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Legacy Hero #2

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Legacy Hero #2

Wow. Just wow.

I would like to thank everyone for such great start. You crushed my expectations!
The results are in! I tried to wait as long as possible before calling a winning deck(I was really hoping for 12 Post) but it became pretty clear early on that Stoneblade was the winner. With over 650 total votes, Stoneblade has 14% of the vote. Here are the top 5 results.

  1. Stoneblade – 94 votes (14%)
  1. Miracles – 86 votes (13%)
  1. Delver (UWR/RUG/BUG) – 68 votes (10%)
  1. Shardless BUG – 56 votes (8%)
  1. Show and tell – 52 votes (8%)

This is a great opportunity to explain how similar most of these decks are. Lets look at the staples (other than the dual lands) that these decks have in common.

Force of Will, Brainstorm, Ponder, Spell Pierce, Jace the Mindsculptor, Polluted Delta, Flooded Strand, Misty Rainforest and Scalding Tarn.

We can then compare the cards the Delver variants have in common, then Stoneblade and Miracles. What you’re going to notice is that you can assemble a couple different decks once you get the core together, excluding dual lands. The core is what we’re building our legacy collection around. Force of Will, Dual Lands, Wasteland, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Fetchlands, etc. These cards are the barrier of entry. I can’t speak for everyone but I know how important they are for people who haven’t had them before. It is a reward in itself to get those cards.

When your focus is on the finance part of Magic, it’s easy to lose perspective. I’m reminded of that every time I trade one of those beat up dual lands that aren’t in any condition to sell outright to someone who just wants a dual land to have one or to maybe build an EDH deck around. Recreating that experience is going to be tough but ultimately rewarding.

The core of the top four decks are very much alike.

 

Stoneblade:

Polluted Delta

Flooded Strand

Marsh Flats

Underground Sea

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Wasteland

Tundra

Stoneforge Mystic

Deathrite Shaman

Vendilion Clique

Brainstorm

Force of Will

Swords to Plowshares

Ponder

Treasure Cruise

Thoughtseize

Spell Pierce

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

 

Miracles:

Scalding Tarn

Flooded Strand

Tundra

Plains

Volcanic Island

Vendilion Clique

Brainstorm

Force of Will

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Swords to Plowshares

Spell Pierce

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

 

RUG Delver:

Wasteland

Scalding Tarn

Tropical Island

Volcanic Island

Polluted Delta

Flooded Strand

Force of Will

Brainstorm

Tarmogoyf

Treasure Cruise

Ponder

Spell Pierce
Shardless:

Polluted Delta

Underground Sea

Tropical Island

Misty Rainforest

Wasteland

Tarmogoyf

Deathrite Shaman

Brainstorm

Force of Will

Thoughtseize

Jace, the Mind Sculptor

 

By identifying the staples, it allows us to branch out into different decks at a later point. For example, the core of Esper Deathblade will work well enough to make Patriot Delver. Here is a copy of a stock Deathblade list (SCG Worcester Ben Glancy).

4 Polluted Delta

4 Flooded Strand

3 Marsh Flats

3 Underground Sea

2 Wasteland

2 Tundra

1 Tropical Island

1 Scrubland

1 Karakas

4 Stoneforge Mystic

4 Deathrite Shaman

2 True-Name Nemesis

1 Vendilion Clique

4 Brainstorm

4 Force of Will

4 Swords to Plowshares

4 Ponder

3 Treasure Cruise

3 Thoughtseize

3 Spell Pierce

 

SIDEBOARD

1 Vendilion Clique

1 Liliana of the Veil

1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

1 Supreme Verdict

2 Zealous Persecution

1 Relic of Progenitus

1 Surgical Extraction

1 Flusterstorm

2 Meddling Mage

1 Sword of Feast and Famine

1 Grafdigger’s Cage

1 Pithing Needle

1 Thoughtseize

A quick look through the deck tells me that there’s a handful of cheap cards that I’ll be able to snag easily. Spell Pierce, Ponder, Brainstorm, Treasure Cruise, Swords to Plowshares, Grafdigger’s Cage, Pithing Needle, Zealous Persecution, and Relic of Progenitus are all under a couple of bucks but we need to focus on the main deck cards here. Spell Pierce, Brainstorm, Treasure Cruise, and Swords to Plowshares. I can pick most of them up as throw-ins for trades.

