The Importance of Organization

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By: Camden Clark

It has recently come to my attention how important organization and keeping records really is.

In an abstract sense, many of us would nod our heads and agree that, yes, organization is important. We should all be keeping records too. Few would argue with these seemingly logical standpoints. Many would say “this is basic.”

However, outside of the abstract, how are you really improving your organization to maximize the value you get out of this game?

Let us talk about organizing your cards.

Many of us have that box. That box is the one that has all of the excess cards we have obtained through the years. We rarely know the exact inventory of the cards we have in this box. We fail to keep track of the amount of rares we have in that box, the uncommons, the commons, or what set any of them are from. 

That box could be holding a few Serum Visions or Spell Snares. The easiest thing to do to organize your cards is to go through it in phases.

The first phase involves combing your collection for rares and other money uncommons and commons. If you generally know the era of Magic where your cards come from you can print out a buylist from those sets and look through it before going through your cards.

You may be surprised how much value you pull out. There are lots of cards playable in Modern and Commander that are great to throw in your binder. Even common foils move well. I and many others in the MTGFinance community attest to how many Oblivion Rings they trade away to people who simply don’t want to buy a playset online.

Once you pull out the cards with value, you can organize them into a few different binders. Yes, this means you might be taking apart your current trade binder. Do not fret: this will get you more value in the end.

I like to have three binders:

  1. One for the hottest standard cards. Shocklands, scrylands, and Standard playable cards galore. I generally try to trade into newer sets with this binder.
  2. One for Modern/Legacy cards. Any kind of dual land, Modern and Legacy commons, uncommons, and rares all go here. Commons like Serum Visions trade surprisingly well and are not that difficult to obtain in trade.
  3. One for Casual/Commander cards. This one is typically the bulkiest. There will be tons of foils, Commander staples, etc. that move out of this binder. Keeping this one stocked will net you massive gains from seemingly silly foils and trade you into cards that hold more weight. I might even say this pool of cards will trade the most.

It is easy to gauge who will want to go through which binder first. The guy who is asking you to play a multiplayer EDH game with his Zedruu deck is probably a good target for the Commander staples. Conversely, the guy who grinds PTQs could probably care less about your Sol Ring collection. These are all generalizations but making a good first impression with your first set of cards will make them want to go through the rest of your collection anyways. Having these three binders will allow you to be more organized and trade with a wider variety of people.

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After you get through your binders, you should go back to the bulk commons, uncommons, and rares. You should now take out any rares and mythic rares. You can save these in a separate box for bulk at a later date or keep in a dusty old binder in case they spike. This is a good way to utilize MTGPrice’s collection tool. You can input all of the cards that you have in a junk binder and be able to see if any spiked recently. Needless to say, you could make a whole bunch of money. Going forward, if any of them spike, you will be able to see that too.

After you have a box of simply commons and uncommons, you should go through and sort it by format. Which ones are Standard legal? Which are Modern legal? Which are only Legacy legal? From here, it will be much easier to break them up into each set.

From that point, you can comb through to find an obscure card whenever or be better organized to sell bulk if you go to a major tournament.

To many of you this seems basic. Trust me: take a day to reorganize yourself. It is very worth it.

Now let’s talk about the other end of organization, taking inventory.

This is a quintessential part of speculation and should be paid attention to whenever dealing in cards. Generally the advice is: do what the card shops do.

You should know what quantity you are speculating in and how much you bought in for. You should also know how much you spent on shipping. I like to keep this in a spreadsheet.

The above is the absolute basics.

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What are you doing with the above information? Other than being able to make an informed decision about when to sell, how does it help you in the future? Where do you learn about the bad decisions that you made and the good decisions that you made? 

I’m a big fan of learning from our past experiences and using statistics to evaluate why things went correctly or poorly. A recent article caused me to think really hard about the essential elements of Magic speculation that many people gloss over. They look at the retail price but fail to see the overhead and other costs involved.

Thus, from the start, you should be evaluating how much the buylist/eBay price is going to have to rise before you make any money at all. You should do a gauge on shipping costs and factor that in to a spreadsheet.

