Category Archives: James Chillcott

MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (June 7/15)

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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: June 1st – June 7th, 2015

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

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

Modern Mid-Term Plays

  • 4x Modern Masters 2015 Booster Box (Japanese) @ $300/per
  • 6x Mutavault @ $9/per
  • 4x Leyline of Sanctity (MM2, Japanese) @ $16/per
  • 5x Leyline of Sanctity (MM2) @ $12
  • 1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn @ $23
  • 1x Dark Confidant (MM2, Foil) @ $76
  • 1x Monastery Mentor @ $12
  • 1x Noble Hierarch (MM2) @ $34
  • 4x Scavenging Ooze (DOTP Promo Foil) @ $5/per
  • 4x Siege Rhino (foil) @ $15/per
  • 1x Eidolon of the Great Revel @ $18
  • 3x Dark Confidant (MM2) @ $39
  • 13x Abrupt Decay @ $11
  • 1x Soulfire Grant Master (Russian) @ $9
  • 1x Polluted Delta (foil) @ $70
  • 8x Olivia Voldaren @ $7/per
  • 1x Cryptic Command @ $29.50
  • 4x Storm Entity (Foil) @ $1.25/per

The theme here is that I believe we’re at the bottom for MM2 rares and mythics that see high levels of play in Modern. With Jund back on the radar, Dark Confidant seems particularly underrated around $40, and I can easily see it regaining ground along with Cryptic Command, Noble Hierarch, Emrakul, and Leyline of Sanctity, as head into the end of the year. Scavenging Ooze, Monastery Mentor, Abrupt Decay, Eidolon of the Great Revel and Siege Rhino foils are all cards that should show strong appreciation over the next year and the rest of this list is mostly made up of underpriced foils that will be good components in a future P9 trade deal.

Standard Fall Rotation Plays

  • 1x Wingmate Roc @ $3
  • 4x Den Protector @ $5

These were mostly add-ons to other deals, but they’re both cards I feel have a good shot at gaining value in my trade binder this fall based on their demonstrated power level in Standard so far this season.

Casual/EDH Mid to Long Term Plays

  • 1x Ephara, God of the Polis @ $3
  • 2x Umezawa’s Jitte @ $25
  • 2x Mogis, God of Slaughter @ $3.50/per

As seen in earlier weeks, I’m still snagging Theros gods here and there under $5, with the full expectation that they will end up as $10+ cards on casual demand alone within about 2 years. That’s not the best return profile in my card portfolio, but I’m generally comfortable with long term double ups due to ready availability of deployable capital. Jitte can easily be outed on Pucatrade for $35, so that was an easy grab.

SOLD (Pucatrade):

  • 1x Command Tower (Judge Foil) @ $35 ($20 cost)

This was a good value trade up as I continue to build Pucapoints towards a P9 deal.

Jared Yost

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BOUGHT

  • 2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang (prerelease foil) @ $25/per
  • 2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang (foil) @ $27/per
  • 4x Monastery Mentor (foil) @ $40/per

Jared says:

“I’ve been talking about foil Tasigurs and Mentors for a while and decided that now, since everyone is hyping up MM15, is the time to move in on them.

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Tasigur is currently one of the most played cards in Modern with about 20% of all decks playing an average of two copies. He also is played in Legacy Grixis Delver lists, which should also help the foil prices along for the future. Foils look great as pickups now.

Mentor is such a solid card all around. If you haven’t read my article on him, please do so because that sums up all my thoughts on why foils are very appealing. Also, Derek indicated that Mentors are becoming harder and harder to find in binders these days so it could mean that we might start seeing some upward mobility on the price soon.”

 

Douglas Johnson

Douglas says:

“If you’re a follower of this column, then you’ll notice my details have been absent lately. This is because instead of speculating on specific card prices and buying them up at full retail then waiting for them to go up, I am playing the role of local vendor in my area, providing me with the opportunity to acquire large lots at (or below) buylist prices. I then stock a local display case and sell cards at TCG low through Facebook or TCGplayer. If you’re interested in Magic finance as more than just a way to supplement your hobby and make actual money, this is definitely a good way to go about it if you can fill a gap in the local scene. In the pictures above, we have parts of a small collection that I picked up this past Thursday.

