All posts by James Chillcott

MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (March 14th/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 8th -14th, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 8x Descent of the Dragons @ $2.10 per
  • 14x Descent of the Dragons @ $3.15 per
  • 4x Descent of the Dragons @ $3.25 per
  • 28x Dragon Tempest @ $1.55 per
  • 8x Dragon Tempest @ $1.05 per
  • 8x Sidisi, Undead Vizier @ $4.15 per
  • 16x Master of the Unseen @ $2.00 per
  • 2x Tasigur, The Golden Fang (Foil) @ $24.15 per
  • 1x Command Tower (Judge Foil) @  $22
  • 3x Duress (IDW) @ $3
  • 1x Faithless Looting (IDW) @ $3

SOLD

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  • 3x Duress (IDW Promo) @ $13 per ($3 cost)

I’m going relatively deep on Descent of the Dragons and Dragon Tempest on the basis that a lot of people are underestimating their combo potential in Standard alongside the long overlooked Battlefield Thaumaturge and mana dorks. The deck shell is basically based around a fairly normal Temur early game that suddenly transforms into an instant kill. Basically if you have 3 creatures in play, with Thaumaturge being one of them, and a Dragon Tempest in play, you put 12/12 worth of Dragons into play and instantly do 9 points and then attack for 12. This can happen as early as Turn 5. The deck can lean on Sarkhan Unbroken, Hour of Need and Stormbreath as backup plans and just play a more midrange game if the pieces aren’t drawn fast enough. I predict that the deck in some form hits at least Tier 2 in Standard, and an on camera appearance should be enough to double the price of both cards. If it fails to perform however, these are pretty bad long term specs as their future in other formats may be dubious at best.

Sidisi, Undead Vizier is my pick for one of the top 3 cards in Dragons of Tarkir, as his power level seems extremely high. With DoT facing a longer rotation schedule than the last two sets, there is a good chance this card tops $8-10 at some point in it’s play life.

As for Tasigur, my early call that he was underrated has come true, and I now expect this guy to be a multi-format player for many years. As such, I’m still buying foils while selling my non-foils.

There was a run on the judge foil Command Towers this week, and I managed to snag a copy before the price spikes.  I also managed to snag a few additional copies of the IDW promos via back issues at my local comic shop.

On the sales side, a pretty quiet week, but I did sell into the buyout on IDW promos by unloading a handful of the  Duress at a triple up, with several more held back to test the new price plateau.

Travis Allen (@wizardbumpin)

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BOUGHT

Short/Mid:

44x See the Unwritten @ $1.25

Mid

  • 10x Order of Whiteclay @ $1.93

Long

  • 8x Aggressive Mining @ $.20
Travis says:
“With Battle for Zendikar on the horizon for fall 2015, players are going to be excited about See the Unwritten in conjunction with Eldrazi. It doesn’t even need to end up being good for there to be a great selling window; we just need people to be excited about it for long enough to get out.
I wrote Order of Whiteclay down as a Tiny Leaders spec a few weeks ago. The other day I noticed there were very few copies left on the retail circuit, so I picked up some on eBay to follow through.

Aggressive Mining is a cool potential combo piece that was cheap from a vendor I was already buying from.”

Guo Heng Chin (@theguoheng)

Nothing to report this week.

Jared Yost

Nothing to report.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT: Get the Cube Starter Bundle with the 3rd Edition Grimoire Deck Box, the brand new Grimoire Deck Box designed specifically for the red mage in you. 

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WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: March 10th/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

5 Winners of the Week

1. Guttural Response (Fate Reforged, Mythic): $1.51 to $7.11 (371%)

I hear rumors that this card is spiking based on some fringe combo deck driving a buy out, but I’ve been unable to track down the relevant info. Clue us in via the comments section and we’ll update.

Format(s): ?

Verdict: ?

 

 

 

2. Pendelhaven (Legends, Uncommon): $10.00 to $15.00 (50%)

This is a common card in Infect strategies, and there really aren’t that many copies floating around despite the FNM, Anthologies and Time Shifted printings on top of the original. There are two Legends cards on our list this week, which just goes to show what you can expect as more and more MTG players get involved in MTGFinance and start contributing to buy outs on cards with low inventory. Whether you can move the cards into real demand is the pressing question in these cases, so if you want to hold tight on this one you need to feel sure Infect will be alive and kicking for a while in Legacy and Modern. So far all signs say you should be fine holding on to these for a while as a reprint is unlikely anytime soon.

