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Lessons on Modern Picks

By: Camden Clark

I’ve been a writer at MTGPrice for about two months now. In that time, Magic has seen a Modern Pro Tour and a couple of Modern GPs.

I am going to take a break from my Magic Online series to do a recap on the wins and losses and go over every card that I have made predictions on (this article gave me the idea ). I have always been a major fan of learning lessons on the decisions and predictions we made and learning on them for the future. Thus, this article is the natural progression as I make predictions heading into the PTQ season (I talk a lot more on Twitter too)

I have mostly talked about Modern as that is where the energy and motion in Magic is. I have never been a big fan of Standard, while most of the Legacy market eludes me. Thus, Modern has become one of the places of progress in Magic for the past few years.

There is SO much room in this format, which means there are new opportunities all the time.

Let’s take a look at the previous opportunities that I pointed out and see what lessons those can teach us.

The Wins

Restoration Angel
Predictions: 1 ; 2 ; 3

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This was a fairly major win. Restoration Angel spiked by huge margins due to its playability in some builds of UWR, UWR Twin, Kiki-Pod, and a few other fringe decks. This card wasn’t seeing a ton of play initially, but with the new changes I knew there would be some changes to the metagame. My predictions weren’t exactly correct (no Restoration Angel + Bitterblossom deck); however, I was not disappointed by the outcome. You easily could have doubled your money here on a quite cheap spec.

This teaches us to look for cards that see some play but can easily be thrown into the spotlight. Moreover, this card had price and play memory in the infamous UW Delver deck of INN-SOM standard. This is an important lesson.

Mistbind Clique
Predictions: 1

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Although this card saw little play at the Pro Tour or the Grand Prix, is still saw massive gains after the initial hype died down. You could still have gotten this for five at the time I wrote about it, and you could have tripled your money.

I don’t know what the lesson is here. I didn’t exactly make a prediction to buy this, especially if it saw little play. Nevertheless, it went up. I am at a loss for how this card saw the massive gains it got.

Knight of the Reliquary
Predictions: 1

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Even though Zoo put up abysmal results at every tournament, this card still went up. The niche playability in Legacy and fun factor of this card ensured it would see play somewhere. This card was REALLY cheap for being somewhat playable in a few formats. Brian Kibler will always toot Zoo’s horn. I think that’s the main reason this saw movement despite Zoo’s failure. I would sell out now if you still have them.

Cryptic Command
Predictions: 1 ; 2

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It is kind of funny I hit this one right on the head. I stated at the time “this card could see sixty dollars.” Unbelievably, it hit sixty dollars.

The lesson here is that there is little roof on the staples of this format. Wizards has too much invested in Modern for this format to fail. Would you have predicted hundreds of dollars for a single dual land like Underground Sea? Although there is no reserved list, these cards will get more and more expensive.

I can’t remember who to attribute this to, but I’ve heard a saying: “the best time to buy eternal staples is now.” You should keep this in mind, it will save you a whole bunch of money going into the future.

Birthing Pod
Predictions: 1

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This is probably my most triumphant success. I have no idea how this card wasn’t forty dollars from the get-go. Melira Pod and Kiki-Pod have had showings for at least two years. It was inevitable for this to see a huge spike. I’m really glad I put people on to this and you all made a whole bunch of money.

The lesson from this is that there are cards that seem like they have seen a ceiling but can still rise.

Unchanged

Kiki-Jiki
Predictions: 1 ; 2

This card has seen no price movement despite being in a deck that won a Grand Prix.

I overestimated the amount of people that were playing this card and the amount they were playing in their decks. Unfortunately, this means that there was no money to be made here. I think this card has reached a personal ceiling and won’t go above it for a while.

Deathrite Shaman
Prediction:
1

This one has been all over the place. There were no short term gains, but this is a long term pick, like I outlined in my prediction. I have no fear that this will go up in the long term. It has significant Legacy play and somewhat of a casual appeal. Hold your copies if you didn’t unload them after the bans.

Splinter Twin
Prediction:
 1

Although there has been a small gain here, it wasn’t significant enough to call this a “win.” I would hold on to these copies as we head into PTQ season. You will not be disappointed by this investment once it is easier to move copies and there is more demand.

