Insider: Food Chain, Time Spiral MTGO and Getting the Most of your Insider

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This week, I'll be hitting on a few topics that are all related with a common thread: they are about pieces of tech and Insider info and how we get them to you. I'll be talking about some financial stuff, no worries, but also I'm looking to help you optimize your QS Insider experience.

People going crazy about Food Chain

Food Chain is the latest Legacy hype combo card to come out. This happens nearly every set - you get one or two Legacy cards that really tickle people and it can cause huge overnight shifts in the price of cards. Sometimes, it's Personal Tutor and Temporal Mastery. In this case, it's in regard to Food Chain and Misthollow Griffin. The idea goes something like this: you exile your Griffin early on with a Chrome Mox or a Force of Will. Then, you play it with Food Chain in play and net one mana each time you exile it. Infinite mana, just pour it through Maga, Traitor to Mortals or that beloved Eldrazi.

Let the record reflect that this combo is terrible. You can do everything it wants to do by taking Food Chains, Fierce Empath and a few preexisting monsters (like Evoke creatures). This adds nothing new to the mix. Food Chain is still a bad combo. That, however, does not stop people from wishing. Food Chain climbed from about $2.25 to about $11 since this card was spoiled.

On April 19, we sent out an email to let our Insiders know about it. I sent the email through Mailchimp, which is a third-party email sender that does a much better job than our native membership emailing software does. I've heard reports that our emails have not been going through to some people. If you did not receive that email and you were a member on 4/19/12, check your spam folder. If you see the email there, use the feature in your spam folder to mark it as "not-spam" or whatever you need to do. I also highly suggest that you add to your email whitelist, even if you have received Insider alerts from us in the past. Mailchimp is usually very good about delivering emails - it's a commercial product - but sometimes, things can get bounced. I love hearing from readers that they bought a few playsets of these, but it's also tempered with hearing that other readers did not get this email and could not take the opportunity. When you pay for a QS subscription, you're not just paying for articles - you're also getting Insider alerts and forum access.

Sell those Food Chains, by the way!

Tarmogoyf on MTGO

Tarmogoyf is one of the biggest tickets on MTGO - it was about 65 tickets a few weeks ago. Now it's dropped to 57 tix if you want to buy one. What accounted for this 13% drop? Time Spiral packs, and Future Sight in particular, are being given out as prizes for Cube warriors on MTGO. TSP Block is also available as a standalone drafting set on the software for another week. This has already depressed the market on the Goyf a bit. A lot of savvy players simply sold their copies beforehand and are planning on rebuying them later. I think this is a good idea, even though the difference between what you can sell them for and what you can later buy them for might still be a negative number. It makes sense to get out of that market if you know there's a reprint coming. For example, it's wise to get out of Karakas, since FTV: Realms will likely contain the super-Plains.

I first learned about the TSP prize and draft format from our content manager, Tyler Tyssedal. I sent out an email alert and then checked in on our forums, where a discussion had commenced.  You can access our forums by going to and you can log in with your Insider account. I must tell you right now that everything you see when you log in is strictly visible to Insiders. No members of the public can see it. This is a big reason why people openly discuss trends like this. Forum poster Yossarian ran a contest this past weekend, soliciting wagers on the price of the Goyf at the end of Time Spiral drafting. We'll see on May 16th what the closest call to the actual price was.

The forums are an incredible resource and I tell every Insider to get in and take part. Again, you're paying for moderated, polite, private forums, so you might as well lurk at the least. A lot of trends that get into Insider articles have their birth there and people tend to go in-depth on some really cool subjects. For example, you can learn a bit about pack mapping and how to predict the rares in a box or pack of cards.

