All posts by James Chillcott

GP Charlotte Coverage: Day 2

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After an exciting and diverse Day 1 at our latest Modern format Grand Prix, plenty of big names are in the running.

Here’s our coverage from Day 1.

According to the official stats, Grixis Twin, Affinity and Jund are all topping the metagame with around 10% of the field, but a full 15+ archetypes make up the rest of the field, including Merfolk, Naya Burn, R/G Tron, U/B Faeries, Goryo’s Vengeance and Amulet Bloom.

One of the more interesting decks arrived in the hands of Shaheen Soorani. Blink Riders looks to work a mana denial angle to go after the big mana decks with a vengeance.

See more details on the metagame here.

Here’s what’s developing at the top tables in our final day:

Round 11

In this round Korean national Nam Sung Wook brought the heat by tabling Thunderbreak Regent in Modern and taking down long time pro Willy Edel on Abzan.

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regent

Round 13

Ken Van Sciver (Infect) vs Darien Elderfield (Ad Nauseum)

Here we have a battle of two fairly non-interactive style decks and a rare appearance by the Ad Nauseum deck. Darien takes game 1 by going off smoothly and killing Ken with Lightning Storm. In Game 2 Darien casts a spicy Darkness to buy some time to set up his win and take the match, moving to 12-1 and putting himself in position to qualify for the Pro Tour.

Round 14

Paul Reitzel (Naya Collected Company) vs. Ben Wincorp (Bant)

Rietzl on a mid-range zoo build that leverages Collected Company without any combo elements to just overwhelm opponents. Both players at 10-2 and in Top 8 contention if they keeping winning.

During his Dech Tech Reitzel explains that Wild Nacatl is the 2nd best creature (by rate) in Modern, and bolsters Collected Company as a great backup plan against grindy decks. Scavenging Ooze looked great in various matches as well.

Patrick Chapin (Grixis Control) vs. Alexander Hayne (Amulet Bloom)

Chapin takes down Hayne on the back of Shadow of Doubt and a small run on the card just went down.

Top 8

So after two long days where GR Tron and Amulet Bloom were the decks to beat, neither deck has showed up in the Top 8. Instead we’re facing the following decks as potential champions for the GP:

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top8A top8B

The expected Top 8 buyouts have already started with Nourishing Shoal, a new piece of tech in the Goryo’s Vengeance deck, disappearing across the online vendors.

Wesley See takes down Sam Pardee in the mirror match with the help of Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir into the Splinter Twin combo. Ad Nauseum takes down the Vengance deck, throwing the Nourishing Shoal spec into shadow, and Affinity takes down Abzan Company.

Here’s our Top 4:

top4

Elves vs. Twin in the finals! Elves wins it all! Look for Foil Collected Company to make another potential move.

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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GP Charlotte Coverage: Day 1

Nearly 4 months after Pro Tour: Fate Reforged and a lively Modern metagame, here we are at the doorstep of another epic battle between top Magic: The Gathering pros from across the continent as GPCharlotte puts the focus back on Modern cards just a week after the SCG Invitational and Open did the same.

Coming out of last week, the top decks included 2 copies of Amulet Bloom, a resurgent Jund build, a fairly stock Merfolk deck, Grixis Twin and two copies of R/G Tron, with the latter taking down the tournament.

For the MTG Finance community, a plethora of spikes this week on cards that weren’t included in Modern Masters 2015 may have exhausted a lot of the spike potential for the weekend. And yet, some of the reprints from MM2 have strong potential for a rebound on the back of a fresh Top 8.

First off, here’s a couple of Buylist boards from the vendors, as reported by our readers:

Channel Fireball

cfb-charlotte

Aether Games

Aether_charlotte

Derek from Aether Games reports:

derek

Now, here are some early stories worth paying attention to:

Dark Confidant

Sitting at a 5-year low of $40-45, Bob is in position for a strong rebound if it can find a Top 8 in the company of a Jund build or something fresh that demonstrates the power of drawing extra cards every turn. Just a year ago it would have been unthinkable that Dark Confidant would swap price points with Snapcaster Mage but here we are with this former staple struggling to find a consistent home. While it’s true that the card has been reprinted twice in the last three years, those printings were more more uber-mythic than true mythic given the short run nature of the sets, and I have the card on my radar to regain ground to $60 if it manages a strong finish at this tournament.

