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Jason’s Archives: Shopcrawl 2012 Pt. 2, Thompson Machine Guns Nashville & Anaheim Sees More Block than Legoland

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Greetings, Speculators!

This was a busy Memorial Day weekend. The pros split their time between a Grand Prix and an SCG open, and anyone monitoring Twitter this weekend got a lot of info. We have quite a few deck lists to get through later on in the article. First, though, I'm sure you're eager to hear more about the Shopcrawl, so let's get down to it.

You Can't Crawl Before You're Out of the Woods

Last week I left you hanging a little bit. Part 1 of my Shopcrawl 2012 Series covered how and what to buy. That is the easier part of buying and selling by far, but easily the most important. To recap:

  • Call ahead.
  • Know what you want to buy.
  • If you want bulk, be prepared to transport it.
  • Don't be afraid to change gears- Pokemon bulk is a cash cow.

So you took a few grand, spent a week on the road, filled your car with cards until everyone is riding with their suitcase on their lap and the suspension is dragging. You're flat broke, trying to see how many motel Continental Breakfast muffins you can hide in a 1,000 count card box (it's 8) and playing ante games of EDH trying to make tollbooth money. You may not feel like your trip has been the  success you had dreamed.

It's easy to get deluded at this point. The two default states of mind brought on by a full car and an empty wallet are:

  • I can't believe I spent my savings on this crap. I'm going to have to hitchhike home and sell my kidneys to make rent this month!
  • I am unbelievably rich! The cardboard in our vehicle represents roughly a million theoretical dollars! I should take up smoking just so I have something to light with this $100 bill I have set on fire!

These are both dangerous states of mind. And, what's worse, the same person can go back and forth between these two wild extremes over the course of the trip. You need to take a cold, sobering shot of that sweet, sweet elixir called reality and remind yourself that you have a car full of merchandise, and having merchandise is not broke.

You also need to remember that any profit is theoretical at this point and you shouldn't spend your future millions yet. Any success on the trip requires turning your cardboard money into paper money. Just like your friends who still spend their time playing this game, you need to...

Play to Your Outs!

Unless you were planning to take a car full of bulk and empty booster pack wrappers home with you (and in the case of our trip, a slim PS2 that I bought so I could play Final Fantasy 12 again. Don't laugh: that PS2 turned some potentially boring hotel stays into Star Wars Battlefront 2 extravaganzas), you probably want to out it so you can make a profit.

One suggestion I have is having your trip end at a major retailer's home base, calling ahead and letting them know you're showing up with a ton of bulk and singles you want to sell. Then you'll watch the money roll in. It's really that easy.

In our case, as I said before, we ended our trip at GP Minneapolis. Since we got there Thursday night, we had 3 1/2 days to shop all of our cards around to the various dealers. Be advised that most dealers fly to GPs and may not take your bulk.

Another option is going home and mailing everything to buylists. Although there is a cost to mailing, this is an excellent option. It gives you the time to sort and pick the massive boxes you picked up and mail everything out at your convenience. If you don't need the money right away, I would recommend this route. This gives you time to divide things up and sell them to whomever is paying the best on that particular item.

Congratulations! You've shopcrawled like a pro. Now bask in the glory of your success and cover your bed in money so you can swim through it like Scrooge McDuck. You earned it.

The Oprlyand Report

This weekend saw an SCG Open in Nashville. If you have never been to an SCG Open, I definitely recommend it. If most other pros are all busy playing at a Grand Prix, the SCG Opens give you an excellent opportunity to get stopmed by Gerry Thompson. In multiple formats.

Gerry T came loaded for bear this past weekend and took no prisoners. Slotting Restoration Angel into U/W Delver seems to have been the missing ingredient in solving the RG menace as 6 of the top 8 decks in Nashville ran nearly identical 75s.

I hope this isn't an indicator of how Standard is going to go from now on out: if all Avacyn Restored gave us was a flash, flying angel to make sure there was one, clear best deck as opposed to a rock-paper-scissors format, then openly I weep for the future of Standard.

But wait! All is not lost! 7th and 8th places were taken by a deck that by its very nature can't be killed off for long. I'm referring to the undead menace!

Zombies in the top 8! Hallelujah! Both U/B Zombies piloted by Phillip Fortner and B/R zombies piloted by Will Cruse made the top 8!

As Quiet Speculation's own Corbin Hosler mentioned in Episode 10 of his podcast, Falkenrath Aristocrat is the real deal. Faster and less mana-dependant than Mortarpod with an impressive 4 power and flying, this is the preferred sac outlet of the future in zombies. And it just happens to be in the same colors and the Zealous Conscripts in the sideboard and the Blood Artists in the maindeck.

Expect to see the price of this card go up a smidge as more and more people discover (finally!) what a beating this card can be. Regenerating for no mana and triggering both morbid and Blood Artist, Aristocrat has the skies on lockdown.

Great job, top 8!

Gerry also pulled no punches in Legacy. Refusing to choose between Careful Study and Faithless Looting, he ran both in a deck that ran Flayer of the Hatebound in the board to do the job of Flamekin Zealot but still get around cards like Moat. He crushed a lot of dreams into a fine powder, but the top honors were not to be his in the Legacy portion. His tweet saying simply " :(" said it all.

