All posts by James Chillcott

PRO TRADER: Digging for Dollars: Amonkhet

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By: James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

The release of Amonkhet this spring found Magic: The Gathering in a pretty strange place. After having committed to 8 ban announcements per year, WoTC declined to ban Felidar Guardian when the infinite combo was first discovered, citing lack of data. After it became clear the deck was narrowing the format and limiting player participation, the ban hammer still didn’t drop five weeks after Pro Tour Aether Revolt. This brought us to one fateful monday, when the company again declined to ban any cards in Standard, only to change their minds a couple of days later, completely outside the set schedule for such announcements, and ban Felidar Guardian after all. Fast forward a month or so and Aetherworks Marvel decks posted up as the new dominant archtype, leading to yet another ban.

Between this crazy sequence of events and the (at best) mixed reaction to the Amonkhet Masterpiece card frames, the very positive reactions to the limited format makes the debut of the set a tangled web indeed.

So now that the dust has settled and the set has reached something close to peak supply, how does one go about trying to make some money on Amonkhet cards?

Well, as per usual if you planned to crack cases and sell singles, you should already have done so, since just a couple of weeks after release you were already facing a saturated market and singles prices that fell to lows as much as 80% below starting prices. At present there are just three mythics over $10 (Gideon, Rhonas and Liliana) and just two rares over $4 (Anointed Procession & Glorybringer). In other words, the set is cheap and still getting cheaper as early hype fades into a more realistic picture of which cards are actually playable in the near term.

Secondly, as a large spring set with several unique cards, Amonkhet is likely to end up with a bunch of cards that don’t quite have the necessary pieces to make it in Standard, only to show up in other formats down the road as folks figure out the most efficient deck shells or new combo partners appear.

Finally, with the Masterpiece Innvocations present in Amonkhet, the Expected Value of the rest of the set is similarly impacted as it was with the Kaladesh and Zendikar blocks, though to a lesser extent since only Force of Will, Cryptic Command and Daze are holding over $50 thus far.

There are also several interesting cards in the set for Commander and a few for Modern, but it’s not certain which are traps and which aren’t.

Now, Digging for Dollars is about looking for opportunities that aren’t played out yet, not identifying the most powerful cards in the set, or the obvious cards most likely to see the biggest gains. Many of these picks need planets to align to earn you money, so make sure you’ve exhausted your best options before you go digging folks. Where a card has not yet found it’s bottom, or has been hyped above it’s value, I will try to identify the proper entry point.

For Amonkhet we’re going to break up our specs into three categories: Standard Breakout Targets, Potential Eternal Staples, Long Term Casual Targets, and the Invocations. The first group generally needs to find a home within the year in multiple standard decks to do well for you. The latter two groups are mid to long term holds that you should be aiming to acquire at their forthcoming peak supply lows for solid potential future gains.

FUTURE STANDARD STAPLES?

When considering potential standard staples, you first need to be cognizant that Standard has had a pretty rough year, lost a bunch of players and doesn’t yet show definitive signs of recovery. As such, I’ll be steering clear of Standard specs for a while, especially with such fertile ground in Modern, EDH and via European arbitrage, but if you’re aiming to accumulate some staples you might need later it can’t hurt to consider your options.

1. Bontu the Glorified

Bontu the Glorified

Now: $3.50 ($8 foil)
Target Buy Price: $3.00 ($8 foil)
Target Sell Price: $8 (+167%)/$20 foil (+150%)
Timeline: Short to Long Term (0-12+ months)

So a 4/6 indestructible creature with menace for 3cc is clearly a pretty good rate. Sure, you need to make sure one of your creatures dies this turn to get him into the red zone, but he does carry that on-board ability to make sure things will line up so long as you have some filling fodder on board. In Standard some of the Embalm creatures interact positively with this play pattern, and Sultai brews have been spotted, but I haven’t seen a truly great list yet.

