Insider: Walking Towards the Light

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"To Ban or Not to Ban! THAT IS THE QUESTION!"

I'm certain there were a number of "false starts" these last few days, with many not knowing when to expect Wizards Banned & Restricted list. Your standard Google-Fu did not turn up anything of relevance, and many people where pulling the trigger early for the sake of shouting "FIRST!!" at the next Speculators Anonymous meeting. Ā Even my fellow QS Writer Jason AltĀ spoke, at length, on the market reaching already without anything but shifting sand to stand on.

It's ok.

Let them reach. Let them panic. Their panic will be your gain in the long run. Their money will be tied up in cards that may or may not move. The market was already bearish on Bitterblossom as is at $25. What makes anyone think it would go full Bull at $35?Ā Ā I could now launch into my best Wolf of Wall Street sales spiel and really get into hocking you the latest goods, cards, and ocean front investments - but that will do you no good. The time to take advantage of the B & R has already passed. If you haven't picked up on what I'm putting down - let me make sureĀ oneĀ thing comes across:

Rules to Spec By

RULE #1 of Speculation:
"Acting when everyone else is acting means you've already lost."Ā 

That list of cards, broken or not, that defines what is truly Over Powered for any given format can be theĀ LIFEĀ or theĀ DEATHĀ of any investor. No sooner than you find that "AH-HA" moment on a format warping card.....UH OH!, it's out of stock....

RULE #2 of Speculation:
"Find the pulse, and never let go."

So, bannings are incoming. Since you are reading my article, I'll assume you want my opinion: Nothing is going to change. I REPEAT, NO CHANGES. People have talkedĀ adĀ nauseam on the possible reasons. So I'll let those reasons stand. It does all come down to this though: The formats are balanced. There are no run away decks that are "continuing to supress every other possible avenue of competition." Are there some clear winners & losers? Welcome back to remembering the fundamentals. Will there be some unbannings? Possibly. In the eyes of Wizards though, it's impossible to guess which they see as more fit than the rest.

RULE #3 of Speculation:
"Supply and Demand ruleĀ all.Ā Supply rules Demand though."

Lest we forget there is always the option of no change. The passing of time, Theros, & Born of the Gods have brought on a reasonable expectation of progress - but as of yet - no one has sought it out. Modern is truly where all the impact of the B&R can be felt as the power level of Legacy is hard to break in upon.

So, first, what progression could we have seen that demandsĀ a banning in Legacy? Dark Depths? Too little information on how it's warped the format. Could it be banned in the future, possibly. It's still the new kind on the block, so to speak.

Standard? Good luck with that. Too balanced of a format for bannings. You have to have something extreme to shake that format. We haven't gotten that in the latest two sets.

Rule #4 of Speculation:
"In the absence of change, continue to focus on the fundamentals."


Top 5 Cards
You Should Be Paying Attention To:


Rule #5 of Speculation:
"Better to be first to know, than last to act."


In the absence of change, we must stick to the things we know. Pay attention, watch trends, get in & out when the prices are correct, and most of all - always maintain cash flow. Regardless of what comes about, if you were in at the right time onĀ any of the five cards mention there, you will be on the (+) of the equation. I'm sure much to fellow writer Corbin Hosler'sĀ delight, the last few weeks we have seen a rise in the popularity of Modern Merfolk. Key components that have not truly stabilized have been back on the move again. As the Modern PTQ season approaches, many first time format players are viewing Fish as the viable alternative to playing Robots while also maintaining the ability to delve into Legacy. Should this trend pick up more, all components of Fish should continue to be on your radar.

This is where I leave you for this week. What changesĀ will the B&R bring in your mind? Your thoughts? Do you agree with no change? Leave comments with your thoughts and more on this article.

Till next time


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Dylan Beckham

Dylan has been involved in Magic: The Gathering since the heyday of The Dark. Continually invested in the community, he's been a Pro Tour Player, Trader, Judge, Tournament Organizer, Volunteer, and Vendor. Currently involved with the day to day operations of selling online, Dylan has brought his experience to Quiet Speculation to make you a better investor. Hailing from the Atlanta area, and now part of the Dallas scene - he's often at big events sourcing cards or discussing Life, the Universe, and Everything. Have a question? Feel free to comment, message, or email anytime.

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9 thoughts on “Insider: Walking Towards the Light

  1. I’m with Dylan on this one. I outed my Bitterblossoms earlier this week @ $30 per (and was thrilled to do so). I honestly do believe they’ll unban it at some point, but the format is still pretty diverse and I don’t see WoTC feeling the need to mess with it much. As stated the only card I can see actually being unbanned…is Wild Nactl because quite honestly it doesn’t do all that much and dies to pretty much all the removal in the format (Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix, Path, Smother, Go for the Throat)

  2. So I’m a bit confused here, and want to make sure I know the way things work (obviously its far too late for me to make any moves, but I can at least know for next time)

    I thought that as a card was banned, it would decrease in value, as players would dump them rapidly to move to the next big thing. Conversely, if I card was unbanned, it would then rise in value, as players would likely run to re-buy their playset and return to an earlier playstyle.

    Obviously there are many nuances beyond that, but is this the gist? I almost got the impression from the article that banning would increase a cards value, because it was a flag that said card must be broken

    (I am extremely new to the actual trading/spec world, so I keep wanting to check these details, as I have learned quite a bit, and been able to make much better purchases since joining here.

    1. No…he described it how you were intially thinking. Banning a card causes it’s value to drop as the tournament players unload them (thus supply goes up and demand goes down). Obviously it doesn’t always obliterate the value (see Survival of the Fittest). What he’s alluding to is that this past week or so cards that are currently banned have been getting bought out by people HOPING the card gets unbanned. This strategy works fine if you’re the first person to start buying because the banned cards usually have a stable price. Had you bought Bitterblossoms 2 weeks ago at around $17-18 you really couldn’t lose that much. If it got unbanned you make a fortune, if it doesn’t..well you just resell them as the price you bought in at was stable and that’s what you could expect to resell them for without an unbanning. The bad place to be is one of those people who bought them at their highly inflated price HOPING they’d unban it. Because if they don’t (and they likely won’t) the previous price of 17-18 will likely be the stopping point of their expected plummet. And now you’ve lost the difference between what you paid and the old price. The only saving grace is that if the public opinion is that the card should be worth more than it’s old price and you have a correction (this is also possible) and the price still drops down, but not as much as before (to say $20-22) were you to resell you’d still lose money, but not as much. This type of speculating is about comparing risk to reward. There are some people who don’t mind losing $10-12 per copy if they could win $25-30 per copy. These same people tend to play the lottery a lot…

  3. There’s a new twist in this day and age to be aware of. Yes, typically if a card sees banning in competitive play, what we have described will typically happen. If by some chance the card is also very popular among the casual and Commander crowd – the impact of a banning will be far less traumatic on a card.

    Also – as with many cards inherently broken – as time goes by and that card remains banned – it can still become harder to find and thus still see a price increase with lower amounts of supply to fill any lingering demand there might be.

    David did an excellent job of clarifying the main nuances though. Thank you, David.

  4. deathrite getting banned could mean good time to pick ’em up for legacy. i just got 6 recently (4 for a modern deck) and just thought the card was too good for modern. picked up Geist @ prerelease as a sort of hedge. should see more play now imo.

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