Welcome back for another High Stakes MTGO article!
I haven't been as productive in speculations as I wanted this past week. Nonetheless a few of my positions reached my target selling price and it always feels good to sell a profitable position at the time and price you originally intended. In the meantime I also did something every speculator has to do from time to time---cutting losses.
This week there were more cards on my list of positions to acquire that I didn't get to. Sometimes it's difficult to find the right price given my limited time available for MTGO specs. So I did what I do whenever my time is limited---I bought the most expensive of my targets to invest quickly in the largest number of tix.
The percentage return may not be as big when the time comes to sell, but ultimately I expect to generate more tix from a larger position. Concretely, doubling up on a 100-tix position is not as good as making 30% on a 400-tix position. Especially when the 100-tix position involves 50 copies of a card and the 400-tix position involves 20 copies of a card---what this really means is making more tix in less time.
With a bankroll as large as this one and not all the time in the world to do what I would like, I'm often confronted with this kind of choices. I regularly pass on potential specs because it would take too much time (or too many copies of a card) to build up a 300-tix position.
Buys This Week
As a spec, this Khans of Tarkir version of Sorin touches on at least two categories---KTK set redemption and Modern. Approaching the Standard rotation last March, Sorin, Solemn Visitor found a floor at 3 tix and quickly rebounded to 6 tix a few weeks later. During Shadows over Innistrad release events Sorin dropped a bit back to 4 tix. This second discount was the opportunity for me to invest in the current top KTK mythic.
Sorin, Solemn Visitor saw some play in Modern last year in B/W Token and Junk decks. These decks are not heavily played currently but with Modern it's only a matter of time before good decks make an appearance once again. Hopefully the combined effect of redemption plus Modern will push Sorin, Solemn Visitor closer to 10 tix.
As long as Sensei's Divining Top is legal in Legacy, Counterbalance should see a constant demand. Back to its long-time floor of 8-9 tix in the wake of Coldsnap flashback drafts, this blue enchantment felt like a natural bet. With a record high just below 25 tix and regular price cycles, I'm guessing it won't take long for Counterbalance to rise again, provided Eternal Masters doesn't mess things up here.
Sales This Week
Judging by the current Standard metagame, the blue dragons' era may have come to an end. Both Dragonlord Ojutai and Dragonlord Silumgar were supposed to be short-term bets. Ojutai, which I certainly may have bought too high, never got back to the 25 tix I was hoping for. Silumgar, on the other hand, performed exactly as I was hoping with a nice comeback to its previous record high around 10 tix.
With only one more set to come before the dragonlords rotate out of Standard, it was time to let Ojutai go with some losses and to sell Silumgar with a nice profit and no regrets.
Another quick and successful spec resulting from the Year of Modern Flashback Drafts. Graveyard- and dredge-based strategies seem to be finding favorable winds in the current Modern metagame. Golgari Grave-Troll, Bloodghast, Vengevine and several others have recently risen appreciably. I sold my trolls as they were approaching the 10-12 tix range which almost corresponds to the record high Golgari Grave-Troll topped since it got unbanned in Modern.
A few more copies sold in the painland department. Black and white are still a strong color combination in the current Standard metagame which nicely maintains the price of Caves of Koilos in the 2.5-3 tix range. At this rate Caves of Koilos will become my largest successful spec for a single, with an estimated profit slightly over 1,000 tix.
In the eight months I have held the blue command the spec never really panned out, and although the price had some fluctuations it never went over 10 tix. I was expecting much more from Cryptic Command and now that Lorwyn flashback drafts are only few weeks away I don't see any upsides in the short term. I'd rather sell now than wait for the inevitable temporary plunge in price.
A return to 24-25 tix is the best scenario I could reasonably wish for when I bought my copies of Arid Mesa. This is exactly what happened last week. The decision to sell was therefore very easy. +50% is really what I'm targeting with my Zendikar fetchland specs so I'm totally satisfied with +62% in this case.
On My Radar
As of Saturday 14th I haven't bought any Time Spiral block cards that are currently flashback-drafted. As it happened before I may have been late to the party on these ones but even after the absolute bottom is missed prices might still be interesting. If I get into any Time Spiral or Planar Chaos positions it will definitely be this week.
Another group of cards I have been paying attention to lately are the "misses" from Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch. These cards may not be included in any relevant Standard decks at the moment but nonetheless have potential. Now that the Standard format rotates twice a year that's twice as many opportunities as before for cards to shine.
Red is not a top color these days and I wonder how many red cards are currently undervalued. I'm also considering increasing my positions on BFZ lands, as several of them got even cheaper than they were when I bought them initially. Specs on lands very rarely disappoint so I should accumulate more copies.
Drana, Liberator of Malakir is another example of card that hasn't seen the light of day despite strong potential and I'm likely to add a few playsets to my existing stock.
Thank you for reading,