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Insider: Investing in WAR Mythics: A Primer

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Welcome back, folks.

Magic Online finance sure is changing. Drafting now is cheaper than it has been in six years since the EV of the events is significantly higher than it has been. War of the Spark's set value is still over $100, and that even includes some rares still  maintaining value over 5 tix and some uncommons like Narset, Parter of Veils commanding prices over 1 tix. If you want to draft this set, Magic Online is a great place to do so.

As tired as we all are of hearing the word "mythic", I fear I'll have to say the word a lot today because now is definitely the appropriate time to invest in War of the Spark mythics. As Matt and I have discussed in our articles over the past few weeks, Redemption is now the chief driver of mythic prices. Now that War product is being pumped into the MTGO marketplace, mythic prices are declining and heading toward their floors.

What I'd like to do today is twofold. First I want to look back to the price pattern behavior of Ravnica Allegiance mythics to inform us of what we'll be seeing with War of the Spark mythics. Second I'll go over some of my favorite War mythic speculation targets.

I. When do Mythics Bottom Out?

Mythics bottom out EARLY now, much earlier than they did in the past. In fact, mythics will now experience two lows going forward. The first comes soon after release, the second comes after a set's redemption period ends. Savvy investors will be able to capitalize on both of these lows.

Below is a table cataloging relevant data for Ravnica Allegiance mythics. First, we need to focus on the "Time after Release" column, which indicates how long after a set's release did this card's price bottom out.

Note that I'm going to start from a set's release on MTGO, which is a tad earlier than its release in paper. For Ravnica Allegiance I'm going to be counting from January 17th, when sealed was released. For War of the Spark, we should count from April 25th. Also note that the lows and highs are "investment" lows and highs, which means that you could buy and sell these cards at that price for at least a week.

As investors what we are looking for are patterns, and there are quite a few here to digest. It's notable that the majority exhibited a trend upward that lasted for two to eight weeks. On average, if you bought a mythic in early February and sold in mid-March, you would have made money. Angel of Grace and Domri, Chaos Bringer were minor exceptions that made barely any price movement throughout the Ravnica Allegiance season. Hydroid Krasis was the big exception, as it climbed at lightning speed right at release in the wake of strong tournament performances and then slowly tapered off until late April.

For those of you keeping track at home, May 2nd was the one week mark for War of the Spark, and May 9th will be the two-week mark. If WAR follows RNA, we are right now in that sweet spot for investing.

II. Expected Returns on Investment

As a category, mythic rares appear solid. We have a limited data set (Ravnica Allegiance is the only one), but the rational reasons undergirding the solid returns give me confidence that we'll see similar returns for War of the Spark mythics.

Of the 15 mythics, 10 would have made worthwhile investments, and only one would have been a bad investment. The mean increase was 218-percent (bloated by Kaya's dramatic rise from laughingstock to Esper Control staple), and the median increase was a solid 100-percent. Players who want to build decks with War of the Spark mythics should consider buying now; investors looking for a medium-term speculation opportunity could do worse than investing in WAR mythics.

III. Investment Strategy

Below are the current prices for War of the Spark mythics as sold by Cardhoarder and MTGOTraders.

Strategy #1: Invest evenly in all of them.

This is a good conservative strategy. Right now you can buy one of each mythic for 65 tix. I expect that to dip closer to 50 tix within a week. Employing this strategy is a safe way to make some tix on MTGO as redemption demand outpaces new supply infused into the market. Implementing this strategy would have netted you a 75-percent return with Ravnica Allegiance mythics. While I don't expect the same return this time since more people will be employing this strategy than last time, you should still expect solid returns.

Strategy #2: Invest in the cheaper ones.

A closer look at the two data tables above shows that the cheaper mythics performed best. The most impressive gains were made by cards like Rakdos, the Showstopper.

All cards below 2.00 tix saw gains of at least 100-percent. The reason is simple: relative to these cards' past iterations in previous sets, these cards now have higher overall value because of redemption. The scarcity of today's mythics forces their value up, especially once redemption goes live a month after a set's release. "Bulk mythics" now have more value.

Strategy #3: Speculate on which mythics will become part of the established metagame.

