Potential Commander Spikes

By: Cliff Daigle

With Commander 2014 being a month old, it’s time to take a look at the five decks, and see if there’s something to be anticipated this time around. Last year, there was a series of spikes around cards that went well with Nekusar, the Mindrazer. Since that was a new legend who came with the chase card (True-Name Nemesis) I want to follow that lead.

Containment Priest is currently the priciest card, thanks to her spike during the Legacy GP. So what’s in the white deck and what might we make money on? There’s two themes: Equipment and Tokens.

On the equipment side, I like a few things: First, foil copies of Taj-Nar Swordsmith can be had for $1 or less. It’s much easier to recur a creature than to get back a sorcery in an all-white deck, though the Gift is a $3 uncommon that could go way up. Steelshaper Apprentice is slow, yes, unless the first equipment you tutor up is Lightning Greaves

Stoneforge Mystic is also good but she’s too expensive for a useful spec right now. She’s going to get reprinted before too long. Stonehewer Giant was just in Modern Masters and can be had for about $2, with foils going for between $7-12, depending on edition.

The token theme is harder to spot. My favorite two, though, are Twilight Drover (two printings, about $1) and Custodi Soulbinders from Conspiracy. Sure, you can have Geist-Honored Monk or others, but I like cards that offer a backup plan.

The red deck offers three valuable cards: Daretti, Scrap Savant, Wurmcoil Engine, and Dualcaster Mage. The legends of Feldon of the Third Path and Bosh, Iron Golem make is clear that this deck is all about artifacts coming and going from and to the graveyard. Kuldotha Forgemaster has already crept up a little in value, but what else might?

I like Precursor Golem to give me Golem tokens, Genesis Chamber, Myr Battlesphere, Myr Matrix, Myr Turbine for lots of Myr, Pentavus for value, and Urza’s Factory for the long games.

Summoning Station is the secret tech for this deck, though. Artifacts are cycling from play to the graveyard like crazy and you want to get some bonuses. I would also watch Darksteel Forge. Though there’s three printings of it, it’s an effect that is very good at keeping your things in play once you get them there.

The green deck is all about lands and Elves. I don’t think that an Elf deck has much room to grow, but a lot of the less-common elves got a new printing, like Priest of Titania. I think that Elvish Promenade and Jagged-Scar Archers are the ones to watch. They are Lorwyn uncommons, so there’s not that many out there by modern standards. The Duels promos are not a large enough amount to matter too much.

Titania as a legend offers some interesting designs. You want to sacrifice lands and get value. I think Life from the Loam is the biggest potential gainer from this build, and it’s had just enough reprinting that it could go up a couple of dollars. Crucible of Worlds won’t go up too much, but that’s gold for a deck built around sacrificing lands.

Other cards to watch: Dust Bowl, Constant Mists, Crop Rotation, Zuran Orb, Scapeshift, Rath’s Edge, Lotus Vale, Scorched Ruins, Petrified Field. These all sacrifice lands to gain benefit, which when Titania is out, gives you some 5/3 Elemental action too.

Also consider that Doubling Season will party like a rock star in this deck, as will Parallel Lives and other token-doublers like Parallel Evolution.

I also like Terminal Moraine and Myriad Landscape in this deck, but I don’t think those prices would grow very much.

In the blue deck, we have Teferi, Temporal Archmage and Stitcher Geralf. Those builds could go a lot of ways, but there’s a strong card-draw theme in the blue deck and so I have two suggestions: Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur to maximize your card drawing and Psychosis Crawler.

The Crawler is so amazingly good in a lot of decks, but there are extra foil versions out there, since it was the foil included in one of the Mirrodin Besieged intro packs.

Finally, Ob Nixilis’s deck. Ghoulcaller Gisa offers a very straightforward ‘Zombie horde’ strategy, and Ob Nixilis offers a repeatable method for draining/gaining life. I would look out for the re-rise of the Exquisite Blood/Sanguine Bond combo with Ob Nixilis.

My favorite card to add to a Gisa deck would easily be Endless Ranks of the Dead. If Gisa gets you two Zombies, this adds a third. The growth chart gets really crazy from there up. Gempalm Polluter is good, and Gravecrawler might be the perfect card to sacrifice to Gisa. Also watch out for Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, as he enables a lot of shenanigans.

