Category Archives: Unlocked ProTrader

UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Stuff Worth Keeping from BFZ and OGW

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Hello and welcome back! I didn’t want to overwhelm everyone with acres of picks last week, so I’m back to talk about the other rotating block, Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon.

To repeat myself from last week: These are the cards that I think are good to have as they leave Standard, either for their value in Modern/Legacy, or as long-term casual holds.

I don’t think I gave you a good example last week of such a card, so let me do so now: Thespian’s Stage, in foil or nonfoil. Here’s the graph of the foil:

During Theros block, you could get the foil for under $10. Even at rotation, you could get it about $10. But now it’s double that, and nowhere to go but up. The nonfoil has gone from dollar rare to $3 casual gold, and I’m pleased with either of those graphs.

Every time the Stage dodges reprinting, it ticks up by fifty cents or a dollar. If it gets reprinted in Commander 2017, I don’t think the price will get hit much but the foil will tick upward. It’s going to take a Conspiracy/Masters set to impact the foil very much, and that seems unlikely in the next year (It’s not Iconic, after all).

Shadows over Innistrad

Traverse the Ulvenwald ($4.50 nonfoil/$14 foil): Really, we should have seen this coming. Delirium isn’t just easy in Modern, it’s the focus of Tarmogoyf. Getting the ‘Goyf as big as possible as fast as possible is why Tarfire spiked. Gotta get that Tribal type!

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I think the nonfoils are going to go down a little, maybe as far as $3, but then they seem like a very solid pickup. As ever, for Modern/Legacy or casual use, I generally like the foils more than the nonfoils to hold value and to resist losing much when they are reprinted. (Yes, that’s WHEN they are reprinted. That’s my view going forward. Can’t say when, but it is going to happen.)

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Archangel Avacyn ($10/$22): The poster angel for the set, a double-sided mythic, she’s going to be very hard to reprint. It’s my understanding that the double-sided require a whole sheet, and then are added, so it’s not possible to throw one two-faced card into a regular print run. The flip planeswalkers of Magic Origins were done on their own, lots of languages to a sheet, so I feel confident in thinking that Avacyn is safe from reprinting for a while.

She’s at the lowest she’s been during her time in Standard, and frankly the foils are super appealing. The foil multiplier isn’t even three yet! Let’s get in on these and just be patient. The growth will be real.

Thalia’s Lieutenant ($2.75/$6): I want this to drop further. I’d like picking these up a lot more at $1.50 or less, but this price is likely an artifact of a couple of recent Modern decks that have a Human theme. I would truly love it if the triggered ability could affect Soldiers too, but it’s still a very good card. Every set has Human creatures, and with every good creature to add to the deck, this card gets better.

Prized Amalgam ($2.25/$5.50): It’s one of the centerpiece cards for Modern Dredge, it’s an automatic four-of in the strategy, and yet it’s this cheap. Foils being $5 on eBay seem like a complete gift to your future self. It’s true that the ban of the Grave-Troll made the deck a little less appealing, but here’s what is going to happen:

  1. People pack lots of graveyard hate in Modern, making Dredge a bad choice.
  2. People move their sideboard choices to other decks, because no one is playing Dredge.
  3. Someone makes the right metagame call at the right big event and Dredge takes it all.
  4. This price goes up by at least double.

I don’t know when that process will happen, but it’s only a matter of time.

Honorable mentions at $1 or less: Fevered Visions, Descend Upon the SinfulSeasons Past, Duskwatch Recruiter, Second Harvest.

Eldritch Moon

Gisela, the Broken Blade ($8/$20) and Bruna, the Fading Light ($1/$6): I like all the foil Meld cards going forward, but this pair having a mythic member AND being part of an iconic tribe means that I love the casual potential here. Bruna is already very good in Angel decks, and I can’t imagine not making space for her sister in Commander decks.

Gisa and Geralf ($1.60/$6): The high foil multiplier here is a very good indicator that you want to have some of these going forward. This card never had a huge supply, being a small-set mythic, and Commander players are taking these out of circulation. I’d much much much rather have the foil version, because I can see this being the headliner for some future duel deck (Undead vs. Survivors or some such).

Bedlam Reveler ($1/$4.50): Another big foil multiplier indicates the foil is sought after more, either in Eternal (where it’s seen some play) or casual play, where only the most dedicated of decks play this. I’ve written about this before, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much, but I can see this spiking pretty hard with just one good showing.