 

Snapcaster Mage

From $20 to $80+ in a little over a year makes for some very nice returns for those of us that have been hoarding copies waiting for this day. As a flexible spell l retrieval unit, complete with a low and splash-able casting cost, Tiago Chan’s invitational card may still have room to grow if it can find a Top 8 via the success of a Jeskai Tempo, Grixis Twin or Grixis Control. A reprint is unlikely prior to 2017 as this card bears a strong mark as an MM3 target, so there is definitely room to run.

Amulet of Vigor

With a 2nd place finish at Pro Tour: Fate Reforged in February and two copies in the Top 8 last week at the SCG Invi, scrutiny is now squarely on the deck that allows for some of the fastest kills in the format. Another win at this tournament could easily trigger a tactical banning, which should have owners of the deck feeling fairly nervous.

Splinter Twin

Whether it’s being on display in UR Twin, RUG Twin with Tarmogoyf or the more recently debuted Grixis Twin, this format defining combo card may be safe from a banning due to it’s recent reprinting in MM 2015. As an auto 3-of or 4-of in all variants of the deck, this card has fallen 50% or so since the reprinting, but could stand to gain ground before end of summer on the back of another strong finish at this tournament. Absent a ban, I can easily see this card topping $30 before end of the year so I’ve been picking up copies.

Kolaghan’s Command

Overlooked when first spoiled, this Command may well end up being the best of the five for Modern play. With the ability to handle small creatures, key artifacts in Merfolk, Tron and Affinity, return relevant creatures or force a discard at a key moment, the versatility of modal spells is being proven out yet again. Foils have already doubled up but I suspect they have further to run should they take a trophy home.

Deceiver Exarch

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Despite a reprinting in Commander 2013, this banner uncommon often found as a 3 or 4-of in Twin variants has spiked hard this week, with a buyout driving the price from $1.50 up to $4. A good showing from one of the Twin decks could cement the new price.

 

Round to Round Coverage

Round 1

Ali Aintrazi (R/G Tron) vs. Robert Rankin (Infect)

Aintrazi steals a surprise Game 1 victory on the back of two copies of Pyroclasm.

Round 3

LSV (Grixis Twin) vs. Christian Calcano (Grixis Twin)

This match puts the focus clearly on the key cards from the latest incarnation of Splinter Twin decks, including: Kolaghan’s Command, Splinter Twin, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Thoughtseize, Snapcaster Mage and Cryptic Command.

Collins Mulen (Burn) vs. Justin Cohen (Amulet Bloom)

Former Top 8 Bloom player, Justin Cohen is back on camera at 3-0 with the deck he helped bring into the spotlight. Destructive Revelry in the hands of Mulen takes out the Amulet of Vigor that Cohen needed to go off, and Burn steals the match.

 

Round 6

Patrick Dickmann (Temur Twin) vs. John Runyon (Grixis Twin)

Dickmann takes Game 1 relatively easily. A flurry of remands in Game 2 underscores the importance of this card in Modern and serves as a reminder that the recently reprinted uncommon will likely regain lost ground within the year. A pair of Deceiver Exarchs put away Game 2 for Runyon to even things up and reinforce the price spike on Exarch this week. Dickmann snags a last turn win off of a top decked Cryptic Command to steal the 3rd game in extra turns!

Dragonlord Ojutai has been called out as a key card in a deck tech with Matt Sperling to air shortly.  A couple of Jund decks are 7-0 in the hands of players like Owen Turtenwald and Andrew Boswell.

Round 8

Huang Hao-Shan (Burn) vs. Aaron Barich (Infect)

Infect takes game 1 and beats a great hand from Hao-Shan to take the match.

Patrick Chapin (Grixis Twin) vs. Grant Knierim (U/R Twin)

Gurmag Angler and Jace, Architect of Thought getting some camera time in Game 2. A rare appearance by Countersquall in Game 3 as Chapin picks up the pace in a plodding control mirror in danger of hitting extra turns. Kolaghan’s Command on display again as a key new staple in Modern. Chapin plays tight and gets the win he needs to make Day 2.

Deck Tech: Adrian Sullivan (Esper Control)

Dragonlord Ojutai being put to use as a 4-of as a central pillar of the deck. Running two copies of Nameless Inversion to turn on Silumgar’s Scorn. Also running Careful Consideration, Tolaria West, Minamo, School at Water’s Edge, and Calciform Pools.