Shepherd of Rot is pretty amazing at what it does, and combined with Gutless Ghoul and some Gisa activations, you can do a lot of work. If Gisa makes a few tokens, the sky is the limit. Door of Destinies in a tribal deck, Obelisk of Urd or Coat of Arms if you just want to grow a horde. Stronghold Assassin is very strong, and in a multicolored deck, Deadapult is the best combination of name, ability, and flavor ever!

From this list, I’d say that Steelshaper’s Gift is the most likely to spike. I think Darksteel Forge won’t be far behind. I’ve tried to outline a range of options, though, so if you see these in someone’s binder at FNM, feel free to pick up a few spares.


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Magic the Gathering Black Friday Roundup 2014

by James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Hey all,

While many of you are gnawing on a turkey leg, there are some pretty sweet deals going down on Magic: The Gathering cards, sealed product and accessories as part of the growing madness that is Black Friday.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the deals to keep an eye out for, including sales already available and some items that go on sale Thursday at midnight. Not surprisingly all of this action is online so fire up your Paypal accounts and get your credit cards ready to go Aggressive Mining for value. (Don’t be surprised if these are sold out by the time you get there….after all, the race is on!)

Miniature Market

You might not have these guys on your radar since they don’t sell singles, but this site has some great deal so sealed product worth jumping on, all of which are already live:

  • Magic 2013 English Booster Box: $64.00
  • Magic 2014 “Rush of the Wild” Event Deck: $12.00
  • Theros Holiday Gift Box: $12.00
  • Journey Into Nyx “Wrath of the Mortals” Event Deck: $8.00
  • Conspiracy Booster Box: $72.00
  • Modern Event Deck: $40
  • Magic 2015 Clash Pack: $20

modern deck

At just $1.78/pack, the Magic 2013 booster box is cheap draft fodder and the 2014 Event Deck is basically free when you consider it has a Stomping Grounds in it. The Theros Holiday Gift Box is nothing special, but it’s a solid box for holding your collection for free given that it comes with 4 packs.

The Wrath of Mortals Event Deck was widely panned but with 3x Young Pyromancer, Anger of the Gods, Aetherling, Battlefield Thaumaturge, Mizzium Mortars, Steam Augury and Chandra’s Pheonix, the value is there at just $8. Conspiracy was all the rage for four weeks last summer and then forgotten, but it’s a pretty excellent multi-player draft format and the chance at some very pricy foils makes these boxes one of the better long term holds in booster land at $72.

The Modern Event Deck was a huge disappointment to the people hoping for some truly serious reprints like Bitterblossom or Lilianna, but in truth, the set boasts at least $80-90 in easy value and at $40 it’s a snap buy IMHO. Here’s a rundown of just some of the relevant cards totaling $85 in case you’re still on the fence:

  • 1 Sword of Feast and Famine: $10
  • 1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant: $10
  • 3 Path to Exile: $15 total
  • 3 Kataki, War’s Wage: $6 total
  • 2 Dismember: $4 total
  • 4 Windbrisk Heights: $8 total
  • 2 Inquisition of Kozilek: $10 total
  • 2 City of Brass: $6 total
  • 4 Caves of Koilos: $10 total
  • 4 Isolated Chapel: $6 total

As for the Magic 2015 Clash pack I’ve been milking those at $20 for months, selling the included Courser of Kruphix for $15 and holding Foil Alternate Art Prophet of Kruphix, Prognostic Sphinx and Temple of Mystery, and a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx along with a bunch of solid uncommons for future value/causal deck fodder.


ABUGames has just a handful of deals going down starting Thursday at midnight, and the most tempting are these two:

  • Commander 2013 Case (Set of all 5 Decks): $89.99
  • Jace vs. Chandra Duel Deck (Japanese): $19.99

Those of us who bought up sets of C13 around $125-150 last year are looking pretty silly right about now. Plenty of places are dumping them now around $120-125, and this $89.99 deal is sure to sell out given that this puts the decks at just $18 each and gives you immediate access to copies of Toxic Deluge and True-Name Nemesis, while providing some decent long term gain potential in the Prosh and Olora decks should you choose not to bust ‘em.

The Jace vs. Chandra deck is several years old and typically sought after in the $30-40 range due to the anime inspired art for the Planeswalkers, so it’s likely a snap buy even if just as trade fodder.