In Modern, cards like Hangarback Walker, Walking Ballista, Kitchen Finks and Lingering Souls all set this up reasonably well, but it’s not clear that the payoff is worthwhile when Tarmogoyf and Death’s Shadow are setting the standard for creature rates in Modern. I am testing Bontu in B/W tokens for Modern as a 1/2 of instead of a planeswalker, and it’s possible he could be useful in some kind of Aristocrats style brew, but it’s pretty unlikely he becomes a real Modern staple. Most of the gods carry some casual and Commander appeal, so under $3 I’ll start picking up a few sets for the long haul, with an eye to getting out earlier if Standard gives him a quicker boost. Foils may turn out better down the road, especially if Meren EDH players catch on to the synergies.

2. Approach of the Second Sun

Approach of the Second Sun

The question here is whether there is life for this card in Standard without Aetherworks Marvel. The odds are not good, but at $.50, it’s not going to make or break your bankroll either way. Mostly a personal play set option I think.

MODERN/ETERNAL PLAYABLE?

3. Harsh Mentor

Harsh Mentor

When this was first revealed, people seemed pretty excited at the prospect of punishing their opponents in Modern and Legacy whenever they cracked a fetch land, spun their top, or activated their Arcbound Ravager, but the excitement seems to have cooled and many pros seem to have decided the card isn’t such a big deal after all.  Mentor doesn’t punish planeswalker activations, and there aren’t any fetches in the format, so unless vehicles stays dominant I have a feeling we’re going to see the bottom drop out on this card by summer, opening the door for a decent buy-in price.

Personally I feel that Harsh Mentor is likely to see at least occasional play in Modern, with long term potential to break out as a staple in the right meta. I was considering testing the card alongside Eidolon of the Great Revel in a revised burn shell, perhaps something like Josh Silvestri recently wrote up over on Channel Fireball. Craig Wescoe, on the other hand, has been looking at Mentor in R/W Hatebears for Modern. Both of these concepts could end up as little more than thought experiments, so commit accordingly.

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In Commander, this effects all opponents in a format with a ton of on board triggers, so foils may have some legs from that angle.

Now: $1.50 ($7 foil)
Target Buy Price: $1 ($5 foil)
Target Sell/Trade Price: $5 (400%+)/$20 foil (+300%)
Timeline: Long-Term (12-36 months+)

4. Glorious End

Glorious End

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Now: $3 ($7 foil)
Target Buy Price: $2 ($4 foil)
Target Sell Price: $10 (+400%)/$10 foil (+150%)
Timeline: Mid to Long (12-24+ months)

Glorious End is a classic trap card. In the right circumstances it can be a time walk that cancels your opponent’s turn and and gives you the one extra casting or attack step you need to put the game away. If you can chain them, you can take multiple turns in a row without your opponent being able to do much. (You’d like to Snapcaster Mage this back to really get rolling, but you can’t because Glorious End exiles itself from the stack.) If you play cards like Gideon of the Trials, Platinum Angel or Angel’s Grace you can dodge your fate, but the question is whether someone will find the right shell to make all this durdling worthwhile.

I’d put the odds somewhere around 30/70 that this makes a splash in Modern somewhere down the line but I don’t think you need to rush into owning any, so feel free to keep an eye out for interesting deck lists and snap some up during a summer sale if you’re excited to try and break it.

 

5. Bone Picker

Bone Picker

Now: $4 foil
Target Buy Price: ($3 foil)
Target Sell Price: $10 foil (+333%)
Timeline: Long Term (24 months+)

This guy doesn’t quite look like Delver of Secrets now that we’ve had some time to put him to the test, but there is still potential for him to slot into a very quick aggro strategy in Modern if the right combination of ways to activate him reliably appear. I’ve seen him tested in Legacy.

As an Uncommon, I’m not interested in non-foils, but a few sets of foils around $3 seem fine as a low priority target that may or may not get there in the next few years.

6. Shadow of the Grave

Shadow of the Grave

Now: $0.50 ($4 foil)
Target Buy Price: $4 foil
Target Sell Price: $10+ foil (+250%)
Timeline: Long Term (12+ months)

Here we have the poster child for open ended synergy, a card that works with both cycling and discard, both of which have plenty of support now, and will only gain additional options down the road. As a two-mana instant this has the potential to set up really nasty combo turns, and whether that ends up being with Seismic Assault, Dredge cards or Life from the Loam doesn’t matter much to me. I only care that this card is only going to gain momentum as time goes on and is unlikely to see frequent reprints given the mechanical focus. I love these foils at $4, and intend to stock up this summer and await the inevitable spike.