Deploy the Gatewatch ($1/$4): So about a year ago, while I was guesting on MTG Fast Finance, James and I had a polite disagreement about this card. I thought it was trash for Standard, but an excellent long-term hold. The card has gone up about a dollar since then, but it remains a ridiculously safe pick in foil. I suspect we will get some Gatewatch-themed special issue deck at some point, but until then, snag lots of foils and just wait. You’ll thank us later.

Honorable mentions at $1 or so: Mind’s Dilation, Sigarda’s Aid, Ulrich of the Krallenhorde, Decimator of the Provinces

Cliff is impressively devoted to Magic, in a range of formats. His greatest love has been Commander, but Cube is the new hotness and it’s not as clear as it used to be. Who will steal his heart and get that rose? Tune in next week!

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Mastering Modern: Making Money on Modern in 2017 (Pt 3)

This is the third in my (now) four-part part series on making money on Modern cards in 2017. You can find the first part, covering the cards most likely to rebound from Modern Masters 2017, over here, and the second part here.

First off, let’s check in on the prices of the rares and mythics from Modern Masters 2017 to see how those potential specs are progressing.

As predicted, the shift in focus to Amonkhet and the continued availability of supply has lead to even the mythics that were rebounding demonstrating contractions since we last checked in. Tarmogoyf, LOTV, Cavern of Souls, Voice of Resurgence and Griselbrand have all fallen further and the mythics are, on the whole, down 15% since release. Even Snapcaster Mage is holding steady now in the low 40s. Same logic applies as before here: you can feel free to buy the highest demand cards at these levels, but there is no real rush on the rest and you can judge your entry point when you start to either a) see supply draining out or b) catch wind of additional supply entering the market.

MM17 rares have been following similar patterns, and they’re down an additional 2% in the last couple of weeks. Scalding Tarn, Arid Mesa, Phantasmal Image and Abrupt Decay are showing shallow gains with the rest of the rares either holding steady or falling off further. Most of the fetches, Blood Moon, Goblin Guide, Death’s Shadow (which is up despite my red coloring in the chat above) and Damnation all seem fine here if you need them, and otherwise you choose your entry point as with the mythics.

A (Further) Look at The Cards Not Printed

Last week we took a look at some of the format staples that were not reprinted in Modern Masters 2017 that are likely to show gains, or have already shown gains. Let’s polish off that list before we move on to newer cards that may yield further gains next week.

 

As per a recent video by Rogue Deckbuilder (found here), the above are some of the most expensive and/or most popular cards in Modern (and beyond, eg Doubling Season) that weren’t featured in Modern Masters 2017. Let’s explore some of our more interesting options here for the purposes of financial speculation:

Dark Confidant

Dark Confidant

Dark Confidant was nearly one of my picks on MTGFastFinance a couple of weeks ago, as a perennial staple that got printed twice in Modern Masters (2013) and again in Modern Masters 2015 but not in MM17. Since the release of the new set in mid-March, this Jund staple has moved up $10 from $38 to $48 or so, but there are still copies out there closer to $42 and those seem like a solid pickup. I would expect Dark Confidant will hit $60-$70 before it sees another reprint as NM inventory across the three printings is relatively low for a Top 40 creature in Modern. Not a huge home run, but a solid hold that you can play with while it gains value.

Ancient Stirrings

Ancient Stirrings

This card is one of the most efficient card selection spells in Modern, so long as you’re on the hunt for a specific colorless card. Between Bant Eldrazi and various Tron builds there is plenty of Tier 1 demand for full playsets, and Lantern Control also runs the card. I called this on MTGFastFinance to move from $5 to $10 this year when it wasn’t reprinted in MM17, and it briefly spiked, but as a common vendors managed to restock fairly easily, and we’re back to the previous $5-6 plateau for now with a 150+ copies in stock on TCG. That could take a while to drain, but if you felt like going deep because of the demand profile, you could make a dent. We’re unlikely to see a reprint until 2019 so the odds are solid we hit my target sooner or later.

