Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: I Believe You Have My Staples


Milton Office Space - Excuse me I Believe you have my mana crypt

By: Jason Alt

Look, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by publishing an article the thrust of which is, “Hur, pay attention to stuff.” Well, I mean, I might do that, but I want to let you know up front that although that may end up being the thrust of this article, it’s not the only point I want to make. You probably understand you need to pay attention to stuff, so I hope I can tell you what and why without making you feel like a dummy.


Why bring it up at all? Because I think an important part of being a good financier is paying attention to stuff you couldn’t give a hot $#^@ about.  I don’t expect you to care about or play every format. I couldn’t possibly care less about Standard as a format if next week I had to play in a tournament where the prize for first place was, “We don’t kill your family.” That’s a weird prize to offer, but Standard is a weird and stupid format and if you like it, that’s cool and most Magic players agree with you, but just know that you’re wrong.

There are lots of formats I don’t actually care about, and you probably don’t care about. Five-Color. Pauper. Type 4. Momir Vig with paper cards. But you can bet that if there were money to be made in those formats, I’d be advising you to read everything you could about them. And why not? This is about learning what we need to learn to start stacking that scrilla. Super high piles. You remember that pile of cocaine on Tony Montana’s desk in Scarface? That movie was awesome. What was I talking about? Right, scrilla. Specifically, where the scrilla resides.

Let Others Care For You

I keep getting more and more messages, tweets, emails, and LinkedIn link requests each week from people who tell me they love the financial information in this article, like they’re surprised. You actually don’t have to care about EDH to make money off of price movements or stocking your binder with just the right bait. It’s almost magical that way. There are already a ton of people who care about EDH, and they care a lot. Good!


Make no mistake, I’m one of the people who cares about EDH, but I promise you that even if I didn’t, I’d still leverage this community to stay ahead of price movements and stock up. The best way to leverage them is to see what they’re talking about. How to do that? Why not go where they hang out and talk EDH? Let’s talk about a few resources.


Tapped Out

Tapped Out is a great, great site. It does a good job of policing the community by making it a difficult process to sign up for an account. Also, the EDH community may have a high nerd saturation, but it has a very low troll saturation, so an EDH-focused website is bound to be pretty troll-free. In fact, the people on Tapped Out are usually the opposite, going out of their way to help people focus.

Take a look at this post. The author created a decklist and it’s pretty decent. Scroll down and you will see helpful community contributors suggesting cards that should be in the deck. You are likely to see cards you didn’t know existed, and that’s okay. What you do when you see a card like that matters, though.

Someone on this page suggested the card Nomad Mythmaker for the deck. Click on the highlighted name to be taken to this page, where you get some info about the card, including its TCGplayer price data and the threads where the card is discussed. Mythmaker is almost exclusively discussed in the context of Bruna, the Light Alabaster and Uril, the Miststalker decks. That means the card is a bit narrow. Still, it’s old, underprinted, and is a very, very good card for this role. Tapped Out also has a very cool tab system that gives a lot of great info.


You can check the price on TCGplayer and Cardhoarder, see how many people are interested in the card (the ratio of haves to wants is telling) and there is a very ugly but useful price graph. Mythmaker doesn’t look like a great candidate for investment, but we’ve only looked at one card.



Look at this info. As many people as have Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger want him. His price is climbing steadily, he’ll be tough to reprint, and he just dodged a reprint in Modern Masters 2015.

Really explore the page for each card. There are combos for the card listed on the right side of the page, and you can click on the other cards in the combo to bring up their pages. This is a rabbit hole of cards you may or may not know that can teach you a lot about which cards in EDH are staples and which are narrow inclusions in specific decks. Tapped Out gives us a metric no other site gives us because we can look at the trade demand tab and see more people want the card or more people want rid of the card.

Compare Mythmaker to Vorinclex. You don’t need to learn all about EDH to be able to see that a popular format staple will have demand proportionate to or above supply rather than below (like in the case of Mythmaker). What do we expect that ratio to look like for a card like Mana Crypt? Can you guess?


3 have, 11 want. While this information is not exactly quantifiable, it’s a qualitative look at the cards EDH players are looking for and that’s not a terrible metric even though it’s a little loose. I wouldn’t rank cards based on this ratio or anything, but I would take notice of it. The higher the proportion of wants to haves, usually the more decks it goes in. Isn’t that what we’re looking for?

One More

I don’t want to inundate you with a ton of new websites you may have never visited before, so I will cover a few more resources next week to give you a chance to play around with Tapped Out. Yes, I’m teaching you to fish. Deal with it.


