Money Ramp – with Zack Alvarado

Hello everybody and thank you for tuning into this week’s edition of Money Ramp!

January 26th marked the beginning Gatecrash’s pre-release, which began as early as 12 am Saturday (Jan 26th), and went as long as 11 pm Sunday (Jan 27th). Many card prices remained the same before and after the pre-release; some even depreciated and are still trending down (Aurelia’s Fury). However, for power-traders like myself, there was a light at the end of the tunnel during the weekend’s course of price alteration: it was Boros Reckoner!


Listed below are the prices of Boros Reckoner, across multiple retailers, on January 26th:

Star City Games  $4.99
ABU Games  $3.99
TCGplayer (low) $4.24
CCGHouse  $3.98
Hotsauce Games  $4.25
Strike Zone Online  $3.99
Channel Fireball  $3.99

Now, I attended pre-release, but did not play – instead, I bought my sealed guild-box, dropped, and ran the retail booth for my LGS. However, I had the opportunity to walk around our event and observe a few game-states. During the time I spent watching others play, a few cards immediately stuck out to me as cute “win more” cards, such as Biomass Mutation; whereas others stood alone as “win well” cards, such as Aurelia, the Warleader and Boros Reckoner. Since the release of Gatecrash, it’s of no surprise to me that both of these cards have scaled in price, with Boros Reckoner simply soaring!

Listed below are the prices of Boros Reckoner, across multiple retailers, between Jan 28th & Feb 2nd:

Star City Games  $9.99  Jan 30th
ABUgames  $9.99  Feb 1st
TCG Player (low) $9.99  Jan 30th
CCGhouse  $9.98  Feb 1st
Hotsauce  $11.99  Jan 31st
Strike Zone Online  $9.55  Feb 2nd
Channel Fireball $9.99  Jan 30th

 And here is the graph as of 2/8/2013:


As you can logically assume, the experiences players had with Boros Reckoner during pre-release weekend greatly influenced his demand, and thus his price; on the 26th of January, Boros Reckoner’s average price was $4.20; his average price on January 31st was $10.20 – an increase of 243%!

In closing, I presume it’s safe to assert that Boros Reckoner will be a brickhouse in standard-constructed; the demand is there, the price is there, and the power is there – but I feel that he’s found a solid home in the market in the $12-$13 range.

In my previous article, I said that I would be discussing some bad investment practices that our Protrader feature can save you from making; but I’m out of time for this week, so that will be the focus of my third installment. Stay tuned!

Money Ramp Weekly Tip:
[ Keep an eye on Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger ]

Until next time,

Zack R Alvarado
Twitter: Rh1zzualo


Gatecrash Released!

Gatecrash is upon us, which of course means a huge demand for the newest cards that could impact standard and eternal formats alike. It is also the time to either learn a bit of patience or be handsomely rewarded for gambling. In general, demand is higher than it will ever be and supply is at its lowest. If you can find the right card that everyone else is passing over, you may be able to make some worthwhile investments. But it is a big gamble knowing that most cards are going to drop.

With players scrambling to get the cards they need, speculators are buying up lots of stock of the cards they think may become big players in the upcoming standard season. Let’s look at Boros Reckoner. This Gatecrash rare started around $4 for preorders, inching up to $5 just a week ago. Rumors of Boros aggro replacing the current B/R builds began to spread and this card doubled in price as February hit. SCG increased their price to a cool $14.99 on Monday.

Boros Reckoner as of 2/6/2013
Boros Reckoner as of 2/6/2013

This price point isn’t going to be sustainable. If you bought in, you’ve likely already sold them for a tidy profit. If not, you should. Compare Boros Reckoner to Deathrite Shaman. The same price on

Deathrite Shaman as of 2/6/2013
Deathrite Shaman as of 2/6/2013

SCG and only $3 more on average. Deathrite is a staple in modern, legacy, and sees play in Standard. Boros Reckoner helped Boros Aggro top 8 SCG Atlanta, but almost definitely not see play in any eternal format. There is no reason to believe a deep cut in price isn’t coming. If you are a player and you need those Reckoners for next week’s FNM, realize you are paying a premium for your impatience.