It’s great that they reprinted fetch lands in Kahns. It levels the playing field and lowers the barrier of entry. Let’s look at the price of a Polluted Delta

Look at the price difference between the two. The original Delta was $75+ for well over a year. The Khans Delta has been trending down for a while, making it an easy pickup. I’m big on picking up blue fetches as a long term spec, but I would suggest to anyone wanting to play Eternal formats to pick up a playset of each fetch while they’re low. If you’ve ever looked at the trajectory of shock land prices, it makes sense. Getting them now will – obviously – save you money in the future.

What about the card that defines Legacy – Force of Will. I would like to quote Drew Levin; “Force of Will is the glue that holds Legacy together. Any outlaw can roll up to a tournament with Lion’s Eye Diamond, Show and Tell, Reanimate, or Glimpse of Nature, so it’s up to the sheriffs and their Force of Wills to hold combo maniacs at bay. Force of Will is a weak card on its face, but it is the only reliable counterspell that can be cast on your opponent’s first turn. In a format that is filled with a huge range of powerful spells, Force of Will is your catchall answer. No tempo or control deck is viable without Force of Will.”

Financially speaking, Force of Will isn’t on the reserved list. It could very well be reprinted eventually, other than the judge promo. Trading for them is hard – people that have them keep them. Buying them from a store is non-optional if you’re trying to get out cheap. Floor traders are a good option for gently used (sleeve playable) cards. We can move the stuff that will rot in the trade binder to them for a card that is more in the acceptable price range.

Finally, we have the mana base. The most expensive part of the deck.

3 Underground Sea

3 Tundra

1 Tropical Island

1 Scrubland

1 Wasteland

1 Karakas

4 Polluted Delta

4 Flooded Strand
3 Marsh Flats

That totals over $1700! Fortunately, the prices of the dual lands are, for the most part, consistent. They’ll creep up in price, but you can always find a deal if you’re flexible on things like condition or you’re paying cash. You can always find someone that will trade you a Tundra for your standard and modern staples, but they’re, “trading down,” so they ask for additional, “value,” for doing it. That idea makes me sick to my stomach. I shouldn’t feel like I’m financing a damn 1994 Windsor Woody Wagon from a, “NO CREDIT NO PROBLEM,” car dealer when I’m buying my cards. I’d much rather search and work harder to find someone more amicable than to deal with a loan shark. That relationship with a better trader will pay off in spades over time. Speaking of which… find a reliable trading source!

It’s going to take a lot of work to get dual lands together.

As of right now, my trade binder doesn’t have nearly enough value. It is like Oliver Twist asking for more porridge. I’m going to be attending a local shop’s, “Duel for Duals,” which is self-explanatory, later this month. These kind of local-ish events are great. Not only do I have a chance at winning expensive cards but it showcases my binders to people that I don’t normally get to interact with. It is a great way to move the midrange casual cards that my locals have already pawed through. I will grind these kind of events whenever possible. The equity that it could add to my trade binder makes the travel well worth it.

How can we make our current resources work for us? Playing a different standard deck is a good start. I was watching the SCG Oakland coverage over the weekend when I noticed that sick Jeskai Heroic Combo deck. I priced it out against my current deck (Jeskai Aggrohttp://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/04-11-14-pRo-jeskai-aggro/ )and it looks like I can add about $200 to my binder by switching things up. Maximizing available resources is huge!

Now that I know that the people have spoken and Stoneblade is the choice, I will be able to go to FNM this coming week and trade with purpose. I’ll also be uploading the contents of my trade binder to mtgprice.com so everyone can learn, see changes, trades and my current value.

I want to thank everyone that is along for the adventure so far, and I hope to see you in the coming months.

You can email me at mtglegacyhero@gmail.com and follow me on twitter @somethingsays #legacyhero and of course comment on the article. Don’t forget to pass along any sick deals.

I want to give a shoutout to hipstersofthecoast.com for the pingback.

Here is a link to Drew Levin’s intro into Legacy.

http://www.starcitygames.com/article/27449_How-To-Get-Into-Legacy-Part-1.html

http://www.starcitygames.com/article/27493_How-To-Get-Into-Legacy–Part-2.html

 

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Legacy Hero #1

My name is Jason Swistoski. I’m not a professional magic financer and I am in no way a professional Magic player. I’m just a regular guy that’s been playing Magic since 1994 and loves value. When I sit down at my LGS, the locals always want to paw through my binders. Why? The usual response is “I just want to see all of these cool, expensive cards.” When I tell them that I will be happy to trade them whatever they want I get a look of horror.

“I can’t afford those cards,” or, “I can’t get into Legacy. It’s WAY too expensive.”

