Tag Archives: Selling

A Relatively Boring Day in the Life of a Low-Tier MTG Financier

Remember how last week I wrote about how I wasn’t going to try to find the next Outpost Siege or Mastery of the Unseen? While they’re both from a small and relatively unopened set and saw competitive play, they yielded very short-lived spikes that provided a limited window for making money before crashing to their previous fake-bulk-rare statuses. If you follow either me or MTGPrice’s own Sigmund Ausfresser on Twitter, then you may have seen this conversation pop up a couple days ago:



In my opinion,  Rally the Ancestors is the next version of Outpost Siege or Mastery of the Unseen. It saw camera time for a few minutes, smashed an event, and jumped on a hype train to $3 town. Sigmund and I disagreed in that I suggested that buying in at $1 is not correct, where he believes it could be a $5 card for long enough to make a reasonable amount of profit. As someone who refuses to pay retail on Magic cards practically on principle, I did not like the $1 buy-in on a Standard legal rare when I felt that buylists wouldn’t peak past 50 cents. I’ve seen too many Standard cards crash and burn to want to be a part of this, so I put my cards where my mouth/virtual pen is:


I only owned three copies of Rally, but I only paid 30 cents total for all of them. That’s one of those neat little side advantages for when you offer to buy or trade for everyone’s bulk rares at 10 cents each. As soon as Twitter proved me wrong about buylists willing to rally together about Rally, I dumped the few copies I had to ABUGames for a free $5, allowing me to move on to the next purchase. More often than not, that purchase will be buying staples at below buylist from people who have a need to sell. I’d rather spend that $5 on a Godless Shrine from someone who needs to pay her car insurance than on five copies of Rally the Ancestor while crossing my fingers and praying that they hit $2 to $2.50 on a buylist.

So About That Title…

Oh, right. I had this amazing ide—I mean…opening

Jared Tomlinson had this amazing idea where I’d go through and detail what my daily ritual as an MTG finance guy was. Let’s do that, because it sounds like fun, and I’m always a fan of being an open book about what my work actually looks like.

Dawn of the First Day


Everyone should get used to checking the MTGstocks Interests page every day, including the oft-forgotten foils tab. Add it into your morning routine, check it while you’re eating breakfast or in the shower. This is one of the best ways to maintain an up-to-date finger on the pulse of what spikes have already happened, and it’s also a good way to predict future spikes before they happen. Without this page, I wouldn’t know that Life from the Loam had crept back up to $8 over the course of a few months.


On a similar note, my daily ritual also includes scanning through my email for any new collection sellers, reader emails, school info, and ProTrader daily emails. If you’re not a ProTrader and are interested in becoming one, the the daily emails resemble something like this:


We have a lot of detailed and up-to-date information on the most recent inventory shifts from major stores, note buylist changes on hot cards, and inspire lots of regret when you realize you didn’t buy Hangarback Walker at $1 even though you just needed one for your artifact EDH deck. While I don’t get a whole ton of emails about my Craigslist advertisement, I still try to update the listing once a month or so. A lot of the casual players or returners who  buy my instant-collection 1K boxes end up being recurring customers who keep my phone number for future reference.

craigslist article

cl ad

Call Me, Beep Me

Speaking of “customers keeping my phone number for future use,” locals texting me about their needs is one of my biggest outs for cards. I’ve talked about this at length before, but it’s the biggest lesson I think I can impart about how to make money off of this game: be the first one that everyone texts to buy or sell their cards. Networking is key, and I like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at it.




As such, part of my daily MTG finance ritual is pulling out lists that I get sent, compiling them into neat little piles, and giving out price quotes on how much a list will cost a customer. Sometimes I have to use outside resources to complete the full list that I’m sent, and that’s where PucaTrade comes in very handy.


When you can sell cards locally at close to full retail, buying PucaPoints from third-party sources at 70 cents per 100 points doesn’t seem like a bad deal. I buy a bunch of points, wait for a list to come to my phone, and then end up selling the cards that I pick up from Puca at close to TCGplayer mid, depending on what the cards are. I use Twitter, Facebook groups, and the PucaTrade subreddit to find third-party PucaPoint sellers, and treat it just like a Facebook collection purchase: I only buy if the seller is reputable with multiple references that can be confirmed, and pay with Paypal non-gift if there are any questions about the seller’s ability to immediately send me the points. So far I’ve had zero troubles, though, and don’t mind jumping through a single extra hoop to convert PucaPoints into cash at a 100-percent rate.

