All posts by James Chillcott

MTGFinance: What We’re Buying/Selling This Week (March 21/15)

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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 recently occurred to us here that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when we actually put our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series simply breaking down what we’ve been buying this 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: March 15th -21st, 2015

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

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

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BOUGHT

SOLD

I have mentioned publicly that I believe few specs make more sense right now than simply accumulating Abrupt Decay. Snapcaster Mage has amply demonstrated that the gaining potential of a Modern/Legacy staple rare is still excellent, even in the post-growth curve era of Magic: The Gathering. Both Snaps and Decay are auto-includes in the next edition of Modern Masters, with the only debate being whether that set shows up in summer of 2016 or 2017. My bet is on 2017 so far, but Wizards left the door open by naming this edition 2015, so you may only have a year to see upside. I’m looking to out my Snapcaster Mages in Sep/Oct around their likely peak.

On the sales side, I’m following through on unloading regular Tasigur, looking to reacquire if he drops enough during the inevitable summer lull. I think this card could easily hit $12 next fall, so this is more of a tempo play. Living Plane and Scion of the Ur-Dragon were opportunistic sales with margins too good to pass up. I’m also looking to sell my last box of Modern Masters at $360 shipped if you’re interested.

Douglas Johnson (@rose0fthorns)

BOUGHT

Douglas says:

“I picked up 4 foil Plasm Captures on Pucatrade at 414 points each (basically $4.14). The card is powerful in Commander, and was from Dragon’s Maze, a very poorly opened set that was overshadowed by Modern Masters. I don’t think foil Plasm Captures should be the same price as a pack of Dragon’s Maze, especially considering the power level of UG colors in the Commander format. 

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I also bought 118 copies of Battlefield Thaumaturge for $35.66, totaling approximately $.30 per copy. While it’s a bit of a risk and I might end up bulking out for $.12 each several years down the road, I believe this is one of those enablers that only needs one more combo piece to suddenly be viable in either Modern or Standard. While I don’t think Descent of Dragons from Dragons of Tarkir is neccessarily that special combo piece, $.30 per copy was just too cheap to pass up, especially when I was able to condense my order down to three sellers on TCGplayer.com to minimize shipping costs.

An interesting note on Fleshwrither: While I originally wanted to try it out in my Savra deck, I don’t think that it’s a bad pickup for the long-term in foil. Transfigure was one of the weird Future Sight mechanics that we might not see again, and this guy will only get better with every creature printed at 4CMC. 

As for the foil Necrotic Oozes, I’ve always had an obsession with the card. I feel like all it takes is one more creature printed with an absurd activated ability that puts it over the edge and makes it a contender in Modern instead of fringe playable. Dying to Lightning Bolt sucks a lot, but I can hope… At the very least, I think he’s a slow gainer over time because of EDH appeal, thanks to the words “all graveyards”. 
A note on using Pucatrade:
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already heard of Pucatrade. While I mainly use the site to ship out random cards that are either hard to get rid of, things I have a many extras of, or cards that I expect to decrease in value, there aren’t a whole ton of cards I actually *need* at any given time, due to the fact that I don’t play competitively anymore. There’s the occasional EDH foil that I’ll point out in a binder, and sometimes I’ll try to save up my Pucapoints to power, but otherwise I tend to sit on a lot of Pucapoints. As the main singles dealer in my area, I get a lot of requests for cards that can’t be found locally. Recently, I had a request for a bunch of EDH playable commons that I didn’t happen to have in my boxes of picks; Things like Eyeblight’s Ending, Rend Flesh, Cloudgoat Ranger, and Lignify. This person was willing to pay me cash for these random cards, and didn’t want to/was unable to go through the trouble of buying them online and paying for shipping. Thankfully, Pucatrade comes in very handily here. Instead of turning the guy away or paying cash for them myself, I was able to put a bunch of these cards on my Want list on Puca, and have them be sent to me in a matter of days. I’ve found that this is an excellent way to turn a type of “store credit” into real cash, that I can put elsewhere. That being said, here’s the list of EDH cards that I picked up this week, most of which I’ll be able to sell for $.25 or $.50 each: If you happen to stock up on a lot of Pucapoints like I do, and you’re the go-to guy for singles, consider using those points if someone in your area offers to buy a card that you don’t have.”

 

Travis Allen (@wizardbumpin)

  • 6x Commander’s Arsenal @ $345

Travis says:

“The value of the singles [in each set] is greater than the sealed product by at least $80. With nowhere to go but up on these, I’m happy to either let them grow in the long term, or flip them for $50 profit in the short term should the opportunity arise.”

