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Insider: Modern Movements and the End of a Project

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Welcome to 2013!

I hope you had a good Christmas and New Years (I know I did). In fact, the holidays brought some exciting news to my life –- my wife and I picked out a house to move to, and with any luck we’ll be closing on it in three weeks.

And in another, related, piece of exciting news, I’m planning to cash out my huge stockpile of Zendikar fetchlands to contribute toward the down payment. It’s great to see my boldest spec ever pay off so nicely, and I have between $1,500 and $2,000 in cash value of fetches to sell, a non-trivial amount when it comes to upping my down payment and therefore lowering my monthly mortgage.

And, for that, I guess I can thank Wizards for Modern! I was huge on fetchlands from the very moment they hit $8-10, and it has worked out well, Modern having playing a huge part.

When I last wrote, I gave the friendly reminder that Modern PTQ season was just around the corner. Well, now we’ve rounded that corner. PTQs start in a week or two, prices are spiking and people are noticing. That means it’s time to cash in on the positions you should have been building for the last nine months.

Working In-season

The easy bets of the past year, from big-ticket items like fetchlands to the smaller-but-still-sure stuff like Inquisition of Kozilek, are now gone. We’re seeing crazy stuff like Daybreak Coronet go nuts as people try to get a jump on the PTQ season. There’s a lot of signals being thrown at us right now, so what to make of it all?

Let’s start off with Coronet, which is sold out everywhere. It’s a card that has plenty of casual appeal in addition to the fun-looking Modern deck that throws all the enchantments onto Hexproof guys.

But it’s only going for $8-10 on eBay right now, and I don’t think you should get in now unless you do so cheaply. If you have copies, I’d either sell now or wait another week or two, but buying in now is risky.

But that’s an easy one, since one of the lessons I reiterate often is to sell into hype. Let’s talk more about Inquisition and other cards of its ilk.

I think it’s pretty easy to put a sell call on nearly every Modern staple right now, with a few exceptions. For starters, everything in Zendikar and after isn’t being reprinted in Modern Masters. That means that the ceiling on stuff like fetchlands and [card Inquisition of Kozilek]Inquisition[/card] won’t be affected by the coming set.

However, plenty of other pricey cards will be. Kitchen Finks, [card Elspeth, Knight-Errant]Elspeth 1.0[/card], Mutavault, Vendilion Clique, and plenty of others from Mirridon to Shards might see reprints, and prices are going to fall accordingly.

And the list doesn’t end there. Dark Confidant, Thoughtseize, the filter land cycle: all these things have to be considered a sell right now since the probability of a reprinting is so high.

Even though I expect most of the rares (and especially the mythics) to rebound eventually, it’s hard to argue with selling now as PTQ season gears up and we get good prices.

Fetchlands

Going back to myself for a second. When I first began acquiring fetches two years ago, my plan was to amass 200-300 and sell them four or five years later in the hopes of raising enough cash for a car. A few things got in the way.

First, because of the influx of demand from Modern, the acceleration on the cards was faster than even I expected. Since I traded for these rather than make a large cash purchase I couldn’t afford two years ago, my acquisition rate slowed significantly as I snapped up most of the ones in trade binders in the area. Even at this moment I own more than any LGS in my area, so I was more or less capped at what I could get. And prices rose quickly, cutting the time I had to stock up.

Not that I’m complaining. I’m more than happy cashing them out now and putting it toward my first home. But does that mean you should do the same?

Obviously you probably aren’t in the middle of closing on a home, so cash now may not mean as much to you, but what about fetches as a whole?

I see it like this. There’s a pretty reasonable chance fetchlands aren’t getting reprinted in the next year. But with the huge spike that occurred this season I think the market has corrected itself, and I can’t see anything like that happening a year from now. And looking two years down the road the risk of reprint gets really high.

With all of that in mind, I think it's reasonable to hold onto them for another year, but be aware you’re not going to see the same return you have in the last twelve months. That’s why I’m comfortable selling now, and I can’t fault you either way for what you choose to do.

Still Some Targets

Serra Ascendant looks better and better, as the casual demand behind this card props up a price that continues to rise as it sees more Modern play. These are often undervalued, and I like grabbing them early in the season. Likewise, Birthing Pod won't stay this cheap forever.

But there are even better targets.

Scars fastlands like Blackcleave Cliffs have seen some jumps already, but there’s no reason they won’t continue to rise. As everyone seems to be saying, Razorverge Thicket is probably the best deal out there right now. It’s not one of the most-played of the cycle, but with a $1-2 pricetag, you’d be crazy to not start stocking up on these.

Likewise, shocks are bottoming out as well, and will continue to do so as Gatecrash hits the market. If I had to pick two things to stock up on with money from the high-value Modern cards you should be moving in the next few months, fastlands and shocklands are at the top of the list.

That’s what I’ll be doing, anyway. And maybe I’ll land that car yet.

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter

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