Insider: Top 5 Cards You Should Know

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"For every start, there is a middle, beginning, and end."

Wait....."There is a end, a middle and a beginning? Much better!"

I keep forgetting that everyone out there in TV Land does not shares the same or similar experience as I do. I can guarantee that if myself & six other Quiet Speculation writers sat down in front of an audience, it would be much like the quotes I referenced, in some random combination. How I frame a question, listen to the response and then prioritize what is heard is usually very different from "Adam" that might be sitting next to me.

I've talked a little about the way I do things. The thought processes behind other motivators and things that you should be thinking about. There's been a sprinkling of new set action, and of course the Modern build up that I've been ranting about for months now. As I sit here trying to decide on what path to take you down next, I got to thinking about just how very different everyone's situation is. What are the things you must be doing right in order to continual speculate and take advantage of markets as they evolve? Do we have the technology?

I use the End, Middle, Beginning analogy here to describe how I approach this business. Thinking backwards has helped me greatly in attempting to accomplish my goals, but knowing what I want, how I'm going to accomplish it, and what I have to have in order to proceed has been the strength of my process. There is no such thing as practice making perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Thinking this way, and structuring my actions on how to best accomplish each feat, has cleared a lot of the fog and haze that surrounds understanding the deep concepts that are involved in Magic. Not only do you have the whim of people involved, but supply & demand, print runs, cost of purchasing, and a million other factors that make moving through this world a slog. This has helped me figure out where to get the most out of each step.

So right now, what are my long term plans? A brick and mortar store front is in the works for the future. Expansion of my online sales presence and services is the short term immediate future. This means more articles, more insight, more knowledge and greater amount of singles available through my website. The short term is focused on flipping the next collection in order to reinvest back into controllable singles. This process will continue to include continued tournament appearances, collection buying, and expand to  more networking and Craigslist advertising.

I'd like to hear more about what you are focusing on, and see how those things are going to fit into the End, Middle, Beginning paradigm. Work backwards and share your goals in the comment section below. Or take it to Twitter. I'm also available through the corresponding social networks links. Help me make this column better!

Now that we're passed that - let's look at what you should be focusing on this week.

Top 5 Cards you should be keeping an eye on:

Arcbound Ravager is one of those unique cards that really begs you to look closer. There's a lot of things going on underneath the surface of the card that doesn't necessarily reveal itself to the untrained eye. Half of everyone reading this right now will believe that Arcbound Ravager's price point is too prohibitive to geting involved. That might be true. If you want a card though that can be picked up for a very solid intro price, be readily available, will have a very high percentage chance for finding buyers/traders in a hot market - look no further. Mox Opal's have started to climb to ridiculous heights that weren't thought possible for a card that stabilized in the mid $15 for such a long time. Now, Mox Opals are 400% of that price and the ceiling looks to be in the $80's to $90's. Mox Opals are a single print run card, that could easily be in the next Modern Masters announcement but before that we have a full season where I would practically guarantee BOTH will be in HIGH demand.

Arcbound Ravager has always been one of the key components to the deck's longevity in a hostile environment. As of this writing there's already been a price adjustment of +$7.25 in the last few weeks. The non-season price of $25 is just $2.50 away, but I believe the ceiling is a solid $45.00-$50.00 on one of Modern's most affordable decks. Most of the pieces of Robots/Affinity I believe are some of of the best targets you can have right now. In some cases they are criminally undervalued for such a high appearance deck. With Jund's virtual exodus from the format, your boogieman is pretty much gone. Many people will be looking for solid performers when finally picking up their decks in the upcoming weeks. This deck has consistently for years been a top performer or just on the outside looking in. The cards are plentiful now, and demand will surely change that soon.

With that being said - Revised Hurkyl's Recalls have jumped to a sub $4.00 mark. This card has been a curiosity more and more. Extremely competitive in mana cost (So much so that it sees Vintage play). It's floated around a solid $1.00-$1.50 range for a very long time. Now that Snapcaster Mage decks are back to being the toast of Modern, and here to stay for Legacy - we're finally seeing the movement this card could garner. Antiquites editions have recently spiked over 200% of it's customary $12.00 price tag. This leaves a lot of room and possible leverage for other editions. Possibly even 10th Edition foils if you feel that froggy.