Case-by-Case Basis

Finally, let’s talk about my display case that I mention in almost every single article I write. Contrary to what might be popular belief, I don’t have some huge LGS-level inventory that’s constantly filled with shocks, fetches, dual lands, and other staples. Because the videogame store where the case is located doesn’t hold FNMs or other Magic tournaments, there isn’t a huge demand for staples in the case. The competitive players all know me and can text me like in the above situations if they need staples.

display case

So what do I fill the case with? Well, mainly I just throw a bunch of $1 to $3 cards in it that are popular in EDH or casual deck archetypes. When I first started out with the case, I initially had it full of Vendilion Cliques, Tundras, and other pricey, competitive cards. I stocked lots of high-end staples at reasonable prices, and I expected to sell a bunch of them to the competitive players in my area. The problem was that most of the Magic players coming into the store were gamers of a different breed: they were looking for N64s, Xbox controllers, and Nintendo DS cartridges, and they played Magic on the side as a kitchen-table hobby. They didn’t care for the $70 singles in the case, so I adapted and made some changes. Although the case doesn’t look like anything special, I sell a lot more copies of Reliquary Tower, Sanguine Bond, and Imperious Perfect now than I ever sold of Steam Vents.

And just in case I do find a wayward competitive player who didn’t expect the video game store to sell Magic cards, I have a full stock of business cards behind the counter for the employees to hand out. If someone is looking for a complete Modern Affinity deck, they’re more than welcome to text, call, or email me and we can work something out where I compile the cards for their own list.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Lol, that case has like practically nothing in it,” then I don’t blame you. I probably only sell 15 to 20 cards a week out of it, and the $1 to $3 rares don’t make me a massive amount of money. I get more from the 1K boxes and 25-cent bulk rare boxes that sit above and next to the case, and they’re more consistent sellers.

bulk rare boxes

However, the presence of my cards in a physical retail store offers me a larger advantage on collection buying than most of the other competitive buyers in my area. Instead of a Craigslist-esque meeting where you agree to meet under a Walmart street lamp at 10:00 p.m. while wearing dark baggy clothing, it’s much more simple for me to tell people to meet me at an established retail location where I can sit on the other end of a counter before I roll out the typical vendor mat.


I even get collections sent to me that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise without the storefront. Believe it or not, there’s an overlap between people walking into a used video game store who are looking to relive their childhood memories with Mario Kart 64 and those who have old collections of Magic cards in their basement that they’ve forgotten about. Every now and then, my old manager at Infinite Lives tells me about a conversation he had that went something like this:

Seller: “Hey, I used to play Magic. I didn’t know you guys sold the cards here.”

IL: “Yep. We have a guy who comes in and fills up the case. He does this for a job.”

Seller: “Does he buy cards? I think I have a bunch in my basement from like ten years ago.”

IL: “Yep, here’s his business card. Call or text him and he’ll be glad to look through your stuff.”

While most of you probably don’t have this type of situation, I think it’s important to look around at the connections you might be able to make, niches to fill, and see if you can’t establish a position in the community similar to what I’ve done. It wasn’t more than a few years ago that I was a simple high-school FNM grinder with limited cash from a part-time job at K-Mart. If I can turn this into a daily ritual with multiple sources of income, anyone can. Good luck!

As always, feel free to shoot out any comments or questions using the multiple methods you have available. If this article shows anything, it’s that I’m an easy-to-contact individual.


Nothing is Sacred

I used to be like you. No, not you. You. Over there. With the funny hat. Yes, you.

I was a player at heart, instead of a cold-hearted, finance-focused individual. The endgame of value trading was putting together my Tezzeret control deck for Standard, rather than selling cards on eBay. I didn’t even know that “Magic finance” was a thing, much less that it was possible to use it as a primary source of income. I’m sure that many of you are in the same boat: you’re players that don’t really buy or sell collections on a large scale, don’t try to make hundreds of dollars through speculating, and just want to trade cards away when they’re high and trade for them when they’re low.


