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Insider: Draft Season

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This week our LGS had our first ‘Regular Season’ draft of M12 and it sure feels good to be a drafter. I like to revisit general tips on working your way through a draft season at the beginning of each set, but much of it has been addressed, and really we want to narrow down your specific plan to what this draft season needs to do for you, and we will primarily focus on the financial plan (although other priorities may exist). If you draft frequently, this is a must. If you want to draft frequently, this is the way to do it.

As I discussed a month ago, your trade binder is your portfolio. Do you have a plan for it? I’ve been working through my plan as this new set rolls in, and I start organizing all my product from limited events. There’s a Sealed PTQ season around the corner, so not only do I want to focus on this limited format as much as possible, but I want to be able to cover some expenses too, by being ready to trade at the events. I’m stashing at least 8 of almost all the uncommons, even ones that seem bad. I’m not trading for these, I’m not buying these, I’m just saving them in a longbox. If you draft, it won’t take long to hit 8 copies of each uncommon and common. Ones that seem marginally playable, I’ll stash even more. Notable ones, like Oblivion Ring, can be relegated to your normal trade stock. There is typically at least one of those uncommons that will suddenly spike at a big event when Standard season comes back around. When you have 4 to play, and 4+ to sell of the card everyone owns, but no one brought with them, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’m not suggesting to bring this box with you to FNM. Just bigger events, where demand can suddenly spike if new tech runs rampant. Note: My local dealer pays $0.10 on Incinerate. What?! I’ve already got about 20 from the Pre-Release and Release alone. Sure, that’s only $2, but by the time you cover all the cards in the set, it really adds up.

If PTQ’s aren’t your thing, or rolling with rotation isn’t your plan, then you need to rethink how this works for you. Ultimately, not everyone is focused on free-rolling limited play, but the same rules apply. Have you created your plan yet? How can you progress further, and can drafting be part of that? The answer isn’t always, ‘Yes’; but it can be if that’s what you want. There are PTQ players who “don’t want to own cards.” We here, obviously aren’t that crowd. I really believe that drafting does give you one of the best angles to trade with the most people in the store. Even the Spikes who tend to focus on Constructed have a certain respect for the 40-card crowd. You’ll often see EDH guys jumping in on a draft, or even just the regular pod of ringers. Not to mention, you always leave with a handful of cards to build your stock. The format is the most social format there is, and I’m probably one of the few that puts it above EDH. A draft pod goes through a drafting experience together, and while it may not be a long-term bond, there is definitely a social connection made over the passing of boosters. This opens up so many trade opportunities. A local dealer drafts with us all the time, because he knows we have cards to sell/trade, and he more than makes up any losses on the buys he picks up in the process. If you haven’t yet, write down your plan.

Onto the Prediction Tracker:
I’ve been a bit quiet on the tracker lately, but I’m not one to bandwagon if I don’t believe in something, and I’m not going to make a controversial call, unless I’m ready to stand behind it. There are some small items that I think are worth making a move on.

Leyline of Sanctity:
This card is arguably maindeckable in U/W control variants, and certainly a 3-4-of Sideboard spell for any White deck in Standard. There have been literally dozens of people looking for these around me, and since then, I’ve been looking for them too. I’m ordering on Ebay actively, so hopefully you’re not competing with me, but major retail sites are sold out (or very close to it) at $4+! Even since I posted it on the Tracker this weekend, they seem to be creeping up on Ebay, even though it hasn’t reflected on BlackLotusProject.com. As a result, I’ve updated my Buy/Sell price on these. I’m going to buy as many as I can at $3, and be trading for them aggressively. These will bring $5 a piece (or more) from someone who needs them.

Twisted Image:
This one is a bit more speculative, but very low risk. Spellskite is appearing everywhere, and Twisted Image eats it up quickly with such minimal opportunity cost. Especially with Valakut having Overgrown Battlement as an auto-include, this card is poised to see play in U/x control sideboards. Blue mages need to start being a bit more creative to eek out the massive advantage they once had with Jace, the Mind Sculptor in the format, and this card does a lot of work against two very relevant cards in the format. These are $0.25 at most retail sites, but can be traded for even cheaper. I’m going to try to pick up at least 4 sets of this card, which is a pretty minimal risk, but if the card picks up any steam, I want to grab them up quickly, and get out while I can.

Also, here are some foils that some of the EDH gang told me they are excited about. It’s always good to know which ones to stash. Sphinx of Unthuun, Angelic Destiny, Goblin Grenade, Jade Mage, Rune-Scarred Demon, and Aegis Angel. There were others, but their demand is already fairly known.

Hopefully you survived the Release weekend with some money in your pocket, and some growth in your binder.

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