Format(s): Modern, Legacy, Casual

Verdict: Sell/Hold

3. Tetsuo, Umezawa (Legends, Rare): $21.52 to $29.99 (39%)

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This is a Tiny Leaders spec since Tetsuo is the only URB general available to that fledgling format. He’s also on the Reserved List and highly unlikely to be reprinted due to flavor/brand issues, so holding this guy for a bit isn’t a bad idea, at least until Wizards releases their inevitable Tiny Leaders product in 2017.

Format(s): Tiny Leaders

Verdict: Hold

4. Master of Waves and Thassa, God of the Sea (Theros, Mythic Rare):  MoW – $3.00 to $5.50 (83%) , Thassa – $4.81 to $6.53 (36%) 

These two centerpieces of the mono-blue devotion stratagem are on the rise because, well, Shorecrasher Elemental.

A UUU 3-drop may be just the thing to bring this oppressive archtype back into play as a Tier 1 or 2 option in Standard, and it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility that this card makes the archetype playable in Modern either, now that it has solid 1, 2 and 3 drops to lead into Thassa and/or Master of Waves and make a ton of tokens.  We’ll see how things play out, but I added to my positions in both cards on the basis that a failure to reemerge in Standard doesn’t necessarily count them out in older formats.

Format(s): Standard/Modern

Verdict: Hold

5. See the Unwritten (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $1.78 to $2.29 (29%)

I’ve had 40-50 of this card in my portfolio almost since release, on the basis that either Dragons or Eldrazi would eventually make it good. We’re not there yet, but with Battle for Zendikar confirmed for the fall set, we’re not miles out from this card becoming a real thing. The thing is, if it fails to find a home before rotation, it falls back to bulk and you get to hope your copies slow burn their way into success down the road on EDH/Casual demand alone.

Format(s): Standard/Casual/EDH

Verdict: Hold

 

 3 Top Losers of the Week

1. Hammer of Purphoros: $1.55 to $1.00 (-35%)

Making 3/3 tokens slowly just isn’t where you want to be in Standard right now and the rotation axe is grinding.

2. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion: $15.59 to $13.05 (-16%)

The old girl’s had a good run in Standard, and she’s still a viable threat at the top end of several real decks, but her printing in the most recent Duel Deck this month is not going to help her. You should already have outed your copies toward the beginning of the year, and I wouldn’t be caught holding any of this once $35 card for much longer.

3. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant: $5.58 to $5.02 (-10%)

Sidisi decks are looking less and less viable as the Standard metagame keeps shifting fast and furious this spring. I’m actually more excited about the undead version of this character once DoT is out, so I think now is a good time to be outing your copies, possibly looking to pick them back up in the mid-summer doldrums when the standard staples take a beating.

Quick Hits

My underrated cards from Dragons of Tarkir currently include (full article coming soon):

  • Dragon Tempest
  • Descent of the Dragons
  • Sidizi, Undead Viziier
  • Assault Formation
  • Avatar of the Resolute
  • Kolaghan’s Command
  • Deathmist Raptor
  • A run on foil Command Towers is ongoing. Grab ’em quick if you need one for your Commander decks or just want to go for a ride to $10+ in profit.
  • Master of the Unseen absolutely dominated GP Miami last weekend, resulting in games so painful to watch it made my eyes bleed. The power of the card is no longer a secret however, and it will be topping this list next weekend along with Outpost Siege, another card that has legs on recently revealed power level.

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 7th/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 1st -7th, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 8x Thassa, God of the Sea @ $4.50 per
  • 4x Master of Waves @ $2.60 per
  • 8x Otujai Exemplars @ $8.00 per
  • 3x Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (Foil) @ $30 per
  • 3x Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (Foil, Japanese) @ $60 per
  • 3x Decimate (Conspiracy Foil) @ $4.00 per
  • 1x Lilianna of the Veil @ $58
  • 3x Abrupt Decay @ $10.40 per
  • 2x Chord of Calling @ $2.25 per
  • 17x Sliver Hive @ $3.50 per
  • 5x Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Foil) @ $24 per

SOLD

  • 2x Counterbalance @ $15 per ($5 cost)
  • 2x Ghostway @ $8 per ($2 cost)
  • 1x Mindbreak Trap @ $6 ($2 cost)
  • 2x Lotus Petal @ $4 (pack opened ages ago)
  • 1x Dark Citadel (Japanese foil) @ $14 ($8 cost)

Wow, what a week! Between the Dragons of Tarkir reveals and the Magic Origins and Battle for Zendikar reveals, there are a lot of fresh specs in play.

