This Week On Insider (Plus last week’s winner UNLOCKED) – July 20th – July 26th

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Sylvain Lehoux - Nine Months of Portfolio Management-Quick Flips & Very Short Term Specs

Sylvain tackles the bulk of his portfolio with his quick flips of the past nine months. Here, you'll read about how he chose the cards he did; how long he held them; and what price he sold at. This can make big profits - he had a 134% gain, after all - but it requires a lot of attention on the markets to get it right! This article covers the difference between a quick flip and a short-term spec and Sylvain shows you times when he got out at the right time - and a few when he was left holding devalued cards.

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Paul Nemeth - [Video] Out with the Old and in with the New

Paul has got some CRAZY games in with a BUG Vintage deck sporting Deathrite Shaman and Null Rod, along with other monsters - like Edric, Spymaster of Trest!

Paul's videos are always a good time because I learn so much tight play. He's the MTGO Player of the Year for a reason and he patiently explains his choices. It's so cool to hear his reasoning on choices and see them play out - it's a good reminder that even the best players have to take a pause to figure out what's going on sometimes.

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David Schumann - Branching Out

This week, David dives into the other ways to turn bulk into money. He brings up selling 1,000 count boxes full of cards as "instant collections" on Craigslist, which sounds like a decent plan - but a real effort to make $10 apiece! Still, it beats selling bulk to stores. David also mentions power commons and uncommons, and while that's nothing new - he brings up a good hack. He suggests checking out Pauper decklists, since those represent the most powerful cards in the common slot and they can be worth a quarter or more to buylists. Here's what he has to say:

Looking over decklists for these formats (especially Pauper, as decklists are readily available here) and looking up a lot of the cards in these decks we see commons going for $0.2-$0.5. While this doesn’t sound like a lot, it means that if you were to pull out those cards from your bulk (where they are likely sitting) you can easily trade/sell them for 67x-166x what you would get for them selling them as bulk. Granted this takes considerably more time then just handing a box of cards to a store, but the payoff can be big. After all, if I learned anything from my experience buylisting at GP Atlanta it’s that nickles, dimes and quarters can add up quickly.


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Ryan Overturf - Greed and the Art of Mulligans and Manabases

How greedy are you when you're mulliganing? Ryan apparently dances with the Devil on this one - he's got an atrocious one-land keep that you've got to see to believe. I think he makes a solid case for keeping it, though - and it's hilarious that his opponent slammed him for keeping after Thoughtseizing him to check things out.

Ryan also shifts over to Standard, where there's a very real question of greed when it comes to how many Temples you want to run. If you're on a two-color deck, you can run 12+ temples and scry just about every turn. However, that's going to slow the deck down considerably. I think Ryan does a thorough writeup on how to know when enough is enough.

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Sigmund Ausfresser - Assessing the MTG Finance Landscape

Part history, part prediction - Sig talks about the price flattening trend that's been happening this summer in Modern and how you can capitalize on it. There are several pics Sig outlines that have reached the bottom of their price flattening - they're good pickups right now. Additionally, Sig highlights Vintage and Casual cards as great pickups, saying this:

These are the only formats that have NOT been experiencing price pullbacks lately. Power remains strong and Star City Games cannot keep stuff like Mana Drain in stock.

I’ve been focusing a lot of attention on Vintage deals lately, and they’ve paid off for me rather well. It has been possible to negotiate towards “older” Vintage prices only to sell nearer to the “new”, higher prices. This strategy can’t last forever, but as long as players sell Unlimited Moxen for under $500, profits can be made.

More and more, the Reserved List looks like an index of "what's guaranteed to stay valuable."

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Jason Alt - I Remember My First Time

Do you remember the first time you bought a collection? Jason regales us with his hilarious first time out, talking about meeting a guy and looking through the box that contained his rares:

I cracked open the fat pack box and plunged in. Merfolk of the Pearl Trident.Battering RamConservatorGoblin Balloon Brigade. Pristine, pack-fresh 4th Editioncopies. It was as if they had been removed directly from the booster pack wrappers and placed reverently into the fat pack box that didn’t exist in 1996 and sealed for posterity. I was stunned. The cards in the 5,000-count boxes were kinda jacked up. Finding pristine4th Edition cards where I expected to find a box full of valuable rares was so surreal and confusing that I didn’t even register anger or disappointment until I was halfway through the 70 minute drive home.

How do you avoid getting burned when you're buying collections? Jason has awesome advice for this - how to see what's worth your time, how to set a real value, and what to do when you're there and disappointed. This article resonated with me. Jason's gone through a lot of collections and I could see my experiences in his article - finding an entire collection that never saw sleeves, seeing beat up fetchlands and now-worthless foils.

Buying collections is typically the best return in Magic finance, and Jason shares his collected wisdom to save you heartbreak.


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Mike Lanigan - M15 Top 10

Mike is our resident brewmaster and his article this week is full of his top ten M15 cards and a big stack of also-rans, all potentials for transforming Standard. Mike has pegged Hornet Queen as an easy inclusion for monogreen Devotion, saying "of course there are ways to deal with all the tokens simultaneously but if you can’t, that’s a lot of deathtouch to fight through."

Mike also pegs Frenzied Goblin as a role-player and I agree. People look past that little monster, but he makes aggressive decks very scary - now you have to leave back two blockers to munch through Boss Sligh's minions, for example. Mike's also got four Planeswalkers on this list - you'll find out which ones will shape Standard if you're an Insider.

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Corbin Hosler - Breaking Down Hasbro’s Earnings Report

Corbin jokingly starts off by saying that each day, Magic finance and stock finance get closer and closer together. This week, he took a look at Hasbro's quarterly earnings report with investors. This is where the company tells large institutional investors what's been going on with their company over the past three months. Magic is a significant part of Hasbro and so it was a significant part of the conversation. Corbin unpacks it all for the reader, telling us what is important and what didn't get said.

First off, Magic's earnings are down for the first time in a long time. This is important because it causes executives to lose their mind, not because Magic is dying. It means that Hasbro might exert pressure to make more money on Wizards again. I read it as making more boxed sets likely, and in fact - with the announcement of the first four duel decks being reprinted - it's hard not to see a correlation already.

Corbin gives his usual calm and measured analysis in a must-read for people who want to make money from Magic.

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Adam Yurchick - Grand Prix Boston Modern Metagame Primer

If you're just getting into Modern or you're looking for updated gauntlet decks for testing, Adam has pulled it all together for you here. While this is themed toward what you'd see in Boston, it's still a great guide going forward. Adam also shows us the fringe decks in the format (Possibility Storm?!?) to prepare you for the more loony decks floating around.

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Dylan Beckham - Ghost in the Machine

Dylan drops back from the strategy of individual finance actions to look at our processes that we build for success. For example, he reminds us to keep moving - objects that move tend to stay moving. Keep trading, selling, buying, playing. It's not the most finance-focused article because it backs up and looks at building more commitment to see success. I liked Dylan's article and I'm glad we've got mental theory works going up!

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

I really enjoyed reading Ryan Overturf's "Greed and the Art of Mulligans and Manabases," which will be unlocked next week for readers of this column. Ryan walks us through some very unconventional choices. I learned a lot about analyzing mulligan choices, which is an under-respected technique in Magic. I'm sure I'll be referencing this one for the future!


Last week, I picked Scott Fielder article, Brewing In Vintage as the winner. This week, it’s been unlocked for you to read for free. If you like the article, remember that we've got excellent strategy 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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