Tag Archives: speculation targets

Customer Service in #MTGFINANCE: Part 2

Written By:

Douglas Johnson @Rose0fthorns


Welcome back, friends. I spent the last weekend moving into a new apartment, so I didn’t have a whole time to spend on Magic. Thankfully I’ve still got some decent ideas leftover from last week’s article, so we’re going to talk about customer service in this industry a bit more. I’m sure you all want to hear about Craig Berry and the whole Reserved List buyout, but Corbin has already covered that extensively in an interesting interview with the man himself. I’d really recommend checking that out.

Last week we went over a couple of the scenarios where things can go wrong in the process of buying or selling a Magic card, and the proper procedures for both the buyer and seller to resolve things as peacefully as possible without resorting to insults and witch hunts. I’d like to start this article on a brighter note, and provide sellers with some ideas that can be used to really brighten a buyers’ day and earn those coveted five-star reviews that we all want to secure. As such, this article will be a bit more “seller focused” because that’s where I have more experience.


Maybe this is getting to be more common practice, but I don’t buy enough singles online to personally know whether or not that’s true. What I do know is I’ve really started to enjoy shipping small little tokens of appreciation with my orders, often in the form of literal Token cards. While I’m not about to become Santa Claus and start throwing in the Wurm tokens for Wurmcoil Engine, a single Plant token for their Nissa, Voice of Zendikar can go a long way.


Seriously, these things are $3 each.

On a similar note, how many of you ship out the appropriate checklist card when you sell a double-faced card? While they only go on TCGplayer for pennies, you save someone from having to pay $.25 or $.50 at their LGS if you just throw in the appropriate checklist card. While someone purchasing an Archangel Avacyn is probably playing with opaque sleeves at a competitive event, there are a non-zero number of people who prefer to avoid the judge call entirely and just use checklist cards in their opaque sleeves while reserving the actual card in a clear sleeve in their deckbox for an easy flip back and forth.

awake spooke

My favorite card to ship with the matching checklist is definitely Startled Awake. Do you know who’s casting this card? I’ll give you a hint; they probably don’t play with opaque sleeves, if any sleeves at all. That person will be ecstatic that they don’t need to hunt down the checklist card. Now that we’re on the subject, I’m absolutely fine with holding Startled Awake at the $3 they’re at now.


It’s not quite at the point where I’d actually feel comfortable listing it on TCGplayer, because that flat .50 fee per transaction makes selling cards under $5 less than appetizing to low level sellers. Remember that there approximately the same number of these in the market right now as there are Archangel Avacyn. This is a casual all-star with ridiculously low supply, which helps beat the test that Breaking // Entering fails to pass. Being a launch promo during Dragon’s Maze kind of kills all of the potential that one had. Anyway, where were we?


Wrong Address

Oh, right. Customer service stuff.  Now here’s a situation that’s never happened to me and I’m very thankful that I haven’t had to deal with it. Every now and then, human error gets the best of us and two orders get shipped to the wrong addresses. The Modern player who ordered four Life from the Loams gets sent a foil Kaalia of the Vaast, and vice versa for the aspiring Commander player who just wants to bash with dragons and angels. Just great. So what do you do? Do you ask them both to ship the cards back to you? You could just ask them to ship to each other…..


Do not do this. Ever. Nope nope nope nope nope. Do not ever put yourself or the buyer at that kind of risk. You don’t want to be giving out other people’s addresses, and you don’t want buyer A screwing up the shipping process while they end up getting their card safe and sound, while buyer B is screwed over. You also shouldn’t be sending them money to cover the cost of the PayPal shipping label. Here’s what you need to do to make this right on both ends: It will cost you a decent chunk of money, but it’s your fault multiplied by two in the first place.

1. Print out a total of four shipping labels to start with. One of these is going to buyer A, and one is going to buyer B. The other two shipping labels are addressed to you as the seller.

2. Place the necessary shipping materials inside each of two bubble mailers. That includes one other bubble mailer, the necessary sleeves, toploaders, and/or a team bag. Whatever is needed to safely package the card and return it to you.

3. Ask each buyer to safely and securely package the order just as it came, and then reseal it in the bubble mailer they received, taping the pre-paid shipping label to the envelope. Those mailers go back to you as the seller, so that you can then re-ship the correct orders to the correct buyers.

None of this can be done without tracking, because this gives buyers an opportunity to lose or even steal cards without you being able to provide evidence of what happened. Cover yourself every step of the way, and take the loss like an adult.