So What Changed?

I don’t remember the exact card that I first bought at a buylist price when I didn’t need it for a deck, but it happened because my old LGS doesn’t buy singles for cash—it just has a trade credit list that can be used for other singles. Someone had shown up to the store looking to unload a few random cards and been disappointed to find that the owner was not willing to pay in dollars and cents. He walked into the game room and started asking if anyone was willing to buy his cards. I had a tiny bit of personal spending money from a part-time job at K-Mart, and thankfully, being a high-school student comes with having zero actual real-life bills.

For theoretical argument’s sake (since I don’t actually remember), let’s assume that it was a few copies of Mox Opal. Back in the day, Opal was a $20 card, and Modern was a format that only existed in the minds of those that worked at Wizards of the Coast.

I had my Standard deck completed, Modern didn’t exist, and I sure as hell wasn’t getting into Legacy anytime soon. At the time, I had no idea what EDH was or why I should care about it, because nobody at the store played it. I had enough store credit to keep running drafts back every week, and I knew that booster packs were a money pit. So the question was always there: what should I buy with the minimal amount of money that I had to spare?

When this person was asking around if anyone would buy his cards from him, what went through my head? Well, it’s more than likely that I considered the future possibilities of how I might use those Opals. What if I needed them for a future Standard deck? At the very least, it would be a great deal if I could get them for $10 each and then trade them out at the full retail value of $20 in the future. So, I bought them at half of the TCGplayer mid price. I wasn’t planning to resell them l online, nor was I speculating on them with intent to sell for $50 each four years later. I resolved my cognitive dissonance of, “Don’t buy cards that you don’t need,” with the argument of, “But I got a really great deal, and I might need them in the future.” I wasn’t ready to make the jump to selling cards online (though if I was offered full retail for a card I wasn’t using, I was more than happy to oblige).


Majoring in MTG Finance

As I graduated from high school and moved to a college town with a new job at a local videogame store, I started to have more and more disposable income, and was also learning about the various outlets of moving my cards for cash. I discovered individual seller TCGplayer accounts, the dozens of online buylists that weren’t Star City Games or ChannelFireball, and the Brainstorm Brewery podcast, which I started listening to religiously.

I wanted to catch the big cards before they spiked and make money speculating. After all, that’s where all the money was, right? I wanted to be the Speculator King™. Meanwhile, I started to attend the weekly Magic night at our college. I mainly just went to play EDH, test Standard, and hang out with new friends, but I also happened to be one of the only people there who brought a reasonable amount of cash. Players would stop by with their winnings from FNM, their off-color shocklands that they didn’t need, and their bulk rares. While they found plenty of trade partners, I was the only one paying with actual currency.

I started accepting pretty much anything while quoting buylist numbers that I would look up on my phone. I paid $5 on shocklands, 10 cents on bulk rares, whatever—I started to just buy everything, assuming I could afford it, and since I was at a college campus with a lot of newer players, I didn’t have to make any too backbreaking purchases. The worst-case scenario would be that I had to buylist cards back to an online store and break even, so why not? I could eventually out the bulk rares to a vendor at a GP for at least what I bought them for, and sometimes more. Throughout my freshman year, I ended up leaving my flag in the ground as “that guy who will buy your cards, no matter what they are.”

That being said, my buylist prices differed depending on how easy the card was to move and how many copies I already had, just like any other buylist. I paid less on Hallowed Fountain number 15 than I did on Fountains six, seven, and eight.


Stepping Up

Sophomore year was an even bigger step up for me, and I think of it as sort of the diverging point when I decided to give up on the competitive side of Magic in favor of buying, selling, and trading full-time. At the beginning of the school year, a long-time friend and would-be LGS owner messaged me and let me know that he would be moving across the country at the end of the year. He was getting out of Magic because he knew that taking a job offer he got in Oregon was a much better decision than trying to start an LGS from just a pile of cards and comics.

He asked me if I wanted to buy his entire inventory. I had been buying and moving a lot of stuff over the past year, but was I ready to fully commit to buying a collection like this? It would be a huge time investment to sort everything, learn how to move all of the bulk commons and uncommons, price out the higher-value stuff, synch it into my own collection, and then sell enough to make a profit.



