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Insider: High Stakes MTGO – Aug 7th to Aug 13th

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Hello, everyone, and welcome back for another High Stakes MTGO article! One week after a very entertaining Pro Tour, prices are starting to recover and move toward a more stable position. It's often, if not always, a good strategy to sell during the PT hype. A lot of cards, including those in winning decks, are unlikely to hit higher prices afterwards.

While this didn't happen after Pro Tour Shadow over Innistrad, when G/W Tokens dominated the subsequent environment, the Standard metagame usually evolves quite a bit after a Pro Tour. This means that the price height reached during a Pro Tour may not happen ever again.

A few cards such as Shaman of Forgotten Ways, Goldnight Castigator and Wandering Fumarole have been on a straight upward trend since Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (PT EMN). But there's another phenomenon on display that we've seen several times before---a big downward price swing among all sorts of cards, independently of their success during the Pro Tour.

These price swings are another side effect of the Pro Tour speculative frenzy, as people overreact by selling everything from top cards to worst failures, thus putting more pressure on prices.

From 18 tix, Kozilek's Return dropped about 6 tix in two days before getting back to 18 the next weekend.

Kozi2

Sylvan Advocate and Matter Reshaper lost about 50% of their value in a few days and then recovered just as fast. Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher are two powerful cards that didn't see much play at PT EMN---after a big drop last week they too have quickly recovered to their pre-PT EMN level. Eldrazi Displacer as well is another Eldrazi that didn't do much at PT EMN and which is now recovering after a 35% drop in two days.

This price storm usually lasts a week or two before we see stronger and more reliable price trends shaped by SCG Standard tournaments, Standard GPs, and of course MTGO results. While these price movements may caught novice speculators to be surprised in a panic-wave of sales, they also create great buying opportunities for experienced speculators and players able to rapidly read how the Standard metagame will evolve.

Although I missed some buying opportunities, with Reality Smasher and Kozilek's Return for instance, most of my buys this past week were based on that principle---trying to grab valuable cards at discounted prices.

If you hadn't bookmarked the link to the live portfolio, it's here.

Buys This Week

TtU

A breakthrough card for Pro Tour EMN, Traverse the Ulvenwald was among the most-played card in the top decks and the Top 8. It was also one of the many cards to see a relatively big drop immediately following the PT and rebound the very next day.

Rather than selling, I doubled down on this card and bought an additional 39 copies at 0.69 tix per copy on average. Despite still being drafted along with two EMN packs, I think this card should see a lot of play now and after Standard rotates. I see this card being at or above 2 tix sometime in the coming year.

That's a vague and wide timeline but I'm okay to wait and even ready to add more playsets to my stock if Traverse the Ulvenwald moves back to 0.5 tix again.

PA

Prized Amalgam was also getting some attention before Pro Tour EMN and got included in the most recent version of Modern Dredge decks. In Four-color Emerge and in Zombies, this new zombie finished outside of the PT EMN Top 8 last weekend. With a price stabilizing between 0.5 and 0.6 tix I decided to jump in for 66 copies.

This is not a slam dunk as the price is exceptionally low and, as with Traverse the Ulvenwald, packs of SOI are still being opened. However I believe the card has enough potential in Standard and Modern at this point to make it a decent spec, with 2 tix as a target price.

OoN

The price of the green Oath from Oath of the Gatewatch is also on a nice roller coaster ride---from 2 tix to 4 and then back to 1.6 in barely a week. This card didn't finish strong at the last PT, as G/W Tokens is no longer the dominant deck.

Nonetheless this is still a very solid card that will certainly be played in many Standard and Modern decks in the future. In my opinion this is an easy pick-up at 1.6 tix and I know now that 4 tix is the target ceiling for this card.

DS

While this shoal doesn't have any permanent home it plays wonderfully in any number of Travis Woo or SaffronOlive brews. The long-term price baseline of Disrupting Shoal seems to be fairly anchored in the 3-4 tix range.

