Category Archives: James Chillcott

MTG Fast Finance Podcast: Bonus Interview w/ Dan Bock of PowerNine

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Dan Bock is one of the most seasoned veterans of the MTGFinance scene. Originally a binder grinder and team member with Bob Maher’s JapanMagic team in the late 90’s, Dan has also qualified for the Pro Tour four times, including an infamous appearance in 2001 at Pro Tour Tokyo with a deck made up of nothing but Arena basic lands.

That’s a LOT of Black Lotuses.

He later started the Netherworld Games retail shop in the mid-west Magic hot bed of Madison, Wisconsin, USA, alongside former partners Sam Black et al. Striking out on his own in the early 2000’s, Dan built up a very successful Ebay Power Seller business with over 300,000 feedback and millions in platform sales. Via the PowerNine.com brand Dan, with the support of his loving wife Alex, also runs retail booths at major Magic tournaments across the United States, as well as providing consignment style retail services for dozens of collectibles stores across the country. As an admin in the 40, 000 member strong High End Magic group on Facebook, Dan also maintains a near legendary presence in the high end Magic community. With an inventory that includes over 100 Black Lotuses, Bock is also an ongoing symbol of faith in the game we all love.

The high end chops run pretty deep over at PowerNine.

In this far reaching three-hour interview, Dan and I dive into his earliest days in the hobby, the history of MTGFinance, the formative moments in the evolution of his business activities, the state of high end Magic sales, the future of Magic digital and more.

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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MTG Fast Finance Podcast: Episode 55 (Feb 17/17)

MTG Fast Finance is our weekly podcast covering the flurry of weekly financial activity in the world of Magic: The Gathering. MFF provides a fast, fun and useful sixty minute format. Follow along with our seasoned hosts as they walk you through this week’s big price movements, their picks of the week, metagame analysis and a rotating weekly topic.

Show Notes: Feb 17, 2017

Segment 1: Top Card Spikes of the Week

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Image result for breaking/entering

Breaking//Entering (DGM, Foil Rare)
Start: $3.00
Finish: $10.00
Gain: +$7.00 (+233%)

Colossus of Sardia (ATQ, Rare)
Start: $4.50
Finish: $8.50
Gain: +$4.00 (+89%)

Wheel and Deal (ONS, Foil Rare)
Start: $9.50
Finish: $17.00
Gain: +$7.50 (+79%)

Sleight of Hand (9th, Common Foil)
Start: $40.00
Finish: $70.00
Gain: +$30.00 (+67%)

 

James’ Picks:

Image result for brain in a jar

  1. Brain in a Jar (SOI, Foil Rare)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $3.00 to $10.00 (+7.00/233%) 12+ months)

2. Sram’s Expertise (AER, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $4.00 to $10.00 (+6.00/+150%, 12+ months)

3. Ancient Tomb (EXP, Premium Foil, EU Sourced)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $90.00 (Target) to $160.00 (+70.00/+78%, 0-12+ months)

Travis’ Picks:

  1. Collected Company (DTK, Rare)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $12.00 to $20.00 (+8.00/+67%, 0-12+ months)

2. Blasphemous Act (INN, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 6: $6.00 to $15.00 (+9.00/+150%, 0-12+ months)

Disclosure: Travis and James may own speculative copies of the above cards.

Segment 3: Metagame Week in Review

James & Travis reviewed the results of GP Pittsburg and the ongoing presence of BG decks at the top of the Standard power rankings.

Segment 4: Topic of the Week

The guys touched on two new MTGFinance related startups and answered user questions.

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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MTG Fast Finance Podcast: Episode 54 (Feb 9/17)

MTG Fast Finance is our weekly podcast covering the flurry of weekly financial activity in the world of Magic: The Gathering. MFF provides a fast, fun and useful sixty minute format. Follow along with our seasoned hosts as they walk you through this week’s big price movements, their picks of the week, metagame analysis and a rotating weekly topic.

Show Notes: Feb 9, 2017

Segment 1: Top Card Spikes of the Week

Sigil of Distinction

Sigil of Distinction (SOA, Rare)
Start: $0.50
Finish: $3.50
Gain: +$3.00 (+600%)

Esper Charm (SOA, Foil Uncommon)
Start: $7.00
Finish: $30.00
Gain: +$12.00 (+325%)

Sleight of Hand (9th, Common Foil)
Start: $30.00
Finish: $95.00
Gain: +$65.00 (+215%)

Scrapheap Scrounger (KLD, Rare)
Start: $2.00
Finish: $4.50
Gain: +$2.50 (+125%)

Sinbad (ARN,UNC )
Start: $3.25
Finish: $7.00
Gain: +$3.75 (+115%)

Memory Jar (Urza’s Legacy, Foil Rare)
Start: $30.00
Finish: $60.00
Gain: +$30.00 (+100%)

Heart of Kiran (AER, Mythic)
Start: $15.00
Finish: $25.00
Gain: +$10.00 (+67%)
Segment 2: Cards to Watch

James’ Picks:

Aetherworks Marvel

  1. Aetherworks Marvel (KLD, Mythic)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $4.00 to $10.00 (+6.00/150%) 0-12+ months)

2. Kari Zev’s Expertise (AER, Foil Rare)

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  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $3.00 to $10.00 (+7.00/+233%, 12+ months)

3. Baral, Chief of Compliance (AER, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $8.00 (Target) to $20.00 (+12.00/+150%, 0-12+ months)

Travis’ Picks:

  1. Astral Cornucopia (BNG, Foil Rare)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $2.00 to $10.00 (+8.00/+400%, 0-12+ months)

2. Crystalline Crawler (C16, Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 6: $2.50 to $8.00 (+6.50/+220%, 0-12+ months)

Disclosure: Travis and James may own speculative copies of the above cards.