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While I’d obviously prefer to move each of these cards to loving homes that will sleeve them up and jam them, I’m definitely more eager to move some cards over others. For example, the Lightning Bolts, Temples, and Polukranos are going on Facebook and being sold for practically buylist price, meaning I’ll only end up making a few cents on each after shipping costs. The real gems here are the Planeswalkers like Ugin, Sarkhan, and Narset, that will end up in my display case at the video game store where I used to be employed. The casual players that browse that case love Planeswalkers, so I’m always happy to pick up walkers in all of the collections that I buy, because I know they move fast. Similarly, I’ll definitely be looking to move the Blood Moon in there that just recently spiked last weekend, so that’s likely going on TCGplayer or Facebook.

All in all, buying collections and reselling them is definitely a safer investment than speculating on specific cards. While you don’t get the rush of winning as you watch the card go up, you can buy cards at a price where losing is almost impossible.”

Note: The rest of the guys were quiet so far this week.

Bonus Tips:

  • Word on the street is that many dealers will have access to a limited number of MM2015 cases for at least a few more weeks before they’re cut off. As the majority of MM2 product has already been opened, I wouldn’t expect for key cards to fall further, but a couple of weeks out should be a sweet time to be picking up dirt cheap cards like Etched Champion, Remand and Electrolyze, along with any casual stuff you may need. If you’re willing to take a ride on some boxes, look for deals in the $190-$200 zone. I can still see them gaining $40-50/box before the end of 2015 once supply dries up, so it should be a solid play despite the known quality control issues.
  • Many of the Modern cards that weren’t reprinted in MM2 are spiking hard, both in paper and online. Blood Moon is leading the pack and is a great card to be getting out of for strong profits if you were holding copies you aren’t using.
  • There are some very good buying opportunities on MTGO right now with the MM2015 mythics and rares being at historic lows in many cases. Entry points are still attractive.

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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Best Bet: Booster Packs vs Fat Packs?

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

During the last few years, as my devotion to Magic: The Gathering as an alternate investment vehicle has grown, I’ve learned some (sometimes painful) lessons about sealed product.

If you swing by my place to check out my storage closet, you’ll find 12 sets of FTV: 20, a couple of cases of Commander 2013 decks and a half-dozen copies of the Dark Ascension Spiraling Doom Event Deck that I held onto just a bit longer than was wise. On the other hand, larger bets on  foreign boxes of Khans of Tarkir, SDCC sets and Modern Masters have paid off huge for me.

As a result of my efforts, I can now confidently share the following general guidelines on sealed MTG investing with you:

  1. Timing the market on the buying and selling of singles is more profitable than holding on to unlimited print run sealed product by a large margin, BUT you need to be good at both picking cards and timing the market.  With singles, you also need to be on top of things day to day, rather than the month to month management you can generally get away with when managing your sealed collection.
  2. Unlimited print run English booster boxes since Avacyn Restored have not shown positive returns, likely due to a dramatic stall in player growth since 2013 (see recent Hasbro investor presentations for details). This may weight against returns over the next few years, BUT a renewed period of player growth would likely reduce the trend.
  3. Limited edition sealed products like FTV sets, Commander’s Arsenal and the San Diego Comicon sets are often the exception and can yield excellent returns in short periods of time if you can source them below market cost and time your exits near the highs.
  4. Not all sets are created equal (think KTK vs. Dragon’s Maze), and choosing which sets to stash away is critical. When choosing a set, look for value spread across multiple cards, with a focus on cards that will appreciate in value due to demand from multiple formats, are hard to reprint often and were undervalued when on shelves (since this may indicate lower total products sales). Generally, fall sets are opened the most and spring sets and core sets the least, though this  may change in 2015 with the new set release schedule.
  5. The acceleration of Magic product releases, with regular fall and summer releases, additional ancillary product releases and the shortening of the Standard rotation schedule are all designed to ensure that existing MTG players spend more, and more often, eliminating the lulls between releases that once provided more opportunity for boredom to lead to the purchase of old products. (Note: This is pure theory, but I challenge you to outline other possibilities in the comments if you see reason.)

