Insider: Strikes and Gutters

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“Oh, you know, strikes and gutters. Ups and downs.”
-Jeffrey Lebowski

There isn’t many circumstances in my life I couldn’t sum up in a short line from “the Dude”. There is some unparalleled wisdom that stems from a fictional character who has got to be the most laid back person ever born. He makes this comment after a whirlwind of a week where he is knocked-out by henchmen a number of times, investigates the disappearance of a trophy-wife/porn-star, and dodges his landlord on rent day. The guy can sure as hell take a punch.

When Corbin introduced the Prediction Tracker, he indicated he wanted accountability from the contributors, and now that we’ve got a nice gap between set releases, I want to really poke at my own calls, and see how we did.

There’s been some solid successes and some misses, so lets see where I hit the mark, and where I missed. I’m looking for factors I didn’t consider, or simply misjudging the metagame or market for a card.

Leyline of Sanctity: This card saw a small spike, and was extremely pricey at the end of Standard PTQ season from onsite dealers, but now is the time to get out as the season wraps up, and M11 rotates soon. If you gobbled up a quick profit at a PTQ on these, then you did good. If you’ve still got them, it’s time to try and move them. Even now, there should be a small gain over their price a month ago. This one is a half-hit/half-miss. To stick with the bowling analogy, I’ll call it picking up a spare. It didn’t hit the ceiling I predicted, but still sits at a higher price today than when I recommended picking it up, and depending on your outlets to dumping these and what price you got in at, you can likely still turn enough gain to make it worth your time. I dumped mine at a PTQ for $3.50 a piece, and I traded for my first set early in the season, and picked up a handful more around $2-2.25 about a month ago.

Molten-Tail Masticore: This card has drifted further downward since my reccomendation, and has thus far been a gutter-ball. I’m still recommending him as a pickup, as his upside is mainly focused around post-rotation standard, and he’s a pretty difficult 4-drop to deal with. I would temper your volume on these, but I’m holding out, and if you want to gamble with me, hop on board. I just want to temper my recommendation based on there being no other analysts on my side on this one.

Day of Judgement: Gutterball. I’m not sure how I misplayed this one so poorly, but I did. If you got in on my reccomendation, you haven’t lost any value yet, so I’d move all but your single set. Not only are control decks not running this card, but the 3rd printing of a non-mythic rare is going to keep this card down around $1-2 indefinitely.

Etched Champion: Strike. This guy was readily available at $1 or under upon my reccomendation, and now is at least $2-3. My predicted long-term price is around $3, so if you’re happy with your gains, feel free to get out. If you want to try and ride the train longer, do so at your own risk. He’s currently retailing for $4 at

Scars Duals: Strike. The blue duals are now on BUYLISTS at $2-3, and hopefully you were picking them up around $1-2. All of the duals will continue to see this rise until the manlands from Zendikar finally rotate.

Venser the Sojourner: Strike. He was available on Ebay around $8 upon my recommendation, and has gained over 25% since then. It’s probably time to stop buying on him now. Hold with preparation to sell if it climbs any higher at all.

There’s also some cards I’ve put up recently that are too early to call. Mutavault, for one, has already seen some climbing on the Modern hype, and I think its Legacy playability will protect that from falling back down. It appears I launched the ball down the middle looking for a strike, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m still standing behind this one as my personal big play of the season. I’ve already picked up 2 sets myself, and I am constantly scouring Ebay for cheap ones. I have Twisted Image on my buy list also, but I want to notate that this is one of my pet-gambles for the season. I’ve used this card to great success in recent months in Standard play, and am expecting much better players to find an even better use for it. That doesn’t mean it will happen, but I’ve made enough money on this card by playing with it that I’m willing to stash a bunch of them. Hopefully some of you saved your money when I suggested getting out of Candlabra of Tawnos and Aether Vial, and hopefully more of you believed me when I picked out some of the gainers above. Luckily for us, the few gutter-balls I’ve thrown haven’t seen much/any decline, and there’s still time to recoup any investment.

Next week I plan to dive into MTGO a bit, as I’m going to be incorporating that into my business plan. Some of that involves grinding queues, but a lot of it is being a savvy trader. I will outline buybots, auction room, and pack values. Further, I’ll get into what I like to call pack-lag, which is the gap between paper and online releases. I’ve added this to my business plan after I saw how much money was to be made on heavily desirable uncommons like Timely Reinforcements immediately upon the Pre-Release. Next set, I want to prepare for this, and fund a whole season of grinding with just a few clicks.

Chad Havas
@torerotutor on twitter

2 thoughts on “Insider: Strikes and Gutters

  1. Good article. It may just be my thing, but I love reading these articles where we examine calls.
    As for your calls, I'm still hopeful for Etched Champion, and the Scars duals seem like they aren't going to do anything but go up for the next year.
    The thing about Masticore is that if it spikes, it's going to spike hard due to being a Mythic. If you're going to hold onto something, the Mythic offers the most upside.
    Good work!

    1. Thanks for the support Corbin, missed this comment earlier. I think Etched Champion is still a very safe hold, but am no longer as hopefull for his ceiling. I’m still feeling good about Scars Duals, and I”m picking them up in trades at Dealer Buy Prices, and giving them to people when needed at retail. When people need them, they know they need to pay $3. When they have more than 4 in their binder, i know they’re willing to dump around $1.

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