In your spreadsheet or somewhere else you should also write a serious evaluation of why you bought in to this card and what trajectory you expect to see. I say this not to cause self-doubt but rather to evaluate the decision making calculus and thought process. We are not sterile computers, we have off days, we make mistakes. However, we can come closer to understanding everything that causes us to make our decisions. By gathering as much data as possible we can make better decisions in the future.

Thus your spreadsheet should have the following things:

  • The name of the card you are speculating in
  • The amount you bought
  • The lump sum price you paid to acquire all the cards
  • The lump sum of shipping you paid to acquire all the cards
  • Average out a total price per card including shipping

Then for the eventuality of selling

  • The shipping you will probably need to pay per card
  • A formula box that shows the price each card will need to reach to make any money

And finally you should include an explanation for why you bought the card.

I will be creating a template for a spreadsheet on google docs to share with you. If you are interested in getting this, follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/CamdenClarkMTG

Spreadsheets are invaluable tools for keeping yourself sane-ask any accountant.

As a supplement to your own tracking, a great way to find out where the cards in your collection are at is the collections feature on MTGPrice. I use this one to find out where the price of all my cards are at and see how they compare to the price I need to be at. I really like seeing which cards have increased in value recently and you should too. That can be an invaluable way of not having to look up every card individually. When you are ready to sell, it’s quite easy.

Using Google Docs (Drive?) Spreadsheets and the MTGPrice tools in conjunction I have most of the information available to me that I need to trade. When I am at an event, I can pull up the spreadsheet of the cards I am speculating on and seeing if I can pick up any more copies at similar prices minus shipping.

I really like the spreadsheets for when I am watching coverage of major events as well. I can quickly plug in the expected prices of a card and find out how much it would have to go up in order to make any money at all.

Now that we have organization out of the way, I plan to create a Modern portfolio that answers a question I see all the time on /r/mtgfinance: “What should I invest one-hundred dollars into?” This portfolio will take the lessons from this article into account and document the picks I plan to make with such a small sum of money.

Thanks for reading. Does this portfolio idea sound interesting? What organization methods do you use? Respond in the comments.

Track your collection's value over time, see which cards moved the most, track wishlists, tradelists and more. Sign up at MTGPrice.com - it's free!

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My Spec Quadrupled But I Only Made $.75 Each

By: Travis Allen

First was Kaalia. She climbed to $15, then $18, and is now showing $26 here on the MTGPrice tracker. Animar followed this past March, although he hasn’t quite gotten as high yet. He’s currently $12. Sometime a few weeks ago Corbin Hosler was pointing out Damia, Sage of Stone to his companions on QS and lo and behold in the past three weeks she’s climbed to $15.

A lot of people were scratching their heads on this last one. Kaalia is easy to understand. She’s what you get if you take the two most popular tribes in Magic, along with a third semi-desirable one, and shove them into a single card. Of course EDH and kitchen table players all over the place are going to want her; she has both the words “Angel” and “Dragon” printed on her. 

Animar was a little less obvious but is still understandable. He doesn’t have blatant support for tribes like Kaalia does. Instead, he’s rocking the counter theme. +1/+1 counters are popular with the silent minority as cards like Doubling Season and Parallel Lives have taught us time and time again. He’s also Johnnyrific with that last line, enabling scads of broken interactions in a format such as EDH.

Damia caught most of us by surprise though. What’s Damia do? She…draws some cards I guess? Don’t get me wrong, she’s obviously very powerful. I have a Damia deck myself and it’s probably the best EDH deck I’ve built so far. Those are the three best colors in EDH by a wide margin. But her effect is just not splashy. She doesn’t have the word “Elf” on her, she doesn’t enable an alternate win condition, and she doesn’t enable any combos that are going to make your buddies jealous. She simply generates value.

At that point, it was pretty clear everything from Commander was on the table. Who would be next? Karador, with his serious graveyard synergy? Graveyard strategies have always been popular with casual and spikey types alike. Riku? Riku does some pretty awesome things with doubling both spells and creatures, another fan favorite. Edric already popped awhile ago after Drew Levin suggested him as a Legacy spec.

