This Week On Insider: July 15th – July 20th

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Sylvain Lehoux - Nine Months of Portfolio Management - Mismanaging Return to Ravnica Block Positions

Sylv walks us through proper portfolio management in MTGO. Snagging great returns requires a bit of active work - Sylvain demonstrates how small and large blocks react to later releases. One example is Mizzium Mortars - purchased at 2 tix, held for too long, then dumped at 1 tix! Sylvain demonstrates two points where he could have sold off at a 3tix profit.

I love how Sylvain recaps his lessons to help you be a better portfolio trader on MTGO. Here are some of his thoughts on Mythics:

  • Since mythics have the potential for bigger swings than rares in general, they can crash hard.
  • I would not speculate on mythics based on vague assumptions that they have a potential. Since a 5 Tix mythic can rise up to 30 Tix if conditions are favorable, I would rather wait for decks to include that mythic.
  • Similarly to rares, following price and metagame trends is really what’s needed to secure gains and avoid big losses. Cashing out with a 50% profit in two or three months is a great move, and you don’t want to let pass such opportunities without good reasons. Less greed, more profit.

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Scott Fielder - Brewing in Vintage

Vintage is far from stale! Scott brings us a host of really cool Vintage lists to try out, with testing and results to back it up. Even if Grixis Humans didn't really perform well, he's got great perspective on what Disciple of Deceit can do. Scott also tackles Dack Fayden in a Slaver deck. I've been trying the same thing and it's great to read his perspective on it. Although I'm sad because he's only running one Dack and no copies of the truly-insane Liquimetal Coating! When I play bad cards, I play really bad cards...

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Alexander Carl - Virtually Infinite - Mistakes We Make, Part I

We all make mistakes. Alexander skillfully walks us through our rationalizations and demonstrates some fascinating laws of Magic speculating. For instance, he brings up Sphinx's Revelation. For every Sphinx's Revelation, there will be Duskmantle Seer, Advent of the Wurm and Aurelia's Fury.

Where a lot of articles stumble is drawing useful conclusions- but Alexander hits right home with the metaphor of swimming upstream and downstream. If you're buying cards in a new set, you're working when they're at the most unstable price - and sometimes their highest! If you're buying cards in an already depressed set, the prices are stable. You're a lot less likely to lose out, and you can let the natural cycles of MTGO pick up the interest on the cards for you.

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Ryan Overturf - Fair and Balanced - A Legacy Deck Primer

Ryan digs into Legacy with a look at Grixis Painter, a deck he describes as awesome but busy. Ryan took the deck towards white cards, picking up Swords to Plowshares in the meantime. Ryan doesn't like STP, which makes him the first person I've heard with that opinion! He ended up swapping out Swords for Lightning Bolts in his Counterbalance list.

I don't play Legacy that much, so I had the impression that the lists were pretty static. You picked one you like, tossed it at the metagame and maybe you won. Ryan demonstrates that there's still a lot of movement left in Legacy, especially online.

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Sigmund Ausfresser - Shock Lands and an MTG Finance First

Sig reflected on the Modern market's bear season - but the real juice in this article is his futures contract. If you follow him on Twitter, you might have seen him buy his first options recently. Sig must have been infected with this bug because he executed a futures contract for Magic - a first of its kind that I know of!

How much would you pay to buy 91 shocklands at $9 apiece through mid-January of next year? Sig sold this "right" to another speculator for $50. He's essentially selling any profit above $9 on the lands for 50 cents apiece. Personally,  I think that's a little too low, but I applaud him for his verve!

Would you pay 50 cents to lock in a buy price of $9 on a shockland? How many of those "options" would you buy?

The biggest issue of doing this on a wide scale is making it enforceable to strangers. Nonetheless, all stock markets start with a group of people building trust with each other. I'm excited to follow more of this project.

This is, by the way, another article with can't-miss comments in the feedback.

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David Schumann - The Legacy of M15...And More!

M15 has a few solid additions to the Legacy cardpool. David goes through the extensive additions to Slivers, including the Hive.

