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Unanswered Questions

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Inspired by a recent article by our very own Douglas Johnson, I thought I might also take a stab at answering some unanswered questions from Reddit that are many #mtgfinancer’s minds.

Using the Weekly Ask MTGFinance Anything thread, I am going to try and answer all of the (currently) unanswered questions that may have been asked later in the week and got buried near the bottom. No question is a stupid question, so let’s dig our way up from the bottom and see what we have this week.

   

Mattscriv writes:

Alright guys, I decided to drop in and ask a few questions. Just to get this out of the way: I am in possession of a BFZ land brick. Is it okay to take off the plastic and use them, or will the value decrease a lot if I try to sell them later on? Second of all, I have a list of a few cards I was lucky enough to open in packs and I want to know whether I should keep, or get rid of:

Ruinous Path Shambling Vent – Foil Sunken Hollow Canopy Vista Liliana, Heretical Healer Archangel of Tithes Bloodstained Mire Dragonlord Ojutai Fathom Feeder – Promo Greenwarden of Murasa Sarkhan, the dragonspeaker Smothering Abomination – Promo Sword of the Animist

(Side note: I know that I should try to pick up ask many KTK fetches as possible, but what other lands around $10 or less should I try to pick up too? Pain lands?)

Thanks everyone that helps me out, but be warned, I may have further questions.

Land brick response:

Crack it and sell now. The only item that will maintain significant value in the future in terms of full art lands is the sealed Zendikar fat packs. The land packs won’t be worth much more than MSRP for all lands in the pack because players can get lands in boosters. Plus we also need to consider that Oath will contain full arts in many supplemental products as well.

Keep or Sell Questions:

Sell:

Sunken Hollow, Canopy Vista, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Archangel of Tithes, Dragonlord Ojutai, Greenwarden of Murasa, Promo Sword of the Animist, Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

These cards are all propped up by Standard currently. I recommend selling cards like Sunken Hollow, Canopy Vista, Liliana, Heretical Healer, and Greenwarden of Murasa sooner due to Pro Tour and new BFZ hype to maximize the price you sell at.

Keep:

Ruinous Path, Shambling Vent – Foil, Bloodstained Mire, Fathom Feeder, Smothering Abomination

I believe all of these cards will either maintain value or go up in time if cards like Runious Path and Smothering Abomination find a home in Standard.

Side note response:

The only other Standard lands worth picking up right now are Khans trilands, which if you can get for $0.25 to $0.40 you should stock away in bulk. These tri-ands will be in great demand in the future because of all the Wedge Commander decks that people build and they are going to want copies for fixing.

dwaynebank writes:

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Do you guys believe holday giftboxes will affect the price of fatpacks? I understand they also come with land packs, but they’re packs of 20, where the fatpacks have packs of 80. The MRSP on the holday gift boxes is $24.99. Is it possible the giftboxes sell out everywhere and will sell for more than their MRSP, similar to the fatpacks?

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT – No,  holiday gift boxes will not affect the price of fat packs because the holiday gift boxes contain regular art lands, not full art lands. The gift boxes should sell at past or current levels of demand.

Adelysium writes:

Hey all! After some good trading on Gameday I managed to procure a Jace. My intention was that its easier to move 1 card than the 15 I traded to get him, when I eventually know what I want and find someone with the some stuff I want. My questions pertain to him.

For maximum value should I try to move now or keep?
If we assume relatively few packs of Origins will be opened between now and when he rotates, how much is there to lose and will he rebound after a slight dip considering his playability outside of this format?

The fact is, I have the standard deck I want and am happy with, sideboard and all. As far as immediate gratification, I’m fine without trying to move him. However, if he won’t be this high within a year of rotating I might as well move now. I don’t have the intention to acquire more of him, that’s for sure.

Thanks for the help guys!

Move the Jace. It is at peak price right now due to a confluence of factors, which is explained in great detail by my fellow write Corbin in this neat little video he made on the topic.

