This Week On Insider: June 16 – 22

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Jason Alt - Poise

The self-proclaimed Jon Snow of MTGO Finance was one of a very small handful of people not talking about Vintage Masters this week.  Instead, he delves into the myriad of tournaments that happened on paper, which is a blessing for those of us that don't do much (or any) MTGO.

So what happened on paper?  Well, one thing Jason said stands out above the rest.

I feel like we have a real opportunity here. I think if Ross had jammed these main, the price would have risen very precipitously. Almost mercifully the card was relegated to the board where it would get a bit less notice. This has allowed it to fly under the radar a bit longer and allowed those of us who are bullish on the card to grab copies without triggering a panic.

I can buy slowly and not cause TCG Player prices to spike in response. Star City has raised its price to $5 and TCG Player is really lagging behind. With such a big spread and high availability of the card, no one is tipped off.

The card in question?  Eidolon of the Great Revel.   I've gone ahead and pulled a graph from and highlighted the (tgcplayer mid) price on the day Jason's article went live.  It's almost doubled since then.


See this?  This is why we listen to Jason when he speaks.
See this? This is why we listen to Jason when he speaks.

What does it all mean? To me, I feel like Eidolon is poised to go up. Its increasing popularity, the weakness of the expansion set it’s in, its applicability outside of Standard and remaining year plus of legality all combine to generate a lot of wind beneath its wings.

Wind beneath its wings? That’s corny. The helium in its zeppelin? Too dangerous, especially around a red card. Fire under its ass? Look, I’m getting sidetracked; the point is that I think we could see some upward movement.

Prescient.  As always.

In addition, Jason makes a call I really like in this article, targeting a not-quite-bulk rare from JOU that might have some serious upside if M15 is indeed full of Convoke as we believe it to be.

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Alexander Carl - Vintage Masters Strikes Back

By far, the most frequent question we've been asked lately is "when should I buy Power on Magic Online?" Alexander goes over what prices have done in the past week (including how he made several hundred tickets). If you're looking to buy or sell the ultra-rare Power, this is a must-read. I especially liked how he touched on the fact that you, as a buyer or seller, need to set a price you're willing to pay and be unemotional about it.

How many playsets of power are there in existence? Alexander talks about that number too, based on the amount of packs being opened at current rates. Let's just say that there are quite a few more Beta Black Lotuses than there are digital Black Lotuses right now.

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Adam Yurchick - Advanced Sideboarding in Sealed Deck

You've done this, right? You're in a Sealed event, you build a decent deck and then register it. After a narrow victory in Round One, your friend looks over your pool and shows you how you could have built the deck so much better. Feeling both frustration and happiness, you're committed to "fixing" that deck over the course of the event with your sideboard. This goes beyond bringing in the bullet card to kill a problem artifact, this is advanced work. Adam highlights several techniques for better sideboarding, including the whole deck swap:

The deck swap strategy allows its pilot to drastically change plans against the opponent, comparable to picking a new constructed deck within games of a Standard match in order to better position against the opponent. It’s not always possible, but when it is, it can be highly effective. This deck-swap strategy also has the effect of surprising the opponent and has the potential to interfere with their own sideboard strategy.

[T]he sideboard may be left with enough playable cards to build a whole new, separate deck.

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Corbin Hosler - The Ground Shook, And No One Cared

What happens when the biggest tournament organizer announces that they'll be supporting Modern on their famously successful event circuit? Not much, according to Corbin. When SCG announced their Modern events, we thought that this would spike interest in Modern cards. Corbin goes over the numbers to show you what didn't go up and when you should be getting your Modern cards to sell into the hype.

I’m not saying Modern is dead or that the announcement from SCG means nothing. I think it will slow down the decline of cards during the next few months, but I don’t think we’re going to be seeing an immediate across-the-board correction upwards.

Like the earthquakes, no one is going to care about the announcement until it arrives on their front door. A year into SCG’s Modern season, I’ll buy that a fair number of players are playing who wouldn’t otherwise due to the series. That certainly will help to buoy prices moving forward.

But the announcement alone? That will do approximately nothing to change the current course we’re on. The first SCG Modern event isn’t until a month from now, and by that time we’ll be nearing the last part of the Modern PTQ season.

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Dylan Beckham - Event Horizon Update

Dylan covers his Top Five cards to watch on Magic Online, referencing them with their paper versions alongside. I'm not going to spoil the whole list for you here, but one of the items is a Tenth Edition card that's ripe for a huge plummet in value if it sees a reprinting. Dylan's got a great focus on Modern in this article, so if you've got a lot of that format in your area (or you follow it online) then this isn't to be missed.

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Mike Lanigan - Don't Forget To Have Fun

Mike's article touches on something serious players and speculators have to remember - try new things and have fun with Magic or it quickly turns into a chore. One of the most fun experiences for Mike lately was Vintage Masters draft, which is still far from a solved format. It's fun to draft but as Mike says, it's a very expensive draft. He's outlined several of his winning draft decks to show you what strategies to look out for. I particularly liked that Mike chose to "build around" cards he opened that seemed fun early on in his drafts. I'm glad to see he took those decks to victory.

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David Schumann - Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy will still be drafted until M15 comes out, so what is that going to do to the prices of the chase cards in the set? David digs deep and highlights nine cards he thinks you should stock up on. For example:

Realm SeekersThis is my pick for casual favorite from the set. It’s green (EDH’s strongest color), has a decent mana cost for EDH, can be massive against the players who like to draw tons of cards, and most importantly allows us to search forany land. There are so many powerful utility (Yavimaya HollowYavimaya Hollow) or big mana Gaea's Cradle lands that the ability to tutor them up for three green is huge.

