Sylvain recently completed his Nine Months of Portfolio Management series, in which he identified some key patterns throughout the year. With the upcoming release of Khans of Tarkir, and the subsequent Standard rotation, it's time to enact one of his identified strategies.
Since the end of August, the total value of the M15 set has increased by about 20%. This increase is mostly due to an increase of mythic prices propelled by the redemption of the M15 set being now available. As mythics constitute the majority of the core set value, this little bump was anticipated and is normal.
If you don't know which cards are perfect to pick up on MTGO right now, Sylvain's got you covered.
Ah, spoiler season--the time when the landscape shifts and everything we know about Standard comes into question. With Mantis Rider being spoiled, Ryan scopes out this potential powerhouse:
Take a mana and a toughness away from Lightning Angel and this is what you get. The immediate reaction I've seen from many players is that they would gladly pay the extra mana for the extra toughness. Lightning Strike, Bile Blight and Anger of the Gods are all strong reasons for this.
But, as Ryan goes into, should Anger of the Gods be as feared as it once was? Is it possible the format will favor other board wipes, giving hope for the Rider?
It was an impressive week of change as players across the world prep for a brave new Standard. Sigmund analyzes the trends observed:
The Top 3: Courser of Kruphix, Goblin Rabblemaster, Mana Confluence
These three Standard legal cards have increased 51.4%, 44.4%, and 34.0% respectively. Talk about significant returns! Those who owned these cards more than a week ago likely made significant bank on their investments.
I tip my hat to you – personally I only had a small position in Mana Confluence at the beginning of spoiler season. I had some Rabblemasters but I sold them promptly after their breakout a few weeks ago for quick profit. I own 0 Coursers.
But if these cards are all based on unproven hype, should you have been hawking them? Sigmund prefers to play it safe:
You probably noticed a trend throughout this article, and it’s one that shouldn’t be surprising. Selling unproven cards into hype will always be my recommendation. I take the same stance when investing in the stock market. I refuse to buy stock in a company that hasn’t already demonstrated profitability. Do I miss out on some major opportunities, such as Amazon (which by the way still isn’t profitable)? Absolutely. But it also means I avoid unnecessary risk while locking in sizable profits.
Some people love risk, while others thrive on safer bets. If you haven't read his writing before, Sigmund certainly falls into the latter category.
David's MTG Stock Watch series has been a hit. Continuing with it this week, he starts with five penny stocks and five blue chips before moving onto some value stocks.
Curious about the number one penny stock?
#1 Blackmail (+35.2%) - This is a Modern-legal discard spell for one black. It is not restricted in what it can be picked (no three-mana or less, or non-creature spell requirements). While it seems the weakest option as your opponent does get to pick the three cards to reveal, if they only have three or less cards in hand it discards whatever you want. Alternately if all cards in their hand are good it still hits one (just likely their third worst).
And did you know that Hyena Umbra saw a +17.6% change, coming in at number five?
#5 Hyena Umbra (Planechase) (+17.6%) - While this is a Modern Bogles staple, it's odd that the Planechase ones are commanding almost double that of the Rise of the Eldrazi copies. Sure there are a lot fewer of the Planechase ones in existance, but the artwork is the same. The foil Rise of the Eldrazi copies are only $6 so if you were going to pimp your Bogles deck it doesn't make sense that you wouldn't pay $6 for foil versions instead of $2.5 for non-foil Planechase ones.
Ah, Goblin Rabblemaster...
Jason starts his article with some light waxing, reflecting (to Insiders--so wasn't written as an advertisement) on the importance of timeliness with the modern MTG market:
I don’t know if you noticed, but Goblin Rabblemaster continues to shock and delight.
Quiet Speculation, as you well know, was well ahead of this card, sending out an Insider e-mail blast in a very timely manner. How timely a manner?
Timeliness Is Next to Godliness
Very timely. There had been a few people jamming the card on MODO and by around Wednesday, July 30th a few financiers were keeping their eyes peeled. The Insider e-mail went out the Friday of the PT in Portland, warning everyone that Rabblemaster was doing big things and big players with big plans were on the card.
