Category Archives: Casual Fridays

Prepare Your Wallet


By: Cliff Daigle

It’s going to be an expensive summer.

First of all, there’s going to be a very short window in which to buy Dragons of Tarkir cards. This will be under-opened in proportion to other big spring sets, like Rise of the Eldrazi and Avacyn Restored. Those sets were 6-of or 3-of for Sealed or Draft respectively, whereas Fate Reforged is still part of Dragons of Tarkir limited events.

Let’s return to our fictional LGS, where they do one FNM draft per week with exactly eight people, and look at the packs opened during the three ‘seasons’ of Khans block:

Season 1: Triple Khans 24 Khans/week X 12 weeks 288 packs of Khans
Season 2: FRF-KTK-KTK 8 Fate Reforged/week16 Khans/week 94 packs of FRF192 packs of Khans
Season 3: FRF-DTK-DTK 8 Fate Reforged/week16 Dragons of Tarkir/week 94 packs of FRF192 packs of Dragons

Totals: 480 packs of Khans of Tarkir, 192 packs of Fate Reforged, and 192 of Dragons of Tarkir.

From a ratio standpoint, we have a 5:2:2 ratio, meaning that Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir will have been opened less than half as much as Khans of Tarkir! Keep in mind that Dragons is a big set, with more potential mythics and rares.

Let me repeat myself, so you can see the severe disparity in packs opened. For three months, we drafted triple Khans. For three months after that, we drafted two packs of Khans, giving us a very large supply of Khans cards. We are about to have three months where just two packs of DTK are opened, and that three months is going to be reduced by some amount, depending on how much time stores and players give to Modern Masters in May. 

Modern Masters 2015 is released on May 22, a mere two months after Dragons of Tarkir arrives. If all events switch from Dragons to MM for that month, we reduce the third season’s numbers by a third, and have a ration of 480:161:130, or about a 4 : 1.2 : 1 ratio. That’s the worst-case scenario for doing DDF events, the reality is going to fall somewhere between that and the 5:2:2 ratio.

It seems unlikely that all stores will have enough product and enough interest to run a full month of Modern Masters events, but if there is enough money and enough hype around this set, Dragons might be the most chase of sets. Investing in singles from this set is likely to pay off well.

The analogy last year would be how Theros – Born of the Gods – Journey into Nyx drafting was impacted by Conspiracy. Even if it’s just a couple of weeks, a month tops, that’s a big chunk of already short time, and money that’s being spent elsewhere. I would imagine that Magic Origins will be drafted thoroughly (more on that in a moment) so don’t expect to have some drafts taken away from a boring set and given to the slightly older format.

The urge to pick up Dragons of Tarkir singles will be with me at all times, but especially this spring leading into summer. This is a big, ally-colored, powerful set, with cards that will be relevant for their entire Standard lives, which will end in fall of 2016. I fully expect to be trading for lots of these and buying a few too. I’m even thinking about pre-ordering some of these…no, wait, I won’t.

I’ll reiterate this piece of advice: Preordering is only good if you have to have a card for the first week that it’s legal, or if you’re 100% sure that the card is going to have immediate and thorough impact in Constructed. Most of the preorder speculation you do will not be profitable, as card prices drop.

Dragons of Tarkir might be different, but probably not. We will see. The small quantity and small window has me wondering. Imagine if there were 40% less Hero’s Downfall, or Siege Rhino out there! The Rhino might be a $25 or $30 card. As the spoilers emerge, we’ll have to be on the lookout.

In just a couple of months, we have Modern Masters 2015 dropping. At $10 a pack, this is going to bust your wallet into pieces. There’s going to be more of this printed than in 2013, and there’s already a markup involved…but that’s not going to stop stores from having $45 drafts.

I am leery of buying packs/boxes for value, but this will especially be true for MM2015 packs. I’m reserving judgement on what I’ll do until I know more of the set, but there is going to have to be TREMENDOUS value in the cards to make cracking packs worth it.