One resource is one you’ve heard of and are probably avoiding like the plague: it’s Reddit. Okay. Yes, I know. Reddit is gross. A lot of the people on Reddit are on Reddit because if they went outside, an angry mob would chase them with torches and pitchforks, so they stay inside and poop on other people’s enthusiasm instead. I’m not saying Redditors all kill puppies when they’re adolescents, I’m just saying that I can’t watch all of them 24/7 and dogs go missing every day.

Once you choke back your initial revulsion, the EDH subreddit is actually a great resource. I know, right? If you’d have told me two years ago that I’d find most of the readers in the EDH subreddit delightful and helpful and wouldn’t like spending much time with the readers of the more competitive subreddits, I would likely have distracted you for long enough for the orderlies to come restrain you and take you to the facility where I was having you involuntarily committed. They probably wouldn’t lobotomize you even though I’d suggest it, because I’m not a doctor and they don’t really do that anymore, but they would at least strap you in for some time to think about that nutty thing you said. Well, belt me into a straight jacket and call me Napoleon Bonaparte, because I love r/EDH.

You know what they do periodically that I love? They do stuff like this and anyone who wants to can read it. No one even asks them to, they just get bored and say, “Hey, why don’t we make a list of cards that will be more expensive in a few months than they are right now?” because they are pathologically helpful that way.

Read through the page I just linked. Not every card is going to be a good investment, but that’s not the entire point. It will help familiarize you with a class of cards that have broad utility and perhaps identify niches that named cards fill but other cards also fill, perhaps better. /u/TCV2 couldn’t make his case for Library of Leng without discussing the more popular Reliquary Tower, which led to someone else bringing up Venser’s Journal. Hey, while we’re talking about VJ, did you know this?


More than two years of steady growth entirely predicated on EDH utility, but a very suspicious two-times multiplier in the foil price. That bears looking into. In a few seconds, we identified a foil card that has growth potential and will weather a reprint much better than the non-foil.  Actually, that’s not even accurate. Someone else identified the card for us. I still get these shipped to me as bulk rares, by the way. This card is useful in a lot of decks and can be considered an EDH staple, but the foil hasn’t gotten the memo.

Novelty is king in r/EDH, however. A similar post earlier in the week, titled “EDH auto-include cards?” rubbed people the wrong way and it was under-posted-in. Still, there is decent advice in there, and I got to talk about how much I like Trading Post. If you have a problem with that, then I guess you don’t like Karn either, because Trading Post is practically a colorless planeswalker.

That’s a reminder: try to identify when someone is talking up a pet card versus when someone is identifying an actual format staple. Trading Post may be super sick in EDH, and its printing in the Commander 2014 deck series bears that out, but no one told the price of the foil copies of the card.


That’s oogly.

What’s a “Staple” Anyway?

Just like in any other format, a staple in EDH is a card that is played in multiple deck archetypes and is included in certain decks on principle. Sol Ring, Command Tower, Rhystic Study: these cards are obvious to everyone, even people who don’t care about the format at all. However, there are other staples of the format that are harder to identify and need to be rooted out a bit before they become clear.

If you ask a mono-black player to name the three most iconic and important “staple” cards in her deck, pretty much no matter which deck, she’s likely to say something like, “Probably Demonic Tutor, Sol Ring, and Mana Vault,” or a similar list. A card almost none of them is going to say but a lot of them are bound to include but not give a second thought to?


Look at that growth. That’s EDH doing its thing and doing it very well. A reprint can pull this card’s pants down, but the foil has a nice, healthy four-times multiplier. You know what’s even sexier than that? The spread on the foil.


It’s miniscule. This is behaving like an EDH staple, yet no one is going to identify this as an EDH staple even if you ask them to list staples. You’re going to have to go looking a little bit harder to root some of these cards out.


Luckily, I have given you a few tools to play around with until next week, and when I come back at you, I will hit you with a few more. I’m going to do my best to write that article before I head to Las Vegas, because I have a feeling I’ll be a bit distracted when I get there.

Between the data screaming at us at the top of its lungs the way some of these price graphs are screaming at us and EDH players politely listing the cards they think you should research, this can be easy at times. It’s not as easy as identifying good Standard investment candidates, but then if it were that easy, everyone else would be all over it. This takes a little digging, it takes some knowledge of the format, and it takes some finesse.  Luckily, this series is going to tell you just about all I know about this and bring you all along for a ride on the money train. I’ll be back next week with some more sources for you to consider. You won’t want to miss it.

