Finally back in Oklahoma and trying to recover from a crazy weekend!
I was actually able to make it to a big event (a rarity for me during the sportsball seasons), and went to SCG: Dallas last weekend. Before I get into what was moving well on the trading floor, let's get out of the way how much trying to get myself there sucked.
Most reasonable people left on Friday night to make the three-hour trip from Norman to Dallas, but since I had to cover a football game on Friday night that wasn't an option for me. Luckily I found a group of people leaving Saturday morning to head down there, which also helped me to save a night on hotel costs. The only catch? The group themselves lived two hours away in Lawton, which while south of Norman, wasn't exactly on the way to Dallas. And since I don't finish with work until about 11:30, this meant I had a difficult choice to make as to when to head down there. Luckily, someone was kind enough to let me crash on their couch in the wee hours of Saturday morning when I finally made it down there, and I got about three hours of sleep before we left at 5 a.m. for Dallas.
This started the theme of not sleeping, resulting in the crash once I arrived home. But before that happened I was able to do some nice work out on the trade floor.
Let's start with what went well.
- Thragtusk was in demand, and I was happy to flip any copies away. While the card is highly liquid and the price is probably stable, there's also no upside on it, which is a problem. And since only two of the decks in the Top 8 were running the beast, we could even see a price dip if the trend continues.
- Speaking of the Top 8, Restoration Angel was all over the place, as was Geist and Snapcaster. The RWU decks seem like the real deal going forward, at least until the meta shifts to combat them.
- Deathrite Shaman is ridiculously hot. This is almost entirely because of Modern and Legacy play, although he's proven to be better in Standard than I initially gave it credit for. It was trading for $12 on the floor, and I flipped at that price and traded for everyone I could at $8-10. While only a Rare, and certainly no Snapcaster, Deathrite probably has legs at $10, so I'm not afraid of moving on some at that price to keep them stocked.
- Thundermaw Hellkite continues to climb. We've been ahead of this one for awhile, and it's starting to pay off. I have a handful in my trade binder that people have been going crazy for over the last two weeks, but I've been up front with them that I have to have at least $20 to trade them away. While people scoffed at me at first, it's now up to $20 on SCG and pushing that on TCGPlayer. Wouldn't be surprised to see this hit $25 on the trade floor in the next week or two.
- Now here's my "spec" of the weekend. Hellrider. With the Red deck tearing up Magic Online but not yet translating into paper, not many people have caught onto this. This allowed me to pick them up at $2-3 all weekend, and I even felt comfortable grabbing them at the SCG price of $4. SCG had them in stock for a while on Saturday, but by the afternoon they were sold out online. Since then, the card has gone up to $6 (still sold out) on SCG and nearly $6 on TCGPlayer. Remember, this is a card from Dark Ascension with no secondary printings. We're talking about an underopened set that was only available for a few months. Don't be surprised to see this hit $8-10 in couple weeks.
- Dark Ascension in general. For instance, Thalia finally has reached the heights I originally predict for it, $6-8. And with all the Legacy play this sees, $10 won't be out of the question before long. I'm more than happy to pick these up at $5-6 and hold onto them for the forseeable future.
Now, an interlude.
Back to the hassles of making real life work with Magic. Since I technically work on Saturdays (although most of the work can be done remotely), I planned on spending the drive down there getting some work done. Of course, conversations about life and Magic and Allies in Modern (Aether Vial, anyone?) instead dominated the trip, so I was left with work to do when we arrived. This led to the humorous sight of me sitting down on the convention center ground with a laptop on the floor and high school football rosters spread out around me. Not the weirdest place I've done work before, but certainly inconvenient. Anyway, after only a few people giving me weird looks like I may be lost I was able to finish up and hit the floor again.
So let's talk about what didn't trade well out on the floor.
- Zombies. As expected, the deck has completely fallen off, though some of the prices haven't yet caught up. The biggest issue I see at the moment is Falkenrath Aristocrat. Still sitting at $20 (higher than Huntmaster) despite seeing absolutely no play. I still had a handful in my binder and I was ecstatic when I found probably the only player in the room looking for them. If you still have any of these, I suggest moving them before the price catches up with the playability.
- Bonfire of the Damned. I may have failed miserably calling the initial rise of Bonfire, but it looks like I've been spot-on in predicting its downfall. SCG was paying just $12 on-site. It's still listed at $30 on their site, but you know it's a bad trend when you're not even getting 50% on a card. That's a clear sign that it's probably headed even further down.
- Niv-Mizzet. This one hurt me a little, since I still think it's basically the nuts finisher in a control deck. It's seen some play in that role already, yet somehow this thing isn't difficult to find and retails for just $5-6. I'm telling you again, this is a steal. With Dimir coming out in Gatecrash and making Grixis more viable, a Control finisher that doesn't die to something like Mizzium Mortars and is good in both the creature and control matchups is something to watch out for. There's no reason now to stack up on these at $5. Worst-case scenario you break about even or lose a little value, since as a Commander general and iconic card there's a certain floor for Mythics like this ($3 or so), and this is way better than something like that. We're going to see a spike somewhere along the line, and you'll be glad you had them.
A second interlude.
Look at the art on the card Syncopate. Now imagine a waitress serving you delicious adult beverages who looks exactly like her. That's exactly the experience a group of friends and I had while out on Saturday. And the best part was, when someone was brave enough to actually show her the card and tell her, she had a good time with it. A pretty awesome experience, all in all, especially considering I drafted RTR for just the second time later that night after drinks and crushed everyone with Rakdos.
In fact, I was feeling so confident after the draft I entered one of SCG's $10 casual drafts the next day, where the prize is three packs for the winner. Determined to rare draft over drafting a good deck, I preceded to open Blood Crypt, Overgrown Tomb and Cyclonic Rift. Then, playing an awkward Bant deck where two of my four wins came from Doorkeepers, I accidentally made it to the finals, where I scooped to a friend who promptly opened three bulk rares in his pack.
Sometimes you're just good at Magic.
- The only other note I want to make is the benefit of trading with dealers on the floor. Some people are very leery about trading with dealers who don't have a booth because they think they're only going to get ripped off. On the other hand, i enjoy being able to be honest about real prices when trading with dealers, and I have no problem trading Standard stuff at cash prices to floor dealers who want to move their Legacy cards. This is how I've come into my Dual Land collection, and it nets me a better deal than simply going to a booth and trying to trade in. If you're interested in acquiring high-end Legacy cards, don't be afraid to take this route, since dealers usually need Standard cards that sell easily more than they need Dual Lands.
All in all, I had a great time at my first big event in 3+ months. Hopefully I'll be at either San Antonio or Indy in the next few weeks, and if so, I hope to see you there!
Thanks for reading,