When I looked over the Commander list at that time Ghave jumped out at me. A buddy had a Ghave deck and I remembered him being exceptionally strong. Being a one-card enabler for all things tokens seemed excellent to me. We already know that type of effect is popular and Ghave can turn it on all by himself. He was super cheap, with plenty of copies under $4 available. I decided to run with it. I tweeted about having purchased thirty-five or forty copies. Forty-eight hours later I was rewarded. Ghave jumped from the few bucks I paid for each copy to over $10 on TCG. A clean, fast, easy purchase. My spec had more than tripled in price. Now it was time to roll in all the money I had made.

Except, I hadn’t.

A little while after Ghave spiked I had a slightly dismaying revelation.

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I’ve been staring at this pile of Ghaves on my desk for the last week or so now and I’ve decided to use it as an example of the actual cost of speculating like this. How much do you really make on a spec?

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Here’s my TCG order of Ghaves. You can see I bought twenty-five copies at $3.35 each. I live in New York, so I get the privilege of paying sales tax at TCGPlayer. All said and done I paid $3.64 per copy of Ghave. That looked real good when they were getting relisted on TCG for $15 at first.

Now here I am ready to sell my Ghaves. How should I out them? Let’s look at the most painless process; buylisting. Buylisting is really the best option for anything you spec on for more than a few playsets. If you bought twenty copies of Sphinx’s Revelation when they preordered for $6 then eBay would be your best bet. That’s only five playsets so it’s easy to ship them. What if you bought three hundred Burning Earth for $1 each though? They jumped to $4+ TCG at one point, but have fun selling seventy-five playsets on eBay. Even if the entire process was fee-free the time it would take wouldn’t be worth the extra scratch you’d make over buylisting.

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Using MTGPrice, I see that the best buylist is currently StrikeZone at $5 a copy. Oh. Hrm. Ghave is over $9 mid on TCG right now, but the buylist is still only $5. That’s kind of a bummer. Even though my spec looks excellent on retail prices, my profit margin is actually a lot smaller than you would think.

You see, when you look at specs it’s easy to compare retail to retail. “I bought at $X, and now the card is $4X.” That looks like you quadrupled your money. The reality of the situation is that you’re comparing retail to buylist. You paid $X at retail, but you aren’t selling at $4X retail. You’re selling at $Buylist, which is $2X if you’re lucky. It’s still a profit, but it isn’t going to make you nearly as much as you thought it would.

Alright, so I’m going to sell these twenty-five copies of Ghave to StrikeZone at $5 each. That’s $125 for all of my copies. Now I just need to get them all to StrikeZone. Shipping four cards in a bubble mailer is $2.91 with delivery confirmation, so I’m going to ballpark about five dollars in postage. Don’t forget your sleeves, hard loaders and bubble envelope though. We’ll say that’s $1 for everything together.

$125 from buylist – $5 shipping – $1 materials = $119.

Looking at StrikeZone’s buylist page, you have the option of receiving your payment as a check or via PayPal. There’s a $3 processing fee on checks and PayPal takes around 3%. SZ will be sending me $125, 3% of which is $3.75. I guess I’m taking the paper check.

$119 – $3.75 check fee = $115.25.

Alright, I’ve got the check in my hands. After shipping the Ghaves to SZ and getting paid, I have $115.25 in my pocket. It originally cost me $91.08 to make the order, so how much did I make?

$115.25 – $91.08 original cost = $24.17

Less than twenty-five bucks. That’s a bit under $1 a copy. How long did it take me to do all of this? At least an hour right? The experienced buylister can do it in under an hour, but not all will accomplish the task that fast. So I made roughly $24 an hour. That’s fine I suppose, but it isn’t anything remarkable. Some of you reading this make less than that at your job, some of you make more. Most of us can agree that the absolute value of $24 isn’t all that much though. It’s probably most of the bill for some takeout Indian food for you and whoever it is that’s currently tolerating your company.