Now, all of that being said, I still generally put away a few cases of sealed product per year, choosing carefully. Recently however, it occurred to me that I had noticed some fat packs with price appreciation in excess of their corresponding booster boxes. In order to establish which product class was more likely to yield the best returns, I decided to take a look back at the last 30 sets worth of product, starting with M15, all the way back to Future Sight. To keep things simple, I limited my research to English language products.

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(For the record, I’m a big believer in acquiring Russian, Korean, and Japanese boxes, in that order, especially for sets that are likely to yield relevant high end foils. This is on the basis that the foils in those languages hold multipliers in the 3-7x range, and therefore tend to contribute to sealed values down the road at levels far beyond their original cost, which can be as little as $20 more than a regular booster box.)

I have assumed that the average cost of a booster box for our purposes is $90 USD, and that the corresponding cost of a Fat Pack is $30 USD, based on the easily accessed pricing that has been popular for years on both products via online vendors. To establish current value I looked at Ebay, TCGPlayer and StarCityGames and selected the lowest priced copy available, including shipping within the US. It’s worth noting that actual sell prices can sometimes vary due to late night Ebay sniping, but because the pricing across the three major platforms tended to cluster within 5% of each other, I felt good about using the established market pricing.

Here’s what the research had to say about the last 30 sets worth of Booster Boxes.

Booster Box Research

    Current Price      
SetRelease DateOriginal Box PriceEbay (BIN)TCGSCGLowest AvailableRaw ReturnRaw % ReturnAnnualized ReturnCurrent Date
M157/18/2014$90.00$83.00$93.00$100.00$83.00-$7.00-7.78%-9.25%5/21/2015
Journey Into Nyx5/2/2014$90.00$84.00$88.00$100.00$84.00-$6.00-6.67%-6.34%5/21/2015
Born of the Gods2/7/2014$90.00$85.00$86.00$100.00$85.00-$5.00-5.56%-4.33%5/21/2015
Theros9/27/2013$90.00$90.00$90.00$100.00$90.00$0.000.00%0.00%5/21/2015
M147/19/2013$90.00$79.00$88.00$100.00$79.00-$11.00-12.22%-6.65%5/21/2015
Dragons Maze5/3/2013$90.00$70.00$80.00$90.00$70.00-$20.00-22.22%-10.84%5/21/2015
Gatecrash2/1/2013$90.00$80.00$90.00$100.00$80.00-$10.00-11.11%-4.83%5/21/2015
Return to Ravnica10/5/2012$90.00$98.00$102.00$110.00$98.00$8.008.89%3.39%5/21/2015
M137/13/2012$90.00$75.00$95.00$90.00$75.00-$15.00-16.67%-5.84%5/21/2015
Avacyn Restored5/4/2012$90.00$139.00$140.00$150.00$139.00$49.0054.44%17.87%5/21/2015
Dark Ascension2/3/2012$90.00$120.00$115.00$120.00$115.00$25.0027.78%8.43%5/21/2015
Innistrad9/30/2011$90.00$220.00$221.00$225.00$220.00$130.00144.44%39.67%5/21/2015
M127/15/2011$90.00$92.00$104.00$100.00$92.00$2.002.22%0.58%5/21/2015
New Phyrexia5/13/2011$90.00$345.00$350.00$350.00$345.00$255.00283.33%70.40%5/21/2015
Mirrodin Besieged2/4/2011$90.00$162.00$166.00$150.00$150.00$60.0066.67%15.53%5/21/2015
Scars of Mirrodin10/1/2010$90.00$224.00$200.00$200.00$200.00$110.00122.22%26.35%5/21/2015
M117/16/2010$90.00$120.00$141.00$140.00$120.00$30.0033.33%6.87%5/21/2015
Rise of the Eldrazi4/23/2010$90.00$600.00$606.00$600.00$600.00$510.00566.67%111.56%5/21/2015
Worldwake2/2/2010$90.00$640.00$776.00$800.00$640.00$550.00611.11%115.33%5/21/2015
Zendikar10/2/2009$90.00$515.00$547.00$600.00$515.00$425.00472.22%83.79%5/21/2015
M107/17/2009$90.00$195.00$160.00$200.00$160.00$70.0077.78%13.30%5/21/2015
Alara Reborn4/30/2009$90.00$265.00$300.00$250.00$250.00$160.00177.78%29.33%5/21/2015
Conflux2/6/2009$90.00$435.00$526.00$450.00$435.00$345.00383.33%60.97%5/21/2015
Shards of Alara10/3/2008$90.00$333.00$361.00$350.00$333.00$243.00270.00%40.71%5/21/2015
Eventide7/25/2008$90.00$327.00$377.00$400.00$327.00$237.00263.33%38.59%5/21/2015
Shadowmoor5/2/2008$90.00$500.00$490.00$600.00$490.00$400.00444.44%63.00%5/21/2015
Morningtide2/1/2008$90.00$425.00$430.00$400.00$400.00$310.00344.44%47.16%5/21/2015
Lorwyn10/12/2007$90.00$715.00$590.00$700.00$590.00$500.00555.56%72.99%5/21/2015
10th Edition7/14/2007$90.00$335.00na$300.00$300.00$210.00233.33%29.70%5/21/2015
Future Sight5/4/2007$90.00$628.00na$800.00$628.00$538.00597.78%74.24%5/21/2015