Friday used to be insanely early. In previous years, Monday was the day people got around to reading coverage and decided to see if there were any cards played in decks over the weekend that might be worth investing in. Soon that was too late, and stores had already updated some of their prices by Monday afternoon, so you’d need to order a bit earlier in the day on Monday.
Gradually, as the exchange of information got more efficient, it because necessary to order your cards on Sunday. Then it was Saturday. By the time Innistrad block rolled around, QS was on top of Huntmaster of the Fells and Wolfir Silverheart because they had someone on the floor at the PT.
Insiders were aware of this email blast because, well, they received it. We do also send out emails to all newsletter subscribers as well, and you should be able to find a way to sign up for it on the right hand side of this page here. CTRL+F for "The Quiet Spec Fundamentals Guide" to get your name on that list if you aren't looking to become an Insider.
Corbin hasn't missed a full set review in four years, and he likes to look back on his review once some time and passed and analyze his predictions.
With M15, Corbin revisits his predictions and comes away some salient personal feedback.
“They basically turned the “cool reprints” dial up to eleven on this set, and here’s one of the poster children of that. Planar Chaos Urborg was $35 before this, and is currently falling off a cliff. The newest version is going for under $7. This will likely fall to $5 or so in the next few months, and then it’s time to move hard on this, because it will definitely not sit there for more than a few months.”
Now: Sitting right at $5 where I expected it to land. The price has stabilized there and it’s still less than 50% of the price of the original printing. Time to move in on these.
“Surprisingly low preorder at $8. I like this to hold that price moving forward. Not only will it likely make a few Standard appearances, there’s a whole crop of some Modern but mostly Commander players who want this now that it’s not $30.”
Now: Now sitting at $9 after some movement up to $10. Again, right where we expected it to be, and I still think it will hold steady at that price if it sees fringe Standard play. If, on the other hand, it becomes a large part of the metagame, which I wouldn’t be surprised by, it could conceivably go up to $12-15. Keep an eye out in the first few weeks.
Mike delves into the Ascendancy cycle, analyzing each shard's contribution to Standard:
Let’s take Sultai Ascendancy as our first case study. The initial aspect of the card that should be noted is that it can help you fill your graveyard. In our graveyard-based deck, filling the graveyard is our primary goal. It helps us cast cheap Nemesis of Mortals as well as allowing our Nighthowlers to become huge. Additionally, now that we’re delving with Murderous Cut, those extra cards put in the graveyard every turn keep our engine going.
The second important aspect of the card is it helps filter our draws. Once you start peeking at the top two and deciding whether or not you like those cards, it will be hard to return to normal Magic. I thought I wouldn’t like this card and I was quite skeptical about it, but testing with it has proven it to be much better than my expectations. Not only does it enable the deck by filling your graveyard, but basically scry 2 every turn is obviously powerful.
Other Ascendancies are going to be great in Standard as well. The fantastic part about this cycle is that when you read each of them, it’s easy to start brewing with them as the core of your deck. Take Mardu Ascendancy for example.
With Mardu Ascendancy, I immediately have a whole tree full of branches sprouting different ideas. This Ascendancy pushes us to start our mana curve below three so that the turn we play it the game is impacted right away. We could take that base idea and apply it to any of the three mono-colored decks but most likely we would end up removing the sweet enchantment for consistency purposes.
For many, the most exciting part of rotation is that chance to create something new. These enchantments do just that--offer up a somewhat blank canvas.
Danny turns his eye toward Modern and pulls out a few potential additions.
Khans of Tarkir is looking very cool in a number of ways, but it doesn’t seem to be lighting the world on fire as far as eternal power level goes. I’m seeing a whole bunch of cards that look great for my Maelstrom Wanderer-led Commander deck, but only a few jump out at me as potentially playable in Modern.
I’m consistent in being against preordering cards, but these are ones I’ll be looking to pick up at the prerelease, and especially in the weeks following when prices start to drop.
And, of course, there are these to consider...
The Fetch Lands
You don’t need me to tell you these are going to see play. Watch for the floor, pick up your copies to play with, and make profit on the extras you snag. Just be sure to set your expectations accordingly. Shock lands didn’t turn out as well as we wanted them to, so keep that in mind as you deal with fetches.