Long story short: yes, I bought it all. And ever since that collection, I’ve been willing to buy pretty much anything, so long as I don’t dip into my personal emergency funds. I give my phone number out to every player who buys or sells cards with me, and I make myself available as quickly as possible when negotiating to buy a collection. Do you have a playset of Force of Wills that you want to sell as soon as possible so you can afford a car? I am your guy. Do you have 40,000 commons and uncommons in your basement that have been accumulating over the past five years? I’ll be glad to drive over tonight and take them off your hands. Is that a stack of 380 bulk rares? If they’re all NM and English, I’ll be glad to pay cash on them. Being open and willing to buy all types of cards at buylist instead of restricting myself to high-dollar staples or just bulk has been one of my biggest arsenals in becoming one of the most well-known buyers in my area.


(Almost) Nothing is Sacred

Allow me to present you with a scenario that you may have been a part of in the past. You’re trading, you open the other trade binder, and point to the Snapcaster Mage on the front page.


“Nah, man, sorry. I’ve got to hold onto it, I think it’s gonna keep going up.” You actually really need these for your Modern deck at FNM this weekend, so you decide to be a bit more aggressive.

“Would you sell it? Cheapest copy on TCGplayer at the moment is $76 plus shipping—would you sell yours for $80? I have the cash right now.”

“Hmm…. Nah, I think I’m gonna hold onto it until it hits $90. Thanks anyway, though.” You flip through the rest of the binder to find nothing, defeated. The binders close, and you walk away.


How often has a similar situation happened to you? I’ve personally been on both sides of this interaction. I used to be “that guy” who had stuff in his binder that wasn’t for trade or sale for one reason or another. I’ve also tried to buy cards at practically retail simply because I wanted to play a card in EDH and the other party couldn’t find anything in my binders. It can definitely be a frustrating situation for both traders, and I have a simple piece of advice that can help resolve the situation.

Sell it

If someone offers to buy one of your Magic: The Gathering cards at full retail, there are very few situations in which you should refuse. The only reasons I can think of are either that you need it for a deck that will play in a sanctioned event in the very near future or that you have a very good reason to believe that the card will massively spike in the next few days. Speculating is fine, and I have a spec box myself, but it’s something that I hold entirely separate from my inventory, and pretend that it doesn’t exist except for once a week or so when I skim through it to check for spikes. This is something that took me a while to learn, especially as someone who was ingrained in speculating and being afraid that all of my cards would increase in value the very next day if I were to let go of them.

If it’s in my binders or boxes that I lay out during the weekly gaming night, it’s for sale or trade, no matter what. There’s no need for the customers to ask whether or not something is for grabs—they just have to ask how much something is worth. It smooths over everything, and prevents you from being tempted to move cards that you’ve dedicated to being labeled as “holds.”

If a person wants a card from you so badly that she is willing to pay full retail, make the deal. You can almost certainly just find another copy for a few bucks cheaper on eBay or TCGplayer, ending up a few dollars ahead just for being patient and waiting for your new copy to arrive. Obviously, this goes out the window if you’re using it for an event, but even EDH singles can be proxied temporarily, and your playgroup probably won’t hate you for it.

While it isn’t going to hold true for a lot of players reading this, I treat every card I own as inventory, and I treat every card in every collection as potential inventory. Liberating myself to be a walking buylist exponentially increased the number of purchases I was able to make at low prices, as long as I had cash in hand. Freeing my collection to view the entire thing as sellable made transactions much easier, and resulted in more players willing to come up to me to buy, sell, or trade.

End Step

Is this kind of information going to help you guys make money in Magic? I tried to entwine my own personal experiences a bit deeper this time to show you guys and gals the progression of how I went from “FNM grinder looking to value trade” into “walking local buylist who’s always willing to drive to your house and buy your entire collection.”

I understand that not everyone is going to want to take this step, but hopefully I shed some light on an option you may want to pursue, should you have the right circumstances available to you.

Thanks for reading, as always, and let me know in the comments if you want to discuss this further!