CoolStuffInc. isn’t typically known for their sweet sales, but they’ve got some solid deals on both singles and sealed product this year for Black Friday.



Here’s a sampler of the better deals:


  • Abrupt Decay (NM): $8.99
  • Abrupt Decay (NM/Foil): $69.99
  • Courser of Kruphix (NM): $10.99
  • Geist of Saint Traft (NM): $9.99
  • Goblin Guide (NM): $22.99
  • Mutavault (M14, NM): $12.99
  • Scrublands (Played): $64.99
  • Sidisi, Brood Tyrant: $2.99
  • Underground Sea (Revised, SP/MP): $239.99 
  • Volcanic Island (Revised, SP/MP): 214.99

Sealed Product

  • Commander 2013 (Mind Seize): $21.99
  • Jace vs. Vraska Duel Deck: $14.99
  • Khans of Tarkir Fat Pack: $27.99
  • Modern Event Deck: $44.99


Details aren’t final yet, but SCG is supposedly going to be offering 15-50% off a wide array of products starting on the 29th. Check back here for further info as it appears.


This sale is live as the “End of the Year Sale”. The sealed product doesn’t boast much in the way of excitement, but there are some fairly tasty mid/long range specs at good prices in the KTK singles section, including:

  • Anafenza, the Foremost: $2.99
  • Clever Impersonator: $3.49
  • Butcher of the Horde: $1.49
  • Crackling Doom: $0.99
  • Dig Through Time: $7.99
  • Ghostfire Blade: $0.25
  • Hardened Scales: $0.25
  • Hooded Hydra: $0.99
  • Jeskai Ascendancy: $1.99
  • Mantis Rider: $1.99
  • Narset, Enlightened Master: $1.49
  • Sagu Mauler: $0.49
  • Savage Knuckleblade: $1.49
  • See The Unwritten: $1.99
  • Seeker of the Way: $0.49
  • Sidisi, Brood Tyrant: $2.99
  • Villainous Wealth: $0.25
  • Wingmate Roc: $10.99

Of these options, I love Villainous Wealth at a quarter, Narset at $1.25 and See the Unwritten at $1.99 as cards that could easily double or triple in price on new cards and/or metagame shifts, not to mention long term casual appeal to set the floor. Clever Impersonator and Hooded Hydra are both undervalued mythics, with Hydra having the biggest upside so far. There’s also a good chance that both Wingmate Roc and Seeker of the Way can be buylisted for more than this price before they rotate out.


Though TCGPlayer claims to have a Black Friday sale going on, it’s unclear what facts justify their advertising exclaiming “the year’s lowest prices on Magic!”. I was unable to uncover pricing that was anything but ordinary, but ping me if any of you know different.


Though there’s nothing specific on their site to confirm it, CapeFearGames apparantly has a 15% off coupon usable all week. Try using “cyberweek”.

Face2Face Games

Canadian stalwart MTG retailer Face2Face Games is running a 15% off sale Thurs at midnight through Sunday. With the fact that most Canadian sites price to match US pricing, this boosts your potential discount from the US to as much as 30%. With $2.50 shipping to the US, this may be one of the better options. Coupon code should be: “BLACKFRIDAY2014″.


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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Daretti, Scrap Savant by Dan Scott

Commander Foils: Red

By Guo Heng Chin

Today we will be taking a look at popular red Commander foils that are criminally underpriced. I have been tinkering with the new Daretti, Scrap Savant deck which was an absolute blast to play with, and has about the best combination of Vorthos appeal to me Wizards could ever conjure up in a deck. I have an affinity for artifact decks and I love dragons but I never once imagined the day where a preconstructed deck would combine my favorite kind of deck with my favorite creature type. Thank you Wizards.

So I spent the last week or so looking for cards to bolster my Daretti deck, and at the same time kept an eye out for any potential foil Commander specs in red.

The most obvious one was a card already in the Daretti preconstructed deck :

It is blasphemy not to run Blasphemous Act in your red Commander decks.
It is blasphemy not to run Blasphemous Act in your red Commander decks.

Foil Innistrad: $3.74

No. of Foil Printings: 1

The price of foil copies of Blasphemous Act in relation to the amount of play the card sees in Commander is sacrilegious. Blasphemous Act is the third most played red card in scoeri’s database of most popular cards in Commander (compiled from all the Commander decklists posted or updated on mtgsalvation.com within the previous 365 days), and was also highlighted as a Commander staple in other lists of Commander staples here and here.