Even with an impressive performance week one, cards can come crashing down very quickly. Ask my friend the Lotleth Troll. He was a 4-of in two decks in the top 8 of SCG Cincinnati the weekend of Return to Ravnica’s release. He was selling for as high as $12 that weekend and one of the hardest cards to acquire. Three months later and that very same $12 would buy you a playset of Lotleth Trolls. When it comes to buying cards, patience is obviously a virtue. It’s worth repeating: demand will never be higher; supply will never be lower.

However, if you are looking to make a few speculative buys from Gatecrash, there may still be money cards out there. Keep in mind cards like Rhox Faithmender that spent five months in the bulk rare box, before becoming a $5 card. Speculation is all about predicting the market. Once the card starts to go up, it probably too late. Spark Trooper is currently positioned to increase in the short term. He’s around $3 today. With aggressive decks doing well in early Gatecrash Standard, this card seems like a backbreaker in the mirror or versus any other aggressive deck. A twelve point life swing is certainly worth 4-mana. This is one to keep an eye on.

Common Cents

Hello, I’m Aaron Dettmann, and I’ll be writing finance articles mostly about which cards you should be looking to pick up or trade away. A little about me: I’ve been playing Magic for a little over ten years, and the past couple of years I’ve become more and more immersed into the financial side of Magic.

WotC recently announced that Dragon’s Maze will contain all ten shocklands from Return to Ravnica and Gatecrash. I’m here to tell you why you should still be trading for and accumulating shocklands from Return to Ravnica.

I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about the significance of the shocklands being reprinted in Dragon’s Maze. Some have suggested the supply of shocklands will be increasing by 50% (because they’re being printed in two sets instead of one), or by 33% (because Dragon’s Maze will be drafted in a 1-1-1 format, so will comprise 1/3 of the packs opened). The actual influx of shocklands from Dragon’s Maze will actually be much less than either of those percentages. Both theories fail to take into account that all ten shocklands are being reprinted in Dragon’s Maze, so that already halves the likelihood of seeing any one shockland compared to RTR or GTC. In addition, in Wizards of the Coast’s official announcement, they said that you are half as likely to open any shockland in Dragon’s Maze as in RTR or GTC. When you also factor in that a mere one pack of Dragon’s Maze is going to be opened during its drafting life compared to the three packs we’re used to with RTR and GTC, it becomes clear that the impact of Dragon’s Maze on shocklands will be minimal, at best.

Really, how low can these shocklands even go? The fair trade price for Steam Vents is at $8 right now, and both buyers and sellers tend to group these lands together at specific price data points. The dual lands in M13 which have now been reprinted three times are all currently $4 or higher, capping off at over $6 with Sunpetal Grove, and shocklands are much better than the M13 lands.

Sunpetal Grove as of Feb 2, 2013
Sunpetal Grove as of Feb 2, 2013

I’d bet that the absolute floor for shocklands is at $5, and even if they happen to reach that price, I highly doubt they’ll stay that low for very long. In fact, I could even see the Return to Ravnica lands getting a slight bump in price in the next few months as they stop being opened in drafts; people realize they need them for different Modern decks, and will start looking ahead to decks for Standard. Shocklands at $7-$8 are a low-risk investment; they have very little room to go down, and they could easily double or even triple in price just like the Scars and Innistrad lands did one to two years ago.

Thanks for reading this week’s article!

Modern Madness

Hello world! I’m Igor Shapiro. I’ve started a business out of magic within the last 2 years. Learning this ropes in this market isn’t easy; it’s been mostly a trial and error process. In a world where everyone has the Internet in their pocket, spotting trends and being able to analyze how the market behaves is what I believe will set you apart from every other floor trader. My goal is to help the community understand this market better and how it works. But enough about me – let’s get to the numbers!

As some of you may have noticed, Modern cards have recently skyrocketed in value. For example, look at the trend of Kiki-Jiki:

Kiki-Jiki as of Jan 27, 2013



It almost doubled in price within the last 3-4 months. But why is that? It’s simple: demand for Modern has significantly increased due to the PTQ season. The availability of older cards (Pre m10) has always been low. Especially since lots of Kiki-Jikis are already hidden away in EDH decks. Now with the PTQ season everyone wants to play Modern. Kiki-Jiki is found as a 3-4 of in the Kiki-Pod decks and also at least a 2 of in some Splinter Twin decks.