David points out that this grabs any land, meaning that it has Primeval Titan's ability to get powerhouses. Commander cards tend to slowly pick up in value until you're asking "when did Black Market turn into a $10 card?" There's also a lively discussion in the comments on how to identify the right time to buy Conspiracy staples and whether we've reached the bottom of the market yet.

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Ryan Overturf - Legacy Izzet Audible in Columbus

Ryan brought an entertaining tournament report to us with his Legacy Izzet Delver deck this week. He did a thorough analysis of why he was setting Tarmogoyfs aside for the event - if you don't have the green machine, his list will still get you there. Ryan piloted it to a respectable 7-3 finish and his report is full of great in-game play tips to make you better.

If you're like me, you go through phases of playing Legacy. I picked up some decks again last week in the LGS and played in a small event and wondered why I hadn't played it in so long. Ryan's article gets me thinking about that again.

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Danny Brown - Why Speculate When It's Already A Staple (PT 1)

Danny comes at us with a blistering answer to the question "why would you buy a hot card when it's already hot?" His historical analysis of standard-era staples shows that these old horses still have a lot of miles left in them to ride. It seems that what was good in eras of Standard Past can still do wonders in Modern if it's good enough.

Danny also hits on the cautionary tale of Voice of Resurgence; how cautious should we be about a card that was once $40 and still flirts at $25? Since it's played in two Modern Pod decks, can it still command that price - or even more?

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Sylvain Lehoux - 9 Months of Portfolio Management: Modern

Sylvain shows off some serious swings in his Modern portfolio, launching off with his reasoning on why he did not invest deeply in the format to begin with. He's pulled in some charts of the swingiest Modern cards, and this one caught my eye:


These trends make a speculator feel greedy for sure! A well-timed speculator could have bought and sold that card six times for a profit! I've managed to pull that off a few times (Grove of the Burnwillows was very kind to me) but seeing the swings in action for Magic Online is very motivating.

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Sigmund Ausfresser - Market Reactions to the SCG Modern Open

As Corbin took the immediate look back over the shoulder at how the market reacted to SCG's Modern events, Sig took a historical dive into Legacy. Specifically, he demonstrated how Legacy's prices have steadily risen over time to reflect continued demand from the Legacy circuit. Lest you think that observation obvious, Sig brilliantly lays out that what's good for Modern is not good for Legacy:

Let’s fast-forward five years and assume Star City Games is still supporting Legacy and Modern on Sundays. You probably still have the same 300 players grinding out the Legacy Opens as before, playing with $400Underground Seas and $150 Force of Will. But any newer player who did not previously own a Legacy deck can now enjoy large tournaments on both Saturdays and Sundays simply by building a Modern deck.

In fact, I fully expect most new players to make a smooth transition from Standard to Modern. Legacy, on the other hand, is inaccessible to most new players. With the Modern option, they really can disregard the format altogether if they desired.

Sig has also been on a buying binge, stocking up on Power here and there. He's got excellent observations about why this is the time to be buying your set if you're in the market. Even market powerhouses like SCG cannot keep them in stock, even at lower card conditions.

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Paul Nemeth - Zwischenzug's Vintage Masters Draft

What do you do when you draft the UG Madness deck, but you lack Wild Mongrels and Basking Rootwallas? You do as Paul did and still slam a 3-0 victory with your draft pool. I loved watching this because Paul shows how to use the depth of role-players in each color to make UG still work. While he isn't making free Rootwallas with his Krovikan Sorcerers, he's still making the most of an archetype full of under-costed beaters and good stack manipulation.

Paul also drafts with a friend, so we get extra commentary on what to do in each pick. You'll hear reasoning on whether you can play Circular Logic without a Madness enabler and whether Ophidian is good in the list or not.

On top of that, it's always fun to watch someone crush other people in draft. With videos, you can watch the slaughter over and over. I'm so happy QS has Paul on board because he is nearly technically perfect in his playing and I always learn a ton.

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My Pick of the Week: Conspiracy Theories, by David Schumann

David's article is a great mix of the practical (a list of cards to stock up on right now) as well as the explanation about why you should get them. The age-old speculation question is "when should I buy in?" and I think he did a great job showing why we're nearing Conspiracy's buy-in point. The comment thread afterward also highlighted why you should always read to the bottom of a QS article - there's usually another article's worth of discussion going on!

If you like this kind of analysis, you’ll probably like QS Insider.  We publish about a dozen articles each week that are high-quality and full of information, data, research and analysis.   If you like what you see, consider signing up.  At about a dime an article, we think you’ll find it worth your while.  Learn more about Insider here.

Douglas Linn

Doug Linn has been playing Magic since 1996 and has had a keen interest in Legacy and Modern. By keeping up closely with emerging trends in the field, Doug is able to predict what cards to buy and when to sell them for a substantial profit. Since the Eternal market follows a routine boom-bust cycle, the time to buy and sell short-term speculative investments is often a narrow window. Because Eternal cards often spike in value once people know why they are good, it is essential for a trader to be connected to the format to get great buys before anyone else. Outside of Magic, Doug is an attorney in the state of Ohio.  Doug is a founding member of Quiet Speculation, and brings with him a tremendous amount of business savvy.

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