With the new UUU Shorecrasher Elemental revealed in Dragons of Tarkir, Thassa and Master of Waves both have a chance at seeing fresh play in standard, but I was already acquiring both cards on the assumption that they will find fresh homes in Modern/Legacy eventually or simply age well as casual specs. Either way, they are undervalued mythics and I’m going deep. As of this morning, they’ve both spiked 40-70% off the reveal of Shorecrasher Elemental, so we’ll see if a deck emerges with legs. Some of my copies were bought around $2-3, so I’ll be looking to out them immediately.

Otujai Exemplars was a value play, since I snagged it well below the average pre-order price. I think this card settles in the $6-8 range, assuming some standard play at top tables, but could rise later if it fits into a winning deck and supply has dwindled. I’ll likely trade out early and buy back in when enough packs are cracked to see a new low.

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver featured prominently in the winning deck at the first SCG Modern Series last weekend in the hands of Sultai master Gerrard Fabiano. He’s not a staple in the format yet, but any chance of this mythic planeswalker seeing continued play in Modern makes me willing to pick up foil copies at market price. Interestingly, the only Japanese copies I could find ended up being from Travis, who got in on them at $30 and is happy to nearly double up and move on to something else.

Decimate is a Conspiracy foil that is selling for 1/3 of the original foil. That gap will close, especially with more Conspiracy hoarded in sealed boxes than actually opened. It’s a great EDH/Commander card and should top $10 within a year or two.

The LoTV was a copy I found at an LGS that hadn’t boosted prices yet from her recent spike/US to CDN currency exchange. Abrupt Decay is a card we should all be acquiring in quantity. It will hit $20 within the year.

Sliver Hive is a highly specialized piece of real estate with huge casual demand, occasional Tier 2 Legacy play and a low chance of imminent reprint. As such I’m targeting an $8-10 price tag within 18 months and have been acquiring them in quantity since release.

As for Tasigur, my early call that he was underrated has come true, and I now expect this guy to be a multi-format player for many years. As such, his small set foils are pretty tasty at any price under $30 and I’ll aim to acquire plenty over the next few months.

On the sales side, I’m generally stock piling more than selling, but I cleaned out a few randoms this week, and I’m ramping up to out my Tasigur piles up 300% to move in on foils.

Jared Yost

  • 15x End Hostilities @ $1.60
  • 15x Whip of Erebos (Clash Pack FOIL) @ $2.60
  • 1x Saffi Eriksdotter (Foil) @ $17.00
Jared says:
“I bought End Hostilities due to the reveal of Ojutai’s Command and Narset Transcendent. U/W Control is getting good support from Dragons of Tarkir and End Hostilities will fit in the deck nicely.
 
I picked up the clash pick Whip of Erebos because I think its a nice long term hold for Commander. Whip gives a powerful effect to black decks and I like the art on the clash pack foils. It adds another layer of collectability to the card.
 
Lastly, Saffi was another Tiny Leaders pickup. In addition to Tiny Leaders she is also a decent Cube/Commander card.”

 

Travis Allen (@wizardbumpin)

BOUGHT

Short/Mid:
  • 7x Utvara Helkite @ $3.50
  • 14x Scourge of Valkas @ $2.75
  • 60x Scourge of Throne @ $5.00 per
  • 44x See the Unwritten @ $1.30
  • 121x Battlefield Thaumaturge @ $0.25
Mid/Long:
  • 95x Hall of Triumph Promo @ $0.49
  • 6x Sage of Hours @ $1.25
  • 36x Chord of Calling @ $3.25 per

Travis says:

Scourge of Valkas: Spreading out my Dragon holdings in anticipation of DTK increasing interest in the entire tribe. 

Utvara Hellkite: Ditto.

