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Insider: Getting the most out of the Prediction Tracker

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Welcome back to our second week of the Prediction Tracker! There were a few bumps, as we expected, but I’m glad we were able to get out to everyone last week. We appreciate  the feedback, and will be working to make this the best it can possibly be.

Remember that the spreadsheet you see below is a snapshot (taken Thursday) of the Tracker, which is continuously updated. You can find the Live Tracker under the QS Insider tab at the top of your screen.

This week I want to talk a little about how I actually “use” the spreadsheet. There is a ton of information contained within the list, and nearly everyone sees something different when the first time they look at it. Let’s start with the Hot List.

Average Pricing

The first thing you may look at is the Average Price column. The efficacy of this statistic has a few factors limiting it. Because it simply averages the numbers listed by contributors, it can reflect one person’s prices, or several people’s.

The Average Price column is very handy for getting a quick price when using the Tracker at-a-glance, but you want to be aware how many people have contributed to that particular call. For instance, most of the team is suggesting to pick up Dark Confidant, and the average number reflects the views of four members of the team. Conversely, if only one person suggests picking up a card, then the average price column will reflect just that person’s prediction.

So what does this information mean? For me, I find the Average Price column very useful on cards that most people agree is a good buy. With Confidant, I can see that four members of the team suggest picking it up. Since most people agree that picking up the card is the right call, I consider that a “safe” prediction and can use the average price to split the difference between everyone’s individual price predictions. Of course, you can also see those individual predictions if you trust one person’s predictions more than another.

Having more people contribute to a call on a particular call doesn’t necessarily make the average price column more “right,” but it does mean that it is probably a safer bet.

One of the requests I’ve heard is for a “popularity index” of each prediction. That is, everyone will weigh in on everyone else’s calls. There a few reasons this won’t work, but the primary reason is that not everyone has access to the same information. For instance, Doug has a ton of insight into the Legacy metagame, whereas I have very little. Thus, it doesn’t serve much of a purpose for me to comment on his predictions.

Time concerns

Another question was the duration of the calls made. We’ve chosen to approach this in a deliberate manner. Rather than have a certain prediction “fall off” the tracker after a set number of days or weeks, we’re leaving everything up and making each contributor responsible for the integrity of his or her predictions. The professionalism of our contributors and editors makes us confident that we will be able to maintain the integrity of the spreadsheet. What this means is that when you open up the Prediction Tracker, you can be confident that you’re receiving the same advice as you would if you were talking to us in person.

If you see something on the sheet that is obviously out of date, let us know and we’ll take care of it, but I don’t think that will be a concern as we move forward. We’re committed to keeping this a live document that adjusts as quickly as the market does. Cells highlighted in green on the Live Tracker reflect recent changes made to the document.

Cards in multiple places

Why is Jace, the Mind Sculptor on both the Hot List and the Ditch List? This can be confusing when you first see it, but as we dig deeper it begins to make sense.

Jace is an interesting case study. His price has been steadily falling for the last two months, despite his seeing more play than ever. Why then, is he dropping? I could write an entire article on this situation, but the short story is the players who want and can afford Jace already have him, and the players who couldn’t afford him before still can’t. The community reached a palpable breaking point when Jace crossed the $100 threshold, and with rotation coming there just wasn’t enough demand to support the astronomical price.

That’s what gets him on the ditch list, a steadily dropping price and an approaching rotation. Why, then, is he on the hot list? It’s not a secret that Jace is tearing up the Legacy format, and is expected to do so for some time. As with all playable cards after they rotate from Standard, they take a large price hit and then rebound over time.

With Jace, he of the of Sculpting Minds and $100 pricetag, it’s pretty easy to see how his price is going to be absurd again in five years. Therefore, buying him from Standard players as he rotates makes him a great bet for re-doubling in price down the road.

Notes section

This is my favorite part of the Tracker. In the comments section you get the best collection of financial opinions ever assembled in one place. You don’t have to load up three separate webpages to compare opinions on a card, it’s all lumped together in front of you in an easy-to-read format.

This is where contributors have the opportunity to respond to other people’s predictions, and it also helps to set a timeframe on the card predictions. For example, this week I both suggested picking up Hive Minds, but with the caveat that you need to get them cheap and flip them quick. That’s the kind of supplemental information you don’t get from just the Hot List, and you need to use it to get the most out of the Tracker.

I hope that clears up some of the common questions we received this week. If not, let me know in the comments if there’s anything else, and I’ll try to respond quickly.

With that, let’s get to this week’s Tracker!
[iframe https://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AqV8zg-4f2ehdG9KTjlpVjFmcXBydGR2WnQwQVNOc1E&single=true&gid=2&output=html 925px 1000px]

[iframe https://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AqV8zg-4f2ehdG9KTjlpVjFmcXBydGR2WnQwQVNOc1E&single=true&gid=10&output=html 925px 700px]

[iframe https://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AqV8zg-4f2ehdG9KTjlpVjFmcXBydGR2WnQwQVNOc1E&single=true&gid=11&output=html 925px 700px]

[iframe https://spreadsheets0.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AqV8zg-4f2ehdG9KTjlpVjFmcXBydGR2WnQwQVNOc1E&single=true&gid=12&output=html 925px 700px]

Last week’s biggest suggested pickup was Consecrated Sphinx, and that appears to be well on its way to paying off. These are now being bought at $3 on Channel Fireball and are continuing their upward trend on BlackLotusProject. With a strong performance at the SCG Invitational this weekend, the card is going to explode, so keep a close eye on the results.

As noted above, the other pickup from the week appears to be Dark Confidant. I suggested picking up Bobs in April, and he’s now the most expensive he’s ever been. I don’t expect this to change moving forward, since two-drops are more powerful than ever in Legacy thanks to Mental Misstep.

Interest in the Modern format (which doesn’t officially exist in paper yet), seems to be growing, and Stephen Moss suggested Remand as a card to pick up cheaply, and this seems very solid to me. It’s great in combo decks, and it’s a very popular counterspell anyway.

What was the most in-demand card at GP: Providence on Friday? Would you believe me if I told you Manriki-Gusari? I don’t know if this will go anywhere, but with Stoneforge Mystic dominating every format around right now, it’s certainly something to keep an eye on, and Joshua Justice suggests picking them up at their current paltry price of $.15.

The Invitational at Indianapolis this weekend has the potential to really shake up the market, and I know a few members of the QS team are going to be in attendance, both playing and trading (I’ll probably be flying there as you read this). Keep a close eye on the Prediction Tracker for any big news coming out of the event, and don’t hesitate to stop by and say hello if you’re in attendance!

Thanks,

Corbin Hosler

Corbin Hosler

Corbin Hosler is a journalist living in Norman, Oklahoma (also known as the hotbed of Magic). He started playing in Shadowmoor and chased the Pro Tour dream for a few years, culminating in a Star City Games Legacy Open finals appearance in 2011 before deciding to turn to trading and speculation full-time. He writes weekly at QuietSpeculation.com and biweekly for LegitMTG. He also cohosts Brainstorm Brewery, the only financial podcast on the net. He can best be reached @Chosler88 on Twitter.

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