Blasphemous Act is the best red sweeper in Commander, in terms of damage to mana cost ratio. While most red sweepers scale in damage with the amount of mana spent to cast it, in Commander games Blasphemous Act is often a one mana spell that deals thirteen damage to everything, taking out even Eldrazis (at least those that are legal).

I am fairly surprised to find foil Blasphemous Acts sitting at just $3.74, with a stagnant price since the beginning of this year. Non-foil copies dipped in price slightly when Blasphemous Act was reprinted in the Commander 2014 Daretti deck, but the price of foil copies remained static.

Blasphemous Act is a very flavorful card and is not easy to fit into any block set. It could be included in Modern Masters II where there would be foil reprints, but I doubt Wizards would want to spend a rare slot on a card that was just reprinted in a supplemental product. Even if Blasphemous Act is in Modern Masters II and they significantly increase the print run of Modern Masters II compared to that of Modern Masters, the set will probably still be a limited print run product and I doubt that will tank the price of foil Blasphemous Acts by a large margin, if any at all.

At $3.74, I am bullish on foil copies of the best red board wipe in Commander.

Red has always been weak in the card selection and advantage department, which explains why some of the most popular red cards in Commander are Windfall-style cards.

It’s a Miracle!

Reforge your hand together with your soul.
Reforge your hand together with your soul.

Foil Avacyn Restored: $5.43

No. of Foil Printings: 1

Wheel of Fortune, the second most played red card in the list is a bit pricey, with the cheapest copy going for $20.80, but you can pick up foil copies of a functionally similar card at $5.43. Reforge the Soul has a near to nil chance of being reprinted in foil form with the highly polarised reception of the miracle mechanic. Furthermore, miracle cards have a special card frame, a point which I will return to in a bit. Reforge the Soul is currently the sixth most popular red card in Commander according to scoeri’s list.

Food for Thought:

I am going to delve into the realms of speculation here and argue that the unique card frame of a foil Reforge the Soul grants the card extra value in terms of collectibility. I would not say that a non-foil copy of a miracle card looks significantly better than cards with normal frames, but if you have seen a foil miracle card in real life, you would understand what I am trying to say:

Cameras do not capture miracles well, the reason why miracles are hard to document.
Cameras do not capture miracles well, the reason why miracles are hard to document.

Tell me the foil miracle card above does not have a sweet, shiny border. I think many would agree that the miracle border design brings out the shine in the foil.

While aesthetic appeal is a subjective issue, collectibility can be roughly defined as being correlated with the rarity and uniqueness of a card. Magic is a trading card game, and a card’s collectibility affects its price. Reprints with different frames (pre-Eight Edition frame versus the Modern card frame) or art are valued differently and I have an inkling that Commander-playable cards with a miracle border would possess a higher collector’s appeal based on the merit of being printed with a border found only in Avacyn Restored.

My argument is extremely speculative; discounting Judge Foil reprints in old borders, playable foils in miracle and Nyx-ified borders are relatively new and there has yet to be data to validate my point.

It’s a food for thought though.

Red Smashes Better than The Hulk

One of the reason I play Commander is that besides the camaraderie and insanely fun interactions, the format allows me to indulge in my sadistic tendencies in a socially acceptable manner. Back when Commander 2013 was just released, my pet Commander deck was a griefer Bant build that abuses the power of Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. I did not made many friends in the local 1v1 Commander scene with that deck. Thankfully Derevi got banned in 1v1 Commander before I alienated the whole community.

In my search for ways to spice Daretti up with a little grief, I stumbled upon the next card:

Foil Vandalblast
Vandalising Commander games since the fall of 2012.

Foil Return to Ravnica: $3.64

Number of Foil Printings: 1

Cheat in a Mycosynth Lattice with Daretti’s second ability. Overload a Vandalblast for a one-sided Obliterate and the ultimate schadenfreude moment, combo courtesy of Reddit user smokedoor5.

Destructive revelries aside, Vandalblast is the fifth most played red card in Commander as detailed by scoeri’s list above, and it is easy to see why: the power level of overload cards increase by magnitudes in Commander games. And they are asymmetrical, which is nice.

