All posts by James Chillcott

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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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WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: May 25/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

5 Winners of the Week

Dragons of Tarkir continues to shake up standard, but the hype is real for Modern Masters 2015 and the upcoming release is moving prices as well. Let’s have a look at what’s up with the Magic cards that are moving and shaking this week:

  1. Collected Company Foil (DTK, Rare): $10.00 to $30.00 (+200%)

Collected Company has been getting a lot of press and a reasonable number of results in Standard, and things are also starting to heat up for the card in Modern. Speculation on the Modern hype tripled the cards price in the last ten days or so. I’ll be outing a few copies to cover my costs around $10/copy and then holding the rest for several months to see how things develop in modern. An important win at the top tables could put this card up above $50, especially if it proves to be viable outside of a single deck.

Verdict: Trade/Buy

Format(s): Modern/Standard

2. Heritage Druid (Morningtide, Uncommon): $7.25 to $11.00 (+51%)

This bad boy uncommon has long been a big contributor to the success of Elves comboing off in Legacy, but as of late some Modern success with the deck has thrust up demand for this single printing money maker. The Elves deck is unlikely to take over the format as numerous answers (such as Anger of the Gods) exist to control it, but kudos to anyone who happened to be sitting on a pile of these when the spike hit this week. There might be a few more dollars left in this but it’s time to ship.

Format(s): Modern/Legacy

Verdict: Sell

3. Dack Fayden (CSP, Mythic): $25.00 to $35.00  (+40%)

The recent spikes on Dack are more speculative/opportunistic than play driven given that Dack is really only played sparsely in Vintage and Casual formats. As a mythic from a low volume set that didn’t sell well, this could easily top $50 a bit down the road, but there’s always a slight chance of a reprint or a replacement, so I’m going to hedge my bets and sell a few now, and a few more later. I was getting in on these around $17-20 near Xmas 2014, so locking in $50/profit per set seems like a solid move now.

Format(s): Vintage/Casual/EDH

Verdict: Hold/Sell

4. Blood Moon (9th Edition, Rare): $20.99 to $26.79 (+28%)

No reprint in MM2015 has all copies of this card on the rise, and even the white bordered versions are on the spike.  This will likely see another reprint at some point, as it’s handy to have something on deck to keep fancy lands in check in Modern and Legacy, but for now it seems safe for a year or more. I’ve got some Dark NM copies I’ll be ready to move at anything over $40 since they were picked up under $20 last year. If you have extras sitting around, cashing out and pushing into a new spec is a solid plan.

Format(s): Standard/Tiny Leaders

Verdict: Sell/Trade

5. Chord of Calling (M15, Rare): $3.95 to $4.73 (+20%)

The recent Modern Elves and Collected Company decks are driving this card higher. It’s been on my list of “undervalued vs. potential” cards all year, as supported by my 60+ copies. Assuming it finds a permanent home in a consistently performing Modern Deck within the year, this is a future $10+ card, which is still a ways off it’s previous high, but a solid double up for those of us who got in under $4.

Format(s): Modern

Verdict: Buy

3 Top Losers of the Week

1. Daybreak Coronet (Future Sight, Rare): $35.59 to $18.99 (-47%)

Daybreak Coronet is the perfect example of a card whose price was propped up by little more than rarity relative to the current player pool. As a card that is basically only played in the Modern Boggles deck, Daybreak was part of the Future Sight value posse, but is dropping like a stone heading into the triple GP weekend for MM2015. I’d steer clear, but look to pick up a few copies around $10-12 if they show up during desperation sales as folks start to try and recoup travel expenses after Vegas via Ebay and TCGPlayer dumps. I got rid of my copies last November as part of my Black Lotus deal, so I’m out of play on this one.

Format(s): Modern/Tiny Leaders

Verdict: Buy (below $15, but there are better targets)

2. Sidisi, Undead Vizier (DTK, Rare): $5.11 to $2.92 (-43%)

This is a great card, with a powerful effect and a strong future in EDH and casual circles, but with all of the high value cards that have emerged for Standard in Dragons of Tarkir, it was inevitable that anything like this that isn’t seeing heavy play was going to drop, especially given the purchasing power being directed towards MM2015 right now. I love this card as a speculative target heading into fall, and a long term middling casual hold, especially if it gets down toward $2. Someday you’ll buylist this around $5 and thank me if you get on the train during summer lows.