Mox Opal

Mox Opal

Mox Opal is a central card in Affinity decks in Modern and has been for years. It also sees lesser play in Lantern Control and Puresteel Paladin builds, and most recently as a four-of in the new Scrap Trawler/Krark-Clan Ironworks combo decks. Since January Opal has moved from $40 into the $55-$60 range and the printing of the Masterpiece version in Kaladesh means it’s pretty unlikely we see this again until 2019. There is also the outside chance of a potential banning in Modern as a card that enables unreasonable mana acceleration, but I suspect there are higher priority targets this year. All of that being the case, despite the odds that you could squeeze another $5-15 from this stone, I will be staying away from regular copies.  On the other hand Masterpiece copies are still available from some sources in the $90-100 range and I suspect that they will end up over $150 within the next 18 months so long as the card dodges the slight ban potential, as the inventory is already fairly low. I’ve picked up a few on that premise.

Aether Vial

Æther Vial

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Aether Vial is consistently a four-of in Merfolk decks in Modern and Merfolk has been putting up reasonable numbers for a couple of years now despite many players looking down their nose at the deck. The card also shows up in Eldrazi Death & Taxes (my current deck) and GW Hate Bears, and it’s a four-of in those modestly played decks as well. Despite that, it’s barely a Top 100 card in the format, though it does boast some additional demand from Legacy Death & Taxes. This card is up a couple of bucks since the MM17 list was revealed, but inventory is not under much pressure, so it may be that Aether Vial needs another prominent home to drive the price towards $60 before a likely reprint in 2019. I’m not in a rush to get in on this action, but the Masterpiece versions around $90 are a bit more tempting, since they are likely to drain in fours (as opposed to something like Sol Ring) and should end up over $130 down the road.

Crucible of Worlds

Crucible of Worlds

Crucible of Worlds has been experiencing an upswing in play in Modern lately with many decks looking to generate value engines using Ghost Quarter to keep Tron lands and creature lands in check. Eldrazi Tron sometimes runs it main, or has a single copy in the sideboard. GW Value with Renegard Rallier, U/W Control and Lantern Control also make use of it, but not in much greater quantity. As such, most of the $60 price tag is being propped up by the fact that we haven’t seen a regular printing yet of this card in any of the Modern Masters sets. It was a Fifth Dawn rare, reprinted in 10th edition, and the Masterpiece in Kaladesh was the first new printing in years. The regular copies could edge up higher between now and Modern Masters 2019, where it is a likely inclusion, but it could also show up randomly in some other supplemental product in advance and the demand profile is too shallow to get me excited. The Masterpieces in the $90-$100 range are a good bet to beat $130 at some point, which is a solid return, and inventory is already low so if you like this, maybe you’d be better off looking at that version.

Master of Waves

Master of Waves

If you’re looking for a low value target with solid upside, you could do worse than this automatic four-of mythic rare that has earned a permanent slot in the Merfolk decks. Supply is still pretty deep because this was a fall set mythic, so there isn’t any rush here, but we’re not likely to see this again for a while. No deck but Merfolk wants it, but you only really need 50-100 new Merfolk players over the next year or two and some speculator activity to push this into the $6-10 range.  There’s also the fact that the fall set this year, Azatlan, seems to carry a strong merfolk theme, which one would imagine might give this deck a boost.

Mishra’s Bauble

Mishra's Bauble

This is a $50 uncommon featured in a deck that many see as too powerful to be allowed to be left unscathed by the ban hammer. Either a reprint kills this, or a banning does, because I can’t see this card surviving as a spec long enough to show worthwhile gains from this point on. If you had these sitting around and sold already, they likely paid for your Coldsnap boxes back in the day but I don’t want to be holding or acquiring a card this dangerous right now. Move along.

Ancestral Vision

Ancestral Vision

This is an odd card to be at $50 given that it doesn’t even crack the Top 100 most played cards in Modern. When it is played it’s usually in Grixis or U/W Control shells, but those decks haven’t been at the top of the metagame for years, and blue decks in general feel like they need a bit of help to break through. Sentiment seems to be warming to reintroducing Jace, the Mind Sculptor to the format, but that could easily fail to materialize. Then of course, As Foretold was revealed this week and brewers start wondering if casting this immediately off that slow (yet powerful) enchantment might be enough to kick of a dazzling display of control. All that aside, this is another price tag that is mostly propped up by limited supply, and only the suspend mechanic really holds it back from popping up randomly in a product release. That being said, supply is shallow enough that there is a chance the card could hit $70-80 on increased play, so your decision to move in is really a bet on success before a reprint.

Join me next week when we look at some of the up and comers in Modern that might make us some money if they can break through to the top ranks.

