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Insider: Straight Speculation

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Before I started writing for QS, I was an avid reader of the site and probably one of the first to actually sign up for a premium membership all those months ago. I figured “If the tips and tricks I learn here will at LEAST cover the costs of my membership, I’d be happy”. Theory is great, and learning to trade is obviously better than just having someone tell you to buy “Card X” for “$Y” and sell it for “$Z”, but sometimes a little STRAIGHT SPECULATION can go a long way!

... I told you it was good!

As a new writer for QS I haven’t had the chance to just explode and give you a ton of my picks. Today we’ll be building on one of my previous insider articles: “Waking Up The Sleepers In Innistrad”, where we developed techniques to look ahead at what we expect to be released in future sets and invest in cards that compliment them. We’re going to take this theory one step further now and review the cards across the standard board and make some more educated pickups from M12 -> Scars -> Innistrad.

A lot of these calls will be based on the fact that the following card has just been spoiled by WotC in the second issue of the new Magic: The Gathering Comic book. This Red Careful Study x2 is amazing and will see play all the way to Legacy, and possibly even Vintage! Previously we thought that they’d be pushing flashback in the next set, now we know this to be true, and can speculate as such.


I’ll be using the following grading scale as was suggested by Todd Stevens in the comments section of the aforementioned article. Thanks for the suggestion Todd! Everyone, please keep comments coming as they will help us continually improve, and, as you can see, we intend to act on them!

Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
Today’s eBay completed listing price. A prediction of its future value. A scale from 1 (low) to 10 (high) on how safe an investment I feel it is. Overall grade from A+ (high) to F- (low) on its expected performance.


Mining M12

Poor little M12. Lost. Alone. Defeated and ignored. Not many people have been talking about you lately, but I think it’s time to change that!

Visions of Beyond
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$1.50 $4.00+ 8 A-
Everyone likes Ancestral Recall… and that’s exactly what this card has the potential to be. It started off being worth $5 due to speculation, but then, since there was nothing to support it, crashed. This looks like an obvious plant for Innistrad and at its current value can’t even sink any lower. It’s already had moderate success in the old Pyromancer Ascension deck, so it may even have Modern application should it fail to perform in current Standard.

Jace, Memory Adept
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$11.00 $15.00+ 4 C
The “biggest” Jace and one that so far has seen virtually no play, causing his value to slowly erode. Putting 10 cards into a graveyard is nothing to eschew and this guy works a dual function of either putting your own cards in the graveyard (for effects like Laboratory Maniac / Bonehoarder Wurm) OR milling your opponents deck as per the Turbo-Fog style. I’ve made him a fairly “unsafe” pick as he is already quite expensive and thus has a huge margin to gain OR lose… high risk, high reward.

Jace's Archivist
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$0.50 $2.00 5 C
When we start thinking outside the box, this little guy really starts to shine. Currently not on any radar anywhere, this guy will not only let you get your entire mitt full of flashback cards into the graveyard, but he will also reward you with a new hand! Trying to dig for that Burning Vengeance? Why not draw 7 and discard these seven other enablers for the combo? Card advantage that fills your graveyard at instant speed, this card could enable any number of decks from the Boneyard Wurm / Splinterfright / Kessig Cagebreakers deck to the self mill deck with Laboratory Maniac to even the U/R burn deck that’s emptying its hand by T4 and using the Archivist to refill it. I’m hot on this guy on MTGO where I’ve been buying him up for only 0.10 tix!


Scouring Scars

Although this is the older block and most things have already been either discovered or dismissed, there is still profit to be made with a keen eye and a quick trigger finger. I wasn’t able to find as many as I’d have liked since it’s been mostly picked clean, but there are a few that stood out to me.

Necrotic Ooze
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$0.50 $2.00 5 C
He’s a combo enabler that already has a home in Modern and is seeing some play in Standard. Did YOU know that Ooze + Grimgrin, Corpse-Born + Bloodline Keeper // Lord of Lineage = Infinite P/T Ooze? This deck is starting to get a little attention since each individual card is good on its own even without the “combo”!

Bonehoard
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$0.25 $1.00 3 D+
We’re putting tons of cards in the graveyard and this guy is getting bigger with every creature we ditch. His graveyard-centric theme, and therefore his playability, is linked directly to the quality of the mill cards we’ll see in Dark Ascension.

