All posts by James Chillcott

MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (March 28/15)

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By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

It recently occurred to us here that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when we actually put our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series simply breaking down what we’ve been buying this week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought without hope of profit, where appropriate. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here’s what we were up to this week:

Buying Period: March 22nd -28th, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted. All sell prices are net of fees unless noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT (Dragons of Tarkir)

  • 4x Dragonlord Ojutai @ $5.50 per
  • 4x Dragonlord Ojutai @ $4.50 per
  • 3x Sidisi, Undead Vizier @ $4 per
  • 5x Dragonlord Atarka @ $6.25 per
  • 3x Dragonlord Silumgar @ $5.30 per
  • 5 x Haven of the Spirit Dragon @ $2.70 per
  • 4x Blood-Chin Fanatic @ $1.00 per
  • 6x Corpseweft @ $0.90 per

BOUGHT (Other)

  • 4x Training Grounds @ $2.70 per
  • 1x Doubling Season (Judge Foil) @ $27
  • 1x Supreme Verdict (Foil) @ $3.15
  • 1x Wild Nactl (FNM Foil) @ $1.75
  • 2x Seance (Foil) @ $1.75 per
  • 1x Athreos, God of Passage (Russian) @ $14

SOLD

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  • 3x Murderous Cut (Japanese Foil) @ $17 ($8 cost)

SOLD (Pucatrade)

Note: Points roughly equal USD/100. Eg) 700 points equals $7 in card purchasing value.

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  • 1x Inquisition of Kozilek @ 713 points ($3 cost)
  • 1x Chromatic Lantern @ 589 points ($2.50 cost)
  • 1x Horizon Canopy @ 3593 points (pack opened)
  • 4x Savor the Moment @ 443 points ($1.75/per cost)
  • 1x Remand (Ravnica) @ 1669 points (pack opened)
  • 1x Sword of Light and Shadow @ 3490 points (pack opened)
  • 1x Tolaria West @ 573 points (pack opened)

Most of my Dragons of Tarkir purchases were in line with decks I’ve been testing and cards that I highlighted as undervalued in my Digging For Dollars (DTK Edition) last week. As of this afternoon, 4 copies of Dragonlord Ojutai have made the finals of the Star City Games Invitational Standard tournament this weekend, and the card is spiking into the $12-15 range. If you invested last week on my go sign, you would have already doubled up and there’s room for further growth towards $20 if the card continues to do well.  I’ve be holding onto a playset for the season, and selling the rest of my copies into hype. Atarka and Silumgar have also seen play this weekend and seem likely to find a $10 spike at some point during their time in Standard as well. All three dragonlords are great long term casual calls regardless. The more dragons that make Top 8 tables, the better Haven of the Spirit Dragon starts to look and again it’s hard to go wrong with a specialty tribal land that is still available under $3 and has fantastic EDH and casual appeal in the long term. Assuming Corpseweft fails to find a home, I expect it to hit $.50 this summer, at which point I’ll go in for 100+ copies. Having played with this card, I can attest to it’s power potential, and it’s my top pick for a long term 10x return in the set once it bottoms out. If someone finds a way to abuse it in standard before it rotates in 18 months, all the better.

Beyond the DTK purchases, Training Grounds was highlighted by Pat Chapin in a video series this week alongside Pack Rat, and passed my “does it get better over time/it it unique” test. Doubling Season judge foil pricing has been too low, and they’re drying up, so I snagged a local copy. I’ve started picking up Theros gods for the long haul, and a Russian Athreos, God of Passage is a card I long to break in Modern.

This week marked my first exploration of the Pucatrade platform. So far, so good, as I managed to hit my initial limit of 10 cards to ship in under an hour. Most of my outbound cards were either pack opened cards that were collecting dust in my collection or opportunistic dumps (Remand/Inquisition of Kozilek) related to forthcoming reprints in Modern Masters 2015.