7. As Foretold

As Foretold

Now: $5 (Foils: $20)
Target Buy Price: $4 (Foils $20)
Target Sell Price: $10+ (+150%)/Foils: $40 (+100%)
Timeline: Long to Very Long Term (12-36 months+)

The As Foretold hype machine was running hot during spoiler season, with the card charging out of the gates close to $20. With no home in Standard and none of the Modern brews making major waves yet, the hype has cooled and I think there’s a good chance you can pick up a pile of these for $4 or so this summer and stock them away for down the road when someone outright breaks the card.

It’s important to keep in mind that despite the fact that this card does nothing when it hits the board, it immediately starts letting you cast up to two extra spells per turn cycle including Living Death (Living End), Wheel of Fortune (Wheel of Fate), Balance (Restore Balance) and Ancestral Recall (Ancestral Vision) effects. The card has open ended synergy with similar future cards that might appear, as well as with mana denial strategies, and in EDH it can potentially allow you to cast X spells per turn cycle, where X is the number of opponents, assuming you have a way of keeping your hand full. That’s enough for me to grab twenty to thirty copies.

Foil supply is already relatively low at $20, and as a mythic rare that is going to be played as a four-of if it’s played at all, I’m happy to pick up a dozen at that price as well.

8. Gideon of the Trials

Gideon of the Trials

The latest incarnation of the Gatewatch’s resident bruiser has been in steep decline since he was pre-ordering at $40. Now available for just $10, the card has shown up in a few Modern control lists including UW and RW strategies, usually as a 1 or 2 of. Those aren’t the kind of numbers that are likely to cause a major spike, but I’d keep your eye out for foils closer to $20 than $30, because foil supply is relatively modest and they could end up over $40 down the road.

I’ll be picking up a play set of non-foils this summer, but will mostly focus on getting six to eight copies of the foils as cheaply as possible as a longer term hold.

Now: $10 ($22 foil)
Target Buy Price: $6 ($20 foil)
Target Sell Price: $12 ($40 foil)
Timeline: Short to Very Long-Term (6-36+ months)

9. Hope of Ghirapur

Hope of Ghirapur

Now:  $3 (foil)
Target Buy Price: $2 (foil)
Target Sell Price: $10 (+400%)
Timeline: Long Term (24+ months)

It’s a total trap, so just ignore me. For this to ever be a thing, a few things need to line up. You need a meta where you can consistently get a 1/1 flyer in for damage and where stealing your opponents ability to cast non-creature spells is powerful. You’re really doing it if you figure out how to recurse this thing and give it Haste, perhaps via Thopter Engineer. Trinket Mage and Ranger of Eos can go find this card, and Leonin Squire can bring it back. Master Trinketeer makes it bigger, and Silence and Isochron Scepter could form the nucleus of a soft lock. I only listed the foil prices above because the formats I can see this being most useful are Legacy and Vintage, where Xantid Swarm has been useful out of the sideboard. This one is a definite long shot, but it sets off my spidey senses and I’ll likely pick a few up once they get cheap for a casual Thopters deck if nothing else.

Long Term Casual Targets

10. Cascading Cataracts

Cascading Cataracts

Now: $.75 ($5 foil)
Target Buy Price: $0.50 ($4 foil)
Target Sell Price: $4 (+700%)/$16 foil (+300%)
Timeline: Long Term (24+ months)

In a few months we’re getting at least one new five color Commander deck (Dragons), and possibly others as well. That aside, 5-color EDH decks are only going to get more robust as time goes on and this land is  an auto include in all of them. Foils should be the play here, and they’re dead cheap if you’re comfortable with a longer hold. I already bought some experimental Japanese foils, and I’ll definitely be stashing some more of these away once I see a solid deal on English copies.

11. Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Rishkar has already seen plenty of play in Standard, but I’m more interested in his long term usefulness in EDH. The strong utility of both buffing creatures and turning them into Llanowar Elves is going to be popular in casual circles for years to come and being both an Elf and a Druid is a boon for Commander. Interactions with Atraxa, the other “cares about counters” commanders, and Hardened Scales/Doubling Season only bolster the appeal. I’d focus on foils here, since there are likely to be plenty of non-foils lying around once he wraps his tenure in Standard.

