PROTRADER: Climate Change

By: Travis Allen

Vendor Review: Strikezone Online

It is well known amongst industry veterans that Strikezone Online is run by a fairly scummy guy. While making the mistake of visiting its website, I realized that SZO was selling Erebos’s Titan for $.69, while at the same time that exact card was on its buylist for $1. You could buy Titans from SZO, and when the package came, sharpie over the address, put a fresh stamp on it, and put it back in the mailbox for a profit of $.31 per Titan. I emailed them to point this out, and the following exchange ensued.

Please don’t give SZO business.


World leaders are meeting in Paris this week in an attempt to come to a consensus on an international climate change treaty, and it’s being hailed by the Huffington Post at least as the “last chance to save the world.” The task set before these leaders is tremendous, and the opposition they face is just about as fierce as humanly possible. Attempting to stop and even reverse climate change would be a herculean task to begin with, but that it stands nearly in direct opposition to capitalism means that many find the necessary changes to be economically unpalatable. Given that the strain on bank accounts and ledgers would be immediate, but the benefits of environmental repair would not be visible within our lifetimes, you can see how this isn’t going to be an easy fight. Innate human decision-making processes are inhibited by our lifespans, and sacrificing immediate, personal gain in your own life in order to improve things in a less quantitative fashion for people that will only be born long after you’re dead requires us to step outside ourselves in a way that remains exceptionally challenging for all but the most visionary.

Reversing climate change is, essentially, acting as non-human as possible in order to fix some problems that are a direct result of people being as human as humans can be.

There are parallels between the talks in Paris and our own hobby here, and in this case it’s how our heretofore axioms may in fact be wrong. For millenia it was an unconscious assumption that the earth is way too big for us little humans to have any lasting impact. Whoops.

Up until now, we’ve taken as gospel that Legacy cards are strong investments and Reserved List cards are bulletproof. Writers and armchair investors the market over have extolled their virtues as blue-chip stocks, incapable of losing value. Articles of old encouraged you to always be trading into these assets, and encouraged paying a premium in order to move whimsical Standard and EDH product into ironclad eternal staples.

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24 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Climate Change”

  1. A few months ago I made the decision to upgrade my duals from Revised to Unlimited. It was based on this premise along with the fact that people were paranoid about counterfeits. Counterfeits of Revised duals is an issue, but I don’t even know if counterfeit Unlimited duals is a thing.

    The move was well-done if not 12 months late. But even this move doesn’t help me feel confident. I used to sit on a ton of Legacy staples thinking “I can enjoy the cards now and then sell them for more when I’m done.” Nowadays I accept the fact that keeping my duals to play with must outweigh the liability of an underperforming asset in my portfolio. That’s the reality we live in today. You put it well – “Bummer”

  2. Search reddit for “don’t buylist to strike zone online, ever” for my story with them.

    Now… what… the… everliving HELL are you talking about on this “climate change” BS? “Scientists” (aka government lap dogs) that are pushing climate change remind me of the scene in star wars upon entering Mos Eisley Spaceport… “the Paris climate summit… Nowhere else in the unverse will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy… we must be cautious”

    Lies, false data, shouting down opposing views, the 999:1 funding ratio of global warming (oops… that’s the old name) proponents programs to those who have different views… different views backed up by… you know… science.

    You guys are smarter than this.

    1. I’m not going to engage on this topic, other than to gently suggest we try to keep it Magic-focused here. I’m all for political discussions when warranted, but let’s have them in a different medium.

      1. Then let’s not freaking bring them up in the main article to begin with… or even slightly insinuate about them, hmm?

        There’s plenty to talk about with magic, but these ponies and unicorn ideas keep coming up and it’s annoying.

      2. Sorry you feel that way. If you’re interested in a discourse, I’m sure you can reach out to Travis through Twitter or another medium. I appreciate your views and I don’t want to stifle discussion, I just don’t want it to drown out everything else in the comments here.

      3. Then maybe tell Travis to keep the political crap out of his articles? Every piece I’ve read by him at least starts with it, and it’s really pretty annoying. If you don’t think this is the medium for political discussion, then you must also necessarily think it’s not the place for political ranting.

      4. I looked back through my last few articles and don’t see anything that I believe would qualify as “political.” Would you mind sharing some of these examples? I’m curious where this perception comes from.

      5. re: S1AL & Travis, it’s not *every* one, actually, I don’t even recall who keeps bringing them up, but maybe once a week lately there’s been something in articles, or brainstorm brewery, or something.

        I agree it’s annoying. I run a business, and I’m hard-core Libertarian, I just want to be left alone, so long as I’m not stealing someone else’s stuff. I have to bite my tongue so often, and it pisses me off, but I have to do it for the sake of my business, because there’s liberals out there who think nanny government can fix everything from poverty to cold sores, if we only give them enough money. I’d *love* to engage my clients on that, or even just have the facts mysteriously find their way into my conversation with them or others, but… I don’t. Because I talk about that with my friends when we’re both being cordial about it. Most people can’t do that cordially, they just spout off something like “you’re fringe right-wing” (aka name calling, demonizing, etc, etc, etc) rather than offer something constructive to the conversation.

    2. You always spout some fringe, right-wing view and then say “You guys are smarter than this” and I always laugh because I assume you’re doing satire.

  3. I have quite a few revised duals and am hanging on to them. I feel like this is more of a price correction than anything. When GP Richmond happened and modern took off, people were trading modern into legacy resulting in a significant increase in demand. For example I buylisted this:

    5 New Phyrexia – Birthing Pod (NM-M)
    4 Shards of Alara – Ad Nauseam (NM-M)
    3 Worldwake – Stoneforge Mystic (NM-M)
    5 Zendikar – Scalding Tarn (NM-M)

    and got this:
    1 Revised Tropical Island – Revised (LP)
    2 Revised Tundra – Revised (LP)
    1 Revised – Volcanic Island (LP)

    A sp tropical island was only around 100$ in retail during GP Richmond timeframe so a jump to 200 was not sustainable where as a jump to 130 to 150 would have been realistic. They will fall a bit more and level off. There are still other demand outlets like EDH for these. Unlimited is actually being propped up by the 93/94 format as well as collectability.

    1. also what blows my mind is the price of expeditions, how does a foil scalding tarn exceed the value of a revised volcanic (this is the same for most of them a plateau is less than an arid mesa and sacred foundry). I cringe at the thought of trading away duals for foil fetches, but its actually hard to do it (its easier to go in the opposite direction).

  4. Thanks for reminding me that I probably lost 5-10$ each game I play with my 5-colors EDH deck just by shuffling and manipulating it…

    1. If they’re Alpha and Beta, then this may actually not be entirely off the mark, depending on the condition they were in at the start, how they’re sleeved, and how they’re shuffled.

      1. Yes, i used to called it my retirement deck. The one I would sell in many years to enjoy my old days.

        You’re right most of them were not gradable anyway. I knew from the start that I would acquire those to cards to actually play with them, not keep them in a closet. The main threat is probably all the beers lying on the table in our games!

        Shiravat (vsteeve)

  5. Is Star City the only Games in town? They can leave, but if enough players want to pay to play a format, other enterprising companies will gladly fill SCG’s shoes. Card Kingdom in Seattle is taking up the local Legacy mantle. And the local community is cheering them on. It will not be surprising if 3 years down the road, CK (and others) would have a strong enough regional reputation and ability to organize enough to quality Legacy tournaments to make SCG second guess their decision.

  6. Travis I enjoyed your article title and theme. I think it was thoughtful and clever tying a story about different land types, and changing microeconomics of the game to ongoing discussions about actual climate change. A well done article!

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