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Insider: Last Week’s Overshadowed Headlines

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Significant news breaking across multiple corners of MTG finance! Extra! Extra!

I never knew what “Extra” means in this context. But the rest of the above statement I can explain in detail. It may seem like it was a quiet week in Magic, and the spoiling of Masters 25 tends to take center stage. I’m sure most podcasts will be focusing on the set’s financial distribution and the like. But rather than bash on Tree of Redemption even further, I want to highlight a couple subtler things that are perhaps more important to know.

These are changes in data, shifts in buylists, and investment strategies I have noticed and adopted since one week ago. In reality each of these headlines merit an entire article, but I’m going to do my best to consolidate all the critical information into this week’s column. So buckle up and get ready!

Extra! Extra! ABU Games Redesigns Site, Jacks Up Old School Buy Prices!

In the Discord folks were all over the new ABU Games website. Throughout the week I found pockets of time to oooh and aaaah at the site’s complete overhaul. No more 1995 website feel! No more super slow load times! These are all great for the shop and I’m confident it will drive more business to their site in the long run.

But you know what else will help drive traffic to their site? Some of their ludicrous buy prices! Sure, their blanket 50% credit program is slightly revamped and now 40% is a bit closer to what you should expect. But that’s irrelevant to me when you’re paying $1049.99 on Juzám Djinn! Of course, this is for Near Mint copies and their played buy price drops off hard from there. But the same crazy Near Mint buy prices are applied to most Arabian Nights cards!

Aladdin: $23.09
City of Brass: $210 ($112 for HP!)
Elephant Graveyard: $102
Ifh-Bíff Efreet: $105
Island of Wak-Wak: $140

You get the picture. There’s no way some of these prices can stay that high, right? I don’t know, but if you’re sitting on some Arabian Nights cards you’d best check this site before listing them for sale anywhere else.


Their Legends buy prices are admittedly less flashy. Card Kingdom may still be best in class there. But they do have one huge positive relative to Card Kingdom: they post Italian Legends buy prices! This is useful data if nothing else.

I definitely encourage you to visit ABU Games’s website if you haven’t already. The sleek redesign is enough to put it back into the top tier of online game shops. Combined with their crazy buy prices and sick trade-in program (you can even trade in for sealed product now, albeit for less credit), this site must become a go-to when buying/selling for older cards. And by the way, they had restocked a bunch of Power, but now that I search again I don’t see much left. Interesting…

Extra! Extra! Card Kingdom Buylist Cools Off, Site Receives a Ton of Buylist Orders

For those who have been reading my articles a while, you know how much I love Card Kingdom. They’ve historically been my go-to site when buylisting cards—they pay especially well on Old School cards and they follow market trends very quickly. In other words, when there’s a buyout, they are one of the first sites to adjust their pricing. I like agility in a finance website.

All that said, I will present some recent data in a non-biased way because I feel it’s important for our readers to internalize.

Lately, Card Kingdom has been receiving a ton of buylist orders. How do I know this? Well, for one they indicated as much when I asked them about a slow turnaround time on one of my recent buylist orders.

But this is anecdotal. What is data-based is this: last week I submitted a buylist order (order number 6793984). This was on 2/27 at 4:26 PM Pacific Time. As soon as I clicked submit, I realized I had forgotten something. I had a Near Mint Sentinel I wanted to buylist to them as well, for $11.75!


So I promptly submitted another one-card buylist, this one at 4:27 PM Pacific Time. The buylist order number: 6794024. Assuming the numbers progress sequentially, that means there were 39 other orders in the one-minute span between my two submissions! Talk about crazy! Maybe my article last week about their crazy buy prices has brought them new sellers? Whatever the reason, the facts remain: they are getting a ton of orders lately.

With these orders, they have been cooling off some of their buy prices lately. Of course, I focus on Old School and Reserved List stuff, where their once over-aggressiveness has now evolved into a more reasonable realm. It may take time for them to burn off some recently acquired inventory before we see the next push higher.

By the way, Card Kingdom also restocked some Unlimited Power, and they still have some copies in stock. If I accumulate more credit there I may be eyeing a piece or two in the next two months.

Extra! Extra! Sig’s Top Picks Post-Masters 25 Spoiling are Oubliette and Dual Lands

The headline says it all. While many players will scramble to purchase their Worldwake creature lands and other Modern staples that dodged reprint, I will keep my focus on the oldies. Oubliette was mentioned by multiple parties as a possible inclusion in the reprint set. But once it was confirmed out, I noticed its price rising yet again.


I purchased a couple copies myself (remember I rarely go deep on any one card). Buylists aren’t up too much yet, but stock has gotten quite thin on TCGplayer. I’m no Pauper expert, but if the card is as useful as some say, then this will continue to go up in price over time. And with that awful Oracle text, I just can’t see it getting reprinted, possibly ever.

