Good morning and welcome back to High Stakes MTGO!
On the menu this past week were round two of Lorwyn block flashback drafts, a little bit of Modern and Eternal Masters. After two weeks being relatively active, this past one was definitively more quiet. The reason is simple---I'm holding my breath for the incoming Legacy events.
The release of EMA and the associated hype surrounding Legacy on MTGO has pushed up the price of a lot of cards. Profits are sure to be made but timing the optimal selling window could yield even more tix. I'll give my two cents on the topic at the end of this article. The is also going to be an exciting buying time as EMA cards will start flooding the market this week---we'll probably have more to see and say later this month.
As usual, the live portfolio can be seen here.
Buys This Week
My targets this past week were kind of divided into two categories: Modern Storm and Lorwyn flashback drafts.
Storm has been around since the beginning of Modern, and most likely always will be. The banning of Splinter Twin and Summer Bloom last January caused Pyromancer Ascension to jump from ~3.5 tix to more than 8 tix in less than a week. The Eldrazis then came around, pretty much relegating all the others decks to tier 2 or 3 decks.
Despite the ban of Eye of Ugin, Storm never really reached the level of notoriety it had in the past. Nonetheless the Ascension managed to climbed again to a record high at 9.5 tix at the very end of March. Down below 3 tix last week, with a potential to triple and rather active price fluctuation, the opportunity was too good to let pass.
Although not exactly mirroring each other, the price of Past in Flames and Pyromancer Ascension are, not surprisingly, tied to some extent. The 9-10 tix range seems to be a solid baseline for the red sorcery. With 15 tix as a primary target, this spec looks simple but good to me, not to mention that this strategy worked just fine a few months ago---I'm in for another cycle.
Of these three, Thorn of Amethyst may have the most chance of immediate success in my opinion. Being a key card in both Legacy and Vintage Eldrazi strategies increases the chance to see this artifact reaching new heights sooner rather than later.
Gaddock Teeg is moderately played in several Modern and Legacy decks and has shown some price strength with record high after record high over the last twelve months. Lorwyn flashback drafts naturally brought him close to his lowest point since last Summer. Here again I'm counting on the incoming Legacy events to jump-start the rebound of Gaddock Teeg.
Although the price trend looks great---free-falling from 17 tix to 5 tix---Wanderwine Hub might actually be more of a gamble than it seems. This card can pretty much only be played in one deck---Modern Merfolk. And even there we are talking about Merfolk decks that want to include some white spells, which was a much popular version of Merfolk when the Eldrazis were around.
So nothing really guaranteed concerning the rebound of this land and I'm likely to exit as soon as the price reaches 7-8 tix.
Sales This Week
I'm trying to get rid of a big chunk of my painlands as their rotation is getting closer every day. My return on investment with the Magic Origins painlands is clearly not as high as I had anticipated---but considering that all of them were in the red until 2016 I'm okay with profit averaging 100%. The volume with these five lands is what will make all the difference in the end, even without a groundbreaking return on investment per position.
I was holding this guy for more than six months now and even with some support from redemption this rainbow land didn't get as much attention as I had expected. In April Mana Confluence even plunged lower than my buying price. With a nice recovery just below 5 tix in May, the price seemed to have stabilized. With only fringe plays in eternal formats I thought now was the good time to sell with a decent 54% profit.
13 more Legendary Cube Prize Packs sold this week. I'm expecting to have the 39 remaining boosters sold by the end of July at the latest.
On My Radar
All my attention is on Legacy and Legacy-playable Modern cards. This is what players will be focusing on and this is money time for speculators. It's hard to perfectly time the right selling window especially as not all the cards are likely to reach their top at the same time. I guess you know my philosophy by now---I'd rather sell too early than too late. I'll probably start selling profitable positions this month.
Questions & Answers
A lot has already happened among Legacy staples, and a lot could still happen. Taking several valid points into account, Alexander Carl in our forum tried to open the dialogue on one of the hottest questions these days---when is the best time to sell these Legacy specs?
Although there might not be a clear best answer, here are my thoughts on the subject.
As for any specs, the two parameters I'm considering when selling are timing and price. If one of these two is right then there is virtually no reason not to sell. Note that when it is a question of timing this can lead to some losses; if the price is good enough to sell then obviously it will be for a gain.
For what concerns us here the Legacy Constructed events will resume this Wednesday with Legacy Competitive Leagues, followed by Legacy Leagues awarding invitation to the Legacy Championship from July 6th to July 20th. The Legacy Championship will take place on July 24th and conclude a month and a half of EMA plus Legacy special events. So the timing is pretty clear and if you were planing on selling your Legacy specs in August you might be seriously late.
With this, the best overall window to sell is likely around early July when the demand should be at its peak as players need to build decks to enter the Legacy Leagues that feed the Legacy Championship. The demand after these events is very uncertain and nothing leads me to believe prices would sustain or, even more unlikely, go higher in August.
With cyclical positions like Modern or some of the Legacy staples, when prices approach their previous record high it is often worth considering selling. Often enough record highs are broken and new records are established but it's not the norm and if you are waiting for your spec to break a new record before selling them you might be waiting for a long time.
At best, I'm looking at my Modern/Legacy specs to match their previous record highs before selling---and usually no more. That being said, a special and popular event such as the Legacy Festival is exactly when you would predict new price heights to be reached.
Should we then wait for each Legacy staple to reach crazy new heights before selling? I'm not so sure. Different cards have surged since they were confirmed out of EMA---Infernal Tutor, Counterbalance and Show and Tell are three examples of cards that greatly benefited from the hype.
Show and Tell and Counterbalance have doubled since last month but are still decently far from their record high and I would most likely be using the timing parameter to sell these at this point unless they double again quickly.
Infernal Tutor is, however, in a special situation. The black sorcery broke its record high this past weekend with 26 tix. Is selling very soon a good call or gambling by waiting four more weeks a better option? If I'm referring to my price decision parameter then the selling window is now. This is actually what I'm really close to doing; here's why.
We have had special Legacy events in the past and the Tutor reached about 50 tix in these circumstances. The Legacy demand may have grown a little since then but we just had flashback drafts including Dissension (admittedly they probably didn't flood the market with thousands of copies of Infernal Tutor).
So besides more excitement from speculators, there might not be enough real demand to see Infernal Tutor reach a crazy 80 tix, for instance. I believe that 60-65 tix would already be a nice price and selling my copies for 50 tix is what I'm aiming for at the moment.
The hype surrounding the Legacy Festival is a good reason to sell your Legacy positions at a premium, but breaking record highs should not be a goal in itself. And if cards reach their previous record high early this July maybe there's no need to wait longer to cash out.
Timing vs. Price
To summarize, when prices are still significantly below their previous record highs, I recommend holding on until early or mid-July and then selling, whatever the price is at that point.
On the other hand, if the price skyrockets and sets a new record high before the heat of the Legacy Festival constructed events, I would suggest seriously considering selling even with a few weeks to go before mid-July. One thing to take into account in this case it that other speculators might sell their positions and the price may not go any higher anyway.
Thank you for reading,