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Insider: Speculating on Hours of Devastation Online, Part Two

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In part one of this article, I discussed the financial futures for Hour of Devastation's  more expensive rares and mythics. In today's part two, we dig for diamonds in the rough, cards that are below 1.00 tix that I think are worthy of our consideration as speculation targets.

Tiny Stock Uncommons

(1) Supreme Will

As my mother once told me, always eat breakfast, and always set your price alerts early. From August 4 to August 6, Supreme Will was selling between 0.02 and 0.05 tix. That would have been a wonderful time to invest. Supreme Will is a versatile and powerful card that should see significant play in any blue-based control deck. I don't like buying at the current price of 0.26 tix, but if it gets into the low teens, I'll likely take the plunge. Remember that uncommons from small sets tend to have larger sell windows than those from large sets, so Supreme Will is definitely a tiny-stock spec target for those of you who don't micromanage your portfolio.

Recommended buy price: 0.10 tix

(2) Doomfall

Unlike the above cards, Doomfall has a more hazy future. A printing of a two-mana spell like Transgress the Mind would significantly weaken its prospects. But the fact that it exiles means that it can proactively answer the Hour of Devastation Gods that other answers struggle to remove permanently, and the added utility of an edict effect helps justify a CMC of three. I'm willing to bet that this will have a role as an effective sideboard card, in which case Doomfall should see price spikes to 0.30 to 0.50 tix during its Standard lifetime. A worthy speculation I'm hoping to add to my portfolio in the coming days and weeks. (EDIT: I've now bought 62 of them for 0.007 tix a pop)

Recommended buy price: 0.01 tix

(3) Deserts

As this past Standard season proved, each of these lands can find a home in the right deck. Perhaps that is Shefet Dunes in an Oketra's Monument shell. Perhaps that is Hashep Oasis in an R/G Pummeler shell. Perhaps it is Ramunap Ruins in Red Deck Wins. While the market is saturated now, I do think that each of these lands has the potential to settle closer to 0.10 to 0.20 tix, with spikes north of 0.50 tix, once the set's redemption period ends. I'm highest on the Rivulet, Deadlands, and Ruins, and will likely buy any of those I see if they dip down to a penny.

Recommended buy price: 0.01 tix

Rares & Mythics

Hour of Devastation is an interesting set for cheap rares. Usually when cheap rares aren't seeing play, they cost between 0.01 and 0.15 tix. Many of the rares from this set in this category, however, are costing as much as 0.50 tix! This may be because many – like Solemnity, Nimble Obstructionist, Adorned Pouncer, and Pride Sovereign – lurk just beneath the surface of Standard playability. They are like the D-Leaguers who are all itching to get a shot to play in the NBA, and I think the market feels that and feels that some of these cards will get a chance to shine once four sets leave Standard in a month.

I think the financial truth of the matter is that few of these cards will "break out" in such a way that enables you, the speculator, to actualize a high return. For example, Adorned Pouncer costs 0.21 tix now. Do I think that card is undervalued? Absolutely. The card feels like a 0.50 tix card. Do I want to tie up capital in the hopes that it one day spikes to...1.00 tix? Not really. Interestingly, three of these rares – Solemnity, Ramunap Excavator, and Nimble Obstructionist – all could become competitive staples depending upon what cards Wizards pumps into Standard in the coming two years. That makes these three more appealing than the others that are fluctuating between 0.20 and 0.75 tix. I'm most intrigued by Solemnity as a spec target at 0.25 to 0.35 tix, and I'm somewhat intrigued by Ramunap Excavator if it dips below 0.15 tix.

One card I like is Grind // Dust. I believe it is very powerful and a card I believe could see play in future Standard seasons because it is a removal spell that is fairly costed, flexible in its payment schedule, and scales well into the late game. Two things hold this card back. First is that it is multicolor. Second is that, as with all removal, being sorcery speed is a significant drawback. Given that this is a rare in a small set, and given that I think this card has a good chance of seeing more play than many other cards presently holding higher values than it, I like it as a speculation target. I've managed to buy a few copies for 0.01 tix, but I may have to buy some at 0.02 tix if I'm to acquire a sizable number of them. Don't invest above 0.03 tix – you'll be able to get them lower.