Now: $4 foil
Target Buy Price: $4 foil
Target Sell Price: $12 foil
Timeline: Long Term (24+ months)

12. Throne of the God Pharoah

Throne of the God-Pharaoh

Yeah, that says “each opponent” all right. Attack or tap your creatures in EDH to hit all your buddies at once. That’s enough to get me on board here, but I suspect this cheap and deadly artifact will find a home in Modern and/or Legacy at some point as a finisher that doesn’t have to attack through blockers to win. Legendary status holds it back some, so I’ll focus on foils here as well, expecting modest growth, but allowing for more exciting results if someone figures out how to break out of the pack on the back of this card. At just a quarter for regular copies, hard to go wrong with those either.

Now: $0.25 ($3.50 foil)
Target Buy Price: $0.25 ($3 foil)
Target Sell Price: $4 ($10 foil)
Timeline: Long Term (12+ months)

13. Pyramid of the Pantheon

Pyramid of the Pantheon

Now: $0.25 ($2 foils)
Target Buy Price: $0.25 ($2 foils)
Target Sell Price: $3 (+1200%)/$8 foils (+300%)
Timeline: Long Term (24+ months)

No one seems very excited about this card, but in Atraxa EDH decks, this “Builded Lotus” can get rolling pretty quick and ramp you into more shenanigans. It’s unlikely to escape the range of mediocre to medium good in that format, and is likely unplayable everywhere else, but at $2 for foil rares, I’m willing to throw $20 at this and see where it lands in a few years.

 

So there you have it. Anything I missed that you’re on top of? Logic to kill one of the specs? Share your thoughts for the benefit of all in the comments.

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

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MTG Fast Finance Podcast: Episode 72 (June 16th/17)

MTG Fast Finance is our weekly podcast covering the flurry of weekly financial activity in the world of Magic: The Gathering. MFF provides a fast, fun and useful sixty minute format. Follow along with our seasoned hosts as they walk you through this week’s big price movements, their picks of the week, metagame analysis and a rotating weekly topic.

Show Notes: June 16, 2017

Segment 1: Top Card Spikes of the Week

Faerie Macabre

Faerie Macabre (Shadowmoor, Foil Common)
Start: $1.00
Finish: $15.00
Gain: +$14.00 (+1400%)

Condemn (DIS, Foil Uncommon)
Start: $12.00
Finish: $30.00
Gain: +$15.00 (+150%)

Street Wraith (FS, Foil Common)
Start: $30.00
Finish: $60.00
Gain: +30.00 (+100%)

Aladdin’s Ring (ARN, Rare)
Start: $6.00
Finish: $12.00
Gain: +6.00 (+100%)

Ghost Quarter (DIS, Foil Uncommon)
Start: $35.00
Finish: $55.00
Gain: +$20.00 (+57%)

Crystalline Crawler (C16, Rare)
Start: $4.00
Finish: $6.00
Gain: +$2.00 (+50%)

Saprazzan Cove (MM, Foil Rare)
Start: $6.00
Finish: $8.00
Gain: +$2.00 (+33%)

Segment 2: Picks of the Week

James’ Picks:

Unearth

  1. Unearth (UZD, Foil Common)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $12.00 to $25.00 (+3.00/108%) 0-12+ months)

2. Mystical Tutor (EMA, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $15.00 to $25.00 (+10.00/+67%, 12+ months)

3. Aether Revolt Booster Box (Russian)

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  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $95.00 to $150.00 (+55.00/+58%, 12+ months)

Cliff’s Picks:

Duskwatch Recruiter

  1. Condemn (MPR, Uncommon)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 9: $6.50 to $13.00 (+6.50/+100%, 0-6+ months)

2. Rishkar, Peema Renegade (Aether Revolt, Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $2.00 to $6.00 (+4.00/+200%, 0-12+ months)

Disclosure: Cliff and James may own, or intend to own, speculative copies of the above cards.

