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Extending Profits

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Before I delve into the coming world of Extended and how to best profit from it, I know you’re all dying to hear about my first-ever Scars of Mirrodin draft last Friday. Well, I first picked… oh, you want financial advice instead of my tale of Wurmcoils and Poison counters? I guess we can do that instead.

Extended season will be on us before we know it, and it’s time to get moving on soon-to-be staples in the format. I assume you’ve all been picking up Reflecting Pools and Cryptic Commands, but if not, I have a primer for you as we near the season. And if you have taken my previous advice and are snapping up all the Commands you can, I have some tips for you as well.

Quiet Speculation’s Editor-in-Chief Kelly Reid wrote a nice piece over on ManaNation about the format and the potential hits, but I think there’s a few he missed that I’ll cover here.

First of all, let’s start with the easy ones. Everyone who’s following the format knows these cards are good, but they have room to grow despite that. I’m using BlackLotusProject for prices, since they track completed Ebay sells.

Your Baidu stock circa 2009 (criminally unknown, but a potential gold mine)

Forgive the stock references. After Quiet Speculation and DailyMTG.com, my first stop every morning is CNNMoney.com. If you don't know what Baidu is, you're likely where everyone else was two years ago. After the Google/China hacking incident, Baidu, the country's largest search engine, was trading at $12 a share in January 2009. Today? $100 a share.

So what's your Baidu stock for Extended? My money is on these cards from the Elemental deck Gavin Verhey posted last week.

Why this deck? The upside. If there's a White Stag to be found in the format, it's in these cards.

Primal Beyond

$1.

Horde of Notions

$.50

This is how you break the format trading-wise.There is next to no risk on these two cards, and the potential upside is massive. If this deck has any kind of performance at Worlds, you're looking at easily tripling your value on these cards. In addition, the deck is a ton of fun to play and has game against all of the field. And it runs a little combo we've seen before in Fauna Shaman/Vengevine, which, if you haven't noticed (and I didn't think about off the top of my head) is an Elemental. So is Mulldrifter. And Reveillark. And Fulminator Mage. And Cloudthresher. All tutored up by Flamekin Harbinger or Fauna Shaman while discarding Vengevines.

Okay, that's my best Mike Flores Top Decks impression (More drama than TNT). But seriously, this deck is fun to play, and good. The best bets are the Horde and the Primal Beyond. You will make money on these cards if you buy now.

There is potential here for these cards to skyrocket if the deck performs next weekend. I suggest being very ready come Worlds, because if this deck performs, you are going to be able to go nuts with these dollar-bin cards, if you're quick enough.

(Note: The preceding section was omitted from the original article because the deck was completely off my radar at the time of writing this)

Your basic CDs (extremely safe investments)

Cryptic Command

This card has been a monster ever since it was printed, and it’s going to be nuts in the new Extended format. It’s been creeping up over the last few months and is currently sitting just a hair under $10, as opposed to the $6 they were in July. You don’t have long left if you want to make profit on these. It’s going to hit at least $15 by the end of the season.

Reflecting Pool

If you don’t remember, this was a $20 card back in the spring of 2009. It’s unlikely that 5-Color Control will be dominant again, but Grixis Control is a real deck, and just about every deck with three or more colors is running this. It’s currently sitting at about $7, so I expect an increase of at least $4-5 dollars in this.

Noble Hierarch

Some deck in the format is going to end up using this card, and it’s price is going to tick up a few dollars when that happens. This hasn’t dropped off as much since it rotated out of Standard, where it was a $15 card. As such, it’s not going to eclipse that mark, but you should be able to flip these easily from players who don’t play Extended to players who do.

Doran, the Siege Tower

The toast of Amsterdam, Doran has fallen off very slightly since then, but it’s a very safe investment. The bottom line is that Doran decks have the best manabase in the format outside of mono-colored decks, and playing both White and Black give it a ton of flexibility to adapt in the metagame. At under $4, Doran will be easy to flip at $6-7, especially in trade value.

Spectral Procession

White Weenie won Amsterdam, and loses very little. Is that enough to sell? Of course, there’s context behind this, and that is that the White Weenie deck was very resilient to the Punishing Fire / Grove of the Burnwillows combo that completely warped that format.

But White Weenie is still a very good deck, and sometimes chase uncommons like this are actually easier to make a profit on, especially in trading. I suggest digging yours up and keeping them on hand, because not many people will. Use that to your advantage, and you can get rid of these at a very nice premium.