Selling Collections Through Facebook

Alright, so last week we went over how to find people selling their cards on Facebook for buylist prices, and how to negotiate a deal so that you don’t get scammed. I mentioned that sellers were between the two extremes of, “I want to sell my cards for SCG prices over Facebook” and “Please buy these today, I need gas money.”

You want to be a median of these two types of sellers, because it allows you to maximize profits from the things you’ve bought at buylist prices, avoid fees from eBay and TCGplayer, and get paid on the same day that you sell the cards. Today, I’m going to show you how to create a proper Facebook ad for buying and selling cards at a reasonable rate.

Rule Number 1

For the love of Pharika, don’t be any of these people. If you are one of these people, you’ll learn that changing your prices and listing methods will prove fruitful. Each of these individuals has at least one thing wrong with how they created and priced their list of cards.

Figure A

In the first post, we see someone looking to move a pretty high-value collection, if he has what he says he does. Revised duals, foil fetch lands, and staples. What duals? What fetches? I have no idea. There’s no picture, no list of cards, and no document to reference. He’s only willing to produce a list for those who are interested, which is an immediate turn-off when considering the price he’s asking. Five percent off of TCGplayer low is a price that I would sell singles for out of my display case, or if I was trying to piece out a collection over time. To ask for a number like that when selling an entire collection at once is simply unreasonable. For these reasons, his post had exactly zero comments or interested parties when I saved the picture.

Figure B

Well, at least we have a list to work with here. This person has linked to a Google document, so we can see what cards exactly we’re dealing with, and how much each of them costs. He’s looking to sell everything in order to purchase a car, so there’s clearly a bit of a hurry to move everything at once for a lump sum. The problem? Ten percent off of TCGplayer mid (which I’m assuming he used for pricing based on my quick look at the document) is not exactly a deal that we’re looking for, and it’s sure as hell not going to get him any bites. If his “firm” became “less firm,” I asked him to let me know and send me a message, as I’d gladly pay $1500 to $1700 for the whole thing, and PayPal him the money today if he provided enough tracking and shipping confirmation.

Figure C

Lastly, we’ve got this carefully typed out list. This is only about 25 percent of the total cards that he carefully typed out, but I think you can see a pattern of problems here. First of all ,”Scarcity games” doesn’t exist, so I have no idea what his cards are priced at. Then there’s the issue of him painstakingly listing every single bulk rare on his list, in an attempt to make it look like his list is more valuable than it actually is. Near-mint bulk rares are worth 10 to 12 cents each to any buyer who would be interested in picking up an entire collection, nothing more.

Rule Number 2

This rule doesn’t specifically apply to Facebook buying and selling, but more to the world of Magic: The Gathering finance as a whole. If we’re looking to sell cards, we will get paid a varying amount of money depending on the amount of work we put in. If we want to appear to be a reputable seller via Facebook and get paid approximately what our cards are worth, we want to put at least a bit of effort into our listing, and make it as easy as possible for the buyer to purchase our items without asking an infinite number of questions.

This means that every item should have an associated price tag, and not a lazy listing like, “Everything is ten percent off of TCG low,” because that just makes more work for your potential customers.


Now this is an example of a much better listing. The cheapest copy of Lion’s Eye Diamond on eBay right now is $68, and the lowest priced near-mint copy on TCGplayer is $72. Putting his at $60 almost guarantees that someone who was already eyeing (heh) one will gravitate towards this deal, but it’s also above the “liquidating these because I need rent money” pricing so that the seller makes a profit.

I only have a couple of criticisms about this listing that if addressed would serve to make the transaction easier for both parties. There’s no condition listed for any of the cards, so I’m not sure if I’m getting a great deal on a NM LED or an average priced HP copy where the back of the card has been sandpapered down. There’s also no info on shipping prices. Some people feel the need to charge $5 for tracked shipping in a bubble mailer, which would certainly take the sweetness out of that Mox Diamond deal.