Segment 3: Metagame Week in Review

The guys touched on the results from the SCG Modern Open in Charlotte.

Segment 4: Topic of the Week

James & Travis discussed the 25th anniversary release schedule and all the latest previews and leaks.

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

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5 Tips For Improving Your MTGFinance Returns

As with many kinds of investment, locking in consistent returns with MTGFinance is largely about figuring out the best possible methodology and using that to identify one great opportunity after another. You might get out ahead of the crowd one time, but can you do it consistently to the benefit of your collection and bank account?

The signal to noise ratio in MTGFinance tends to be as high as anywhere else a bunch of pundits are pushing their latest ideas and trying to make deadlines, so adding some rigor to your activities can really help you cut through the latest garbage narrative and ramp up to your A-game.

2016 and 2017 have produced dramatic gains for me (50%+ per annum, with a totally self-sustaining investment pool) and here are a few of the core concepts that have really helped me lock into a series of winning moves.

  1. Make a Commitment 

Commit // Memory

If you’re reading this you clearly have some interest in MTGFinance, but if you want to make more or save more playing Magic, you’re going to need to get serious. The thing is, being serious about your activity doesn’t necessarily mean you spend far more time, money or focus on your hobby. It starts with deciding to make a point of getting better at this, naming a few simple goals and nailing down the likely steps from Point A to Point B. Maybe you want to acquire a few new Modern or EDH decks at a discount. Maybe you’re trying to go Pokemon style and catch ’em all on the Masterpieces, Expeditions or the Power 9. Maybe you’re a tournament grinder that just wants to keep on top of getting into and out of key format staples to minimize the expense of staying on the circuit.

Whatever your goals, deciding on an amount of time and money to spend on your efforts sets you up for success far better than haphazardly checking in now and again with no clear sense of purpose.

2. On Ego & Discipline

Humility

Human nature is a fickle spirit guide if you’re trying to invest or save money wisely. Your impulse will often be to jump on top of whatever the latest advice is you read, especially if you see it mentioned more than once. The thing is, you need to remember that MTGFinance is not Pokemon GO, and you don’t need to be out there trying to chase down every obscure spec. You also don’t need your specs to be original ideas, despite the pressure on the content publishing side to provide all of you with a constant barrage of fresh content. More often than not, the best ideas are solid bets for weeks or months and most of the community ignores them.

It’s easy to get distracted by the latest article or tournament results, but the fact remains that EU arbitrage is still the best idea going in MTGFinance right now and too few of us are following up on it. I’ve been buying dozens of Masterpiece Sol Rings for between $70-$110 over there for months, selling them at 50-60% profits (after all expenses and fees!) and reinvesting in more copies to import. This would never have been possible if more people admitted to themselves when I first brought it up that it was near the top of the heap of available options, but here we are. On any given day there are dozens of options, but you should aim to choose just a handful of your best ones and then go deep if you want to maximize your results. Picking specs is an entire article unto itself, but generally speaking you want to focus on high demand/low supply cross-format staples that are undervalued vs. their imminent potential. Sol Ring is the literal best card in EDH/Commander and the Masterpiece version showed every sign of being a winner as early as December, when a major gap opened up in the price and inventory levels between the US and Europe, where EDH is clearly less dominant.

Testing your investment thesis should never be about proving that you are correct, or better than the rest of your peers. It should be about figuring out if the facts bear out your assumptions, putting the facts to work and assessing the results with a clear mind and an attention to detail. As such you should always be willing to test your ideas against your peers and be honest with yourself if their feedback suggests you might be better off putting your money elsewhere. Too often we get caught up in our own personal success narrative, and forget that the occasional reality check may bruise the ego but expands our pockets.

Also, failure is a part of the process. You’re going to be far less efficient in your first year of activity, so try to learn from your mistakes and move on armed with positivity and a better sense of what works.

3. Research, Research, Research

Compulsive Research

A big part of getting better at MTGFinance is making sure that you get access to the best information before everyone else. In terms of daily price movement, MTGStocks, MTGPrice, TCGPlayer, Ebay BINs and completed transactions, as well as vendor prices in Europe (MagicCardMarket) and Japan (Hareruya & TokyoMTG) are essential reading.

