Insider: Reviewing Past Calls

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I began writing for QS back in January of this year. Doing my own version of Time Walk I wanted to revisit some of my calls and grade myself.

I will try to be as unbiased as possible. For each section I'll look at buy and sell recommendations I made, and ask how these investments would have panned out had you made them.

01/08/13 -- Modern Masters and "Limited Release"


While I didn't specify any specific cards, I did say,

"I'm only going to call 'hold' on mythics, expecting limited price drops followed by gradual price increases as more players enter the Modern/Legacy formats. Unless, of course, you can flip the cards quickly and easily, in which case it would be best to sell as they will have a price dip as more enter the supply.


Again, I didn't specific any specific cards, but I did make a call based on rarity.

"Regular rares, however, I advocate a 'sell' before Modern Masters is released and a buy after Modern Masters has been available for a couple months. This strategy should be the most lucrative."


I'm still proud to say that my first calls were spot on.

The cards printed at regular rare almost all devalued somewhat. Major ones like Doubling Season dropped by quite a bit while Cryptic Command dropped a much smaller margin.

I stand by my call to hold mythics, though in all fairness I should have added a caveat that the mythics to hold needed to be Eternal-playable. (When I did this article the only cards spoiled were City of Brass and Tarmogoyf.) I did not see the Kamigawa dragon cycle taking up 5 mythic slots, as my impression (as many of us believed) was that MM would be chock full of Modern/Legacy staples and not many (or any) casual favorites.

The only thing I was wrong about was that two of the three major mythics of the set (Tarmogoyf, Dark Confidant) saw no price drop, while Vendilion Clique saw a minor one (as expected). To be fair though, at the time we had no idea what the print size of MM would be and it turned out to be far more limited than expected.

Grade: A

01/22/13 -- Speculating from Spoilers



Verdict: Comparing current prices to prices at the time shows I was dead on for everything but Misthollow Griffin. I still think that the risk on this card is insanely low for something with such a unique ability. I also mentioned that I only picked them up at bulk or near bulk status (75 cents or less) so if you agreed and have a big pile of them I suggest holding onto them for now. The Food Chain deck didn't pan out, but that doesn't meant this guy couldn't become an all star down the road fueling that or another similar combo.

Grade: A

01/29/13 -- The Tide of Tier 2 Legacy Decks



  • None

Verdict: I still don't think Firestorm, Deathrite Shaman or Rest in Peace are bad pickups. RIP has taken a downturn recently with the influx of Abrupt Decay decks. Blue Sun's Zenith and Extirpate never really caught on (especially since Deathrite became the go-to graveyard hate). While I wouldn't be upset with myself if I'd picked up a few copies of either, neither materialized into any real gains.

Grade: C

02/19/13 -- Scanning For Oddballs #2



Verdict: I'm pretty proud of this one too. At the time of writing, Ensnaring Bridge was around $2-3 each. It is now in the $6-7 range. Meekstone was around $1-2 dollars and still sits around there (I failed to account for the multiple printings that mean a large amount of supply with limited demand).

Thrun, the Last Troll has dropped a bit (he was around $8-9 at the writing of this) and is now in the $6-7 range, however, I wrote the article during Modern season when there was a seasonal demand for him. I expect him to go right back up to the $8-10 range during Modern season (higher if Jund does well and a control decks makes its way into the field).

Through the Breach is in the same boat. It was $4-5 and is now $4, and again I expect a jump during Modern season. Not of this World hasn't seen any play outside of fringe sideboard strategies, though it's price remained exactly the same then as it is today.

Thespian's Stage may get a bump due to the new legendary rule change and how well it plays with Dark Depths (which will also get a bump), but it hasn't made the waves I'd hoped it would. Pernicious Deed has dropped from $20 to $15 courtesy of Nic Fit's fall from the limelight in Legacy. If it ever hits $10 I'd pick them up as it's too good for Standard and amazing in EDH (which will always provide demand), but the casual demand isn't high enough to warrant a reprint in any sort of non-Standard print run.

Grade: B+

03/05/13 -- Long-Term Investments



  • None

Verdict: None of the cards I called have made any tremendous strides. However, the exact purpose of the article was on long term specs and I still believe in all the ones I picked out.

I've already seen a lot of interest from the casual for the Primordials, but a lot of Gatecrash was opened so a lot of them are floating around. That may be the only downside to these picks. I expect all of them to go up some, but if the player base doesn't grow as drastically as it has recently, then the supply will remain high.

Grade: Incomplete

Overall we got; A, A, B+, C, and an incomplete. That C really hurts, but the Legacy metagame is fickle and new strategies can quickly nullify old strategies or make once-good decks bad again.

Neither of the calls that warrant the C would have lost you any money (in fact Extirpate may still go up if it can hose any major modern strategies). But they didn't gain you any money. . . .and money invested in a flat stock is only slightly better than money in a downward stock. We all get a limited amount of time on earth and it's critical to spend it wisely.

8 thoughts on “Insider: Reviewing Past Calls

  1. Interesting read. I thought about a retrospective myself, but I try to refrain from making so many “buy this / sell that” suggestions. Maybe I should review some of my history via a pass fail. Do you think our subscribers enjoy these retrospective articles?

    1. While I don’t normally actually say “buy/sell” I feel that in the end that’s what my analysis/predictions should in fact indicate (there’s a reason that Jim Kramer goes with that strategy). I hope our subscribers enjoy it, but I felt that without retrospectively looking at my previous calls I can’t judge how accurate I’ve been. I wouldn’t be suited to keep writing if my calls were continuously wrong and I kept losing people money. I recall reading someone mentioning (I apologize as I don’t remember who wrote it) that lots of writers jump back to their good calls and just gloss over the bad ones, I think that’s very misleading and that to justify getting paid to write about speculation targets I need to maintain a good track record across the board, rather than getting a good hit here and there.

    2. Yes!!! We definitely benefit from them. They help us to see a full arc of buy through sell for a card, and it helps to outline the reasons why the prediction behaved the way it did. It’s a great framework for evaluating our own transactions and predicting new ones.

    3. I really like the retrospective articles. I think they’re a key component to QS being regarded as honest and fair. They also provide lessons on the thought process that goes into identifying speculation targets. If anything, I learn more from the misses than the hits.

  2. It’s good as it shows that you can be honest with what you have said in the past. If you can show that you have good and bad, people might be able/willing to try to follow the advise a little more.

    While you laid out the amounts in the paragraphs afterwards, it might help on your next one to put the amounts next to the cards.

    Ensnaring Bridge – $2.50, now $6.50

    ect. That way anyone can also look at the cards themselves as they read about it and your reasoning.

    1. Excellent suggestion. Next time I’ll do that. I think I’d like at least 4 months for any speculation targets to pan out or not. So I’m thinking every few months I may do one of these types of articles.

    1. Lol…have you tried it in a Gruul or Naya EDH build? It’s disgusting…but I will grant you that outside of those 2’s probably not spectacular.

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