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 61 (April 1/17)

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: Apr 1, 2017

Segment 1: Top Card Spikes of the Week

Fluctuator

Fluctuator (Urza’s Saga, Rare)
Start: $2.50
Finish: $15.00
Gain: +$12.50 (+500%)

Swans of Bryn Argoll (MM13, Rare)
Start: $1.00
Finish: $4.50
Gain: +$3.50 (+350%)

Preacher (The Dark, Rare)
Start: $7.50
Finish: $20.00
Gain: +12.50 (+167%)

Seismic Assault (7th, Foil Rare)
Start: $25.00
Finish: $90.00
Gain: +$65.00 (+260%)

Through the Breach (CHK, Foil Rare)
Start: $90.00
Finish: $250.00
Gain: +$160.00 (+178%)

Eldrazi Temple (ROE)
Start: $10.00
Finish: $17.00
Gain: +$7.00 (+70%)

James’ Picks:

Walking Ballista

  1. Walking Ballista (AER, MTGO Rare*)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $7.00 to $12.00 (+5.00/71%) 0-12+ months)

2. Death’s Shadow (MM17, Foil Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $15.00 to $25.00 (+10.00/+67%, 12+ months)

3. Expropriate (CSP2, Foil Mythic)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $40.00 to $70.00 (+30.00/+75%, 6-12+ months)

Travis’ Picks:

Fulminator Mage

  1. Bear Umbra (AER, Rare)
  • The Call: Confidence Level 7: $5.00 to $12.00 (+7.00/+140%, 6-12+ months)

2. Fulminator Mage (MM15, Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $30.00 to $55.00 (+25.00/+167%, 0-12+ months)

3. Ad Nauseum (Shards of Alara, Rare)

  • The Call: Confidence Level 8: $7.50 to $20.00 (+12.50/+167%, 0-12+ months)

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

Segment 3: Topic of the Week

The guys got nasty over the recently revealed Amonkhet Masterpiece card frames.

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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Could This Spike BE Any Better?

As many of you know, I’m the content manager at EDHREC.com. I am in charge of hiring writers, making sure they meet their deadlines, assigning articles topics, managing social media, etc. It’s a good thing, too because if I hadn’t been reviewing article drafts there this week, I might have missed the latest trend.

If you’ve never used EDHREC, I rec it to everyone as a resource not only for EDH deck building but also for mtg finance. It is a huge database full of decks submitted to sites like Tapped Out that keeps track of cards being played in any given deck and reports how those decks are composed. The most popular decks are tracked and categorized by popularity and that’s important because the most popular decks tend to have profound effects on prices. Atraxa was instrumental in moving the price of Doubling Season, a card that was already pretty expensive. Breya has moved the price on cards ranging from Nim Deathmantle to Krak Clan Ironworks to every card with “Darksteel” in its name. Normally we try to talk about cards that are affected by new printings or price spikes because I don’t like buying cards after they go up. With that in mind, I want to discuss a trend I noticed this week.

EDHREC tracks commanders by popularity and graphs them based on how many times people looked them up. For commanders that have been popular forever, the graph is always very high. Here’s the graph for Atraxa.

As you can see, Atraxa is #1 or close to it almost every day since it was printed. Less popular commanders don’t have as good a day as Atraxa does every day. Here’s a mid-tier commander like Jolrael.

As you can see, how much Jolrael is looked up varies widely by day and it could be a dozens of views that make up the dramatic swings between being ranked in the 600s and 400s. There are a lot of eyeballs on a lot of decks. So what do we do when we notice a card getting popular very quickly? I noticed a card trend very sharply upward this week.

This is the graph of a card that has rocketed in popularity over the last few weeks. It’s so popular, in fact that it knocked Atraxa out of the #1 spot, which was no easy feat. The card, of course (You saw the picture I used for the article after all, there’s no point in pretending we don’t both know the card this is) is Chandler. Some of you might have to look it up, so I’ll save you the trouble.

I had heard some rumblings about this card in EDH forums online but didn’t expect this kind of a spike in popularity. A friend brought a copy of his Chandler deck to the shop for EDH night and I got to see the deck work first-hand and I finally get the hype. Built in response to decks like Breya and Arcum Daggson, Chandler decks control the board with cards like Liquimetal Coating to keep their regular creatures in line and Umbral Mantle to get multiple Chandler activations in a turn cycle. The deck was too slow and inconsistent, though, until very recently. The printing of one card we’re all very familiar with was the last piece the deck needed. You know the card I’m talking about.