There is huge potential for this card. It sees tons of play in the Splinter Twin deck which is currently No. 2 in the meta on Magic Online. I have no doubt this will go up.

Huntmaster of the Fells
Predictions: 1 ; 2

This one is quite hard to tell. All of the major retailers are all but cleaned out of this card. There is little data for how much this card has moved up or down.

I looked on TCGPlayer and there are still quite a bunch of copies. I don’t know how to feel about this one. However, the buylist on this card isn’t very good. I’d hold if/when this sees some real play.

Losses

Remand
Predictions:
 1 ; 2

Unfortunately, after my predictions, a reprint was announced. It’s pretty annoying that this was announced in the weeks after my prediction. However, this was the only loss to speak of. There wasn’t even that big of a loss; here’s a picture:

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I think this card will eventually go back up. If you still have copies and don’t need the capital, I would hold on to this. It is a staple in Modern and will see invariably see play in this format.

The lesson from this card specifically is the inevitability of randomness in your speculations. You can’t always be right. You can’t avoid having unexpected announcements or reprints in your catalog eventually. You have to take the good with the bad. This should be a lesson to never invest too much in one card. If that card falls or stays put, you are out all of your overhead such as shipping and spread between buying and selling.

From my perspective, the value that you could find in my articles was fairly good. My predictions, for the most part, have panned out or at least stayed the same. So far, I’ve had amazing triumphs and some disappointing losses but Modern was quite prolific. I hope I’ve displayed to you that there’s some value in my decisionmaking and choose to take the ride with me into the PTQ season where the swings will be massive and decisive.

I don’t think Mana Bloom and Amulet of Vigor type cards with niche applications are a good way to profit. However, that is mostly my style of investing (although others think the same way) It is too easy to get burned if you are playing with hot coals. The upside could be major, but staying out of these one-off cards is a great way to stay objective and not get carried away.

Despite my warnings, you should be as optimistic as I am about the Modern format. There is so much excitement and energy that surrounds this relatively new way of playing Magic. That excitement is only beginning. The Pro Tour set the stage for the run into PTQ season. You can ride the excitement to major profits if you time it right. There are still opportunities, don’t miss them.

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10 thoughts on “Lessons on Modern Picks”

  1. Huntmaster of the Fells has one huge advantage over other Modern specs; it’s almost definitely not going to be reprinted in Modern Masters 2 due to the double-sidedness of it. The gimmick worked in Innistrad and Dark Ascension because of the checklist cards and the concentrated effort to educate players about how they would work, but for a reprint-only stimulus set? And with Delver of Secrets being the only other double-sided card played in the format? I think it’s a better call now than ever.

    1. It would still have to see play in a legit deck before rising significantly though. Jund still shows no signs of recovering from the DRS ban, so why would the price on Huntmaster move at all during PTQ season? Not saying it’s a bad spec, just saying there are probably easier bets to make right now.

      1. I have to agree here. It’s quite a tossup if Huntmaster will see play. It definitely has potential to skyrocket, the upside is huge considering it is a mythic with a high price and play memory.

  2. Jund is definitely recovering, check out the latest MOCS results. There are no huntmasters present though…

  3. What about Cavern of Souls ? The price seems stagnant. Do you still recommend to hold them longer?

    1. I wouldn’t have recommended this as a pick but I would out them. They don’t see a TON of play in Modern like Cryptic Command or Liliana, and is merely a rare. I don’t think it can sustain a higher price.

      1. Thank you for your opinion. Do you think your team need to discuss with each other before posting the articles. Cause I think sometimes, your articles and your counterparts are saying very different opinions. I know I might need to choose to believe one but it is confusing sometimes.

        1. I have purchased like 20++ of Restoration Angels based on your speculation. Is it now the best time to start selling them back? Thank you.

        2. Hey,

          We are all different writers and our opinions change all the time. Our goal is not to be homogenous. I have always been a good advocate of building your own business sense and what your style of investing is. You have to be able to make your own judgements.

          As far as Restoration Angels go, I would offload them if you find a good buylist or think they will sell on EBay. That’s ultimately for you to decide. You could simply wait a few months, they probably won’t go down.

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