It’s been yet another wild week. Between more price jumps, some personal big bets, and multiple major tournaments over the weekend, the news has been coming in nonstop. Fortunately I had just enough time to read up on much of this. In rapid-fire form, I will attempt to summarize the most important facts I could dig up from the past week.
Got any Rishadan Ports for trade?
I sure don’t. But then again, I don’t really want them. Someone decided to buy TCG Player out of this land and this caused an abhorrent spike on mtgstocks.com. The card isn’t on the Reserved List, and there really hasn’t been a recent spike in demand. Granted it does appear in the mono-white Legacy decks that performed well at GP Strasbourg, but it’s already been a few weeks since then. If Legacy performance was the main rationale behind the spike, it should have occurred sooner.
Oh, and pro tip: if you’re going to buy the internet out of a card, you may want to make sure you purchase the copies from Card Shark as well. The fact that this card sold out on TCG Player yet remained in stock on Card Shark and eBay told me the spike was false.
Speaking of false spike, have you seen Earthcraft’s chart lately?
To be honest, the gradual price rise from July until now never hit my radar. But now that the card has spiked to $20+, I’ve taken notice. I do not understand what the main driver is here. The card is banned in Legacy, and I always thought the unbanning price would be in the $20’s. I guess I need to recalculate that? This one is on the Reserved List, but I’m still avoiding it. Again, TCG Player spikes, yet copies remained on eBay and Card Shark – seems like a buyout scam to me.
Finally, we have Sliver Queen.
I’m really glad we decided to send out a blast on this one – the upside potential was definitely there. Even though the initial spike has since recovered as new copies are listed on TCG Player, I know that Sliver Queen’s price will now settle higher than where it was previously. The card is on the Reserved List and is a casual staple. After being a $20-$30 card forever, the increased casual player base will finally help drive this card up in price. Newer players will get to experience what some of us experienced when Slivers first came out.
Standard SCG Open
The Standard format is very mature now as we are introducing more sets to the format. It seems Dragon’s Maze has made a small impact on the metagame at best. I see a few Sire of Insanity in the top 8, one playset of Advent of the Wurm, a handful of Voice of Resurgence, and zero Deadbridge Chant.
Let’s start with the last one, Deadbridge Chant:
That spike was pretty awesome last week, right? I was able to grab a couple playsets on TCG Player for under $14 shipped and I’ve since sold two sets for a small profit. But there’s a problem here – the supply of this card is increasing and the demand may not keep up. With a no-show in the latest SCG Top 8, I wonder how many people are trying this card out. Sure, it will see plenty of casual play and it’s a Mythic Rare. But I don’t think this price tag is sustainable.
Speaking of unsustainable price tags, have you seen Voice of Resurgence’s price lately? That card has broken $30 on mtgstocks.com, yet it doesn’t dominate Standard as you’d expect it to at that price. I remember when Bonfire of the Damned jumped, it was a mainstay of Standard. This card isn’t there yet, and I see little reason to buy in at this price.
I’m much more optimistic for Advent of the Wurm and Sire of Insanity. Both have their place in Standard and neither have really “spiked” like the previous two. Will they ever break $10? Unlikely, at least not until Standard rotates. But they are powerful cards in decent deck archetypes. As long as Jund and Bant decks exist, these cards will see some play. I’m not buying deeply into these, but I’m also fine with picking em up in trades and holding onto them to see how prices shake out in the coming weeks.
My Biggest Bet Yet
I just went fairly deep, and I’m eager to share this decision with the Quiet Speculation community to hear what others think. I am purchasing about 3 cases worth of Innistrad booster boxes, with an average buy price of somewhere near $147 shipped. Here’s my rationale.
In my experience with Booster Box investing, there are three major factors that contribute to a box’s price: how fun the draft format was, how many Eternal money cards there are, and how large the print run was.
Very few sets satisfy all three of these criteria. In my opinion there have been only three in recent years – Future Sight, Worldwake, and Rise of the Eldrazi. Even these are somewhat questionable, because Future Sight had only one valuable card for the longest time and Worldwake may not have been the best draft set.
Looking at Innistrad, I see some strengths and one weakness. On the plus side, the set has a few valuable Eternal cards and I would love to see Liliana of the Veil’s price trajectory continue to follow Jace’s. I think Liliana will always trail behind Jace in the long term, but I think the pattern is going to be similar barring reprint. Snapcaster Mage and Geist of Saint Traft will also be noteworthy pulls, and the Innistrad Duals won’t ever become completely worthless.
Another plus: I have heard from others that triple Innistrad draft was one of the best draft formats since the Modern card frame. Some have ranked this set right below Rise of the Eldrazi and Ravnica / Guildpact / Dissension in terms of draft enjoyment. This means there will be plenty of casual players who want to draft this set for years to come, long after it leaves Standard.
The largest downside: the print run. Innistrad was a HUGE success story for Wizards. The set significantly increased the Magic player base, and as a result the set was printed a great deal. Innistrad was printed much more than Worldwake and even more so for Future Sight. One saving grace: since Avacyn Restored was drafted alone as the third set in the block, at least the print run was a little smaller.
Taking all these factors into consideration, along with the fact that it’s difficult to find boxes of Innistrad below $160 already, I’m going deep.
The set itself is out of print, so downside is marginal. But the upside is tremendous – I expect these boxes to break $200 in 2014 and possibly $300 a couple years after that. If this comes to fruition, the bet could pay out huge. If not, then I’ll be hosting a lot of Innistrad drafting.
MTG Finance is more exciting than ever before. We’ve had some tremendously successful sets come out recently that have increased the player base. We’ve had the introduction of a new Eternal format, along with the announcement of the first massive reprint set in many years (Modern Masters). And we’ve had some crazy price spikes in older cards, with seemingly little catalyst behind them.
I made a New Years’ resolution that I would go deep and follow my gut more often, and I’m finally following through on this in Innistrad booster boxes. In the meantime, I’ve sold some stuff off that has already paid out nicely. Inventory turnover is a good thing.
And overall, I’m having a great time speculating with everybody. Our community has grown significantly and everyone brings unique value to the discussion. I hope to continue with the speculating and make more big bets in the future!
- It appears Star City Games has upped their prices on foil Onslaught Fetches, and I think this is newsworthy. NM copies of foil Polluted Delta are now retailing for $400, and the buy price is $250. The others have certainly not gotten cheaper.
- I didn’t go deep at all on New Phyrexia Booster Boxes. In fact, I own exactly one. But the fact Star City Games is sold out of these at $174.99 is very reassuring. I haven’t made a bad Booster Box buy yet – they all seem to go up in price. New Phyrexia has a handful of Eternal cards and it’s a third set of a block. I don’t think it added much to draft fun, but having these two characteristics should help drive this set over $200 a box in 1-2 years’ time.
- Another week has gone by, and Steam Vents hasn’t really budged in price. I still think we’re nearing a bottom here. More copies will be opened, but once Standard rotates and Innistrad Duals are gone, these will become absolutely critical in maintaining a metagame that is dominated by 3-color decks.