I could possibly try eBay for outing my Ghaves if the buylists are too low, but a quick search there shows me they’re selling for barely $5. Over at eBay you need to ship each card individually, and you better do it with tracking unless you want to get royally screwed. That’s going to destroy your profits to the point that you would actually lose money selling copies.

You also won’t be selling these as playsets. At least with those theoretical copies of Sphinx’s Revelations you could sell them as sets. People would want all four. But Ghave is a commander. Nobody needs more than one copy. Keep this in mind in your future spec purchases. Can you sell them as playsets or are you only going to get buyers on one copy at a time?

So where did it all go wrong? How come I made so little? Didn’t my spec basically triple?

Well yes, yes it did. At retail prices.The buylists never reflect that though, at least not right away. The buylists on Ghave may eventually get up to $8 or even $10+, but it will take continued, sustained demand and enough people buying the card at $15+ to push them that high. That could very well happen, but not overnight. Unless the card we’re talking about is a breakout combo piece it will take weeks and sometimes months for buylists to climb that much.

There are lots of other factors to be aware of here as well. Not every flip is going to behave quite like this. Sometimes the seller will flake and refuse to send you copies, in which case you accomplished nothing except being $100 short for a few days. Other times the cards will get lost in the mail and you’ll have to argue with the TCG and the seller. Sometimes they’ll be damaged or otherwise not quite NM. Maybe the buylist won’t even need all the copies you’re selling. In fact, SZ only wants eleven Ghaves. What do I do with the other fourteen? Perhaps the store will be one of these that jerks you around, and once they have the cards they’ll offer you $3.50 each instead of the listed $5. If you sell your spec on eBay you have to deal with shady buyers that are going to take any opportunity to take advantage of you. (Hence the required tracking on anything sold through eBay.)

Heck, what if the card you speculated on didn’t even rise? Or only gained twenty percent? All of those potential issues only arise if the card manages to jump enough to be worth selling. There will be plenty of times where that doesn’t happen. Into the box of shame they go. Sometimes the buylists rise a little faster too of course. But how often do you think that happens compared to one of the above situations?

What I want you to take away from all of this is that speculating is not equivalent to printing money and that you are likely to make much less money than it seems like you would. When a card doubles, triples, or even quintuples on the surface, most of the time the profit realized by the people who got in on the ground floor is zero to maybe thirty or forty percent of their investment. It’s time consuming if you’re new to the process and it’s fraught with hidden risks. There is the potential to clean up for sure, but every time a card jumps from $3 to $11 it doesn’t mean that a shadowy cabal of speculators just quadrupled their money. It means a bunch of people that owned between ten and two-hundred copies made 25% of their investment.

Commander Buzz

By: Jared Yost

There has been a lot of buzz going on in the Magic finance community over the past few months. It all started with Modern. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve noticed that Modern card prices have gone crazy – and will continue to go crazy throughout the summer PTQ season. Then, all of sudden everyone had an interest in Legacy cards. Starcitygames and others have been upping their buylist and sell prices on format staples like dual lands and other cards like City of Traitors, Sneak Attack, Wasteland, and Stoneforge Mystic have all increased significantly in price. Like others have pointed out, this is most likely because people saw that they could trade away or buylist their Zendikar fetchlands for a hefty credit towards the rarer Revised dual lands for Legacy or Commander and decided it was a no-brainer to pick them up.

Speaking of Commander, the most recent buzz surrounds casual cards. That’s right, cards from the very first release of the Commander products (called just Commander) are now starting to see new highs. Let’s check out the current prices on the first Commander set:

All Cards in Set (with Fair Trade Price $3 or more)