Douglas Johnson (@rose0fthorns)

BOUGHT (Pucatrade)

  • 6x Abrupt Decay @ 1206 points per

Douglas says:

“[With the Abrupt Decays I am] putting my money (or pucapoints) where my mouth is, for the reasons that I discuss in my http://devblog.mtgprice.com/2015/03/26/cold-tomatoes/ article this week. I firmly believe Abrupt Decay will creep up to $15 in the next few weeks, heading towards $20 by the end of the year. It’s definitely a safe investment, barring reprint as a GP promo. “

So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying and selling this week and why?

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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Digging for Dollars: Dragons of Tarkir

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Dragons of Tarkir marks the culmination of the Tarkir story-line and a block that is likely to be remember fondly for providing one of the better limited environments and one of the very best Standard seasons in recent memory.  As this point of the year we are very close to having our Standard decks for the season reach the apex of their potential power, with just Magic: Origins now unreleased and nearly 2000 cards at our disposal.

However, despite some very tasty early reveals, the financial future of Dragons of Tarkir is pretty hazy as we look forward at the rest of 2015. As pointed out by Saffron Olive in his excellent article on the Estimated Value (EV) of the set, the current value of a box is well below the average set value of the  last few years, and certainly not worth cracking packs of at present. This is especially concerning because we haven’t even made it to release weekend yet, and normally at this point the hype around a new set is strong enough to drive prices up to a temporary high that lasts a couple of weeks. This is not the case with Dragons of Tarkir, and it leaves us wondering, what’s up with this set?

When digging for dollars with DTK, we have to ask ourselves whether the combined wisdom of the player base is having trouble identifying the currently undervalued cards hiding in the shadows, or whether we’re simply dealing with Dragon’s Maze 2.0, a set notorious for it’s ongoing lack of valuable cards.

For my part, I believe that Dragons of Tarkir is:

a) primarily targeted at casual players and that as such many cards will be bulk for a while before they pick up from casual/EDH demand

b) up against several previous set’s worth of very, very powerful cards that may preclude many of the new cards from seeing extensive play

c) overpriced thus far on the handful of good cards that fell victim to pre-order hype (ie Narset, Enlightened Master)

d) lacking in rares in mythics destined for Modern and Legacy play

This combination means that the set is largely lacking in major standouts for short-term gains and also that many of my picks will only have 18 months in Standard to find homes before they hit the bulk bins for years. Now on the plus side, the ever-shifting 2015 Standard metagame leaves a lot of room for price spikes on select cards whose decks find sudden success in high profile Top 8’s. The low EV of the set, much of which lies in the lacking mythic rares, also leaves the door wide open for some rares to hit the $10-12+ range.

All of that being said, I think there are some cards here worth picking out. Remember however, that you’re really going to see the greatest returns if you skip the armchair theorizing and buckle down to test the decks ahead of the curve. It’s also worth noting that summer often represents annual lows for Standard staples, so you really need to believe your deck is going to have a shot at taking off within the next few months to justify not waiting until the release of Modern Masters (2015) to dive in.

Here, presented in no particular order, are my picks for the cards in Dragons of Tarkir most likely to reward timely speculation, with all target prices assumed to be possible during 2015 unless otherwise noted:

1. Dragonlord Ojutai

Now: $5
Target: $6-8

Frankly, this dragon lord is being overlooked and underestimated. The funny thing is that it’s actually the new control tools on offer at common and uncommon that seem to make his inclusion in an U/W or Esper Control strategy a very likely event. Cards like Anticipate, Silkwrap, Banishing Light, Ultimate Price, Hero’s Downfall, Dig Through Time, Negate, and Treasure Cruise all help a deck using Ojutai to kill the opponent a real thing. Ojutai only costs 5, which is low enough for him to be a 4-of in a control deck that doesn’t feel like waiting around. This is a very nice casting cost for a potentially game ending threat that allows control to cast him early and rely on his hexproof to hold down the fort, or to use some of their new 2-mana counters or kill spells to back him up a bit later in the game. Heck, he loves it when you cast Crux of Fate and he plays very nicely with Silumgar’s Scorn, which is also much better than you think. The fact that connecting with him lets you cast a free Anticipate (the best blue card in the set) is just gravy.

