Insider: DeGen Con, or The Weekend that Was & A Peculiar Two Drop

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This last weekend I was at Gen Con. The trip was a blast and if you've never been, I seriously suggest you go. Anybody who likes gaming of any sort will enjoy it.

Here’s an exhaustive account of all the drinking we’d done this weekend. Mind you, this isn’t necessarily the norm, which I suppose is why I’m telling it to you.

The Captain and the Crew of Gambling Pirates

Over the weekend I had some pretty insane experiences. I traveled down to Indianapolis in Mark Hinsz’s van with Forrest Ryan, Josh (the thunder god) Rayden, and Julian Booher. The ride was filled with sleeping and jamming games of Ascension on the three iPads in the car.

At one point during the trip Josh Rayden and Mark Hinsz were playing separate games of Ascension while I watched Julian attempt to satisfy his addiction to Starcraft 2 by playing it in a moving vehicle.

We arrived in Indy around 1:30am and went directly to the hotel to meet up with the 6th member of our party, Dan. He was asleep when we arrived, so we decided to make as much noise as possible and not give him any opportunity to sleep through our arrival. We missed him.

The first day started with waking up at 9:30am. I looked at Julian and asked, "Wanna have a drink?" He agreed and that's when the weekend began.

We decided that we would all meet up at 6:30pm to get Fogo de Chao, opting to just do whatever we wanted until then. We got our badges and some mixer and hit the scene.

Forrest and I spent the most of the day drinking while hitting up dealer booths. We ran into Kelly Reid and dug through dealers' 2-3 dollar binders and foil binders. I found some pretty good deals.

I managed to pick up:

4x Angel's Grace @ $2 each
4x Pattern of Rebirth @ $2 each
4x Unmask @ $2 each
2x Tower of the Magistrate @ $1 each
1x Consume the Meek (foil) @ $1
1x miscut Swords to Plowshares @ $10


We decided to walk around and check out the non-Magic related booths.

Julian, Forrest and I found a sweet booth where you could get your picture taken and made it into a Yu-gi-oh! token. So, of course, Forrest got in line at least 25 times and got a bunch of ridiculous tokens done.

Here are some of them.

I apologize for the quality but it seems the only picture that was taken of them was taken with a phone.

They also Had "Bro Cards" which had a picture of your face and your name. So we used names such as, ABROham Lincoln, BROver Cleveland, BROseidon, BROseph Stalin, and finally BROhammad (without a picture for obvious reasons).

Pretty much everyone in our crew made some sort of token at this booth. It was a very cool idea. Props to Konami for doing it.

After making more tokens than we could really ever use, we met up with Dan and Josh and looked at all the cool Steam Punk stuff.

Games of Chance

I'm normally not into cosplay, or any kind of dressing up, but I do appreciate looking at creative art and clothing.

The Steam Punk culture is pretty sweet and they have a ton of cool looking gadgets at their booths.

Dan and I were looking at these giant glass containers that had shoulder straps attached. We thought it would be funny to have one of us carry it around and drink from it all weekend. One of the employees was standing near it and he was trying to get us to buy it. He told us it was "only" $55 plus tax.

So, like the logical upstanding gentleman that we are, we decided to game for it.

The two of us put our cards in my hat and Josh volunteered to pull out the winner's card. The person who was last left in the hat was to be the one to buy the "Mead Jar" to give to the other. Josh reached in the hat and handed me my card.

I was the winner.

6:00pm came around and Julian, Forrest and I started making our way to Fogo. We stopped at CVS on the way and bought some (more) alcohol. After purchasing it, we realized that we didn't have a room key. After a little thought, we decided we would just drop the drinks off at the hotel after eating.

We arrived at Fogo and as we walked in the door, carrying plastic bags filled with over 5 liters of booze and 6 liters of soda, we strode by gentlemen in suits on dates with their wives and girlfriends. We laughed at how we looked like debauched children and continued on to our reserved table.

As we feasted on unlimited meat, Dan and I started getting a little itch for some friendly wagers. I told him that I would be willing to flip a quarter for $20 dollar bills. He agreed and we began the adventure.

Forrest was flipping the coin, Dan would call it in the air and we would pay each other immediately. On the first flip Dan called heads. It came up tails.

+$20 to me.

Second flip he called heads again, it again showed tails.

+$20 ($40 net) to me.

Before the third flip he declared that he wanted "double or nothing". I accepted his request.

As Forrest flipped the coin, Dan called heads. It came up tails for a third time.

$80 total for me.

Dan realized he couldn't beat me in a coin flip, so we moved on to rolling dice. Each would roll a six sided die at the same time and the highest roll would get $20. In the event of a tie we would double the stakes and re-roll.

We both rolled and I lost.

Dan was now only down $60 to me (not including the $60 Mead Jar he had purchased earlier).

