This past weekend I finally got to attend my first Grand Prix, and it was quite the experience. I expected to get a lot of trading and negotiating with dealers done, but unsurprisingly, I ended up spending most of my time actually playing Magic. The event itself was anti-climactic as I lost round nine to miss Day 2 at 6-3. I was able to make a few trades here and there, but I clearly needed to budget my time better if I wanted to really take advantage of the number of vendors present.
Grands Prix, for those of you who haven’t been, are pretty cool. There’s events firing constantly, and nearly a dozen vendor booths to deal with. Most have printed buylists, and if I had planned better, I would have brought one from each vendor home with me after the Grinders (GPTs) on Friday, and organized all the cards I wanted to sell by vendor. Instead, I was trying to do as much research as I could between rounds of the GP on Saturday, and by the end of the day, still didn’t have very much figured out. Saturday was such a long, and ultimately saddening, day that I didn’t have it in me to catch up that night. I got some stuff done on Sunday between side events, but I know I could have taken more advantage of this opportunity. Taking the time to get organized before becoming overwhelmed at the event site would have been a huge benefit.
On the tracker:
I’ve had Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas on my Watch list for some time as his price has snowballed downward. I picked up a set at my LGS for $14ea, a few days ago, and I’ll continue to target him in trades. He’s a 4-mana planeswalker, who’s abilities are strong (although parasitic to deck construction). Standard is bound to see a cycle where his deck is able to squeeze into the metagame. I’m expecting him to swing back to at least $20 if not higher prior to his rotation. Now that I’ve got my set, I’ll be brewing up a casual deck for my FNM’s, and keeping an eye on his price. Tezz decks combat [card]Kessig Wolf Run decks well, but not sure how they fair against the rest of the format, so some fine tuning will need to reveal if the strategy is well poised now or will have to wait for a format shift.
Thrun, the Last Troll has been on my Hot List for sometime. His wide range of control-hating abilities was bound to find a home, and it did. He’s doubled in price since I set him at a buy, and I’m getting out of mine. If you need yours, hang on to them, I’m not so sure he’ll drop immediately, but I’m happy with my current gain on him, and am ready to cash out as I don’t see him going much higher. Because he’s Legendary, no decks are going to run 4 of this guy.
On the Horizon:
I’ve got no large events on my horizon, so back to the grind of drafting at the LGS and incrementally bolstering my binder with good trades. Our LGS has recently been trying to get Legacy firing on a weekly basis, and I’ve finally got two Legacy decks that are just a couple borrows away from being ready to battle. Trading into Legacy staples is a big part of what I want to be doing now, as I’m sure other people at the LGS are going to try and build decks to be part of the Legacy following that is still growing at our store. Knowing what trends are picking up in your local area is key to being one step ahead of your trading partners. For me, that means getting out of my Standard cards as they peak, and swapping them into whatever stable Legacy pieces I can. Then I can trade Legacy cards for Legacy cards I need.
On the Draft tables:
Okay, I know these Dual lands aren’t worth billions of dollars, and I myself am just as guilty of this, but these are going way too late. The LGS takes these in at $3 store credit, and you don’t have to be a math wizard to figure out how many of these it takes to free-roll a draft. I certainly wouldn’t first-pick one just to grab the $3, but 4th or 5th pick? I need to start getting more realistic about how much value my deck gains in my 4th or 5th pick before I automatically shuffle the dual land to the back of the pack. Drafts at my LGS are essentially prized so that the top 2 in a pod get a free draft plus a little store credit. Picking up these duals is a tough thing to balance, and I’m trying to find the happy medium where I’m glad to grab the couple dollars, and sacrifice the bonus to my deck. I’ve been known to eschew $3 cards, no matter how late, if I could take something that helps my deck; but, especially once pack 3 comes, if my deck is already taking shape, grabbing the money when I can is something I need to start considering. The problem that most drafters face is that we are competitive and we want our deck to be as strong as possible so we can crush the competition. On the other hand, there’s a solid player at our store who grabs any rare he can get his hands on. This type of rare-drafting defeats the whole purpose of drafting. While he may recoup his money, he was likely better off just buying a box of boosters to crack.
There will be a lull for me in major events to play, so I want to circle back and dig into some new ground with this column. What sorts of topics are you most interested in hearing about? Any formats that haven’t been touched on enough lately? Are there any aspects of trading that could use some analysis? This is an opportunity for Insiders to get the content specifically geared towards what they are hungry for. I’ll look for input here in the comments.
Happy trading everyone.
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