Note: If the table doesn’t look good on your mobile device, you might have better results viewing my original spreadsheets in Google Docs.

And here is the research on Fat Packs:

Fat Pack Research

    Current Value      
SetRelease DateOriginal Avg PriceEbay (BIN)TCGSCGLowest AvailableRaw ReturnRaw % ReturnAnnualized ReturnCurrent Date
M157/18/2014$30.00$48.00$40.00$40.00$40.00$10.0033.33%39.63%5/21/2015
Journey Into Nyx5/2/2014$30.00$30.00$30.00$40.00$30.00$0.000.00%0.00%5/21/2015
Born of the Gods2/7/2014$30.00$28.00$30.00$40.00$28.00-$2.00-6.67%-5.20%5/21/2015
Theros9/27/2013$30.00$45.00$40.00$50.00$40.00$10.0033.33%20.24%5/21/2015
M147/19/2013$30.00$39.00$35.00$40.00$35.00$5.0016.67%9.07%5/21/2015
Dragons Maze5/3/2013$30.00$30.00$30.00$30.00$30.00$0.000.00%0.00%5/21/2015
Gatecrash2/1/2013$30.00$37.50$40.00$45.00$37.50$7.5025.00%10.88%5/21/2015
Return to Ravnica10/5/2012$30.00$56.00$56.00$60.00$56.00$26.0086.67%33.02%5/21/2015
M137/13/2012$30.00$46.00$45.00$40.00$40.00$10.0033.33%11.68%5/21/2015
Avacyn Restored5/4/2012$30.00$83.00$76.00$100.00$76.00$46.00153.33%50.33%5/21/2015
Dark Ascension2/3/2012$30.00$48.00$50.00$60.00$48.00$18.0060.00%18.20%5/21/2015
Innistrad9/30/2011$30.00$123.00$128.00$120.00$120.00$90.00300.00%82.39%5/21/2015
M127/15/2011$30.00$54.00$50.00$40.00$40.00$10.0033.33%8.65%5/21/2015
New Phyrexia5/13/2011$30.00$93.00$91.00$99.00$91.00$61.00203.33%50.52%5/21/2015
Mirrodin Besieged2/4/2011$30.00$64.00$60.00$60.00$60.00$30.00100.00%23.29%5/21/2015
Scars of Mirrodin10/1/2010$30.00$68.00$65.00$60.00$60.00$30.00100.00%21.56%5/21/2015
M117/16/2010$30.00$49.95$47.00$50.00$47.00$17.0056.67%11.69%5/21/2015
Rise of the Eldrazi4/23/2010$30.00$280.00$175.00$250.00$175.00$145.00483.33%95.15%5/21/2015
Worldwake2/2/2010$30.00$275.00$285.00$300.00$275.00$245.00816.67%154.13%5/21/2015
Zendikar10/2/2009$30.00$300.00$300.00$300.00$300.00$270.00900.00%159.70%5/21/2015
M107/17/2009$30.00n/an/a$130.00$130.00$100.00333.33%57.01%5/21/2015
Alara Reborn4/30/2009$30.00$111.00$118.00$120.00$111.00$81.00270.00%44.55%5/21/2015
Conflux2/6/2009$30.00$120.00$150.00$130.00$120.00$90.00300.00%47.71%5/21/2015
Shards of Alara10/3/2008$30.00n/a$181.00$150.00$150.00$120.00400.00%60.31%5/21/2015
Eventide7/25/2008$30.00$105.00n/a$120.00$105.00$75.00250.00%36.63%5/21/2015
Shadowmoor5/2/2008$30.00$155.00n/a$200.00$155.00$125.00416.67%59.06%5/21/2015
Morningtide2/1/2008$30.00$134.00$138.00$150.00$134.00$104.00346.67%47.46%5/21/2015
Lorwyn10/12/2007$30.00$227.00$241.00$250.00$227.00$197.00656.67%86.28%5/21/2015
10th Edition7/14/2007$30.00$145.00n/a$120.00$120.00$90.00300.00%38.18%5/21/2015
Future Sight5/4/2007$30.00$200.00$252.00$250.00$200.00$170.00566.67%70.38%5/21/2015

