PROTRADER: Battle for Zendikar Weak Zero

By: Travis Allen

Tired of reading about this weekend’s SCG Open? Well it’s only Wednesday buddy. You’ve got three more days of it.

The first story of the week is Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Holey moley. On Friday night we were treated to #saitowayfinder, which is when Saito posts photos of tons of sweet brews for a new Standard format on Twitter. He first did it a year or two ago, and since then, I’ve seen pros explain their Pro Tour testing as “refreshing Saito’s Twitter and playing cube.”


What immediately jumped out at me looking through Saito’s lists was just how many copies of Jace were showing up. I remarked as such online, and thought to myself that I should really get around to picking up a set before they made it over $50. By Sunday afternoon, Jace had sold out, and as of Monday, he’s about $70 for a NM copy.

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10 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Battle for Zendikar Weak Zero”

  1. Does your statement in the final paragraph (hold on to BFZ specs) extend to Gideon? You indicated that The AofZ may drop to 20. If I can sell it now for $30 (when I opened them, they were at $40), that seems like a good deal. If it sees a crap ton of play at PT, what’s the ceiling? Or even if he’s in every deck, will he continue to slide due to supply?

    1. I do expect Gideon to be absolutely everywhere at the Pro Tour. He’s about $30 right now and we’re a week away. Will he go up or down within the next 10 days?

      Normally I’d say down for sure, and he very well may shed a few dollars between here and next Friday. However, if he does as well as it seems he will, there will be a short term spike in price while supply catches up to the new demand, and he could easily break $40.

      You should sell 99% of BFZ cards. Gideon though…hmm…I’d probably hold him, honestly. As a risk vs reward proposition, I think you’ve got better odds waiting until next weekend. I’m not positive though.

  2. I know you are not actually *saying* people should buy foil Jace’s at $165… but saying that you did inherently endorses it as a good idea. I am especially troubled by:

    “Completed listings from dates prior to Sunday had copies finishing in the $130 to $160 range, so $165 amidst a flurry of activity was A-okay. If this dies down and he doesn’t end up much higher than he was, it’s still a safe investment.”

    Wait, WHAT?

    You’re writing on a website about grinding out the smallest of edges on cards to make money, right?

    So you bought them at the end of yet another spike, and your choice of words is: “If this dies down and he doesn’t end up much higher than he was, it’s still a safe investment.”

    “That makes pricey investments feel a lot safer.” is another choice of words that scares me. It makes you FEEL better about it, but what if you feel that way because you want to? I just can’t imagine me telling you there is a card out there, that is spiking all over the place, that is unproven in almost every format (he hasn’t won a pro-tour yet, not in standard, modern, vintage, etc.) He didn’t even make the finals in the SCG in Indianapolis… So.

    Is Jace good? YES. VERY. POWERFUL.
    But he is not proven.

    But is there such a thing as a safe $800 investment in magic cards? The only people I see doing that this week are people who bought out wal-marts of fat packs and sold them online for 65 bucks, and they suck. But they will probably go wayyyyy up, while I feel that Jace will soon go down (not wayyyy down), but enough to hurt people who don’t have that kind of money to be wrong about.

    I’ve been reading these articles for a while now, and I just can’t quite get how anyone makes money off this stuff.

    “Add in that Origins was a core set, and therefore probably undersold, and there’s a recipe for a price tag to rival that of Jesus Jace.”

    You know who else is a Mythic from a really small opened set that this blog told us we should all buy? Dragon Whisperer? Shaman of Forgotten Ways? Where are they now…?

    Anyway, I just couldn’t help but respond. Sometimes I read stuff on here that makes no sense to me at all. This is one of those times. So I respectfully disagree.

    1. Perhaps the reason it doesn’t make sense to you is that he is referring to the SDCC Jace, and not the pack foil.

    2. Yes, agree with the above post. Had the same idea. Buying in at $800+, in the midst of a spike no less, seems like completely antithetical to the idea that this would help the average user save a bit of money.

      The correct time to have bought in is quite some time ago already. Too bad if you missed it. If anything, if you need a playset, you should wait a bit (a couple of days/ a week) until the spike has settled down somewhat. MCM for example has already dropped to the low-mid 40s (in €), down from a spike of €50+.