Round 9

Ben Stark (Abzan Company) vs. Patrick Dickmann (Temur Twin)

Hall of Famer Ben Stark is putting a strong spotlight on Collected Company’s future in Modern, take on one of the best decks and players in the format on camera. Scavenging Ooze and Voice of Resurgance both looked great, but Dickmann goes to 8-1 moving into Day 2.

 

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.

ADVERTISEMENT: Get the Cube Starter Bundle with the 3rd Edition Grimoire Deck Box, the brand new Grimoire Deck Box designed specifically for the red mage in you.

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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (June 7/15)

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

It has occurred to us at MTGPrice that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when and why our writing team actually puts our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such running this weekly series breaking down what we’ve been buying and selling each week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought for personal use without hope of profit. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here’s what we we’ve been up to this week:

Buying Period: June 1st – June 7th, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted. All sell prices are net of fees unless noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

Modern Mid-Term Plays

  • 4x Modern Masters 2015 Booster Box (Japanese) @ $300/per
  • 6x Mutavault @ $9/per
  • 4x Leyline of Sanctity (MM2, Japanese) @ $16/per
  • 5x Leyline of Sanctity (MM2) @ $12
  • 1x Emrakul, the Aeons Torn @ $23
  • 1x Dark Confidant (MM2, Foil) @ $76
  • 1x Monastery Mentor @ $12
  • 1x Noble Hierarch (MM2) @ $34
  • 4x Scavenging Ooze (DOTP Promo Foil) @ $5/per
  • 4x Siege Rhino (foil) @ $15/per
  • 1x Eidolon of the Great Revel @ $18
  • 3x Dark Confidant (MM2) @ $39
  • 13x Abrupt Decay @ $11
  • 1x Soulfire Grant Master (Russian) @ $9
  • 1x Polluted Delta (foil) @ $70
  • 8x Olivia Voldaren @ $7/per
  • 1x Cryptic Command @ $29.50
  • 4x Storm Entity (Foil) @ $1.25/per

The theme here is that I believe we’re at the bottom for MM2 rares and mythics that see high levels of play in Modern. With Jund back on the radar, Dark Confidant seems particularly underrated around $40, and I can easily see it regaining ground along with Cryptic Command, Noble Hierarch, Emrakul, and Leyline of Sanctity, as head into the end of the year. Scavenging Ooze, Monastery Mentor, Abrupt Decay, Eidolon of the Great Revel and Siege Rhino foils are all cards that should show strong appreciation over the next year and the rest of this list is mostly made up of underpriced foils that will be good components in a future P9 trade deal.

Standard Fall Rotation Plays

  • 1x Wingmate Roc @ $3
  • 4x Den Protector @ $5

These were mostly add-ons to other deals, but they’re both cards I feel have a good shot at gaining value in my trade binder this fall based on their demonstrated power level in Standard so far this season.

Casual/EDH Mid to Long Term Plays

  • 1x Ephara, God of the Polis @ $3
  • 2x Umezawa’s Jitte @ $25
  • 2x Mogis, God of Slaughter @ $3.50/per

As seen in earlier weeks, I’m still snagging Theros gods here and there under $5, with the full expectation that they will end up as $10+ cards on casual demand alone within about 2 years. That’s not the best return profile in my card portfolio, but I’m generally comfortable with long term double ups due to ready availability of deployable capital. Jitte can easily be outed on Pucatrade for $35, so that was an easy grab.

SOLD (Pucatrade):

  • 1x Command Tower (Judge Foil) @ $35 ($20 cost)

This was a good value trade up as I continue to build Pucapoints towards a P9 deal.

Jared Yost

BOUGHT

  • 2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang (prerelease foil) @ $25/per
  • 2x Tasigur, the Golden Fang (foil) @ $27/per
  • 4x Monastery Mentor (foil) @ $40/per

Jared says:

“I’ve been talking about foil Tasigurs and Mentors for a while and decided that now, since everyone is hyping up MM15, is the time to move in on them.

Tasigur is currently one of the most played cards in Modern with about 20% of all decks playing an average of two copies. He also is played in Legacy Grixis Delver lists, which should also help the foil prices along for the future. Foils look great as pickups now.

Mentor is such a solid card all around. If you haven’t read my article on him, please do so because that sums up all my thoughts on why foils are very appealing. Also, Derek indicated that Mentors are becoming harder and harder to find in binders these days so it could mean that we might start seeing some upward mobility on the price soon.”