Note: If the table doesn’t look good on your mobile device, you might have better results viewing my original spreadsheets in Google Docs.

So what does this info tell us? Let’s take a look at the average annualized returns (proper return on investment calculations, taking into account the discounting of returns over the time period in question).

Booster Boxes vs Fat Packs

 Annualized Gain 
SetBooster BoxFat Pack
M15-9.25%39.63%
Journey Into Nyx-6.34%0.00%
Born of the Gods-4.33%-5.20%
Theros0.00%20.24%
M14-6.65%9.07%
Dragons Maze-10.84%0.00%
Gatecrash-4.83%10.88%
Return to Ravnica3.39%33.02%
M13-5.84%11.68%
Avacyn Restored17.87%50.33%
Dark Ascension8.43%18.20%
Innistrad39.67%82.39%
M120.58%8.65%
New Phyrexia70.40%50.52%
Mirrodin Besieged15.53%23.29%
Scars of Mirrodin26.35%21.56%
M116.87%11.69%
Rise of the Eldrazi111.56%95.15%
Worldwake115.33%154.13%
Zendikar83.79%159.70%
M1013.30%57.01%
Alara Reborn29.33%44.55%
Conflux60.97%47.71%
Shards of Alara40.71%60.31%
Eventide38.59%36.63%
Shadowmoor63.00%59.06%
Morningtide47.16%47.46%
Lorwyn72.99%86.28%
10th Edition29.70%38.18%
Future Sight74.24%70.38%
Average Gain/Year30.72%44.75%
Average Gain/Year (Sets Older than 3 years)46.02%58.25%

 

So there you have it. In comparing the average returns for booster boxes vs. Fat Packs over the last thirty sets, there is no question that Fat Packs are the superior investment, beating booster boxes by 15% on average over the last 30 sets and by 12% when considering sets older than three years old.

Why might this be? Here’s my theory:

  1. Magic: The Gathering is a collectible card game and Fat Packs are more collectible than regular boxes because of the inclusion of dice, set guides, card boxes and (at one point) novels.
  2. The price point on Fat Packs, both at release and down the road, is significantly below that of the booster boxes. Retail theory generally suggests that you will sell more of lower cost items than higher cost ones.
  3. As pointed out by Spencer in the comments, Fat Packs are generally thought to be printed in a single wave up front and therefore significantly more limited than Booster Boxes. This is also likely to be a key contributing factor to their increased returns.

In short, there’s more demand for Fat Packs because they’re more collectible and they cost less, leading to naturally better returns. Even when considering the low returns on recent sets, Fat Packs for KTK and M15 stand out as having appreciated earlier than their corresponding booster boxes.

Best Bet? Go for Fat Packs over Booster Boxes.

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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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (May 9/15)

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 our writing team actually puts our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a 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 without hope of profit, where appropriate. 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 were up to this week:

Buying Period: May 3 – May 9th, 2015

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

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 1x Myth Realized (foil) @ $7.00
  • 1x Griselbrand @ $13.50
  • 1x Whisperwood Elemental @ $8.50
  • 1x Temple Garden @ $8.25
  • 1x Mana Confluence @ $7.50
  • 1x Scavenging Ooze (Russian promo foil) @ $11
  • 2x Pharika, God of Afflication @ $3.25/per
  • 2x Siege Rhino (foil) @ $16
  • Mutavault (Japanese) @ $10
  • 1x boxes of Modern Masters 2015 @ $230

