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Insider: My Last Quiet Speculation Article

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Quiet Speculation is extremely sad to see DJ go, but we are happy that he'll still be a part of the community and will watch his career with great interest. gl hf, DJ.

I'm not going to use a card name pun or some other cute article title. Today marks my last article on QuietSpeculation.com. I'm going to be honest: I'm not really sure what a "last article on a website" is supposed to contain. I suppose I'll clear up a few questions I expect you to have at this point, and we'll just sort of wing it from there.

  • I will still be writing a weekly column going forward, on TCGplayer.com!
  • My content will still be finance focused, and it will once again be free for everyone to read!

If you've been really following some of my content on Brainstorm Brewery and Twitter for the past few months, you might have noticed that I stopped talking about the grad school program that I started in August 2016, shortly after graduating with my bachelor's degree in May of last year. I haven't really gone "Facebook public" with the information up until this point, but I made a decision back in April that I would no longer continue with my graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling, and that instead I would focus entirely on an income based on Magic: The Gathering.


I'm sure many of you are rolling your eyes, and that's fine. I don't expect everyone reading this article to completely comprehend my situation or understand it. To make a long story short, I was burnt out from school, and I was already trying to dedicate more than 30 hours a week to Magic on top of an internship and full-time degree. I ran a lot of calculations, and realized that I would be more financially sound if I stopped putting $13,000 a year into grad school and instead focus on Magic full-time.

What does this have to do with me leaving Quiet Speculation? Well, part of my decision involved getting hired part-time at the offices of TCGplayer. I actually live ten minutes away from their main headquarters in Syracuse, and I knew several people who had been working there for a reasonable amount of time. Some of them would constantly ask me to apply, and so I eventually did. During my first few days on the job, I had a couple of conversations with the content team. They were looking to pick up someone to do financial content, and I was already working in the warehouse a couple of days a week. As someone who read Craig Wescoe's and Conley Woods's articles back in early high school, it was a surreal opportunity to be on the same website that practically taught me to play Magic.

Maybe the whole Magic-income game plan won't work out in the long term. This game will die eventually, and I'm prepared to face that reality. However, I'm confident that my years of experience in the gaming industry will help me smoothly transition into another career that I'm equally passionate about. If I happen to spend the next decade buying, selling, writing, living, and breathing Magic on my own terms, then I'll consider that ten years well spent.

My wife is an amazing woman who supports me every step of the way, and I can only try to do the same for her whenever possible. Sometimes she helps me sort cards while we watch Netflix together, and she's spent more than a few days helping me out at the shop because she knows how to evaluate a card's condition, set, and price after spending almost eight years with me. (Seriously, if I leave Quiet Speculation with one important MTG finance tip: find yourself an SO who will sort cards for coffee!)

In summary, I'm far happier now than I was when I was trying to juggle an internship, graduate assistantship, school, and Magic all while commuting an hour four days a week.


I've pretty much just been writing off the top of my head for the past hour or so. I don't really have a direction here, because I know that finishing this article will be bittersweet. I'll still be writing every week for TCGplayer, but QS has always held a special place in my heart. It's the first and only Magic-related subscription I ever paid for, and it repaid me in kind dozens of times over. I certainly wouldn't be writing an article about my future in the industry if not for this site.

TCGplayer will be the fourth website I've written for in four years. Because of that, it can be hard for me to dig up some of my favorite archived articles on Quiet Speculation, MTGPrice and Brainstorm Brewery. That said, I did dig some up, and I'd like to link you to a few of my favorite articles that I've written over the past few years, if only for my own nostalgia.

Brainstorm Brewery: One More Card

This article still explains the logic behind why I speculate on certain cards. I really enjoy trying to find the near-broken effects in Magic that just need one more card for an engine or a synergistic piece to tie it all together. To this day, some of my pet specs are Myr Superion and Necrotic Ooze; cards that hover on the brink of, "Man, that effect just looks broken, but there's nothing to do with it yet." I really like that I was on the Heartless Summoning train a year early before Battle for Zendikar brought us the Eldrazi, because several of those colorless monstrosities happened to be the "one more card" that Summoning needed to spike. Today, I continue to pick up Summonings for 25 cents on the off-chance that Wizards makes another mistake with casting costs, or death triggers, that brings about new brews with the card.

MTGPrice: Nothing is Sacred

If you're ever interested in reading how I got my start in the financial aspect of this game, here's some material for you. I learned quickly that if I wanted to increase the chances of being "that guy" who had the cards my friends and customers needed, I had to separate my emotional attachment to my own cardboard and be willing to sell cards out of decks, or out of my spec box when necessary. Everything has a price, and nothing is sacred. This changes if you're a Standard PPTQ grinder who actually needs a gauntlet of decks, but most of us can afford to cut some emotional attachment to a card.

MTGPrice: Low, Mid and High: Then vs Now

This article came out only a month or two before the announcement of Market Price on TCGplayer, so I was proud that I was able to pinpoint the need for an update in the "low/mid/high" pricing system that TCGplayer used at the time. I was also able to get one of the actual editors of Scrye Magazine to contribute on Twitter and provide historical context, so that was really cool. I think that article also helped some people to distinguish between the different types of "low" pricing, the number that TCGplayer displayed, versus what most people expected while buying/selling on social media.

Quiet Speculation: The Lotus Saga, Parts One, Two and Three

Most recently, I had the opportunity to purchase my first-ever Black Lotus, and it was a really great and interesting experience learning to deal with a high-end card far beyond anything I'd dealt with before. I had no experience in this area, so I was very pleased with how well everything worked out.

 


 

Before I go, I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever read one of my articles on this site, or MTGPrice, or even back on Brainstorm Brewery. Even if you're just going to continue following me at TCGplayer, it means a lot that you've enjoyed reading my content, and I hope that I've been able to save you at least a little bit of money on this game. Maybe some of you will end up doing what I've done and create a lifestyle out of it all. That would be cool too.

For those of you who only see me on the Quiet Speculation article feed and want to continue following my content, there are several ways of doing so. I've mentioned before in this column that I'm on the Brainstorm Brewery podcast every week, where we discuss a variety of finance-related topics. My articles on TCGplayer.com will be going live every Tuesday going forward, and will be free to access. I'm always active on Twitter at @Rose0fthorns, and you'll be able to find me at several Grand Prix in North America throughout 2018, working for one of a few different vendors.

Goodbye, good luck, and thank you.

9 thoughts on “Insider: My Last Quiet Speculation Article

  1. I believe you took a wise decision! I never understood how you were able to combine all of what you were doing and still do all of that studying…

    I bet it does feel good to know you can now focus 100% on your dream 🙂

    Enjoy the ride – together with your SO – towards happiness!

    And have fun at TCGPlayer.

  2. Sad to see you go. I enjoyed your articles and definitely learned a lot. I can’t imagine trying to juggle all that at once (I didn’t get heavily into Magic until after college so I only have to worry about work and keeping my SO happy). Good luck in your new role and I’m sure I’ll keep enjoying your articles on TCGplayer.

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