Vandalblast also sees play as a two-of in the sideboard of Modern Blue Moon and UR-based decks as a flexible Shatterstorm. Foil price alert there. Check out the price for another popular Modern sideboard card from the same block.

Foil Vandalblast is $3.64 as of writing, double its price from a month ago but if foil Wear//Tear broke $10, I am confident about the prospects of foil Vandalblast, which is a also a Commander staple on top of its Modern playability.

Talking about Commander staples that are also played in Modern brings me to the next card, a creature whom I have lost countless Modern games to.

Come to the Infinite Side

Conscripted into your Kiki-Jiki combo.
Conscripted into your Kiki-Jiki combo.

Foil Avacyn Restored: $1.81

No. of Foil Printings: 1

A Threaten on a pair of hasty legs, Zealous Conscripts is a decent Commander card on its own. However, the bulk of Zealous Conscripts’ popularity stemmed from the fact that Zealous Conscripts comprised the other half of the infinite combo with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker which is popular in both multiplayer and 1v1 Commander, and is the centerpiece of Modern Kiki Pod.

Being the only mono-red creature that can go off with Kiki-Jiki, Zealous Conscripts’ popularity hinged on Kiki-Jiki, who is well-loved in Commander both as one of the ninety-nine or as a Commander for his ability to go to town on value and his ability to pull off infinite combos. Any deck that runs Kiki-Jiki would want to run Zealous Conscripts and vice versa. As of writing, Kiki-Jiki placed seventh on scoeri’s list of most played red cards in Commander, and Zealous Conscripts barely trailed the cloning goblin at ninth place.

Being the foil rare in one of the Avacyn Restored preconstructed deck depressed the price tag of foil Zealous Conscripts. However, I highly doubt foil Zealous Conscripts would stay under $2 in the long term with the amount of play it is currently seeing.

Blazing Ahead

Judging from comments on Reddit and Twitter, the Daretti deck seemed to be very well received. Both Daretti and Feldon of the Third Path allow you to cheat-in creatures (and artifacts for Daretti) at well below their casting cost, an ability that is immensely popular with the Commander crowd. Daretti and Feldon’s popularity could equate to an influx in demand for Commander staples that fit into  mono-red Commander decks, driving up the prices of currently undervalued red foil Commander staples.

We are beginning to see the effect Daretti has on cards that fit into the deck: foils of Kudoltha Forgemaster, an artifact that fits perfectly in Daretti decks just spiked to $15 the day before this article is written and published.


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Accountability – A Seven Month Review

By: Jared Yost

Time to put my money where my mouth is. This is where you get to find out exactly what I’ve purchased, the amount I purchased, and at what price. I’m going back a whole seven months to show you which cards I’ve been picking up this year. At the end, we’ll see whether or not they worked out in my favor and what I’ve learn about my pickups.

My Therosian Manifesto

One thing I’ve really wanted to nail down when it comes to my forays into the Magic financial realm are goals. Yes, one of the most generic terms for success also applies here when trying to purchase Magic cards for value. At the beginning of the year my goals for enhancing my collection included the following:

  1. Focus on Foils Over Non-Foils

Why this goal? Because I’ve been burned in the past, and also very recently, on cards where I decided to go the non-foil route over the foil. Since my past mistakes are too numerous to list here, my most recent example of why I crafted this goal was because of Griselbrand. Guess who was announced this year as the GP Promo for the following year? That’s right, my boy Griselbrand who I had acquired during 2013 at $8 per copy. I had accumulated twelve copies by the time of this announcement. Let’s just say I was lucky to buylist them for the price I paid.

The only exceptions I allow myself to this rule are for Standard and reserve list picks. I tried to stick to this this goal as close as possible but didn’t adhere to it every time I picked up something.

Another reason I like foils is because they are especially good targets for Commander staples, which have proven to be good Magic financial gainers. A great example of this was when foil Chromatic Lanterns were everywhere and I was picking them up for $7.50 or cheaper. Now they’re $15 and rising as time goes on.

  1. Avoid the Booster Box / Booster Pack Money Hole

Booster boxes and packs are really fun to purchase though are a losing proposition in the long run. There are way too many bulk rares out there these days to make flipping boxes into a profit for guys like me that don’t own a store but want their collection to steadily rise in value. This is a lesson that took me way too long to learn. Now that I finally have, I try to avoid buying boxes and packs for pleasure.

