No doubt this past week saw a lot of movements. Not all of them resulted in buys or sales for me but with two GPs featuring Modern Constructed and an entire set spoiled there were a ton of speculative opportunities for MTGO speculators.
The two Modern GPs didn't revolutionize the format but at least proved once again that Modern is constantly evolving with dozens of viable archetypes. Who would have bet on Merfolk and Ad Nauseam for the two winning decks few weeks ago? Modern is a speculator's best friend and any good card will eventually go up in price at some point. I took advantage of the recent price movements and proceeded to sell a few cards while they were profitable. I also tried to keep up with the pace of Modern flashback drafts with the sale of some Lorwyn block positions.
For those who were able to keep up minute by minute with the release of Eternal Masters spoilers, there were certainly a lot of great specs to jump on. As for other full reprint sets such as the Modern Masters series, when a highly played card is confirmed not being in the set its price spiked in no time. The spoilers list of EMA was of interest for all of Modern, Legacy, Vintage and even Pauper.
My current life schedule is not exactly compatible with split-second reactions to spoilers so I had to rely on my bets prior to this past week. We knew Modern-only staples had only a little chance to be reprinted so I had very few positions exposed to a reprint risk. In the end Chrome Mox is my only loser and Infernal Tutor and Counterbalance my big winners.
When I heard about Mox it was too late to sell without a significant loss. Since Chrome Mox is reprinted as a mythic I think I'll be better waiting and, most likely, buying fresh copies during EMA release events.
I hit a little bit of luck on the tutor and Counterbalance, as I was actually very close to restocking some Counterbalance when the price dropped back to 8.5 tix on Tuesday with just one card left to be reveal between Control Magic and Daze.
Now, and here luck has little to do with it, several Modern staples benefited from their non-surprising absence from the EMA set. Most of the fetchlands (from Zendikar or Onslaught/Khans of Tarkir), Cavern of Souls, Omniscience, Griselbrand and Inkmoth Nexus are among the cards that have benefited from their absence from EMA, and which should have been bought days or even weeks ago. They are likely to shine during the incoming Legacy events but they are also likely to rebound for Modern purposes.
One last thought related to the price movements due to EMA. Prices have spiked and these initial spikes are mostly due to speculators. Some cards have already dropped a bit and I don't think there's anything to worry about. The demand should be slowly replaced by players and valuable Legacy staples not reprinted in EMA have nowhere to go but up in the short term. This being said I would not try to test the limit of prices past the end of Legacy events at the end of July.
Let's see now how I did this past week. The snapshot of the account is here.
Buys This Week
During Time Spiral flashback drafts the price of Living End rapidly dropped below 3 tix before stabilizing around 4 tix and finally climbing to 5 tix. At that point I thought I had missed the good buying window for good and was about to forget about this spec. But the price unexpectedly fell below 4 tix again and I went in for a small pile of 34 copies. At 3.85 tix on average per copy I have much more potential with a card that has reached 10 tix four times in the past ten months.
As Matthew Lewis published in the MTGO Market Report a week ago Wednesday, I was thinking the night before that there might be something to do with Eye of Ugin. Clearly the Eldrazis are able to stomp over Legacy and even Vintage, with the land banned in Modern only a couple months ago. Although 1.9 tix is not really the absolute bottom, the potential is here. Let's try not to be too greedy here but this is a short-term spec that can pay off big.
I was chasing this blue-green land from Battle for Zendikar around 0.5 tix. Like a lot of cheap or near-bulk cards, Lumbering Falls oscillates frequently and with a price amplitude equivalent to its own price, between 0.5 and 1 tix in this case. Taking advantage of another dip below the 0.5 tix bar, I grabbed six more playsets.
Another decent Modern/Legacy/Vintage card that dodged a reprint in EMA. Bloodghast is played in dredge decks in all three of the eternal formats just mentioned. With recent price heights at 14 tix and 20 tix and with a potential regain in interest trickling down from the release of EMA, I'm betting this vampire could see some gains soon. It's not a slam dunk but it could be an easy 50% profit in only a few weeks.