We rolled again and we tied.

One more roll and he won.

He now was only down $20.

We rolled again and it was a tie.

We doubled the stakes and rolled. A second tie.

With each of us having $80 at stake we rolled one last time.

I rolled a 3. Dan's die spun around and settled on 2.

The whole table cheered and Dan literally threw his money at me.

We all laughed and continued to shove food down our throats. Julian exclaimed that I was "unbeatable" in games of chance.

I decided I would give Dan (another) chance to win a bet. Julian told us we should ask our waitress her favorite letter. If it was a vowel, I would win $20.

He had a 5:1 chance to win $20.

We asked our waitress and she said her favorite letter was "L".

I handed Dan a $20.

Julian then suggested that I should wager another $20 on if her first name started with "L".

Now Dan had a (statistical) 25:1 chance to win another $20. As the server delivered checks, I asked "What’s your name?"

She replied Laurel and Dan slammed the same $20 back on the table.

"Come on Guys. It's Only 300 Ounces."

After Fogo, Forrest, Julian and I went back to our hotel to drink.

We drank and drank and drank until we knew we were probably too drunk to go anywhere. Instead of staying inside our hotel, however, we filled the mead bottle with Captain and Coke, filled a flask with Vanilla Vodka, grabbed a few cans of Crush soda, and walked the 5 blocks to the convention center.

When we arrived we ran into a ton of local Minnesota guys drafting. We decided that heckling the draft was the obvious best plan. As the MN drafters passed the mead bottle around, we laughed and made light of another friendly player’s mother.

We got a phone call from Mark saying our friend Drew had arrived in town. We then met them at the local bar where they had ordered a "tower" of beer.

The "tower" was a 100 ounce container with a spout at the bottom.

They had made it a goal to take it down all on their lonesome. As they drank, I ordered a second tower to split with the crew. Some other MN guys stopped in to hang out and one of them offered to flip coins with me for $20s. I agreed and we started off with 2 wins in my favor.

I bet him the waitress’ favorite number was even and he took it. If she returned and said she didn't have a favorite number, we would give her all the money.

When she returned we asked her. She said it was 4. I took his $20 and gave it directly to her. We continued to gamble on a bunch of nonsense and even played games with 3 of us rolling dice for money.

We ordered our third 100 ounce tower of beer and struggled to take it down. Seeing as most of us had already been drinking most of the day, it was quite the challenge.

All of a sudden we realized Forrest was missing.

Kyle Stoll and I went looking for him and found him in the stall of the bathroom, puking into the toilet. He said he would be right out and ended up strangely walking back to the hotel alone. He says he remembers walking to the hotel but getting into bed was a complete blur.

We attempted to play Legacy Champs in the morning. When you split drinking 100 ounces of beer per hour of sleep you get, you tend to be a little hungover.

At the end of the weekend I added up my total winnings and I was up $240 including the flask, which I sold back to Dan for $30 dollars on the way home.

Keep Watch.

At Gen Con I heard countless stories about people having their deck boxes and backpacks stolen.

The community in MN is great and at local shops you don’t have to watch your stuff as closely as you probably should. At major events, however, we know how important watching our stuff is.

A friend put his deck into his bag and put his bag on the table next to a group of friends cubing. The table we chose was in an unoccupied area and we thought we would notice any suspicious activity.

As we sat there, apparently someone walked up, went into his bag and grabbed his U/W Legacy deck. And then just walked off with it.

The deck included black bordered Tundras, foil Standstills, foil Onslaught Fetches, and a ton of other high dollar cards.

Watching your belongings really is the most important thing you should do at any Magic event.

I hate to say it, but there are thieves among us. People will continue to steal and lie and cheat, but let’s not make their goal (and apparent purpose) any easier.

Oozing With Value

This weekend I played in Legacy Champs while extremely hungover. It wasn't a good idea. After going 2-2, I dropped and decided to instead just Railbird.

I watched several games where players cast a card from a Commander Deck, Scavenging Ooze.

This card really has really proven itself as good.

It shrinks an opponent’s Tarmogoyf, hoses Dredge and other graveyard based decks, and allows you to continue to grow a giant aggressive threat in the aggro mirrors. On top of all of that, it gains you life.

I tweeted to buy this card a few days ago. When I tweeted, you could find them from $9.99 on SCG to $14.99 elsewhere.

I think this card has the potential to grow to a 20 to 30 dollar card.

It really is insane. Buy them now before they become hard to find, as the Commander sets are at least $30 a pop. This is a long term investment as I don't think these will jump up over night, but you never know.

And, to be honest, I can see it outclassing Tarmogoyf. That’s a pretty big statement.

Digging Your Own Grave

The newest premium deck is on the horizon. Graveborn.

