Last week was big for subscribers to our Insider service. We've got all of these articles posted in full for our Insiders. We've got a great recap below for any articles you might have missed (or ones that may sound interesting enough to consider Insider).
You can't buy every spec - sooner or later, you run out of tix or time. Sylvain tackles this problem by asking you questions about what you need to get from your speculation. How long can you hold it? What I liked about this was Sylvain's honesty with his own experiences. People often talk about their big scores, but it takes a lot of humility to post about the two times he should have sold Obezdat (and then back it up with graphs.)
In the end, Sylvain shows you how he made an 89% profit from knowing when to sell at the right time - and reinforces a powerful lesson about selling when you've made what you need to.
David brings us a host of pick-ups for Ravnica rotation. In addition to the standard discussion of what to value Shocklands at, he dips into the Commander highlights and obscure cards with potential. He's taking a particular view with what these cards sell to stores for at buylist prices. For example, here's one Commander standout:
Merciless Eviction - This card is criminally underplayed in EDH (primarily, I believe, because many casual players don’t like exiling their own stuff), but flexible sweepers are powerful and exiling in EDH is huge. Its biggest problem may be that its color combination is so good at recursion and exiling its own targets is a non-bo.
These currently buylist for around $0.25 and given that almost all the demand is casual, I expect this one to stay like that. Barring any reprint this could probably be a $2 card in a year or two.
Though some Ravnica-block all star cards won't see much of a dip after rotation, most will take a significant price hit - especially the casual cards. David's got a guide for you to pick these up cheaply for long-term specs.
Paul Nemeth is Quiet Speculation's wunderkind, a brilliant chess player and Magic Online superstar. I loved this interview because Paul's honest, no-ego personality shines through. He's inspirational in the fact that he only started Magic three years ago and has seen considerable success since then.
Paul is also confessional about how to make money (and save it) playing MTGO. He offers this advice on playing:
For almost every player in almost every format, when you join a draft you are paying money to have fun. Don’t join a draft because you might open a chase mythic and make a profit. Don’t join a draft because you lost the last one and want to win your money back.
Ryan digs deep into M15 for a Standard-focused set review. Hushwing Gryff is sure to do serious work in Modern, but Ryan shows us several reaasons why it can carry water in Standard. Inferno Fists can make the smallest dorks in Boss Sligh into serious attackers and Stoke the Flames might be the Fireblast we're looking for.
Ryan also evaluates the uncommon cycle of creatures that look for a different land type in play. With the shocklands rotating out soon, these lose a lot of their value.
One added benefit of Ryan's article is a robust discussion in the comments thread about his choices. Sometimes, a QS article will generate another article-length reply thread and this is one of those times.
Sigmund reflects further on what the Modern season has done for card prices - or rather, what it has not done for them. The prices have not seen much appreciation, causing Sig to conclude that the cards may have been overbought in the first place. That is, there's not enough demand to push them up any higher than they were at. Sig also has dire warnings for holding onto Modern staples in light of the reprint-happy M15:
As a player, I’m thankful for these reprints, but, as an MTG Speculator, this means danger. Holding Modern staples through to 2015 in the hopes of moving them at a higher price carries tremendous reprint risk and opportunity cost.
There's a great synergy here with Sylvain's article above - Sig discusses when to cut your losses and sell. Both players lost out on some speculations (it happens sometimes) and reading both of these articles will help you use your logical brain, not your emotional brain, to buy and sell effectively. If you're not an Insider, you're missing the valuable "Sig Bits" at the end of each column - a place where Sig puts quick and loaded thoughts on Magic Finance. Here's one from this week:
- I buy listed my Birthing Pods at GP Cincinnati this year for around $12 each. Now Star City Games has 64 total copies in stock with a NM price of $11.99. Quite the drop.
Jason looks at that perennial question - should you hold or sell in the face of impending reprints? He tackles Thoughtseize, Chord of Calling and Shivan Reef. What caused the first two to plummet in price, while the last one shot up to double the value.
Jason also confronts how individual sellers on TCGPlayer have made card prices stickier - they don't drop so reliably after spikes. This poses big problems for Magic players who rely on market corrections to buy cards at sane prices. It means that we're left with Ebay Auctions as the only reliable downward-pressing force, and that's a dwindling market on its own.
Mike is in full brew mode here, looking at Nissa from every angle to see the best deck for her. She creates a lot of mana, but what do you spend it on? Mike goes through the panoply of X spells and fatties to shovel all of that mana into.
M15 is going to start people on another round of brewing. Often, the most exciting time in a format is the first few weeks, when people are testing fun things and nobody has really figured out the best decks just yet. With Boss Sligh in the metagame right now, though, creativity might end up getting punished by a load of tiny red dudes. Time will tell!
Adam dives right into Golgari Rock, highlighting why the deck is so well positioned versus the format dominating Birthing Pod decks. These decks jam Treetop Village and Fulminator Mage to attack lands and attack with lands. They present a machine-like inevitability. They rip apart your hand, then land an efficient creature or Planeswalker to close out the game.
Adam's article inspired Paul Nemeth to take a swing at BG Rock and record a video series for QS, which should be up this week!
Who would have known that Polluted Delta was binder trash for dealers? Corbin explains what surprised him about trading on the floor of GP:DC and the lack of interest in Onslaught lands was one of them. Corbin explains why dealers are so loath to pick them up - everyone is fearing a reprint in the fall set.
Also, is the era of buylisting at Grands Prix over? Corbin makes the case that sitting comfortably at home will get you the same prices you'd get at a Grand Prix.
Wizards used to be a company that could control nearly all of the consumption of its product. It made Magic cards and held the only relevant Magic events. It dictated the winning stories and built careers. Now, Wizards is losing tremendous amounts of power. The company has no power over SCG events, which gave life (and value) to Legacy cards. It sat by and watched an explosion in Commander, only stepping into it after the format had been riotously popular for four years. Magic has been propelled stratospherically, but the control that Wizards has over how you play the game is at an all-time low.
I liked Dylan's article - he highlighted some truths that I had never considered before. However, it felt like I got half an article - I wanted to read so much more about how this information should be applied! Let's hope we get a follow-on article soon.
Insider "Pick of the Week"
Each week, Kelly and I pick an article from the Insider half that we liked the most. This week, it was Sylvain's article regarding opportunity cost. This is one of the hardest things for speculators to internalize - when to cash out your profits and go, and when to sell a bad spec. Sylvain shows us that even in spite of eating it on a few cards, you can make tremendous gains with your portfolio.