Tag Archives: Mtg

Legacy Hero #6

Legacy Hero #6.5

 

This week I’m going to try and answer some questions that have been filling up my inbox. I didn’t think I would be going to writing a mail bag article this soon. I’m going to take that a compliment though. It means that I’ve been doing something right. To keep the powers that be happy I will make sure to have some magic finance content and next weeks article will definitely be more about the numbers. I have some exciting stuff on the speculation front as well as some promising results from a local player that picked up his older brothers cards when he moved out.

Let’s start things off with by addressing the most popular email I’ve been getting. To paraphrase, it goes something like this. “I play in an area with a decent sized magic group. We average 30 players at our FNM events but those are only standard. None of the players at my store play anything older than Modern and even then it is tough to get those events to fire. I really want to play legacy but I can’t get anyone else to even think about it. Do you have any suggestions on how to help popularize legacy?”

At first glance, I thought that this would be an easy question to answer. When I put the pen to the paper, I was wrong. I realized that this would take much more than a quick email response. There are a lot of factors in play here. As always, the first hurdle of legacy is the cost of entry. The cards in the legacy decks are just more expensive. With that expense comes a stigma that you have to be rich to play the game.

Overcoming the expense of getting into legacy is what the base of my entire series is about. I can’t write a step by step guide personalized to everyone thinking about joining the legacy crowd. There are far too many variables.  What I hope to do is give everyone who reads my articles enough information to try the same things I’m trying. By following along I hope that everyone will eventually succeed in getting that deck finished and sleeved up. The part I didn’t really think about is what happens when you finally have your deck sleeved up and you’re ready to play?

It my area here in Michigan, I have at least 6 stores within an hour drive that have a weekly legacy tournament fire with an average of 10-12 people. 4 of those stores have regular IQ events or standalone events that feature a large enough payout to bring out the majority of the legacy ringers out of the woodworks making these events worth driving double that distance or at least that’s what I hear when I go. I’m pretty sure you have seen a few of these people play on camera at the SCG legacy opens. Tom is pretty hard to miss at over 7 feet tall.
Having a legacy community thrive takes a few things. First and foremost, you have to have the players willing to spend  the money at their local store. That money can be for entry fees or the occasional larger purchase from the case.  The store has to do their part as well. The store has to invest in those higher dollar cards for their legacy players and they need to invest in events that are worth the time to play in. How many players are they going to get if they charge $10 and give away packs? Personally, I would rather have one larger event an month with better prize support and more players than a weekly event that is lucky to break 8 players.

I had to submit this article on early Thursday morning because I wanted to get some feedback from a friend of mine. His store is a couple of years old. They average 20-30 people for FNM. They haven’t been able to get a legacy community going over there.  I thought his feedback would offer some insight on the situation.

Here are the important highlights of our conversation:

Me: How many people do you get asking about legacy at the store? Have you guys tried having legacy events at all?

Kyle: 0 yes and me and Jarod were the only ones interested in them

Me: I’m writing a mail bag article and one of the most emailed questions seems to be “How do I get my lgs to support legacy?” So I’m trying to get a store’s feedback on this.

Kyle: Yeah the only two people interested in legacy around the shop are me and Jarod.

Me: So if you guys posted a Duel for Duals, you wouldn’t get any people to show up?

Kyle: We might get a few people like the ones that don’t come to our store for FNM or anything like that. Those kinds of tournaments(Duel for Duals) bring in a lot of people.

Me: But if you had a tourney like that, do you think it would increase the interest from the locals?

Kyle: Probably not our regulars. They all are into standard pretty much exclusively. Except recently a lot of them have been building puper decks since they are so cheap

Me: What about modern? You guys getting any more action on modern at all? And do you think the new WotC rules about being able to sanction anything will help Legacy at all?

Kyle: Modern fires for FNM but not every week. There are maybe 6 people who exclusively only play Modern and EDH on the side. As for Legacy FNM probably not. The cost to get into Legacy is slightly more than Modern and prices for entry into other formats is what scares people. The reason Standard is so popular is because the initial cost to get into it is relatively cheap compared to Legacy and Modern

Me: Agreed. Just trying to get feedback here.

Kyle: You said this was for your article or something so I was giving you descriptive answers. lol

Me: Thanks!

Kyle: What confuses me is that even after I explain to people the price of the cards I have in my(legacy) deck and what I was able to pick them up for they still refuse to get into Legacy.

Me: Why do you think that is? Are they just blinded by the perceived prices?

