Jason’s Archives: A Defense of M13 and Epic Tales from the Prerelease.

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It's quite possible that I've exceeded the maximum amount of time one can go without working as a chemist and still call oneself a chemist, at least primarily. A tepid market and my reluctance to move and sell my house have proven to be obstacles to getting back into the industry, and that would likely entail another short-term contract position like the one that landed me in my current position in the first place.

While I've encountered difficulty in the profession I trained for, I've found the barrier to entry into Magic finance much lower. The community is much more inviting than I'd anticipated. Professional connections are made effortlessly and notoriety is dished out on merit rather than nepotism. I've found that my insights and instincts are serving me well and that I have a natural knack for this business.

My B.S. may be in chemistry but I've spent the last year getting my PhD in MTG finance. I defended my thesis ("The Last Three Dollars," a treatise on offering a quarter for bulk rares) and people are starting to listen when I give advice.

It's with that in mind that I wager all of the professional capital I've accrued on the following controversial phrase:

"There is financial opportunity in M13."

That’s Like... the Opposite of Accurate, Bro

First of all, don't bro me if you don't know me. Second of all, hear me out.

I agree that most people will feel let down after the amazing EV of Avacyn Restored. That expectation in our minds may be too much for any set to match, least of all a core set that has recently dropped the titan cycle. With the exception of a few cards, whose inflated presale prices are likely to decrease, there doesn't appear to be much value.

But let’s not fail to learn the lessons Avacyn Restored has to offer. Everyone is so fixated on how good it is to open AVR boosters in the hope of getting an Entreat the Angels that they’ve already forgotten Terminus and Entreat the Angels were preselling for the same price ($5). True story. It's obvious that the card is bonkers now, but people weren't so sure at the time.

Got a called shot? It's not too late to pull the trigger.

Take a look at Thragtusk. It's no secret that this card is ridiculous and will be worth building around. Consequently everyone is looking at his $15 price tag right now saying, "Yeah, I could see that going higher." Well, how many of you prebought him at $6? That was his original price before he sold out swiftly and doubled in price, only to increase from there.

This set is full of [card Thragtusk]Thragtusks[/card]. Perhaps he is the only soon-to-be $20 card that could have been scooped at $6 (no point crying about it now). But if you double or triple your investment in a lower-value card you'll make the same amount as you could have speculating on Thragtusk. And the best part about speculating on "penny stocks" is that bargain basement prices can’t depreciate much, so your risk in picking them up is virtually nil.

It’s not my purview to give specific advice on which cards to invest in. But I’m sure you’ve all seen a card or two in the spoiler that seems way too good to justify its bulk presale price.

Maybe said card has applications in EDH. Maybe casual players will snap it up. Maybe the card is powerful but no one has bothered to break it yet.

Trust your instincts. If you’re staring at a card with huge combo potential, casual appeal or EDH utility and you’re wondering why it’s preselling at bulk, the answer is simple. Presale prices feel wrong because they are. Those cards are just waiting for you to snap them up and make bank.

Just like it took a week or two for the price of obviously nutty cards like Entreat the Angels to go up, there is still financial opportunity in M13. The set isn't even on sale officially yet!

Pull the trigger. Get that card you know should be worth more, because soon it will be. Trust your gut, not the presale prices. That is, unless you think Liliana of the Dark Realms is a $30 card.

The Only Thing Worse Than the Helvault (Is Nothing at All)

The prerelease was this weekend which unfortunately means no decklists for you this week. However, I think I can more than make up for it with the stuff I found from the prerelease. Let's not waste any more time.

Remember Gameshark?

I don't know of any codes in Duel of the Planeswalkers to start at 100 life or give all of your opponents bobble heads, but allow me to humbly offer a much more useful collection of cheat codes:

Duel of the Planeswalkers the easy way

Redditor Egibson has collected all of the Duel of the Planeswalkers 2013 codes that we've come across so far online. These will unlock a ton of free content and the posting on Reddit contains instructions on where and how to enter the codes.