Now, let’s try to make our own Facebook post that is both comprehensive, simple to read, and priced smoothly enough to make multiple sales within a couple days of the post’s origin. First of all, we want to establish a rule of how much we’ll charge for shipping and how we’ll accept payment. I usually ship for free in a plain white envelope (PWE) for total orders under $20, unless the buyer specifically requests a tracked shipment of the small order, in which case I charge $2. You can create a PayPal shipping label from home with a printer for $1.93, and then buy bubble mailers for approximately $.07 each. Once we start getting over the $50 mark, I generally just start shipping for free as a courtesy, and to encourage buyers to add a few more cards to hit that price point.

As for payment, I only accept PayPal, and I always ask for the money upfront. I have enough references to solidify my position as someone who’s not a ripoff artist. While I’ve lost a couple of deals over this, I’m not willing to ship another party cards only to have them be unable or refuse to pay. If you’re just starting out selling via Facebook, you might have to accept shipping the cards out first if you don’t have enough references. Just be sure to actually confirm that the other party has real references, and that they’re not just sending you a list of names, by waiting for replies. Payment via gift is the preferred option, because we don’t have to deal with that little three-percent fee that comes attached for the goods and services option.

Finally, let’s get to the cards and their pricing. The golden rule of thumb here is to try to make sure everything is a little bit below the cheapest available copy on eBay and TCGplayer—otherwise there’s no point in buying from you. This difference in price between your listing and the cheapest available copy can vary based on the current market for the card, taking reprints and such into account. For example, let’s say I have this Tundra:


Other than the fact that it’s yellow and looks like someone took out a cigarette and smoked directly onto it over a period of time, it’s still a sleeve-playable Tundra. It’s a dual land, and won’t ever see another printing. The cheapest heavily played copy on TCGplayer at the time of this writing is listed for $146 shipped, so I would probably put it on Facebook for somewhere around $130 if I wanted to get rid of it. While this is close to the “ten percent off of TCGplayer low” that I criticized the above seller for citing, this is the price of an individual dual land, and I’m not pricing my entire collection at this looking to unload everything. For contrast, let’s look at something that’s scheduled to be reprinted.

splinter twin

In contrast to Tundra, the cheapest Splinter Twin available is $19 on TCGplayer, and I would list mine on Facebook for closer to $13 or $14. The highest available buylist for Twin right now is $12 if I wanted to sell to ChannelFireball, and I’m predicting that Twin drops down to $10 or $12 a few weeks after the reprint in Modern Masters 2015. I’d rather sell it to someone who is looking to build the deck immediately instead of buylisting to CFB.

In both these cases, note that instead of glancing over a pile of cards and saying “ten percent off TCG low for everything,” I’m going through each card and determining a value that would be beneficial to both me and the buyer, depending on the future of the card.

If you’re planning on buylisting a bunch of staples in the future, you might want to look at the prices that you’re willing to accept and consider selling them on Facebook. Instead of spending time alphabetizing, set sorting, and scouring multiple different buylists for the right price, we can make this a lot easier. Add a small percentage to that number that the store offered, list some rules for shipping and payment, add a couple of pictures of the collection, and then wait for some replies.


And there we have it! This is obviously just a very basic template, but it conveys the message quickly and can be customized to add more cards easily. We made sure that we were beating the current market price to move product quickly, established shipping and payment in advance so that we don’t have to waste time answering questions about it, and we’ll get paid today if someone’s interested in the cards.

One final note when making posts across multiple groups, though, is to wait at least a couple days after posting a listing in a single group . You don’t want to spam the feed and get kicked out. Good luck!

End Step

In other news, Abrupt Decay has started creeping back up on MTGstocks Interests. It’s only up by five percent, but I fully expect this to be a $20 card sooner rather than later. If you need copies now, I think now is the time to buy, and they’re still great trade targets. Remember that almost anyone building a Tarmogoyf deck is going to need these, and I don’t think it’ll be getting a reprint soon.

Conjured Currency: Hot Potatoes

It’s That One Guy from Brainstorm Brewery

Hey, everyone! You might remember me from brainstormbrewery.com, where I’ve been writing Magic finance articles for the past year and a half. You might remember great classics as Be Your Own BuylistChecking in the ClosetPower 10,  One More Card,  The Nekusar Effect,  Common Rares, Rent a Car(d), and Wizards has Never Done That! If I had to give a list of my articles that I’m most proud of and feel are the most informative, I think that’s a pretty comprehensive list. Hopefully, this week’s bundle of words is going to be one that gets added to that list. While I will no longer be writing finance content for Brainstorm Brewery, you can still read my articles here on MTG Price every week, and I’ll still be working with BSB in one shape or form. Thanks for sticking with me!