There is quite a bit to lose in terms of Jace’s price if you do not move him soon – Snapcaster was only around $30 at the time of his rotation from Standard, and I expect Jace to be at that price point or less by the time he rotates from Standard next year. My more precise prediction is that Jace lands between $20 to $25 at Origins rotation. If he still proves as popular in eternal format then as now, rotation would be the perfect time to pickup copies for future growth since double-faced walkers are going to be tough to print in the future. Otherwise, if you have extra copies around that you aren’t using than I recommend selling ASAP.

kogikogikogi writes:

Is it possible to link friends directly to my mtgprice.com collection? I’ve googled around and searched their site but I can’t find it at all. If not I’ll just use export and use deckbox but having a direct link on mtgprice would be super helpful.

No, unfortunately we don’t have that feature of our collection manager just yet. For the current iteration of the website you will need to export and then send the file. However, we’ve been working very diligently on a mobile application for the website that should have many features that will make collection sharing better – trading with nearby users and remote trading should alleviate parts of the collection list sharing process. Though, having a button/permalink to your collection is also a nice feature. We’ll have to add it to our feature queue in the future.

   

DatsRadMan writes:

I have a foil promo Zada, Hedron Grinder (TCG: $6.65) and a foil promo Beastcaller Savant (TCG: $5.49) that I’d like to know what to do with – should I sell/trade them now or sit on them?

What are these card’s potential long-term? I have heard Zada is useful EDH card and Beastcaller has potential in Modern Elves (whether that’s true or not)…what do you guys think these cards will be at post-Standard rotation?

Thanks!

Zada and Beastcaller have gotten plenty of attention, Zada from the Commander crowd and Beastcaller from the constructed crowd. Personally, I believe that you should keep the promo Zada because even if he drops I don’t see it dropping too significantly over time. Foils in Commnader will always maintain value, and if he turns out to be a popular card in the format than the promo should also maintain value in the future.

Beastcaller I’m not so sure about. I would sell now while BFZ demand is still high and supply hasn’t crashed the prices. It doesn’t seem like a Commander auto-include and I don’t think it quite gets there in constructed.

G_Admiral writes

I have a bunch of sealed booster boxes from the Return to Ravnica block (mostly RTR and thankfully only a couple DM) and several boxes of Conspiracy. It seems like the price hasn’t moved since I bought any of them. Any thoughts on when it will move or if there’s an opportunity to open them and trade/sell singles?

Now this is an interesting question, where an entire article (or even series of articles) could be written about MTG sealed boxes and when is the best time to buy and sell sealed boxes .

First, let’s take a look at what I and others have said on this topic in the past. Sig and I have briefly discussed boxes as article subtopics, however James has focused two well written free articles on the value of sealed product and how booster boxes play a role in that.

Me:

http://blog.mtgprice.com/2014/09/08/ancestral-recall-casual-demand-and-why-its-important/

Sig:

Protrader – http://blog.mtgprice.com/2015/04/13/on-pro-tours-and-booster-boxes/

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James:

http://blog.mtgprice.com/2015/09/25/is-magic-origins-the-next-innistrad/

http://blog.mtgprice.com/2015/05/21/best-bet-booster-packs-vs-fat-packs/

Now, the summary of all this information is that booster boxes will go up in value due to inflationary costs of packs at a normal rate except if they are extremely popular draft sets like Innistrad, which will go up even more over time. However, even if they are extremely popular to draft and have other in-demand eternal cards in the set, it will still take quite a while for you to get a turnaround on those boxes where it worth selling (factoring in shipping, fees, etc.). Sealed booster boxes are hard to move, and they don’t go up that much in value over the years especially if the set is post-Innistrad.

My advice to those who are packing away extra booster boxes of sets is not to crack them, not to sell them off en-masse now, but to play the waiting game. Eventually, these boxes will go up at some point, for one reason or another, if they contain eternal playable cards like shock lands or the new baby Jace. However, sets like Dragon’s Maze are a lost cause, similar to Saviors of Kamigawa. How old Saviors is compared to the price of those boxes is abysmal when considering the age. Unpopular sets will still be that the in future, and it’s the nature of the beast that some sets will be stinkers throughout Magic’s history.

CaptainKnusper writes:

What is your opinion on the filterlands (Twilight Mire etc.) ? Would you hold or sell them ?