Card Name Fair Trade Price Best Buylist Price

Flusterstorm

$42.63 $30.0
Kaalia of the Vast $27.86 $17.01
Stranglehold $16.16 $9.45
Edric, Spymaster of Trest $14.98 $9.45
Damia, Sage of Stone $14.42 $8.82
Animar, Soul of Elements $13.99 $9.3
Hydra Omnivore $11.87 $8.0
Scavenging Ooze $11.64 $7.01
Grave Pact $11.32 $8.09
Oblivion Stone $11.23 $6.0
Ghave, Guru of Spores $9.48 $5.0
Chaos Warp $9.1 $6.3
Garruk Wildspeaker $8.98 $5.88
Path to Exile $8.71 $4.62
Tariel, Reckoner of Souls $8.67 $5.24
Riku of Two Reflections $7.82 $4.7
Ghostly Prison $7.79 $4.01
Spell Crumple $7.14 $4.0
Sol Ring $6.86 $4.01
Austere Command $6.76 $4.01
Karador, Ghost Chieftain $6.76 $3.75
Basandra, Battle Seraph $6.74 $5.5
Skullclamp $6.49 $3.5
Lightning Greaves $6.33 $3.5
Mother of Runes $6.21 $4.51
Akroma, Angel of Fury $5.59 $3.0
The Mimeoplasm $5.57 $4.0
Skullbriar, the Walking Grave $5.43 $3.0
Sewer Nemesis $5.16 $2.74
Homeward Path $5.05 $2.41
Hornet Queen $5.01 $3.0
Angel of Despair $4.89 $4.63
Aura Shards $4.82 $2.54
Champion’s Helm $4.82 $2.62
Solemn Simulacrum $4.32 $2.0
Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter $3.77 $2.0
Dread Cacodemon $3.68 $1.75
Eternal Witness $3.52 $1.0
Command Tower $3.49 $0.5
Mana-Charged Dragon $3.42 $2.14
Nin, the Pain Artist $3.23 $1.5
Avatar of Woe $3.14 $1.51

If I would have told you one year ago that Stranglehold would be the third most valuable card from this expansion I’m pretty sure I would have been laughed out of the room. Yet, there it stands at ~$16 trade value below Kaalia and Flusterstorm.

Other recent price corrections that have occurred put Edric and Damia in the top five. Edric doesn’t seem very surprising to me because in Legacy he seems like he could provide a lot of benefit to the correct deck. But Damia? That correction was purely from casual demand.

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Even cards like Ghave are not safe. Two weeks ago he was $2.50 and now has spiked up to $10. Well, spike isn’t the correct term in this case – it really is a price correction based on market demand as more casual players try to build additional Commander decks and stores have followed suit.

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This makes me wonder what else from the first Commander release has a lot of potential? I’ll separate my cards to watch into several categories to let you know where I think each will fall in the long term.

Most Probable for a Price Correction

Animar, Soul of Elements
Chaos Warp
Riku of Two Reflections
Karador, Ghost Chieftain
The Mimeoplasm
Nin, the Pain Artist

I think that out of all the cards that haven’t corrected in price those listed above are next in line. Most of the cards in this list are legendary creatures from the original Commander precons that were created specifically for that expansion. Outside of future Commander products these cards are very hard to reprint because their lore is so specific. Until new Commander products are released that utilize the wedge colors again I don’t foresee these cards coming down in price. In fact, I can see them continuing to go up due to the rise in popularity of Commander as a format and the fact that they haven’t seen price corrections for quite some time.

I put Chaos Warp in this list because I feel that for a removal spell this strong in red, a color that basically has no way to deal with enchantments outside of colorless spells and Chaos Warp, it really has nowhere to go but up. I especially like foils from the Commander’s Arsenal at $25. The only caveat I would give here is that this could possibly be printed in Conspiracy. Judging by the power level of the recently spoiled Dack Fayden I could totally see Chaos Warp being in that set just to get more copies out there. Nin could also be a potential inclusion as her ability is very political.

Solidly Trending Upwards

Hydra Omnivore
Grave Pact
Tariel, Reckoner of Souls
Spell Crumple
Basandra, Battle Seraph
Akroma, Angel of Fury
Skullbriar, the Walking Grave
Sewer Nemesis
Hornet Queen
Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter

Already experienced major price increases yet still apply to this category:

Flusterstorm
Kaalia of the Vast
Stranglehold
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Damia, Sage of Stone
Ghave, Guru of Spores

The cards here have corrected in price or are already fairly pricey, though now they are at a price where I don’t think they will double up again in one shot. I think they will now slowly creep up over time.