This card is on its way to $30. I sold my copies to a vendor at a recent local PTQ for $22.

This card may have surprised many people. If you told me a year ago that this card would be $30, I would have laughed. But Kiki-Jiki isn’t the only card that has spiked to extraordinary amounts. Almost every card in Modern has reached very high price points, higher than we’ve ever seen before. I would want to own as many Modern cards as possible right now. With the Modern PTQ season in progress, the demand for these cards is through the roof and supply is low. They have a high liquidity and vendors are willing to overpay on these cards just to remain stocked. Most Modern cards can be sold to many vendors for close to eBay prices. Learn what vendors are paying on hot Modern cards and remember that trading for these hot Modern cards on the floor can be the equivalent of trading for cash.

The next card I want to look at is Venser, Shaper Savant. Let’s look at the data:


Venser as of Jan 27th, 2013

You can see the sharp increase happened very recently.  I don’t think the $20+ price tag is stable. He’s starting to see more play in legacy and is still a popular EDH card. Let’s investigate what happened.

Speculators helped buy up all the copies online (especially on TCG player) causing the price to rise to a ridiculous number. There was a point where you could list them on TCG at $18 and they would sell by the end of the day.  But cards have a certain chain of exchange.

Let’s look at Venser as an example.

  1.  Here, the card starts trending upwards, with slow, gradual growth.
  2. Then, speculators buy the Vensers from stores.
  3. Supply of the card dries up online, accelerating the price upwards as everyone wants to get in and make money.
  4. Vendors raise the buy price for Venser in order to restock.
  5. The speculators that bought Vensers sell them back to vendors at the new inflated price.
  6. The vendors drop the buy price.
  7. The new price is either stable if it reflects actual demand (are there people that are willing to purchase at the new price point?) or the new price drops above what it was before the spike but below the inflated price it was at when there were no copies online.

The most important question to ask is whether the card actually has use somewhere.  What formats does it see play in? (Remember that Casual is a format when it comes to MTG Finance). In the case of Venser:

  1. It sees minor play in Legacy.
  2. It sees minor play in Modern.
  3. It sees minor play in EDH.

In the end, I think that Venser’s price will stabilize at $15. It’s not seeing any groundbreaking amount of play in any new decks but still is a fine casual and cube card.

Now let’s look at what you should be trading for this week. All these cards are trending up and you can capitalize by picking them up at their old prices before the market and everyone else catches up.

Clifftop Retreat – Many new Boros cards are in Gatecrash (Boros Charm, Aurelia’s Fury). People

Clifftop Retreat as of Jan 27th, 2013

will want to build the deck. The retail price is up to 15 on some major websites. Pick these up at 10-12 in trade if you can. Should be very liquid.

Huntmaster of the Fells– This guy is finally starting to see a lot more play in standard and even Modern. In most lists he’s a 4 of. If you can still pick him up at 25 on the floor I’d snap them up. These DKA mythics are only getting harder to find. There is also upside if Gruul is a deck. I can see him being $40+ in the upcoming months. (Thundermaw Hellkite is a good precedent)

Inquisition of Kozilek – How is this still $6? This is a $12 card. It’s seeing a good amount of Modern play, it’s seeing a small amount of legacy play, and it’s a budget replacement for Thoughtseize. Also, being in Rise of the Eldrazi doesn’t hurt either. I was offered $5 from a vendor and still said no. I’d trade for these at 6-7 confidently.

Inkmoth Nexus – $5? Really? Go ahead and look up the price of Blinkmoth Nexus. This is a 4 of in the Infect deck and Affinity. I see this card being $12 by next season very easily.  I’d buy any copy I see at 4 (was being offered this by vendors). Inkmoth Nexus is still $5 on a lot of major sites so take advantage of that when trading.

NOTE: Inkmoth and Inquisition can’t be reprinted in Modern Masters which makes me like these cards even more.

That is all for this week folks!  I hope you enjoyed my article.