Grinder Finance – Are you a Rick or are you a Morty?

*burrrp* I’m going to preface this article with a belch, and the fact that I’ve just finished binge watching Rick and Morty.  If you have not watched Rick and Morty, I’m sorry to hear that.  You’re doing a great disservice to yourself and your Rick.  I assume if you’ve not watched the show, you’re probably still a Morty.  It’s okay though, I’m here to help you blossom into a beautiful (if you can call it that) Rick.

I’ll assume if you’re still reading that you haven’t stopped to binge watch Rick and Morty.  It’s a shame but I suppose I will need to briefly describe the dichotomy of their relationship.  Rick and Morty are a lot like Batman and Robin, except Batman is a time-traveling genuis and Robin is a naive, gullible child.  Okay maybe that wasn’t the best description and it doesn’t quiet fit what I’m trying to explain here but bear with me.  Rick is a quick decisive thinker that analyzes all outcomes of a scenario before proceeding.  Morty is a whimsical character that often goes through life flying by the seat of his pants.  Whenever Morty decides that something that Rick is doing is immoral, unfun, or stupid, he challenges Rick based on some very loose ideas.  Rick is not the kind of guy who cares enough to prevent Morty from failing so many of these adventures end adversely for Morty.  In Magic finance you want to be a Rick.  You want to be able to call your picks early while having sound information to back up your claims.  If you are a Morty and wait for other smarter people to figure out you end up the greater fool.

If you read James Chillcott’s article this week, you may have noticed my pickups were pretty solid given the weekend’s events.  I was definitely a Rick last week and upped my Rick game this weekend.  I was reading Twitter (as I am known to do) on Sunday night and Mtgprice.com writer, Travis Allen, posted this pertaining to the stock of Demonic Pacts on TCG Player.  It was a card that I’d personally played with and it was powerful but it didn’t make the top 8.  I quickly browsed through remaining copies and there were only a handful of sellers with the card in stock.  I noticed ChannelFireball had listed theirs at a whopping $20 per copy.  My acquisition price was a mere 425 Puca Points (which are like not even real dollars, right?) so I was cautiously optimistic about listing my copies for $15.  It seems like a no-brainer to list the cards but I am also a player of the game.  If this card breaks out and becomes really popular in Standard there is a chance of it being worth big bucks and I will need it to play.  The reality of the situation is that in my testing it always felt like you had to jump through too many loops to make your deck able to play the card.  It will be fringe and it might be good for a weekend but it’s unlikely to be an all-star $40 mythic for it’s lifetime in Standard.  The opportunity cost to rebuy the cards later is unlikely to be more than the amount I would get for them now.

I listed my copies and took a non-proverbial poop.  I returned to my computer to continue chatting about the exciting Pro Tour results and I found a bite.  A greater fool had rushed to purchase their copies and snatched up my playset.  While you won’t always sell your cards in a single night, or poop (like in my case), but there you always have the ability to be in the right place at the right time.  It takes a real Rick to known when an opportunity has come along and pounce on it.

Ok Morty, enough talk about being a Rick.  We’ve got some card prices to briefly talk about.  Unfortunately, as I have mentioned before, articles are an extremely slow way to relay information.  If you waited for this to come out to get advice about pickups over the weekend then we’re far past that point.  Fortunately, a lot of people had been banging pots and pans and shouting from the rooftop about what cards to pickup before this weekend.  If you don’t have a twitter account you’re really doing yourself a disservice and probably costing yourself a lot of money.  Twitter, like most social media, is a very social platform that people talk about their interests on.  While you may think it’s a place for mostly pet pictures or food pictures there are some people who would rather talk MTG finance.  You can quickly browse the #mtgfinance hashtag but I find it extremely difficult to glean any real useful information from it.  All of the writers here at MTGPrice have a twitter account that post great up to the minute information.  But sometimes you have to deal with Jason Alt tweeting @Midnight hoping to become funnier somehow when they hopefully retweet him.  If you had been following me, however, you may have been able to be the smartest Morty around! In between the all the “I called it”s, I posted this innocuous tweet.  Now I’m not saying you should follow me for my insightful tweets, but I’m not saying you shouldn’t.

