair it’s sometimes competitive players bashing those who play casually), and it always strikes a bad note with me. As I type this, I’m watching Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or Fear), and I think that’s something the Magic community needs to come together about, just like the Rally: no more prejudice.

While we’re on the topic of articles over the past week, I read an excellent article here on Quiet Speculation about buying up collections. It was a bit of a coincidence, since the day before it was posted I had just started buying up collections from Craigslist and other sites, but the article was a massive help to me, and I would assume others who would like to get started in the business. Over just the first week or so of looking, let’s see what I was able to find:

2 Foil Jace, the Mind Sculptor

2 non foil Jace TMS

1 foil Venser, the Sojourner

2 Mint Force of Will

1 Tropical Island (rv)

1 Underground Sea (rv)

1 Volcanic Island (rv)

1 Tundra (rv)

…for a total of $430. This was my first find, and it really hooked me into this. Just look at this collection! No matter what pricing system you use, from Ebay, to MOTL, to Starcity, this ends up with a minimum of $150 in profit, without even scouting for a better deal. I didn’t end things there though. I was also able to pick up a mint complete set of Revised for $450, which on MOTL, the low end of the pricing spectrum, can fetch $580. Ahhh the joys of Craigslist. I recommend starting to do this (unless you live in Chicago. ‘Cuz that’s MY turf. MINE, ya’ hear? :D) if you’re interested in making some money, though always be sure to check what you’re getting without buying up a 1000+ cards from Homelands for $300.

Moving swiftly on, I’m also going to encourage everyone to vote for Quiet Speculation in British Airways’ Face of Opportunity contest. You can vote once per day, and if it wins, QS will be getting a free trip to go do financial coverage at an event, which will help everyone, including me, out when looking for financial trends before everyone else has the chance to figure them out. There’s no downside to voting, so take just a few seconds of your time, and you may end up with a little extra money as a direct result of it.

Finally, we’ve got some updates on Standard from the SCG 5K in Charlotte. I’m writing this as the finals are being played out, so the decklists from the event are not publicly available yet. But I know Nick Spagnolo managed ANOTHER top 8, bringing him to 3 consecutive high level event top 8s with the same deck, though he did lose in the top 4. GerryT was also competing, sporting a hot new build of U/B with Abyssal Persecutors and Mimic Vat. I had already brought up Abyssal Persecutor’s last week, so hopefully you managed to get some, and Mimic Vat is another card you could be looking at. Gerry’s deck tries to maximize value from it with Gatekeeper of Malakir and Sea Gate Oracle, which lead to some crazy interactions. Playing his version, I’ve Gatekeeper my own Persecutor with my opponent on 20, just to get it on the Vat sooner. I’ve Gatekeepered my Sea Gate Oracle against an almost creatureless control deck to get my self a Howling Mine. And, what I think is the best one, my opponent played an Avenger of Zendikar, I stole it with Volition Reins, Gatekeepered it, and imprinted it on the Vat to pump out 7+ tokens per turn. While I like the Vat list a lot, my current numbers are pretty rough and almost certainly wrong, so I’m not going to try and comment on an exact build until Gerry’s is public, as he is probably a better deckbuilder than I will ever be.

R/U/G ramp also put up a strong showing at the 5k with 2 copies in the top 8. I’ve played against it a few times online (and it’s the deck I got the sick Avenger+Vat play against) and it always seemed good, but not great. While control mirrors are all about qauntities of mana, and so on paper RUG should easily win, I’ve found that the matchup is closer than it seems. Sure, if your opponent goes, T2 Cobra, T3 Cobra, fetch, Oracle, fetch, Jace, then you will probably lose. But RUG doesn’t have the same kind of card adavantage or threat density that U/B has. Because it has no small Jaces, RUG just doesn’t draw as many cards (though it is easier to answer opposing ‘walkers because of it’s variety of 2 power creatures). It’s mana base is less consistent. And it doesn’t have nearly as many threats as U/B (my list had 3 Titans, 3 Persecutor, 4 Jaces, 2 Vats, and 4 Tar Pits, compared to RUGs 4 Jaces, 3 Frost Titans, and 3 Avengers) and doesn’t have the same level of countermagic to back it up. Finally, it also doesn’t have as much removal, which leads to almost autolosses against most aggro decks. I wouldn’t recommend RUG unless your local metagame is packed to the gills with control, and only then if you know how to properly pilot the deck, as that is also massively important, especially for this archetype.

No new MTGO news for this week. Price changes were mainly just U/B staples continuing to rise, which is kind of ridiculous. Frost Titan’s up to around 16, about a 550% rise over 2 weeks, Persecutor went up 40%, Tar Pit went up to about 5 tix, but the train has already left the station on those staples, so if you want to continue to invest in U/B cards, I would look for niche cards (like Mimic Vat) that haven’t been fully utilized yet. So that’s it for this weekend, but I’ll be joining you all in just 7 days for more Magic financial advice. Until then, be sure to check out all these other great articles on Quiet Speculation. I can tell you, even as a writer, that I have easily tripled my knowledge about Magic’s financial world EVERY week that I read the site, just because of the massive amount of information that’s available for consumption.

“Oh there’s no one more American than meeeeeeeee”

“Kareem Abdul Jabar!”

--Noah Whinston

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9 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Everything

  1. Do you think Mimic Vat which is currently hovering around 4 tix is going to rise? I don't mind grabbing a playset for decks, but I haven't had much luck getting cards on MTGO this early that held value. (Esp non mythics from a set that is getting the 3x draft treatment).

  2. Nice Craigslist pickups! I've been thinking about trying it out ever since I read the article last week although I have a feeling that not living in a major metro area might hurt me a little bit.

    Also just one small nitpick: Talking about URG you said: "And it doesn’t have nearly as many threats as U/B (my list had 3 Titans, 3 Persecutor, 4 Jaces, 2 Vats, and 4 Tar Pits, compared to RUGs 4 Jaces, 3 Frost Titans, and 3 Avengers" but URG generally runs 4x Raging Ravine as well which can be a serious threat especially once your Oracles are giving you tons of lands to make the activation easier. It can be doom-bladed though 🙁

    I'm excited that Mimic Vats are starting to get some love. I've been picking them up since Scars came out because they just always seemed like they would be good eventually. I haven't seen GerryT's list yet but I'm looking forward to it.

    Good luck with your collection treasure hunting! 🙂

  3. Matt I think the fact that you do not live in a major metropolitan area will actually help you. I cannot find any worthwhile ads around my area due to the large number of magic traders. I think you are more likely to find a few people who played a long time ago and might be willing to even simply give away their old cards.

  4. FYI, an area store (Galactic Force) warned that someone was trying to shop around fake Jaces and duals — cards similar to the craigslist posting. Hopefully that's just a coincidence, but you should look into the possibility the craigslist posting was a scam.

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