Hello there. How did your box(s) turn out? I hope well because there certainly is an extremely high variance between them. Some boxes have three Tezzerets and some have none. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, in my last article, I wrote about the process that I have been using for the last year to buy a continuous stream of boxes with each set release.
I was excited about the strong response I received from my last article, even if many people questioned the method. In case you missed it, here is the basic premise. When you buy a box of cards, typically you do not need all of the cards in the box. Usually in a set there are only a few mythics or rares that you need. Most of the other mythics and rares you open go into the trade binder or get lost somewhere in your collection. The goal of this method is to recycle those unused rares and make them into more boxes. Most of us do not have a ton of extra money that we can afford to buy a couple boxes every time a set comes out so this method is to help with the cost of playing this great game.
If this was your first foray into the world of finance, perfect, this set was 100% amazing for starting to pay attention to the financial side of magic. If you have been doing this for a while, well then, you were probably disappointed a bit with the set depending on how your boxes turned out. You may have been on the three Tezz side of variance but I was on the zero side unfortunately.
The reason that I say this was the perfect set to start this method is because it did exactly what it was supposed to do in terms of protecting your investment. With the amount of variance between Tezz and non-Tezz boxes the number of cards that needed to be sold to cover your investment varied somewhere between a Tezz and a handful of other cards to virtually all the cards that a website was buying.
**Pause for aside. Alright, I know that last statement might seem ridiculous to some of you financiers out there but you have to look at this process through the eyes of someone just getting started in this money side of magic. This is perfect for someone trying to get their feet wet. Sure you might not be able to keep all the mythics you open but at least the investment is still there for when the next set comes out so the continuation of competitive play may continue. Keep in mind that when I started this it was because too much of my trading resources went into trading for dumb stuff like uncommons. I simply could not afford to buy them or the boxes to crack them from. End aside**
Another reason that this set was a perfect place to start this method is because many of the cards in demand are designed for distinctly different archetypes. For example, you are most likely not going to need Hero of Oxid Ridge, Blightsteel Colossus, and Thrun. These are distinctly different cards with distinctly different purposes. Rarely would these cards go in the same deck. The red hero is designed for an aggressive deck, Blightsteel a combo deck, and Thrun a midrange or control deck. The same goes for the rares. Think about opening these following three rares: Green Sun's Zenith, Black Sun's Zenith, and Contested Warzone. I doubt anyone is playing those cards together. Even if you think that they can be played together, the point is that the set is not geared toward just one main archetype, there are cards for everyone and hopefully you figured out which ones were for you.
So what was the goal for this method? Step one, order your box. Step two, determine what cards you actually want from the set. Step three, sell the rest.
Well let’s take a look at my box and see what happened when I put this method to work.
2x Contested Warzone
If you look over this list of cards and highlight the ones you can sell, you will notice that this box did not go very well. Sure there are two Sword of Feast and Famines but past that, it goes downhill quickly. In my experience with this set, this is on the low end but basically a typical box. Sure there are much better ones than this but it doesn’t get much worse. This is about average in terms of what you normally open. With this being a small set, most boxes have a copy of almost all the rares. That is actually great for this set because there are a bunch of rares that we actually care about in terms of selling. Now just figure out what you want to keep. This was pretty easy for me because I am playing valakut at the moment, so my needs were Green Sun's Zenith and Slagstorm. Past that the only cards I need would be if I decide to play something else or if I am thinking about EDH (commander).
So here’s the list of cards that we can sell from this box and what they sold for.
Mirran Crusader 3.00
2x Black Sun's Zenith 3.00 (6.00)
Massacre Wurm 4.00
2x Phyrexian Vatmother .50 (1.00)
Praetor's Council 1.00
Thrun, the Last Troll 12.00
Phyrexian Revoker 3.00
2x Sword of Feast and Famine 10.00 (20.00)
2x Contested Warzone 3.00 (6.00)
2x Go for the Throat 1.00 (2.00)
If you add all that up you basically get $60 (59.50) and when you put in the bonus store credit you get $77.35. That was from a crappy box! If you open packs better than I do, this would have turned out even better. Sure I was a little disappointed that I didn’t cover my whole investment but it was pretty close. This is the closest call I’ve had with this method, it was bound to happen at some point but we still got there. Now I do supplement this with the repacks as I said in the last article so I did end up covering my investment. If you followed the plan exactly, then when the next set comes out you basically have to throw in under twenty bucks and can order another box.