In the first draft of this article I discussed Hour of Glory as a speculation target. But now that Vraska's Contempt has been revealed, its price should be as volatile as the heart rate of a cadaver.

Two green tiny stock rares that have piqued my curiosity are Rhonas's Last Stand and Resilient Khenra. Resilient Khenra and Adorned Pouncer are so similar, except one is nearing the MTGO bulk bins while the other is maintaining a value between 0.20 and 0.30 tix. Resilient Khenra seems like a good fit in R/G Pummeler, and has built-in card advantage that often proves so valuable in Constructed. Rhonas's Last Stand is a riskier spec, very heavily dependent on whether a Green Stompy archetype emerges over the next few years. I like speculating on both at 0.01 tix, and the Khenra I might even be willing to pay 0.02 tix.

Saffron Olive Favorites

For the blissfully unaware, Saffron Olive is one of Magic's biggest personalities who often makes fun, semi-competitive brews that become popular on MTGO. Many content writers have created a term for the phenomenon of cards spiking in value when Saffron Olive builds them as the "Saffron Olive effect." Case in point is Part the Waterveil, which saw multiple price spikes due to Saffron Olive videos.

Fraying Sanity, Overwhelming Splendor and Torment of Hailfire are all cards I could see Saffron Olive use multiple times during the next few years as cornerstone cards in his brews. The Saffron Olive favorites to spec on, in my opinion, are the ones that are natively quite powerful and could potentially belong to a successful rogue brew. Cards spike when he goes 4-1 or 5-0, less so if he goes 1-4 or 2-3.

Part the Waterveil was not just a part of many of his brews, but many of his successful brews.  The one that intrigues me the most is Fraying Sanity. We already have Fraying Sanity and Ipnu Rivulet for Standard, and the card has a lot of intrinsic power. I'm not entirely sure at what price point to buy, and this one is unique in that I don't think there's a real impetus to invest in it now because the dynamic at play isn't based upon the investment strategy that informs this article. I think I'd enthusiastically buy copies at 0.05 tix, and tepidly buy copies between 0.06 and 0.10 tix. Overwhelming Splendor has more in common with Part the Waterveil in that it can fit into many different styles of deck. I'd like to see it drop to 0.25 tix before buying about ten to twenty copies, but I definitely recommend putting it on your radar screens. It might be more likely to fall in price after redemption ends in November.

Signing Off

Next week, I'll conclude my series on the speculation opportunities that the impending rotation presents us. Starting with this signoff, I'll be posting a link to an Excel copy of my MTGO Investment Portfolio. In September, I'll write an article explaining why I keep the portfolio the way I do and how it helps me invest, and I'll take that article as an opportunity to also answer one of the questions posed to me in the QS Forums: "How do you know when to sell? How do you know at what price a card is going to peak? Etc. etc..."

Below is the fourth charm of my cycle, inspired by one of my favorite literary figures, Prometheus. Enjoy, and I'll be back next week!

4 thoughts on “Insider: Speculating on Hours of Devastation Online, Part Two

  1. I really like your spreadsheet layout, especially the seasonal aspect. I may adopt some of these concepts into my spreadsheet. My question is, do you use a different sheet to track each individual sale. For example in my spreadsheet, Kalitas would have 3 rows of 4x copies due to how many you can buy at a time from most bots. Do you capture that raw data somewhere else and use it to create this summary, or do you just enter everything into this sheet?

    1. Right now I enter everything into this spreadsheet. It would make it quicker to have a separate sheet to log the individual sale and buy data. I’ve thought about making that transition before, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I know you can use If functions on Excel to do it. I’m guessing that’s what you do?

      1. I don’t use If statements for that specifically, possibly something I should consider though. I don’t really get a good summary view of each card. I have a little search that I do if I want to see the total ROI on a card, but otherwise I mostly just focus on my total profit. I should definitely explore getting a better summary view of each card. My big hurdle though is trying to implement the seasons without messing up all of my current formulas.

    2. It’s funny you mention the seasons…I had employed different grouping techniques in the past and was happy with none of them. Once I arrived at that one I was like “This makes intuitive sense because it’s how I naturally divide time regarding Magic in my mind”. Grouping them that way has other benefits too, which I’ll discuss in an article later this month.

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