Scourge of the Throne: Dragons and dragon-related cards have been spiking a lot recently with Dragons of Tarkir on the horizon, and Scourge is well positioned. It’s been creeping up for awhile, and Conspiracy was not opened much. When I bought in I was intending to wait anywhere from a month or two to a year, depending on how long the demand took to squeeze the market. Turns out I was only a few hours ahead of the wave as we’ve already seen a good spike on Scourge this week!

See the Unwritten: Something will be battling against our heroes for Zendikar in the fall, and it’s a pretty safe bet they’re the Eldrazi. Who doesn’t want to dump the new Emrakul and Ulamog into play with this? At a little over $1 each, the card doesn’t even have to be good. People just have to think it will be in order to make a profit here.

Battlefield Thaumaturge: I’ve liked this card since it was spoiled, but never bought in. With Assault of Dragons in DTK, alongside another red token maker, you can kill your opponent turn four with a sequence of Dragon Tempest, Hordeling Outburst, Thamaturge and Assault. At $.25 the risk is very low and the price potential is in the double digits if the deck breaks out.

Sage of Hours: I talked about this card in my article on Wednesday.

Hall of Trimpuh: Glorious Anthem effects have always been popular, as noted by the >$1 price tag on the eponymous card despite six printings. A colorless anthem from a small spring set stands to be at least $1-$2, and possibly $3-$6.

Chord of Calling: Chord used to be a $40 card. It’s fallen out of favor somewhat lately, but with Birthing Pod gone, it is the best creature tutor in Modern. With the card at a lifetime floor, now seems as good a time as any to stock up for what could be a $7-$15 card in a year or two.

SOLD

  • 3x Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (Foil Japanese): $60.00 per

Guo Heng Chin (@theguoheng)

Note: Guo Heng Chin buys from Malyasia, so his costs will tend to be different than for those of us based in the west. 

BOUGHT:

  • 1 x Foil Hypnotic Siren @ $1.90

SOLD:

  • 1 x Outpost Siege @ $3.25

Guo says:

“Both transactions were conducted during FNM at my local game store.

The foil Hypnotic Siren was for Tiny Leaders. It was a discovery by a friend and fellow Magic player, @rezaaba. A couple of weeks back he mentioned to me that Hypnotic Siren is one of the rare few control magic effects legal in Tiny Leaders.

I stumbled upon a foil copy at my local game store yesterday while sifting through a collection they have just bought. I’m not sure how viable Hypnotic Siren is, but she provides a rare effect in the format and has a Nyx-ified border, which means a very low chance of reprint.

I’ve started offloading the 16 Outpost Sieges I bought at $0.49 apiece last month. Outpost Sieges are currently retailing for $4 – $4.50 and while I’m fine with selling them at $3 – $3.50, I have a nagging feeling Outpost Siege still have room to grow.

Outpost Siege is pretty insane in Standard and Caleb Durward suggested that it may even be good enough for Modern in his article last week aptly titled ‘The Best Cards Not Being Played in Modern’.

I’m optimistic about Outpost Siege’s financial potential, especially when its from a smallish set. Or maybe I should just leave the last 10% to the next person.”

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.

ADVERTISEMENT: Get the Cube Starter Bundle with the 3rd Edition Grimoire Deck Box, the brand new Grimoire Deck Box designed specifically for the red mage in you. 

WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: March 2nd/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

5 Winners of the Week

1. Whisperwood Elemental (Fate Reforged, Mythic): $9.15 to $12.15 (33%)

From last week:

“Green was already the default best color in standard before Fate Reforged rolled up and dropped this sweet threat onto the table. Though many were dubious at first, recent showings at big standard tournaments has demonstrated that Whisperwood Elemental is an excellent way to close out games fast if your opponent isn’t packing enough removal. In partnership with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and various mana dorks, this heavy hitter provides especially tricky scenarios for both aggro and control decks who will often have trouble going just one for one with the lord of the groves.  With FRF not likely to be as opened as many other sets, there’s a good chance that this one falls off a bit heading into summer, only to rise again at rotation. As such you can sell now if you got in early and don’t need them to play with. Otherwise, you’re safe to hold into fall.”