How many times have you heard that phrase at your local game store? If your store is anything like mine, the answer is a lot! This got me thinking… why can’t the normal player let their cards and time work for them? Let the cards get them what they want.

I remember my first dual land (Unlimited Taiga) and my first Mox (Beta Mox Jet). Back then, they didn’t mean as much as they do now. You used to trade those cards for Shivan Dragons. Now, I see the look on the kids faces when one of the youngins at my local game store opens the small binder of mine and see the duals, goyfs, bobs… It’s something to be proud of. But that moment when they realize that I will trade anything in my binder for anything they have as long as everything matches up value-wise. Knowing that I get to make some value in the trade AND they get to get a crazy card they’ve only dreamed about… Whatever it might be that gleams in their starry eyes. That’s something special to me. It shows them and anyone else they play with that you can, in fact, get those cards.

I try to explain to anyone that asks about legacy that they can play it if they want. All anyone has to do is try. I point out how much they are spending on their standard or modern decks. I try to point out decks they can build using cards they already have in their binder. It doesn’t usually click. I get the same old response. “Legacy is too expensive.” This response was starting to frustrate me.

I remember being in their shoes. I remember having to sell my collection after a particularly nasty divorce. The person I sold my collection to told me point blank, “Are you sure you want to do this? You know you will be back. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.” Of course I told him that I was done but I still kept my EDH deck and a handful of cards to build that new EDH deck I’ve been working on. Now, looking back, well… he was right. To put a little perspective on this, he was the person who got me interested in the finance side of Magic. The first time we met, I dropped from an IQ to hangout with him while he went through my cards I brought with me that day. I had to have that altered Library of Alexandria! After that I dumped a ton of my stuff on him for dual lands, a German Foil Zur, Imperial Seal, etc, etc, etc. He was always there to take whatever I had for him. I never had any trouble finding stuff I wanted. He never had trouble finding stuff he wanted. It was perfect. It moved into taking orders from my locals for stuff I didn’t have instock and calling him to get it sent over for the next FNM. I would always ask him questions about the finance side of things. I would take his advice and snag those cards we talked and then trade them out when they went up in price as expected. I would try and buy collections. I would use his buylist in my local area to try and grind out some profits. When his podcast started, I would listen religiously, looking for the next tip. He always made sure to tell me that my ideas about a given card were right, because I wouldn’t dare suggest something to him without doing my research first. He was the expert. He was the professional. He was an idol and a mentor. One of the things that stuck out to me was his reputation in the community, and how many foil Thorn Elementals he had in his binder.

When I got back into the game, as we all knew I would, I thought about all of those conversations we had and I thought about all of the conversations I would have in my local shop. Those conversations led me to this project.

“How can I teach people that they can play legacy.”

I want to show everyone that they can afford the cards; however, it will take time and effort to get to the end result. Jonathan Medina, a legend in the finance community, had FNM Hero, “The journey of a new player.” Legacy Hero takes it to the next step. I’m chronicling the journey of an established FNM Hero getting into Legacy and becoming a Legacy Hero.

In the beginning we need to assume that the player is at least of novice level. In the interest of fairness, we are going to assume that I have been grinding FNM like a champ, have a Tier 1 Standard deck, a reasonable trade binder, and a little store credit.

What tools do I have to use? How am I going to make this a reality? I plan on taking advantage of buying and selling on Ebay, TCGplayer, buylisting, value trading, mtgprice.com’s ProTrader (arbitrige), specing, and of course the profits of winning local tournaments. For example, If I had bought/traded for 20 Jeskai Ascendancy at release (.99) and buylisted them to Channel Fireball at $4 each on the Monday following the Pro Tour, that’ would have been a quick $60 in cash (less expenses) or $104 in store credit. Now what if I took that credit and bought a few things that I expected to increase in value? Then that is a quick and easy example of success.

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Over the course of this series I will document the trades, specs, and everything else I do to become the Legacy Hero. This project is community driven. I will ask for a lot of feedback and look to you guys for the major decisions. Everything I will talk about here is something that anyone can do. The goal is to show, in detail, that mtgfinance isn’t something to be afraid of and it is something anyone can do if they put their mind to it. I will include pictures of transactions and a monthly state of affairs assessing the value of the Legacy Hero’s portfolio and a recap of how close we are to the goal.

