Here we are, half way through this project. At this point, and as far as I’m concerned, things are slightly better than my expectations in January. Hopefully this will continue through the second part of the year.
Today, along with uncovering the value of the account after six months, we’ll also reveal the winner of the contest for the six-month guess.
In this article I will summarize with graphs and data what has been going on during the first half of the project. I will then discuss my projections for the second part of the year. Usually, a lot of opportunities are available for online speculators during the summer/fall transition. This is mostly a buying season with the benefits being collected from October through December.
Before getting into more details, the next unlocked article from the Nine Months of Portfolio Management series is Part 7—Opportunity Cost and Opportunity Benefit.
More information about the 100 Tix 1 Year project can be found here:
- 1 Year, 100 Tix–How Far Can you Go? (to start from the beginning of this project)
June - Six Months Later
May was a great month, and so was June. Two months of successful Modern specs coupled with a handful of quick and juicy Pauper positions is what pushed the account comfortably over the 300 Tix mark after the first six months of the 100 Tix 1 Year project.
This result is clearly above my initial expectations. Doubling was a decent goal to me. Tripling is really good considering the time spent on this and considering that February, March and April were mostly flat. The only thing that was expected and intended was that cyclical positions, Modern positions most exclusively, would be the main driver of this account.
Winner of the Six-Month Contest
With a guess of 342 Tix, Zach Bart (@zbrt) is our winner for the six-month guess. Here is the top five and their guesses:
Congratulations Zach! As a QS insider your prize is a DDF draft set.
Summary of the First Six Months
State of the Account
With the end of Modern Masters 2015 drafts I ended June by picking up a large amount of MM2 positions that had dropped significantly since the release of the set. I should have been a little more liquid here and should I have kept more free Tix on the account for the incoming release of Magic Origins (ORI). Nevertheless I still have three to four weeks to sell cards before the first buying opportunities from ORI.
Six Months in Numbers and Graphs
During these six months I speculated on 87 different positions, sometimes twice on the same cards (Spell Snare and Temple of Enlightenment for instance, which were counted as two distinct specs). These 87 specs exclude quickflips and short sells. 34 of these 87 specs are still open while 53 have been closed.
As expected, and as desired too, cyclical (Modern and Pauper) represented the largest part of my specs. Standard will represent a bigger part in the next six months with Magic Origins coming up and the Tarkir block becoming the older Standard block in October.
Of the 53 closed positions, 84.9% of them (45/53) ended up winners and 15.1% (8/53) ended up losers. Overall, ~85% of specs generating profit is a rather high percentage. The relative short-term nature of this project and the small size of the initial bankroll favored positive results, with high variations on cheap cards, for example. With a bigger bankroll and more long-term oriented investments the rate of positive specs would more likely fall between 70% and 80%.
The average percentage gain per spec (of the 53 closed positions) was +100.5%, with the average percentage gain for the 45 winners being +123.7% and the average percentage loss for the 8 losers being -37.1%.
Since all positions are not equal in size and in Tix invested, another way to look at percentages is to compare Tix invested to Tix generated. Making +500% out of a 2 Tix penny card position doesn't generate as much as Tix as making +65% off a 20 Tix position.
Among the 53 closed positions, the average gain per Tix invested was of +76.6%.
Together, these numbers are very decent and seem quite high when compared to the +65% gain reported for the Buy and Sell Recommendations of our weekly insider MTGO Market Report during the same six-month period.
However, as your bankroll gets bigger it becomes impossible to sustain such a growth rate. Especially because specs on cheap cards and quickflips don't impact a big bankroll the same way they impact a small bankroll. Making 2 Tix is a small but significant gain for a 100 Tix bankroll. The same gain becomes negligible for a 1000 Tix bankroll.
The Next Six Months
The account is currently mostly filled with Modern positions, many of them from Modern Masters 2015. With the release of Magic Origins approaching, the peak for many Modern prices is probably now. I might be looking to exit positions such as Threads of Disloyalty, Mindbreak Trap and Obstinate Baloth, even if the two first ones didn't yield a good profit.
The alternative is to wait until October and the release of Battle for Zendikar. I expect most of my MM2 picks to have risen by that time. It will be a good opportunity to sell my Modern positions and to turn to more Standard specs for the last three months of the year. However, if any Modern staples get really low in October-November I'll probably buy some and will try to land some profit before December 31st. Remember, these guys are cyclical, whatever goes down will go up again.
Core sets are always one of the best sources of speculative opportunities on MTGO. During the first three to six weeks prices go really low as players massively draft the new core set and rise quickly in October when the new fall set kicks in. The supply of core sets dries up and prices rise more or less sharply according to the metagame.
My plan will be to free as many Tix as possible for September and invest in almost anything that is cheap and has a shot in Standard. My target number one even knowing nothing about BFZ: the shocklands. Another reprint of these will likely push the prices low, but guess what, nothing is more certain to be played and in demand than lands in Magic.
Now is also the time to collect some Tarkir block cards that have a high chance to be part of the next Standard environment after Theros block rotates out. I have already bought some (Monastery Siege, Monastery Mentor, Dragon Whisperer), and will try to buy more during ORI release events when the last price drop before a steady rise is expected.
Theros Block Rotation
These might be marginal specs as it usually takes more than a couple of months to yield profit, and I have to close this account by the end of the year. Picking up Modern-, but also Legacy- and Vintage-playable cards from a block rotating out of Standard may be slow and low-profit, but it's a very safe bet.
The lowest prices are likely to occur around and during the release of the fall set. Mana Confluence, Thoughtseize, Master of Waves, Searing Blood and Eidolon of the Great Revel are as many potential great targets.
Thank you for following me through this project and its first six months. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I do and let's hope my specs will yield similar results for the second half of the year.