Insider: Two Months of Picks – A Self-Evaluation

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I got to talking with one of my friends about my Magic finance endeavors and he asked, "How have your picks done?"

"Oh, they always do pretty well," I told him. He commented that I provide picks on QS and wanted to know at what rate my picks hit. I realized that I had no idea.

I always assumed they do pretty well (because I make a lot of value on speculative trades) but I'd never actually double-checked my data. I think it's only fair that I should review my work now and again, so I decided to go over the past few months and evaluate the picks I made to see how they did.

Totals for the Past Two Months

Well, apparently I'm on fire...

  • 38 picks increased in value.
  • 7 picks decreased in value.
  • 15 picks remained the same in value.

(For this summary I eliminated doubles, so if I picked a card two different weeks I only counted it once.)

So, nearly two out of every three picks I made went up in value over the course of the past two months. And, of the ones that didn't appreciate, two out of three stayed the same! Pretty good results overall.

February 6th - Pre-Pro Tour Picks

The Mimic pick that I've been harping on ever since the Oath spoiler finally paid off in a big way after the PT, with the card increasing 500%.

With the Eldrazi madness Jund didn't make as impressive of a splash as I would have thought (leading to no gains on Jund staples Scavenging Ooze and Dark Confidant). I still like these picks long-term and think we will see gains on Scooze and Bob. You can't keep a good midrange deck down!

Jund and Tron were pretty disappointing but I do expect those decks to adapt and survive in the coming months. So, I'm perfectly cool with owning extra Oozes, Bobs, and Wurmcoils until after all the Eldrazi hype has died down.

Up/Down/No Change: 3-0-2

January 26th - Modern Picks

When we were starting to see lots of movement in Modern I feel I did very well with my picks. Basically, mostly winners and some stayed the same. The key for me has always been betting on cards that feel like they have nowhere to go but up. Angel's Grace was a big gainer. I don't think we've hit the ceiling on Gavony Township yet either.

We may see a decline in some of the Tron cards over the coming months as it appears to have been completely outclassed by Eldrazi (something I wouldn't have expected a month ago).

Maybe there are just too many copies of Lingering Souls in existence for the card to have much value. I do wonder if the next Innistrad block will have some more enablers for spirits to make it even better in Modern. The card is absurdly powerful and I think it's destined for more great things down the line.

Up/Down/No Change: 6-0-3

January 19th - More Modern Picks

Another strong series of picks. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth essentially doubled the following week. Not to mention Though-Knot Seer, Stony Silence, Mimic, Pia and Kiran Nalaar and Leonin Arbiter, which all saw significant spikes in value. Ooze has really been dragging my averages down, but I still have faith!

I was really into Death and Taxes this week and most of the cards did see increases in value. I think there may be a solid place for the archetype even in the midst of the Eldrazi invasion so I'm still cool with acquiring all these cards.

Up/Down/No Change: 7-0-2

January 12th - More Modern Picks

To be fair Splinter Twin did see some gains before it was banned and subsequently plummeted in value. You can see a lot of Tron and Twin hype in these picks. Overall pretty solid, considering nobody expected Twin would get banned.

I still think the Twin banning was really ridiculous and these picks would have all been great had they not banned Twin. You can't win all the time. Sometimes you make smart picks and the DCI goes and bans a deck for no good reason.

Up/Down/No Change: 4-1-1

January 6th - Betting on the Banned List

In this article I talked about making investments based on fluctuations in the B&R list. It turns out betting on the banned list is generally speaking very smart as most of the cards saw growth and very few dropped. I actually think a lot of these picks will pay out even more as I have a strong suspicion we'll get some cards off of the banned list at next rotation. Sword of the Meek and Ancestral Vision both seem like they are prime for an unbanning.

The Eldrazi mania has stirred up a lot of speculation about the banned list. I suspect that no matter what happens to that deck in particular, something is coming off. Maybe it could even be Twin, which would make most of my "misses" disappear long-term as they all rebound and gain value!

Up/Down/No Change: 11-1-3

December 21st - BFZ Standard Picks

Considering how crappy Battle for Zendikar turned out, I think my picks fared pretty well. Most of the cards in the set lost value. I've got a strong Eldrazi theme among my picks which is smart considering they are the most popular cards in the set. I also remember that I had been pushing pretty hard on Oblivion Sower basically since it was spoiled and that card turned out pretty great.

I still feel like Undergrowth Champion might have its day at some point. I was picking him when he dropped down to five and he surprised me by finding a way to go even lower. It is a great card for sure but may never find a real home or place to shine. So sad.

Up/Down/No Change: 5-1-1

December 7th - Khans Block Picks

This was by far my worst series of picks, but considering the circumstances I don't feel too bad about it. We all know that as we move closer to Khans rotating that the value of the cards will decline. The fact that of my picks more than twice as many didn't go down (in a system where things are primed to go down) I feel alright. Even so, looking back I feel like these are among the cards from the block that one should hang onto because they will retain and grow value in the long run.

I mean, do you really think Deflecting Palm will stay $0.50 in two years? Or Jeskai Ascendancy? I also specified that I like these as long-term picks and I still agree with that assessment for many of these cards. Mythic rare hydras tend to slowly gain value over time with the casual crowd.

Considering most of these picks were meant to be long-term holds, it is a little bit off to discount this as a bad week. I expected these cards to lose a little value in the short term on the brink of rotation, but I think they will eventually be worth having held onto.

Some of these cards are going to be perpetual Modern staples: Tasigur, Ascendancy, Monastery Siege, Deflecting Palm, Siege Rhino, etc. People may be in the mode to liquidate at the moment but there will be a new crop down the line looking to pick these back up.

Up/Down/No Change: 7-5-5


I love sharing my strategies for picking winners here on Quiet Speculation. It also looks like I'm not too terrible at it either! Hopefully you were able to take advantage of some of my advice.

- Brian

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