 

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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WEEKLY MTGPRICE.COM MOVERS: March 15th/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

5 Winners of the Week

Most of the movement this week is coming from the ever-shifting Theros/Khans standard format, with new cards ascending and some old favorites slowly falling from grace. Let’s have a look at what’s up:

1. Master of the Unseen (Fate Reforged, Rare): $2.00 to $3.73 (87%)

It should come as no surprise that the week after this card dominated the finals of Grand Prix Miami it is suddenly in high demand. Some are worried that the G/W Manifest deck is the new boogeyman of standard, but I suspect that the metagame rolling into the release of Dragons of Tarkir will keep shifting and ensure that variety is still the defining element of the season. That being said, this is a winter small set rare, it fits into a bunch of decks, and therefore may be able to hit $4-5 before it rotates in winter 2016. As such, I’m ignoring the voices calling to sell and advocating a clear hold on this card looking for further profits. Of course if you were smart enough to stockpile at $.50, by all means do as you will.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

2. Citadel Siege (Fate Reforged, Rare): $0.62 to $1.04 (68%)

Add this one to the list of underrated Fate Reforged rares that are just going to work in Standard lately. The ability to tap something down on the attack or drive home more points of damage via the application of counters provides a ton of versatility, though in the U/W Control builds that are running it, the tap function is king. I have no interest in outing cards under $3-4 period, so I’d recommend holding this one for a while if you are sitting on them as U/W could just be getting started in Standard.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

3. See the Unwritten (KTK, Mythic): $3.00 to $4.70 (57%)

As noted last week, this is rising on the premise that either Dragons or Eldrazi will make it an essential component of a deck before it rotates next winter. I’m holding until September and you should likely do the same unless this pushes into the $6-8 range early, in which case, go for it since it won’t ever find a home beyond Standard play anyway.

Format(s): Standard

Verdict: Hold

4. Thassa God of the Sea (Theros, Mythic Rare):  $4.81 to $7.08 (47%) 

As detailed last week, Thassa and Master of Waves have both gained well in anticipation that Blue Devotion will once again be a deck. Depending on how early you got in on your copies, you could easily be looking to out by now, but I’m holding because I believe the deck will make a Top 8 before it rotates and lock in stronger profits.  As one of the better Theros gods I’m also fine holding these for the longer term as necessary.

Format(s): Standard/Modern/EDH/Tiny Leaders

Verdict: Hold

5. Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Alara Reborn, Mythic): $11.91 to $15.24 (28%)

With all the dragon hype leading into the release of Dragons of Tarkir, it’s hardly surprising to see some of the better casual dragons rising. Karrthus is one of the baddest of the bunch, and I’d feel comfortable selling into the hype if I had any lying around as it’s unlikely to enjoy much more of a bump once the summer doldrums hit.

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Format(s): Casual/EDH

Verdict: Hold

 

 3 Top Losers of the Week

1. Soul of Theros: $7.82 to $3.61 (-54%)

Soul of Theros got its’ moment in the sun in the Soul/Whip decks earlier this season, but the deck isn’t seeing much play these days, and rotation for M15 isn’t too far off, so I’d expect this to keep sliding down towards bulk heading into summer. Time to sell.

Verdict: Sell

 

2. Stoke the Flames: $4.95 to $4.42 (-11%)

Don’t get it twisted. This is still the best spell in Standard, and will be for a few more months, but it’s natural for it to be shedding some value heading towards rotation. Unload your extras soon, because this doesn’t have a future beyond Standard.

Verdict: Sell

3. Monastery Mentor: $25.28 to $22.89 (-9%)

This card is seeing play in multiple formats, but it’s not dominating anywhere. I think foils are still the key play, but I’m also hoping for a moment of weakness this summer shortly after the release of MM2 when we can swoop in and scoop up regular copies in the $12-15 range for future returns above $30 a few years down the road. The card is very, very good and just needs the right pieces to pair it with in any given format to be a great move.