SOLD:

  • 6x Modern Masters 2015 @ $255 USD ($210 cost)

SOLD (Pucatrade)

  • 1x Grafdigger’s Cage (foil) @ $19.00 (pack opened)
  • 1x Tarmogoyf @ $195.00 ($135 cost)
  • 1x Wilt Leaf Liege @ $29.42 (pack opened)
  • 1x Sensei’s Divining Top @ $32.41 (pack opened)
  • 1x Horizon Canopy @ $34.65 ($18 cost)
  • 5x Steam Vents @ $13.20 ($8.25 cost)

My total haul of MM2 boxes now stands at 20+. The revelation of the full set list through plenty of folks for a loop, as the final rares list was significantly less exciting than many had hoped for. Running the Estimated Value (EV) calculation on the set however has revealed that much of the value has simply been shifted to the mythics and the current EV per pack is very close to the MSRP of $9.99. This means that opening a box at MSRP is roughly equivalent to the math on opening a box of MM1 in the summer of 2013, which featured a similar EV. Each pack you open will feature higher variance, but the more packs you open the more likely you are to even out your opens. As such, I’m expecting the EV to fall off in the weeks following the triple Grand Prix into the $7-8 range as people sell off their opens. If the set is constricted on supply and/or considered too risky by players to open frequently, I would expect the box trajectory to follow a similar path to MM1, with less total upside. My current target is $325 on boxes by December 2015. Even if dealers end up having more supply than my sources have told me they will, a neutral EV out of the gate is unlikely to motivate them to open enough boxes to further tank the singles market on the mythics. We now need to see how the draft format is received, because a great format will drive sales and pack openings, and push EV further down the curve, whereas a bad draft format could keep the price of key cards relatively stable.  More on this as the issues play out.

Most of my singles purchases this week were simply opportunistic grabs at prices below retail, or cards I expect to continue rising heading into fall.

Pucatrade was a huge help this week, allowing me to out MM2 reprints like Leyline of Sanctity, Wilt Leaf Liege and Tarmogoyf at full value. I now have about $700 worth of Pucapoints, accumulated since the end of March, and my goal is to trade into a mox on that platform before the end of summer.

Guo Heng Chin

TRADES

  • Thunderbreak Regent (out) for one Dragonlord Dromoka (in).

Jared Yost

PURCHASES
  • 4x Willow Satyr @ $13.96
  • 4x Gravity Sphere @ $11.76 + $1 shipping
Jarod says:
“I’ve picked up these Reserve List cards due to some analysis I did on Legends and potentially undervalued cards on the Reserve List.”

Note: The rest of the guys were quiet this week.

Bonus Tips:

  • Putting some money aside for the two weeks after the triple MM2 GPs across the globe is a solid notion indeed. Tens of thousands of packs will be opened at those tournaments and many of those players will be looking to sell of sweet opens that they don’t need for their own decks to recoup some of their trip costs. This should lead to a plethora of good deals as the sellers crowd each other out in a race to the bottom of the price ladder. This will also be the period where key standard cards will start to bottom out into their usual summer doldrums, and great cards from Khans block are likely to be in bargain territory with so much focus on Modern cards.
  • Before you plow too much money into the Eldrazi from MM2, keep in mind that we are very likely to get even more exciting Eldrazi this fall in Battle for Zendikar. Since the Eldrazi characters are set in stone, new versions could easily injur the price points on the earlier editions if they prove more interesting to collectors.
  • The absence of man-lands, Inquisition of Kozilek and Goblin Guide leaves me wondering whether WOTC will simply reprint some or all of these cards in the fall. This makes me very hesitant to get in on any of them right now.
  • As I’m writing this Yohan Dudognon is 7-0 at GP Paris running an entirely new multi-color Collected Company deck running Mantis Rider, Savage Knuckleblade and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. He just tapped out end of turn for Stoke the Flames tapping Riders and Knuckleblades so he has my full attention. Bottom line: Collected Company is proving to be a flexible and powerful magic card. Foils should be top targets while they’re cheap. I have them breaking $20 later this year.

