As of late, I've talked about the various types, mentalities and trends you see associated with the Magic Finance world. Altitude being a thing, grasping some concepts might be harder for those more recently exposed to the world of Finance than for others. When I refer to altitude, I'm speaking of some of the deeper principals that effect every single aspect of what we do.
For example, Magic Finance is considered a force all it's own. This force is wild, fickle, and changes with the most subtle of winds. It's easy to get lost in the “If's” of it, and lose focus on the “When.” Newer people will often lose track of cards that go through many phases, many “if this happens” type scenarios. If you focus less on that, and first start off with the card on it's own, in a vacuum so to speak, you will notice a trend that is much easier to predict. Often times with so many Insiders and Speculators and Stores getting savvy – a card will double or triple in value, almost over night. You hear “That card is insane.” and “I can't believe it was so cheap.” long after it's price jumped. The savvy Insider was ahead of all of this, though. For if you have correctly assessed the power level of a card, then you are simply waiting for the financial level of a card to move.
Stoneforge Mystic is currently in such a swing. The card has spent months sitting on retail sites at a fraction of what similar power level cards retail at. The card performs well and yet often the price of the card does not move. In a vacuum, it's easy to tell that Stoneforge Mystic is inherently powerful in what it does. It also sees play in multiple formats and is so good it's banned from what I hear. Often times we wait for a breakout weekend to force a card to move, but what if there is never the breakout tournament? Often times their are whispers of a deck doing well, followed by a sudden shift in what everyone thinks about a card. Overnight, it goes from "Zero to Hero." If that happens, you've got to be in the door fast. The maximum level of profit and accessibility to copies of that card typically is gone in a heart beat. It's a mad dash for your closest game store, online retailer, or eBay seller.
Where's the Secret Entrance?
As a store – I must take the long view approach on everything I do. Sacrificing current sales, to ensure that when a card takes off, I have the copies available is vital to my success. Finding the power level of a card is the key. In the context of playing this game, everyone can agree there are some inherently powerful cards. Stoneforge Mystic has been repressed in value mainly because everyone felt it was “too new.” That there were too many cards in circulation and that rotation had happened too recently. There is never a time where a card is too new to rise in value. All it takes is for one flash in the pan, and everyone will follow suit.
Post-rotation, the feeling was that most Zendikar Fetch Lands were a good long term investment, but up to that point – nothing like what would happen had occurred on such a public scale. The flash in the pan happened, changing every person's mentality on what this card could do fincially. The power level had already been figured out, and it was correctly assessed as being very powerful. What made the difference? A buyer came in a decided they wanted to corner the market. Thus, creating a great shortage of supply. Months later, the full effect of that mentality shift can be felt. No one wants to let go of Blue Fetch Lands. The stock is considered a “high hold.” A card that is doing nothing but climb in value. All it took to change that was one store setting the pace.
Currently, one of the things that are rarest to find – is the ability to outright destroy a Planeswalker. Most popular Planeswalkers are built to protect themselves in some fashion. These range from increasing it's loyalty on the first activation to preventing damage and more. If we want to talk about cards that are correctly assessed as very powerful then we have to look no further than Standard itself. There, alone, lie three prime examples of multi-format All Stars that are now just waiting for the “When.” WotC has not made it a habit of giving the ability to out right destroy a Planeswalker. Each one has it's own context for taking off, and each one is poised for significant gains in multiple formats.
On their own, each card is currently repressed in value. Mainly because of being viewed as readily available. Right now, these examples are just waiting for their moment to shine. Once the perspective changes on what these cards are financially capable of doing, then the price will reflect itself in the market. Too often, most stores read and react to these winds of change. They normally will not wait for the “When” moments as often times a new seller will come in on any random day of the week, and their current value for that card will still be profitable for them. For you, that's hard to accomplish. Focusing on when the card is the lowest and perception of the card is incorrect, will allow you to be ahead of the curve, when the opportunity finally does present itself.
This takes patience, fortitude, and accuracy in how you judge cards. The subtle change in mentalities will eventually effect these cards, and if you've put yourself in the correct position, they will pay massive dividends. All it takes is just a change in the wind and for you to already be locked and loaded.
Till next time.