Filter lands are extremely risky to hold onto long term at this point. Any reprint is going to cause the current prices of these lands to crash significantly. At least if they’re reprinted in a Standard set, they only drop by half initially since the reprint hype will be in full swing. But once the market is saturated? You can bet they’ll all be in the single digits (barring the more popular ones, of course).

However, for the short term the price should hold unless a surprise reprint happens in Commander 2015 which would be pretty unexpected. They will probably spike during the next Modern season next year, which will be the best time to get out. In summary, my advice is to hold until the next Modern spike next year and sell during the hype of the season.

   

VolcanicVaranus writes:

Does anyone think the Theros block temples will swing up in price eventually? I know that most stuff hits an all-time low at rotation, and many of the temples are sitting under $1. I know they likely won’t see much (if any) use in constructed formats, but do you think they’ll end up higher than they are now?

Yes, Theros temples will start going back up in price eventually, but it won’t be a swing but a slow crawl as the years go on. They have a high chance of being reprinted as well due to Scry now being an evergreen ability. So, they should go up slowly over time until the reprint. Many of them should go up past $1 (until the reprint) since they are all used in Commander in one way or another as budget lands but not enough that I would suggest picking them up en-masse.

DarthAbel writes:

You can get “Kiora, Master of the Depths” for $7 or less (TCGPlayer), is this a good time to pick a couple of Kioras or will she keep falling? Usually the floor for “meh” planeswalkers is around $5 but I am surprised about Kiora been close to the bottom so fast.

No, I don’t think now is the time to pickup Kioras. It was a no-show at the Pro Tour, so she should only go down in price more from here on out, especially if she makes another reappearance in the next duel deck product. If you want BFZ Kiora, I would suggest waiting until around December, when we start hitting peak BFZ supply.

Biohunter405 writes:

Hello everybody! My friend and I recently traded for a Mox, but due to inexperience and not understanding everything being said, we ended up with a “border inked” Unlimited Mox Sapphire. Now the border inking is not something we had taken into consideration, so we were wondering if getting it entirely altered through something like Klug alters would be a worthwhile endeavor? We’re just a little lost and would like some advice from some people with more knowledge than us. Thanks!

Very interesting question! I’m sure an article (or even series of articles) could be written on the value of alterations and what the market for alterations would look like. A great topic for this series would be your situation, where we have an HP/MP card that can be touched up and what the price of it would be after the alter.

I’m glad that this question was asked, because I have a friend that went ahead and did this for a foil Worldwake Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Here is the Klug posting for the story behind it and what it looks like after Klug touched it up. Now, this was a restoration-to-alteration rather than an alteration but I’m sure that this situation will be very close to what you want for the Mox. I’m sure if my friend tried to sell he would get a price very close to the current foil WWK Jace for the work that Klug did to the card.

Basically, the answer to your question is yes – I highly recommend that you get your card altered by Klug because it will look great and add value to the card. The waiting list is pretty long though, so be prepared to wait in the backlog for some time.

TheHat2 writes:

Knight of the Reliquary had a nice spike after BFZ was released, and has pretty well kept that high price in the weeks since. Where do you see this card going in the next six months?

I don’t see Knight of the Reliquary dropping until its next reprint. Retreat to Coralhelm is an awesome card with Knight that has spawned a new Modern deck, one that I don’t see being replaced anytime soon. I would say hold, and if you’re looking to get out of Knights to wait until peak Modern season next year. That way, if the deck does well at a huge event you can sell into the spike that Knight is sure to experience.

SOHC4 writes:

What’s Dragonlord Ojutai looking like? In the last week or so, I’ve seen it drop about $3. Doesn’t seem like Jeskai lists are running it anymore. Should I dump them now?

Yes, get rid of Dragonlord Ojutai if you’re not using him for Standard. He might experience another spike when Khans / Fate Reforged rotates from Standard but ultimately he will drop like a rock once Dragons rotates from Standard.


 

So there we are, as of Sunday night I’ve answered all of the unanswered questions for this week’s Ask MTGFinance Anything. I hope these answers provide some insight to everyone for my current thinking on several topics, and that they also continue to provide discussion on the future trends of topics in #mtgfinance. As always, thanks for reading.

