Insider: High Stakes MTGO – Nov 20th to Nov 26th

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Hello, and welcome back for another High Stakes MTGO!

This past week was quite a special one for my portfolio—not a single purchase! This is a very rare event but it might actually happen more frequently in a near furture. One reason for this was a very busy week for me—partially due to my job and partially due to Thanksgiving here in the US. Another reason was the incoming release of Modern Masters 2017.

Nothing is yet known about what could possibly be in MM3, which means that at this point everything can potentially be in MM3. With less than three months before the major themes and early spoilers of MM3 are known, there's a short time to secure profitable Modern specs. Flashback drafts are still creating a few decent buying opportunities, but outside of slam-dunk picks, the time period for cards to cycle up again before a potential reprint is extremely short.

The Modern Masters series can have dramatic consequences on prices. We've seen quite a few cards on MTGO go from double-digit prices to less than a ticket, and this will happen again with MM3. We also know that Modern staples of all ranks can be reprinted multiple times in the Modern Masters series. With so many possibilities I'm just not willing to take unecessary risks with Modern at the moment.

On the other hand, Standard is currently cruising. While full sets of Battle for Zendikar and Shadows over Innistrad rebounded markedly from a little price drop encounter about two weeks ago, the value of Eldritch Moon full sets kept climbing, now well over 150 tix per set. I was pretty happy with my EMN full set spec, but I have to admit that I didn't expect it to go so high. It's crazy to think that EMN has almost doubled since last September when the set hit 81.6 tix. Only Innistrad could brag about having done better.

With Standard as well, the context is not very favorable for buying positions. There will certainly be some cards to take a chance on as Aether Revolt approaches. But I probably won't be buying anything until mid-December, to ensure I get the best prices on the positions I decide to go with.

Let's see how my selling-only week went. The link to the live portfolio hasn't changed and can be found here.

Buys This Week


Sales This Week

Since the beginning of this month the MMA version of Path to Exile has been oscillating between 3.5 and 4 tix, and that's actually the best it has been for more than a year now. I was expecting a rebound in the 5-6 tix range at some point but it never happened.

Despite a spread frequently over 20%, I managed to sell all of my 91 copies of this white removal spell with an honorable 36% profit. I'm not sure it would have been reasonable to wait for more considering that Path to Exile could easily be in MM3.

I wasn't holding out for new record highs on Cryptic Command, and I close this position very satisfied after all. Two and a half months after I bought this position, the price finally took off recently. I didn't want to let this opportunity go and sold my blue command with a nice 58%. I wish more of my Modern specs would just do that.

Probably a victim of its own success as a card and a spec target, Abrupt Decay never did anything price-wise in the same way the shocklands did. Less obvious choices such as Rest in Peace, Jace, Architect of Thought, and Supreme Verdict did much better, speculatively speaking, in Return to Ravnica.

RTR is actually next in line for the Modern flashback series, and with Abrupt Decay jumping from 3 tix to 5 tix this past week I thought now was my chance to exit this spec with only marginal losses. I can't say the same for the other RTR positions I'm still holding—I'm ready to swallow the pill.

Simply an awesome random Modern spec and another success provided by the flashback drafts. Phyrexian Metamorph was never close to being a Modern staples and is only played in some variants of Shop decks in Vintage. Nonetheless this card have shown a nice cyclical pattern, roughly fluctuating between 2 tix and 6 tix for the past four years.

It made sense to buy this guy right after New Phyrexia flashback drafts and it made sense to sell it now. One could say I'm selling too early, but I learned that 150% profit in six weeks is not something I should pass on easily, especially when a massive reprint is a possibility in the near future.


BFZ full sets are back above 70 tix—I wasn't asking for so much. I was still planning on liquidating my BFZ full set position and if I can grab a couple more tix per set in the process then let's take them. I'll be done with these sets by the end of this week. In the end, besides that initial fifteen sets sold at 46 tix to get liquid, I pretty much broke even with the rest of my BFZ sets—something I wouldn't have thought possible two months ago.


SOI full sets also rebounded this past week. That all I needed to sell the six sets I was still holding. Unlike with BFZ full sets, these guys netted me a little bit over 15% in profit and in less than ten weeks.


My weekly unloading of BFZ boosters. 50% loss and 48 more to go.

On My Radar

Nothing has changed from the previous week and Modern is virtually the only format I'm paying attention speculative-wise nowadays.

Thank you for reading,


Avatar photo

Sylvain Lehoux

Sylvain started playing Mtg in 1998 and played at competitive level for more than 10 years including several GP and 3 PT. When he moved to Atlanta in 2010 for his job he sold all his cards and stopped "playing". In 2011 he turned to Mtg Online and he experimented whether it was possible to successfully speculate on this platform. Two years later and with the help of the QS community his experience has grown tremendously and investing on MTGO has proven to be greatly successful. He is now sharing the knowledge he acquired during his MTGO journey! @Lepongemagique on Twitter

View More By Sylvain Lehoux

Posted in Buying, Finance, Free Insider, MTGO, SellingTagged , , , , , , , ,

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6 thoughts on “Insider: High Stakes MTGO – Nov 20th to Nov 26th

  1. Great article!

    I see many similarities between our existing specs. I also exited Decay, but couldn’t swallow selling Shocks right now. I’ll concede to playing the very long-game with those. I really wanted at least 4 tix a shock, which I don’t think is eventually unrealistic.

    It’s interesting that whilst you are not willing to try and ride many short-term specs before MMA3 spoilers – Matt is. I’ve jumped on a few myself that are depressed, including Cavern of Souls, Zen Fetches, Snaps and Horizon Canopy.

    I wish I bought more heavily into Artarka’s and Kolaghan’s Command upon rotation, as they have continued to rebound very nicely.

    Standard is a little stale right now, not overly diverse and I feel people are a little tired of Kaladesh drafting. I think Modern will continue to see good gains for a couple of months overall. I sure hope so, as it continues to be the overwhelming majority within my portfolio.

    1. Thanks for the comments.

      My choice regarding Modern is also linked to my limited time to dedicate to MTGO. I know I have missed opportunities for not watching prices evolving closely enough, so I’m just being exaggeratedly careful I guess.

      Note that I don’t really think WotC can/will reprint a cycle of rare lands (such as fetchs, cavern of souls, canopy, etc…) These might be targets with much better odds that any other random cards. It might actually even be a great spec as I would expect these lands to bump once everyone else realized they are not in MM3, which I think they aren’t.

    1. Just temporarily. Standard is more or less stable now and besides buying specs in advance of Aether Revolt (which I’ll probably be doing in ~a month from now) there’s not much to do in Standard.

      And for Modern, it’s mostly selling that I’ll be focusing on since buying can be risky with MM3 getting closer.

  2. Hey Sylvain,

    I want to get your take on this. Last year, my modern specs did awesome between September – December. From January until the last month or so, Modern wasn’t doing much for me. Some of this can be attributed to Eldrazi winter and some of it to my spec choices, but do you think modern prices will continue to be active in the January – April months?

    1. Hi Peter,

      There’s for sure better season than others for Modern, but almost every year is different with Modern PT or not, new Standard block system, Modern PTQ, etc… And this year we have MM3 in March!

      When I look back at my 100 Tix 1 Year graph progression, which was fairly dependent on Modern performances, the best periods were between May – September and then November – January.

      Modern is and will probably be also great this year until January. Then things might get quieter until we know more about MM3 spoiler list, at what point we could see spikes of everything not being reprinted.

      So in conclusion I would not expect Modern to be very active Jan-Feb but then invigorated in Mar-May.

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