2. Sidisi, Undead Vizier

Now: $3
Target: $5-7

Here’s a card I intend to go deep on, because I actually think this guy could be Modern playable at some point. Silver bullet strategies have been extremely powerful in the past, and there is a mountain of potential graveyard synergy to fuel his actions. Think Kitchen Finks. Remember, Diabolic Tutor type effects typically cost four mana, so we’re basically getting a 4/6 Deathtouch for one that just happens to block and kill Siege Rhino, Monastery Mentor, Goblin Rabblemaster, Surrak, Hunt Caller, etc. That body is stapled to the ability to sacrifice a creature we want in the graveyard anyway (Deathmist Raptor), or which has overstayed it’s welcome (Satyr Wayfinder), and then go get whatever answer we need to our opponent’s most pressing threat. Being able to choose between Thoughtseize, Ultimate Price, Hero’s Downfall or Dromoka’s Charm is no joke. Ultimately, I think the zombie snake is a 2-3 of, but that might be enough to earn a spike if someone figures out how to optimize his usage.

3. Zurgo, Bellstriker

Now: $2
Target: $4-5

Mono-red aggro now has all of the tools they could ever want to take advantage of control decks and new durdly decks that spend too much time fooling around with their new toys to drive home the killing blow. Make no mistake, despite his embarrassing new role in Tarkir society, Zurgo is one of the best red creatures in the format and highly likely to hit top tables in the first wave of new Standard decks debuting later this month. If the deck puts up consistent results, this card should hit $4-5 easily, and post-rotation this fall the deck should still be in great shape and set up to do even better during this weakest Standard field of the year.

4. Stratus Dancer

Now: $2
Target: $3-4

If mono-red ends up being a beating, the mono-blue devotion we’re all trying to resurrect gets that much better because Master of Waves is an absolute coffin nail against red. Brad Nelson and Todd Anderson posted a five-game match to Star City Games this week, and it showed pretty clearly that while blue devotion might not be what it was, it’s still a real deck.  This card is not the 2-drop that blue devotion wants, but it is the 2-drop that they’re going to need. As an early evasive threat that can counter instants or sorceries starting on turn 4, Status Walker is also playable in other tempo oriented strategies and will often be a 4-of when it’s being played at all. As such there is some slight upside to be had if you can prove out his value in your testing regiment and get in on some copies before anyone else notices how good this card is.

5. Surrak, Caller of the Hunt

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Now: $2
Target: $4-5

In the not so distant future, Polukranos is going to rotate out of Standard, and people are going to realize that a similarly costed beatstick with haste is a pretty good way to get your game on. Green just so happens to be the strongest color in Standard right now, and that’s likely to last until at least the fall. In the meantime, plenty of people are brewing up R/G, Mono-Green and Temur builds that include this guy as a 2-3 of. Don’t be put off by his Legendary status. After all, Polukranos has already amply demonstrated that the first copy of a must-answer threat either dies to removal and frees up the second copy immediately, or it doesn’t die and you are clearly winning with a backup in hand. If some key pros (think Brian Kibler) end up making this work and get somewhere at Pro Tour DTK, expect this card to double in price on the spot.

6. Blood-Chin Fanatic

Now: $1
Target: $3-4

This guy basically dies to everything, right? Well, not quite. See, in the mono-black and B/W warrior builds they’ve usually run out of removal by the time you’re this far up the curve, and if your aggro deck gets hit with a sweeper, that’s just something you live with. The rest of the time, this guy starts doing a Gray Merchant of Asphodel impression once you get stalled out on the ground, and buys you time to finish things off. These decks were already Tier 2 prior to this set and now have additional options including Blood-Chin Rager (Falter effect), Pitiless Horde (Lava Axe), Ultimate Price/Silkwrap (Cheap Kill) and Arashin Foremost (Portable Beating and another target to double up from $1.50 to $4).  It’s entirely possible that we see one of these builds claim a Top 8 slot before summer in which case, this card could easily triple up. Otherwise this slides into bulk oblivion in a hurry.