As always, leave me something in the comments section and let’s try to get ahead of the next one.

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In just a few days, it will have been four months since I started using PucaTrade.  Since then, I have more or less optimized my cube (which was no small task), gotten rid of a lot of junk I didn’t want weighing down my collection, and have spent zero dollars on Magic, aside from shipping, I suppose. It’s hard for me to overstate just how much use I have gotten out of this service in such a short time. If you’re not on board yet, you’re making a serious misplay.

This isn’t going to be a basics-of-PucaTrade style article. There have been plenty of those written, and the site is easy enough to use without me explaining it. Instead, I’ll be discussing some more specific strategies for using the platform to your advantage, as well as anticipating the best ways to adapt to several known updates that are already in the works.



If you only see my summary on the site, then it looks like I haven’t done too well using PucaTrade:

“You have sent 200 cards with a total value of $903.68 and you have received 115 cards from other members with a total value of $699.31.”‘

Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story.


Now things are looking much better. In my opinion, there is little point to being on PucaTrade if you aren’t able to request cards at a moment’s notice. For this reason, I never like to dip below 10,000 points, and in practice, I haven’t been under 20,000 points often at all.

In many ways, PucaTrade has become my primary way to attain cards, and I don’t want to miss out on good opportunities because I’ve spent all my points. If you’re a player needing to build decks at a moment’s notice, keeping a healthy supply of PucaPoints on hand is a great way to get the cards you need.

Another great benefit here is that I’ve shipped many cards that I expected were going down in value. In my article last week, many of the “sales” I discussed in anticipation of Modern Masters 2015 were, in fact, PucaTrade sends. If I had been trading these out at my LGS or a big event, I would have needed to find cards to receive in return, many of which would be less than ideal and not much better than what I was trading out. With PucaTrade, I was able to lock in value while I could, and have been storing that value for use at a later time. It’s glorious.

The Rhino in the Room

Of course, I’m well aware that letting this currency sit without gaining interest is inefficient. I could pick up over 50 Siege Rhinos with my current bankroll, and unless it gets included in a Duel Deck or something (what a gross thought), by the fall, I will almost certainly have made a hefty profit in either PucaPoints or cash—my choice. I am certainly picking up a dozen copies of a card here and a playset of a fringe spec there, but I still like to keep a good amount of points on hand. Besides, liquidating a huge pile of the same card through PucaTrade is not exactly easy, and things have to line up a lot better to make a profit buylisting.

The thing is, despite using PucaTrade as my primary MTG bankroll for the last few months, I have another reason to accrue points, and it relates to PucaTrade’s IndieGoGo campaign from a couple month’s back. Here’s the relevant section:



I’ve been a #mtgdad for almost a year now, and I’ve learned two things about it during that time:

  1. Even with a supportive wife, getting out to play Magic is about ten times harder than it was pre-baby, and nowhere close to as attractive as kicking it at home with my son after a long day at work.
  2. Drafting on Magic Online isn’t much better, given that I have to dedicate two to three hours and there’s no guarantee that the baby’s mood won’t change like sixteen times during that period. I’ve lost more than one game due to fussy-baby-caused misclicks or timeouts.

This means that I haven’t been playing nearly enough Magic in the last several months, and I don’t see my situation changing anytime soon. I continue to insist that Draft is the epitome of Fine Gaming™ (like fine arts, fine wines, fine cheeses, etc.), but because MTGO offers no way to play meaningful Limited games quickly, I think I’m going to have start looking into Constructed if I want to play more Magic within my current constraints.

I’ve messed with Standard, Block Constructed, and Pauper on MTGO in the past, but have not enjoyed them enough to do more than dabble and then taper off. What really catches my attention is Vintage. 

Conveniently, MTG Goldfish’s metagame page lists the exact online prices for the top decks in the format. Ignoring Dredge and Workshop—because when I say I’m interested in Vintage, what I really mean is that I’m interested in playing Ancestral Recall and Time WalkI can see that I will need roughly 700 tickets. This isn’t so bad when you consider these same decks are listing  at around $15,000 in paper!

Still, this means that I’ve got some catch-up to do if I want to be on top of a Vintage deck when these PucaTrade updates go live. I’m also looking into the Facebook group dedicated for PucaPoint/ticket exchanges that Douglas Johnson mentioned in his article last week, as this was not a group of which I was previously aware. Maybe I won’t have to wait for PucaTrade’s updates, after all.