Kyle: Force of Will is around 90-ish (90.55 on mtgprice.com) and I picked mine up when they were like 50 or 60. I’ve only made value on them along with a few other cards in the deck like Wasteland. (Note: Kyle is an AVID Merfolk player. No matter how hard I try, he always sticks to fish.)

Me: Your Vendilion clique promo is a good example (He bought it at $60 a couple years back. I didn’t think the price was going to hold. I was wrong.)

Kyle: Yeah basically. People see the price for cards and go holy shit I can’t afford that. Then I destroy their logic when I explain that Standard is actually the most expensive format. Especially since they(WotC) are making standard rotate sooner in the near future

Me: That is one of the major themes I’ve been trying to get across in my article series.

Kyle: At most for Legacy you spend like $20 here or there to update the deck. Not $400 on an entirely new deck every X amount of months

Me:What do your players do at rotation? Do they dump all their rotating stuff on you guys for store credit or what?

Kyle: They trade in things that we don’t have an overload on and then buy a box or two of the newest set out.

Me: And you guys are giving half of scg(selling price) in trade, right?

Kyle: We go off of magiccards.info mid price which I believe is TCG mid price

Me: It is. So they are getting half of tcgmid in store credit on stuff that you guys need. Otherwise, they’re stuck with it?

Kyle: For the most part yeah. I mean there are a few things here and there that see their way into Legacy or Modern that we might give a little more on.

Me:I’m sure they can trade some of the stuff away to other players but I don’t see many of your local players shipping stuff off to CK or Troll and Toad.

Kyle: Exactly. A few of them have been starting to do that Pucatrade thing to get off of things that just rot otherwise

     As you can see from our exchange, his store doesn’t have people asking about legacy so he doesn’t feel like there is any incentive for them to even try and run events. This ties in with the emails that I’ve been getting about the subject.

These problems are why I started writing this series to begin with. I can help you, as an individual, overcome the financial hurdles to build a great legacy deck without burning all of that disposable income but it took all of these emails to realize that having the deck is only one of the hurdle to overcome for what seems to be a lot of people. It takes a group of dedicated people to make a community work.

The best advice I can offer is to keep asking your store for a legacy event. If you get them to run an event, make sure you do everything you can to get everyone involved. There are a lot of budget options for legacy. Pretty much everyone can build a Burn deck.  Manaless Dredge is pretty cheap, but not everyone’s cup of tea. Substituting shock lands for dual lands is certainly an option. Having the allied fetchlands in standard will help with the cost of any legacy deck. You can even try and make a specific legacy budget challenge.  Try setting it up in a way that players are rewarded for taking advantage of the budget options available to them. The store can offer prizes for the player with the cheapest deck with the best record. This actually  reminds me of one of my favorite parts of the Vintage Championship at Eternal Weekend. They they run a bonus prize for the person that has the best record without using any of the power 9, Bazaars, Workshops, and a few other of the expensive cards. I think there was a deck that had 7 wins this year.

The key to all of this is getting as many people on board as possible. It  will showcase the diversity of the format and help your local community grow.  The people that enjoy it will be able to grow with you and gradually put together the top tier decks with all the goodies. These are the people that will make the trek to the bigger events around.  Remember, building a UWr Stoneblade isn’t something that is going to happen overnight, unless of course you have a lot of disposable income or very giving parents.

Writing this article and reading the emails made me realize just how lucky I am to have such a great legacy community, which has definitely made me wake up and rethink a lot of what I’m going to be writing about in future articles. I have to figure out how I’m going to implement my thoughts into positive changes for everyone. but it will be great. I promise that these changes will make for a better Legacy Hero! I’m going to stop here for today and pick things up next week where we left off.

I originally posted this deck at 7am without editing it.  I hadn’t slept the night before so I had planned on saving it as a draft, taking a 30 min nap and then editing it when I got into my office for the day. As many of you noticed, it didn’t happen like that. I posted it instead of saving it. I’m sorry for that. I want to give you guys the best product I can. This won’t happen again.

Before I go, I worked out a trade online using one of the many Facebook groups out there for trading. I’m going to show both sides of the trade and I want you guys to vote on which side you would rather be on. Vote here http://strawpoll.me/3167162

Side A:

  • Veteran Explorer x1
  • Reanimate x4
  • Rest in peace x2
  • Ad-Nauseam x1
  • Tendril of Agony x1
  • Dryad Militant x1
  • Swans of Bryn something x2
  • Mental Misstep x2
  • Forked Bolt x1
  • Serra Avenger x1
  • Mind Twist x1
  • Phyrexian Revoker x3
  • Hymn to Tourach x3
  • Exhume x4
  • Crop Rotation x3

Side B:

  • Spell Pierce
  • Daze x2
  • Steam Vents
  • Inquisition of Kozilek
  • Godless Shrine x2

As always you can email me mtglegacyhero on the gmail @somethingsays on twitter.

