State of the Site: February 2013


I’m Alasdair, one of the developers of I wanted to give people a quick update of where we expect to be in a month or so since we have so many features planned.

1. Our primary goal is to keep everything running, so bugfixes take top priority. Sorting in the collection view is currently broken and there are a few missing cards in sets we support and we also are missing several foil prices from a few vendors (notably foil Thragtusk). I’ll be working all weekend to get our bug count as close to zero as possible.

2. The “buy list prices” feature is working out very well – these are the prices at the bottom of a car results page. For example, ABU Games is willing to pay $23.27 for a Karn Liberated today. I’d like to add another vendor and generally clean this feature up. This should go out around Tuesday.

3. We’re adding more vendors! Amazon should also be up by Tuesday and I’d like to see Troll and Toad up by Friday 15th February. After that point, we want to go international and add and some other european sites and have a toggle between euro’s and dollars. This is complex and we may need to make some changes to the way we display the graphs to ensure there isn’t information overload.

4. ProTrader is getting some new features, starting with an update to the emails we send out. Our emails will include 3-day and weekly price and inventory changes as well as daily. We’re also going to build an “arbitrage tool” to show all cards where the buylist price of a vendor (the amount they will pay cash to buy a card at) is higher than the price someone is selling the card at elsewhere. If you can get a good deal on shipping, this is essentially free money. Additionally, we’ll add buylist prices to the ProTrader Money Board and send out emails when stores increase their inventory levels significantly. Finally, we will add per-store and aggregate inventory graphs to the card pages for ProTraders.

5. The collection tracking tool is very simple right now. We’re planning on adding a stack of features, the first of which will be better management tools like changing the quantity of a card, adding a filter and import/export. We’ll also have “for trade” lists and wishlists with very basic alerts to tell you if a card on your wishlist is available at the price you want. We have plans for a much bigger suite of tools but realistically this is as far as we’ll get this month.

6. Huge infrastructure updates. We’d like to start doing full scans of prices on an hourly basis instead of daily to ensure the prices we show are always up to date. We also plan on having a toggle for the graphs to show hourly price changes/ daily/ weekly and have the ability to look at only a sub-set of all the data. The default view will be 6 months worth of daily prices.

Doing hourly scans is going to be costly. We’re buying a pair of dedicated servers to handle the load (and to provide a backup in case one breaks) and we’re making significant improvements in scanning speed to avoid harming the sites we fetch prices from. For the most part, the sites will see little difference as we will only download updated prices instead of all prices as we do now.

Because of the cost involved, we’ve decided to make hourly graphs available only to ProTraders but everyone will have access to the latest prices. For 95% of users, this is all that they care about – moment-by-moment price changes only really matter to speculators and active traders. You will only need to be a ProTrader if you care about how much a card was 4 hours ago rather than 1 day ago.

Getting all of the above done in a month is going to be tough but we think it’s doable. Our ultimate goal is to get to the point where we can hire another developer to build features, something we’d like to have in place by May of this year.

We love feedback! Please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments or bug reports at the following url:

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!