PROTRADER: Long Term Buys – The New World Order?

A number of general strategies have tended to pay off on Wall Street over the past century. You know the type – diversify, buy what you know, focus on top and bottom line growth, be greedy when others are fearful, etc. While never guarantees, following these guidelines will generally lead you towards better, more consistent financial reward when investing.

Some MTG finance strategies parallel that of Wall Street. In Magic there’s still benefit to diversification, for example. There are also unique strategies worth noting for this hobby in particular – pay close attention to Standard rotation, make note of when Modern season begins, buy and hold Power for the long term, etc.

But not all adages echoed across MTG financiers are permanent truths. Sometimes confirmation bias (a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions) can cloud judgment and lead to incorrect conclusions. Even some of the most tried and true hypotheses can’t be confirmed as general investing truth due to the dynamic environment we’re in today.

This week I will touch upon a couple investing fallacies that I’ve personally bumped into recently, and how I’m shifting my investment strategy accordingly. I also haver a hypothetical question that will really shake up people’s mindset (well, maybe).

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13 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Long Term Buys – The New World Order?”

  1. Great article as usual, and I agree. I think modern is the place to invest, but you have to be careful about reprints which are very heavy lately. I think modern foils is the best place to be, because reprints don’t hurt them as much and people will be foiling out modern decks some.

    The only sealed product I have is Khans fat packs. Fat packs seem to do a bit better than boxes for the collectability.

    1. Thanks! You’re right that fat packs seem to perform better. I think it’s related to their lighter supply and collectibility? Seems like a good play.

      My only worry about Modern foils is that Modern Masters packs have a disproportionate number of foils in them. Perhaps the original printing foil is the safest way to go. Then again, I know some players have hesitated from foiling out their Modern deck due to the format’s rapid evolution (banning, influence of new card printing, etc.). Perhaps in time this settles down?

  2. Sig, do you write anywhere else? I seem to link up with your line of thinking more than the other writers. Plus we’ve had good discussions in the past about boxes and fat packs and such.

    I am cautiously buying in on some Legacy super staples like Force and Wasteland as people are freaking out. And targeting other key cards that have some Modern and Legacy play like Noble Hierarch and Dryad Arbor (it looks cool and I think it’s underpriced). I’m also picking up some Unlimited Duals for the same price or less than Revised prices…this is more for my personal collection but now seems like the time.

    I do NOT understand why Abrupt Decay slipped from $20 to $15 and Snappy plummeted down to $60 from $100. I understand the market adjusts itself but I’m not following people’s thinking, at least on Decay. Snappy I sold a bunch and so did a lot of people holding him so I get some of the drop, just he fell so hard so fast. I also can’t comprehend how Ravnica boxes can still be found at or under $100. It used to be if the set was fun to draft and had eternal staples it was a sure fire winner to invest in sealed. Foil Decay and Deathrite and the Foil Shocks and Chromatic Latern SHOULD be pushing the price of RTR boxes up to $150 minimum. If I had the money I would buy every RTR box under $110 because the value should be there…or I’m living in the past and the value just isn’t.

    My dumb ass is still buying in on Russian boxes, I have over a case of Russian Khans and I got the boxes between $125 and $150. If they don’t show a profit in a few years nothing will. Fat packs seem fine, we’ve discussed why before, and I routinely pick them up (or win them during release events at my LGS) and save them but they are taking up a ton of room now.

    One question, what do you think of SDCC black foil promo Jace and the rest of the SDCC walkers? The original set can be found for $600+ a set and I assume is the rarest back from 2014 (though none of the Walkers are played in anything anymore), M15 set with Garruk’s axe and 6 promo planeswalkers maybe half as expensive and I feel like was a mediocre investment on my part and won’t show growth like the first set. Star City always seems sold out of SDCC Origins’ Jace around $200-225 on his own…What do you think the potential is of the set of SDCC Origins Walkers, of Jace, and as an investment as a whole? Thanks buddy, hope you had a good holiday.