One of the key benefit sof the MTGPrice Pro Trader service is a 48 hour headstart on everyone else that eventually reads our buy and sell calls. If you haven’t signed up for modestly priced subscription yet, you should really consider it. Spending a tiny amount on MTGPrice, SCG Premium and QS ended up paying for itself so quickly that it pulled me deeper into this side of the hobby a few years back. These days I have trouble understanding why anyone that spends $1000 or more on Magic every year doesn’t have at least one of those subscriptions nailed down.

The MTG Fast Finance podcast, Brainstorm Brewery, Cartel Aristocrats and MTGGoldfish are also essential listening. Tracking daily card price and inventory level movements with nearly a dozen major vendors is also a key service on this site, and you should also be on top of MTGStocks, TCGPlayer, Ebay, and MagicCardMarket at the minimum.

You should also be supplementing your predictive skills by paying attention to the latest articles by savants such LSV, Sam Black, Pat Chapin, Brad Nelson, Shaun McClaren, Todd Stevens, and Caleb Durward, just to name a few. Remember, some pros are good at playing the game, while others specialize in probing the dark corners that others haven’t yet caught on to yet. A list of the best of the brewmasters will help keep you ahead of the curve and looking at cards with strong potential.

Finally, EDH.rec and MTGTop8.com will keep you on top of which cards are actually seeing play, and to what extent they are likely to continue doing so.

4. Networking is Key

Bazaar of Baghdad

The majority of the MTGFinance community falls squarely in the lurker camp; folks who read articles and track prices but rarely interact with their peers. If that sounds like you, consider making a change. The more people you talk to, the more deals will come across your desk (on both the buy and sell side) and the better you will do overall. I couldn’t be puling off cross-border arbitrage in five countries around the world without having first built some basic, though mutually beneficial, relationships. If you aren’t active on Twitter and Facebook and Reddit, you are likely missing out. Sure there’s plenty of garbage content out there, but there’s also the guy that needs to make a car payment and knows you’re always in the market to beat buylist by 10% on Revised duals. Visibility will boost your action, so get chatting.

5. Work the Angles

This is more of a grab bag of best practices than a central theorem, but the core point is that you can gain several % points per year by working with the ebb and flow of retail trends. Here are some good examples:

Image result for conspiracy 2 box

  • Positive EV Boxes: Most new Standard legal booster boxes will demonstrate negative EV within the first two weeks of release. This is because while a set is in print, any spikes in current cards from the demand side will be easily overcome by surging supply and the motivation of vendors to crack boxes for singles anytime the EV approaches or exceeds the wholesale cost of the box (usually in the low $70s USD). Another factor is that flat lined player growth is ensuring that boxes from Return to Ravnica forward have shown very limited gains vs. their bargain basement retail availability during peak supply around $90. So is sealed dead? Not really, you just need to know where to look. Just in the last year Conspiracy 2 and Commander 2016 are both sets that represent positive EV, due to more limited print runs and lingering narratives from prior product iterations that made people assume they couldn’t be good buys. I’ve also gotten into the habit of only buying Russian boxes of Standard legal sets. These boxes are often available early on in a set’s release at nearly the same price as English boxes, but the upside on a key Modern or EDH foil can easily justify the tougher time you may have in unloading the Standard only staples. Russian KTK boxes are now going for nearly twice what they were available for in the fall of 2014.
  • Sales & Coupons: Part of your research process should be to get on every relevant mailing list from the Vendor Team vendors on MTGPrice and elsewhere so that you know what sales and coupons are available. When you buy cards from many vendors they will often include a discount coupon for a future purchase, and you should make a point of stashing those away and reviewing your options when it comes time to go deep. Ebay is regularly providing a $15 off $75 purchases once or twice a month. That’s just free money, so be sure to plan your purchases around it where it makes sense.
  • Post a Buylist: Forums for MTGPrice and QS allow you to post buy and sell threads, including any cards you are looking to acquire. Post a standing order for 10 copies of As Foretold at a $1.50 below TCG Low and someone might just bite. New sites like CardSphere and CardRocket also support this kind of action, though they haven’t yet hit the critical mass necessary to guarantee instant success. Making clear to your local playgroup or store crowd that you are willing to beat buylist (off site of course) provides options that will one day make you money.
  • Cross-Border & Currency: If you aren’t paying attention to currency exchange changes, which formats are most popular in each region, and overseas card prices, you’re missing out. EDH cards are often cheaper in Europe and Japan and that’s a big source of MTGFinance gains right now as that format continues to grow. Canadian cards are often priced at US pricing with little regard for the 20-35% exchange rate if you know where to look. Mexico is a massive bulk bin of value if you’re willing to do the legwork to find a contact.
  • Limit Your Small Ball: When you start doing the math on the time to ship 100 $1 cards that “spiked” to $2 and compare it to buying and selling a single $100 card, the results aren’t pretty. Don’t get caught up in buying a bunch of small stuff when you can keep it simple and profit. I still put money into 50-100 copies of bulk rares like Chasm Skulker and Hardened Scales on occasion, but only if I think the buylist exit is likely to be worth the effort. A collection of bigger ticket cards are likely to act as better bait for future deals as well. Just lately I’ve been strongly considering trading my SP Unlimited Black Lotus for a pile of growth specs from the EU, and the likely bonus I’ll get for that move will almost certainly make it worthwhile.