Nightveil Specter is not your typical Top 5 card. May is typically the month that you truly want to be exiting the previous year's block. Slowly but surely transferring out of high yield staples and moving into hoarding Theros Block targets. Anything that's not going to be going into the long term hold needs to be tracked very closely. Keeping an eye on solid performers from the last season is how you can truly judge when to get out. As the prices begin to descend downwards, in earnest, you are too late. That only begins when sellers are just not selling the amount of copies they once came to expect. Once August hits all pricing will already have switched over to post format buying. When that brick wall hits, the best out you'd have is either retailing or trading away at full value.


I'm putting Deicide in this slot because I've been touting what the Gods can do in block for a long time. This card provides a very solid answer to those pesky Gods as I personally just can't imagine the Flagship not being the single highlight of December-March Magic. Once that time period hits, I don't believe Supreme Verdict or other like costed answers will be available. At that time, we will have a format where 6 mana board wipes will be primarily available and that puts the Devotion mechanic front and center to truly shine. There's a chance bestow's new counterparts in Journey Into Nyx really gives the ability the shot in the arm it needs, and that will help to counteract any possible low mana cost sweepers, but I find that possibility waning now with the full set release. Only time will truly tell, so I'm considering this card a very high "sleeper".


What hasn't been said about Mana Confluence? I'm surprised they actually reprinted City of Brass. But let's take a look not only at the fact that now 8x City of Brass is available in every freaking format it's legal in. Let's leave THAT fact alone for a minute.

Hands down, for the short term at minimum this will be the chase card from Journey Into Nyx. Not that we didn't have perfect mana for the time being, this card leads me to believe a number of things:

1) This is the test for older playables to be reprinted as new cards.

2) This is pushes me further into the belief that we will have Standard legal Fetches next season.

The Temples in conjunction with Mana Confluence allows an environment of 2-3 colored decks that can reliably have basic lands in play. Zendikar Standard was such a format where the majority of decks were mono to two colors and were primarily basic lands. I'm still solidily of the the belief that we are going to see the reprint of Onslaught fetchlands next season.

There's much more to be said about this card's impact on Standard, but I'm more curious about what other applications and thoughts there are on why this card should be highlighted. Are predictors like this appearing more commonly through out Magic? Please use the comment section down below or start a conversation on Twitter. I'd love to hear your thoughts

-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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6 thoughts on “Insider: Top 5 Cards You Should Know

  1. QS and Magic investments have helped me to get my collection to a place where I am very content. Now I am actually looking to use Magic speculation for “real life” expenses.

    END GOAL= Pay off student loan early (by August 2014).

    MIDDLE (i.e. Now)= Be patient and allow my acquired stock of 2014 Modern speculation targets (and some duals) to appreciate in value as Modern season draws nearer.

    BEGINNING: Set goal (above). Make investments on solid targets based on strong justification and supporting evidence.

    1. Depending on the interest rate of your student loan, you may not want to pay it off early. If you can use the cash to out-earn your loan’s interest rate by trading and investing, it might be worth your while. Remember that interest paid on student loans is tax-deductible.

      1. I’ve had my student loan for years and while I could have paid it off long ago it just doesn’t make sense to. I just let the automatic payments take care of it, the interest rate is so low.

  2. I don’t think six mana wrath effects will be the norm I think m15 will have day of judgement again. The only reason m14 didn’t is because we just got supreme verdict in the ravnica but I don’t believe wizards will leave standard with no 4 mana wrath effects it would be the first time in years

  3. I do want to make one small point about City of Brass vs. Mana Confluence. From what I understand, you can respond to City of Brass’s trigger, which is advantageous when tapping it for a game-winning combo and has interesting interaction with Rishadan Port (not a modern card, but the nature of the interaction is potentially a disadvantage). Mana Confluence has the downside of the life payment being part of its cost, which cannot be responded to. However, with certain situations it is better than City of Brass such as with Chromatic Lantern out and maybe Urborg? In the context of modern, I only see the distinction in a combo deck being a significant difference and if nothing else, something combo players need to be aware of. Good article though.

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