  1. Choose Bulk Rares Carefully

When I first started experimenting with Magic finance I would pick up any bulk rare that I thought was cool, expecting it to eventually go up to the price that I thought it should be at. Several years later and I still have a box of failed specs that haven’t gone anywhere. Even worse, some have dropped considerably in price based on my whimsical logic. This was certainly the most expensive lesson for me to learn, even more so than buying random boxes and packs for “value”. At least packs sometimes produce cards people want that you can use to salvage some of your costs. Bulk rares can stick around for years without moving. It’s not technically a loss on paper because I haven’t gotten rid of them, yet I’ve come to realize that opportunity cost is a real thing. What I spent on bulk rares and questionable cards I could have put into staples that I knew were going to be fine in the long run. My most glaring example of this is I should have just picked up more shock lands rather than try to find “undervalued” RTR and GTC bulk rares and mythics.

Now I’ve made it a point to pick up higher cost format staples that are undervalued either due to being in Standard or having a recent reprint. Rare lands that provide mana fixing from Standard like Mana Confluence is a recent example of this.

Let’s See How I Did

Now that you know my goals for this year, I’ll provide you what I’ve purchased from now back until April 30th. The reason I picked this date to start is because I started formulating my goals mid-April and wanted to see the results of those goals from then on out.

Here’s the breakdown of purchases and the estimated date of the purchase. All buy prices were TCG Median.

# Card Set Buy Date Buy Price
1 Cabal Coffers Torment FOIL 10/28/2014 $19.48
12 Crater’s Claws Khans of Tarkir 10/24/2014 $0.99
1 Proteus Staff Mirrodin FOIL 10/24/2014 $7.23
3 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes Journey into Nyx 10/12/2014 $16.94
6 See the Unwritten Khans of Tarkir 10/10/2014 $3.10
8 Pearl Lake Ancient Khans of Tarkir 10/10/2014 $0.99
4 Jeskai Ascendancy Khans of Tarkir 10/10/2014 $5.08
7 Altar of the Brood Khans of Tarkir 10/10/2014 $0.44
4 Shivan Reef M15 FOIL 10/2/2014 $9.88
19 Doomwake Giant Journey into Nyx 9/27/2014 $0.40
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion Theros 9/26/2014 $21.86
2 Sorin, Solemn Visitor Khans of Tarkir 9/22/2014 $15.19
1 Metalworker Urza’s Destiny 9/12/2014 $12.06
1 Courser of Kruphix Born of the Gods 8/31/2014 $12.48
4 Congregation at Dawn Ravnica FOIL 8/20/2014 $2.00
3 Xenagos, the Reveler Theros FOIL 8/15/2014 $18.99
4 Master of Waves Theros 7/25/2014 $3.96
5 Mana Confluence Journey into Nyx 7/25/2014 $7.94
3 True-Name Nemesis C13 7/25/2014 $16.50
3 Hall of Triumph Journey FOIL 7/25/2014 $2.05
12 Anger of the Gods Theros 7/25/2014 $1.32
2 Dictate of Erebos Journey FOIL 7/25/2014 $7.33
1 Sliver Hivelord M15 FOIL 7/25/2014 $31.00
2 Hornet Queen M15 FOIL 7/25/2014 $4.35
1 Erebos, God of the Dead Theros FOIL 7/25/2014 $16.00
1 Exploration Conspiracy FOIL 7/25/2014 $39.99
8 Hero’s Downfall Theros 7/25/2014 $5.00
3 Swan Song Theros FOIL 4/30/2014 $8.50
12 Soldier of the Pantheon Theros 4/30/2014 $1.49
3 Arcbound Ravager Modern Masters 4/30/2014 $18.99
10 Thoughtseize Theros 4/30/2014 $16.00

Total spent from April 30th until now – $909.65

Total current retail value of cards TCG Median – $1,152.10

% Gain / Loss - 21% retail (before accounting for shipping)

Accounting for shipping at estimated $1.50 per order, if each single card was an order:

31 separate cards * $1.50 = $46.50. This brings the total spent up to $956.15.

% Gain / Loss including shipping = 17% Retail

Buylist – How much can I get if I buylist all the cards right now?

Using MTGPrice’s My Collection tool I’ve determined that the cash value of my collection when sold to vendors is $649.95.