Verdict: Sell (to buy in later)

 

Quick Hits

  • I’m having trouble imaging a better spec than Abrupt Decay at present. There are plenty of copies around $12 lying around. Sure, it was $6 a year ago, but it will likely be $20-25 by next year and there isn’t a reprint coming until at least MM3 which may or may not appear in summer 2016, depending on how the MM2 release goes. Either way, if you’re fooling around with long shots (as I tend to) and don’t have many of these stashed away yet (As I do) you might want to rethink where you’re parking your money.
  • Snapcaster Mage is appreciating VERY nicely and pretty much right on schedule. Many of us were stockpiling around $20 at rotation, and now have easy outs for a double up. This was the last Abrupt Decay, get it? If you’re holding, you can wait for a possible $70-80 peak within the year, or just get out now and reinvest into something with a bigger upside, like say Abrupt Decay.
  • With the currency shifts between the USD, Euro and Canadian dollar, there really are a lot of arbitrage opportunities to be had on big ticket items if you’re willing to do some math and shop by phone across borders. Get to it.
  • If I have to choose between the Dragons of Tarkir planeswalkers I think you’ve got way more upside trying to snag Sarkhan around $20 than you will buying into Narset above $30.

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 (March 14th/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 recently occurred to us here that though we dole out a good deal of advice, most of you ultimately have very little insight into when we actually put our money where our collective mouths are pointing. As such we’ve decided to run a weekly series simply breaking down what we’ve been buying this 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: March 8th -14th, 2015

Note: All cards NM unless otherwise noted.

James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

BOUGHT

  • 8x Descent of the Dragons @ $2.10 per
  • 14x Descent of the Dragons @ $3.15 per
  • 4x Descent of the Dragons @ $3.25 per
  • 28x Dragon Tempest @ $1.55 per
  • 8x Dragon Tempest @ $1.05 per
  • 8x Sidisi, Undead Vizier @ $4.15 per
  • 16x Master of the Unseen @ $2.00 per
  • 2x Tasigur, The Golden Fang (Foil) @ $24.15 per
  • 1x Command Tower (Judge Foil) @  $22
  • 3x Duress (IDW) @ $3
  • 1x Faithless Looting (IDW) @ $3

SOLD

  • 3x Duress (IDW Promo) @ $13 per ($3 cost)

I’m going relatively deep on Descent of the Dragons and Dragon Tempest on the basis that a lot of people are underestimating their combo potential in Standard alongside the long overlooked Battlefield Thaumaturge and mana dorks. The deck shell is basically based around a fairly normal Temur early game that suddenly transforms into an instant kill. Basically if you have 3 creatures in play, with Thaumaturge being one of them, and a Dragon Tempest in play, you put 12/12 worth of Dragons into play and instantly do 9 points and then attack for 12. This can happen as early as Turn 5. The deck can lean on Sarkhan Unbroken, Hour of Need and Stormbreath as backup plans and just play a more midrange game if the pieces aren’t drawn fast enough. I predict that the deck in some form hits at least Tier 2 in Standard, and an on camera appearance should be enough to double the price of both cards. If it fails to perform however, these are pretty bad long term specs as their future in other formats may be dubious at best.

Sidisi, Undead Vizier is my pick for one of the top 3 cards in Dragons of Tarkir, as his power level seems extremely high. With DoT facing a longer rotation schedule than the last two sets, there is a good chance this card tops $8-10 at some point in it’s play life.

As for Tasigur, my early call that he was underrated has come true, and I now expect this guy to be a multi-format player for many years. As such, I’m still buying foils while selling my non-foils.

There was a run on the judge foil Command Towers this week, and I managed to snag a copy before the price spikes.  I also managed to snag a few additional copies of the IDW promos via back issues at my local comic shop.

On the sales side, a pretty quiet week, but I did sell into the buyout on IDW promos by unloading a handful of the  Duress at a triple up, with several more held back to test the new price plateau.

Travis Allen (@wizardbumpin)

BOUGHT

Short/Mid:

44x See the Unwritten @ $1.25

Mid

  • 10x Order of Whiteclay @ $1.93

Long

  • 8x Aggressive Mining @ $.20
Travis says:
“With Battle for Zendikar on the horizon for fall 2015, players are going to be excited about See the Unwritten in conjunction with Eldrazi. It doesn’t even need to end up being good for there to be a great selling window; we just need people to be excited about it for long enough to get out.
I wrote Order of Whiteclay down as a Tiny Leaders spec a few weeks ago. The other day I noticed there were very few copies left on the retail circuit, so I picked up some on eBay to follow through.

Aggressive Mining is a cool potential combo piece that was cheap from a vendor I was already buying from.”

Guo Heng Chin (@theguoheng)

Nothing to report this week.

Jared Yost

Nothing to report.