 

Douglas Johnson

Douglas says:

“If you’re a follower of this column, then you’ll notice my details have been absent lately. This is because instead of speculating on specific card prices and buying them up at full retail then waiting for them to go up, I am playing the role of local vendor in my area, providing me with the opportunity to acquire large lots at (or below) buylist prices. I then stock a local display case and sell cards at TCG low through Facebook or TCGplayer. If you’re interested in Magic finance as more than just a way to supplement your hobby and make actual money, this is definitely a good way to go about it if you can fill a gap in the local scene. In the pictures above, we have parts of a small collection that I picked up this past Thursday.

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While I’d obviously prefer to move each of these cards to loving homes that will sleeve them up and jam them, I’m definitely more eager to move some cards over others. For example, the Lightning Bolts, Temples, and Polukranos are going on Facebook and being sold for practically buylist price, meaning I’ll only end up making a few cents on each after shipping costs. The real gems here are the Planeswalkers like Ugin, Sarkhan, and Narset, that will end up in my display case at the video game store where I used to be employed. The casual players that browse that case love Planeswalkers, so I’m always happy to pick up walkers in all of the collections that I buy, because I know they move fast. Similarly, I’ll definitely be looking to move the Blood Moon in there that just recently spiked last weekend, so that’s likely going on TCGplayer or Facebook.

All in all, buying collections and reselling them is definitely a safer investment than speculating on specific cards. While you don’t get the rush of winning as you watch the card go up, you can buy cards at a price where losing is almost impossible.”

Note: The rest of the guys were quiet so far this week.

Bonus Tips:

  • Word on the street is that many dealers will have access to a limited number of MM2015 cases for at least a few more weeks before they’re cut off. As the majority of MM2 product has already been opened, I wouldn’t expect for key cards to fall further, but a couple of weeks out should be a sweet time to be picking up dirt cheap cards like Etched Champion, Remand and Electrolyze, along with any casual stuff you may need. If you’re willing to take a ride on some boxes, look for deals in the $190-$200 zone. I can still see them gaining $40-50/box before the end of 2015 once supply dries up, so it should be a solid play despite the known quality control issues.
  • Many of the Modern cards that weren’t reprinted in MM2 are spiking hard, both in paper and online. Blood Moon is leading the pack and is a great card to be getting out of for strong profits if you were holding copies you aren’t using.
  • There are some very good buying opportunities on MTGO right now with the MM2015 mythics and rares being at historic lows in many cases. Entry points are still attractive.

So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying and selling this week and why?

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.

ADVERTISEMENT: Get the Cube Starter Bundle with the 3rd Edition Grimoire Deck Box, the brand new Grimoire Deck Box designed specifically for the red mage in you.

 

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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (May 31/15)

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

One of the most common misconceptions about folks involved in MTGFinance is that we are constantly manipulating the market and feeding players misinformation to help fuel achievement of our personal goals.

It has occurred to us at MTGPrice that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when our writing team actually puts our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series breaking down what we’ve been buying and selling each week and why. These lists are meant to be both complete and transparent, leaving off only cards we bought without hope of profit, where appropriate. We’ll also try to provide some insight into our thinking behind the specs, and whether we are aiming for a short (<1 month), mid (1-12 month), or long (1 year+) term flip. Here’s what we were up to this week:

Buying Period: May 24th – May 31st, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted. All sell prices are net of fees unless noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 3x Modern Masters 2015 Booster Box @ $205/per
  • 1x Lilianna of the Veil: $66
  • 2x Keranos, God of Storms @ $7/per
  • 1x Reveillark @ $2
  • 1x Kiln Fiend (Japanese Foil) @ $6.50
  • 1x Humble Defector (Japanese Foil) @ $3.25
  • 2x Nylea, God of the Hunt @ $3/per
  • 4 x Master of Waves @ $3/per
  • 1x Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx (foil) @ $10
  • 4x Scavenging Ooze (Russian Foil Promo) @ $7.50/per
  • 1x Leyline of Sanctity (Japanese Foil) @ $40
  • 1x Fulminator Mage (Japanese Foil) @ $53
  • 1x Noble Hierarch (foil) @ $53
  • 1x Chandra, Pyromaster (foil) @ $10
  • 2x Sphinx’s Revelation @ $5.75/per
  • 2x Splinter Twin @ $11.00/per
  • 3x Woodland Cemetary @ $3.00/per
  • 2x Chalice of the Void @ $13/per
  • 2x Erebos, God of the Dead (Japanese) @ $3.50
  • 2x Temple Garden (foil) @ $18.00
  • 5x Swans of Brynn Argoll @ $3.00/per
  • 5x Kolaghan’s Command (foil) @ $6.75/per