7. Dragon Tempest

Now: $3.50
Target: $5-6

So, the future of this card and it’s effect on your wallet lies almost entirely on whether the Dragon Tempest/Descent of the Dragons combo manages to find a home in a Tier 1 deck before the end of the year. To live the dream you play some small creatures like Battlefield Thaumaturge, Sylvan Caryatid or Dragon Fodder/Hordling Outburst that are tough to kill reliably before Turn 5. You then cast both Tempest and Descent on the same turn, turn 3 creatures into 4/4 dragons with haste, they deal nine to your opponent directly, and then attack for 12. That’s 21 as early as turn 4 or 5.  Hour of Need can provide a backup combo plan. Your deck can be built U/R (for consistency) or U/R/G (to support Caryatid and possibly Sarkhan) and can easily work a transformational sideboard, swapping out the combo for a mid-range game plan with Thunderbreak Regent and Stormbreath Dragon.

8. Boltwing Marauder

Now: $0.50
Target: $2-4

This is a reasonably costed evasive threat that can attack for 11 when you cast Hordling Outburst and can’t be killed by Silkwrap or Ultimate Price. Dragon Fodder and Secure the Wastes are also real cards. Hornet Queen gives it (or something else) +10! The Boltwing is also worth a mere 2 quarters at present, likely because it’s totally overshadowed by flashier dragons. I’m picking up a few sets, just in case someone puts this to work.

9. Icefall Regent

Now: $1.50
Target: $3-4

This is part Dungeon Geists, part Frost Titan and both of those cards made top tables in Standard in seasons past. It’s also a very plausible top of curve if mono-blue devotion, U/R dragons or another blue mid-range strategy takes off. It turns Silumgar’s Scorn into straight up Counterspell alongside Ojutai. The rate is good enough on this card that it can easily triple if you see this on camera at some point.

10. Profaner of the Dead

A lot of people are completely missing that in Standard this card is going to bounce 75-100% of the opposing army against decks like GW Aggro, Mono Red, Mono Blue, G/W Devotion, Warriors even when it has to exploit itself. If you’re in some weird Sultai build this can even stay on board while you ditch something tasty to whip back the following turn. Whipping the Profaner back is still pretty ugly. This also has a future in EDH/Commander where you can bounce untold creatures while mining value from something big you wanted to die for value. At $0.50 this is already near it’s lowest possible price, and I’m in for 20 copies right off the bat.

Now: $0.50
Target: $2-3

 Dark Horse PickAvatar of the Resolute (foil)

Now: $1.50/$5 (foil)
Target: $4-5/$15 (foil)

It wasn’t so long ago that we got a 3/2 for GG and called it playable. These days we’re getting reach, trample and the ability to grow very quickly in the presence of +1/+1 counters and most of us are yawning. Let me be clear. This card is definitely playable, possibly even in Modern. Living the dream with this card is a deck that can field a couple of counter based creatures on turns 1 and 2 and play this as a 5/4 on Turn 3. A 4/3 on turn 2 could beat Tarmogoyf a lot of the time.  I’ve been testing a counters based Modern deck for a while, and it will love this card, falling into the ranks along with Bloodhall Ooze, Young Wolf, Scavenging Ooze, Experiment One, Strangleroot Geist, Lotleth Troll and Predator Ooze. The deck is nowhere near Tier 1 but eventually the bell will get rung on critical mass of good counter synergy based low drops will get hit and this card will see play.

Bonus Notes:

  • My top picks from the above list are Ojutai, Sidisi and Zurgo in that order. Everything else is a true long shot.
  • Narset is over-priced even at $20 and Sarkhan is 50/50 to drop to $10-15. Sell into hype.
  • Several cards in this set are over-priced already if they don’t find a home in a big deck in a hurry. These short-sell targets include: Shorecrasher Elemental, Ojutai Exemplars, Deathmist Raptor, Descent of the Dragons and Dragon Whisperer.

