I've discussed it several times--for me core sets are the most underrated sets in terms of speculation. Core sets always contain a mix of exciting new cards and reprints with good speculative value alike. History and past investments with core sets taught me that you can't go wrong with mythics and that a fair amount of rares are going to be extremely juicy at some point during the Standard season.
M15 didn't change these stereotypes and appeared to be extremely valuable for us speculators. This core sets had only two reprints among its mythics and seemed to have more rares with speculative value than other core sets. Five months later M15 kept all its promises, although it revealed several oddities in terms of price trajectories.
Still, with scant losses and strong gains I'm pretty optimistic for the months to come with the M15 positions I'm still holding and those I plan to acquire.
Earlier in July, with the full M15 spoiler available, I wrote that the fifteen M15 mythics seemed particularly good as M15 didn't seem to have real junk mythics. Five months later The Chain Veil and Soul of Ravnica are the only two M15 mythics around 0.5 Tix. All the other thirteen mythics are at 1 Tix or higher.
If Nissa, Worldwaker started strong, probably because of Pro Tour M15, and if Perilous Vault was the breakthrough, no M15 mythic is currently significantly valued over 15 Tix, something that didn't happen with M12, M13 and M14.
The Strategy Back Then
About two weeks after the release of M15, I bought my stock of all mythics but two--Nissa, Worldwaker and Soul of Ravnica. From 15 Tix, Nissa spiked to more then 30 Tix as she was on everybody's lips during PT M15. She quickly dropped back to 20 Tix but not further, too high and too risky for me at this point.
As for the blue soul, and unlike the other souls, I was waiting it to reach 0.3-0.4 Tix as it was supposed to be the soul with the least potential in my opinion. Soul of Ravnica never went below 0.6 Tix within its first four weeks, and I decided not to buy it.
First, let's take a look at something that really doesn't tell the whole story--the M15 Mythics Index. From this narrow angle it seems that not much happened between August and November. Individually, several M15 mythics have moved quite a lot.
As of today I have sold several of my M15 mythic positions. I sold Garruk, Apex Predator with a 44% loss right after his no show at PT Khans of Tarkir. I had bought him at a fairly high price, I knew he had a long downward trend ahead and I decided to cut my losses. I sold Perilous Vault with a record +580% profit.
I also sold some copies of my M15 souls riding the buyout waves. Notably, I got rid of all my Soul of Theros at an average of 2.24 Tix, not as high as it is now but with these unpredictable and unstable buyouts I'm happy with a +130% on these.
As for the rest, I'm still holding on my copies of the four other planeswalkers. Ajani Steadfast and Jace, the Living Guildpact are down by about 35% now. I could also have sold them after their poor results at PT Khans of Tarkir but decided to keep them, for better or for worse. Liliana Vess is slightly up and Chandra, Pyromaster is on an interesting slow-but-steady upward trend since August.
Overall, with losses, gains and current combined value of the cards I'm still holding, my portfolio of M15 mythics is up by 60% since August, much better than the very moderate +15% of the M15 Mythics Index. Thanks to Perilous Vault and mostly thanks to the strategy that was to pick up almost all the M15 mythics.
The Next Five Months
In addition to a great five first months there's actually quite a few things to expect for the next five or more.
Nissa, Worldwaker is not without some similarities to Archangel of Thune. Both started off strong and had tail wind approaching the October Pro Tour. Both didn't get a lot of success during their first Pro Tour and consequently dipped to bottom in November.
Although the metagame didn't change much from what I remembered, the archangel got favored entering the winter 2013-2014 and quickly spiked over 20 Tix.
Nissa might well reach a floor in the following days if not already done. This will be a good buying opportunity.
In the same vein, Garruk, Apex Predator, Ajani Steadfast and Jace, the Living Guildpact may also have bottomed. An inclusion in a new Standard deck would make them rise quickly. I'm considering adding few copies of Ajani and Jace to my existing stock.
It's not easy to gauge the true appeal of the M15 souls with the artificial spikes recently created by the buyouts. Still, all the souls have some chance to be Constructed-playable--Soul of Theros, Soul of Innistrad, Soul of New Phyrexia and Soul of Zendikar already made some appearances.
I'm holding onto the souls I have and hoping for a rise as winter approaches. I'm considering buying more Soul of Shandalar, asa 1 Tix is a little bit underpriced for what this soul could offer.
After a set release, rares are supposed to settle down rather rapidly, reaching 0.1 Tix or less for those that aren't Constructed-playable. Choosing the right rares to invest in can be extremely profitable as they can reach a high of several Tix from a floor of less than a Tix when supply is high and demand is low few weeks after release. Very few top rares make it to 15 Tix or more--M14 Mutavault is the all-time champion, valued at more than 30 Tix earlier this year.
