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Speculating While the Iron’s Hot

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Last week the S&P 500 cracked 2,900—it is now less than 2% away from its all-time highs. Something happens to me emotionally when I see the stock market rally so much, and I suspect other investors experience the same reaction. Portfolios grow rapidly, net worths hit new highs, and most notably, speculation runs rampant.

I can state with confidence—although anecdotally—that my speculative stock trading peaks while the market rallies. Over the past couple weeks I’ve been making some low-dollar options trades, and I’ve purchased stocks that deviate from my traditional, Warren Buffet-esque style of trading.

This culminated with my first investment in a pot-related stock, despite not yet being profitable: KushCo Holdings. (Remember, don’t follow my stock purchases without consulting with a professional, I do still own stock in this company, usual disclaimers etc.)

It turns out Magic card values are climbing as well. I’m seeing gains across Commander, Modern, and Legacy, and it’s creating a similar effect. My desire to speculate on cards I wouldn’t normally show interest in has ballooned over the past couple weeks.

With that in mind, this week I am going off-script to share a couple cards that have my attention—I’ll try to disclose my near-term intention and whether or not I have any position in those cards for full transparency.

Inspiration from QS Insider Discord

I don’t know as much about newer cards as I know about Old School stuff. Therefore, I look to others in the community when I wish to diversify my focus. The Quiet Speculation Insider Discord is one of the best resources for this research.

The most recent acquisition I made thanks to the Insider Discord was Mirrorwing Dragon. This is one of those newer cards that never really amounted to much in Standard, so I had never even heard of the card.

With the spoiling of Feather, the Redeemed, speculation on Mirrorwing Dragon has run rampant. The card spiked from bulk to $4 already and I think a higher price point will be fairly sticky—this is a mythic rare from Eldritch Moon we’re talking about…supply may not be as high as we think. I bought 20 from Star City Games and hope to flip them all at once if a buylist hits $3-$4.

Not long ago, someone in the Discord mentioned Thran Temporal Gateway. Being from Dominaria, I had not even considered this as a target due to its recency. Sure enough, the non-foil copies remain marginally above bulk and have not moved in price. Foils, on the other hand, have started to show life.


This card shows up in over 1,000 EDH REC lists and I see that number increasing in the future. This card is modeled off Quicksilver Amulet, which cheats creatures into play for the same amount of generic mana. But the amulet shows up in over 7,000 decks and non-foils are worth over $4 despite being reprinted in Explorers of Ixalan.

Amulet may seem more exciting in Commander, but War of the Spark may change all that. The new set contains a ton of new planeswalkers, all of which are considered “Historic” and can be cheated into play with the Gateway. That’s enough for me—I purchased 8 foil Thran Temporal Gateways and am looking to add to this position.

Speaking of planeswalkers and War of the Spark, I noticed the proliferate mechanic is coming back. This mechanic interacts quite well with planeswalkers, enabling addition of loyalty counters at accelerated speeds. As more planeswalkers are printed, more will be played in Commander decks, which will in turn create more demand for proliferate.

The Insider Discord looked to Inexorable Tide as a solid proliferate target, and I have to agree.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Inexorable Tide

This blue enchantment is already in 8,000+ lists on EDH REC and that number is sure to climb with War of the Spark’s release. It also shows up as a “top card” in arguably the most popular general of all time, Atraxa. Despite seeing a reprint in Modern Masters 2015, Inexorable Tide has seen exponential price growth lately and could easily hit all-time highs as proliferate hype continues.

I have no position in this card but will likely search the internet for cheap copies to buy if any are still out there!

Other Sources of Ideas

If I had a nickel for every time an MTG finance personality recommended a card, I probably wouldn’t need to speculate on cards anymore. Suggestions are numerous, and of course I am no exception.

The key is to filter through the noise and find the best ideas within. Everyone has a good idea now and again, and following a recommendation that pays off is a rewarding feeling. Over the last couple weeks, I heard a couple ideas that really caught my attention.

First, the Cartel Aristocrats podcast recently mentioned Contagion Clasp during their “Pick of the Week” segment.