SOLD (Pucatrade):

  • 1x Duress (IDW Promo) @ $22.75 ($4 cost)
  • 1x Chalice of the Void (Mirrodin) @ $17.48 ($5 cost)

My purchases were pretty scattered this week, with the common element being the pursuit of cards that I consider undervalued, or solid mid to long term holds. This included a few early snags on some MM2015 foils with great rebound potential.

Just a couple of Pucatrade items this week, but both with very solid returns. I’ll be slowing my Puca activity now, with over $1200 USD in points built up, as I try to find a trading partner to help me trade up into Power 9, dual lands or Judge foils. If you have anything like that you want to send my way let me know 😉

Sidenote: Of my earlier MM2015 box deals, two of the larger deals fell through as the overseas vendors failed to produce product on time. As it turns out, this is to my benefit, because I had enough product to fulfill earlier local orders, but now have a chance to get in on boxes at $205-210 as dealers gain access to three more cases this week direct from WOTC. Take this to mean that despite the quality control issues and complaints about set variance, I am still happy to be holding some number of MM2015 boxes heading into the end of the year, where I’m looking to exit around $300.

Danny Brown

BOUGHT (Pucatrade)

10x Tasigur, the Golden Fang @ 648 PucaPoints each
4x See the Unwritten @ 341 PucaPoints each

Danny says:

“How exactly is Tasigur this low? Sure, he’s not a mythic, but he is from a small set that will be in short supply come next year. He’s proven himself in Standard, Modern, and even Legacy, and with Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time banned out, is one of the most powerful things you can be doing with delve (which is in and of itself rather powerful). Despite having a goal for my PucaPoints, I decided to not just let them sit.
 
I’m already in on a couple playsets of See the Unwritten at 410 points each, so with the price drop, I figured going in on another set couldn’t hurt. Battle for Zendikar will make this price go up on hype alone once the first Eldrazi are spoiled.”

SOLD

2x Steam Vents @ 1319 PucaPoints/per
1x Sulfur Falls @ 821 PucaPoints
2x Pestermite @ 39 points/per

36 Khans of Tarkir packs on MTGO @ an average of 1.8872 each

Danny says:

“I’ve been slowly outing my pile of Steam Vents, and this all went to the same guy, so I threw in a couple other Splinter Twin cards he needed. 
 
I don’t speculate much if at all on MTGO, but Khans packs seemed too cheap to me a month or two ago, so I bought 36 packs at an average of 1.3 tickets each. I don’t know if these are headed up or down, but given my inexperience in MTGO speculation and the opportunity for profit right in front of me, I sold out for an average profit of .5872 per pack, putting me 9.3952 credits up (probably rounded down a bit due to credit being stored in bots). Then I promptly blew twice that amount on a couple Tempest Remastered drafts wherein I did poorly. Oh, well.”

Note: The rest of the guys were quiet so far this week.

Bonus Tips:

  • Tarmogoyf hasn’t been falling nearly as hard as some predicted, largely due to the vendors at the GP’s this weekend propping up the price via widespread hoarding. Buylist was as high as $130 on the floor in Vegas, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the dominant green creature in the modern era hold the line above $120, rebounding to $160-170 by mid-summer. I wouldn’t wait long to get in for a set if that was your goal.
  • The rest of the MM2015 rares and mythics have certainly fallen across the board, but the race to the bottom hasn’t really showed up yet. Keep an eye on the price index for the set and don’t be too greedy trying to find the absolute lows on the cards you need.  My call that Noble Hierarch would end up below $15 for instance, looks far too low, and I’d be surprised to see many sell below $30.
  • There are some very good buying opportunities on MTGO right now with the MM2015 mythics and rares being at historic lows in many cases. Look for a solid entry point later tonight.
    So there you have it. Now what were you guys buying and selling this week and why?

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.

ADVERTISEMENT: Get the Cube Starter Bundle with the 3rd Edition Grimoire Deck Box, the brand new Grimoire Deck Box designed specifically for the red mage in you.

 

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