Plus, that value will have to stay high even as those super-valuable packs are cracked! The low print run and increased demand of new Modern players meant that cards like Vendilion Clique, Dark Confidant, and Tarmogoyf didn’t lose value (and went up in some cases!)


Perhaps this will be the fabled “No bad cards” set. Even the first Modern Masters had the Kamigawa dragons as a mythic cycle, so we will see what Wizards does to make four packs of this have the same MSRP as a From the Vaults set. Maybe we get the Praetor cycle, but those values would take quite a hit, likely losing half their value or more.

(As an aside, I know that MSRP is not a rule, especially for the FTV sets, but it’s still a number Wizards attaches to products.)

Next, we have Magic Origins in July. Not just any Core Set, apparently, and they wanted to avoid all the ‘M16’ jokes.

So far, we know that Nissa, Gideon, Jace, Liliana, and Chandra are getting the attention. We have been told that ten worlds will be featured, two for each planeswalker: an origin world and the first plane they went to.

I’ll talk more about those worlds soon, but we have it confirmed that Nissa’s home of Zendikar will be among the locales. It seems quite possible that the enemy fetches will be in Origins!

Since the ally fetches were spoiled in Khans, it’s been a matter of when, not if, the Zendikar ones would be reprinted. What a way for the Core Sets to go, with this one having Scalding Tarn and its brethren.

It’s been pointed out in several places that putting the fetchlands in a set will guarantee high sales, and that’s true, but Wizards has evolved its model to not need the summer set to be the big seller. There’s also the philosophy that Standard doesn’t need to have all ten fetches legal at the same time. Both of these feel true, but I’m aware that Wizards’ logic is not laways the same as mine.

I would advocate selling/trading your extra Zendikar fetches soon, no matter what set they are reprinted in they will take a hit. Keep the ones in your Commander deck, keep a set for Eternal play, and move the rest. Don’t get caught with excess stock when the spoiler hits.

We also have FTV: Angels arriving in August. I’m already on the record with my predictions, and I’m going to make a further proclamation: this will keep its value very well, and not just Avacyn. Angels are one of the premier and most popular tribes, and these foils are going to get snapped up and locked into thousands upon thousands of casual decks.

I think that you’ll be able to get these for around $60 once the initial IMUSTHAVEITNOW wave is done, and at that price, I’ll be happy to get an extra set or two for long-term storage. That price will change if the Angels in the set are pricier than I expect (It’s not out of the question for Wizards to go financially big and give us Iona, Linvala, Avacyn, and Baneslayer, for example) but that seems unlikely to me.

Patience on an FTV is often rewarded. Even Legends, which didn’t go for much over MSRP at the time, is more than $100 now. Part of that is the passage of time, since anything from four years ago has an increase in value, but there’s been a real increase for FTV: Realms in half the time.

Bonus Buy: I told you about Dragonspeaker Shaman a few weeks ago, and now Dragonlord’s Servant has been spoiled. It’s an uncommon, so it looks like the Shaman will not be in the set and the old foils are due to go up, what with all the new Dragon decks being built. I tweeted about it Wednesday, when TCG had 11 foils under $10 and 4 more between $10-$15.

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The Shopping List

By: Cliff Daigle

So next week we begin Dragons of Tarkir previews, though it seems like we just finished spoiler season for Fate Reforged.

There’s three premises I want to keep in mind as we leave Khans and enter Dragons:

#1: This is a big set in the spring slot, such as Rise of the Eldrazi or Avacyn Restored, but Sealed and Draft events are still opening some Fate Reforged. Those two sets have had a lot of value in the long term, because they were opened less than big fall sets. Dragons of Tarkir has a very good chance to contain some cards that will go up significantly, due to that reduced volume being opened.

#2: The new rotation schedule means that Dragons of Tarkir will only be Standard legal until fall 2016. This is the first spring set to rotate at a different time than the fall and winter sets of its respective block.