Blackcleave Cliffs
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$4.00 $6.00 6 B-
The red-headed step child of the Scars block cycle of lands. It hasn’t yet had the opportunity to shine in any deck and therefore has had to sit on the sidelines while his big brothers Darkslick and Seachrome continue to gain. Chapin played B/R in his deck at Worlds to support Olivia. And speaking of which, R/B Vampires will be primed to make a comeback in the upcoming sets so be ready! If Sorin is back and badder than ever, his bloodsucking buddies won’t be far behind. (ESPECIALLY if they design Sorin like they did Nissa Revane, except with a Vampire tribe effect instead of Elves.)


Invading Innistrad

Some of the cards listed below have already been studied previously, but they are worth bringing up again for now we have more concrete information on where the set is going. We can now add a few more that complement the graveyard theme and flashback.

Bloodline Keeper // Lord of Lineage
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$4.00 $6.00+ 8 A-
I can’t say enough good things about this card. And I’m not the only one. Pro’s are advocating adding it to decks because it can win through card advantage and damage all on it’s lonesome. As mentioned while discussing Blackcleave Cliffs, Vampires will be back and this is their lord. He will be played as a 4x. His demand is all over the place though, so, even if the Vamp tribe is a failure, he will still see play in control and midrange.

Skaab Ruinator
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$4.00 $8.00+ 7 B
NICE! I’d mentioned in my previous article that this guy needed a “Buried Alive” style effect and we (sort-of) got one! R/U should now have enough mill cards to actually make this guy a feasible play on T3, between Dream Twist and Faithless Looting. $20 when first spoiled, now available for pennies on his former dollar. He’s mythic, so PERFECT to speculate on!

Kessig Cagebreakers
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$0.50 $2.00 6 B-
You could throw the “trio” as I call them all into this category, the other two members of the trio being Splinterfright and Boneyard Wurm. Cagebreakers will be the end of the game if it gets in a single attack around the proper build. The faster we can get cards in the grave, the better this card becomes. Many games will end on a Cagebreaker swing. Besides, they’re all wearing such cute little hats. How could you NOT want to stock up on them? 😛

Burning Vengeance
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$0.25 $1.00 9 A
This deck was already pretty tight, but now it’s insane. This is the “Dispatch / Despise” of the set, the money uncommon that you will see across the table from you burning you out for two at a time and gaining massive card advantage. I can’t quite call it a “Dismember” since it has a narrow use, but its power cannot be denied. It will see play in a competitive deck alongside Snapcaster. (<- Period)

Devil's Play
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$1.00 $2.00+ 7 B
As above, this card will be in the Burning Vengeance deck. Not only that, but it was a breakout card in Grixis control decks as well. I am just getting into MTGO, but I find that if a card there has value > 1 tix, that means it is actually in demand. This card is worth > 1 tix online already, so it fits that criteria, which is a shame because if it was lower I’d be buying them en masse right now. The fact that it was a promo will hurt it a little bit, but still worth picking up a few while they’re cheap. I can see decks starting to play this greater than a 1-2 of as well since it can kill an early Bird or a late Hero… then do it again!

Nephalia Drownyard
Current Value Future Value Safety Factor Grade
$0.75 $2.00 5 C
It puts cards in the graveyard and is being used as an alternate win condition in some control decks. If flashback decks are going to be extremely popular, these will start to show up as 2-3x main. They actually have a little bit of value already, so are already seeing at least a little play.


Speculating-Shmekulating!

So, again, we are basing our speculation on cards that we suspect either will come out or, in the case of Faithless Looting, now exist. We’re beginning to receive confirmation of all those things we’d predicted, which means that, so far, we’re on the right track!

In a month’s time it will be interesting to re-visit this article to see how we made out. Though we won’t fully know until the 3rd set is released and has had a tournament or two to get some results, there should still be some movement on these card that we can track using a great tool I’d like to introduce you to if you weren’t aware of its existence (as showcased scrolling across the top of this website): http://blacklotusproject.com/.

Once you enter a card name in the upper right hand “search” field and press enter, it will give you a graph showing all of the movement as well as current and past prices of the cards in question. Soon, however, Quiet Speculation's "Project Condor" will have its wings and we will have access to some awesome new tracking tools.


Trade or NO Trade?

Let’s end our time together today with a “Trade or NO Trade”!

<< TRADE 1 – Speculators Delight! >>
PILE 1

PILE 2

3x Skaab Ruinator
3x Visions from Beyond
2x Bloodline Keeper // Lord of Lineage
3x Blackcleave Cliffs
1x Jace Memory Adept
3x Koth of the Hammer
3x Chandra's Phoenix
4x Devil's Play


So what do you think? Pile 1 or 2? Or are they even?