    3. If you got in at shaman when he was around $2, there was time to get out at a profit when he spiked to $8-$10 right after the see the unwritten spike.

    4. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      As gloam mentioned, the $165 price tag was for SDCC copies, not pack foils. Part of the reasoning behind that being a good buy is that they were close to that price before the frenzy of the weekend, meaning the price I paid was not predicated on unsubstantiated hype.

      That’s the third or fourth frenzy around Jace, by the way. This isn’t an out-of-left-field type of thing. Remember that Jace spiked from 10 to 20. Then to 30. Then to 40. Now to 70. Multiple times people undervalued him, and the market corrected as a response. Also, as I mentioned above, he’s all over the place. He’s showing up in half the decklists that I’m seeing proposed, and there’s almost an assumption at this point that you need a good reason NOT to add blue + Jace to your deck. This isn’t a sudden spike with no precedent.

      This adds up to the investment being safe because I have no expectation that the price on these promos will end up cheaper than they are today. Promo prices don’t tend to drop quickly, and as we saw a year or two ago with Chandra, SDCC promos can top $250 a copy if the Planeswalker is hot in Standard. (SDCC Jaces are selling for $200 each on eBay right now, in fact.) Beyond Standard, I fully expect his competency in all formats, combined with price memory, will prevent me from ever losing money on this purchase. Am I positive I’ll sell these for a profit? No. But I’m also quite confident I won’t lose money either.

      In fact, I’m totally ok with not profiting on these. I fully accept that SDCC copies may not rise dramatically in price. If that’s the case, these are my personal playset. I’m ok with that. Would everyone be? No, of course not. Not everyone likes buying expensive cars either. In this case, I am comfortable with owning these forever. I have reasonable expectations that the card will not drop in price from what I paid, and there’s the potential for nearly doubling up on it. I’m ok with both ends of that range.

      As for non-foil copies, well there I won’t argue with you. I’m not buying non-foils right now either. That price will fluctuate more wildly. On cards of this nature though – Standard AAA staples that also carry multi-format viability – foils tend to be much more stable than nonfoils.

      Are there safe $800 investments in Magic? Absolutely. Any power is absolutely safe. You may not be guaranteed to make money in a given time frame, but you can be as sure the card is absolutely not going to lose value as you could any other investment.

      Finally, Shaman of the Forgotten Ways spiked from $2-$3 to over $10 at one point already, and in fact is still up in that range. CFB is paying $6 on them today, in fact. As for Dragon Whisperer, we’re not even a week into the new Standard. Give the gal some time.

      1. I appreciate you taking the time to respond, but here’s the rub… When you say:

        “In fact, I’m totally ok with not profiting on these. I fully accept that SDCC copies may not rise dramatically in price. If that’s the case, these are my personal playset. I’m ok with that. Would everyone be? No, of course not.”

        You need to mention that in the original article. Period.

        You need to say that you are ok with taking 800 US dollars and “investing” it, but if the “investment” part turns sour, then you’re fine with the outcome. If I could approach every “investment oppotunity” this way, I’d be a millionaire, many times over. No risk, high reward?! Sounds great. If I wanted to make that my attitude, I’d just buy mint condition Alpha Black Lotus till my eyes went blue (or any single color of my choice). There’s probably not going to go down under 25,000 or whatever, but if they do, I’ll make them my PERSONAL PLAYSET! 🙂

        But most people *can’t* do that, and you are running a MTG finance site without mentioning in your article that you don’t mind taking an $800 loss (that’s what an investment is called when it never returns money to your bank account, by the way: a loss), while also telling us to grab Shaman of Forgotten ways so we can flip them (after postage stamps and ebay fees) for a few dollars a piece, maybe. Grinding out dimes from bulk boxes, taking little edges, hoping Sagu Mauler will jump from a quarter to a dollar after Sam Black plays one in his sideboard (or whatever).

        How can you not see that those are two opposing ideas, and that you can’t endorse both simultaneously, without explaining that your back up plan is to have your “personal playset” be the most expensive copy of the most expensive card in standard right now (that of course, will never lose value)…?

        I just don’t get it, and though you may not feel you owe any responsibility, I disagree. After reading the Specspire article, it seems a lot of people on here think they have no responsibility at all, and think that laughing at the “fools” who are buying their specs after they recommend buying them is funny. I disagree again.

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