Sales This Week
Cheating a titan or a flying spaghetti monster into play regained some interest in Modern a few weeks ago. However the hype didn't really last long and the number of Through the Breaches in the top finishers in both GP LA and GP Charlotte was nothing to brag about. Certainly nothing to make me want to hold a spec that was close to doubling. As the card is not a model of price stability the timing was great here. Actually it might almost be time to buy again!
A little round of Modern Masters 2015 sales. Since its release Clique kept oscillating between 15 and 20 tix and never seemed to find a good spot in solid Modern decks. With an expected little dip with Morningtide flashback drafts approaching I thought I would be better with some tix than the actual card.
I had picked up the titans in the wake of the ban of Summer Bloom last January. That was certainly a good entry point for Primeval Titan but finding another home was not easy. With the little resurgence of Titan Shift decks the price bumped two weeks ago to the 8-9 tix price range. That was a good opportunity to close that spec with a respectable 50% gain.
Although the global trend since its MM2 release is up, I never really found the good timing to sell Noble Hierarch. Down to 12 tix at the very end of April, the Hierarch moved up to 18 tix this past week and I decided to use that opportunity to sell my copies of Noble Hierarch.
Another spec that never panned out the way I had hoped for. With Lorwyn block flashback drafts starting, I don't want to be holding cards from flashbacked sets. With a bump slightly under 6 tix a week ago I could not miss this chance to sell this land with minimal losses. See you again during Lorwyn drafts!
This leyline got trendy lately. Leyline of the Void might do more but as it was approaching the 5 tix mark my target price was met so I saw no reason not to take my profit and moved on. Despite a slight regain of interest for Dredge decks (which may have caused this little price hike recently) and a potential additional demand from Legacy/Vintage in the coming weeks, I'm inclined to let specs that are rather metagame-dependent go before they cycle down without notice.
My stock is almost gone here. Another week and another round of sales for the Legendary Cube Prize Packs.
These ones too are regulars in my selling department and I'm far from being done except for Caves of Koilos. The painlands are not increasing as much as I wanted but the demand is still constant, which is rather fortunate considering the stock I have to liquidate.
I should have certainly sold these guys before Shadows over Innistrad release, although I was not in a rush with this near-bulk spec. The big plunge that occurred earlier this month reminded me that any potential profit can totally collapse in a matter of days. Luckily the Ad Nauseam winning deck from GP Charlotte played a full playset of this temple and most likely caused the recent spike over 1 tix. I still have some copies to sell but I didn't let this spike go without selling two thirds of my stock.
I had bet that the red-black command would keep cycling up next when I bought it. Missed. With not enough demand from Standard, this card is clearly heading down with its rotation only four months away. Selling now with some losses seemed more appropriate than selling later with even more losses.
On My Radar
As mentioned in the introduction, EMA shook a lot of things around. Speculators went full-throttle into anything and everything leaving a lot of cards with a double-digit percentage growth this past week. Now that the storm of speculation has passed we'll see where the real demand is situated and if players actually want to play Legacy.
We know that if an increased demand for Legacy staples really exists we should see it materializing withing a month of the Legacy Festival events, so we have our selling window. Legacy staples that are also Modern staples, such as the ZEN fetchlands, could see prices sustaining after July.
Nonetheless selling into hype is always a good idea and here again this is what I intend to do. Cards such as Counterbalance and Infernal Tutor could see new record highs, but consistent with my speculating philosophy I'm not in the business of breaking new price records with my specs. This whole EMA craze created a perfect storm to generate great profit in few weeks from good specs that would have otherwise taken months to get there.
For the next few weeks with all of my specs concerned by the recent events I'll try to be extra vigilant about price movements. Misty Rainforest for instance is about to top its 18-month price ceiling around 29 tix. I'm certainly not going to wait and see if this fetchland can match its pre-KTK price in the 50s and I'll actually be considering selling my Rainforests sooner rather than later. Selling positions like this sooner also allows my tix to rotate toward discounted cards opened during EMA release events.
Thank you for reading,