Insider: [MTGO] Portfolio Updates and Upcoming Projects

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Greetings MTGO investors!

Today, I'll give you an overview of what happened in my MTGO portfolio the past five to seven weeks. We'll see that this period of time gave me mixed results with my positions. Some cards rose faster that expected, and in such cases profits need to be taken for healthy portfolio growth.

On the redemption side, I finally sold my last two digital sets of Theros, for a little bit less than I wanted but still at a decent price. This is definitely a good alternative to selling tix only.

Finally, I'll talk about two projects that I'm working on. I like experimenting and testing concepts, and sharing my thoughts with the QS community. The first project is two weeks away from being completed, and will, I think, constitute a very interesting series of articles. The other one is something I am about to start soon.

Portfolio Review

Vintage Specs

Coming back to my article about Vintage on MTGO, things are moving slowly. As of now, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Bazaar of Baghdad, Mana Vault and Goblin Welder are on the rise. Whereas Tolarian Academy, Metalworker and Oath of Druids are slightly dropping, the other cards remaining pretty much stable.



I'm really not considering selling anything for the moment, but it's always good to keep an eye on it. As we are getting closer to the release of VMA, spoilers will pop up soon and might influence the trend of some of these cards and others. I'll try to be as reactive as possible, whether buying or selling.

If you are thinking about buying some of these Vintage staples, to speculate or to play, you may want to wait for the next set to be released. Journey Into Nyx release events should constitute a low point to acquire your favorite Vintage cards, and by then we may have more info about reprints in VMA.

I still believe that lower price-tag cards such as Lodestone Golem, Phyrexian Revoker and Mental Misstep are very good pickups from the perspective of the Vintage format online.

I also invite you to read or re-read Matt's article from last week about the likelihood of reprints in Vintage Masters and try to get a better idea of potential risks inherent to speculating of the Vintage set on MTGO.

Lastly, if you're taking speculative positions here, think about your target, in terms of time and tix. We don't really know how popular the VMA drafts and the subsequent Vintage format online will be. I'll be looking to sell most of my Vintage specs around the release events or a little bit after, as more players may want to gather Vintage staples to enjoy some games. If the format attracts players, prices may keep going up, but once passed the excitement of the first weeks, who knows where this will head to.

Modern Specs

Modern prices really act like a roller coaster and not every card is in the same train. Some cards have frequent and well defined variations, such as Serra Ascendant or Pyromancer Ascension. Others, like Mindbreak Trap or Lotus Cobra, oscillate less and over a longer period of time.


Taking My Profit From Successful Positions

I have taken several Modern positions since the beginning of the year. I have even invested twice on the same cards in barely three months. Modern season is for sure an inevitable end to all of my Modern specs, however. When cards reach or break their previous peaks, it's probably a good time to sell and not to be too greedy.

Recently, Serra Ascendant almost reached its peak, and Phantasmal Image and Steel Overseer broke their Modern era peak two and half weeks ago and last week, respectively. I have sold all of these three cards at this point. These are great examples of quick returns based on Modern fluctuations. In less than a month, that's about a 60% net profits, enough to pay one or two months of QS insider with only 40 or so tix invested.


The other cards that are still on the rise, and that I am watching closely, include Arcbound RavagerGifts UngivenKataki, War's Wage and Pact of Negation.


Sure, not all my positions behaved the same way. However, I encourage you to sell your positions and take your profits whenever a card has increased to reasonable expectations. Especially since we are not yet into the Modern season, most prices are still bound to fluctuate again according to their previous floor and peak.

Watching the Momentum

A couple of cards are finally and slowly gaining momentum. Lotus CobraMindbreak TrapIona, Shield of Emeria, Sundering Titan, Linvala, Keeper of Silence and Oblivion Stone are taking off.


Since these cards seem less subject to short-term variations, I would expect them to keep rising steadily until the Modern season proper. At this point, some of these cards are a rather far way from their peak, and you could even consider buying more.

Disappointing Positions

Disappointing is probably a little bit harsh. Since I bought these cards, they were mostly flat or dipped a little bit. Overall, that's not necessarily a big surprise since they didn't not perform well at the Modern PT and did not trust the top places at GPs or events online.

Among them, Grim LavamancerGoblin GuideSummoner's PactFigure of Destiny or Bloodghast. No need to panic, Modern season this summer is my target. Actually, if some of these cards, or others, are dipping a little bit they might represent an opportunity for me to reinforce my positions.


Overall Action Plan

Modern is a pretty dynamic format for speculators, creating a lot of opportunities.

As said above, I am still working on my discipline to sell more often when a decent profit is there, and move on to the next opportunity. Cards have their own fluctuations cycles, which is dependent on other factors, such as flashback drafts for instance. Take advantage of these ups and downs and even with small profits per jump from one position to another you will grow your bankroll.

Selling Full Sets

Half way between redeeming sets and selling tix, selling digital complete sets is something I was experimenting with since last December. I bought four sets of Theros, for 97.8 tix each, and was trying to sell them on eBay. I sold two sets in February for $117 per set, $117 for 97.8, pretty sweet. Since then, nothing, while I was slowly decreasing the price of my sets down to $125.

