Insider: High Stakes MTGO – July 3rd to July 9th

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Hi everyone and welcome back for another week of High Stakes MTGO!

Finally, some movements in my portfolio. Several buys and sales were on the menu for this past week. Besides the fact that I want to adjust my bankroll a bit, this period is a very usual transition period for players and speculators. Following the release of the summer set on MTGO---Eternal Masters just few weeks ago---the Legacy Festival events kicked in right after that and just prior to the release of Eldritch Moon, the new Standard set on MTGO.

All these events happening within a few weeks created, or will create, a lot of ups and downs in the market. It's always a delicate moment for speculators trying to time sales and buys at the best possible prices.

As I'm writing these lines, it appears that I may have missed the optimal selling window for several of my Legacy Festival-related specs. On the buying side I'm expecting the release events associated with EMN to create the price drop we always see during the release of new Standard sets, making me wonder if my EMA purchases this past week, as well as my most recent buys, were well-timed. At worst, and if prices get really low, I'm ready to add several playsets to my stocks.

Finally, there are about two dozen Modern and Standard positions I'm thinking about selling now while they are profitable rather than holding them going into EMN release events. In summary, a lot of thinking and debating on what is the most profitable move at this point. Let's see what happened this past week for my portfolio.

As usual, the live spreadsheet is accessible here.

Buys This Week


Cryptbreaker has a lot of what zombie fans could have wished for---an unbeatable mana cost, a drawing engine that doesn't require taping, the ability to generate its own buddies, and this guy is himself a zombie! I like playing casual Zombies in Modern and throwing a card like Cryptbreaker in a deck with Zombie Infestation, Bloodghast, Blasting Station, Blood Artist, Dark Prophecy, Bridge from Below and... Gravecrawler seems at the very least fun, if not borderline competitive.

Whether or not this new Eldritch Moon zombie addition can be a thing in Modern is totally hypothetical at this point, but I simply bet that Gravecrawler will be an auto four-of inclusion if something happens. I'm not expecting Gravecrawler to suddenly be at 15 tix but I think the spec is worth the shot.


Almost a year ago I bought this one banking on the combined fact that Arcum has such a unique effect and that Coldsnap supplies were low enough on MTGO to justify buying it at ~1 tix and waiting for something to happen. In such a case Arcum Dagsson could easily reach 10 tix in my opinion.

When I see Allosaurus Rider totally breaking free from 0 to 3 tix in two days, based on virtually nothing serious, I think my reasoning with Arcum was actually right. However, on the path to winning the lottery, Modern flashback drafts got announced. So much for my calculated spec partially based on scarce supplies---I sold my copies of Arcum Dagsson before CSP flashback drafts hit and made a tiny profit in the process.

Arcum was not on my radar any more but when I realized he had dropped to 0.1 tix last week that was an opportunity that could not be missed. Now my new Arcum Dagsson spec has the potential of before but this new buying price totally nullifies any risk. I might even try to bump my stock to 100 copies if the price gets back under 0.2 tix during EMN release events.


Cabal Therapy is the only "serious" spec I made with Eternal Masters. I wished I had bought more copies sooner and maybe not been so strict with my buying price limit. I didn't want to pay more than 2 tix for these in order to minimize any risk. It's possible I should have been more flexible. We'll see if it was a mistake in a few months.

EMA picks

With the exception of Cabal Therapy these are my only picks in EMA so far. Following my reasoning from last week about Legacy/Vintage reprint specs, any of these few bulk common and uncommons may actually generate as many tix as two playsets of Wasteland one year from now.

I was not in the mood to spend 300 tix or so on Wasteland or Force of Will. If can turn 10 tix in 150 tix instead I'm all for it at this specific time point for my portfolio.

Sales This Week

Is the best of this tutor behind us? After a peak at 58 tix late June, Infernal Tutor slid down to 49 tix this past week. I sold my copies to lock up some profit and not knowing exactly what would happen next. As I mentioned in the introduction, timing the best selling (or buying) window is always tricky and as of Saturday (four days after I sold my copies) this tutor was back up to 53 tix!

In conclusion, despite a very decent profit I sold my Infernal Tutor in what appears to be the worst selling point of these past five weeks. On the other hand I haven't sold my Counterbalance for which the price has lost 35% tix of its value since its initial peak to 20 tix at the end of May---MTGO speculations in all their beauty.