#3: Khans is no longer being opened in Draft or Sealed events, and that tells us it’s time to start picking up Khans cards, now that supply is at its maximum and prices are near their lowest.

With these ideas in mind (point #1 about which Dragons cards to buy will just have to wait three weeks till the full spoiler is out) I want to go over Khans cards that I think have room to grow in about the next six months, or grow even more if they have value outside Standard.


Before anything else, I want to see what recent history has been like for the shocklands. I’m looking to see if they took a hit or even went up since they rotated from Standard.



Some fluctuation, and Vents is possibly the most popular shockland in Modern. Blue lands will often be a bit more expensive because blue has been the best color. (Note the price gap from Underground Sea to Plateau!)

So if I’m buying fetches now, I’m seeking pure value. I’m not going to see a big gain in price, but it’ll be excellent trade bait. At worst, fetches aren’t going to go down in price. At best, they begin a steady upward trend, but I think that is rather unlikely for at least a couple of years (going by what the shocks have done).

Foil fetches

I am going to bang this drum as loud and as hard as I can for you: buy these now. NOW. Foil shocks gained 20% to 50% within a year of rotating, and getting foil fetches right now will save you money in the long run. These will not take a hit at rotation.

Foil Delta and Strand will not stay under $100 much longer. They are just too good in the Eternal formats. The other three, being $50-$60 right now, are excellent candidates to gain value on a similar track as the foil shocklands did.

If you’re someone who likes to foil out a deck, or likes to have high-end foils, get on the wagon now. You’ll thank me. I want to reiterate this point: I don’t know what the ceiling is, I just know that we are at the floor.

Foil Empty the Pits

At $6, it’s close to a steal. It’s great in casual token decks, and Zombie decks too. If you wanted to wait, I’d understand, but don’t sleep on its long-term casual appeal.

Foil Monastery Swiftspear

You might laugh, but this is seeing a tremendous amount of Eternal play. For example, there was a Star City Games Modern open on February 16. There were five decks in the top 16 that ran a full playset of these in the main. Note it’s a nearly-$3 uncommon and a $20 foil. It’s not hard to imagine the foils doubling by the time rotation hits, and not losing any value at rotation, simply due to the number of people playing it in Legacy and Modern.


My colleague James Chillcott bought a foil set of Japanese Swiftspears for $32 at the beginning and sold them at $240. I would not be surprised at all to see the JP foils hit $75 or even $100 in the next year. This is one of the ways that a Burn deck can go from budget to pimp, and you should spend accordingly.

Siege Rhino

Another card that has lots of room to grow, now that Khans isn’t being opened as much. I like picking up both foils and nonfoils right now, at about $10/$20. I’d be looking to move the nonfoils in the next few months, but the foils could prove to have real legs.

Siege Rhino might be an excellent case study for Cube appeal. If you can manage the mana, this pays you off very well, but not every Cube is designed to have enough fixing for three colors on turn four. Sure, splashing for Fireball and the like is a longtime tradition, but would you splash this? Perhaps the better question is, can you?

Foil Clever Impersonator 

With a foil multiplier at about 6x, this has my eye. I’m all for picking these up and just waiting. As I said way back when Khans first came out, this is the best Clone effect ever, depending on how you feel about Phantasmal Image. Picking these up under $20 right now is a steal, because they are going to increase, slowly but surely.

Foil Treasure Cruise

While some vendors I talked to at GP San Jose wanted to be picking these up at buylist prices, there are plenty of larger vendors who are staying away altogether. (For instance, this card is not on ChannelFireball’s buylist.) If I were able to buy these at $3-$5, I would be thinking about it too.

As an individual, though, I’m staying away unless the price absolutely craters at rotation. The nearest example I can find to this card is Mental Misstep. It seems unlikely that a card banned in Modern and Legacy can have a price this high, but everything is keyed in on the price of entry. Did you buy at the lowest? Great! Sock these away for a while.

