Hello and welcome back for another High Stakes MTGO article!
These past two weeks were dedicated to preparing a round of specs, both singles and full sets, and a truckload of quickflips for Pro Tour Kaladesh. As you may have seen in my live portfolio and as you'll read below, things didn't really go as planned, especially for my quickflips. That's part of the game and at least with quickflips when losses occur they are rarely big in terms of percentages.
Besides this, it clearly hasn't been my best three months of MTGO specs. Too many of my most recent specs are performing poorly and several of my older specs took a hit with the Treasure Chest announcement. Although nothing is set in stone, that's still several significant losses to swallow for very few gains to compensate.
Nonetheless I'll keep moving forward and try to refocus my portfolio, probably with fewer positions total to make sure I get a better grasp on all of them. Another way to regain control of my bankroll is to seek a lower profit per position and make sure every tix invested is used for a purpose. This may imply having more free tix on my account if no specs look attractive enough.
In the meantime, let's see what I did this past week. The latest snapshot of the portfolio can be found here.
Quickflips This Week
This past weekend I repeated the massive quickflip spec I did two and a half months ago during Pro Tour Eldritch Moon. Unfortunately, the balance didn't end in my favor this time around. As of last Thursday, here are the Kaladesh mythics I had decided to buy:
As usual, this was a mixed basket of just about everything, from near-trash cards to potential Standard staples. The idea is to try to hold anything that can potentially, even remotely, explode during the Pro Tour. Aetherworks Marvel, Torrential Gearhulk and Verdurous Gearhulk were my three big winners. Three out of fifteen should have been enough to generate some profit after selling everything. However it didn't.
A major reason for this unfavorable end was timing. When I turned off my computer late night on Friday, all the winners had significantly raised in price and many losers were still available at a decent price. I thought waiting until early Saturday morning to sell everything would still be okay, and even give me better margins on my winning positions. I was wrong.
By Saturday morning all prices, with the exception of the blue gearhulk, had either stabilized or gone down. Most importantly, many bot chains had replenished their stocks, and selling several playsets at once happened to be even more difficult.
The gains of the winners were not that bad but what ended up costing me a lot were the losses from the losing positions. I was down by about 200 tix. Clearly a disappointing performance, especially considering where prices lay when I left them on Friday night.
In retrospect, a better move would have been to stay up later and start selling the cards that hadn't made a splash at the Pro Tour. That would have started with the junk mythics such as Angel of Invention, and mid-price mythics, including all the planeswalkers.
Buys This Week
Shadows over Innistrad (SOI) is the second large set of the new two-set block structure after Battle for Zendikar (BFZ). The major difference is that SOI doesn't come with a set of Expedition lands or Inventions---this should theoretically make a difference when it comes to total set value. I bought most of my BFZ full sets during Oath of the Gatewatch release events, nowhere near the absolute bottom of BFZ full set prices.
With SOI, I decided to move on full sets now (during the release event of the next large set) and at a much lower price---under 50 tix per set. In addition, now knowing the chaotic price trajectory of BFZ full sets, I'll be looking to sell my SOI sets in the 60-70 tix price range. If the trend observed for BFZ is any guide I would expect this increase in price to occur within six to eight weeks.
I bought a first round of Collected Company around 5 tix this past week. As the price started to rebound I wanted to wait a little bit to see if it would come closer to 5 tix again. It didn't, and I'm not really willing to buy at a higher price at the moment.
Collected Company and the rest of Dragons of Tarkir may have already reached their post-rotation bottom. It may sound like I'm playing it too safe but I'm okay with only five playsets here. However, I should give a closer look to DTK singles. As a large third set, DTK has a lot of Modern (or other format) playables that could see a decent price increase in the following months.
Along with Thought-Knot Seer, Smasher went totally unseen at this Pro Tour, and might well disappear from Standard deck lists. Both cards fit in the rare category of powerhouses in all eternal formats that are nonetheless not good enough in Standard.
I picked up 36 more copies under 2 tix before Pro Tour KLD. As it seems, I won't be able to count on Standard to boost the price of Reality Smasher. With an average buying price of 2.5 tix, it may not be easy to make a profit on this---I'll probably be looking to sell this as soon as possible whenever the price gets closer to 3 tix.
Another ride with Goldnight Castigator. It didn't pay off right away in Pro Tour results, but as long as red has a decent shot in Standard this guy has a chance to spike. It did so two times in the past and I only need it to happen once more, even something moderate like a 2-tix spike.
Sales This Week
Let's be frank, this move was a total bust. Gideon didn't look too good after Day 1 at PT KLD, and as the price was heading down I decided to get rid of my copies. Guess where Gideon's price is today: back at 22 tix where it was last Thursday.
At last a sale that seems well-timed. My only regret is that I was unable to grab more copies. Doubling up on a 7-tix mythic doesn't happen every day. Although B/G Delirium saw a decent amount of play, I would rather sell the Flayer now at 14 tix than wait and gamble for more. Could Grim Flayer reach 20 tix? It's not impossible but I feel like now is a perfect opportunity to cash out.
Despite exceptional stats, Gisela appears unfit for the current Standard metagame. My profit is small here, but I'm satisfied with this spec, considering Gisela might not go anywhere from here. I'd rather sell now with just 28% profit than watch Gisela fall down to 2 tix because she can't find a home in Standard.
This spec never went anywhere, and I can't expect the triple Innistrad flashback drafts to help. Most likely I should have pulled the trigger several months ago, but better late than never. There's probably still a solid tix to lose between Olivia's price now and what it will be after ISD block flashback drafts.
On My Radar
Pro Tours always shake up formats like no other tournament. Often enough, the Standard metagame seen during Pro Tours doesn't represent what the vast majority of players will play subsequently. Following the Grand Prix, SCG tournaments and, most importantly for us, the MTGO metagame, will help us see more definitely which cards deserve a better or worse price.
As it has happened frequently in the past, the Standard metagame could evolve several times before Aether Revolt hits next January. Until then, I'll focus on seizing any good selling opportunity. The key is not to miss an opening, because a spike for a given card may not last long and may only happen once.
With Pro Tour Kaladesh behind us and KLD release events about to end on MTGO, I'm also closely watching how Modern prices will evolve under the price pressure set by the Treasure Chests.
Lastly, I'm currently pondering if and when to get into Magic Origins (ORI) and Dragons of Tarkir (DTK) full sets. These two large sets have fallen under 50 tix for the past two weeks and seem to have found a floor around 46 tix. The paper version of both sets is also slowing down the price drop, so it may be time to jump into another full set spec.
Both ORI and DTK have several casual and competitive cards of interest, which should help support price regains in the paper world in the coming month. With redemption still available for both I would anticipate some price gains for the MTGO version of these sets soon as well.
Thank you for reading,