In my first article for MTGPrice, I pointed out that once you have a decent collection of cards together, you have a very liquid asset that you can use for any of your MTG needs, making playing for free—or at least not spending additional money—quite attainable for the average player. In this case, my goal is to play Vintage without spending any additional money (again, disregarding stamps and envelopes), and I’m sure I can do it. One of the greatest benefits to PucaTrade, especially once MTGO trading is added, is that you can turn your collection into anything you want it to be.

Perfect for Those Cards

I’ve touched on this before, but I feel like it’s important to point it out again because it’s such a crucial aspect to PucaTrade. I have speculated on many a card that has panned out, but only just.

For example, I’m pretty deep on Steam Vents, but unfortunately, got most of my copies for $8 each (in store credit) before the Dragon’s Maze reprint was announced. I traded for plenty more copies at $6 or $7, but I generally don’t like the idea of selling them for less than $8.

Currently, the best buylist price is at $7.40, but the retail price is closer to $13. The eBay average is $8, which means I would be losing money after fees. Without PucaTrade, this would just be a spec I had to sit on and hope would eventually pan out a little better, or occasionally find someone at my LGS who wanted to trade for a set. Instead, I’m shipping these out for more than 1300 points each at a slow but steady rate, storing that value for other speculation targets, cards for my collection, or eventual online Vintage.

Dealing with a card’s spread (the difference between buylist prices and retail prices) is one of the biggest obstacles to profit for a non-store-owning financier, but PucaTrade gives a new and very important out for specs that are mild successes or even failures. Previously, the choice was largely between selling at a loss or continuing to hold and hoping for further increases, but with PucaTrade allowing you to get what essentially amounts to the card’s full value in store credit, a whole new world opens up for outing these types of specs.

Know the News

Following along with PucaTrade’s blog is a great way to keep up with what updates are coming up. You also get great MTG market theory, like this gem from a recent update:

PucaTrade has taught me that Magic is fundamentally a game of excess supply.  Whether you participate in a draft or buy a booster box to crack open, Magic cards enter your collection as random assortments that you may or may not want.

Part two of this article discusses PucaTrade’s approach to solving one of the service’s biggest problems: the difficulty of sending out popular cards, especially from Standard-legal sets. I won’t rehash it, but basically, they’re testing a “dibs” system this summer. It’s definitely worth a read.

By knowing that the dibs system is coming, you may decide that you are more comfortable committing some capital to Standard cards. Or maybe the fact that it may prove temporary will make you want to move into cards that not everyone will be looking to send. When I see an announcement that MTGO trading is coming up soon, that will give me a little extra time to have the points ready to get those Vintage cards I’m coveting. Paying attention can help you be ahead of the curve in many ways.

Closing Up Shop

I’m really proud of the section header above, because I’m using it both to indicate that we’re approaching the end of this article, and also to reference a frequent criticism I hear about PucaTrade. That’s efficiency right there, folks.

Invariably, any time someone writes an article about PucaTrade, someone will comment saying something like, “I would never put my cards into something like this. They could just pull the plug any day and then everyone would just lose all their points. This is obviously a scam.”

Look, I’m all about being risk-averse. And you’re right, PucaTrade could close down. But considering more than one million trades have been completed and there’s apparently more users active than ever, I don’t imagine a world where PucaTrade will close down, at least any time soon. Frankly, the service has already proven more reliable and personally valuable to me than MTGO, and now I’m on record as being willing to put in several hundred tickets towards a Vintage deck on that unreliable, bug-ridden joke of a client. If you have any kind of collection at all on Magic Online, any criticism of PucaTrade as a risky proposition is willful obfuscation of your true concerns, whatever they may be.

If you want to use all the tools in the financier’s toolkit, you’ve already taken the right step by signing up as a ProTrader here at MTGPrice. We can provide the data and the community you need to make the correct decisions in your Magic finance pursuits.

But if you haven’t signed up for PucaTrade yet, you are missing out on what is in my opinion the finest medium for exchanging Magic cards for other Magic cards that is available. That’s just my opinion, though. You should check it out for yourself to know for sure.

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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Take Advantage of Modern Masters 2015 Emotions

Emotions can frequently fog one’s judgment in MTG finance. In fact, the same is true for stock market investing. Emotions explain why stocks and Magic cards can be over-valued and under-valued in the short term.

However I am in the camp that the Invisible Hand finds the correct price…eventually. It may take months or even years – but I firmly believe that over a long enough time horizon, fundamentals outweigh emotions. The true value of a stock or a Magic card will be reflected in its price over enough time.