Foil Dig Through Time

I’m happy to wait until rotation for these to hit a low, because not enough people will keep this at that time, since it isn’t legal in Modern. It’s still Legacy-approved, though!

Don’t buy this yet…but be thinking about it.

Prerelease Foils

In case you didn’t know, both Khans and Fate Reforged had prereleases where a few foils were stamped with the date of that prerelease. There were 40 in Khans and 30 in Fate Reforged, and it’s not yet clear how many there will be in Dragons of Tarkir’s prerelease packs, if there are any.

These are not quite alternate-art cards, but they represent an additional layer of scarcity. When you find these in random binders, trade for them at the foil price or a little more. Having the rarest version of a card sometimes comes in handy.

All of these are things to consider, now that Khans isn’t being opened. This is different from rotational planning, these are cards that I’m picking up for the longer-term haul.

Next week, we cover this coming summer’s giant money vacuum!


FTV: Angels

By: Cliff Daigle

So back when the Commander 2015 preconstructed decks were announced, I thought sure we would get Serra and a deck full of Angels.

Instead we got some equipment and it was disappointing, Containment Priest notwithstanding.

Monday, Wizards announced that this summer’s From the Vault series will be Angels! This is both better and worse than being in a preconstructed deck. Thank goodness we’re no longer getting preview cards in the FTV series, as the slots are just too precious.


So what are the rules for FTV? How can we know what will be in this? The last three sets have been Realms, FTV 20, and Annihilation. So we have to go back to 2011 to find a creature-based set. Since that was from a while ago, and focused on multicolor cards, I’m not treating it as a hard and fast guide, but there’s a few key points.

#1: Increase supply of some hard-to-find cards. This is straight out of Gavin Verhey’s article on FTV: Annihilation last year. This is the category that I’m least sure about, as most of the Portal Angels have already seen a reprint. FTV represents one way to get foil versions of cards that couldn’t be put into a Standard set or a special set (Conspiracy, Modern Masters)

#2: Appeal to the casual and tournament players. This usually means that there will be one valuable card and a few of other semi-pricey ones, and then cards that are almost like filler, but fun filler.

#3: Represent a range of colors and strategies from the past. I love it. This is going to be a primarily white set, as white has nearly all the Angels. So the non-white Angels are going to be a bit more likely.

#4: Be a little surprising. Think Form of the Dragon in FTV: Dragons, or Smokestack in FTV: Annihilation. This is, by far, the most fun to guess about.

Let’s go over some honorable mentions. I feel these could make it in, but they are not my #1 pick for one reason or another.

Razia, Boros Archangel
Fallen Angel
Lightning Angel
Platinum Angel
Angel of the Dire Hour
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
Luminarch Ascension
Archangel of Strife
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Archangel of Thune
Angel of Light
Avenging Angel
Blinding Angel
Emeria Angel
Empyrial Archangel
Exalted Angel
Guardian Seraph
Serra Avenger
Wayward Angel
Angel of Despair
Copper-Leaf Angel
Crypt Angel
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
Iona, Shield of Emeria

These cards represent the ‘I wouldn’t be surprised’ tier of Angels. All of these would be worthy inclusions in detailing the history of this iconic tribe. Copper-Leaf Angel is a good candidate for a surprise, but I’d really be shocked if that was in over Platinum Angel. Luminarch Ascension is a hard card to leave out, but it’s a ‘target acquired’ sort of card that if you play it, you’ll be punished all game for it. It’s a bit punishing for casual players, too.

The last two, Linvala and Iona, are a strong hunch on my part. Linvala is rather reprintable, even as a legend. She’s not more powerful than High Sentinels of Arashin, for example. I’d expect to see Linvala in another set soon, maybe even MM2015 this summer. Iona has the distinction of being one of the most unfun and non-interactive cards ever printed, allowing you to have an answer in hand but sorry! you can’t play it. I don’t think Iona will be in this set. Her price and casual appeal don’t demand a reprint the way Avacyn does.