Verdict: Buy (Under $3)

3. Narset Transcedant: $29.52 to $18.63 (-37%)

Some day our kung-fu planeswalker will get broken but in the face of limited Standard play, she has rightfully swapped values with Dragonlord Ojutai, and may hit as low as $10-12 heading into summer lows. I’m a buyer at the bottom end of that range, but I’m not in a hurry to pick her up. If foils get equally juicy, I’ll be more motivated on those, since casual and EDH play may help float a potential lack of demand from Eternal formats.  You should have sold your copies when you cracked your box last month, but it’s not too late vs. eventual lows to trade her out for something better.

Verdict: Sell

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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MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (May 23/15)

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 10th – May 23rd, 2015

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

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 2x Modern Masters 2015 Booster Box (Japanese): $360 per
  • 1x Fate Reforged Booster Box (Russian): $123
  • 2x Khans of Tarkir Booster Box (Japanese): $105 per
  • 1x Dragons of Tarkir Booster Box (Korean): $95
  • 1x LOTV: $72
  • 1x Rest in Peace (foil): $9
  • 1x Sol Ring (Judge Foil): $115
  • 1x Dragonlord Dromoka (foil): $13
  • 4x Shorecrasher Elemental (Japanese): $3.25 per
  • 1x Shorecrasher Elemental (Korean foil): $15
  • 1x Collected Company (Japanese foil): $35
  • 1x Humble Defector (foil): $10
  • 4x Iroas, God of Victory (Korean): $3.25 per
  • 4x Athreos, God of Passage (Korean): $5.25 per
  • 4x Keranos, God of Storms (Korean): $5.25 per
  • 4x Kruphix, God of Horizons (Korean): $2.75 per
  • 4x Pharika, God of Affliction (Korean): $2.25 per
  • 2x Pharika, God of Afflication: $3.25 per
  • 4x Myth Realized (foil): $4.25 per
  • 1x Eidolon of the Great Revel (foil): $21 per

SOLD (Pucatrade):

  • 1x Stoneforge Mystic @ $31.98 (pack opened)
  • 1x Tarmogoyf @ $188.50 ($135 cost)

The last couple of weeks have been pretty active for me. I’ve moved in a bit on choice foreign KTK block boxes that I think have great long term upside and I even picked up a couple of boxes of Japanese MM2 boxes that I expect to have solid mid-term upside due to their relative rarity and their use of normal tamper-proof, quality controlled, booster wrappers.

I also through some money at some nicely priced Korean Theros block gods since a few of them are likely to show up in Modern sooner or later, and the others have great casual/EDH chops. My other purchases were the usual crop of opportunistic late night Ebay snipes.

Pucatrade helped me out another Tarmogoyf at close to full value. I bought a couple at $135USD at GPToronto, so this was an easy $100 increase in value.

Once my latest trades are confirmed I’ll be holding about $1200 in Pucapoints, and on the hunt for Power 9, dual lands and Judge foils. If you have anything like that you want to send my way let me know.

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

Bonus Tips:

  • MM2 is turning out to be a dramatic release indeed. First we had the overreaction to the lack of compelling rares and uncommons and widespread misinformation about the EV of the set (hint: it will turn out fine.) Now, with packs being opened across the planet, we’re seeing plenty of evidence of a highly dubious collation process, packages that can be tampered with easily, damage to cards from the new cardboard packaging and foils being replaced by placeholder cards. As the highest profile release of the year, and with packs at $9.99 MSRP, WOTC really should have put more effort into nailing this down. Shame.
  • If the quality control of English boxes proves out to be suspect, the value of Japanese boxes (which use normal booster packaging) should increase, since MM1 was English only and Japanese vendors are technically forbidden from selling their boxes overseas. Picking up a couple of these as close to $300 as possible should serve your MTG portfolio well.
  • Pricing on key MM2 cards has already started the predictable downward spiral. I recommend holding off for now, and jumping into the fray coming out of the triple GP weekend as mentioned last week.
  • With the Euro at a low point against the USD, CardMarket.eu has some intriguing arbitrage opportunities on older, high value targets. Poke around and you may find some stuff you can buy list for a couple of hundred bucks.

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.

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