Let’s recap what tools our Legacy Hero will start with:

  • 1 Tier one standard deck (Jeski Tempo)
  • Trade binder equaling $300-$400 in value
  • “Store credit” in the amount of $50

Let’s get started! What Legacy deck am I going to build? Click on the strawpoll and cast your vote for your favorite deck!

http://strawpoll.me/2888931

Next week we will go over the results and go over the plan of attack.

I want to give a shout out to the Godfather, Jonathan Medina here. He said his ego was dying so I need to offer some more CPR. I miss you man. We all miss you.

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Networking

By: Igor

People have always asked me how they can turn trading magic cards from a hobby into a more permanent source of income. Whether your goals are starting a store, being able to play standard for free, or just making some extra money on the side, it’s important to be able to network. Networking is one of the most important aspects of MTG finance that I think people too often overlook.

Numbers v. Customers

More often than not I see people focusing on numbers far too much. They are so worried about squeezing out the extra fifty cents or dollar in a trade that they don’t see how annoyed their trade partner is getting.

Permanent customer relationships are far superior to making a few bucks in a trade. Especially if you’re at your local store, it is very important to remember that every trade you make is a potential customer in the future.  It is important to make good relationships with people that you’re going to see on a regular basis.

You’re not just turning cards into dollars. You’re providing a service. If you can build up a loyal client base that know you can reliably provide cards for them at a fair price, which is far more valuable than making a few bucks on one trade. Having good relationships with your customers is ideal for long term sustainability. Everybody knows about “that guy” at a shop. Your reputation is valuable and is something you should always keep in mind when conducting business.

Building your Network

Your network is vital to being able to move cards. The more “outs” you have, obviously the better. This is why maintaining and forming relationships is key. It lets you move your inventory quickly and change cards that aren’t moving into cards that you can make money on.

For example, it’s valuable having a market for Legacy, Standard, and Commander cards.

Some options for expanding your network are:

Twitter: This is awesome for keeping in touch with other people in the global MTG finance community, keeping up with trends, and even selling cards.

Facebook: There are so many groups on Facebook, I feel like this is the feature that is keeping Facebook alive. There is most likely a Facebook group for your local area or state. Something like Indiana MTG Trade, or anything like that. These groups are great for buying collections, selling cards, and hooking people up with the cards they need. This is really the grassroots and where you want to focus on acquiring customers and satisfying customer needs.

Vendors: These should be your best friends. Some people just refuse to deal with vendors and that’s such a horrible mentality to have. A lot of the times vendors, especially at GPs pay a buylist price that is close enough or sometimes greater to what you would be able to get selling it online. Plus they save you time, shipping costs, and you get the cash immediately. Something just turning over the cards quickly and putting that cash back to work is more valuable. If you can establish good relationships with vendors they can often throw you better prices and will be able to work with you more and sometimes even tell you cards they are looking for and what they can pay well on. They know there are floor traders out there and they love working with them. They get the cards they need on the floor that they often can’t reach and you get cash. It’s a win/win. Plus once you start trying to branch out to doing shows (booths), professional connections will be very important. Don’t burn bridges.

Online Selling Websites/ Forums : These are things like MOTL (Magic Online Trading League), TCGplayer, and PucaTrade. These help your really expand your network globally. I’ve done business with people in many different countries through MOTL and it’s awesome. There are many vendors in different countries that pay top dollar on a lot of random stuff. The more buylists you have access to, the better. TCGPlayer seems to be the place a lot of traders are turning to out their cards for cash now. Remember to keep in mind shipping costs and fees when deciding whether to sell a card there or not. I find for smaller cards (< $5) it’s usually more cost efficient to sell this to a vendor, especially if they are EDH/casual cards. These cards usually have a high turnover rate for vendors and they pay top dollar on these cards.

Shows:  These are really important. They let you put a face with a name for a lot of people and there is nothing like in-person contact. This is where you can talk to dealers and more importantly other floor traders. Some people starting out are afraid of dealing with other floor traders since “you’re both doing the same thing” but my favorite trades are with other floor traders that you have a good relationship with. When you sit down, don’t waste each other’s time. You know you’re sitting down for business and not to try to play games and screw each other over. You should be focusing on moving inventory around in a way that benefits both of you.  Keep in touch with other floor traders, they can help you find specific needs and you can help them if they are looking for something. Plus it always helps to exchange information on the floor, like if a card is becoming hot this weekend or a price spike is happening. Information is valuable.

Overall, the whole concept of having a network is useful in moving cards quickly and efficiently. The faster that you can turnover inventory the better. Having close relationships with customers, traders, and vendors can help you develop your network and improve your business in the long run.


 

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