Think about it before you scroll down…

<< TRADE 1 – Speculators Delight! >>

PILE 1

PILE 2

3x Skaab Ruinator $4x3=$12
3x Visions from Beyond $1.5x3=$4.5
2x Bloodline Keeper $4x2=$8
3x Blackcleave Cliffs $4x3=$12
1x Jace Memory Adept $11
3x Koth of the Hammer $13x3=$39
3x Chandra’s Phoenix $3x3=$9
4x Devil’s Play $1x4=$4
TOTAL = $47.50
TOTAL = $52.00

You probably guessed, based on this article, that Pile 1 is currently worth less than Pile 2.

With the exception of Devil’s Play, however, everything in Pile 2 has already spiked and dipped, while Pile 1 has a good chance at going up in value. The most expensive cards in the trade are ALL coming from Pile 2 in the form of the 3x Koths, so it’s expected that they will want a little more anyway… it just so happens to be that we’re probably prepared to “give a little” to get the stuff we’re speculating on though, anyway.

Best of luck in your quests for profit. See you all next week and in the comments!

Cheers,

Carl Szalich

9 thoughts on “Insider: Straight Speculation

  1. Your comment on the Ooze actually made me wonder if I want Gimgrin in my Tetsuo Umezawa EDH deck as I am already playing the other 2 :D. I recon not, but cool combo that perhaps not everybody is aware of. I guess I should get me some Ruinators as of the suggested cards I also see it having the most longer term potential. A 3 mana 5/6 flyer will always be spectacular and even if Dark Ascention have it, eventually some card is likely to be realeased that works particularly well with it. Will probably get me enough to finish my set and an additional set to trade or sell if/when the card goes up.

    The trade was a bit boring after a whole article basically defending Pile 1. Of course I would trade my Pile 2 for it, though with the Koth's in there I'd likely be trying to get a few more cards thrown in.

    p.s. I might be interested in some of the cards you mentioned in a reply to your previous article, could you maybe get in touch with me through the forum? I'm not sure what your username is or I would have done just that. Mine is simply "pi".

    1. Hey Pi! Yea, in retrospect I think I'll keep the trade or no trade / snap buys seperate from the article itself as it was quite the lead in :S. After an entire article of "these cards are good, pick them up!" it would be shocking to see someone pick pile 2… oh well, lesson learned!

      My user name is "Psilence6k" on the forums… I'll try and figure out how to send you a message!

      Glad you didn't know about the ooze combo yet and that it's given you some ideas :). I really feel that the ooze is one of those cards that is just so versatile that with every set it's going to get better and better as more activated abilities are released. I like how it was mentioned that Ruinator plays nice with Aether Vial as well… seems logical as another step where you don't need his ability to be relevant for him to be good!

      1. That or they completely disagreed with you, but that sort of invalidates the whole article before it then.

        I found you and sent a message.

        The Ooze is great, very fun card to have in that deck. Worst case he's sometimes an Xiahou Dun copy, but frequently he has so many more nice abilities. Certainly worth a slot. Indeed the Ruinator can be played through Vial, hadn't thought of that. Another option would be some kind of self mill strategy, like, I don't know, Dredge or something. Though probably Dredge isn't the right home, there might be other abilities or set themes in the future that could work. Exiling those creatures might even become something you want to be doing at some point in the future. I think there's some potency for the card to suddenly become relevant years from now, though given the chance to sell the set I just ordered with a nice profit I will. I'm glad there's still some time before the set is released as the cards have to come from the USA. (Only 1 seller here was asking less than 2x what the USA based shops did and even they were still at about 1.5x, cards are expensive here :().

    1. *Face Palm* Yes, that should 100% be on the list… In fact, it's great along with burning vengence. I can't believe I missed it so thanks for putting that out there!

      (On a personal note, I've been running Puresteel w/ green splash. Different voltron list than yours, but am 13-3! :))

  2. I like this article for two reasons. First of all, I would never have seen that spoiled card if not for your article! Second of all, this article illustrates the way people should be thinking to be ahead of the game in MTG speculation. Well done.

    Oh, and I agree that Visions of Beyond is a very safe pick up. Can you imagine drawing 3 and then re-casting this with Snapcaster to draw 3 more?! It seems viable as we continue to see more amazing discard spells!

  3. I like this article for two reasons. First of all, I would never have seen that spoiled card if not for your article! Second of all, this article illustrates the way people should be thinking to be ahead of the game in MTG speculation. Well done.

    Oh, and I agree that Visions of Beyond is a very safe pick up. Can you imagine drawing 3 and then re-casting this with Snapcaster to draw 3 more?! It seems viable as we continue to see more amazing discard spells!

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