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The Finance Article That Reddit Wants

So my articles are tossed out into the wild of the internet for all to see on Thursdays, right? Well, that means I sit down to write them on Tuesdays, usually at 11:00 p.m. in a hurried rush so that I can get enough sleep for class the next morning.

On Wednesdays, the /r/mtgfinance subreddit posts an AMA thread where new players and budding financiers can post questions relating to card prices or market trends, no matter how specific or weird. I’ll link you to the one from September 9, 2015, right here. I have a tendency to browse through the thread every week, often trying to find something that I can configure into an article, unless I already have something at the ready.

I’m assuming that you guys don’t really want to read yet another installment of, “Here’s this collection I bought, this is how I’m going to organize and process the whole thing, and this is how I plan on selling all of the different pieces of it.” I mean, if you do want to read more of that, then please let me know. It’s kind of my niche on this website, while Jason pleasures himself to the number 99 and Travis buys out the internet of Dragon Whisperer (hint: there’s still time to buy that card, and there’s a reason that SCG is sold out at $3 right now).

Assuming that you didn’t want to read more about my collection-buying exploits, and recognizing that Reddit is a good place to search for ideas, I went fishing. The thing is, I couldn’t find one specific question on the subreddit’s weekly AMA to constitute writing an entire DJ Johnson article. I’m determined to make this work, though, and I noticed that there were a decent number of cold, abandoned, answerless questions lying around on the thread. I’m going to use this week to answer several of those inquiries to the best detail of my ability, and then message this article to those Redditors who asked the questions.

Can You Make Change for a Canadian 20?

question1

Yeah, I ran into this problem a while back. No, not being Canadian. Why would you assume that being Canadian is a problem? Canadians have way better healthcare than we do, although apparently that doesn’t prevent them from falling into the same trap as us Americans. I’m saying that I bought a bunch of FTV:20s a couple of years back at the set’s release, thinking that it would be a slam-dunk long-term investment. I had a hook-up with a shop owner so I only paid $100 USD each, and I was fully prepared to reap my rewards a few years down the road. Welllll…

FTV20s

Yeah, that didn’t exactly turn out well. If I sold them right now, I wouldn’t even make any money after shipping costs and eBay fees. That’s a really mediocre two-year investment. About six months ago, I actually ended up just deciding to crack all of the boxes and sell the singles, because a local player wanted to buy a couple copies of Jace, the Mind Sculptor off me, and the only ones I had were locked inside their sealed-product prison. As it turns out, the contents of the box are more valuable cracked than they are sealed, according to MTGPrice’s Fair Trade Price list:

FTV20s

Even if we ignore the garbage towards the bottom, we still make out better by moving the top five or so cards through TCGplayer, Facebook, or a similar out. You’ll almost certainly pay less in shipping as well, with Jace being the only single I would ship with tracking in a bubble mailer.

To answer your question, Hiroshimarc1, I wouldn’t sit around expecting FTV:20 to continue to grow in value. You’ll waste a lot of time sitting on gains that don’t exist, or you’ll suffer from very, very small marginal increases at best. I recommend cracking your FTVs and selling the singles inside. The higher-end stuff will move a lot faster, and you can ship the cheaper stuff to buylists to recoup the cost. We both lost on this one, but it’s better to try and recoup your losses instead of sitting on dead weight.

Guide Me to the Delta

Question2

Thanks for the question, Farsho! As of right now, the total Puca value of what you have is 6150 points, and the 3 Polluted Deltas will run you about 7122 points. I hope you have some extra points to push towards the Deltas, otherwise you won’t have enough. I definitely support trading the two Guides for three Deltas, for multiple reasons other than it just being a good trade for value.

Right now, you’re not using the Goblin Guides for anything else (at least I assume so from your post). Even if the lack of a recent printing means they will marginally increase in value by a couple of dollars over the next month or so, is that really worth not being able to optimally play your UR Delver deck with the Deltas? If you’re a player, there’s an inherent value in actually being able to, well, play your deck. Even if the Guides were $37 each and beat out the Deltas in pure TCGplayer mid value, I’d recommend trading cards you’re not playing for cards that you will play. Neither card will see a reprint anytime soon, unless WOTC really surprises us.