Some cards in this category don’t scream “Price correction!” to me but I believe still have a good shot of increasing in price over a longer period. Cards like Tariel, Basandra, Skullbriar, Vish Kal, and Sewer Nemesis are good examples – these are all great casual cards yet they are on the weaker side of the card pool from the first Commander products. I think it will take them longer to reach a higher price than they are currently selling. 

On the other hand, cards like Akroma, Hornet Queen, Spell Crumple, Grave Pact, and Hydra Omnivore are all solid casual cards that may not see exponential growth (outside of being featured in an eternal format top 8 decklist) yet still have some room to grow in the long run. The reason I don’t think they will price correct as fast as the first category is because Akroma has two printings, the other cards I mentioned aren’t build-around-me cards, and they all require solid commitment to their colors to be included within a deck that utilizes them. Akroma has been seeing some hype recently due to her potential Modern applications, so it could double up just based on that. In the long term though, I believe the price of these cards will have a relatively stable upward trend.

I’m also including the cards here that are the most expensive from the set because, frankly, they can certainly get even more expensive. However, due to many of them already increasing in price substantially fairly recently (or already being expensive) they’ll probably take longer than the first category to experience another shoot up in price. Be on the lookout for them to be sure, as most are fairly hard to reprint, though also keep in mind these could take longer to go up again.

Will Trend Upwards but Fear the Reprint

Scavenging Ooze
Oblivion Stone
Garruk Wildspeaker
Path to Exile
Ghostly Prison
Sol Ring
Austere Command
Skullclamp
Lightning Greaves
Mother of Runes
Homeward Path
Command Tower

All of these cards are great casual targets. They all have decent trade value because casual players love to use these in their decks. However, I would be hesitant to pick up extra copies of these cards because they all have seen at least two printings, with a few seeing several, which means that Wizards has no problem reprinting them to get more copies out there. They are also more generic than legendary creatures and can be more easily included in new casual products or future sets. I would only acquire the copies you need and not try to hold onto these in the long term.

Scavenging Ooze may be the only exception to this rule as it sees heavy Modern play. Though it is played in 30% of the decks in Modern, it usually only averages about two copies per deck so that could stabilize the price a bit. I thought picking up Scavenging Ooze at around $11 was a good idea and have yet to recover from that (thankfully, I also picked up a ton of Mutavaults at $11 so I guess I’ll take the bad with the good.) I still have hope that Scavenging Ooze can trend upwards in the summer. I will wait until then to see if I can get a better price. If I can, that’s good and I will sell out of my stock. If not, I still plan to sell out because if they don’t rise for Modern this summer it is going to take a while for them to reach $15 or higher. In that time, Wizards could decide that the ooze needs another reprint in Modern Masters 2 or a supplementary product. I want to minimize that risk as much as I can.

Final Thoughts

Looking at the highest priced cards from the first Commander precon set we can see there are a lot of cards that deserve further analysis for future price trends. Trying to predict casual all stars can be hard at times, as casual players usually like cards that I as a spike can sometimes overlook. (Consuming Aberration was pointed out recently to me by Travis.) Who would have thought Stranglehold would be so valuable? I try not to get frazzled by these sometimes capricious prices for casual staples but that is something I am looking to improve upon by writing articles like this. Think I’ve got something completely wrong? Think I’ve missed anything that is less than $3 retail that is poised to go up over time from the original Commander set? Please, leave me a comment. The more we all know the better we can get at seeing what exactly casual players desire from their cards.

 

Weekend Recap 4/26/14

By: Jim Marsh

Every week, some cards from Magic the Gathering increase and decease in value based upon a number of factors.

Let’s take a look at some of the cards whose values have changed the most and the factors behind why those changes have occurred.

10 Big Winners of the Week

10. The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
$555.27 to $680.00 (22.5%)

Did you pick yours up last week for $550?

Just as I predicted, it went on sale before bouncing right back to nearly $700.

It is a rare from Legends on the reserve list. It is being used in multiple Legacy decks to keep creatures and mana under control.

