Jason’s Archives: Phoned for the Holidays 2: Phone Harder

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Greetings, Speculators!

Apparently I set the bar pretty low last week so those of you who are expecting a worse article out of me are going to go away disappointed.

See what I did there? I referenced the opening for my article last week, but changed a few words around to make it different because... you don't care at all, do you?

There is just no winning with you people.

Phoned in Intro 2: Electric Boogaloo

I won't spend forever in the editorial portion of the column today since I am surrounded by family members who insist on spending New Year's Eve with me. There is one thing, however, I have been harping on lately and I just want to mention here because you can't stop me.

Readers of the forums (I swear it's supposed to be "fora" but maybe not) will potentially be aware of the fact that there is a subreddit on mtgfinance that went up in the last week. There is a brief bit of exposition to slog through and then you'll be up to speed.

One time someone asked a question on reddit about MTG finance. After getting really frustrated with everyone's clueless answers I posted, "There should really be an MTG Finance subreddit." Three hours later a redditor named "Dingareth" messaged me linking me to a newly-created subreddit at this address and mentioned now all we need are subscribers.

There. You're up to speed.

Building the subreddit itself turned out to be the easy part. (In fact, all I did was tell someone else to make one.) But apparently the whole "they will come" aspect applies more in the case of ghosts and baseball fields than in the case of Magic subreddits and finance peeps. Please, if you're a redditor, subscribe to the subreddit and put up your favorite MTG Finance content and contribute to the discussions. If you're not a redditor, stop being not a redditor. It's free to sign up and it will only take up three or four hours a day. You can sleep when you're dead.

The more places online we can start discussions about finance to educate the larger community (many of whom have misconceptions about what we do as speculators), the better. Please, check out the subreddit, subscribe, discuss, post. While I'm at it, there are decent discussions going on in the QS forums as well -- Insiders, if you're not checking them every day, you're doing it wrong.

One Last Thing Before I Quit

There weren't really any events to speak of during the holidays, but there was some spoiler action. I'm not going to put too much of that stuff in my article. What I will point out is that Sigmund and I are back for more spoiler analysis, joined this set by Gervaise Pechler. The full spoiler page is accesible from QS' frontpage and I recommend checking it out. You can get the spoiled cards anywhere, but I feel like the analysis has value and since I have a pathological inability to either gracefully accept compliments or be wounded by criticism, I genuinely welcome feedback. A dialogue about new cards is always more valuable than blindly following one person's analysis, even if that person is a pro.

This spoiler season I'm trying something different. I pre-ordered very few cards from Return to Ravnica, which led to a high degree of success compared to what the shotgun approach might have gotten me. (I only bought Angel of Serenity, at $8, and managed to out all of them at their peak.) I could easily have missed out like all those people who preordered Lotleth Troll at $18.

Preorder prices may be ridiculously high ($30 for Time Reversal and Skaab Ruinator, anyone?) or ridiculously low ($6 for Thragtusk?) In short, volatile and hard to predict. In light of this, I decided to refine my approach.

A much safer bet are the old cards expected to interact positively with new cards and/or mechanics. These cards already have an established price floor, so even if they don't materialize as playable you'll be able to sell for around what you paid. There will also be more copies of the card laying around since its been opened for weeks or months, so you can go much deeper without having to preorder from multiple sources.

I still plan to buy as much sealed product as always, but my singles specs will all be older cards. They spoil an angel that helixes something when you trigger battalion but you're not sure if it will be any good? Don't preorder the angel, then! Regardless of how good Firemane Avenger is in a vacuum, the battalion mechanic is likely to change how people attack with red and white creatures. So Hellrider gets better and Sublime Archangel gets worse.

Not sure if the new card with the Dimir mechanic is good on its own? Don't buy any! I'm not! I'm sure as heck stocking up on Invisible Stalker, though. Stalker isn't likely to drop below its current value between now and the fourth week of Gatecrash's legality. Even if everyone who agrees with my logic is wrong, by the time the meta rules out Stalker as a good cipher enabler (or doesn't) their money is already in my pocket, ready to be spent on drugs and spray paint.

This lower-risk strategy will make me more confident about my specs come Gatecrash release weekend, and I'll keep everyone posted on how the experiment pans out.

Have a Happy New Year

It's likely 2013 by the time you read this. My personal resolution is two-fold:

1) Write every day

2) Don't write everyday

I hope you'll agree my contribution to the Magic community in the past nine months or so since I joined QS has been better than the everyday contribution and you'll continue to support and follow me into 2013. I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming year, and I hope everyone learned as much as they could from 2012.

-Jason Alt

Jason Alt

Jason Alt is a value trader and writer. He is Quiet Speculation's self-appointed web content archivist and co-captain of the interdepartmental dodgeball team. He enjoys craft microbrews and doing things ironically. You may have seen him at magic events; he wears black t-shirts and has a beard and a backpack so he's pretty easy to spot. You can hear him as co-host on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast or catch his articles on He is also the Community Manager at and writes the odd article there, too. Follow him on Twitter @JasonEAlt unless you don't like having your mind blown.

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2 thoughts on “Jason’s Archives: Phoned for the Holidays 2: Phone Harder

    1. One v just didn\’t do the link justice. Also, our crack editing squad sorted the problem out before I even got to it.

      Do you have a favorite finance article of 2012? It doesn\’t have to be one of mine (I wouldn\’t even know how to respond if your favorite finance article of 2012 was something I wrote, frankly) but get the ball rolling and take a minute to submit the link to the sub. I think it can be a really good platform for some edifying discussion with minimal work from all of us, but I don\’t want to spam a bunch of articles on there- other people find stuff I haven\’t seen yet all the time.

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