Segment 3: Metagame Week in Review

James & Travis reviewed the results of Pro Tour Aether Revolt and the cards to watch in the aftermath.

Segment 4: Topic of the Week

The guys touched on selling out of MTGO, recent successes with EU arbitrage and the cards they least want to be holding heading into Modern Masters 2017 previews in a few weeks.

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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Pro Tour Aether Revolt: Top 8 Analysis

Check out our Pro Tour Aether Revolt Preview, Day 1 and Day 2 coverage to get caught up.

So here we are, heading into a Pro Tour Top 8 dominated almost entirely by Mardu Vehicles, with only a single copy each of Jund Energy Aggro and BG Delirium to try and keep the highly efficient vehicles deck in check.

The competition includes a Hall of Fame inductee (Paulo Vitor Dama De Rosa) and a likely future Hall of Famer in Martin Juza. Matches are best of five on Sunday, but the first two games are played without sideboards so main deck inclusions matter more than usual.

Let’s take a look at the Day 2 conversion rate for the various deck types:

And here are the decks that did better than average getting their pilots into Day 2:

Despite having three decks in the Top 8, there is actually a fair amount of overlap between the key cards. The full list of Top 8 decks can be found here.

Heart of KiranScrapheap Scrounger

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So what insights can we glean from these stats? Well, first of all, Mardu Vehicles is clearly the new deck to beat looking forward. Despite a large sample size of 95 players from many different teams, a full 75% of players on this deck made Day 2, which is very impressive indeed. Across all six copies that managed a Top 8 finish, five cards were included at the maximum of four copies in each build: Concealed Courtyard, Inspiring Vantage, Toolcraft Exemplar and Scrapheap Scrounger.  All of these cards are still cheap given this level of play, and if the deck keeps doing well, I would expect both Scrapheap Scrounger and the dual lands to show gains, especially since they are often played in the competing decks as well, as Inspiring Vantage shows up in Jeskai lists as a four-of, and Scrounger is also in the rest of the aggro lists as well.

Inspiring VantageConcealed Courtyard

Keep in mind that many of the pros that didn’t field Mardu Vehicles seemed surprised at the percentage of the field that brought the deck, so the control decks will now be reworking their game plan to skew more towards defending the early game vs. aggro plans and less against the Saheeli Rai combo. Jeskai Control, UR Control and Grixis Control all still have a shot at making inroads at future Top 8s, and you can expect them to get better at doing so as the aggro decks become more predictable. The core control color thus far has been blue, largely due to the power of Torrential Gearhulk, so I still have faith that the card will get to $25-30 at some point this spring.

Speaking of Saheeli Rai, despite the combo not putting a single copy in the Top 8, and representing a brutal Day 2 conversion rate of just 41%, there is reason to believe the narrative isn’t over yet. Josh Utter-Leyton and seven other pros brought 4 Color Aetherworks/Saheeli Combo to the tournament and managed an impressive 75% Day 2 conversion rate that could allude to further refinements of the shell contributing to greater competitive potential.

Also worth noting is that there are plenty of GB decks of both the Delirium and Winding Constrictor varieties in the Top 32 and 64, and with conversion rates around 70% it seems likely that the staples of this archetype, including Verdurous Gearhulk, Winding ConstrictorMindwrack Demon, Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Walking Ballista should stay on your radar if the tables turn. GB deck success has been the most consistent aspect of the Standard season thus far, so take the single Top 8 player with a grain of salt.

On Friday I predicted that the Top 8 would include a single dark horse deck, and indeed, we were gifted with a sexy new Jund Aggro Energy build in the hands of Martin Juza to mull over as an alternate approach to the early game on the go forward. This deck leveraged Scrapheap Scrounger alongside Longtusk Cub and Greenbelt Rampager and Voltaic Brawler to attempt to field an aggro army with slightly more power than the competition. According to Juza, he cut a few cards from the middle of his curve to install a late game package of three copies of Chandra, Torch of Defiance and a single copy of Nissa, Vital Force.

Chandra, Torch of DefianceNissa, Vital Force

You should also keep an eye out for Inspiring Statuary decks or Aetherflux Reservoir decks like the one written up over here, to possibly evolve into a more competitive form in the coming weeks.

With the odds stacked for a Mardu Vehicles finish Sunday, and this handy guide to the results in your hands, we’re going to call our coverage for the weekend here and regroup again in a week or two once we see the results of the next big tournament.

Take care and may your specs all be double ups!

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