The Ethics of MTGFinance

By James Chillcott (@MTGCritic)

Recently I’ve found myself being pulled into cyclical debates on the ethics of MTGFinance. With the increasing participation and interest in this side of the Magic: The Gathering community, it seems like a good time to get to the bottom of things.

The Price Is Always Right

So the other day I’m at a new nerd conference in Toronto and I notice halfway through day 2 as we’re promoting ShelfLife.net (plug: our next gen social commerce platform for collectors) that attendance is pretty dismal. Figuring the vendors may be in the mood for deals I locate an LGS dealer with a ton of binders in tow and no central pricing system. This is exactly the scenario where you are likely to find the best, and the largest deals, largely because only the biggest most dedicated vendors can possibly keep up with the increasingly rapid prices shifts in our community. Sure enough I locate over $2500usd in singles within 30min of binder browsing. I stack the cards in piles at various price points, the dealer signs off on a $1100cdn sale price after some haggling down from $1400cdn and we conclude our business with a handshake and a smile.

Now pause and ask yourself: did I rip him off? Or more to the point, was the transaction ethical?

MTGFinance In A Nutshell
MTGFinance In A Nutshell

I assert that it most certainly was, and here’s why:

1) No one was lying, causing distractions, fast talking or otherwise obscuring the action

2) We’re responsible adults responsible for our own decisions, and his decision was to publicly offer the products in question at the prices we both agreed to

3) Interest is the first sign of market shifts, and he waved it off, likely because;

4) He clearly saw value in the cash flow

Now let’s examine what could have happened had I chosen the opposite path, a path some people might demand I take to achieve perfect transparency.  I could have, for instance, tallied the cards, and engaged in this conversation:

  •  Me: I think these cards are worth essentially double what you have them priced at, about $2500.
  • Vendor: Thanks! My new price is $2500. So would you like to buy them at that price?
  • Me: No thanks.
  • Vendor: Oh, why not? Don’t you recognize them as being worth this price on average in the market?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Vendor: So then you’re backing out because you can get them somewhere else cheaper?
  • Me: No, I’m backing out because I believe these magic cards are investments, and as such, must operate under the principle of opportunity costs.
  • Vendor: How’s that?
  • Me: Because you’ve reset the price to market average, there are now other options I believe will yield better returns within the same time frame, and my role as a market maker dictates that to achieve an efficient market I must act logically and efficiently and pursue my goals while you pursue yours. When the value of my potential returns matches your value in cash flow, a market action will occur and we will both be equally happy. In this particular case I have clearly spent a lot more time than you tracking and memorizing current price averages. This knowledge has value, and I just conferred that value to you as a gift, creating an imbalance in our market making potential and ensuring we cannot achieve market action. You see, I came to your booth loaded with efficiency, free cash flow and risk taking potential. You were carrying inefficiency, low cash flow and lower risk potential, as expressed by your willingness at any time to convert cards that could potentially accelerate in value for cash that averages a much lower interest rate unless reinvested in greater prospects. This insinuated that any (or all) of the following was true:

a) your time was too valuable to make re-pricing your inventory to match current demand worthwhile

b) your potential reinvestment opportunities exceeded my perceived net present value of the cards in question

Further, our lack of prior exchange of social value through camaraderie, emotional support or familial ties makes my donation of value result in an unequal match. I’ve sacrificed over $1000 in value for no discernable benefit as other market actors were already willing to sell me these cards at the newly requested price, which I’ve only just now made you aware of. As such instead of heading home with $1100 cash, you’re heading home with $600 in booth fees, time wasted and no opportunity to reinvest.  I’m heading home with $1400 less profit potential at a risk level previously determined to be acceptable, and a non-friend I’ve donated goodwill to without any return on my investment.

Final score: No one is winning. The market is broken.

StarCityGames Is Not The Market Price

So having taken a closer look at the dynamics and difficulties of trying to manually price thousands of magic cards, let’s examine where these kind of scenarios have led the LGS/Vendor segment of our hobby ecosystem.

Price Progress?
Price Progress?