So there you have it, the long-shot specs of Dragons of Tarkir. Which ones are you going after and why? Anything I missed that you think has a shot at a big rise?

Fate Reforged Update:

In our Fate Reforged Digging for Dollars, I called out the following specs:

  1. Humble Defector (foil)
  2. Frontier Siege
  3. Yasova Dragonclaw
  4. Tasigur, the Golden Fang
  5. Torrent Elemental
  6. Cloudform (foil)
  7. Wildcall
  8. Dark Deal (foil)
  9. Reality Shift (foil)
  10. Soulflayer (foil)

From this list, Humble Defector, Frontier Siege, Yasova, Tasigur and Torrent Elemental all saw high level tournament play in the last few months. Tasigur and Frontier Siege might have even made you some money. I went pretty deep on Tasigur at $2, and that has easily paid for some of the specs here that were stillborn. Not bad at all given the time-frame but still proof that buying the full portfolio of long-shot lists like this is a bad strategy. You really need to figure out which of the options is the next Tasigur and load up, which is much harder than it sounds.

IMHO Cloudform needs time to find a Modern or Legacy deck. Dark Deal and Soulflayer are already seeing play, but their foils haven’t really taken off yet. Reality Shift is a consensus terrible card so far. Wildcall was utterly overshadowed by the success of Master of the Unseen/Whisperwood Elemental as the definitive manifest cards in Standard.

See you next time!

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (March 21/15)

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

It recently occurred to us here that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when we actually put our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series simply breaking down what we’ve been buying this week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought without hope of profit, where appropriate. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here’s what we were up to this week:

Buying Period: March 15th -21st, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted. All sell prices are net of fees unless noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 7x Abrupt Decay @ $10.50 per

SOLD

  • 4x Tasigur, The Golden Fang @ $7.50 ($2 cost per)
  • 4x Goblin Rabblemaster @ $9.00 ($5 cost per)
  • 1x Living Plane (SP) @ $30 ($12 cost)
  • 1x Scion of the Ur-Dragon @ $18 (pack opened)

I have mentioned publicly that I believe few specs make more sense right now than simply accumulating Abrupt Decay. Snapcaster Mage has amply demonstrated that the gaining potential of a Modern/Legacy staple rare is still excellent, even in the post-growth curve era of Magic: The Gathering. Both Snaps and Decay are auto-includes in the next edition of Modern Masters, with the only debate being whether that set shows up in summer of 2016 or 2017. My bet is on 2017 so far, but Wizards left the door open by naming this edition 2015, so you may only have a year to see upside. I’m looking to out my Snapcaster Mages in Sep/Oct around their likely peak.

On the sales side, I’m following through on unloading regular Tasigur, looking to reacquire if he drops enough during the inevitable summer lull. I think this card could easily hit $12 next fall, so this is more of a tempo play. Living Plane and Scion of the Ur-Dragon were opportunistic sales with margins too good to pass up. I’m also looking to sell my last box of Modern Masters at $360 shipped if you’re interested.

Douglas Johnson (@rose0fthorns)

BOUGHT

  • 4x Plasm Capture (foil) @ $4.14
  • 118 x Battlefield Thaumaturge @ $0.30
  • 1x Eyeblight’s Ending (16 points)
  • 1x Asphyxiate (15 points)
  • 1x Mindclaw Shaman (23 points)
  • 1x Blinkmoth Urn (100 points)
  • 1x Gather Specimens (47 points)
  • 1x Fleshwrither (Foil) (99 points)
  • 1x Volrath’s Stronghold (2103 points) (personal use)
  • 3x Necrotic Ooze (Foil) (519 points)

Douglas says:

“I picked up 4 foil Plasm Captures on Pucatrade at 414 points each (basically $4.14). The card is powerful in Commander, and was from Dragon’s Maze, a very poorly opened set that was overshadowed by Modern Masters. I don’t think foil Plasm Captures should be the same price as a pack of Dragon’s Maze, especially considering the power level of UG colors in the Commander format. 