A special note: both Guiding Spirit and Sustaining Spirit would have been on the list, except they are on the Reserved List instead.

With regard to my picks for the set, I’m going to list what I think the value will be initially and what the value will end up at. I’ll also give the financial effect on the originals, foil and nonfoil. For reference, I’m looking at things like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, who took a hit in foil and nonfoil when FTV:Twenty came out. Many cards do take a hit to the foil and nonfoil prices, Maze of Ith and Armageddon among them. I expect a similar path for these Angels.

My picks


Avacyn, Angel of Hope – The lock of the set. Avacyn is ridiculous in any deck that can play her, and the reason why your EDH decks need to be packing non-destructive answers like Terminus or Hallowed Burial. She’s iconic, has a great story, and is incredibly powerful.

I would expect Avacyn to be the chase card of this set, and have a price to match. History, with Jace and others, suggests that her price will be at the highest immediately and come down gradually, and in her case, very slowly. The nonfoil will drop somewhat, to about $20 or so, but I think the foil version will rebound to its current level within a few months.

Serra Angel – You may not agree with its inclusion, but the story cannot be told without the original, overpowered version. Yes, she’s overpowered. She is nearly on par with Wingmate Roc, and she was an uncommon! In many ways, removal had to be good to deal with creatures this good, which is a history Magic has spent the last couple of years overcoming.

There are a lot of promo versions of this card out there, with lots of different art. The ‘redeem’ foil featuring the original Douglas Shuler art won’t be affected at all by this printing. Every other version will take a hit and stay low, considering the sheer number of sets this card has been in: sixteen of them, not counting duel decks!

Angel of Finality – This is the first of three ‘has never been foil’ cards I’m picking for this set. It’s a surprisingly underplayed sideboard card in Legacy (you can’t pay two colorless more than Rest in Peace to get a 3/4 flyer?) and it’s a card I really like in my Kaalia deck. More people should be playing this card in Commander and Cube.

The nonfoils from Commander 2013 will lose some value, but I expect this foil to keep a surprising price for a while. A bit of warning: I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended up in a regular set sometime soon. Four mana for a 3/4 flyer plus upside is Restoration Angel.

Silver Seraph – This is a card that is more fragile, more expensive, and less surprising than Dictate of Heliod, but it remains a really awesome card. Threshold is a very easy condition to satisfy in casual formats, and this does a lot of work for you despite costing eight mana.

I think that this will be one of the more expensive cards initally, as the foils are just tough to find, being from a low point in Magic’s sales. I doubt there will be much effect on the prices of the pack foil and the nonfoil, though.

Seraph – Seven mana for a 4/4 flyer. Sure, you get to keep anything it kills or helps to kill, but it’s still a lot of mana for not a lot of effect. This has not yet had a foil, its only printings have been in nonfoil sets to date. This is exactly the sort of card that Wizards likes to dig up and put into an FTV set, just as a reminder of days gone by.

Despite the fun flavor of an angel killing a creature and then enslaving it, I expect this to be one of the cheapest cards from the set and there will be downward pressure on the nonfoil’s price as a result.

Angel of Fury – Angels have had all sorts of abilities to show that they are spirits of the next world. Angels allow others to be reborn, and this one gets reborn. It was one of two Portal candidates, and while you might not like the cost or the shuffle, it’s another card that hasn’t had a foil version yet.

The price of this card is mostly due to the low supply of Portal cards out there. Not as rare as the Three Kingdoms cards, but still not easy to find. I expect this nonfoil to take a significant hit and not really recover.


Tariel, Reckoner of Souls – Kaalia’s compatriot in the Heavenly Inferno deck, Tariel is a very busted card if you ever have it in play. Unlike Seraph, the cards it gets will stay even if Tariel leaves play, so it’s Wrath or bust once this gets going. It’s a random effect, but in a couple of turns, you’ll just have it all.