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: March 10th/15

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

5 Winners of the Week

1. Guttural Response (Fate Reforged, Mythic): $1.51 to $7.11 (371%)

I hear rumors that this card is spiking based on some fringe combo deck driving a buy out, but I’ve been unable to track down the relevant info. Clue us in via the comments section and we’ll update.

Format(s): ?

Verdict: ?

 

 

 

2. Pendelhaven (Legends, Uncommon): $10.00 to $15.00 (50%)

This is a common card in Infect strategies, and there really aren’t that many copies floating around despite the FNM, Anthologies and Time Shifted printings on top of the original. There are two Legends cards on our list this week, which just goes to show what you can expect as more and more MTG players get involved in MTGFinance and start contributing to buy outs on cards with low inventory. Whether you can move the cards into real demand is the pressing question in these cases, so if you want to hold tight on this one you need to feel sure Infect will be alive and kicking for a while in Legacy and Modern. So far all signs say you should be fine holding on to these for a while as a reprint is unlikely anytime soon.

Format(s): Modern, Legacy, Casual

Verdict: Sell/Hold

3. Tetsuo, Umezawa (Legends, Rare): $21.52 to $29.99 (39%)

This is a Tiny Leaders spec since Tetsuo is the only URB general available to that fledgling format. He’s also on the Reserved List and highly unlikely to be reprinted due to flavor/brand issues, so holding this guy for a bit isn’t a bad idea, at least until Wizards releases their inevitable Tiny Leaders product in 2017.

Format(s): Tiny Leaders

Verdict: Hold

4. Master of Waves and Thassa, God of the Sea (Theros, Mythic Rare):  MoW – $3.00 to $5.50 (83%) , Thassa – $4.81 to $6.53 (36%) 

These two centerpieces of the mono-blue devotion stratagem are on the rise because, well, Shorecrasher Elemental.

A UUU 3-drop may be just the thing to bring this oppressive archtype back into play as a Tier 1 or 2 option in Standard, and it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility that this card makes the archetype playable in Modern either, now that it has solid 1, 2 and 3 drops to lead into Thassa and/or Master of Waves and make a ton of tokens.  We’ll see how things play out, but I added to my positions in both cards on the basis that a failure to reemerge in Standard doesn’t necessarily count them out in older formats.

Format(s): Standard/Modern

Verdict: Hold

5. See the Unwritten (Khans of Tarkir, Mythic): $1.78 to $2.29 (29%)

I’ve had 40-50 of this card in my portfolio almost since release, on the basis that either Dragons or Eldrazi would eventually make it good. We’re not there yet, but with Battle for Zendikar confirmed for the fall set, we’re not miles out from this card becoming a real thing. The thing is, if it fails to find a home before rotation, it falls back to bulk and you get to hope your copies slow burn their way into success down the road on EDH/Casual demand alone.

Format(s): Standard/Casual/EDH

Verdict: Hold

 

 3 Top Losers of the Week

1. Hammer of Purphoros: $1.55 to $1.00 (-35%)

Making 3/3 tokens slowly just isn’t where you want to be in Standard right now and the rotation axe is grinding.

2. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion: $15.59 to $13.05 (-16%)

The old girl’s had a good run in Standard, and she’s still a viable threat at the top end of several real decks, but her printing in the most recent Duel Deck this month is not going to help her. You should already have outed your copies toward the beginning of the year, and I wouldn’t be caught holding any of this once $35 card for much longer.

3. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant: $5.58 to $5.02 (-10%)

Sidisi decks are looking less and less viable as the Standard metagame keeps shifting fast and furious this spring. I’m actually more excited about the undead version of this character once DoT is out, so I think now is a good time to be outing your copies, possibly looking to pick them back up in the mid-summer doldrums when the standard staples take a beating.

Quick Hits

My underrated cards from Dragons of Tarkir currently include (full article coming soon):

  • Dragon Tempest
  • Descent of the Dragons
  • Sidizi, Undead Viziier
  • Assault Formation
  • Avatar of the Resolute
  • Kolaghan’s Command
  • Deathmist Raptor
  • A run on foil Command Towers is ongoing. Grab ’em quick if you need one for your Commander decks or just want to go for a ride to $10+ in profit.
  • Master of the Unseen absolutely dominated GP Miami last weekend, resulting in games so painful to watch it made my eyes bleed. The power of the card is no longer a secret however, and it will be topping this list next weekend along with Outpost Siege, another card that has legs on recently revealed power level.

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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