Have you Heard about the Word?

The word of the week (and month, and next couple of months), is dragon. Dragon, dragon, dragon. Dargon, winged wyvern, scaly fire-breathing lizard, Shivan—however you want to say it. Dragons are the talk of the town, in both the casual realm and the finance world. Everyone’s hunting down the next Scion of the Ur-Dragon, as if they were the Khans in the first set of the block. While there are so many people rushing to pick up cards that they’re expecting to spike, I’m leaning towards liquidating some cards that are either dead weight at this point, or are likely candidates for reprinting in the near future.

Modern Masters 2015 is a mere two months away, and so is Grand Prix Las Vegas (with GP Chiba in Japan and GP Utrecht in the Netherlands being played simultaneously), so I’m looking to start getting rid of the inflated Modern staples that have a shot at being in the set. There’s also Magic Origins on the horizon, not to mention From the Vault: Angels coming out toward the end of the summer. There are lots of opportunity for Wizards to reprint some of the more valued cards in various formats, so I’m looking to stay clear of being hit too hard by selling early. I want to reinforce that the idea of this article is less of a “What do I think will be in Modern Masters???!!!111”, and more of a “I think these cards are too risky to hold onto in the short term, and I am looking at liquidating them in the next couple of weeks.” Some of you might be more inclined to hold these cards for a bit longer, but I prefer to avoid as much risk as possible, and just lock in what I can, when I can. 

The Praetor Cycle

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite 
Urabrask the Hidden 
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur 
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger 
Sheoldred, Whispering One

eleshnorn jin vorinclex sheoldred urabraskj

New Phyrexia is the most recent set that MMA2015 will contain, and it’s already confirmed to have a higher print run than the original set. But how much larger, you ask? Well, we can’t really say as of yet. However, it’s safe to assume that Wizards has realized the mistakes that occurred in 2013, and will be rectifying them in 2015, at least to a degree. What’s important to take away here is that if they get reprinted, some praetors will take a bigger hit than others. Elesh Norn is the biggest red flag here, at $33. If she’s not reprinted, she probably continues to creep upward to $40, but I’m jumping ship here while I can lock in money. I don’t want to own any Praetors that I’m not using come May.

Gitaxian Probe 


Gitaxian Probe is a $3 common. Let that sink in for a moment. It wasn’t printed a decade ago like Serum Visions was, but it’s still $3. Maybe there’s a chance of it creeping up towards $4 in the longer term, but I don’t really care to have any part of that. I’m happy buying these across the buylist table at $1, and shipping them for $2 or $2.50 out of my local display case. While Phyrexian mana is pretty awkward to have to reprint, Modern Masters is pretty much the perfect excuse to do it.

Lightning Bolt


Did you know that the cheapest edition of Bolt is also pretty much $3 at this point? It’s the most popular nonland card in Modern, according to MTG Goldfish. The last time it was printed was in the Premium Deck Series: Fire & Lightning set, and before that was M11. If it’s not going to be in MMA2015, I can see it being put into another casual product like a Duel Decks or Commander product. I had these in my spec box when they were $1, and now I believe they’ve ripened to the point where I want to harvest the crackling energy that is pure profit. That being said, this isn’t something I would liquidate in an emergency if you’re running them in a deck. At the most, you’ll probably lose $6 per playset if it’s put into a supplemental product. I just wouldn’t advocate holding onto extras or stocking up on additional copies expecting a continued climb for too much longer.

Congregation at Dawn


If you haven’t heard, this recently jumped up in price to $3 because of speculation on a new (well, semi-new) Modern combo with Collected Company. The idea is to tutor up three small creatures that can go infinite together, then slam them all on the board at once with the new Dragons of Tarkir rare. Personally, I think the combo is a bit too clunky, and it’s trying too hard to be what Birthing Pod used to be. Foils have jumped up to $15 on the low end of eBay, but I’m still not upset about getting rid of the one I had at $12 while it was on the rise. While the card is getting increasingly hard to find due to lack of reprints, I’d get out now if you managed to buy in for cheap.