Last month, I decided to list the two last sets at $115. I wanted to complete this and was unwilling to wait more. This price was by far the best for a Theros set. Redeemed Theros sets usually sell for about $165. In my case, if you purchased my digital sets for $115, you only have to add $25+$3 to finally get your paper cards, no less, no more. That's a $148 for a Theros set!

So what do I have left you're asking? Minus eBay and Paypal fees, I'm still left with a little more than $99. Still, that's $1.01/tix.

I also remember that when I was looking up the buy list price for a complete THS set, SSG and other stores were offering close to $130. With the redemption cost and shipping cost, you're still more than likely to convert your tix around $1/tix or more.

To conclude, selling digital or redeemed complete sets is clearly a viable indirect alternative to selling tix. It will require more time, no doubt about it, but it's definitely worth it. If you can get a deal with your LGS and redeem many sets at once, this can become easier and more profitable.

Future Articles and Projects

Nine Months of a Portfolio

Almost nine months ago, I started an investment project with some friends. Basically, we pooled some cash into a single portfolio that I would manage for about nine months. I would keep a defined percentage of the benefits and distribute the rest.

This experience is about to end and I'll reveal all numbers, cards, percentages, graphs, etc… over a series of several articles.

This project was not only successful because it ended up positive, but also because it was a full portfolio management from A to Z (cash to tix to cards to tix to cash), with a beginning and an end.

I invested over hundreds of cards in different categories: Standard, Modern, Redemption sets, Quick flips… There will be a lot of data and numbers to be analyzed and discussed. Retrospectively, I'll talk about several things that could have been done differently and would have improved the strategy and maximized profits.

100 Tix, 1 Year

The next experiment I'm going to conduct is entitled "100 tix, 1 year". The challenge is simple. I'll give myself 100 tix on a fresh new account and one year to see how I can perform in these conditions.

These conditions represent a fresh start for small bankroll. This new account will have no previous ongoing credits from any bots.

I will create a Twitter account specifically dedicated to this project where people will be able to follow me. I'll post all my transactions in real time. I'll probably make a little report in some of my articles here at QS every two months or so.


Thank you for reading!

Sylvain Lehoux

10 thoughts on “Insider: [MTGO] Portfolio Updates and Upcoming Projects

  1. I don’t think tweeting transactions in real time would be a good idea, because I’m sure that those tweets would influence the market in some way. maybe delay tweets by a day?

    1. Hi Max,

      For this project, I anticipate to have 50% of my bankroll in the form of free tix and to do a lot of quick flips. Also, considering the size of this bankroll I’ll have to deal mostly with low price cards.
      Twitter is an easy way to follow the project day by day, and because of the nature of this portfolio, I don’t think it will really influence the market.

      On the other hand, I am now twitting most in not all the specs I suggest here on QS (forums or articles), and thus with at least a 24h-delay. QS members still get the info 24h before anybody else.

      Note that I could do that with the 100 tix, 1 year project as well, posting here first and delaying the tweets.

    1. Agree. Cant wait to hear it, and Im excited for you to post your transactions as I will likely make the same transactions myself too. 🙂

      1. As I responded to Max, the 100 tix, 1 year project will be special because of its size. It is likely to be mostly quick flips and some well target and predictable specs (Modern mostly). And the value of the cards is likely to be below 5-7 tix at anytime.

        Most if not all of my targets are in my articles, on the forum, and are on twitter about 24h before posting here.

  2. Sylvain, thank you again for helping me with my questions this morning.

    I believe I’ll give it a try starting speculating online instead of focusing just on paper magic.

    As I mentioned before, my initial amount to invest/speculate with is 300 tix. Can you recommend me some short/middle term targets to start with this week?

  3. Hi Matteo,

    First of all, if you haven’t invested yet on MTGO, I highly recommend to read more fundamental Matt Lewis’s articles and mine to have a better idea of how properly start investing online: helpful websites and resources, bots, tix, credits…

    I don’t really have any short term targets right now (or I guess it depends on how fast evolve my mid term targets). Some Modern cards are still quiet attractive to me, Gitaxian probe @<0.5tix, Phyrexian Metamorph or Grim Lavamancer. These 3 guys have strong potentials with the upcoming Modern season.
    As with all my past and present Modern specs, I aimed for either a price or a time. June-Jully is my time target with Modern specs, and usually doubling is my price goal. Here for instance, if Phyrexian Metamorph reaches 3-3.5tix I would consider selling, even if it happens in three weeks. If nothing happen, or the price keeps dropping, I'll wait until this summer where I think the price should be "up" and I'll move on even if the result is negative. is great to look at historical prices and have an idea of prices expectations.

    Another thing, I strongly encourage you to diversify your portfolio and follow the "5% rule" (none of your position should constitute more than 5% of your total bankroll). In your case, as good as any specs may look like, I would not recommend to buy more than 15-20 tix of it. And if it means that you have 60 tix invested in 3 or 4 specs and 240 tix free, that's fine.

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