    1. Spencer,

      Appreciate the kind words and engaging questions, as always! I’ll do my best to answer quickly as best I can.

      – Don’t write anywhere else, I’m afraid. MTG Price has me exclusively, at least as far as hobby finance goes. 🙂
      – I’d be careful with Legacy cards. Legacy won’t die, but it can fade. My advice would be to try and move into staples that are played in both Legacy and Modern. That’s the best way of limiting your downside (minus risk of reprints, as always). Thoughtseize, Snapcaster, Inquisition, foil Delver of Secrets, etc. Duals are probably fine if you have a multi-year outlook, but I’d argue there are far better places to park your money for 2016.
      – Modern sold off after spiking hard. It’s to be expected after such a rapid rise followed by an off-season. Modern hype should return in full force early next year, and Modern staples will rise again. It’ll be very telling, however, to see if staples exceed their previous all time highs or not. This could be a major indicator for the health of MTG Finance.
      – No comment on Russian boxes – I suppose in 5 years these will pay out but no clue.
      – SDCC is still a recent phenomenon, so there’s not a lot of data to go off of. These may perform fine, but I suspect the second round print run was a bit larger than the first. I think you could do better parking that money in desirable Expeditions, personally.

      Have a great holiday season, thanks again! 🙂


  3. What’s your ebay name? I know you are selling a lot of your collection (from a previous article) and I might have stumbled upon your listings. Just curious if this it’s you.

    1. sigfig8 is my eBay name. Currently I have nothing listed for sale. Only thing I’m actively trying to move right now is a BGS 8.5 Alpha Volcanic Eruption. Interested? 😛

  4. I got me a “MP” Unlimited Time Walk that could probably pass as NM unless someone’s being a real stickler. LP for sure. The Price? $764.

    Also got me a NM timetwister (well, “SP”, but, again, this really looks NM for sure), cost, $510 plus shipping.

  5. Hi Sigmund,

    I enjoy your articles here as they give great perspective on the game. One of your comments got me thinking about US stock market and its valuation principles. The 30 year treasury is a cornerstone of all stock valuations (portfolio theory etc), and the interest rates thereof.

    Using this example of the stock market, I’m wondering if there is a similar indexing theory that can be applied to the MTG market.

    All card values are somehow tied to card(s) xyz.

    Given that postulation – do you believe it is any one card? The power 9 perhaps? Is it different for all formats. My suggestions are the following:

    Vintage: Black Lotus/Power9
    Legacy: Force of Will/Duals
    Modern: Tarmogoyf/Liliana
    Standard: Too fluid (you wouldn’t want to base an economy on short-term bonds)

    Given this case, I would love to see an article discussing the stability of each of these (maybe 1 article per format), and cost/valuation of cards based on these pillars of their respective formats.

    One of the driving forces for this comment is my personal struggle to get a hold of Tarmogoyf’s and its power over Modern Prices. I currently own 2 and can’t wait to pick up the 4th as it will unlock all sorts of possibilities for playing in modern for me.

    One last thing before I go, I have an MBA and can understand pretty much every complicated finance reference as it relates to broader microeconomic theory, but I still don’t understand what Wizard’s involvement is at setting prices (taking the analogy further to the Fed setting interest rates). Anyhow, I would love to see what you guys would be able to brew up with some of the ideas above in tow.

    Kind Regards,

    1. It occured to me that this is specific to Macroeconomic theory, but we most often really talk about Micro in discussing the MTG finance market, and supply and demand. 30 year bond prices and the Fed pulling levers really go beyond Micro…

      Anyway maybe it’s too much ‘theory crafting’ but I think these things are important to think about as the overall paradigm of MTG Finance shifts with:
      1) More quickly rotating standard
      2) Increased reprinting frequency
      3) Decreased legacy support

    2. I would say Wizard’s involvement is very much like The Fed in that the latter prints money to control interest rates (the price of money) and the former can print the non-reserve cards to impact the prices of those cards (and others by association). It’s a better analogy than you think.

  6. Admiring the dedication you put into your blog and detailed information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

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