All posts by _Igor_

Friday: Managing Your Inventory with Igor

One of the most essential parts of being a successful floor trader is knowing how to manage your inventory. This is especially important if you are a small scale grinder, since your smaller inventory is more exposed to large value swings of a few singles. There is nothing worse than your entire trade stock depreciating 10% or more due to lazy inventory management. I want to focus on the importance of paying attention to the behaviors and preferences of players and what’s “in season”.

Loxodon Smiter as of Feb 14, 2013
Loxodon Smiter as of Feb 14, 2013

Seasonal Behavior

When I talk about season, I’m referencing the Pro Tour Qualifier Season (PTQ). The format for the qualifiers has a huge impact on price outlooks. Intuitively, it seems obvious that a highly played format will lead to higher demand of cards in that format (especially staples). Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months, you are aware of the rapid and sharp growth Modern cards have seen. Almost any card that saw play, even briefly, increased in price. Let’s apply this information to something that happened very recently.

The recently released Gatecrash is a game changer. It has been a while since a set had this much impact on Standard. A fresh format is always popular with players, but this format has proven to be particularly aggressive. The talk of the week has been Boros Reckoner.

This guy preordered for $3.99! He is reported to be the real deal. But let’s discuss the price. $25 for a Standard rare from an in-print set makes me skeptical at first. This guy is no Snapcaster Mage.  If we look at precedents, the only other cards to hold that price point have been Cavern of Souls, Snapcaster Mage, and Thragtusk (until recently).  But my opinion on this card is that the $25 price point is most likely sustainable for the next month.  Pro Tour Gatecrash is coming up on February 15th and the format is Standard. If he sees a strong showing at the Pro Tour I can see him sustaining that price for a longer period.  This guy is good in a wide variety of decks, and the way the format looks now, he is going to be delivering the beats. Overall, there is no reason to not benefit from the hype at this point; just take your money and walk away. We’re probably seeing Boros Reckoner’s peak anyway. But don’t feel that you need to be rushed to move your Boros Reckoners.

Modern Masters

As the PTQ season comes to an end, prices should start to come down slowly to what they were pre-bubble (cards like Wilt-Leaf Liege, Thoughtseize, Tarmogoyf, Venser). It’s important to remember that Modern Masters is coming out this summer, and everything before Alara Reborn is fair game. This can be an enormous opportunity to make (and lose) a lot of money.

Wilt-Leaf Liege as of 2/14/2013
Wilt-Leaf Liege as of 2/14/2013

First, I recommend liquidating anything that has a chance of being in Modern Masters, before the end of the PTQ season.  I would not want to own cards like Thoughtseize, Tarmogoyf, or Vendilion Clique. It’s going to be a while until prices get this crazy again.

Now is the time you should be focusing on picking up Modern cards. Between the end of the PTQ season and Modern Masters is when prices are likely to be at their lowest; Modern Masters will significantly increase the demand for Modern cards. Making the format more accessible draws more players in, which means they are going to need more Modern cards when Modern PTQ season rolls around again. Targeting cards that are guaranteed to not be printed in Modern Masters is a relatively safe investment. If Modern Masters causes significant price drops to the cards that were reprinted, I would be targeting those very aggressively. I will be paying attention and keeping you guys updated in my articles on when is the best time to pick up certain Modern cards – so stay tuned!

Gyre Sage. (c) 2013 Wizards of the Coast
Gyre Sage. (c) 2013 Wizards of the Coast

Trade Targets:

Gyre Sage – This lady is seeing play in a Naya deck alongside Boros Reckoner and friends.  Saito has also been talking about her. She is sold out on a lot of websites at $2 and should be $4-6 relatively soon. Great trade target this weekend.

Domri Rade – Another card in the Naya deck.  He is currently $25. If this guy sees play in the Pro Tour, expect him to hit 40-50 for a few weeks.  Being a mythic from a set that hasn’t been opened a lot has it’s advantageous.

Obzedat, Ghost Council – This card is popping up in some Esper lists. Again, a strong showing at the Pro Tour can lead to a significant spike.

Loxodon Smiter – This pachyderm has the most upside. Being only $2-3 he has a lot of room to grow. Another 4-of in the Naya deck.

Boros Cards (Ash Zealot, Champion of the Parish, Stromkirk, Hellrider) – Boros is becoming one of the most popular decks. The window to pick these up is getting smaller. These cards should be fairly liquid within the next few weeks.

Remember to pay attention the Pro Tour results and coverage. Stay ahead of the curve. Thanks for reading!