Take for example the recent Twitter drama I caused by pointing out the low stock of Promo Command Tower on TCG Player. At the time, there were approximately seven copies in stock across five sellers. I purchased three copies and highlighted to the community how few remained.


In rapid fashion, the remaining copies were bought out, sending this card’s market “value” much higher. Disgruntled players criticized me for pointing out this shortage of stock, wrongly accusing me of a pump and dump or at the very least, market manipulation. I tried to explain that the true value would be identified given enough time, and that any short term spike was artificial.

Well, here we are a month or two later and Judge Promo Command Towers are back down to $28, only about 15% above where I bought my copies. It took a while, but the Invisible Hand eventually did take action to regulate the market and help identify the right price.

Applying This to Modern Masters 2105

The above example to me is a classic case study showcasing how markets can overreact due to emotions. The result is a brief moment in time where market inefficiency could be exploited for profits. While I did not make such a greedy move with Command Tower (I still own the same three copies), there are other short term opportunities that are worth considering.

With Modern Masters 2015 on everybody’s mind I thought I would take a look at some reactions to being either included or excluded from the set. In certain cases, we will be able to identify emotionally driven price changes. Perhaps there will be some situations where rampant sell-off could soon generate a buy opportunity. Conversely, cards dodging reprint may have overreacted to the upside creating a chance to sell into hype.


Let’s start with a couple cards that have sold off dramatically since being spoiled in MM2015. The first card that comes to my mind almost immediately is Leyline of Sanctity. The Core Set rare has dropped nearly 40% since being spoiled in the reprint set.


This reprint was a major hit to the white enchantment. But my outlook isn’t such extreme doom and gloom. The card is still a clutch sideboard player in a metagame where Burn is relevant and even dodging Thoughtseizes and Inquisition of Kozileks (two excellent pickups, by the way) is quite handy. That being said, the card went from very low supply to…marginally higher supply? Think about it: will Modern Masters 2015 have a long-term impact on the supply of this card? Could an increase in Modern interest help drive demand, supporting this card’s price in the future? It’s certainly possible. My advice: keep an eye on this one – it’s selling off now and for good reason, but activity over the last day or two may suggest there are buyers at this lower price point. Once it stabilizes, Leyline can be a solid target.

Spellskite is another such example.


Like Leyline of Sanctity, this is another highly relevant sideboard card in Modern. After peaking over $30, the card rapidly sold off and crashed down to around $15, only to recently rebound back over $18. This is another example where the market is emotionally over-reacting to news. Will Spellskite’s price continue to drop? Possibly. But much of the drop is likely already priced in at this point. I’d keep a close eye on this one as well because as long as Splinter Twin remains dominant in Modern, this will be a highly in-demand card with plenty of fundamental strength. Don’t give in to short term panic selling if you can avoid it.

At this point you may be thinking only sideboard rares are experiencing this emotional sell-off. Guess again.


The most valuable card in Modern, Tarmogoyf himself, is also selling off in light of Modern Masters 2015. While his pullback has not been as drastic, a move from $220 to $171 is nothing to sneeze at. In this case, I suspect the selling may not be over just yet. But the bottom will arrive swiftly. And when it does, it will likely last for only a brief moment. If history is any indicator, we may see Goyf’s price recover almost as quickly as it drops. Let’s zoom in on June 2013, when the first Modern Masters was released.


We can see in the chart above that Tarmogoyf peaked at $180 in 2013, only to drop down to around $110 in light of Modern Masters. Less than a month later, however, the card recovered nearly 100% of its drop. By early 2014, Goyf recovered the full price drop and started to set new all time highs.

Using this data, I suspect we haven’t hit the short-term bottom on Tarmogoyf just yet. But we need to remain extremely vigilant. A major price drop out of fearful selling could generate the best opportunity to make short-term profits. The same theory will apply to other reprinted cards like Noble Hierarch and Mox Opal.   These two cards have also sold off dramatically since being spoiled in MM2015.  A short-term selloff will again be a terrific time to obtain copies. We just need to be very careful with our timing – when the panic selling is over we need to be prepared to acquire quickly. The window of opportunity may be very small.


It’s no secret a few obvious exclusions were made from Modern Masters 2015. Cards dodging reprint in this set are bound to move higher in price. However in some cases emotions took cards into overbought territory, meriting a short term pullback.

Inkmoth Nexus is the poster child for such overly enthusiastic buying.