Price-wise, this is likely to be one of the stronger cards if the set shakes out as I expect it to. Tariel is easy to include in Kaalia decks, and this will be the only foil version available for some time. The FTV price will be reasonable, but the nonfoil is going to lose value.


Akroma, Angel of Fury – The only mono-red Angel, she’s color-shifted and has Morph. Bringing back this mechanic right now is a little too perfect. She also adds a nice touch to casual decks with Morphs in them, because your Morph can now be super-terrifying. It’s always baffled me a bit that this Akroma lacks haste.

This will cause a hit to the price of the Planar Chaos foil, but it will recover. Remember that a lot of people really don’t like the foiling process of the FTV cards, so they will pay a premium to get the pack foil. The nonfoils, including the Commander 2011 version, will lose some of their value but not too much.


Aurelia, the Warleader – The red/white slot is surprisingly contested. Razia, Aurelia, Basandra, and Gisela are all fine cards, but I’m going to let personal bias win this one. Aurelia is a house, capable of ending games out of nowhere, and requiring an instant-speed removal spell.

I will be sad to see her reprinted, for I picked up ten of her around $3 each and I have been pleased to see her growth. I think her nonfoil takes a small hit, but will recover in a year or so. The foil will recover faster, and be more stable.


Jenara, Asura of War – It’s tough for me to put this in over the equally-mythic Empyrial Archangel, but being a legend, and from a smaller set puts Jenara over the top. Jenara also plays well with the Tiny Leaders format, though I don’t think this set was designed recently enough for that to have been a factor.

Her price will fall slightly but it’ll go back up fairly quickly, and Tiny Leaders will help with that. I suspect the FTV price will stabilize nicely between the current foil/nonfoil split.


Desolation Angel – It’s tough for me to include this over Fallen Angel or Angel of Despair. The effect that Desolation Angel offers is unique, though, and this has one of the biggest foil/nonfoil splits around. I don’t think nonfoils will be hurt at all, but the foils will take a big dive and might not recover.


Iridescent Angel – Pristine Angel was in Conspiracy, so now the broken predecessor can have a chance to shine. I really hope this has new art, as the blue line doesn’t really say iridescence to me. This can wear an Equipment for pure profit, as only colorless flyers (or colorless reach) can block it.

This is already quite cheap in nonfoil, but expect the foils to lower by a couple of dollars for a year or so.


Maelstrom Archangel – Another card from Alara block, with the price to match. It’s the only five-color Angel ever, and I imagine if they had the chance, they would go back and make this Legendary for Commander players. This is a card that Kaalia of the Vast would dearly love to have on the team, but it’s just not to be.

I think that this has the most to lose when it’s reprinted. The foil is currently only about twice the nonfoil, and both of those will be hit hard by an appearance in this FTV. Supply has never been big for Conflux, so adding this special set will do significant damage to the prices. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was down half its value in either foil or nonfoil.

Non-Angel Creatures

Angelic Destiny – This is the good way to turn your non-Angels into angelic beings, and do so over and over again. It’s got a certain level of inevitability, but not on the scale of Rancor. Just four mana to add flying, first strike, and +4/+4 is pretty bonkers, even for a mythic.

This is another card that will take a beating price-wise, I think. Magic 2012, being from nearly four years ago, is not as common as you might think. I love this art, and especially in foil. I don’t believe it’ll be as bad as Maelstrom Archangel, but it will be down for a long while.

Entreat the Angels – I really love the Miracle frame in foil, and the Terminus from last year looks good to me. Entreat has popped up a few times in Legacy Miracles, and it’s a card I love in any deck with white mana.

I actually don’t think the nonfoil price will be budged at all. This is an easy card to add to any casual deck, even Tiny Leaders! The foil will take a minor ding in price, but it won’t stay down for long.

Join me next week as we look ahead to one very expensive summer!