I had bought 20 copies after the Betrayers of Kamigawa flashback drafts at the beginning of this year, and now that the price is getting closer to 3.5 tix I'm adding a few copies to my initial stake. It's a game of patience with this spec but since the potential to double (or more) is real I'm fine waiting.

NVoZ

Along with other very good targets, both QS writers Matt Lewis and Nicolas Cancellara pointed out last week that Nissa was most likely a great pick-up now. From a height of 15 tix thanks to the dominance of G/W Tokens, this planeswalker dropped to 5.5 tix last week, its absolute floor so far.

Nissa, Voice of Zendikar might be a little bit out of favor with EMN but there's no reason to think this card won't maintain a certain level of play in Standard and even in Modern.

Sales This Week

These two were the painland winners of the last PT. I'm not going to wait any longer to see how high they can go after this PT; I'm selling now. While my pile of Shivan Reefs only contains a few playsets left to be cleared away, I'm still sitting on hundreds of copies of the Coast (and of the other three painlands as well).

I'm selling as soon as my minimum price target is reached. Unfortunately, while Reef keeps climbing Coast fell below the 1 tix bar in the middle of last week. Considering the current popularity of UGx decks, I'm still confident Yavimaya Coast will get above 1 tix---where I want to sell---again quickly.

The last of my foil EMN mythic quickflips. This one didn't make me any tix but as a part of a bigger plan I sold it without any regrets.

These two red cards got better recently and Abbot even had an additional momentary boost with the emergence of the U/R Thermo-Thing deck. For two cards about to rotate and for which I was losing money anyway, I gladly sell them now with a little bit fewer losses. The first half of 2016 is definitely not for red---such a waste for two cards that would have probably been great in almost any other Standard metagame.

fAW

Similarly to foil Emrakul, the Promised End I took advantage of the price spike hitting the foil version of the legendary spider as well. With more and more supplies entering the market, I expect the price of both foil and regular versions of Ishkanah, Grafwidow to stabilize under 10 tix, perhaps before the foil version takes off again in a few weeks.

Two cards soon to be flashback-drafted, which I would rather sell now than wait on or keep in my portfolio for a while. I should most likely have sold these guys earlier but I think it will get worse so let's get rid of them now. I somehow managed to break even with Iona but I'm losing 50 tix with the Inquisitions. Nevertheless, two cards to keep an eye on and probably rebuy this month.

On My Radar

Zendikar block drafts are going to be the big attraction in town for speculators in the coming three weeks starting this Wednesday. Between Zendikar, Worldwake and Rise of the Eldrazi, an amazing minimum of 30 cards could be on speculators' buying lists. From Scalding Tarn to Flame Slash, from mythics to commons, there will be buying opportunities for all sizes of bankrolls.

With so many potential targets, my advice is simply to focus on what fits your bankroll. I won't be buying any Kiln Fiends whereas Celestial Colonnade may not be a great choice for others.

If the ZEN fetchlands are the number one targets everyone wants to grab, you might as well focus on cards with a bigger potential such as Pyromancer Ascension, Vengevine, or even Eldrazi Temple if prices drop by a lot. Due to their popularity, the prices of ZEN fetchlands may not tank that much and their return on investment could therefore be limited. I don't think you can realistically double up on Scalding Tarn whereas you could quadruple up on an Inquisition of Kozilek bought at a timely moment.

If the timing for targeting Worldwake and Rise of the Eldrazi cards is rather simple since they are only drafted for one week, Zendikar will however be drafted for two weeks. The cards in the highest demand such as the fetchlands are likely to see their biggest drop this very next weekend, while other cards may lose ground continuously until the very end of the flashback series.

If you're planning on buying multiple copies it might be worthwhile to spread your purchases over several days so you're not missing a part of the action but are also letting the door open to buy more if prices keep falling.

Thank you for reading,

Sylvain Lehoux

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