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Hello, QS readers, and welcome back to High Stakes MTGO!
This week I kept busy selling my truck-loads of Magic Origins painlands and with a return to Modern speculation. With so many buying and selling opportunities these days I wish I had a couple more hours per week available for MTGO specs.
Juggling between buying good targets, selling when appropriate, cutting losses, and optimizing winning positions is the essence of MTGO speculation---or any other speculative venture. With limited time to dedicate to MTGO, the juggling game becomes even more perilous---I have to accept the fact that I can't do it all perfectly and that I will miss some opportunities. Luckily there's still plenty enough room for profit.
Although Bant Company still dominates debate on the metagame, the Standard 7-1 or better decks and the Top 8 decks of the Star City Games Invitational keep showing some amount of diversity in Standard. That's progress from the Bant Company vs. W/x Humans rivalry we had for the past three months.
The field will probably get even wider after Collected Company rotates out of Standard. If we don't see much speculative movement between now and October it could be a good period to accumulate potential sleepers that could emerge next Fall.
In Modern interestingly enough, Burn and Infect were the most popular decks in the 7-1 or better decks at this same SCG Invitational with four of each deck among these top 15 finishers. Not that it wasn't a good target before, but with the recent price drop due to Zendikar flashback drafts, Goblin Guide becomes even more a target of choice.
Let's see what happened this past week in my portfolio. The latest snapshot of the account can be found here.
Buys This Week
I was looking this week to put my hands on Modern positions. With the Modern flashback drafts, the release of Eternal Masters, the Legacy Festival, the release of Eldritch Moon and the adjustment of my bankroll, investing in Modern has been sort of paused for several weeks. Nonetheless Modern is still one of the best places for speculators, and it's time to acquire fresh positions.
Before or after its reprint in Modern Masters, Gifts Ungiven had a long history of price fluctuations and seasonal appearances in Modern decks. The latest peak to date---right before the release of Shadows over Innistrad---brought Gifts to a three-year high at 10 tix. A recent little dip below 3 tix makes it a great opportunity to grab a few playsets of this card. With an average ceiling around 6 tix I hope to double within a few months here.
Return to Ravnica flashback drafts are a little over three months away. That's kind of close but it should be enough time to see Jace, Architect of Thought rebound, especially from a speculatively interesting 4 tix low. Until recently Jace hadn't dropped below 4 tix since rotating out of Standard about two years ago. In that time Jace has proven he can easily reach 10 tix---I'm in for another ride.
Cascade Bluffs is a filter land that sees plays here and there in Modern. Three points make this land attractive to me: 1) it has been printed in Eventide, meaning supplies are low; 2) Bluffs just reached a four-year low; and 3) Eventide flashback drafts are behind us. A rebound to 12 tix is all I ask for now.
Surprising pick, isn't it? Auramancy is not exactly a competitive card, but its price climbed as high as 10 tix only four months ago until Shadowmoor flashback drafts struck. This is unlikely to be a short-term spec but I'm okay with the odds here. Greater Auramancy is not played now in Modern though its casting cost and abilities could make it possible, and if it happens then we might see a price tag much higher than 10 tix.
Sales This Week
More painlands sold this week as the clock is seriously ticking now. Shivan Reef is the first painland position I closed entirely, riding the post-Pro Tour trend of U/R Thermo-Thing. Overall I close this 540-copy position with almost 90% profit and +605 tix in my pocket.
I will certainly close my Llanowar Wastes position with a profit but even now I have to sell at a price below my buying price. Luckily B/G Delirium decks are supporting the price a bit but Standard rotation is getting really close---time to exit.
Prices are still miserably low (compared to what I paid for them) for Battlefield Forge and Caves of Koilos. I'm happy the bulk of my stock of Caves is gone and I will make a large profit with the Caves in the end. However, I will most likely lose several hundreds of tix with Forge unless a miracle happens.
No doubt the Seer is a powerful staple in all formats it's allowed in, something only a handful of cards can aspire to. Nevertheless our Standard metagame is for some reason not very favorable to this Eldrazi.
Given that playability in Standard is what dictates the price trend of Standard cards, Thought-Knot Seer looks rather uncertain for the next two months. I'd rather sell this guy now and maybe come back later, right before Standard changes again in October.
With Rise of the Eldrazi just around the corner there's virtually no incentive to keep this card, especially since I was able to sell Linvala at a reasonable price, even cashing out 30 tix worth of profit. Linvala, Keeper of Silence clearly lost a lot of her appeal with the banning of Birthing Pod in Modern, but if her price gets low enough at the end of the month this is still a great speculative target.
The only thing that has been working well so far with my Battle for Zendikar-related specs are the foil mythics. To some degree they have almost all been up since I bought them around the release of Oath of the Gatewatch. If I lost a few percent on Void Winnower and Part the Waterveil, everything else is up by 10% to 80%.
With the basket strategy my average profit is likely to be in the 20-30% range, pretty much what I signed up for when I got into the BFZ foil mythic spec. I'm not entirely sure selling some of these now is the best option since prices of foil mythics tend to keep slowly rising until redemption ends, but I figured I would sell a couple of the biggest winners to secure some of this profit. Hopefully the lagging positions will catch up.
On My Radar
As I'm writing these lines I'm making a first round of buys with Zendikar. Timing the absolute bottom is tricky (not to say impossible) so I'm buying about half of what I wanted now and will keep buying through the week.
Worldwake singles are obviously also on my buying list for the coming week. WWK will be flashback-drafted for only one week and only one booster will be opened per draft. Although the expected value for WWK is high I don't expect prices to drop by much, so anything that goes down will be good for picking up.
As of last week, Modern positions are back on my radar. Now that my bankroll situation is settled I know what I'm going to be doing for the next six months and how many tix I have to play with. Modern specs are definitely where I want to put a decent chunk of my tix.
Thank you for reading,