ProTrader: Hot Spec (Dec 28/16)

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Hey guys,

This is a new series I’m going to be running every so often, where I give you just the basic info you need to make some money, so that you can get in on what is likely to be a limited time opportunity once the word gets out.

So long story short, it turns out that EDH focused Masterpiece cards from Kaladesh are significantly cheaper in Europe via, likely because the EDH scene is significantly weaker in several of the EU countries. The other factor is that the EU has fallen against the USD and is now a mere 1.05 to the dollar.

Specifically I suggest taking a hard look at the following cards:

  • Sol Ring
  • Mana Crypt
  • Chromatic Lantern
  • Rings of Brighthearth

Sol RingMana Crypt

Chromatic LanternRings of Brighthearth

Each of these cards is likely to make you $20-40/copy within the year, with more upside if their stock runs low in North America. Amazingly, most of these were even lower last month, but so it goes.

Here’s how it all breaks down:

  • Sol Ring
    • TCG NM around $120 (30 copies left)
    • MCM NM $70
    • Upside: $40+/copy after fees/shipping
  • Mana Crypt
    • TCG NM around $115 (30 copies left)
    • MCM NM $75
    • Upside: $35+/copy after fees/shipping
  • Chromatic Lantern
    • TCG NM around $60 (42 copies left)
    • MCM NM $30
    • Upside: $25+/copy after fees/shipping
  • Rings of Brighthearth
    • TCG NM around $45 (27 copies left)
    • MCM NM $25
    • Upside: $15+/copy after fees/shipping

What I love about this is that there is solid arbitrage on the table, and the declining inventory on TCG suggest that holding these cards will provide further upside once the focus is on Aether Revolt and Amonkhet (which could admittedly shift the focus as folks chase those cards, but it also cuts off the supply.)

Here’s what you need to do to make the play:

  1. Live in Europe, because MCM only allows shipping to EU addresses
  2. If you don’t live in Europe find a friend or make a contact via social media and arrange for them to order the cards for you in exchange for future favors. For instance, you could suggest that they order a few extra copies for themselves so that they can send them along with your own copies and have you sell them and send them back the cash net fees via Paypal. Alternatively, a cash fee, future favors trading or profit sharing arrangement may work. Yes, this is the tricky part, but you will want this contact later.
  3. Ask your trading partner to focus on sellers with good sales records and multiple copies of your target in stock. Shipping is significantly more expensive via MCM, with each shipment to your trading partner likely to end up between 2e and 8e. Clearly this means you want to be placing larger orders to reduce drag but the arbitrage is good enough here to make your play worthwhile so long as you’re diligent about the shipping costs.
  4. It costs your partner more to pay via Paypal, so try to find a partner who is already set up to pay MCM via online bank transfer and they won’t have to pass those fees on to you as well.
  5. Send the partner cash to cover the order via Paypal, and make clear in the notes what you are expecting in return.
  6. Most of these picks can make you money right away, but I think they’ll be even better in 6 months, so consider building up a stack with your trading partner to reduce overall shipping costs overseas per card when you eventually take possession.

If you’re too slow on the draw here, remember, something similar is likely to happen with EDH focused Masterpieces in the rest of the sets this year so keep an eye on the charts.

Cheers, hope it works out for you!

James Chillcott is the CEO of, The Future of Collecting, Senior Partner at Advoca, a designer, adventurer, toy fanatic and an avid Magic player and collector since 1994.

14 thoughts on “ProTrader: Hot Spec (Dec 28/16)”

  1. I’ve enjoyed Protrader for apx 1.5 years now. I think this is probably a Tendo Ice Bridge too far for an MTG Finance activity in my point of view. Maybe protrader isn’t for me if this is the kind of stuff that is being recommended. I’ve managed my portfolio fairly well thus far, but taking more of a salad-bar approach to MTGfinance – pick and choose what activities are appropriate for me – seems to be working. There’s nobody I know in the magic community who will be following all of these instructions, including several store owners and vendor hoppers. I hope you do well with this tactic though!