More of the same. The card is seeing lots of play and you can hold to play or sell to profit as you desire.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold/Sell

2. Summoner’s Pact (Future Sight, Rare): $6.51 to $8.46 (30%)

Along with Amulet of Vigor, Primeval Titan, Pact of Negation and Hive Mind, pretty much all of the relevant cards in the Amulet Bloom deck have spiked by this point as it becomes more and more clear that the deck is Tier 1 despite being tough to master the play lines. Of the bunch, Pact of Negation and Summoner’s Pact are the least likely to get banned and the most likely to have additional applications in future decks. They’re also unlikely to be reprinted again any time soon since they both appeared in Modern Masters. As such there may be upside left to be found on both cards, with Summoner’s Pact potentially peaking around $15 in if stays relevant in Modern. I’m not holding any beyond my personal play set, but if you had some tucked away, I’d look to get out around $10 before mid-summer if possible.

Format(s): Modern/EDH

Verdict: Hold

3. Leonin Shikari (Darksteel, Rare): $6.55 to $8.23 (26%)

This card is spiking on Tiny Leaders speculation. The assumption is that the card is going to be great with friends such as Stoneforge Mystic, the 5 super swords and other white equipment specific beaters under 3 casting cost. It could push higher later as the supply is relatively limited, but for now should settle south of $10 until Tiny Leaders demand really gets beyond the speculation phase and enough players have their decks made.

Format(s): Tiny Leaders/Casual

Verdict: Hold

4. Genesis Hydra ( M15, Rare): $2.09 to $2.52 (21%)

I’ve got about 20 of these so I’d love to see this guy spike hard before rotating into irrelevancy but I’m not holding my breath despite this reasonable increase after showing up in the new versions of green devotion in Standard recently. It’s too low to be worth selling, but if it hits $4-5, my ears might perk up.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

5. Garruk, Apex Predator: $11.09 to $13.36 (20%)

Having fallen down from $30 highs on release, Garruk is enjoying a mild resurgence as a solid answer for Abzan and Sultai builds looking to contain Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or grind out longer games in Standard. Below $10 he was midly sexy, as he isn’t likely to see a reprint anytime soon and could hit $15-20 in a couple of years on limited supply, but we might as well wait until rotation this fall to snap off some copies in the $6-8 range.

Format(s): Standard/Casual

Verdict: Sell

 3 Top Losers of the Week

This weeks losers are all just recently spiked cards that have fallen back a bit off recent highs as hype mellows. To wit:

1. Amulet of Vigor: $7.63 to $6.00 (-21%)

2. Wilt-Leaf Liege: $33.76 to $27.00 (-20%)

3. Doubling Season: $29.00 to $24.55 (15%)

Quick Hits

  • Believe it or not, as of this morning we’ve already entered Dragons of Tarkir spoiler season. So far the most interesting card is probably Sidisi, Undead Vizier. StarCityGames.com continued their trend of providing tempting pricing on newly spoiled rares to get the hype train rolling, and some of us got our hands on pre-order copies around $1 this afternoon. Expect this one to settle in between $4-5 as people try to figure out if this Tasigur/Whisperwood good or just a trap card. My money is on “very good” as I don’t think we should underestimate just how much decks like Sultai Control will appreciate the ability to ramp out and drop this guy on Turn 3/4, sacrifice a mana dork that has outlived it’s usefulness and go search up the perfect answer to the current board state. As a 4/6 Deathtouch, this incarnation of Sidisi is also great at blocking all the usual suspects and fuels Delve spells. As such this is could be an easy 3-4 of in a few decks.
  • Now is a pretty good time to be ordering yourself some playsets of KTK fetchlands for future use or profit in the $210-$220 range. as this is as low as it looks like they’re likely to go. We won’t be getting any more fetchlands until at least Modern Masters 2 and if I had to guess, they’ll actually be delayed until a spring or fall 2016 Return to Zendikar block, so get while the getting is good. Foils also look tasty at all-time lows.
  • It’s possible that there are some Dragon cards you should be giving a 2nd look at given what’s coming in DoT. Cards like See the Unwritten and Atarka have room to spike if they end up great in a shifting metagame.
  • If you’re looking for any big ticket items, you might want to check on inventory with FacetoFace Games or 401 Games in Toronto and Montreal. Many of the Canadian stores haven’t quite caught up on repricing their cards after a recent 20%+ currency shift and there are plenty of deals to be had if you’re paying in US dollars on your credit cards or via Paypal.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT: Looking for a deck box to match your play style and personality? Look no further! Check out the Grimoire Beta Edition – a spell book looking deck box with stylish cover art that fits you