Also, if your goal was to get a hold of Tezzeret, you can add in the Green Sun's Zenith for 7.00 and the Slagstorm for 1.50 and bump the price to $68 ($88.4). with that amount you can chase your Tezzeret in another box immediately. This is another application of this method, flipping a box immediately so that you get the chase mythic, or at least have a better shot at it.
One thing that is important to remember is the window. The window is about as short as it can get at two weeks. It is imperative that you sell during this window. If there is a big tournament, like for this set there was a pro tour, you can wait until after for the prices to spike, but the window is the limiting factor here. If you were to price these same cards now, the price to sell them would be much lower, with the exception of the sword which has stayed the same after the pro tour bumped the price up a little bit.
If you decide to start using this method regularly, you should think about investing in two or three boxes because that actually cuts down the variance drastically. Think about replacing any of those mythics with a Tezzeret for example. If you had basically those same cards but Tezzeret instead of Thrun, your investment for both boxes would be covered even with the shipping.
This method is a win win situation for player and dealers alike. We get to keep buying boxes, they get to keep selling singles. Sometimes we have to throw in some extra money, like in this case for the shipping, but everyone wins. The dealers make out too because they now have product that will be sold for roughly double what they pay for the card, sometimes more. So the cards that I sold for 60$, they can sell for $120. Sure the dealer is taking a small but calculated risk doing this because if they are buying say Time Reversals high and then the price crashes like it did they are going to lose some money but it will be made up for in the Primeval and Grave Titans that skyrocket. I think some dealers get nervous when I mention anything about how I buy boxes, but in truth, it’s exactly what they need. They need a bunch of people to sell them cards so that they have stock to resell at double the price. Without us, where would they be?
Before I go for this week, I wanted to end with two small tidbits of financial advice. The first is risk free and the second will take a while to show fruit.
Tip 1. Pick up at least one playset of Praetor's Councils. This card does something truly unique and powerful. Sure it costs eight mana but that’s ok. Right now people are hungry to trade this card away because they view it as junk. Its usually a throw in or the final card to even out a trade. There is no risk here because the card is at its bottom and cannot possibly go lower than the 1$ price it’s at right now. The card has a lot of potential in a control deck or combo deck to regrow your graveyard. The effect is similar to Yawgmoth's Will but more expensive because you get to keep the cards in hand instead of having to play them all in one turn. This card already sprung up in a Valakut list that top eighted one of the new Starcity Invitational Qualifiers so it definitely has the possibility to be recognized and used in that deck as well as others.
Tip 2. If you can trade for Tezzeret, I think it would be a good investment. Initially when I evaluated the card in preparation for my boxes, I thought he was garbage and everyone should sell immediately. I was unsure about my evaluation though so I did not share it with basically anyone. Since then I have changed my opinion for two reasons. The reasons are comparisons to other cards. When I think about Tezzeret he seems like either a Jace, the Mind Sculptor/Koth hybrid or a one mana cheaper Sarkhan the Mad. If you think about the card either of those two ways, there is no way that this card won’t see play. I doubt he is the next Jace TMS but I think he could likely hold his current 50-60$ price tag for most of the time he is in standard. This tip has some risk so be aware of. He realistically could drop to 30 to 40$. I am in the process of acquiring them myself and will hopefully own my playset in the near future.
I promise next time, we will talk about what to do with your left over rares from the box(s). They are a resource so don’t dismiss or discard them. Hold on to those Signal Pests to trade as well, the dealers don’t really buy them but they sure do trade well.
Until next time.
Wishing you boxes filled with Tezzerets in your near future,
MtgJedi on twitter