    1. To each their own certainly, but all we’re really talking about here is a) making a friend and b) having them buy some cards for you to sell back home once they mature. It took me less than 10min to coordinate my deals, and work out reciprocation. Given the likely returns it is certainly worth the extra effort.

      1. I do wonder if this has wings to fly. The theory is good. Being in Europe myself, I do have to point a couple of things out in respect of your reasoning, James:
        a) the prices you mentioned for MKM are the lowest you can get and they’re valid for only 3-4 traders
        (still, they’re available for the taking)
        b) pursuing traders with multiple copies of a given target will usually not pay off, people selling multiple copies are aware of that and sell for higher prices.
        I believe that this whole buy in Europe, sell in the USA should also be discussed in the forum, is easier to keep track of things there. James?

      2. Yep, feel free to start a thread in the Pro Trader area of the forums to coordinate among yourselves. Keep in mind, I only listed the tip of the iceberg of cards worth looking at…

  2. James, u ready to eat some crow about the possibilities of Frontier? ? Regardless of whether or not it takes off, like Tiny Leaders it caused a spike in certain cards with good percentage gains that u could already sell for a profit.

    Think I’ve outgrown because I either already know how to do it or the schemes r too outrageous for me. I hope others can still find it a valuable site and articles worth reading.

    1. Spencer, I’m well aware that Frontier can make people money already, though only Jace has really done that so far and that card was already set to rebound on broader play. The other cards that have moved, haven’t moved enough to make much after fees. When Anafenza gets to $10, point the finger if you like. My point on cast was simple: investing in a format that hasn’t grown beyond a few dozen shops is a bigger risk than I can comfortably advise you all jump in on. Whether you end up making money or not, that’s still the right call based on what we can see at the time of the call.

    2. Heaven knows I disagree with James on “a thing or two”, but I’m with him on this. Frontier is a huge risk to actually invest into, unless you’re buying cards with a low spread that you can easily out if they don’t pan out within a few weeks.

      Can you make money doing it? Sure. Is it likely to have an end result different from “tiny leaders”? Probably not at all. if WOTC picks up on it, that’s another story. But I have a feeling if that happens, news is going to leak out on that well before WOTC makes any announcements.

  3. I like this article. These James’ podcast had a comment on buying casual cards from Japan and flipping them here. Although I haven’t put an order thats large enough yet i find this to be interesting. It’s a step deeper into a somewhat stagnant market till next year kicks off

  4. I live in Germany and I’ll be probably interested in such a buy/trade relationship (which would get me access to TCG in the other direction). If somebody is interested, please contact me via Pro Trader Forum 🙂

  5. I think this is a great post. It gave me an information I really had no clue about and had no other way of knowing about, so thanks James for the good work.

    I believe the one thing that’s still is up in the air is how to make those cards get to you in the USA, or at least the cost associated with doing so.

    Still, I’m interested enough that I’m going to look around and see if I can get a couple Sol Rings.


    1. I am currently using two contacts to import. One is charging me very reasonable shipping that will equal less than 4% of my total order value to ship to Canada or the US. The other is shipping to me for free, in exchange for future favors, and sending along some of his own cards for us to sell in the US for him. Friendly karma pays off 😉

  6. A key thing to keep in mind is that European-printed masterpieces are physically distinct from US-printed: European lack the foiling on the art- and text box and are only border foiled compared to the fully foiled US ones. This may be more or less desirable to some people, especially considering how the Aether Revolt pieces will look like, so be careful just looking at prices.

    1. Yes, I’m curious about this aspect as well. A few thoughts: First, it’s not clear that the market will value one print style or the other more or less. There is no evidence of them being called out on TCG or Ebay as being distinct so far. I don’t think that they will be considered misprints or damaged, and I suspect you may be able to submit to WoTC for replacement if that ever ends up being the case. I may try this once if necessary to see if it works if I note resistance in the market.

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