Paradox Engine turned a relatively inconsistent deck into a murder machine, untapping Chandler for multiple activations a turn and keeping the board clear of troublesome artifact creatures. Over the course of a few hours, my friend’s Chandler deck demolished Arcum, Daretti, Zedruu and even my Maelstrom Wanderer deck as well as a turned Karador deck. Eventually we asked him to play a different deck so someone else had a chance of winning.

As with all cards we write about in this series, I don’t see much of a point in trying to buy copies of Chandler. While we were drafting Modern Masters and Aether Revolt and talking about the best time to buy Scalding Tarn, Chandler has quietly disappeared from the internet.

Paying $20 to get a copy of this from TCG Player seems ridiculous at this point. You missed the boat and that’s OK. However, there are a few key cards in the deck that  I have to imagine are going to go up based on people wanting to brew Chandler.

Joven

Doesn’t this guy just look like he smells like he owns a lot of ferrets? Despite dressing like he’s at a leather party after an Alice Cooper concert, Joven is a key component in the Chandler deck, keeping them off of non-creature artifacts as well. There are plenty of targets for Joven and he benefits from the same Paradox Engine and Umbral Mantle er… engine. The deck is built to take advantage of a very similar card in Chandler and Joven does serious work in the deck. The price hasn’t really budged on Joven, yet so there’s real buying opportunity here. With people buying Homelands boxes trying to avoid having to shell out $20 for Chandler, the supply of loose copies of Joven is drying up. This is also very unlikely to get reprinted because even if they do a judge foil for Chandler to bring the price down, it’s unlikely they’d do the same for Joven. The sky is basically the limit on this.

Speaking of Homelands boxes, I think we missed the boat on those, too.

The recent price spike of Merchant Scroll combined with relative scarcity of old, sealed product and the recent increase in interest in Chandler has basically dried up a lot of the affordable Homelands boxes. If your LGS has a few loose packs, go ahead and try your luck, but stay away from boxes. It’s too late to get these affordably.

Braid of Fire

This is the mana engine that really powers the deck. Giving you a ton of red mana to power the activations as well as use Umbral Mantle and Staff of Domination getting counters on Braid of Fire is your #1 goal. Use Gamble and other tutors to dig for this as quickly as possible because the sooner it’s online, the sooner you can start going off.

Rustmouth Ogre

This is already spiking a bit but I think there’s a lot more money to be made on this. Despite being uncommon, I think this has a pretty high ceiling given the price we’ve seen on other highly-played uncommons from Mirrodin. Think Isochron Scepter, for example. Unlike Scepter, I think this is not very likely to get reprinted, making it a safer place to park some money. Use Whispersilk Cloak and Rogue’s Passage to make sure you connect with Ogre. I run Fireshrieker and Grappling Hook so I get multiple triggers per hit. There’s no wrong way to hit them with Rustmouth Ogre, just do it early and often.

Toymaker

Everyone knows to use Liquimetal Coating to turn your non-artifact creatures into artifact creatures so that Chandler can obliterate them, but not many people knew about this hidden gem. Toymaker turns their non-creature artifacts into real boys, Pinnochio-style. I guess Gepetto-style, really. Unless Pinnochio was making dolls come to life, too, in some sort of marionette-based Skynet self-awareness scenario. There has to be a way to make a Portmanteau of “Skynet” and “Marionette” that’s funny but I can’t figure it out. What I can figure out is that Toymaker is not likely to be reprinted soon, foils are a very healthy 3x multiplier (which could grow) and this is a key component of the most popular deck on EDHREC. You do the math.

Ashnod’s Transmogrifant

I think this may be a bad spec since it’s been printed three times (Antiquities, Chronicles, 5th) but if this does start to take off, Antiquities is where you want your money parked. You can use it in a pinch to make your own creatures bigger to screw with their combat math or just make theirs eligible for being murdered by Chandler. Could this card BE any more flexible?

I think there are quite a few possible targets that I didn’t get to in this piece. Feel free to peruse the Chandler commander page for more ideas.

That does it for me this week. If there’s any possible spec target you think I missed, leave it for me in the comments section and we’ll discuss it there. Until next week!

 

 

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