The nonbasic land skyrocketed 100% after we confirmed it would not be reprinted in Modern Masters 2015. I suspect this is driven highly by speculators, although it’s possible that some players held off on acquiring copies they needed in the hopes of a reprint. But you can see how the card over-shot to the high side in recent price action, and since the peak at $25 it has actually dropped 20% back down to under $20. The euphoric buying has subsided for now, but I’d watch this one closely. Another surge back to $25 is not out of the question, especially since the top buy list price hasn’t budged from $15. If we get back to $25 again I’d advocate moving extra copies to take advantage of everyone’s bullishness on the card.

Goblin Guide is another card worth a closer look after dodging reprint.

Goblin Guide

I want to highlight how much more subtle the price jump is in Goblin Guide. He went from $18ish to around $24, only to sell back down to $21. While less drastic, the trend matches that of Inkmoth Nexus. Emotionally driven buying by speculators and players who recognized cheaper copies won’t be entering the market any time soon, followed by an ensuing sell-off. If there’s another surge in the coming months, make sure you’re ready to pounce. Selling into emotional hype is the best way to maximize value from your cards when looking at a short-term time horizon.

The last example I want to cover is Serum Visions.


When news broke that the blue sorcery dodged reprint it shot up to $11.66. Euphoria was short lived however, as the card quickly pulled back to $9.45, not even $1 above its pre-hyped price. Yet again we see this same trend – overextended buying followed by an immediate pullback.

Should this price behavior happen again in the coming months, I’d be ready to cash out of excess copies. Not only does this net you higher gains, but it also ensures you dodge future reprint risk, such as an FNM Promo in the case of Serum Visions or perhaps a Battle for Zendikar appearance (Goblin Guide? Inquisition of Kozilek?).

Wrapping it Up

In the three examples I shared of cards overextending to the high side, I want to point out one important consistency. In each case, the card value jumped on emotional excitement only to pull back immediately thereafter. However in all three cases, the top dealer buy price did not drop alongside the value. They all jumped up and have so far been able to stick.

If this trend continues and buy prices remain elevated, it will provide very strong support for these cards. Therefore, before cashing out in future price jumps, I’d highly encourage you to inspect buy price trends first. It’s one thing if speculators are getting a little too enthusiastic about a card’s absence from MM2015. It’s a completely different story if dealers also join the fray. In cases where buy prices jump and remain higher, you may be best served by holding for a longer time horizon.

Either way, one must be very observant of trends over the next couple months. There will continue to be rapid price fluctuations as people overreact to market changes. Should prices seem to overextend either to the upside or downside, we need to remain vigilant and prepared to act. If a sell-off becomes overdone, the window to acquire cheaper copies may only be open for a couple weeks. In the case of rampant buying the window to capitalize is even smaller, lasting only a few days.

We’re entering a highly volatile time period in MTG finance. This isn’t the time to sit on inventory complacently. We need to be acting if we wish to maximize value from our collections, adding positions where appropriate and cashing out of others after a spike higher. Perhaps the best strategy shortly after Vegas is to move spiked cards into reprinted cards – selling high and buying low. It may be challenging to move cards that everyone is euphoric about into cards that everyone is dumping. But if you time things correctly you’ll be selling into hype and buying into fear, the perfect trading strategy if you ask me.

Lastly, if you’re truly too afraid of how low prices can go on reprinted Modern staples I urge you to at least consider moving overbought cards into more stable holdings. Cashing out of overpriced Inkmoth Nexus at a dealer, taking trade credit, and acquiring that Dual Land you’ve needed for your EDH deck could be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. This is especially sound advice if you don’t want to actively manage your MTG portfolio throughout Modern season.

No matter what you do, keep your emotions in check. We should use historical data from the first Modern Masters to try and anticipate where prices may go from here. With a little planning, we just may add incremental value to our collections simply by timing things right. Good luck to everyone!

Sig’s Quick Hits

While everyone knows about Inkmoth Nexus and Serum Visions, a few cards that dodged MM2015 reprint have remained under the radar this past week. Here are some cards worth keeping an eye on and possibly acquiring before the hype train leaves the station.

