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Picking solid speculation targets

When we're looking for speculation targets, we're looking for cards that we can buy now that have a good chance of appreciating in price later.

A card goes up in value when more people want it. That demand can be driven by appeal on the tournament scene, from collectors or by casual Commander players.

Speculating successfully takes knowledge of why a card would see more play or more demand, but you can also use tools to figure out what will make a good buy.

We don't have to rely only on our knowledge, though. The market has already pre-sorted good speculation targets for us. How? Stores want more of a card in good demand, which means that the spread will be lower. This can be counter-intuitive because many of the best spreads are on cards that are not exactly superstars.

First, load up Trader Tools. Cast your eyes to the column named Spread Leaders and pick a card to investigate further. Take a look at Shadowblood Ridge with me, currently selling for $2.95 retail. When I'm considering a speculation card, I'm looking at a few factors.

-How is the spread? If it's under 25%, then I am in good shape. The card needs to only go up a little bit on the buylist end for me to cover my cost of entry. As I write, Ridge is -6%. That's very, very good. StrikeZone is offering $3.25 on mint copies (and that store means MINT).

-Does the card have similar buylist prices from multiple stores? If so, this indicates that the market generally likes this card. StrikeZone is the only one offering more than $1.25 for it right now, so maybe the Ridge isn't in high demand across the market.

-What does its price chart look like? How long ago was its current buylist price its retail price?

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Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.