Griselbrand is here to stay as it was seen run as a four of in the winning "Sneak and Show" deck piloted by the Open's Legacy winner, Johnathon Hickerson. Even though it neither swings for 15 nor annihilates for even 1, Grizzizzelbrand hits like a truck and lets you draw enough cards that you're sure to find a finisher. I'd argue that I'd rather hit with Gris than even Emrakul off of a Sneak Attack. Captain Hickerson (as he likes to be called) didn't bother choosing and just ran both as a 4 of. Way to go!

Also worth noting, both Ulenwald Tracker (Foight BURR!) and Garruk Relentless showed up in Todd Anderson's Maverick list. Innovation is constant in this GW shell, and it's refreshing to see people try new things and succeed.  And what's that? 2 Cavern of Souls? Anyone else loving this list?

A Kariya in Magic

Get it? Because Paul Kariya played for the Ducks, and the GP was in Anaheim? ... I don't have to impress you people.

The GP was indeed in Anaheim and all the pros were out. If Gerry T wanted to really impress me, he could have split location and won a few events in Anaheim, too. It was not to be, however as other players had a chance at the top prizes at the GP.

Top 8 GP Anaheim Decks

The Falkenrath Aristocrat/Zealous Conscripts combo is potent in block constructed, too, featuring largely in the maindeck of Brian Kibler's Jund-colored build. I really think you should snag Aristocrats while you can. This card is going to be hot!

Also hot is RG Aggro, which event winner Mark Lalague used to win the top prize. He says Vapor Snag keeps RG Aggro from being a real contender in Standard right now (and the results from Nashville would seem to validate this feeling), but after the rotation, RG midrange has real potential. Devil's Play and Bonfire of the Damned are both huge and very hard for control to stop.

Also making a good showing in the top 8 was RW Humans, a personal favorite in block of mine. Abusing the potential of Cavern of Souls, this deck smashes control with uncounterable threats and quick damage. Grab Champion of the Parish while it's still under 10 bucks.

Aloha! Salut!

I don't know whether to say goodbye for this week or hello for next week.

I'll be returning to my usual format next week, so make sure you don't miss it. I have found some real quality stuff for your enjoyment.

In the mean time, follow me on Twitter @JasonEAlt and get periodic updates of my adventures grinding my binder at Origins this weekend. I'll be teaming up with my partner in crime, Ryan Bushard, to take down a few collections on the way to Ohio. Make sure you check out his articles on GatheringMagic.com to get his perspective on the shop crawl. His first article about the trip is slated in the next week or two. He's got a unique perspective on the trip and it's worth checking out.

Until next time, kiddies!

Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on Gatheringmagic.com. He is also the Community Manager at BrainstormBrewery.com and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

View More By Jason Alt

Posted in Avacyn Restored, Free, SCG, Web Review

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4 thoughts on “Jason’s Archives: Shopcrawl 2012 Pt. 2, Thompson Machine Guns Nashville & Anaheim Sees More Block than Legoland

  1. It looks like I accidentally coded for an emoticon instead of closing those parentheses. Bob Ross would call it a happy accident and just leave it.

    1. Without getting into exact numbers what I can do is give a rough estimate of how well we did. That way you can extrapolate approximately what someone would make relative to any given initial investment.

      Some of the shops we spent a little time picking their 10 cent boxes. We pulled 50 cent to 2 dollar cards out of there, but we didn't do this for long because it's time consuming. Still, if you figure you pull out even just quarters and you can find a good card a minute, you can make 9 bucks every hour. Not great, but any card worth more than a buck or two stuffed in a ten cent bin drives that up.

      Still, most people prefer to pick their own bulk. We stayed away from bulk magic on this trip and mostly (badly) picked pokemon bulk. We don't know enough to do any more than picking out rares, holographics and promos. That was still a worthwhile endeavor as some pokemon rares are worth quite a bit.

      Pokemon can be gotten from stores for as cheap as 5 bucks per thousand. The most we spent was 25-30 bucks per thousand. Even then you're nearly doubling up if you can get a full $50 per thousand. Our average was about 15 per thousand and we were paid 45 so we nearly tripled up on the bulk. We still spent time picking, but the rares you pull hopefully cancel out the worthless basic energy cards you have to discard. In our case, we made quite a bit of money on the rares on top of tripling up.

      Paying 2 bucks or so per thousand on Magic is possible, and we've done it on previous trips. Worst case scenario it's all pure bulk and you make 3 bucks per thousand flipping it. That sounds miserable, but if you pick up a million cards (and can transport them) it's a decent payday. We don't buy pure bulk, so if you pay 2 bucks per k, expect to pull 20-30 bucks in better-than-bulk out of every k and flip the rest for 5. This takes work, but every time some store owner screws up and sells you 1000 rares for 2 bucks you have a great week. Even when no one messes up, you can more than triple up on magic bulk. Worst case scenario if you don't pay more than you should you should at the very least double up.

      On this trip we only had a Jeep so we picked up fewer than 50 thousand pokemon cards. If we do this again and we think there is more pokejunk out there, we can spend more money and prepare to haul more cards. Your transportation costs go up, but bigger collections means more opportunities to find treasure. We think it is worth doing. We all made our money back before the GP started, we got a free trip and we spent 3 days making a profit plus bolstering our binders with new stuff we got at very cheap prices. We still have Magic cards to divvy up between buylists and eBay and we have a ton of bulk to figure out what to do with. It was profitable and we'll do it again. That said, by no means is this approach for everyone.

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