 

Now is the part where I drop a little Rick insight into you about what I think are great pickups this week.

fulminator

Modern Masters 2015 foils have begun to rise.  Much like non-foil Modern Masters 2015 cards, a rising tide will lift all boats.  I think the product for this has stopped being opened and with Modern purchases pretty much bottomed out there is no where for this card to go but up.  It is unlikely people will need less of them with the constant threat of Tron and Bloom rearing their ugly heads.

heath

Windswept Heath (more specifically the clash pack if you can still find them under $25) is a fickle beast.  It took a huge hit with it’s inclusion in the clash pack but this is not Bloodstained Mire.  Arguably one of the best fetchlands in Modern, it’s hard to see this ever command a sub $10 price tag ever again.  If you don’t own a set there isn’t really any incentive to wait any longer.

dragonlord atarkathunderbreak

My last pickups are a pair of red dragons!  Dragonlord Atarka is the clear standout among the crowd of Elder Dragons right now.  This card has the biggest upside if See the Unwritten becomes popular with some Eldrazi in Battle for Zendikar.  Thunderbreak Regent is a card that will become a lot more popular in red mirrors because of it’s huge size and punishing trigger.  It’s even a fringe Modern playable card.  I don’t expect to see any more dips in it’s price as we get closer to rotation when there become less good four drops.

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PROTRADER: Why the Pro Tour Results Don’t Matter As Much As You Think

For our purposes as financiers, the results of this Pro Tour don’t matter that much. Granted, if you were holding a whole bunch of copies of Abbot of Keral Keep or Demonic Pact, they certainly matter in the short term, and as Sigmund illustrated yesterday, you should definitely be cashing in on these specs sooner rather than later.

But in the grand scheme of things, here’s the situation: half the cards in the format are going to rotate in less than two months. Basing your decisions as a financier on what happened last weekend is short-sighted at best, but we should absolutely take a look at the top Standard decks to see if anything will remain largely intact post-rotation.

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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying & Selling This Week (Aug 3/15)

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 has occurred to us at MTGPrice that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when and why our writing team actually puts our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such running this weekly series breaking down what we’ve been buying and selling each week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought for personal use without hope of profit. 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 we’ve been up to this week:

Buying Period: July 24th – Aug 1st, 2015

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

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

This week I’m mostly working on my deal to sell the Super Collection, but I’ve also started in on some select singles that I see as good opportunities.

BOUGHT

  • 10x Evolutionary Leap (Foil) @ $10.25/per
  • 10x Return to the Ranks (Foil) @ $2/per
  • 13x Return to the Ranks (Jap Foil) @ $1.50/per
  • 16x Rally the Ancestors @ $2/per
  • 4x Demonic Pact @ $5.45

This set of buys is mostly about cards I think have a future in Modern with a dash of hot Standard action. I’m convinced that both Leap and Return to the Ranks have what it takes to assemble compelling combo scenarios in Modern. Not only are decks already floating to the surface of the metagame, but these are precisely the kinds of cards that get better as more combo pieces get printed to align with their build around benefits. Frank Karsten posted a fairly compelling set of videos with a Ranks deck last week but I think this is just the tip of the iceberg vs. what’s possible down the road. Likewise, Evolutionary Leap is being underestimated in a world where you can set up shop with Bitterblossom or Lingering Souls and then dig for whatever limited set of value creatures you need to run your game. Siege Rhino? A 187 creature? Somebody will figure it out and it will be beautiful.

Rally the Ancestors didn’t make the Top 8 in Standard at Pro Tour Origins this weekend, but the deck may still find itself in a good position later this season, so I was willing to snap up a few sets at the low end of the spectrum, aiming to unload them around $4-5 in trade at a future peak. If it doesn’t get anywhere in Standard it’s just as likely to cause trouble in Modern as Return to the Ranks. See the Sam Black Rally in Modern video if you don’t believe me.  Demonic Pact was on my Digging For Dollars: MTG Origins list and as predicted, it showed up in a few different builds that ran deep into Day 2 at the Pro Tour. The deck may need some work to stay in the metagame, but the Sultai version that Toronto local Daniel Fournier was running looked fun as hell so I picked up a set to fool around with.