  • While it was printed in the first Modern Masters, there’s no Rift Bolt in MM2015. The result: this $2 common is poised to rise in value as long as Burn remains relevant in Modern. Star City Games has a dozen or so copies in stock across Time Spiral and Modern Masters, but keep an eye on dealer stock going forward. We could see some gradual, more sustaining price increases this summer.
  • There will be no Spell Snare in MM2015. I suspect this will mean stock of this card will be dropping in the next few months. Star City Games currently has just one Dissension copy in stock at $5.59, though they have 17 MMA copies at $5.65. Picking up these – perhaps even in foil – could lead to some gradual price gains throughout 2015.
  • Another solid target due for gradual price increase is Hive Mind. The blue enchantment has seen only one printing, back in Magic 2010. The card is relevant in Modern, and may see some casual demand as well. SCG has 11 total copies in stock, with NM pricing at $4.89. This seems very low for a card played in Modern as a 3-of or 4-of. If Scapeshift can be a $24.15 card on SCG, I don’t see why Hive Mind couldn’t move higher from here.
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UNLOCKED PROTRADER: The Meta Report 9 – 14 May

By: Guo Heng

Welcome back to another instalment of The Meta Report, where we track the evolution of the metagame week-by-week and its financial implications. This week we would only be taking a look at the Magic Online metagame as we’ve already had a look at last week’s sole paper event, Grand Prix Paris in the previous instalment of The Meta Report.

Without further ado, here’s the table for the most popular decks on Magic Online daily events over the past week.

The Magic Online Metagame for 9 May to 14 May

Abzan Aggro38
Mono Red38
Esper Dragons34
GW Collected Company Megamorph27
Abzan Control24
Mardu Dragons23
Atarka Red20
Abzan Megamorph13
Jeskai Tokens12
GR Dragons8
GR Devotion8
GW Devotion7
UW Heroic6
Ojutai Bant Megamorph5
Temur Superfriends5
Abzan Reanimator4
Jeskai Aggro4
Grixis Dragons3
Mono Green Collected Company3
UB Control3
UW Control3
Abzan Rally2
GB Megamorph2
Mardu Midrange2
Mardu Aggro2
BR Dragons2
GW Megamorph2
Temur Midrange2
Sidisi Whip2
4 Color Collected Company2
RW Heroic2
Mono Black Aggro2
Abzan Warrior w/ Collected Company1
Sultai Rally with Purphoros1
Jund Dragons1
4 Color Dragons1
Mono Green Aggro1
GR Aggro1
BR Aggro1
Jeskai Tokens w/ Monastery Mentor1
UR Control1
GB Sacrifice1
Temur Aggro1
Jund Midrange1
Jund Whip1
UG Collected Company1
Bant Heroic1
RG Bees1
Caleb 4 Color Good Stuff1
BW Warriors0

The top dogs remained mostly unchanged from last week’s meta, with Abzan Aggro, Mono Red and Esper Dragons retaining their spot as the three most popular decks. However, this week saw Green White Collected Company Megamorph (a rather inelegant name for the Green White Aggro deck which utilizes the megamorph synergy in Den Protector and Deathmist Raptor and runs four copies of Collected Company) and Mardu Dragons gaining traction. As last week’s article pointed out, Mardu Dragons was well-positioned in the metagame and it is no surprise to see the deck nabbing a larger portion of the metagame last week. Mardu Dragon’s rise could also be attributed to it being one of the few tier one decks that is cheaper than the rest: you do not need Dragonlord Ojutai or Deathmist Raptor – two of the most expensive Dragons of Tarkir cards online (and on paper too) for Mardu Dragons.

Unfortunately the rise of Mardu Dragons has little financial implications as the components of the deck are either cheap or stagnating in price. Soulfire Grand Master experienced a slight bump over the last couple of days but her buylist price remained the same, pushing her spread to 56%. Nothing to see there.

On the other hand, Collected Company is solidifying its presence in Modern. The ongoing Magic Online Championships featured a Modern portion and Collected Company was the only Dragons card to make a splash in the 16-player Modern metagame. Twelve copies of Collected Company were found in three decks comprising of two archetypes:

Jasper De Jong Melira Not So Super Friends
Jasper De Jong Melira Not So Super Friends
Olle Rade's Elf Company
Olle Rade’s Elf Company

My call on Collected Company is still a sell call. I expect its price to remain at its current price of $9.65 or slightly dip in the face of Dragons of Tarkir redemptions hitting the market in a few days. Even if you decide to hold it, I don’t think you would stand to lose much if its price does not grow. I suspect Collected Company would retain a price of $8 – $10 for the next few months, especially with the swap to Modern PPTQs in June.

An old mythic that is seeing a bit of a resurgence in the metagame is Perilous Vault. The online meta last week saw Esper Dragons adopting a few copies of Perilous Vault to combat the persistent Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector synergy. With just a few months left in the meta, I am not expecting Perilous Vault to spike again, but it may be worth holding on to your copies to see if its adoption translates into paper, which could bump its price up by a few bucks as it is a core set mythic.

The Rise of Sarkhan?