Igor Shapiro

Twitter: IgorFinance

Modern Madness

Hello world! I’m Igor Shapiro. I’ve started a business out of magic within the last 2 years. Learning this ropes in this market isn’t easy; it’s been mostly a trial and error process. In a world where everyone has the Internet in their pocket, spotting trends and being able to analyze how the market behaves is what I believe will set you apart from every other floor trader. My goal is to help the community understand this market better and how it works. But enough about me – let’s get to the numbers!

As some of you may have noticed, Modern cards have recently skyrocketed in value. For example, look at the trend of Kiki-Jiki:

Kiki-Jiki as of Jan 27, 2013



It almost doubled in price within the last 3-4 months. But why is that? It’s simple: demand for Modern has significantly increased due to the PTQ season. The availability of older cards (Pre m10) has always been low. Especially since lots of Kiki-Jikis are already hidden away in EDH decks. Now with the PTQ season everyone wants to play Modern. Kiki-Jiki is found as a 3-4 of in the Kiki-Pod decks and also at least a 2 of in some Splinter Twin decks.

This card is on its way to $30. I sold my copies to a vendor at a recent local PTQ for $22.

This card may have surprised many people. If you told me a year ago that this card would be $30, I would have laughed. But Kiki-Jiki isn’t the only card that has spiked to extraordinary amounts. Almost every card in Modern has reached very high price points, higher than we’ve ever seen before. I would want to own as many Modern cards as possible right now. With the Modern PTQ season in progress, the demand for these cards is through the roof and supply is low. They have a high liquidity and vendors are willing to overpay on these cards just to remain stocked. Most Modern cards can be sold to many vendors for close to eBay prices. Learn what vendors are paying on hot Modern cards and remember that trading for these hot Modern cards on the floor can be the equivalent of trading for cash.

The next card I want to look at is Venser, Shaper Savant. Let’s look at the data:


Venser as of Jan 27th, 2013

You can see the sharp increase happened very recently.  I don’t think the $20+ price tag is stable. He’s starting to see more play in legacy and is still a popular EDH card. Let’s investigate what happened.

Speculators helped buy up all the copies online (especially on TCG player) causing the price to rise to a ridiculous number. There was a point where you could list them on TCG at $18 and they would sell by the end of the day.  But cards have a certain chain of exchange.

Let’s look at Venser as an example.

  1.  Here, the card starts trending upwards, with slow, gradual growth.
  2. Then, speculators buy the Vensers from stores.
  3. Supply of the card dries up online, accelerating the price upwards as everyone wants to get in and make money.
  4. Vendors raise the buy price for Venser in order to restock.
  5. The speculators that bought Vensers sell them back to vendors at the new inflated price.
  6. The vendors drop the buy price.
  7. The new price is either stable if it reflects actual demand (are there people that are willing to purchase at the new price point?) or the new price drops above what it was before the spike but below the inflated price it was at when there were no copies online.

The most important question to ask is whether the card actually has use somewhere.  What formats does it see play in? (Remember that Casual is a format when it comes to MTG Finance). In the case of Venser:

  1. It sees minor play in Legacy.
  2. It sees minor play in Modern.
  3. It sees minor play in EDH.

In the end, I think that Venser’s price will stabilize at $15. It’s not seeing any groundbreaking amount of play in any new decks but still is a fine casual and cube card.

Now let’s look at what you should be trading for this week. All these cards are trending up and you can capitalize by picking them up at their old prices before the market and everyone else catches up.

Clifftop Retreat – Many new Boros cards are in Gatecrash (Boros Charm, Aurelia’s Fury). People

Clifftop Retreat as of Jan 27th, 2013

will want to build the deck. The retail price is up to 15 on some major websites. Pick these up at 10-12 in trade if you can. Should be very liquid.

Huntmaster of the Fells– This guy is finally starting to see a lot more play in standard and even Modern. In most lists he’s a 4 of. If you can still pick him up at 25 on the floor I’d snap them up. These DKA mythics are only getting harder to find. There is also upside if Gruul is a deck. I can see him being $40+ in the upcoming months. (Thundermaw Hellkite is a good precedent)

Inquisition of Kozilek – How is this still $6? This is a $12 card. It’s seeing a good amount of Modern play, it’s seeing a small amount of legacy play, and it’s a budget replacement for Thoughtseize. Also, being in Rise of the Eldrazi doesn’t hurt either. I was offered $5 from a vendor and still said no. I’d trade for these at 6-7 confidently.

Inkmoth Nexus – $5? Really? Go ahead and look up the price of Blinkmoth Nexus. This is a 4 of in the Infect deck and Affinity. I see this card being $12 by next season very easily.  I’d buy any copy I see at 4 (was being offered this by vendors). Inkmoth Nexus is still $5 on a lot of major sites so take advantage of that when trading.

NOTE: Inkmoth and Inquisition can’t be reprinted in Modern Masters which makes me like these cards even more.

That is all for this week folks!  I hope you enjoyed my article.