Back in the pre-internet days, Inquest and Scrye magazine published monthly with card pricing lists taken from surveys of selected vendors around North America. This system led to many golden opportunities for savvy players who could spot a rising tide for certain cards at the tournament level and translate that into smart actions at their local gaming stores before the new issues came out the following month. It also tended to result in highly specialized local economies, with card pricing varying oddly from community to community based on local play styles, format focuses and house rules.

The advent of the Internet, and in particular the ability to view past transactions on Ebay yanked us all into an entirely new era, with easy access to global price data, a trend that has only accelerated in the last 5 years with big data sites like MTGPrice.com, MTGOGoldfish.com, mtgowikiprice.com and TCGPlayer.com. Better information, made widely available should be good for everyone but coupled with the rise of the smartphone has empowered players to take advantage of low margin (aka inefficient) vendors, as well as lazy players, who can’t keep up with pricing shifts. (Now to be fair, vendors have done this to players since the beginning, using buy list tactics that most would consider normal business.)

At the same time, the tendency for commerce to centralize within niches online, leads to the appearance of major market actors with high efficiency such as StarCityGames.com. SCG brand equity then leads to their price lists being used as a mutually agreeable reference point for market actors seeking to equalize value and achieve market action. Other vendors then go a step further, seeking to achieve efficiency and close more market actions through the simplest course of action: copying SCG pricing.

This has lead us to entirely new era of Magic pricing: The Age of Oligopolistic Tendencies.

As opposed to a monopoly which is typically defined as a single market actor holding unfair stores of value due to legal, procedural, resource access or other major advantages, an oligopoly is typically characterized by a relatively few market actors disguising their inefficiency by agreeing to fixed pricing that ensures certain margins and leads to permanently unequal value exchanges while maintaining a relatively stable model of market sharing for the vendors. These situations are especially exacerbated in the case of goods essential to living such as food, warmth, clothing and shelter. Though no true oligopolistic cabal exists in the MTG world, the tendency of inefficient vendors to leverage platforms like Crystal Commerce to track and average the prices of the largest vendors to set their own pricing, is leading us towards a magic ecology with oligopolistic tendencies. (It’s worth noting here that between TCGPlayer, Ebay and PucaTrade “true” market pricing is still widely available and in play.)

Put simply: If everyone uses the same pricing, originally set by the most efficient vendor, no actor will ever be able to achieve further efficiency or recognize the true value of their potential market actions. This is true because in theory and practice, the scenario for every market actor is unique, and their price should be uniquely customized to that scenario.

Eg) Store X has $2500 (SCG pricing) in singles for sale. They set their price on this pile of cards to $2500. A player enters the premises and offers $2300, and the LGS declines because Crystal Commerce says their price is on target. The problem here is that price comparisons only establish the cash value of a transaction, and utterly fail to establish the other forms of value and opportunity cost. For instance if Store X can achieve higher inventory turnover rates, lower overhead, lower product costs, enjoys different tax scenarios, or any number of other value stores, they may be economically incorrect to turn down the deal.

This is a key concept, so let’s dig deeper. Check out this table of value store calculations on a theoretical booster box of Conspiracy being sold by an LGS with greater efficiencies than SCG, but priced to match on the premise that SCG is using the “correct” price:

LGS X StarCityGames
Product Cost to Vendor $74 $72
Posted Sale Price $99.50 $99.50
Turnover Rate (Days to Retrieve Capital) 180 216
Investment Periods/Annum 2.027 1.689
Corporate Tax Rate 15% 35%
Overhead/Box/Days to Turnover $3.50 $7
Gross Yield%Gross Yield

Yield Net Overhead

%Yield Net Overhead

Yield After Tax

Effective Annual Yield After Tax**r = (1+i)^

$25.50/box34.45%

$22/box

29.72%

25.27%
51.89%

$27.5038.19%

$20.50

28.47%

18.50%
33.20%

So what exactly does that math demonstrate?

Price Efficiency Achieved?
Price Efficiency Achieved?

Well, in essence it demonstrates that an LGS with access to non-revenue value stores can achieve greater return on investment than a major market actor. In reality, some of these stores are quite possible (better tax scenarios) while others (think overhead/box sold) are highly unlikely due to economies of scale and scope. Even still, assuming we accept that an LGS could achieve more efficient capital returns, why does that matter?

It matters because higher yield would allow them to lower box prices on the premise that lowering prices below SCG pricing would increase overall sales, and because we already know the LGS has superior returns on those sales, they can make more money overall by undercutting their larger competitor. Here’s the kind of graph we’re talking about.