I am selling my Disentombs , extra Reanimates, and Exhumes. Call it a hunch or the ability to read, but I don't want my Disentombs to become the next Chain Lightning. The premium decks murder the prices of the cars they reprint. I understand the concept behind them… but I HATE them for what they do to the secondary market.

The tagline for Graveborn reads:

Legions of corpses await your sinister commands. This 60-card, all-foil deck entombs, exhumes, and reanimates some of the most powerful Magic creatures from all five colors of mana. Harvest your graveyard for an assortment of these face-beaters as you walk over a field of bones to claim your victory.

I would expect the FNM promo Reanimate to take the biggest hit in price, but I can't be completely certain quite yet. As more info comes out I will be sure to keep an eye on this in future articles.

For now, your safest bet is to dump these cards and go buy a Graveborn deck for each one you sell. You’re literally duplicating value there.

What Does Magic Mean to You?

What is a Magic Card to you?

A great gentleman I was talking with at 4:45am on Sunday asked Forrest Ryan and I this question.

I'll be going in depth about what it means to me next week, but for now I want to ask you this:

When you see a Magic: The Gathering card, what do you see?

What emotions do you feel?

I had never asked myself this question before.

I'd like to see what kind of answers everyone comes up with. Leave a comment at the bottom or tweet or email me.

You Read it Where?!?

This weekend I had a few people tell me that other financial writers on other sites were telling them to buy cards that I didn't mention or how this person traded a pack to power or whatever.

I guess all I really have to say to this is that it really doesn’t matter all that much to me.

I read other financial articles and I'm happy to discuss cards. I don't, however, want to trade a pack to power.

There is a reason great writers like Kelly Reid and the like write articles for Quiet Speculation. For one, each writer brings something different to the table—an approach or style to working with the financial aspect of Magic—that other writers do not focus on. I look at the Eternal aspect/format of Magic, focusing on the more secure ebb and flow of an established yet evolving format, while perhaps others anticipate the spikes (for example, that 50 cent raise) of certain cards. Neither of these approaches is wrong and you shouldn’t feel as if I or any other author is competing with the other financial aspects of Magic.

Along with this is the fact that you’re an Insider. The information you gain from these articles would be worth far less if it were freely available to anyone to follow and take advantage of. Yes, someone may trade pack to power on some blog, but that story isn’t necessarily worth trying to emulate. Here you find sound financial advice and I’m happy to work with you.

I stay up to date with prices and trends. I write about cards that I think will make a decent size gain. I rarely write about a card increasing in value less than at least few dollars.

I know there is a ton of money to be made buying cards that increase a mere 50 cents. I try not to jam a ton of that information into these articles, though. Legacy isn’t necessarily the market for that.

If you have a question about a card and if you think you should be buying it, then please feel free to ask. I have absolutely no problem assisting you in making these personal calls.

What I care about helping you make profit.

Not about who traded a foil Slag Storm to a Mox Ruby in 9 months.

Checklist, Checklist!


Keeper of Progenitus - 14.99 on SCG

A staple in Legacy. It allows Green decks to abuse Natural Order. This card is already hard to find and will continue to get harder to find. As Show and Tell decks continue to improve, this guy may see more play if Emrakul continues gets hated out (Karakas anyone?). What more needs to be said about protection from everything?.

Dryad Arbor - $2.99 on SCG

A land that’s also a Green creature that can be fetched?!? And it can pay for and sacrifice itself to Natural Order? Yeah. It's neat. Buy them now in case we never get a good reprint. At this price, it’s worth picking up a few for your collection. A little over a month ago this card was worth less than $.50, and you may be able to still find them near that range at a local shop. Foils are a little higher, they sit at about $15.00. I'm not sure if the foil will go much higher, but it may be worth a small gamble.

Dread Return- $1.99 on SCG

This card is used in Dredge and Breakfast. I like it a lot and it seems there’s a good chance that Innistrad will make this card even better in Legacy. Buy them while they’re cheap. As we continue to get new Dread Return targets, Dread Return itself will continue climb in price. As far as fair in Legacy goes, this is far from it. .

Until Next Time…

May your cup always be full. And never drink with the Captain without your crew.

If you’re not having fun, you’re not risking anything.

Please feel free to post question in the comments or email me.

Until next time,

-Mike Hawthorne

Twitter: Gamble4Value


3 thoughts on “Insider: DeGen Con, or The Weekend that Was & A Peculiar Two Drop

  1. abu is currently buying foil arbors for $12.72 and ebay auctions are closing above $15 consistently. Thanks for the info on Graveborn! I will be pitching that stuff asap.

    1. Thanks for the info. For some strange reason on SCG on my phone it shows them at $5. When I look on my computer it is $15. I have no idea why this is. I'm not real big on capitalizing on foils seeing as they can be hard to get rid of sometimes. I'll see if I can get that edited.

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