A solid mutual fund (low risk-medium reward)

The cards on this group might not see a ton of movement, but it’s unlikely you’re going to lose much value on these through the course of the season if you invest now.

Ranger of Eos

This guy has quite the toolbox to search up, not to mention being huge in the Extended Elf deck. A lot to like here at $2.50 a pop.

Path to Exile

THE chase uncommon of the last few years, Path is holding steady at $3 apiece and still has room to grow since it’s down from it’s peak of $4 last year. Pick these up in trades at $1-2 from people who don’t value uncommons highly, and you’re going to do very well for yourself. From a non-trading standpoint, these are a solid investment with a ton of appeal, so you’re safe in these either way.

Joraga Treespeaker

This card is pretty great in Standard. And it turns out it’s pretty great in Extended too, being a 4-of in the combo Elves deck. It’s a relatively quiet $1.30 uncommon and has room to grow to $2 or more with some solid showings in Extended.

Scapeshift

A viable alternate win condition in Titan ramp decks. Scapeshift is currently going for $2.50 apiece on Ebay. I don’t see this card growing much more than $3, but they will be easily tradable, so be on the lookout.

Murmuring Bosk

The train has largely passed on this one, with the card sitting above $4. It still the only fetchable multi-colored land in the format, though, so it could easily eclipse $6. This is a card I’m looking to pick up in every trade I make, because it’s got a lot of trade demand going for it right now.

Merfolk cards

The ‘Folk have been performing pretty strongly in recent tournaments, so there’s a lot to go look at with this deck. It runs Grand Architect into Molten-Tail Masticore, Sygg, River Guide, Merrow Reejery, and Wanderwine Hubs.

That’s a lot of cards right now that are underestimated by a lot of traders. Pick them up as you can, as everything but the Architect has a lot of potential. The Architect is being heavily drafted right now, and unplayed in Standard, so there’s plenty of supply of this guy to meet the demand.

Maelstrom Pulse

This isn’t a great investment cost-wise because Pulse is still $9-10 at the moment. But it is going to have a ton of targets in Extended, such as Bitterblossom and Pyromancer Ascension, and can be played in Doran and Jund, so it’s not unlikely that it creeps up a few dollars. It also does a pretty good job of taking care of Honor of the Pure.

Your Ford Motors stock circa 2008 (weak investment because of a toxic environment)

Faerie cards

The deck is just a huge dog to Volcanic Fallout, and this little mechanic called Cascade gets through some of the Faerie countermagic wall. The deck can still do broken things, but it’s just not going to be as dominant as it was.

More importantly, this deck is perceived as being the front-runner entering the season. This means that status is already being priced into the cards, making them a very poor investment, because it’s pretty difficult to overachieve when you’re expected to achieve everything. Get rid of these in trades before it becomes clear that the deck just isn’t the solution to the format.

As a note, the only “Faerie” card that you should continue to demand a high premium for is Bitterblossom. It has uses in multiple archetypes, so it’s not 100 percent tied into the fortunes of Faeries.

Vivid Creek and friends

It’s my opinion that there are just better options for lands, and making your control deck actually be five colors is probably unnecessary when you don’t need all five. With Scars lands, Worldwake lands, Filter lands, M10 lands, and Reflecting Pool you start to wonder how much in demand these lands are actually going to be.

That’s all the room I have for this week. This is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a very good place to work from as we prepare for the format. Any hot cards I missed or over/undervalued? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

15 thoughts on “Extending Profits

  1. Note: There is one deck I was unaware of until last week, and it's both a ton of fun to play and very exciting finance-wise. Here is what I've gone back and inserted into the article –

    "One thing I didn't examine closely enough until after I finished this article was the Elementals deck championed by Gavin Verhey. From his testing and the few matches I've run it through, the deck is very legit.

    The pickup here is Primal Beyond, which is currently just a dollar. There is potential here for this card to skyrocket if the deck performs next weekend. Horde of Notions is just $.50, and could also go up quite a bit. I suggest being very ready come Worlds, because if this deck performs, you are going to be able to go nuts with these dollar-bin cards."

