Birth(ing) of a Cycle

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By: Camden Clark

Let’s talk about the previous GP from a long term perspective.

All of the short term gains are mostly over. Some cards will still see a rise, but it’s too small to have a large effect. The best returns will be over the next few months.

But first, let’s do a quick retrospective for educational purposes on the cards I expected to see a riseHere’s the quite bountiful returns:

Birthing Pod

Wow! Birthing Pod rose by almost threefold. To me, this seemed like a no brainer. I shilled this one pretty hard in the article. There has been a tremendous response from the community towards this card and I’m glad I could help at least a few people make a whole bunch of money.

I don’t think it’s done rising, or that this is a ceiling. Pod was a HUGE part of the T8. Wait for activity to die down on this one and people sell out of their copies. If there is a price dip, move in.

Let’s take a look at another one:

Restoration Angel

This saw some impressive gains. It’s not done. There isn’t a Modern GP for a while. As people move into the format, they will see Kiki-Pod that placed first in the GP. That’s the reference point for where we go into PTQ season in the summer.

I’m a strong hold on these if you already have positions. We will see 20 dollars on this one easily by the summer.

Aside from bragging, this GP has solidified that WOTC will do anything to make this format survive. They have put ENDLESS effort into moulding this to have a variety of decks for every playstyle: a new Legacy.

This should give you more confidence in card values. Cards that were really good in standard but not good enough for Legacy (Birthing Pod) can shine in this format. Scars block and Innistrad block set a new precedent for a new easy to invest in cycle of card values.

What cycle is that?

Cards that rotate out of standard go WAY down in value as the players of standard start trying to sell out of the format before rotation.

Unfortunately, there is little data from Scars block. However, if you remember, cards like Primeval Titan and Birthing Pod experienced significant decreases right after their rotation. This was the time to pick them up, as the eventually gained a lot of ground and rose tremendously with the popularity of Modern.

However, data is much more accessible for this trend after Innistrad block.

The graph of Geist of Saint Traft is very telling. There were few copies of this card at the GP (or the pro tour for that matter). However, the card was a standard powerhouse. It was extremely powerful. Eventually, its day came, and the price grew to obscene heights.

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How about lands?

Sulfur Falls experienced the same near-doubling situation. Even though the enemy colored buddy lands aren’t exceptionally popular in modern, they have seen a dramatic increase in price. There is SO much potential in these sets come rotation. You have to be looking towards this for your goals in the near future.

What does this have to do with the GP and long term?

It’s the most important evaluation when looking at how past events reveal probable trends. Pay attention to the cards that are good in RTR block and move in on them once rotation happens.

There’s a bigger lesson here.

Magic is inherently a cyclical game. With standard causing the inevitable incline and decline in prices of new cards, it’s easy to predict when cards are going to lose value and gain value.

One finance cycle that is easy to profit off of is where cards of the current block will lose value going into rotation, even though they aren’t rotating. Cards that may have seen little play will see more play as powerful analogues rotate. This has been a common theme throughout every standard block and is quite well documented.

However, there is a new finance cycle that is easy to predict. That’s the one I just described.

Modern creates a new home for otherwise useless standard staples. They find a home in decks with powerful synergies. With Modern, WOTC created this new home and fixed the problems with extended that were extremely damaging to that format. It offered incentive for players to pull the cards out of their binders again and play.

GP Richmond should give any investor faith in this format. The largest constructed event of all time is a major indicator of the power of this format and the amount of people who want to play it.

How do you invest in this cycle?

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It is quite simple.

Pay attention to when Modern season begins and ends.

We are in the middle of new opportunities. There are quite a few staples of the format that simply have not gone up enough. As we near the summer, PTQ season for “Huey” will start ramping up. More and more cards will see major rises until there are few opportunities left.

You as a player have to look for the opportunities that no one else has looked for. I can guide you in the general direction where opportunities lie, but you ultimately have to use your sense as a player to determine whether a card is a good investment or not.

That is what the best people do.

Otherwise, you will get caught up in hype and not make much money. You have to see where the player’s money is, not just the speculator’s. It is clear to me when a card will be difficult to sell in large volume and is just a hyped card. It should be clear to you too based on your sense as a player.

Predicting Modern seasons also helps for saving money as a player too. It is easy to forget that Modern PTQ season creeps and creeps until cards are double the price they were a month ago. If you are planning to play in a PTQ, you should get in NOW. Prices have already increased to hilariously unseen heights. Who knows what the going price for a Snapcaster Mage, Liliana of the Veil, or Marsh Flats could be in 3 months. I don’t want to find out. I want to move in if I plan on playing and secure the staples for my playstyle.

Which cards am I targeting?

Slaughter Pact

(Full disclosure: I have a dozen copies of this card)

This card showed up in 4 decks’ sideboards at the GP. It provides another kill spell against the Twin and other combo decks to hate out a combo with no mana. I see this card as a bit of a no-brainer. I think Twin and Pod are undoubtedly going to be two major decks going into the PTQ season. Get in on these sideboard cards that have so far seen relatively little movement.

Raging Ravine

For a card as versatile is this, it has seen little price movement compared to Celestial Colonnade. A little birdie (the MTGPrice inventory data) told me that sets of this have been disappearing from retailers. Shameless (but honest) plug: I can’t tell you how valuable the inventory data has been to speculating. A card like Raging Ravine might never have appeared on my radar. When I got my inventory update a few days ago, I see that copies of Raging Ravine have been being bought out.

Besides this data, I also think this is a good pick due to the popularity of Celestial Colonnade. All manlands will see a major increase due to their versatility and playability. Mark my words.

Electrolyze

This is a 2 dollar card and is in so many different UR decks. I can’t see this one not seeing a major price increase. It is so good against the field. Let’s list the creatures it can kill in Modern:

Delver of Secrets, Pestermite, Eternal Witness, Birds of Paradise, Noble Hierarch, Viscera Seer, Melira, Orzhov Pontiff, Kiki-Jiki, Vendilion Clique, Signal Pest, Steel Overseer

Do we get the point now?

Great.

That about does it for this article. However, I’d like to bounce an idea off of everyone. I’d like to do a twitch stream where I play magic poorly and we can have a discussion with the MTGFinance community. Does that sound like a good idea? Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/camdenclarkmtg if you’d be interested in something like this.

Thanks for reading! What modern cards are you targeting?

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