I'm sure a lot of you would equate this to buying trophies to put on your mantle, but if you want to get this content the easy way, it's my job to give you the option. Enjoy.

There’s More Than One Way to Play Magic on Easy Mode

I noticed this when mine traded with my oppnent's Birds of Paradise, which shouldn't happen for a lot of reasons

Redditor AvrosKyargath brings us a creature that is significantly weaker on DOTP2013 than it is in real life. Hopefully they either patch this soon or mail everyone sharpies so we can fix our cardboard copy. Whichever is cheaper.

Some Quaint Folk Still Prefer Paper Magic

For those of you less interested in computerized Magic and more in winning on easy mode in real life, a few redditors bring tales from the prerelease.

Sybertron's guide to nothingness

Redditor Sybertron brings us a thorough review of how he used Door to Nothingness to win the easy way. That's right, Magic is a game where assembling all five colors of mana, untapping with an artifact and racing your opponent's threats is doing things the easy way. Great report, Sybertron.


Admit it, you're impressed.

Redditor Spehiroth912 has brought us a sighting of someone getting the elusive Battle of Wits victory at his local prerelease.

This scene is very easily staged, but I am going to echo Trick Jarret who shared this pic with the twitterverse when he stumbled across it a few days ago -- "I believe."


The fearsome Nicol Bolas oversees a local tournament

Redditor Midnighthero was in charge of his prerelease so he decided to sculpt a fearsome set of [card Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker]Nicol Bolas[/card] horns to keep the competitors in line. Here he appears to be telling people how many hours they have in deck construction.

Savor the Flavor

One card that has real flavor issues associated with it is the new [card Liliana of the Dark Realms]Liliana[/card]. Redditor MiffTheFox thinks he can fix them, though.

Either that or Liliana won their fight and couldn't wait to display her trophy

I think the revised card makes much more sense.

That's All I Got for Ya's

Prerelease weekend means no decklists to talk about. But if you can't get enough of my wit and wisdom, the Brainstorm Brewery podcast has a special guest this week to discuss the financial implications of M13.

Tune in to hear me, Corbin, Marcel and our guest debate the finer points of a core set with low EV and how you can get the most bang for your buck. If you routinely read Corbin's articles you won't want to miss this special episode. Look for it later this week.

Good luck in your upcoming release day events. May your opponent always cut you to your bombs, may your Vampire Nighthawk ever be enchanted with Rancor and may your Batterskull always return to your hand.

Jason Alt
@JasonEAlt on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Jason’s Archives: A Defense of M13 and Epic Tales from the Prerelease.

  1. That’s Like… the Opposite of Accurate, Bro . I will Bro you all i want. I said good game sir!

    There is a lot of chatter about thragtusk, its an awesome card im just not sure how awesome ie i feel it fits a spot like Obstinate Baloth used to as a 1 or a 2 of in niche decks or is it a whole different beast?

    1. Obstinate Baloth was an attempt to mitigate how oppressive Blightning was the same way Thragtusk will mitigate how "oppressive" the clock of a flipped delver backed by vapor snag, snapcaster+vapor snag can feel. Thragtusk is obviously nutty in pod strategies as well, giving you much more value than the baloth did. Also, Thragtusk plays so well with Rancor you'd think they had it in mind back in 1997 when Rancor debuted.

      I think thragtusk is something to build around as it allows aggro to swing with a bit more impunity. You can ignore how badly bonfire or day or terminus blow you out and rancor up a tusk and save some other beaters for when they run out of answers. I think tusk is not just a hoser like baloth was, this card is the real deal and while everyone is talking about hellkite and Ajani I've been sniping cheap playsets of thrag. Thrag perfectly embodies what I want in a green card. He's a pelaka wurm that doesn't cost a million mana and, he's value from pod and he answers bounce and removal. What more can you ask for from your green dudes?

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