I also bought 118 copies of Battlefield Thaumaturge for $35.66, totaling approximately $.30 per copy. While it’s a bit of a risk and I might end up bulking out for $.12 each several years down the road, I believe this is one of those enablers that only needs one more combo piece to suddenly be viable in either Modern or Standard. While I don’t think Descent of Dragons from Dragons of Tarkir is neccessarily that special combo piece, $.30 per copy was just too cheap to pass up, especially when I was able to condense my order down to three sellers on TCGplayer.com to minimize shipping costs.

An interesting note on Fleshwrither: While I originally wanted to try it out in my Savra deck, I don’t think that it’s a bad pickup for the long-term in foil. Transfigure was one of the weird Future Sight mechanics that we might not see again, and this guy will only get better with every creature printed at 4CMC. 

As for the foil Necrotic Oozes, I’ve always had an obsession with the card. I feel like all it takes is one more creature printed with an absurd activated ability that puts it over the edge and makes it a contender in Modern instead of fringe playable. Dying to Lightning Bolt sucks a lot, but I can hope… At the very least, I think he’s a slow gainer over time because of EDH appeal, thanks to the words “all graveyards”. 
A note on using Pucatrade:
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already heard of Pucatrade. While I mainly use the site to ship out random cards that are either hard to get rid of, things I have a many extras of, or cards that I expect to decrease in value, there aren’t a whole ton of cards I actually *need* at any given time, due to the fact that I don’t play competitively anymore. There’s the occasional EDH foil that I’ll point out in a binder, and sometimes I’ll try to save up my Pucapoints to power, but otherwise I tend to sit on a lot of Pucapoints. As the main singles dealer in my area, I get a lot of requests for cards that can’t be found locally. Recently, I had a request for a bunch of EDH playable commons that I didn’t happen to have in my boxes of picks; Things like Eyeblight’s Ending, Rend Flesh, Cloudgoat Ranger, and Lignify. This person was willing to pay me cash for these random cards, and didn’t want to/was unable to go through the trouble of buying them online and paying for shipping. Thankfully, Pucatrade comes in very handily here. Instead of turning the guy away or paying cash for them myself, I was able to put a bunch of these cards on my Want list on Puca, and have them be sent to me in a matter of days. I’ve found that this is an excellent way to turn a type of “store credit” into real cash, that I can put elsewhere. That being said, here’s the list of EDH cards that I picked up this week, most of which I’ll be able to sell for $.25 or $.50 each: If you happen to stock up on a lot of Pucapoints like I do, and you’re the go-to guy for singles, consider using those points if someone in your area offers to buy a card that you don’t have.”

 

Travis Allen (@wizardbumpin)

  • 6x Commander’s Arsenal @ $345

Travis says:

“The value of the singles [in each set] is greater than the sealed product by at least $80. With nowhere to go but up on these, I’m happy to either let them grow in the long term, or flip them for $50 profit in the short term should the opportunity arise.”

 

So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying and selling this week and why?

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: March 15th/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

5 Winners of the Week

Most of the movement this week is coming from the ever-shifting Theros/Khans standard format, with new cards ascending and some old favorites slowly falling from grace. Let’s have a look at what’s up:

1. Master of the Unseen (Fate Reforged, Rare): $2.00 to $3.73 (87%)

It should come as no surprise that the week after this card dominated the finals of Grand Prix Miami it is suddenly in high demand. Some are worried that the G/W Manifest deck is the new boogeyman of standard, but I suspect that the metagame rolling into the release of Dragons of Tarkir will keep shifting and ensure that variety is still the defining element of the season. That being said, this is a winter small set rare, it fits into a bunch of decks, and therefore may be able to hit $4-5 before it rotates in winter 2016. As such, I’m ignoring the voices calling to sell and advocating a clear hold on this card looking for further profits. Of course if you were smart enough to stockpile at $.50, by all means do as you will.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