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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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (May 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 our writing team actually puts our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a 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 without hope of profit, where appropriate. 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 were up to this week:

Buying Period: April 27 – May 3, 2015

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

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 4x boxes of Modern Masters 2015 @ $225
  • 2x Tarmogoyf (MM) @ $135
  • 7x Steam Vents (RTR) @ $8.50/per
  • 4x Nylea God of the Hunt @$3/per
  • 1x Sidisi, Undead Vizier (foil) @ $8
  • 1x Heliod, God of the Sun @ $2
  • 1x Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (foil pre-release) @ $4
  • 2x Glittering Wish @ $5/per
  • 1x Soulfire Grand Master (foil) @ $15
  • 1x Anticipate (foil) @ $8.50
  • 2x Siege Rhino @ $4.00
  • 1x Siege Rhino (pre-release foil) @ $11
  • 1x Dragonlord Dromoka (foil) @ $17
  • 4x Heliod, God of the Sun @ $2.50
  • 4x Gitaxian Probe @ $2.00
  • 1x Time Warp @ $8
  • 1x Grove of the Burnwillows @ $27
  • 1x Dromoka’s Command (Russian) @ $2.50
  • 1x Atarka’s Command (Russian) @ $2.50
  • 1x Kolaghan’s Command (Russian) @ $2.50

SOLD:

  • 1x Fate Reforged Booster Box (Russian) @ $199 USD ($125 cost)
  • 8x Den Protector @ $4/per ($1.25 cost)
  • 5x Dragonlord Ojutai @ $32/per ($6 cost)

SOLD (Pucatrade)

  • 3x Leyline of Sanctity @ $30.91 ($18 cost)

I’ve moved in even deeper on Modern Masters 2015 boxes as my sources all concur that the print run will be lower than expected and that many dealers will have trouble getting a hold of enough boxes to meet their local demand. Further proof comes from my receipt of offers from local dealers at prices far above what I’m buying for. You may be hearing that the print is bigger than last time, and it is, but a lot of that will be eaten up by the massive attendance at 3 GPs worldwide and a flurry of drafting at your local shop. I’m willing to bet that boxes are scarce by mid-June and the price tops $300 again. I’ll be happy to sell into the hype around the triple release GPs, but if I need to hold the boxes until Xmas season to yield my expected 30-40% returns, that’s fine too.

The Tarmogoyfs and the foil Siege Rhinos, along with the Steam Vents were all purchases of opportunity at GP Toronto, where some dealers from smaller towns surrounding Toronto were sporting remarkably low pricing on many staples. It felt like I could have gone very deep on value purchases at the event, and indeed several contacts reported dropping thousands in productive fashion. Selling into hype at a big tournament is always a good place to be, and I continued to unload Ojutai and Den Protector this week into amazing value.

Most of the rest of my buys were late night Ebay value purchases, where auctions were closing at prices below market value. We’re not quite at the season for summer pricing lows, but I’m starting to move in on the Theros gods, looking to acquire piles below $5 to out a few years later over $10.

Over on PucaTrade I continue to dump cards I expect are either peaking or likely to decline due to imminent reprint, with an eye to trading up into a $500-1000 card within a month or two of frequent trading. The latest dumps are Leyline of Sanctity out of my Abzan Tokens deck in Modern, based on the likely appearance of the card in Modern Masters 2015. I expect to get back into these below $20, so selling now at $30 in trade value is great.

Note: The rest of the guys were quiet this week. Look for updates this weekend.

Bonus Tip:

  • Blue devotion is far from dead. A U/G devotion deck with 32 creatures and 4 Collected Company finished 4th at the SCG Open in Portland, and the deck looked very solid on camera. As such I’m in no rush to dump Thassa and Master of Waves just yet, since we’re only another strong finish away from a possible move on these cards. The worst case is a hold waiting for a version in Modern, which is entirely possible if we wait for a few more great creatures to take the formula over the top.
  • Sell Noble Hierarch asap and look to move back in under $20 later this summer. It’s being reprinted at rare in MM2 and that should send the price crashing as the triple GP inventory floods the web in early June.
  • Bitterblossom has been confirmed for MM2 as well, and will likely bleed value since it’s not seeing heavy play at present.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT: Get the Cube Starter Bundle with the 3rd Edition Grimoire Deck Box, the brand new Grimoire Deck Box designed specifically for the red mage in you. 

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