I would not by them at $680 but if you want to play with them I would still try to see if any copies exist in the $550 range before that omission is corrected.

9. Akroma, Angel of Fury
$4.00 to $4.93 (23.3%)

Can I say how much I love this card? She is powerful, evasive and has protection from pesky cards like Path to Exile, Detention Sphere and Remand.

She is used in Commander, Casual formats and has been showing up recently in Modern decklists.

Play her morphed. For the small price of a Cloudshift, Flickerwisp or Restoration Angel (remember she is not an angel while morphed) you get a 6/6 monster in the air. She can block Archangel of Thune all day long and not trigger any lifegain or counters.

She is being experimented with in Birthing Pod and Death and Taxes variants.

I would trade for her before Modern season gets going. I could easily see her getting to $10 if the decks perform well.

She has only been printed twice: in Planar Chaos and the original Commander decks. For flavor and mechanical reasons I don’t think she will ever be printed again outside of a supplemental product.

8. Teferi’s Puzzle Box
$1.96 to $2.50 (29.6%)

Wizards of the Coast printed the Mind Seize Commander deck with two money cards in it. True-Name Nemesis was worth more than the retail price of the deck and Baleful Strix was just icing on the cake.

This left a lot of financiers with ninety eight cards needing a home. Nekusar, the Mindrazer was an interesting card with a powerful effect that was included.

A little tweaking was needed and Nekusar decks have been causing price increases in Forced Fruition, Winds of Change, and even the innocuous Teferi’s Puzzle Box has become a powerful win condition.

This card is spiking despite five printings and the support of a format where one copy is all a deck needs. Every copy of this card is being sought out to complete Nekusar decks.

Trade for them if you can get them for under $2. Your local game store may even have some in their bulk rare boxes.

7. Apocalypse
$1.99 to $2.58 (29.7%)

This rare from Tempest is on the Reserved List. For five mana it lets a red deck exile the entire board.

Think about what that means in a casual game. Hexproof and Indestructible permanents make you laugh. Undying and Persist creatures mean nothing to you. Even Gods and Planeswalkers must leave at your command.

All it costs is your hand.

This is a sweeper worth having.

I would actively trade for these. I can only see these continuing to grow slowly over time due to casual appeal.

6. Marton Stromgald
$2.42 to $3.16 (30.6%)

Did you remember that this card exists? I had to look it up. It is a budget Commander with an interesting effect.

It is a rare from Ice Age which means there are not a lot of copies lying around. He is on the Reserved List so it will never be reprinted.

Last summer it shot up from $2 to $10. It sat around $8 for over a month before slumping back to $2. It is a pretty cheap spec with some interesting potential.

I would try to trade for these if you see them in binders. They will probably be sitting with the bulk rares.

5. Mimic Vat
$2.05 to $3.00 (46.3%)

This Commander all star card has been inching up recently. It is not hard to see why. It can be played in any deck since it has no color requirement.

It can exile a problematic creature that you don’t want your opponent to reanimate. It can be a steady stream of card advantage. Even something as mundane as exiling an opponent’s evoked Mulldrifter will give you a Divination you can cast over and over again. You can chump block forever and keep reaping the benefits.

The best part is that if something better comes along like Thragtusk or It That Betrays you can upgrade.

If you want to play with it, I would pick mine up sooner rather than later.

The Imprint mechanic makes it difficult to reprint outside of a supplemental product. This will probably be a slow grower a long time to come.

4. Shadowborn Demon
$4.00 to $5.99 (49.8%)

Standard has been experimenting with Reanimator decks in Golgari and Junk configurations. The decks have been playing well and one of the best targets to reanimate in Standard is Shadowborn Demon.

It kills an opposing creature like Master of Waves or Stormbreath Dragon and then swings in for five in the air.

If you used Whip of Erebos to bring it back you do not even need to worry about the upkeep trigger.

If you are playing with them then by all means enjoy them. Otherwise I would try to trade them for some Scrylands or gods. Rotation is just a few short months away. Fall will see Shadowborn Demon as a bulk rare that will clutter your binder for years to come. Get something with a longer shelf life.

