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Insider: Modern Tradebook

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For this week's column, I felt it would be appropriate to check in on my Modern tradebook. The Modern PTQ Season officially begins in January, but with the recent Pro Tour Return to Ravnica kicking things off and a few Modern GPs approaching, it's not unrealistic to expect interest in Modern to ramp up over the coming weeks. The book is largely established at this point, with only a few other potential moves to make depending on how prices fluctuate over the coming weeks.

Real Estate

If you are a regular reader of this column, it should come as no surprise that Gatecrash shocklands make up a significant portion of my Modern tradebook. Charts are courtesy of mtggoldfish.com, which takes pricing data from Supernovabots.com. All other prices are taken from MTGOtraders.com and are current as of November 8th, 2012.

 

Breeding Pool (15.80 tix): 22 copies bought for an average of 9.72 tix in September. Ravnica-Guildpact-Dissension (RGD) made a cameo appearance in the draft queues in early September and prices on all RGD cards fell as a result. This was a great time to pick up shocklands of all types. Breeding Pool is most prominently appearing in the BUG Infect lists which should appeal to players on a budget. It's also quite the ruthless deck and will punish slow or unfocused builds. This one is looking good for a solid profit.

 

Godless Shrine (9.55 tix): Bought 38 copies at an average of 5.73 tix in September. In this article I made a guarantee on this card for people who were looking to try their hand at speculating on MTGO. If anyone wants to get out of their position on this card right now, I am willing to honor the guarantee today and pay 6 tix per copy ;-).

 

Grove of the Burnwillows (8.74 tix): Bought 18 copies at an average of 9.58 tix, with most copies purchased during October. This position is currently underwater but more so due to the poor timing of purchase than for any fundamental reason. Speculating on lightly printed sets like Future Sight is one of my favorite angles and I still expect this position to be profitable.

 

Stomping Ground (11.59 tix): Bought 37 copies at an average price of 6.11 tix in September, and sold all of them at an average price of 13.5 tix in the weeks after the unbanning of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Although it was a bit of luck catching an unbanning that affected the price of this card, half of the purchases were made in the 24 hours after the B/R announcement. Total profit: 273.67 tix, ROI: 121%.

Man Lands

Although not as ubiquitous as fetch- and shocklands, various archetypes make use of utility lands that regularly fluctuate in price.

 

Creeping Tar Pit (2.80 tix): Most of my purchases on this card were made back in early Summer, although I did pick up 18 copies last week at an average price of 0.86 tix. Its appearance in the Top 8 of GP Lyon is the big reason this one is already in the money. Selling and taking profits today is not incorrect but holding for PTQ season is also fine.

 

Inkmoth Nexus (2.96 tix): Bought 50 copies at an average price of 1.75 tix in October. This was a Scars block rotation pick up and it appears in both Affinity and Infect decks. If this reaches 4.5 tix, selling would not be incorrect, though I am fine with holding this Modern staple beyond the upcoming season. The potential in-season price peak on this card is not yet clear as this card has just rotated out of Standard.

Staples

Once you've got your fill of real estate (the backbone of any portfolio), looking towards format staples for potential investments is a good idea. The best staples come from the smaller print run sets and are not easily replaceable. Avoid current Standard cards as the prices on these will fluctuate too much to be of much use in speculating on Modern.

 

Tarmogoyf (53.22 tix): Bought 19 copies at an average of 50.32 tix in the last week. After dropping by 20+ tix in the last month, the price on this card has possibly found it's footing. If it drops into the 40-45 tix range, I'll start buying again. Alternatively, if it bumps up in price into the 55-57 tix range, this would indicate to me that demand for this card has rebounded and that in-season prices are not far away.

 

Vendilion Clique (23.75 tix): Bought 18 copies at an average of 22.62 tix in the last week. Similar to Tarmogoyf, this card also saw a recent slide coinciding with the announcement of Modern Masters and RtR release events. It looks like the slide has stopped and at the current price it's still a buy.

 

Karn Liberated (14.40 tix): Bought 40 copies at an average of 13.1 tix in the past month. In addition to the analysis offered on this card last week, this card has shown over time to have a firm floor of 12-13 tix. As of today, it looks like the prices on the Scars block sets have bottomed so prices on Scars block mythic rares should creep up over time as redemption eats up available supply. This further supports the price of Scars block mythics such as Karn.

 

Cryptic Command (12.05 tix): Bought 15 copies at an average of 8.10 tix. Similar to Creeping Tar Pit, the results of GP Lyon reminded players that Modern is not all Jund, all the time. At it's current price buying more feels a little risky, especially keeping in mind last year's in-season price peak of around 15 tix. Note that the mtggoldfish charts are produced using data from the Supernova bots price list. Occasionally there are gaps in the data when the bots are out of stock and the charts start using buy prices instead of sell prices. This is why last year's in-season price peak of 15 tix does not appear on the chart; the price peak occurred while Supernova was out of stock.

 

Gifts Ungiven (5.89 tix): Bought 15 copies at an average of 5.03 tix. This one is still a buy as it remains somewhat under the radar.

This look into my Modern tradebook should give you confidence that speculating on MTGO can be profitable. Most of these positions are low risk because they take advantage of the underlying structure of the MTGO economy and the seasonal nature of the Modern Constructed format. What is not needed is special knowledge of the Modern format.

12 thoughts on “Insider: Modern Tradebook

    1. Not to worry, I do have positions in both Sacred Foundry and Watery Grave, and considered including them here. They are more of a play on Gatecrash releases though, so I decided to leave them out of this article, even though Modern season will probably impact their prices.

      Thanks for reading!

      1. I only invest (and play) in MTGO, so I look forward to your articles every week. Don’t you want to write 3 or 4 times per week instead? 🙂

  1. Modern is such a great format for speculating/investing. Very consistent and so many cards to invest in.

    Nice article and great concrete examples!

    There is also tons of low to very low price cards that is easy to speculate on with a Tix stack smaller than Matt’s one. I thinking about Pyromancer Ascension, Manamorphose, Aethersworn Canonist, Aether Vial…

    There’s maybe a sort of little “fee” to pay due to <1 Tix card, but once you have "paid" your 0.5Tix per bot you want to use (some you'll buy from, some you'll sell to) is also easy to create couple of tix with a small initial capital.

    1. I agree, there’s lots of cards to speculate on. Pyromancer Ascension has been a profitable one for me in the last year, but I feel it’s too pricey right now. Maybe next year!

    1. I like them all as Modern investments. The catch is, they might not be profitable this year. You have to be ready to hold them for 12+ months. It’s a bit unpredictable.

      Last year, I bought a lot of fetch lands when Zendikar rotated. Only Scalding Tarn was really profitable to sell during Modern season, but a year later and all were at least a double. Something similar will probably happen with the SOM lands where one out of the 5 is profitable in the short term. But long term they will all be good bets. Just make sure you don’t over pay.

  2. I was rereading your article and found this sentence very interesting: “Speculating on lightly printed sets like Future Sight is one of my favorite angles”

    I think an article talking about each set legal in modern could be a great read. In particular I would like to know your opinion in Lorwyn-Shadowmoon

    1. In most cases, this is just the 3rd set effect in action. There are a few unusual circumstances like Shadowmoor and Eventide because (if I remember correctly) these coincided with the transition to ver 3, which was a disaster. Thus, even lower than normal print runs.

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