Temur Ramp surfaced a couple of weeks when Andrew Cuneo brought the list to the Standard Super League. The deck appeared once or twice in the daily events in the two weeks following it. However, last week saw five copies of Temur Superfriends finish in the money in the daily events.  Below is a list from Magic Online streamer Bahra.

Bahra Temur Superfriends

Temur Ramp features a suite of nine Planeswalkers including a playset of Sarkhan Unbroken. Living up to his name, the new iteration of Sarkhan has yet to be broken. While Sarkhan Unbroken’s abilities will always be a two-for-one, his tricolor casting cost significantly restricted the type of decks that could run him. Temur Ramp, a midrangey Superfriends deck with ramp capabilities, seems to be the shell that fits Sarkhan Unbroken best in the current Standard metagame.  The only qualms I have with the deck is its flavor fail: Ugin would kill Sarkhan with his -X ability.

Sarkhan Unbroken Price

On a downward trajectory since the release of Dragons, Sarkhan Unbroken dipped below $10 briefly and is starting to climb although his buylist remained the same (spread of 38%). However, at $12.76, Sarkhan Unbroken looks to be a superb buy right now. Dragons of Tarkir drafts are going to be drastically reduced in a few weeks’ time and if Temur Ramp ramps up to tier one, Sarkhan could easily be a $20 card. I am putting a strong buy call on Sarkhan Unbroken.

The Last of the Dragonlords (To See Play)

While the most popular decks in the Magic Online metagame remained roughly the same as the previous week, a couple of decks featured a spicy new addition.

Dragonlord Dromoka in Abzan Megamorph
Vitorlima’s Abzan Megamorph
Dragonlord Dromoka in GW Devotion
Manwithplane251’s Green-White Devotion

Can you spot the new tech in those decks? Here’s one more list:

Dragonlord Dromoka in GW Devotion 2
Pokerswizard’s Green-White Devotion

Can you see it yet? I guess the picture gave it away. Dragonlord Dromoka is finally seeing some mainboard action. Up till last week, the only time she saw action was as a singleton in a sideboard of Robert Vaughn’s Abzan Megamorph deck which went 9-0 at Grand Prix Toronto.

Dragonlord Dromoka Price

Dragonlord Dromoka’s price has been on the uptick for a couple of weeks.  If Dragonlord Dromoka’s promotion from a sideboard singleton to two-to-three copies in the mainboard of Abzan Megamorph and Green-White Devotion translates into paper, she could very well demand a price tag of $15. While I am confident about Dromoka hitting $15 if the tech above does well on paper this weekend, I am not sure if she could hit $20, with the other Dragonlords, Deathmist Raptor, Collected Company and Narset Transcendent (whose price is also experiencing an uptick) soaking up the bulk of Dragons of Tarkir‘s set value.

Grand Prix Shanghai is going on as of writing and Japanese brewmaster, Makahito Mihara brought a sweet Dragon Megamorph brew that featured the megamorph synergy and a host of Dragonlords including two Dragonlord Dromoka in the mainboard. Mihara piloted that deck to 9-0 on day one but unfortunately, he fell short of top 8 by one or two wins (annoyingly while the top 8 has been announced, the results page has yet to show round 15).

I have been bullish on Dragonlord Dromoka’s ability to make her mark in Standard, and I remain so. She has a throng of useful abilities for just six mana. She is a card you would want to see in your hand against every single deck in the current metagame. Her lifelink and seven toughness makes her exceptional against the aggro decks, and makes her exceptionally difficult for decks without access to Valorous Stance, Abzan Charm or Hero’s Downfall to handle without losing card advantage. Her uncounterable clause and Grand Abolisher clause are useful against Esper Dragons, plus she blocks Dragonlord Ojutai favorably.

I am putting a trade for call for Dragonlord Dromoka. I tend to err on the conservative side in making calls in this column. While I am tempted to put a buy call on her due to her highly favorable position in the metagame right now (and a good chance of exploding into the metagame), $10 is a steep buy-in for a card whose most probably short-term ceiling is $15. Then again, there is a real possibility for Dromoka to hit $20 if she becomes prevalent in the metagame after the supply of Dragons dries up to a trickle in a few weeks’ time. She has a high spread of 50% at the moment, there is time to secure your spec copies in trade.

Oh and secure your own playset now if you plan on playing with Dragonlord Dromoka. Gone are her time below $10.

That is all for this week. Join me again next weekend for another instalment of The Meta Report. Do share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below or catch me on Twitter at @theguoheng.


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