Note that the demand curve shifts out when the price drops, resulting in higher overall sales, because, duh, more players will buy more boxes if they’re cheaper.

Here’s some more math on the two possible scenarios (for illustration only, since just how much demand may increase based on lowered pricing depends on many factors beyond the ken of this discussion).  We’ll even assume lowered box costs as volume increases, though the plateaus would be fairly broad in our ecosystem:

Cost/Box Revenue/Box Boxes Sold Total Profit
Scenario A: SCG Price Match $74 $99.50 186 $4743
Scenario B: Set Lower Price $73 $97.50 223 $5463.50

The LGS has dropped their price slightly, increased sales by about 20% and achieved a slight inventory cost reduction as reward for their higher volume (because they contributed to their wholesalers own inventory turnover rate), leading to an overall increase of 15%.

Surprised?  You shouldn’t be, because this is EXACTLY what a properly functioning free market economy is supposed to look like. A healthy economy needs the friction of market actors jostling for position to trend towards the most efficient combination of price and alternate value that maximizes both shareholder return for the companies and utility for the consumers.

Note that this is functionally identical to my trip to the LGS with noticeably lower prices because in encountering that actor I had no way to know whether they were:

a) seeking value through inaction (due to the value of their time)

or

b) deliberately lowering prices to increase inventory sell through and capture more market share.

The real point however, is that it just doesn’t matter why they were priced lower because whether their price positioning was intentional, representative of alternate value stores or representative of their inefficiency, the market needs the match tested to find equilibrium. If the match is efficient, I will return, repeat similar transactions and the vendor will thrive if their choices are in fact efficient, applying competitive pressures to SCG and other larger market actors to lower prices for more and more players. If it is inefficient, I may one day return to find the vendor closed, and I will move on to market matches with the most efficient vendor I can find, and the cycle continues. I mean I miss those Friday night hunts for value at Blockbuster, but I can’t argue that the shift from $30 in late fees/month to $10 unlimited access to content from my couch via Netflix isn’t the purest representation of market evolution in motion.

The Boundaries of Ethical Trading

Resist the Dark Side
Resist the Dark Side

First off, I’m a long standing liberal. In fact, up here in Canada, we have parties further left than the Democrats and I vote them with pride. Ultimately I consider myself a social pragmatist, but I reserve the right to skew the energy I spend on socially conscious commerce in favor of essential rather than non-essential goods. That means I tend to transfer value to causes that are improving the overall standard of living more efficiently than I ever could directly. As MTG is an upper middle class game with no essential utility, I am definitely on the side of economics vs. social good, but only so far as I believe they are in fact one in the same in terms of achieving market efficiency in the Magic commons. By this I mean that good economics will lead to the healthiest overall community, a fact I’m sure Hasbro drills into the WOTC exec at every opportunity.

Remember a few years back when they yanked global tournament support, ditched the old rating system and abandoned nationals? We all yelled a lot, but the game has only gotten better since, presumably because the internal reallocation of resources has made the entire operation more efficient at attracting users and increased the overall utility to our community broadly despite the painful transition.

Further, there is a huge difference between accepting a listed price, and engaging in more nefarious acts. Here’s some scenarios I DON’T support:

  • Duping kids is off limits, simply because they aren’t legal market actors at all and cannot be expected to act rationally.
  • Noobs are off limits, largely because being kind to new players yields social scenarios that largely outweigh any meager profits that could be made off their single copy of Jace. I’m not above dumping 1000 commons on someone in a swap for a $50 rare, but I always make sure they know the score, and they’re rarely concerned since variety > power in the early days of trading.
  • Switching price tags, confusing vendors when busy, lying about condition, delaying payments and failing to honor posted prices (a personal pet peeve) are all forms of theft because they represent non-voluntary transfers of value.

In the end, I’ve written this article to make one simple point: you are no more responsible to “correct” the pricing of a vendor than they are to “correct” their pricing when you need a Snapcaster Mage ten minutes before the start of the GP.

I’m also asserting that such acts of price adjustment, are in facts acts of economic and/or social charity, resulting in the transference of hard earned value from one market actor to another without justification.  And while you may feel good about doing it, you may in fact be injuring the health of the MTG economy as a whole by failing to exert the pressures that lead to maximum market efficiency and the lowest possible price for playing this beautiful game.

Now you may say “hey, wait a minute, I hang out at my LGS every day, I’ve known the owner for years and I need to look him in the eye when we trade. This guy gives me deals, runs a good scene and he’s always got snacks on hand for Commander night.”