2. Citadel Siege (Fate Reforged, Rare): $0.62 to $1.04 (68%)

Add this one to the list of underrated Fate Reforged rares that are just going to work in Standard lately. The ability to tap something down on the attack or drive home more points of damage via the application of counters provides a ton of versatility, though in the U/W Control builds that are running it, the tap function is king. I have no interest in outing cards under $3-4 period, so I’d recommend holding this one for a while if you are sitting on them as U/W could just be getting started in Standard.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

3. See the Unwritten (KTK, Mythic): $3.00 to $4.70 (57%)

As noted last week, this is rising on the premise that either Dragons or Eldrazi will make it an essential component of a deck before it rotates next winter. I’m holding until September and you should likely do the same unless this pushes into the $6-8 range early, in which case, go for it since it won’t ever find a home beyond Standard play anyway.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

4. Thassa God of the Sea (Theros, Mythic Rare):  $4.81 to $7.08 (47%) 

As detailed last week, Thassa and Master of Waves have both gained well in anticipation that Blue Devotion will once again be a deck. Depending on how early you got in on your copies, you could easily be looking to out by now, but I’m holding because I believe the deck will make a Top 8 before it rotates and lock in stronger profits.  As one of the better Theros gods I’m also fine holding these for the longer term as necessary.

Format(s): Standard/Modern/EDH/Tiny Leaders

Verdict: Hold

5. Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Alara Reborn, Mythic): $11.91 to $15.24 (28%)

With all the dragon hype leading into the release of Dragons of Tarkir, it’s hardly surprising to see some of the better casual dragons rising. Karrthus is one of the baddest of the bunch, and I’d feel comfortable selling into the hype if I had any lying around as it’s unlikely to enjoy much more of a bump once the summer doldrums hit.

Format(s): Casual/EDH

Verdict: Hold

 

 3 Top Losers of the Week

1. Soul of Theros: $7.82 to $3.61 (-54%)

Soul of Theros got its’ moment in the sun in the Soul/Whip decks earlier this season, but the deck isn’t seeing much play these days, and rotation for M15 isn’t too far off, so I’d expect this to keep sliding down towards bulk heading into summer. Time to sell.

Verdict: Sell

 

2. Stoke the Flames: $4.95 to $4.42 (-11%)

Don’t get it twisted. This is still the best spell in Standard, and will be for a few more months, but it’s natural for it to be shedding some value heading towards rotation. Unload your extras soon, because this doesn’t have a future beyond Standard.

Verdict: Sell

3. Monastery Mentor: $25.28 to $22.89 (-9%)

This card is seeing play in multiple formats, but it’s not dominating anywhere. I think foils are still the key play, but I’m also hoping for a moment of weakness this summer shortly after the release of MM2 when we can swoop in and scoop up regular copies in the $12-15 range for future returns above $30 a few years down the road. The card is very, very good and just needs the right pieces to pair it with in any given format to be a great move.

Verdict: Sell (to buy in later)

 

Quick Hits

  • I’m having trouble imaging a better spec than Abrupt Decay at present. There are plenty of copies around $12 lying around. Sure, it was $6 a year ago, but it will likely be $20-25 by next year and there isn’t a reprint coming until at least MM3 which may or may not appear in summer 2016, depending on how the MM2 release goes. Either way, if you’re fooling around with long shots (as I tend to) and don’t have many of these stashed away yet (As I do) you might want to rethink where you’re parking your money.
  • Snapcaster Mage is appreciating VERY nicely and pretty much right on schedule. Many of us were stockpiling around $20 at rotation, and now have easy outs for a double up. This was the last Abrupt Decay, get it? If you’re holding, you can wait for a possible $70-80 peak within the year, or just get out now and reinvest into something with a bigger upside, like say Abrupt Decay.
  • With the currency shifts between the USD, Euro and Canadian dollar, there really are a lot of arbitrage opportunities to be had on big ticket items if you’re willing to do some math and shop by phone across borders. Get to it.
  • If I have to choose between the Dragons of Tarkir planeswalkers I think you’ve got way more upside trying to snag Sarkhan around $20 than you will buying into Narset above $30.

James Chillcott is the CEO of ShelfLife.net, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

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