% Gain / Loss of Buylisting = -29% Buylist

There seems to be some conflicting information here. I’ve gained in terms of retail but lost in terms of buylist? Let me explain further why the numbers resulted this way.

Retail and Buylist – Why You Shouldn’t Value at Retail

Based on my calculations in the previous section, you can see that I thought I was erroneously ahead based on the retail value of the cards – in reality I am set back about 30% based on the pickups I’ve made this year. Seems like I’m doing bad right? Well, only if I decided to cash out this very second. Many of the cards I plan on holding for a while longer yet. You can can put pretty much everything from Khans into this category, including Jeskai Ascendency when I bought in during the hype of Pro Tour Kahns at $5. Retrospectively, it was a bad decision to buy into the hype and I need to restrain myself in the future of buying based on immediate fluctuation.

Another reason that buylist seems so miserable right now is because the more expensive purchases, such as foil Conspiracy Exploration and foil M15 Sliver Hivelord, haven’t moved in price at all since I picked them up earlier this year. These would be examples of the long term holds I mentioned. I’m not planning on selling these at a loss simply because I know with time they are bound to go up due to causal and Commander demand. It happened for Chromatic Lantern and it will happen again here.

In order to get the maximum amount from buylisting this year, I would have needed all of my speculations to double up or more – in seven months this was not going to happen to everything I was choosing. It just goes to show that mtgfinance is the ultimate waiting game if you’re looking to get the most out of future buylisting.

Many of these cards I plan on keeping for personal use and I don’t care what the current prices are, buylist or otherwise. I expect to have them for a long time and can cash them out later when I know I’m not using them.

Valuing at retail looks pretty sweet for cards like Hero’s Downfall and Doomwake Giant – if I can find someone to trade these to, I can really come out ahead if I pick up Modern staples or other casual format gainers like cards from the new Commander 2014 set. This would be the only benefit of a retail price increase.

Lessons Learned – Additional Goals for Next Year

Now that the year is wrapping up and I’ve determined how I did, I want to add a few more goals to my list for next year.

  1. Ask myself “can this card double up, and if it does will the buylist reflect that?”

This is going to save me a few heartaches when I realize that those Doomwake Giants, even though doubling in retail, actually haven’t moved much at all on the buylist.

  1. Continue to Find Avenues for Trading such as Puca Trade

Having more ways to trade cards away for retail value is essential for failed buylist specs like Doomwake Giant. By trading them at retail, you can ignore the abysmal buylist price and instead pick up a long term staple like Snapcaster Mage that will continue to be around for years to come.

  1. Avoid the Hype – The Window is Too Short

As soon as Pro Tour Khans was over, the prices went back down to almost where they started and have leveled off since then. Avoiding the hype is hard to do when the numbers are telling you different, but look no further than my own speculations to see that hype is gone in a flash and then you are stuck waiting a while longer for value that may not even arrive.

Final Thoughts

2014 has certainly been a learning experience for me. I’ve had success, but at the price of terrible buylisting options. I’ll need to either trade more aggressively once retail prices go up for cards I’m interested in or I will need to pass on the more aggressive spiking cards and instead aim for more stable long term gainers.

Right now, my buylist loss of 30% is pretty big without even considering the shipping costs that would further add to that loss. However, I still believe the future is very promising for some of the cards I’ve acquired. Foil Chromatic Lantern, a card that by every means had to go up in price based on the popularity in Commander, still took eleven months to double up in price from $7.50 to $15.00. The fact that many of the cards I picked up increased in retail price is also a good sign because this means if the cards continue to stay popular the buylist will have to increase in order to match the demand.

The conflicting gains and losses that I discovered for my pickups is acceptable to me at this point yet there is certainly room for improvement. Since my loss would be so great from buylisting, I’m going to have to take the risk that the retail prices will continue to rise rather than getting 70% of the cash value of the cards right now and taking a 30% loss. Many of the cards I picked up are casual and Commander gainers so I expect them to retain their value for quite a while yet. I picked up a fair amount of foils that I believe will gain in the long term, limited my booster box / pack purchases, and severely restricted the amount of bulk rares I bought. I followed my goals closely but not close enough in some cases. There are still plenty of takeaways from this year.

What does everyone think of my selections? Do you think I’m in trouble or do you think I’m doing well? What do you think my worst and best pickups were?


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