My response is that you and the owner are not simple market actors, but something closer to friends (or at least peers), in your scenario, and are by definition engaged in a barter economy where you trade value in terms other than just cash, and in doing so you keep things just as equal as if you had bought him out of a common box worth of Simian Spirit Guides. When you notify him every time his pricing seems low, you are in essence investing the value of your knowledge into your favorite hangout and inevitably expecting that value to yield dividends. You may consider yourself the altruistic sort, but when push comes to shove, if you save him from buyout after buyout and he won’t even put aside a Conspiracy box for you, you are unlikely to continue the exchange.

To wit, nor should you.

 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. 

Common Cents with Aaron Dettmann

Last week I talked about how better, more accurate pricing information provides an advantage when trading. This week I’ll talk about another method to utilize to get an advantage while trading.

A resource that has been very useful to me has been the ProTrader Daily Market Updates I get from MTGPrice. This daily email update lets me know which cards are rising (or falling) sharply in price, so I can join in on the buying action before all the stores realize the trend and raise their prices. In addition to a card price change update, the email also includes a card stock inventory update, which keeps track of various stores’ supply of a card. If the inventory supply of a card goes down by a lot, that’s a good indicator that demand is high and the price is likely to increase. This information is especially useful on Pro-Tour and Grand Prix weekends, as there are often brand new decks that employ previously overlooked cards that will rocket up in price.

One example of when I utilized the ProTrader Update was the weekend of Grand Prix San Diego (Modern format) on March 16th. I woke up on Saturday morning, checked my ProTrader Update email from MTGPrice, and saw this information staring back at me from amongst the cards of interest:

Percent Price Change of Ajani Vengeant Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I thought these numbers were interesting, as Ajani Vengeant had jumped up in price by almost three dollars, and risen by 50% of its value overnight. Next, I scrolled down to check on the Inventory Change of the card and saw this:

Percent Inventory Change of Ajani Vengeant Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This information let me know that the number of cards available to buy on the market had already been halved, and confirmed that demand for Ajani Vengeant had become very strong.

I was now very intrigued by this card, and clicked on the link to take me to the price graphs on MTGPrice, so I could see the history of what is going on with Ajani Vengeant. When I saw the graph, all the stores had kept their prices the same except for ChannelFireball, who overnight had more than doubled their price by raising it from $5 to $12. They alone were responsible for the increase in price on MTGPrice.com. Now remember, I received all this information on Saturday morning before even the first round of the Grand Prix had been played. Since ChannelFireball had drastically raised their price on Ajani Vengeant, I could deduce that the deck their team planned on playing that day both heavily utilized that card, and that they were very confident in their deck choice. The ChannelFireball team was convinced that they would do well at the Grand Prix, and since the new addition to their deck was Ajani Vengeant, they decided to preemptively raise the price of that card on their website.

Since I now knew that team ChannelFireball was going to play Ajani Vengeant at the Grand Prix, I had inside information to guide my buying decisions. When the ChannelFireball team has a deck that everyone on the team likes and plays, they usually get at least one person into the top 8 of that tournament. I put my trust in the team as well, and started buying up all of the Ajani Vengeants from the websites that still had them at low prices. I bought dozens of copies from stores at $3-$5 (depending on which version I bought), and have now sold most of mine away for $8-$10, a tidy profit of $5 per card, more than doubling the money I put into this investment.

The emails I get from the ProTrader Daily Market Updates are a great tool to keep me ahead of pricing changes on cards. As you can see from the example in this article, sometimes you can even figure out which cards pro players are going to use in their decks before the tournament even starts. Use all the information at your disposal to keep ahead of the change in prices.

Bonus PTQ tip:
I expect a lot of Turbo Fog decks in the online standard PTQ on Sunday; it has a terrific matchup against the current bogeyman of the format, Junk Rites. After Turbo Fog placed 2nd in last Saturday’s PTQ, I faced off against it three times in the PTQ the next day. In addition to that, this past week the best bow-tie-wearing magic player Roberto Gonzalez (9th place at Pro Tour Gatecrash) stated he was pretty sure he was playing Fog in the PTQ, and Todd Anderson wrote an article about the deck and played it in the PTQs himself last weekend. The best ways to beat the deck are with Skullcrack (completely dominates the card Fog) in conjunction with being faster than Turbo Fog can set up its’ defenses, discard (although Turbo Fog does bring in 3-4 Witchbane Orbs), or with Planeswalkers.