Hedron-Shaped Box

Question3

Well, hey there, gravitygroove. By the time you’re reading this article, your comment will be at least four days old. Getting a case at 540 seems like a perfectly fine deal, considering we’re seeing a lot more hype for whole cases with this set. We can give thanks to the Zendikar Expeditions lottery for that, bringing approximately one golden ticket to every six boxes of BFZ.

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Personally, I really don’t think you want to hoard them. I went over a few of the reasons that sealed product is problematic back in the first question, and sealed booster boxes are even more of a pain to move than From the Vault product. They weigh more, and it’s harder to find that one guy looking to crack them for drafts a few years down the road. In addition to that, we really haven’t been seeing the returns on sealed product that we used to.

My colleague Sigmund Ausfresser can tell you a lengthy story about his first-hand battle with Innistrad sealed product, and how it was an absolute nightmare for him to move. While those eventually ended up being a slam-dunk, it’s the last booster box to ever take off like that, and we have the dynamic duo of Liliana of the Veil and Snapcaster Mage to thank for it. Boxes of Return to Ravnica really hasn’t seen any signs of growth at all. In fact, we can still pick them up for $90 with free shipping on eBay:

RTR boxes

Remember that Expeditions cards will likely water down the rest of the set, simply by flooding the market with non-Expeditions stuff. Vendors will be cracking hundreds and hundreds of these cases, looking to complete playsets of those full-art lands. You’re one small case in a large ocean of vendors, so these cards will be on the market for years to come. I really don’t think there’s any value to be gained on stashing a $500 investment that also takes up a non-zero amount of closet space, when we don’t see clear signs of significant returns down the road.

If you’re looking for a quick flip, you might have some luck selling individual boxes locally at $100 to $110 each, especially if your LGS runs out of product on the weekend of release.  That would net you a $60 or $70 profit with almost no work involved—you would just get to be the middle man. However, if you’d rather get that high from cracking packs and sitting in a pile of bulk commons/uncommons, tokens, and booster pack wrapping, there is a third option.

Cracking everything and moving it as soon as possible is a way to get value, but it’s obviously a gamble. Opening that $200 (or more?) Expeditions Scalding Tarn cushions your case cost by a significant margin, but opening one of the new BFZ duals will leave a bad taste in your mouth. If you’re fast and efficient with how quickly you move a lot of the mythics, rares, and uncommons before they plummet to their bulky graves, it’s not out of the question that you could recoup 80 or 90 percent of the value of each box, or even come out ahead in the long term.

Fed Up With Standard and Looking for Something More, Ahem, Modern

Question45

Nice, a two-for-one!

Users bananaderson and Marcoox here are both on the same page, and are wondering what the likely price trajectories are for Eidolon of the Great Revel and Thoughtseize, once they leave Standard and head off into the world of eternal-only play. For cards like these, I like to use the good old analogy of Snapcaster Mage.

snappy

Snapcaster didn’t plummet at rotation. He may have dipped by a dollar or two if my memory serves, but he certainly held his value as he made the transition to the world of eternal. Everyone knew already that he would find homes there, so a large majority of Standard players kept their copies because they knew that they would continue to find use for them. Thoughtseize and Eidolon will likely follow a similar pattern: they’ll barely (if at all) drop when they rotate out of Standard, and will continue to hold their own or increase as time goes on. If you need either card for a deck, either now or in the near future, I recommend biting the bullet, taking that shock to the face, and buying in or trading for them right now.

End Step

Some of these questions had a bit more of a “Finance 101” feel to them, but I think that’s alright. I enjoy answering these questions, because it reminds me that while it might seem “easy” or “obvious” to me, there are still newer players and growing financiers who are still just starting to explore the world of Magic finance that I discovered several years ago.

Maybe I’ll turn this into a semi-regular thing, using the Reddit thread as a solid crowdsource for specific finance questions that I can answer in an article. At the very least, it gives me something to write about every week. Hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit if you want to talk, suggest a topic, or provide constructive criticism. Oh, and the comments section exists, too. Use it.


 

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