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High Stakes MTGO – July 17th to July 23th

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Hi everyone and welcome back to High Stakes MTGO!

This past week was not much different from the previous one: a lot of sales with little or no profit and only one buy. The situation remains unchanged---I'm still aiming at getting rid of my Zendikar (ZEN) block positions to become as liquid as possible as we approach release events for Eldritch Moon (EMN) on MTGO.

Let's see how this past week went. The snapshot of the portfolio can be found here.

Buys This Week

SoU

At 0.40 tix on average I'm clearly not buying Sanctum of Ugin at its bottom. This land was around 0.05 tix about two months ago but its playability, beyond a few appearances in Modern Tron decks, was still a question.

As it seems, creatures with emerge in Eldritch Moon are great enablers for Sanctum. Ryan's articles here and here covered the topic. Whether emerge-based decks featuring Sanctum of Ugin are the real deal or not, we should have the beginning of an answer with the first Star City Games tournaments including EMN and a more definitive answer with Pro Tour EMN.

Since the potential is real, at least in the short term, and since this land could reach 2 tix or more in case of success, I'm willing to take a chance at 0.40 tix.

Sales This Week

Since a peak at 25 tix about a year ago, Snapcaster has constantly oscillated roughly between 15 and 20 tix. With all the rearrangements I want to bring to my bankroll these days, this is the moment I chose to take a break from Snapcaster Mage. As long as this card dodges a reprint, the long-term prospects of the spec are still good.

With these and the other ZEN fetchlands I'm holding, I clearly missed the target. I should have sold Creeping Tar Pit back in April. That was my selling price target but I dithered too much about it and missed the opportunity as the price decreased rapidly.

For Scalding Tarn I was very close to my target price during the Legacy Festival. I didn't pull the trigger, wanting to wait another day---which was one day too much.

With the ZEN block flashback drafts around the corner, my bet is that I will be able to rebuy some or all of these specs cheaper than what I'm selling them for now. I'm also in the process of selling the other ZEN fetchlands I have.

Mox Opal is in the same situation as Spellskite was for me. I was banking on a regular upward trend at least until 45-50 tix. The trend actually stopped just a few tix away from these numbers in January and never recovered since.

With a mediocre +18%, I decided to sell now and move my tix somewhere else as the Mox is plunging toward 25 tix these past few days. With a floor at 20 tix, rebuying Mox Opal at a much better price could be an option sooner than expected though.

Despite the recent flashback drafts of Shards of Alara, Tezzeret moved from 1.4 to 1.8 tix these past two weeks. I had sold two thirds of my stockpile during the hype following the unbanning of Sword of the Meek; here is other third.

I can't say I missed an opportunity on this one (as I sold as many as possible when the price spiked in April). Tezzeret the Seeker simply didn't do anything since its reprint in Modern Masters 2015, which is pretty incredible considering this card has been 34 tix at one point. I might come back on Tezzeret as the long-term odds seem favorable.

Keranos was once one of the most expensive cards in Modern. As it seems, the ban of Splinter Twin severely affected Keranos's price. I have to admit defeat here and let this one go now, since I have no idea when or if the price will go back up.

As I said before, I had higher expectations for the Temples, which may have been ill-placed. Nonetheless I was able to pull out great profits with these two. If you are able to monitor the prices and keep up with their price fluctuations they certainly are great targets for smaller bankrolls.

BotG

I was expecting a little bit more with BNG full sets, although 18% is not too bad for a completed full set spec. Every time the buying price gets close to 20 tix I'll be likely to sell a set or two.

On My Radar

Nothing has changed from last week. Pro Tour EMN and then Zendikar block flashback drafts have all my attention, starting with getting as many tix available as reasonably possible.

Question & Answer

Getting into Shadows over Innistrad

Q

Sebastian is essentially right. Acquiring Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) staples is most likely to be cheaper during or around the release of Kaladesh. Historically it has always been better, on average, to buy Standard cards as they stop being among the newest draft set. That "average" price can be compared across sets using full set prices. A full set of Battle for Zendikar (BFZ) was cheaper during the release of SOI (~58.6 tix) than it was during the release of Oath of the Gatewatch (OGW) (~64 tix).

With the recent change in the rotation schedule, the answer is unclear. I actually bought the bulk of my BFZ full sets during OGW release events. Admittedly this was a mistake as I paid at least 4 more tix per set compared to if I had waited until April. The price of a BFZ full set is actually now getting very close to its absolute bottom.

When looking at singles the trend is, not surprisingly, the same. When it comes to mythics, Gideon, Ob Nixillis, Part the Waterveil and Quarantine Field were slightly more expensive in April (around the release of SOI) compared to February (around the release of OGW). However Drana, Kiora, the other cheap mythics, and especially Ulamog and Oblivion Sower, were cheaper in April.

Looking at the top BFZ rares (essentially the lands, as no non-land BFZ rare is currently valued over 0.50 tix), it's a mixed bag. Some of them were slightly cheaper in April and others were slightly cheaper in February.

The quality of BFZ could be a factor for the sluggish non-progression of prices and in this regard SOI might be different. After all a full set of SOI is currently valued 20 tix higher (~30%) than a full set of BFZ at about the same time.

On a case-by-case basis, accurately cherry-picking singles during OGW and SOI release could have been the best move, but playing an educated-guess lottery is still playing the lottery in the end. The numbers tell us that buying full sets or a large basket of singles would have been better during the release of SOI.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most cards are subject to a bigger-than-usual dip during the release of any set. Here we would be looking for a dip of SOI cards during EMN release events. This price discount is only likely to last one or two days. But since we've seen prices of BFZ singles were barely less expensive during the SOI release compared to the OGW release, if the dip is significant enough it might be worth buying.

For example, Declaration in Stone has gotten closer and closer to 2 tix. A dip to 1.5 tix during EMN release events would be a comparatively big percentage drop and could be a good opportunity to buy this white removal spell.

Similarly, Jace, Unraveler of Secrets has always been above 3 tix until now. If Jace briefly plunges in the 2-2.5 tix range that might be a good time to buy a few copies (Note that I don't really know how good/bad Jace is, but this price trend is a good example). How about Goldnight Castigator going to 0.5 tix? Many cards could be worth the shot now if the price discount is big enough.

Finally, BFZ is the only example we have with the new set structure, rotation and draft format. SOI will be the second. Maybe things will be different and the lowest point, on average, for SOI cards is now? That doesn't help much to answer the question but we'll have a better picture in two or three blocks.

Thank you for reading,

Sylvain

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