 

SOLD (PucaTrade)

  • 2x Chord of Calling @ $8.02 ($3.50 cost)
  • 1x Academy Ruins @ $12.39 (pack opened)
  • 1x Mikokoro, Center of the Sea @ $10.44 (pack opened)
  • 1x Minamo, School at Water’s Edge @ $19.80 ($8 cost)
  • 1x Horizon Canopy @ $57.32 ($22 cost)
  • 3x Flooded Grove @ $23.56 ($10 cost/per)
  • 1x Grove of the Burnwillows @ $57.12 (pack opened)
  • 1x Chalice of the Void @ $16.42 (pack opened)
  • 1x Ghostly Prison @ $6.97 ($2 cost)
  • 1x Sword of Feast and Famine @ $17.44 ($6 cost)
  • 1x Liliana of the Veil @ $101.75 ($55 cost)

Having recently acquired a Mishra’s Workshop through Pucatrade, I am now emboldened to seek out additional opportunities to trade up into big ticket cards. As such I’m rebuilding the account quickly to about $1400 worth of Pucapoints, with a focus on unloading specs that are peaking or pack opened cards that I had laying around in my collection without purpose in my decks. If you’ve got something special worth more than $500 that you’d like to turn into Pucapoints, look me up ’cause I’m on the hunt.

Houston Whitehead (@TNSGingerAle)

BOUGHT

  • 12x Surrak, the Hunter @$1 per,
  • 12x Eidolon of Blossoms @ .50 per
  • 12x Stratus Dancers @.50 per

Jim Casale (@Phrost_)

BOUGHT (PucaTrade_

  • 5x Abbot of Keral Keep
  • 4x Demonic Pact
  • 3x Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
  • 1x Flooded Strand (foil)
  • 2x Pyromancer’s Goggles

Jim says:

“I feel like any mythic rare under $5 in MTG Origins could possibly spike and I wanted to insulate myself if I needed to play the cards next weekend.”

Jason Alt (@jasonealt)

BOUGHT

  • 7x Night of Souls’ Betrayal @ 4.85
  • 3x Night of Soul’s Betrayal (SP) @ 4.05

 

Guo Heng Chin (@theguoheng)

BOUGHT

  • 4x Starfield of Nyx @ $5.75/per (from LGS)
  • 4x Herald of the Pantheon @ $1.67/per (from LGS)
  • 4x Sigil of the Empty Throne @ $1/per (from LGS)
  • 3x Disciple of the Ring @ $1.83/per (from LGS)
  • 2x Foil Starfield of Nyx @ $15.70/per (from LGS)

Guo says:

“I tested John Taylor’s Abzan Constellation list which top 8ed SCG Richmond last weekend and I was super impressed with it. Starfield of Nyx was a lot better than I expected. I grabbed a playset of the key components from Magic Origins the next day to make sure I can play the deck if it breaks out at the Pro Tour. And with the WMCQ season coming (and Game Day next weekend. Foil full art Languish!), I thought it prudent to have access to at least a few archetypes.

Right after making the purchase, I received a text from the other LGS I frequent that they’ve now got Starfield and Demonic Pact (yay!) in stock after new stock of Magic Origins arrived in the middle of the week. Oh wait, the Starfield is foil. Fine I’ll take it. Tyler Jacobsen’s rendition of Nyx’s starfield looks like one of those art that would look gorgeous in foil. Plus a foil copy would be nice for EDH purposes.

When I arrived at the LGS for FNM yesterday, it turns out that they have not one but two foil Starfields. Fine, I’ll take both. Savings are overrated anyway.

It turned out that the foil isolation on the art wasn’t as good as I expected. Whoever did the foil isolation for Starfield of Nyx should be ashamed of him or herself. It was one of those lazily done foil isolation (let’s foil the whole artwork! Re: Dragonlord Ojutai foil) that ruined an artwork that could otherwise be gorgeously rendered in foil. Oh well, I’m sure financially it wouldn’t matter at all, and they are for personal keeps anyway (I’ll be selling my non-foils now). Now could someone please break Starfield of Nyx in Modern so my shiny Starfields are worth $60? Hint: Omniscience. Hint, hint: Gifts for Starfield, Obzedat’s Aid, Snapcaster, and Omniscience? Regardless, I do think Starfield of Nyx foils have good long-term potential due to its uniqueness. That card is begging to be broken in EDH.”
Note: The rest of the guys were quiet this week.

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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PROTRADER: Pro Tour Origins and Some Important Numbers

Rumor on the street is that my article last week on credit buylisting was unlocked for everyone to see. Whether or not it was intentional, I’m delighted at the positive feedback I received on it. Due to popular interest, I intend to revisit this topic at a later date. I’m still actively testing my hypothesis—that anyone can turn store credit at one shop into greater store credit at another shop, and so on. Once I have some worthwhile data, I’ll share some steps along my credit journey.

For this week, however, I believe something more timely needs to be discussed. Of course I am referring to Pro Tour Origins, which took place in Vancouver last weekend.

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