This card follows the proliferate theme I mentioned above. This mechanic is about to grow appreciably in popularity thanks to War of the Spark, and this reprinted uncommon is surprisingly cheap. It already shows up in over 6,000 lists on EDH REC and I see that number growing along with its price. I sorted by foils and see only 17 listings for the original set foil. There are about a dozen of the FNM foils. Either version seems well positioned to spike, and I like LP/NM copies of the set foil most.

I don’t own any copies currently but I’m on the hunt for some cheap foils. Non-foils may also be attractive, though being an uncommon means the price ceiling isn’t exceptionally high. Your best bet would be to buy a stack at $0.50 and out them to a $1 buylist as part of a larger buylist order. Selling these one at a time for $2 would be miserable.

Not coincidentally, Contagion Clasp is played most in the Atraxa Commander deck. In fact, many of the best proliferate cards are played in Atraxa. So maybe I should just browse the most popular Atraxa cards and consider any proliferate cards in it. EDH REC can be a very useful resource for this research.

The first card that catches my eye is Tezzeret's Gambit—original New Phyrexia foils are very sparse on TCGplayer and could be worth buying on the cheap. I own zero copies and will probably not buy any, but it’s a worthy consideration.

Contagion Engine also shows up. Even though it’s $15, it probably has room to run. It has never been reprinted and there are only 40 listings for the card on TCGplayer. I don’t own this one either, and I hope to find some alternate, lower costing targets.


There’s also Thrummingbird, but that card has had one too many reprints for my liking. I’d rather speculate in other proliferate targets with greater upside and fewer printings.

Final Thoughts

Besides Proliferate and War of the Spark speculation, I’ve also done a little Modern speculation lately. I particularly like Scrying Sheets. Why? It’s difficult to reprint; it has broken into Modern in the past and could return at any time (perhaps with Modern Horizons?); it’s a Coldsnap rare, meaning the number of copies out there is relatively small; and it shows up in over 2,000 EDH REC decks.


I have about a dozen copies of this card and one foil, with potential of grabbing a few more if I can find any at an attractive price.

Another card I like is Tamiyo, Field Researcher. This is another card mentioned in the QS Insider Discord; I had never even heard of the card before seeing it discussed. As it turns out, it’s one of the more popular planeswalkers in Atraxa and it shows up in 6,600 lists on EDH REC.

There are about 24 listings on TCGplayer for foil copies—that’s where I’d prefer to park my resources. I grabbed two foils from ABUGames with some store credit, and may pick up a couple more if I find them at a decent price. It’s a mythic rare from Eldritch Moon, so it has a pretty high ceiling.

Wrapping It Up

As the Magic market heats up, my tendency to speculate increases proportionally. Fortunately there's no shortage of ideas—the challenge is digging through the noise to find the best targets. This week I shared some of my favorites, with inspiration coming from multiple places. The Quiet Speculation Insider Discord is one of my favorite resources, and the Cartel Aristocrats Podcast can also add value.

I think War of the Spark is about to create a bunch of buyouts, driven by newfound Commander demand. I will be watching trends on EDH REC more closely than normal so I can stay most on top of the movers and shakers in the format. These will become great targets for speculation, and will lead to some decent profits. I’ll turn those profits into Old School cards for my collection, and will make the most of an exciting spring season of speculation!

Sigbits

  • I mentioned Mana Crypt in a recent article—since then, the buylist at Card Kingdom’s site has jumped. The buy price on the Book Promo version hit $200 for a day before coming back down to $170. I actually shipped Card Kingdom my EMA copy when their buylist hit $165—it since came down to $150 but it could easily go up again as the card remains hot.
  • Buylist on Stronghold Mox Diamond increased at Card Kingdom recently. It went from $165, down to $140, back to $165, and now up to $170. I’m watching this card closely because I have two copies and see the price climbing even higher throughout 2019. This is one of my favorite pick-ups with ABUGames store credit, by the way.
  • After being absent from Card Kingdom’s hotlist for weeks, I see the return of a Collectors’ Edition Dual Land. They have Bayou on their hotlist with a $155 buy price. These seem to ebb and flow, and I wonder if they’re once again on the upswing.

One thought on “Speculating While the Iron’s Hot

  1. Sig, how long do you hold onto these specs, do you put in a box and hope they hit one day or do you have a timeframe and then buylist them if they dont hit by then?

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