The other cards I like post-Masters 25 are dual lands. Demand for these Legacy staples ebb and flow, but I think the market is ripe for a correction upward in 2018. Buylists have been creeping upward, Masters 25 may spark some interest in Legacy, and don’t forget there will be Legacy coverage as part of an upcoming Pro Tour! Will this spark a mad dash for these lands? Perhaps not. But a slow and steady rise throughout the year punctuated by a couple buylist increases is certainly possible.


I especially like Plateau because it is the cheapest dual land and suddenly has some newfound demand in the form of some Death and Taxes lists that are using red for Magus of the Moon and more sideboard versatility.

With the reprinting of Rishadan Port in Masters 25, lists like the above are about to get much more affordable. What’s more, the rest of the list is relatively inexpensive thanks to multiple reprintings of cards in the list. In fact, the only expensive cards in the entire 75 above are the Plateaus.

So if more players opt for the white-red version of the deck and other components get cheaper with reprints, then Plateau has a chance to climb.

Minimally, it shouldn’t be viewed as the “worst dual land” anymore. I’ve been watching Card Kingdom’s buy prices on duals recently, and they currently have $60 listed for both Plateau and Taiga. It won’t be long before Plateau vacates that #10 spot for the first time in many, many years!

Extra! Extra! Alpha Cards Remain Hot, Star City Games Nearly Sold Out!

I remain focused in the Alpha market because it’s the gift that keeps giving. Every time I fear that I've bought too many commons and uncommons, once deemed useless, I find a buyer that wipes me out again. This has happened twice already, and I still get one-off nibbles now and again. Some cards sell more robustly than others, but the overall trend remains positive.

Star City Games and Cool Stuff Inc were my two main sources for underpriced Alpha. But now the only commons that SCG has in stock are Sinkholes. They are literally sold out of every other Alpha common. Cool Stuff Inc has a few more cards in stock, but what they have left are either unplayable or overpriced. As time marches on, these collectibles from Magic’s first set will dry up.

I don’t want to own hundreds of Alpha commons because they may get tougher to move at new prices. But I like having a handful in my portfolio because they really have minimal downside.


And remember, even though the all-Alpha format is extremely niche, every new deck built for the format worldwide takes up a significant percentage of the market’s available stock. When one buyer can pick up a few copies and completely move the market price, you know you’re not really dealing with a commodity anymore.

Wrapping It Up

Masters 25 spoilers remained the headline for last week. And while it’s certainly critical to be aware of all the reprints, I would argue there were other more subtle headlines that were equally important. There are some major developments going on with ABU Games and Card Kingdom that are worth keeping an eye on. This is especially true when it comes to Old School pricing.

And while everyone attempts to buy out Raging Ravine, only to race to the bottom with pricing two weeks later, I am focusing more on the long-term. Oubliette is my favorite card that dodged reprint in Masters 25. And I think dual lands will be the biggest winners throughout 2018. The reprint set just made a few Legacy decks cheaper, and it’ll be the Reserved List cards that absorb that lost value.

Lastly, don’t lose sight of the movement in the Alpha market. These cards that were once left for dead stock are really moving. I’ve had plenty of success selling cards like Scryb Sprites and Spell Blast myself, and I know other Insiders have been reporting compelling sales in the Quiet Speculation Discord. (By the way if you’re not in the Discord, you’re missing out on arguably the most valuable asset to the site).

If you weren’t aware of these headlines this week, worry not. I have you covered as I continue to keep my finger on the pulse of the Old School market. I’ll make sure you stay informed with the most recent data for your buying and selling decisions. I’m in the Discord every day sharing new observations as well, so stay tuned there for more breaking news!

Sigbits

  • Dark Confidant got a big bump in price due to dodging reprint in Masters 25. Card Kingdom is completely sold out of all versions of the card, and their $54.99 price tag on Modern Masters printings is sure to increase imminently. I don’t know how much play this card is seeing right now, but players who were holding out for a reprint will have to scramble to get their copies now if they wish to test the card in their Modern and Legacy decks.
  • No Cavern of Souls reprint means this card can climb even higher. It just hit an all-time high despite seeing a reprint last year. Now it’s retailing for $74.99 and stock is thinning—I really think this can become one of the most expensive cards in Modern. Just be careful: a reprint can happen at any time as I don’t really deem the card too powerful for Standard.
  • Some of the Kaladesh Masterpieces are on the move again after months of quiet activity. According to MTG Stocks, both Platinum Angel and Cloudstone Curio hit all-time highs over the weekend. I’d keep an eye on TCGplayer stock. If quantities get low, it may be the sign of a pending price correction. Also, pay attention to podcast discussion on these cards. Last time these all spiked, it was partially due to high-visibility finance people hyping them. If this returns, make sure you’re prepared to hop on the bandwagon for some quick flips.

4 thoughts on “Insider: Last Week’s Overshadowed Headlines

  1. I think the huge amount of buylists CK was getting had more to due with the Challenger decks. I know I scrambled to buylist all of my standard stuff to them and I believe a few others in the discord did as well.

    1. That’s a great build, John! I am so focused on the world of older cards that my vantage point is a bit biased. In reality there are far more people with Standard cards than there are with these old cards. So that is hugely possible.

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