  2. I learned a lot about buying when things are weak in 2008. I understand you're saying Faeries are overvalued, and letter "F" was the butt of many jokes, but if you didn't buy it at the low of $0.98 then the joke's on you. Right now you'd be sitting on a 16 bagger. I know I didn't. Even at $2, I didn't think it had room to run. It was the biggest investment miss I've ever made. Fortunately MTG isn't at risk of a government bailout, and in many areas it's like the 2007 boom all over again. Times will get thin again, but right now we're burning daylight.

    This is what i've been thinking about. You can pick up staples that are played a LOT cheeper than ones that aren't out of season. (I think we looked at Fulminator Mage last week). When things rotate around the guy who wants a Doran to play with doesn't care that it's not NM. I wouldn't mess with less liquid cards using this method since being NM+ raises a card's liquidity, but I'm starting to question my old logic.

    1. Yes, the Ford stock comparison breaks down there. I was just trying to illustrate that the environment around Ford (or in this case, Faeries), is affecting the stock (cards) more than anything that Ford (Faeries) did.
      The NM/SP issue really comes into concern when selling. To players looking to fill out decks, they are much less likely to care.

  3. Your new comment software made me split this.

    Doran sells for $4 right now NM and $3.50 SP (a 20% discount) My old logic would tell me if this card pop's to $6 that I'm also going to face a 20% discount or $4.80. This hurts my spread big time. A NM card gained $2 but a played one only gained $1.30. The only defense I would have in this case is to build that loss in and try to get the Doran for $2.80. Obviously if I'm buying it from a dealer, then I don't have this kind of leverage, so this would only be good when trading, or if I were higher than a dealer's buy list. (SCG buys him for $1).

    If I can get the Doran for $2.80 then there may be an opportunity (Like in the morning before GP Atlanta) where my played Doran is just as good as a NM one. The dealers may be selling him for $8, he's likely worth $6 on eBay, but if I can trade the played one for $6 or even $5.50 at that point I increased my value. Obviously that window is limited, but is this a way to make a safer investment without having to bet on the "next hot deck"?

    1. Yes, it is a way to protect your investment, provided you can trade it. Condition is chiefly a concern for Dealers and collectors. Players don't care if your Doran has a few small scratches on it, as long as it lands as a 5/5 on Turn 2. If you are reasonably sure you can trade it off, you're much better having SP copies of a card, since the difference is something most players don't care about. If you have to sell the SP card, on the other hand, you are taking a hit, though it will still be mostly in line with what you paid, assuming you got it at a SP price.
      Bottom line – if your goal is to trade, SP is perfect. If it's to sell, you want NM.

  4. found some Hordes for 0.39 and Primal Beyonds for 0.59 online, so I bought a bunch of each and added some regular and Chinese Mulldrifters and some Chinese Spectral Processions. Total of a whopping $14. Thought I'd start my speculations slowly. 😉

  5. So I put my money where my mouth is first, and was wondering what you all thought. I think Boggart Ram-Gang is a steal at 0.15. So I stole a bunch of them (this is mtgo, mind) at that price. What is the likelihood of this card moving to 0.5 or even 1? I have heard good things out of BBE into ram-gang for jund…. Any thoughts?

    1. I think this is a good investment but I don't know about MTGO. It should still go up a little. I just bought a bunch on them in real life. I definitely feel they will go up. Let's hope things go our way.

    2. Seems really good on MODO. They are about $1.50 in real life, which is harder to profit from, but still possible. MODO is a different beast entirely that I don't understand well enough or use enough to comment much on it (why I stick to the paper world in articles).

    3. When dealing with Modo remember that it takes a LOT of play for an uncommon to move above 0.15 tix. BBE at it's peak was only going for 2 tix and that was largely due to being in and underdrafted set on modo, remember that ram-gang is an uncommon from a large set so was opened a lot more than BBE. I would recommend against picking these up, especially given that most rares only go for 0.1 tix
      Just remember that people are only buying Joraga treespeaker for 0.1 tix and it's played in a lot of decks in std

      1. I have no idea what he is talking about :/ BBE went about 4 for months and months towards the end of jund domination. It has been going for 2 SINCE rotating from standard. While I agree it takes a lot of play to make a uncommon on modo go up, the BBE thing is completely wrong.

  6. "I know you’re all dying to hear about my first-ever Scars of Mirrodin draft last Friday. Well, I first picked… oh, you want financial advice instead of my tale of Wurmcoils and Poison counters?"

    If this is a pointed comment directed at Brian Grewe's writing then:

    LOL – awesome

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