M15 is not just Slivers, though - David takes a look at the rest of the cardpool, especially cards that can generate new strategies. For example, he says this on Aggressive Mining:

This does seem like an engine card, by which I mean it does have a very high power level and drawing multiple cards for no mana is an ability we’ve seen broken many times (NecropotenceYawgmoth’s Bargain, Griselbrand). This is an interesting take, though unlike the three I just mentioned, instead of using life as the card drawing resource, we are using our lands which are far more finite in a game. The life cost ones also don’t also restrict you from gaining the resource back, whereas Aggressive Mining shuts off further land drops. A CMC of four also seems to put it at a pretty big disadvantage, after all, if I’m paying four mana in Legacy I want JTMS orSneak Attack.

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Jason Alt - Don't Have a Bad Time

Jason adds another bedrock article to his series on buylisting cards and breaking down collections. He takes the example of a rookie, making one of his first big buylist sales. He sends to six different stores and has a major issue with one of them. What could have been done to make this better? Jason dives into how to efficiently cash out.

Jason distills a lot of experience into a good guide for beginners. For example, you'll benefit by knowing the reputation of stores. If a card gets banned, ABU Games will still honor their buylist price for a few hours. Other stores may pay very well but be strict on condition or take a long time to pay. You can skip a lot of beginner mistakes with this article.

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Dylan Beckham - The Great Machine

Dylan demonstrates more next-level thinking with his reflections on when a bunch of stores running events is too good of a thing... Specifically, are they fighting against each other? Are they cannibalizing the same player pool for the same night? And why is a weeknight tournament so bad, anyway?

Dylan brings up the MTGO Solution - cap weeknight events at four rounds and pay prizes to people who go 4-0 or 3-1. Everyone knows how long the event will last and nobody stays out till midnight just to ensure they can get prizes for the last five hours of play. I happen to like this idea a lot. We've got a lot of Modern events going on in my town, but a bunch are on weeknights. They don't often fire on time and they stretch til midnight or later. I know I'll be proposing this model to local stores!

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Mike Lanigan - M15 Review (Black, Red, Artifacts, Lands & Gold)

Mike is our resident Standard grinder, so I was pleased to read about what's hot in M15 for players. Mike is unimpressed by the Soul cycle but hopeful about Ulcerate, the new and painful black removal spell. Red is looking very strong going into Khans, and I'm especially excited about Frenzied Goblin. I've lost more games to that innocuous little monster than I care to elaborate on. He singlehandedly shuts down the plan of slamming bigger monsters in front of a weenie horde and makes an opponent really spend his turns answering the board.

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Corbin Hosler - Journeying Back Into Nyx

Accountability. It's what makes writers for QS special. For years, Corbin has been reviewing his calls on previous sets. Sure, it's easy to fire off predictions for hot mythics, but it becomes harder with a self-imposed review later on. Corbin gets a lot of calls dead-on. Lest you think this is merely a "hits and misses" clip-show of an article, Corbin also gives great advice for what to do now - like trading for the Gods at $6 and a certain cycle of EDH staples for $1 apiece.

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Adam Yurchick - Magic Online Vintage Metagame Report

Vintage online is going to rocket the format forward at lightspeed. Adam pores over the first Vintage Premiere Event winners, including the victorious BUG deck. If you're new to Vintage, you might be surprised to see a list with Trygon Predator and Deathrite Shaman taking the whole event in the face of more broken strategies.

Luckily, broken Tinker decks show up in 3rd and 4th place; all is right in the world again. The lists continue with a Dack Fayden Mindslaver deck with four maindeck Night's Whisper for extra draw power. I remember using Whisper to great success, but I always eye Skeletal Scrying when I think about black card draw.

Dack Fayden is finding a nice home in Vintage and stands to be a great staple for years to come. If you're looking for finance advice, this is a good and stable card to nab.

Winner of the Week and Last Week's Winner UNLOCKED!

For his sheer guts in making a futures contract in Magic, I was inclined to pick Sig's article as the winner of the week. I think he did a great job - but Sig has won a lot lately and I love strange and silly brews, so this week's winner is Scott Fielder's article, "Brewing In Vintage." If you're not currently an Insider, check back next week as I unlock it with the next recap article.


Last week, Kelly picked Alexander Carl's article, "Vintage Masters Update & Free Money" as the winner. This week, it's been unlocked for you to read for free. If you like the article, remember that Alexander makes quality articles like this every week for Quiet Speculation - another great reason to give Insider a try!


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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