Finally, at long last, MTGO speculators have a meaningful opportunity to speculate on new cards based exclusively on predicting their future performance. If you can predict which of these new mythics will see meaningful play in Standard or Modern, you could make the next Kaya speculation. Another way to look at it is this: you can now speculate knowing that redemption is going to provide a bit of a safety floor in case you fail spectacularly. Dovin, Grand Arbiter and Spawn of Mayhem are great examples. Thought that they'd be great and part of the Standard metagame? Not a problem -- you would have practically broke even despite messing up. As a speculator, that's a great place to be.

Of these three strategies, this offers the widest range of return, from slightly negative to hugely positive. Just don't be brash and choose a breakout mythic like Hydroid Krasis that skyrockets to 40 tix before you invest in it. All three of the above strategies are sound.

If y'all want a "Mythic Power Rankings: War of the Spark Edition" right now, please let me know in the comments or on Discord and I'll provide a full analysis of the mythics so that you can employ Strategy #3 more wisely. In its place, or as a prelude, I'll write my thoughts on a few mythics I think could see breakout performances and could, therefore, outperform other members of this investment class. Remember that we're looking for cards that will be good one to three months from now, not post rotation in October. Regardless, I will do a proper Mythic Power Rankings article for these mythics after its redemption ends and the prices are once again low.

a) Finale of Promise

Currently sitting around 5 tix, Finale of Promise is a very potent card that has the chance to make an impact in Modern. Buying back two impactful spells like Fatal Push and Lightning Bolt for three mana is not something to be ignored. Standard doesn't offer the same suite of one-mana spells, but casting Finale of Promise for x=2 or x=3 is also more feasible in Standard. I don't think the chance of striking gold here is all that great, especially since folks are targeting the graveyard heavily in Modern already, but I like that it has the potential to strike gold in multiple formats.

b) God-Eternal Kefnet

I know this is the most expensive mythic right now, but man 13 tix feels low for a card that I anticipate will define a new tier one deck in the nearish future. Kefnet is a design mistake, on the level of The Scarab God. It's virtually impossible to permanently remove and generates very powerful card and tempo advantages because of its body and its ability to reduce the mana cost of your spells. Investing in Kefnet outside of strategy #1 does carry risk because of the higher starting price, but I could see this card commanding 30 or more tix in short order.

IV. Signing Off

That's it for now folks. I threw a lot of data on y'all, but if you have any questions or want any clarifications please message me on Discord or in the comments down below.

Thanks for reading and I'll see y'all next time!

5 thoughts on “Insider: Investing in WAR Mythics: A Primer

  1. Well I am learning about buying and selling on the MTGO platform and even though its quite restrictive when buying in large quantities, its doable to make money. I sold quite a bit of my cindervines but I sold too early at around 1.9 area and the bots are scared of moving up their buylists.

    I learned my lesson and next time will need to allow price to expand much higher than my target area in order to start unloading fast.

    With WAR, I was browsing at the card charts and two stood out for immediate speculation:

    1 was Tamiyo, Collector of Tales which I accumulated 100 of. I can’t buy more as when it comes time to unload I want to be able to see before the bots react too quickly.

    The other one I purchased was Niv-Mizzet Reborn. I have 27 copies of those and I like the way that might be going forward. I wish I could get more but it seems to be very sought after and they’ve caught on to what I’m doing and put in the arbitrary “You must wait 12 hours bla bla bla” Goat guys are nice but they just raise the ask price after a few seconds and then it goes out of my buy range. It be nice to get 50 of these or even 100 but it’s unlikely.

    I sold about 70 Cindervines in the past 24 hours and it tanked the buy list prices so I’m going to wait about 5 days to a week because the demand is there for those redemption guys and gals who need them. Good call on that Cindervines and it would be at way over 2 bucks buylist if I had just sold bit by bit inline with demand (And also not have bought so much).

    Nice article sir.

    1. Thanks Edgar. I don’t tend to sell my positions quickly, but if I do I try to sell to a wider array of bots than I usually do.

    1. You know I was looking at it but I’m just not savvy enough to see it turn to the upside just yet. I think that it looks like its bottoming but I need to see it make some nice small moves upward over 13 before I consider it a buy. It might move higher from here or hit 10 bucks before doing anything. However it is one to keep a close eye on in the next few days because it won’t take much to show where buyers and sellers are really at.

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