Against all odds Goblin Rabblemaster absolutely didn't follow the expected pattern. The goblin rose pretty much constantly from 0.5 Tix in August to almost 20 Tix earlier this month. For sure an atypical price trend that has allowed decent profits for the early as well as late believers.
The Strategy Back Then
Based on what happened to M14 rares I had decided to buy promising rares around mid-September. The idea was that any rares valued over 0.2 Tix at that time had great chances to see play and therefore gain value in the coming months. This is a kind of strange correlation but that's what I concluded when analyzing the price trends of M14 rares.
In addition to the above strategy, cherry-picking bulk rares (0.1 Tix or lower) could also yield interesting profit if one of them broke out as Tidebinder Mage did last year.
Surprisingly a quite large amount of M15 rares, almost half of them, retained a price tag of ~0.2 Tix or more by mid-September. My selection was the following.
Hornet Queen is the notable miss from this list. I'm not really sure why I didn't bet on that one; my loss.
Although several rares actually got cheaper later in September after I bought the bulk of my stock, almost all of them rose after September, some with impressive percentages. All but Chord of Calling and Genesis Hydra have been significantly lower in October-November than in September, perhaps due to too much expectation for green devotion decks, or at least the discovery that they might not need these two cards.
Let's start with the M15 painlands. They probably were the surest bet of all. We knew they would see play, we knew they were gonna get cheaper initially as supply was high and demand low, and they delivered. As you can see, for the five of the them mid-September was the best pick-up period and they all had pretty much doubled by mid-October.
I sold my copies of Battlefield Forge as Jeskai decks got trendy. Although I probably sold them too early before the absolute peak, I was not expecting a 9 Tix price tag on any of these lands. The trend of the Forge is actually a good indication of what to expect with the other lands if the deck(s) that play them get hyped. If they have dipped a little bit recently, their value has more than doubled in average since September, and I bet it's not done.
These past months hype and speculators encouraged spectacular spikes on cards that only received a little exposure from tournament results. Chasm Skulker, Hornet Nest, Hushwing Gryff, Obelisk of Urd and Aetherspouts spiked during or a little after PT Khans of Tarkir, sometimes multiplying their price tenfold or more.
If you have bought some of these in September you may have made a decent amount of Tix. Hushwing Gryff was for instance at 0.05 Tix before PT Khans of Tarkir and jumped to 1.5 in less than two weeks--now it's kind of swinging between 1 Tix and 1.5 Tix.
Unlike most of the M14 rares that got some success and gained and lost value more evenly, M15 rares got a sharp rise often followed by an as-sharp fall. This is definitely different, cards caught on camera or played in Top 8 deck lists rising very rapidly and probably more than they should. I sold some of my M15 rares during their incredible ascension and considering the volatility of our current market I would strongly recommend doing the same.
On the losers' side, Chord of Calling and Genesis Hydra are the ones that didn't appreciate since September. I'm still holding my copies and I expect them, and the rest of my M15 rares, to rise in the coming months.
The Next Five Months
M15 as a whole lost some value early November but seems to have rebounded as of two weeks ago. I'm quite optimistic with my M15 rares as well. If Genesis Hydra is at its lowest currently and could be a buy, Chord of Calling is slightly on the rise now and could be helped by demand from Modern Pod decks. Both of these guys are set for a good rebound if a Standard deck cares for them.
Knowing that cards spike hard these days with only a tiny bit of exposure I wouldn't hesitate to sell into any hype. Things might flatten until the release of Fate Reforged and a potential metagame shift. Exercise patience until then if nothing happens with your positions.
Yavimaya Coast and Shivan Reef are clearly at a low point now and you might consider buying come copies if you haven't yet. All the five painlands could gain some value in the coming months although Battlefield Forge is already quite high. My selling expectations for all these lands is in the 5-6 Tix range, more or less depending on the metagame and how popular are the decks using them.
If investing in bulk rares (anything under 0.1 Tix) is your thing, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard might be your man. He rose once from 0.05 Tix to 1 Tix and is back now to 0.05 Tix. Lightning may strike twice at the same spot on MTGO.
Implementing the investment strategy discussed this summer for M15 mythics and rares definitely paid off for me and I hope it did for you. After a great first four months I'm expecting the next five to be of the same caliber. Core sets and M15 especially don't cease to amaze me. With good timing you'll transform everything into gold.
Thanks for reading,