You can also get locked-profit pick tips from MTGO traders like the aforementioned resident genius, Yossarian, who explains that "this trade works because of steady demand from redeemers combined with a lack of supply once DII drafting slows down." I had no idea before we started up the forums that redeemers actually affect the MTGO market. It turns out that they move the price on bad mythics like Godsire when they need them to complete sets. Redeemers are, by the way, people who collect entire MTGO sets and then redeem them for the paper copies of the cards from Wizards. They then sell the sealed sets on eBay or through other channels. When you consider that cards on MTGO can be as little as 60% of their paper counterparts when in print, redeeming makes sense. You gotta have the little Mythic crappy cards though, and things like Elbrus and Godsire have a slight bit of demand.

We are always building

QS is always expanding and evolving. We've been around in our current form for a little over a year and a half. In that time, we've helped a lot of Insiders freeroll their hobby. Kelly and I love to hear from Insiders when we've made a good call that's paid off for them, and we also want to make sure that we give everyone enough tools to get the information that they need. We try to archive every Insider alert and then tweet about it (@quietspec) so that if it got bounced from your email, you might still have a shot at seeing it. We've built in alerts and the forums as an extra layer of discussion, participation and white-hot tips and we try to get things fixed when they come up.

We have been having some internal debate about whether to change our commenting system on articles. I know that it's annoying to sign up for another service, however benign, but we've had real problems with spammers when we don't. I still get a few comments that need to be killed every week on the free side from people selling Nike Airs. I've gotten negative responses about switching to logging in with Facebook, so IntenseDebate seems to be the necessary evil at this point.

The final point on the theme of building is that we welcome feedback from readers and we implement as much of it as we can.

Give the forums a shot, look out for our emails, and please, take part in the article discussion threads!

Until next week,

Doug Linn

Douglas Linn

Doug Linn has been playing Magic since 1996 and has had a keen interest in Legacy and Modern. By keeping up closely with emerging trends in the field, Doug is able to predict what cards to buy and when to sell them for a substantial profit. Since the Eternal market follows a routine boom-bust cycle, the time to buy and sell short-term speculative investments is often a narrow window. Because Eternal cards often spike in value once people know why they are good, it is essential for a trader to be connected to the format to get great buys before anyone else. Outside of Magic, Doug is an attorney in the state of Ohio.  Doug is a founding member of Quiet Speculation, and brings with him a tremendous amount of business savvy.

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4 thoughts on “Insider: Food Chain, Time Spiral MTGO and Getting the Most of your Insider

  1. It looks like cardbot is holding the line on Tarmogoyf's price for the moment. I don't have access to modo but supernova is quoting a price of 46.5, indicating to me the market price of Tarmogoyf is well below what you could have sold it for at the time of the Insider email.

    Can't agree more that the forums are a great resource for QS readers.

  2. Great article. The food chain email payed off for me and I am planning on selling mine soon as possible

    One question thou, Why do so many people think Karakas is going to be in FTV realms.
    To me it is one of the least likely cards I could see them printing because it is only played in one format and not very many casual players are even familiar with it.
    It is also a very valuable card and would be the berserk / mox diamond of the set preventing other, multi format cards like rishidan port or wasteland or mutivault from getting printed.

    Please tell me why Karakas is everyones number 1 pick for the set

  3. I'd like to hear why Karakas is a 45-dollar card but not even ONE tic online…
    I appreciate that you are trying to bring more mtgo-news, keep up doing that because a lot of your subscribers only play/trade online.

    1. re Karakas

      Online prices are not well anchored to irl prices, especially for out of print cards. There is no way to take an online Karakas and turn it into a physical copy, so the only use for it is within the MTGO client. If Legacy and Classic were more popular online, you'd start to see Karakas go up in price. As it stands, those constructed formats are not well supported online compared to Standard, Block, and Pauper.

      In general, it is a mistake to look at irl prices alone when considering what the price of a digital object should be. Notice that Underground Sea also carries a 40:1 ratio of irl/online prices (approximately). For in print cards, there is an outlet for digital objects via redemption. But prices still do not correspond perfectly, even for in print cards. Snapcaster Mage is a 6 tix card online and arguing that it should be higher because the physical price is higher is a faulty argument.

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