Ultimately, you’ll get out of MTGFinance what you put in, so what are you willing to give?

James Chillcott is an investor, entrepreneur, and long time Magic player, as well as the CEO of ShelfLife.net, the Future of Collecting. Follow him on Twitter at @MTGCritic.

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MTG Fast Finance Podcast: Episode 70 (June 2nd/17)

MTG Fast Finance is our weekly podcast covering the flurry of weekly financial activity in the world of Magic: The Gathering. MFF provides a fast, fun and useful sixty minute format. Follow along with our seasoned hosts as they walk you through this week’s big price movements, their picks of the week, metagame analysis and a rotating weekly topic.

Show Notes: June 2, 2017

Segment 1: Top Card Spikes of the Week

Cabal Pit

Cabal Pit (Odyssey, Foil Uncommon)
Start: $0.75
Finish: $12.00
Gain: +$11.25 (+1500%)

Circle of Protection: Red (9th, Foil Uncommon)
Start: $1.00
Finish: $15.00
Gain: +$14.00 (+1400%)

Ethersworn Canonist (SOM, Foil Rare)
Start: $12.00
Finish: $80.00
Gain: +68.00 (+567%)

Rishadan Cutpurse (Mercadian Masques, Foil Common)
Start: $0.75
Finish: $5.00
Gain: +4.25 (+567%)

Hickory Woodlot (Mercadian Masques, Foil Common)
Start: $1.00
Finish: $5.00
Gain: +$4.00 (+400%)

Planar Collapse (URL, Foil Rare )
Start: $4.00
Finish: $20.00
Gain: +$16.00 (+400%)

Haven of the Spirit Dragon (DTK, Foil Rare)
Start: $3.00
Finish: $14.00
Gain: +$11.00 (+367%)

Dragon Tempest (DTK, Foil Rare)
Start: $3.00
Finish: $15.00
Gain: +$12.00 (+400%)

Segment 2: Picks of the Week

James’ Picks:

Felidar Guardian

  1. Felidar Guardian (AER, Foil Uncommon)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $4.00 to $10.00 (+6.00/150%) 0-12+ months)

2. Spell Queller (EMN, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $9.00 to $20.00 (+11.00/+122%, 6-12+ months)

Travis’ Picks:

Duskwatch Recruiter

  1. Duskwatch Recruiter (SOI, Foil Uncommon)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 9: $5.00 to $15.00 (+10.00/+200%, 0-6+ months)

2. Door of Destinies (M14, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $7.00 to $15.00 (+8.00/+114%, 0-12+ months)

3. Harsh Mercy (ONS, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $5.00 to $20.00 (+15.00/+300%, 0-12+ months)

Disclosure: Travis and James may own speculative copies of the above cards.

Segment 3: Metagame Week in Review

The guys touched on the results from the GPs and SCG Modern events last weekend.

Segment 4: Topic of the Week

James & Travis discuss the Hour of Devestation leaks and an assortment of other news.

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

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