Insider: Making New Calls

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So over the last couple weeks I’ve been waist deep in Return to Ravnica limited on MTGO. I’ve slowly been collecting more and more Nephalia Drownyards to add to my speculation portfolio, but I really want to find another target from Innistrad Block to pick up on. I’ve also started organizing old bulk stuff on my account and finding the best bots to dump it to. I’ve started compiling a list, and when it I’ve finished with it I’ll share it here. As previously noted, dealing with Bulk on MTGO is extremely time consuming, so once it’s all finished, having the short-cut list of bots to deal with should be helpful.

PTQ Season

We’re also in the midst of Limited PTQ season. I’ve already had my first PTQ on MTGO and my first paper PTQ will be just around the corner. Limited PTQ’s often bring more trading opportunities than one might expect. Given that PTQs are now held at store level, and this season is Limited, you’ll be seeing a lot of fresh faces at your local PTQ, even if competing isn’t important to you. Often times there will be dealers available, but even if the store isn’t hosting other dealers, trading runs rampant between rounds and as people drop. What I’ve been hearing from others who have already started their local PTQ cycles, is that M13 and Innistrad cards are in demand and people are overly willing to trade away their RTR cards they obtained during sealed.

It is similar to what we experience during the Pre-Release but the cards values aren’t so inflated. This means rather than dumping RTR cards you can be unloading Innistrad and M13 cards for RTR staples now that the prices have stabilized a bit. Shocklands should be fairly easy to trade for, and that’s something that I’m happy to pick up. Further, you get to interact with new trade binders and meet new people. Also, remember that prizes are usually given out as packs. Often times the PTQ grinder types are looking to cash out these packs, and often there’s a decent opportunity there. Be respectful of store policy if they don’t allow transactions with cash in their store, but most players are happy getting a cash equivalent around $2.50 for their booster.

MTGO Specs

On the MTGO front, I’ve noticed even over this last week that RTR boosters are starting to fall in price. This could be because people are selling off prize packs for tickets which slowly brings down the value. This could either be from the MTGO PTQ’s giving out large prizes, or even from the constructed queues. This is my first season tracking the MTGO pricing closely, so it’s hard for me to say for sure. Another thing I’m reminded of regularly drafting on MTGO, is while popular Rares are often significantly less expensive than they are in paper, even the junk Mythics tend to hold decent value because they are needed to complete sets. I have been keeping handy while I draft to keep tabs on cards that might be worth more (or even less) than what I expect based on their paper value. This adjustment to my valuation has been very unintuitive for me and will take some time.

Given that this is the pattern, finding another Rare that sits around $0.25 like Nephalia Drownyard is important. I don’t want all of my eggs in one basket. While Drownyard could easily quadruple (or more) in value if it picks up more play, I think that could be said for many rares that sit just above bulk value. One card I’m considering, but haven’t pulled the trigger on yet is Undead Alchemist. He’s a good counter to the reanimator strategies in Standard, and he’s a huge fan favorite.

Part of the reason I’m hesitant is that I’m worried my memory from paper pricing is clouding my judgement. He’s always remained above bulk value on buy lists because casual players love him. I fear the casual player’s impact on the MTGO side isn’t enough to make much of a difference. Based on only narrow sideboard usage in standard, I don’t think it’s enough to warrant speculation on, but if any other Self-Mill strategy pops up, then there might be something to consider.

I’ve also been looking at Mirror-Mad Phantasm. It’s well under a dollar and a Mythic from a redeemable and popular set is always going to hold some value. It also sees play in some of these fringe Seance decks that have been popping up. If any of the Seance decks start popping up in the Daily Events on MTGO this card could skyrocket. If it doesn’t? Mirror mad won’t move and you don’t stand to lose much. In either case, it’s Mythic status will hold it afloat for people redeeming sets. I am going to try and keep my amount invested in Drownyard even with Mirror Mads. Not in quantity but in cost. So for every $5 I stash in Drownyards (which is about what I have now) I’ll buy 6-7 Mirror Mads.

Lastly, I am liking Stony Silence in paper. It’s a true bulk status around $0.10 and it’s a great answer for Second Sunrise decks. The problem is, Second Sunrise decks might see bannings, and there isn’t really an opportunity on MTGO because the deck doesn’t operate well under the chess-clock style time constraint present online. I don't know if this application is enough, but in Modern it shuts down Second Sunrise decks, Affinity/Robots and even Vedalken Shackles. If it can cover enough spread of decks in the format, its likely to be included in any decks that can cast it. This could end up seeing a decent return on investment. Since I’m not putting additional money into my paper collection at the moment, I’m going to be trying to trade for them whenever possible.

What other Innistrad block Rares are good targets right now? We know what color-pairs (guilds) will be featured next set, does that tell us anything else about the future of Standard?

3 thoughts on “Insider: Making New Calls

  1. I’d like to see some more financial suggestions here…

    Cards like Undead alchemist and stony silence will never get any value online because there are just too much of them when so little are wanted. Like someone else allready suggested in other articles, it takes very special rares to get some worth online (even snapcaster barely holds 6 tic).

    And when it’s easy to buy 50 bulkrares, it’s amazingly hard (and timeconsuming) to sell them again if they don’t go up in price (most bots only take 4 a day).

    1. I agree with you on MTGO, but for that spec specifically I mentioned I liked Stony Silence in paper. If you show up at a Modern GP or PTQ and the card is in demand, dealers will be buying them up.

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