I was not expecting to break a record with this one. With an increase of about 50% in the last four weeks I simply thought it was good enough for Geist of Saint Traft. This 10 tix to 15 tix price fluctuation has been on for almost a year now with an exception last September, so I'm perfectly happy selling at this price.

Another big miss from my Magic Origins specs. I really think this card is not going anywhere and 2 tix for a mythic that is going nowhere is pretty high. I prefer selling Starfield of Nyx now rather than waiting longer and see this mythic most likely languishing until ORI rotates out of Standard.

A nice little spec, especially considering I kept my copies through Coldsnap flashback drafts. My buying price was not optimal and I could have bought more additional copies after the flashback drafts. In the end I gladly take these 109 extra tix for a few baubles.

It seems Shivan Reef will be the first painland I'm clearing from my big ORI painlands spec. There's still a chance that EMN changes the Standard metagame to favor URx decks. If so then I'll have a few more playsets to maybe enjoy a better selling price. All in all, I'm really trying to liquidate my painlands every time the opportunity is good enough as the clock is ticking before ORI rotates out of Standard and the prices of the five painlands return to dust.


While full set specs were supposed to be safe and bring moderate profits over several months they are more like hit or miss for me now. OGW and JOU full sets were very performant, THS full sets ended up costing me money, and my still-current BNG, KTK, FRF and BFZ full sets are barely breaking even. With an ROI of 39% my M15 full sets were actually in the high range of what I would expect from full set specs.

No real motivation here to try to push harder with these and it's probably a great time to sell these sets before EMN release events drag every price down.

On My Radar

My business plan for the next two to three weeks is very simple---sell the rest of my Modern and Legacy positions that are at a local high and anticipate buying opportunities during the release events of EMN. I might do a second round of purchases with EMA and will try to build a short list of currently cheap Standard cards that could benefit from what EMN brings to the table.


Thank you for reading,


8 thoughts on “Insider: High Stakes MTGO – July 3rd to July 9th

    1. Good point. Actually I had sold them few weeks ago but forgot to report them in my spreadsheet. I sold them for less than what they are now. So definitely a good time to “really” sell them!

    1. I’m quite disappointed by the BFZ full sets but I’m still hoping they can increase in price. With the twice-a-year rotation there’s another chance for BFZ prices to go up in September. Actually any new set can potentially boost BFZ prices if more BFZ cards get played.

      Although I might sell some before if I can break even and to free some Tix I will hold on to the rest of them until September for sure.

  1. Are you really surprised by full set speculation? The cat is out of the bag so the prices never go as low as they used to during drafting and when demand surges suddenly a bunch of speculators are waiting in the wings to unload their copies and supply that demand. Speculation only works as long as you aren’t doing what everyone else is. Once everyone “knows” dual lands are a sure thing they stop being so. Now everyone “knows” that complete sets are a good buy and so they no longer are.

    1. Also, you should let us know when you want to start botting and stop speculation. The grass is always better on the dealer side with sufficient capital.

    2. Having more people doing it certainly have an influence but maybe not as simple as that. I think that one effect of having more speculators is that prices actually fluctuate “more”, more drops and spikes.

      As for the full sets spec, I’m not seeing really any pattern due to more speculators. BFZ is clearly not great but OGW was one of the best by far, I made 50+% in only few weeks. The bottom was reached sooner than I thought but the price really spiked hard (for a set) following that. I think it has much more to do with the quality of the set and interactions/playability with what’s next, which is unpredictable since we don’t know what the next set(s) will be made of.
      Same thing with sets out of Standard, some were great (JOU and M15) some were not. So if it was a matter of more players in the pool I assume we would see things being more “even”?

      Finally, things are also constantly evolving for sets: small set, big set, medium set, no core set, different rotation, structure, size. That might a reason why people (me 1st) thought OGW would settle lower when in deed the set didn’t have that much supply for a 2nd set since it’s larger than regular small sets.

      1. Your comment actually explains why OGW bucked the trend. Everyone was waiting for a lower price point than the market would bear to buy in.

        Previously it didn’t matter much the “quality” of the set… hell DGM and BNG had good bounces 😛

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