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Tracking Magic events is one of the surest ways to stay on top of trends. The first requirement is to actually know when they are. Between Pro Tours, Grand Prix, new sets and the banned/restricted announcements, we have a lot of events to track. This article will lay out all of the events, along with helpful tools to track them.
The Pro Tour is a mix of formats, showcasing both Limited and Constructed. We don't really care financially about the Limited aspect, but Constructed can be very valuable to track. One recent example: PT Amsterdam last September. The breakout deck in the Extended format at that time was the Doran deck, captained by luminaries like LSV and Brian Kibler. If you followed it, you knew that several cards blew up soon after the deck's success. You could make a profit by knowing that Murmuring Bosk, Treefolk Harbinger and Knight of the Reliquary were hot.
This season promises the following events:
Feb 10: Paris, France. This event has a Standard portion, and we know that Rares and Mythics can really take off after a good showing. Keep an eye on MTGO results to catch the pulse of the metagame. I'll be at Pro Tour: Paris as part of the Untapped World Tour.
June 10: Nagoya, Japan. Unfortunately, this event only has Block Constructed to look forward to. Block is a historically-boring format and aside from all-stars like Rishadan Port, few cards see price bumps from Block. This is largely due to the fact that aside from the Tour, few people play Block. Those playing MTGO might have Block interests, since the format is somewhat popular online.
Sept 2: Philadelphia, USA. This is the real jewel of the PT calendar because it showcases Extended. Even after the format got chopped in half, it is still expensive to play. The Doran deck happened in Extended, and there will surely be another breakout deck from this PT that people underestimate. Above all else, watch this one – read the coverage, but follow Twitter feeds of people at the event too. When it shows up in the coverage, it might be too late to snag the cards from stores or bots on MTGO. Most importantly, keep an eye on Grand Prix: Atlanta's results this weekend.
A Grand Prix is just below the Pro Tour in the hierarchy of events. The downside is that you usually have well over a thousand people, meaning that some decks which show up early in coverage lose steam and miss top 8. Still, there are simply a lot of relevant GP events this year that are worth tracking and profiting from. Here's the schedule:
Jan. 22-23 Atlanta Extended - (I'll be here too, as a warm-up for the Tour.)
March 19-20 Kobe Extended
March 26-27 Barcelona Standard
April 9-10 Dallas Standard
May 28-29 Providence, RI Legacy
Aug. 27-28 Pittsburgh Standard
Oct. 15-16 Brisbane Standard
Oct. 29-30 Hiroshima Standard
Nov. 12-13 San Diego Extended
TBD Amsterdam Legacy
As you can see, a great mix of Extended and Standard. There are also two Legacy GPs scheduled this year, though Amsterdam doesn't have a date on the calendar right now. Legacy events are such insane money-makers for anyone who participates. Cards shoot up in value months before events as pundits and players call the decks they think will do well or break out. Dual lands and Force of Wills spike in value, Tarmogoyfs get a temporary price boost and more. If nothing else, track these two events.
As you saw recently with Grim Monolith, Time Spiral and Survival of the Fittest, a lot of money rides on the quarterly Legacy banning announcements. Sure, other formats can plausibly be affected, but the one that gets shaken up the most often is Legacy. The announcements happen as close to (and before) the 20th of the month that they are slated for, usually announced on weekdays. The DCI is sort of cagey about announcing actual dates. On these especially, it pays to stay up till midnight and see if anything changes. The four dates are:
New Set Releases
The final category of important dates is the release of new sets. This is kind of an amorphous time frame though, as spoilers effectively can make for five weeks of intense tracking. Witness those who profited by snagging Dark Depths as soon as Vampire Hexmage was unveiled to see just how tracking these pays off. Prereleases and release tournaments are great times to pick up new cards and cash out on the hype for ones that don't pay off. Here are the pre-release dates; you can expect to watch for spoilers about four to five weeks previous to the date with the bulk of the information coming within two weeks.
Mirrodin Beseiged Jan 29
Mirrodin Pure/New Phyrexia May 13
Magic 2012 July 10-11
The next set's release dates are not known at the time of writing.
Tracking it All
I suggest that you input these dates into whatever calendar you use. I use Remember The Milk (www.rememberthemilk.com) to track my calendar, especially since it syncs with Gmail and my iPhone. To say that the program has revolutionized my life is an understatement. It might be worthwhile for you to use, and the intuitive format entry system makes plugging all of these dates into a simple task. Google Calendar is nice too, and can sync with most of your devices. This is one of the basic requirements for being a good trader, so make it a priority to get these dates into your head.
One thought on “Big Dates for Traders”
A few quick points:
1) No mention of mtgmom.com? I think her site (and following her on Twitter) are essential for keeping up with events.
2) Re: Block Constructed. I'm going to pay much closer attention to block this year than I have in the past because it's such a good indicator of the upcoming standard. You can really get an early jump on what cards are going to have an impact after the upcoming rotation. Wasn't Avenger of Zendikar a major player in block way before it hit big in standard? Investing in those early would have been pretty high EV.
My guess for this upcoming block is invest in Elspeth Tirel. Obviously Koth has a pretty good shot at getting big as well, but his price still puts him out of range for investment purposes as far as I'm concerned. He may go up, but I don't think the risk is worth the reward. Elspeth on the other hand is ridiculously cheap right now and stands to gain so much if a deck finds her.