3. Sneak Attack
$49.98 to $78.26 (56.6%)

Did you grab your Judge Promo yet? Sneak Attack was briefly $85 for both the regular version and the Judge Promo. This should never happen for a card that is used as a full play set main deck in a Legacy deck.

I honestly have no idea how this happened.

I would not get into Sneak Attack now. I think this price adjustment has been coming but the time to get it for less than $50 has passed.

Through the Breach is $10 and sometimes gets played as additional copies of Sneak Attack. It was under $5 for a long time so price memory can help you when picking up copies.

2. Sigil of the Empty Throne
$3.29 to $6.26 (90.3%)

Sigil of the Empty Throne just keeps picking up steam! Monowhite and Azorius Prison decks like to hide behind Porphyry Nodes and Detention Spheres until they can land a Sigil of the Empty Throne.

Weekly results of MTGO Modern tournaments have not seen these decks place very competitively recently.

Modern season is coming soon and a lot of people are probably brewing with these as a budget deck. They are fun to play with but the price is not supported by results.

I would trade these away. I do like Detention Spheres and Chalice of the Voids from these decklists though. Both are cheap and relatively easy to pick up. They are both used in multiple formats as four ofs in multiple decklists. They are criminally underpriced.

1. Ghave, Guru of Spores
$2.70 to $9.51 (252.2%)

This Junk (Green / Black / White) Commander has only been printed once. It was available as part of the original Commander decks.

There has been a lot of interest recently in obtaining these Commanders. Supply is low and interest in the Commander format is at an all time high.

This cheap pick up was suggested by myself (and much more significantly Jason Alt) last week.

The price shot straight from $2 to $12 in an instant. It is coming down but I think it will settle around $7 to $8.

I would sell or trade your while it is still high.

There are still some cheap Commanders from the set that have room to grow.

Karador, Ghost Chieftain and The Mimeoplasm can both be had for $5 to $6.

Ruhan of the Fomori and Zedruu the Greathearted are both bulk rares at this point! You could probably get both as toss ins on trades.

5 Big Losers of the Week

5. Edric, Spymaster of Trest
$16.00 to $12.99 (-18.8%)

Edric was a surprise inclusion in a successful 4 Color Delver Legacy deck a couple of weeks ago.

The problem is that the deck only wants one copy of him. The deck made a Top 8 appearance in Detroit last week but that alone is not enough to support the card’s sudden jump from $4 to $20.

It is still a strong card with low supply. It has only been printed twice: Commander and Commander’s Arsenal.

I think it will settle around $12.

4. Keranos, God of Storms
$16.41 to $12.97 (-21.0%)

You will notice a trend for the losers of the week.

Pre-order prices for Journey into Nyx gods have all been adjusted.

What happened? Deicide.

It is what happens when you combine Erase and Lobotomy.

Now when someone asks Chameleon Colossus if it is a god it will be afraid to answer “Yes.”

Keep in mind that this does not mean the gods are bad cards. Keranos is fantastic in a Grixis control strategy.

I would still first pick just about any of the gods over a Deicide in a draft.

The Journey into Nyx gods have all will have to settle after they are released and Standard has a chance to play with them. They are third set mythic rares so they should settle higher in price than the gods from Theros or Born of the Gods.

3. Iroas, God of Victory
$16.76 to $13.19 (-21.3%)

See above.

2. Ghostly Prison
$9.00 to $6.98 (-22.4%)

This one surprises me. I am cautiously optimistic. It is not only used in (and names) the White Prison decks mentioned before but it is used in many control variants in Modern.

The thing that keeps this down is the fact that it was printed as an uncommon and it has been printed four times. I would target the FNM Promos. I think that it will recover. The card should be significantly higher in price than Sigil of the Empty Throne.

1. Kruphix, God of Horizons
$12.31 to $8.93 (-27.5%)

This one saddens me but it now makes Kruphix the one god who I think will hold its prerelease price for its duration in Standard. This is sure to be a favorite Commander for a long time to come. I would gladly trade for these at $9 this weekend.

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