Don’t Try This At Home

By: Cliff Daigle

A Pro Tour is in the books and I’m not going to regale you with tales of cards spiking out of nowhere.

In fact, if I could, I try to pull you away from such a quest. There’s a lot more to be made in the search for stability than the excitement of being in the middle of a spike.

Trying to ride the surge of a card is a terrible, terrible idea. It is fraught with pitfalls and problems, and you’re rarely going to make much.

Let’s get into an example.

Amulet of Vigor

Putting two decks into the top 16, a lot of words have been written about this little artifact. It’s been the turd in the punchbowl when it comes to opening Worldwake packs for a while, and buying a pack for $20-$30 and seeing this as your foil rare will just make you cry.

Then again, if you’re wasting money on buying random, old, box-mapped loose packs, you should be crying more. But I digress.


Amulet has two spikes that you can see on the graph. It’s also got a lot of falling. To make money on this card during the spike, you needed to be among the first to buy it so that you can get it sold ASAP. That’s one of the big issues with buying cards mid-spike. If they aren’t in hand, you can get very burned.

Did you order your cards that Thursday or Friday night? If you’re lucky, and spent extra on shipping, you’ll have them in hand for the beginning of next week. Then you get to send them out again.

Especially once shipping and fees are taken into account, it’s very difficult to acquire and then resell cards during the spike of an event. So how are we to make money?

Primarily, you’re trying to acquire value. You’re buying the cards from a website/vendor before they have a chance to adjust their prices upward. Hopefully, this means you pick up Azusa at a price under $30, when she’s now closer to $40.

What you’ll be trying to do is resell or trade the card at the new value, having only spent a fraction of that value in cash. This will likely rule out buylisting, unless the card settles at a new price more than double the old price. Vendors and stores are slow to raise their buylists, especially online.

Why are they slow to raise their buylist prices?

Scion of the Ur-Dragon is why. If you’ve been following this card, you’ve seen it take a huge rise in price…and then a large fall. It turns out that the pool of people who need a new EDH general is relatively small. 

I told you a month ago it was a good buy at $2. It spiked up into the $20 range, and now it’s settling in around $10. Buylists, though, have it for under $5, except for one vendor. Stores and vendors do not want to get caught buying into the hype. They are content to sell into it and wait for the price to settle before getting more.

You want to be very, very cautious about buying a card that has started to rise. Sure, if you can get in at the early price, that’s fantastic. But if you’re buying Scion when it’s already gone up to $10, then your margins are significantly smaller.

Also, there’s the problem of sellers who don’t ship. This is more of a problem when there’s a Banned/Restricted announcement, but if the announcement happens and you’ve still got Worldgorger Dragons listed at $3, you’re obligated to send them or face the negative feedback. Some sellers are willing to take a negative hit there in order to get more money for their cards, and if you buy from one seller, then immediately list that card on eBay with a Buy it Now, you’re passing along that obligation while still being responsible.

So what do I think you should do?

First of all, listen to writers and players who you trust. Go with those who have experience, or who explain their thoughts well, or who have been right, or just the ones who you like. Whatever the case may be, that’s telling you what to get while things are still calm.

Do keep in mind, even the best of us are often wrong. If you’re buying things at a good price, the next step is to be patient. Lots of cards have gone up, and some have hit it huge. That is where you’ll make consistent gains in value, with good planning.

Second, when a card is spiking, sell what you have and don’t try to be a hero on getting every single penny. Get your profit and get out. If you hold it too long, you’re running the risk of a letdown, such as what Amulet and Scion have had.

As part of this, keep your collection organized enough that you can find your bulk rares as they become needed. I like to keep my rares separate, but if you can sort your cards by set, then color, then rarity, you’ll find it works well without needing to alphabetize.

Finally, keep track of what you do. It’s possible that you can just remember the values you got cards at, but when it comes to tracking your profits, it’s very useful to know what price you got in at, so you can make a profit without trying to remember all the values.

Hope this helps. Happy trading!