Master of Waves 


Once Nightveil Specter took a vacation, Master of Waves was lonely, and sank into a deep financial depression. Until Dragons of Tarkir came along and a newfound friend appeared! Because of Shorecrasher Elemental’s reveal, there were rumors spread throughout the community. Is Mono-Blue Devotion going to be good again? Should I buy a significant amount of Master of Waves, and be prepared to sell them for $20 like I did last year? Apparently the answer to all of those questions was a resounding and presumptuous “YES!” Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what I expect to happen. While it has jumped from $3 to $7 in the past couple of weeks, I’m advocating that you also make a jump of your own: out of your copies of MoW that you already own. Even if Devotion becomes a deck again, there’s no “Wow” factor this time at a pro tour to make everything’s price go absurdly crazy. Get out while you can, there’s really no financial hope for Master of Waves in any other format than Standard.

Zendikar Basics


Ever since these were inserted into the Zendikar and Worldwake booster packs, I remember people saying, “I’m stocking up on these, they’ll be the next Unhinged lands,” or something to that effect. Well almost six years have gone by, and these still have barely breached $1.50 each, let alone the $5 that was predicted by many. Instead of becoming hard to find chase basics that show off how regal an individual’s deck is, the non-foil ones are mediocre for “blinging out” purposes, and have mainly been relegated to cubes and Limited players’ arsenals for a cheap alternative to Unhinged.

If you were hoping for these to pay for your retirement, I’d stop and give it up already. This slow to non-existent growth is accompanied by the fact that we’re returning to Zendikar this fall, and there’s a non-zero possibility that Wizards decides to include some nostalgia in the packs by reprinting these full-art lands. Instead of keeping the ZEN full art lands in your spec boxes, they’re probably best kept for personal use or unloaded to move cash elsewhere. While I think the foils are still a fine pick-up in trades, I wouldn’t touch the non-foils unless you get them as throw-ins for practically free.


The little anti-Twin that could has slowly climbed higher and higher these past few years, and as its increasing utility in Modern grows, the number of existing copies stays the same. If Gitaxian Probe manages to see a reprint, ‘Skite will almost certainly be in the same boat. I don’t think there’s enough potential left in the Phyrexian mana magnet to warrant holding onto copies if you’re not actively sleeving it up and sending it into battle, so I recommend unloading extra copies while you have the chance. Channel Fireball is offering $15 cash for copies while I’m writing this article, which seems like a darn good deal to me. If ‘Skite is shown to be in Modern Masters this year, I can’t see it staying above $10, maybe even $5 depending on the print run.

Angels on the Battlefield

Last, but certainly not least on the pricing spectrum, I want to talk about the candidates for the upcoming From the Vault: Angels. While the product doesn’t come out until later this summer, there are a couple of cards that I’m still wary about holding due to the fact that they could be in the FTV or MMA. There’s very little to be gained on either of these cards, and I have multiple copies of each on TCGplayer right now, to put my money where my mouth is.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope 


This card is approaching $40 through casual appeal alone. It’s fine in EDH, sure, but other than that? Pure. Casual. 78-card mono-angel-tribal land. That’s where this card sees play. I don’t think Wizards wants its Legendary Mega-Mythic Super 8/8 Angels™ to be $40, at least not just a few years after being printed. I’m going to sound like a broken record at this point, but if you’re not using them; sell them now.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence


Although Linvala sees a tiny bit of Modern play as a one-of to shut off value-based creature strategies, she sees even less play now that Pod got the axe. A prime target for either of the products we’ve been talking about in this article, Linvala’s price stagnated at $50 for the entire year of 2014, before starting to creep down, presumably because of the FTV: Angels announcement. She’s $42 right now, but I would try and unload her before anything else happens.

End Step

Anyone else have a list of hot potatoes that they’re trying to get rid of? How about those Zendikar fetchlands? There’s been a decent amount of controversy as to how “obvious” it would be if they slammed the enemy fetches into Battle for Zendikar this fall, but I’m on the fence myself. I’m still definitely selling off all of my extra Misties, Mesas, and Tarns at the moment, just in case.