Of course, the exact method listed above can easily cost you $10 in shipping materials alone. For this reason, it’s only really worth it for you to do if the cards shipped to each party are valuable enough to care about being tracked. In the case of smaller orders (think $4-5), it might just be easier and cheaper to just purchase a replacement copy of each buyer’s order, and ship it directly to them via PWE, then tell them to keep the misplaced order as compensation for the trouble.


So what’s the end goal here? As a seller, I’ve technically given you a bunch of ways to lose money in the past two articles. Paying buyers for condition discrepancies, lost orders, and throwing in free cards? Who would want to do that? If you ignore the whole “hoping for repeat customers” reason, there’s still tangible benefits for having a high feedback rating on TCGplayer.

If you start selling a decent number of cards on TCGplayer, you might want to work your way up to “Gold Star Seller” status. I’ll let you read TCGplayer’s description of what that entails.


That middle statement is the really relevant part to us. When you’re looking to buy on TCGplayer, you can set a filter so that you’re only looking at “Gold Star Seller”s.


Alternatively, you can use positive feedback from eBay or TCGplayer as references when starting to sell via Facebook or Twitter. One of the downsides of trying to start out selling on social media is a need for checkable references for accountability. Being able to prove your reputation and connect it to a “tangible” online store that can receive feedback and be named in case of trouble can help get you started in the market of Facebook and Twitter, which is where I always recommend trying to pick up singles at less than TCGplayer low prices.


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Colorless Transparency

(Credit for the cover photo alterations goes to Sean, @SeanOhhhh on Twitter.)

So, uhhhh… how about that Jace, eh?  Actually, I really don’t care about the card. I’ve never even owned an Origins Jace, and I certainly don’t plan on buying in at $80. You’ll hear about the mono-blue mind master in much more detail from several of my colleagues this week, so let’s move onto something much more interesting.

Something Much More Interesting

You know what? Let’s check out “today’s most interesting cards” from this past Monday, because that sounds like a fun day that I definitely picked at random.


Oh, darn. According to my ProTrader email, nothing interesting happened that day… OH, WAIT.

spawnsire today


So that finally happened, although I don’t think it’s a coincidence that last week’s article was literally all about Spawnsire of Ulamog and why I thought it was a good spec target at $3. When I wrote that article, the card had crept up to $4, and I even advocated *not* buying in anymore if you were trying to make a profit. Parroting last week, buying in at $4 means that you’re hoping for the card to hit $8 or $9 before you can start to see worthwhile and noticeable margins. As a personal rule, I don’t buy unless I’m confident in my ability to at least double up.

As you can see by the pictures and timing of the whole thing, my article looks like it was the final stroke required to convince some number of people to buy the last 30 or so copies that were available on TCGplayer, and the half dozen left on eBay. I seriously doubt that these people are going to make any money, if it’s any consolation to you.

My hope for the rest of this article is to show two things. First, I want to be as transparent as possible about all of my suggestions to speculate on Spawnsire, be clear exactly where I made money, when and how I bought and sold each of my copies, the areas where I went wrong, and how I would change my approach in the future. Second, I want to explain the concept of the greater fool theory, a topic that Jason Alt first intertwined with MTG finance a couple of years ago back when Theros first came onto the scene. It’s been a little while since then, so I’ll provide a refresher.

Time Warp

Alright, let’s take a trip down the magical mouse-wheel and scroll back to about five weeks ago.


August 30 was the first time I mentioned Spawnsire on Twitter. I subsequently grabbed a dozen or so copies on PucaTrade, because I very rarely buy into a spec target with cash. Most of my “speccing” comes from buying large collections or lots of singles at buylist or below, and setting aside the cards that I’m anticipating will go up for later. While I don’t always get the quantity or card that I’m specifically looking for by using this method, I’m almost guaranteed to not lose money in the long run if the end result is different than my vision.



Fast forward to September 4. I noticed on my daily check of the MTG Stocks interests page that the foil version of Spawnsire had doubled, seemingly out of nowhere. I didn’t own any foils, but I did see that the non-foil was still hanging around the bottom of the interests page. At this point, I was very confident that the card was primed and ready to spike within a couple of days, following the trend of the foil.

I bought the copies that you read about in my article last week from Star City Games, because I saw a perfect storm of reasons to pick them up there: SCG was the cheapest place to buy, I could get 36 copies at once, and I was guaranteed that they would ship. I continued to check the stock on TCGplayer for several days, and it continued to teeter anywhere from 33 to 50 sellers at any given time. There were stores listing new copies, and then they would get eaten up, although I’m not sure if that was the work of non-competitive players looking for their copies, or speculators following the feed of information that I was providing.


And here we are about a week after I bought my copies from SCG. Unfortunately for me, they simply restocked another 40 SP copies a day or two after I cleaned them out, so it meant that there were still a lot of casual players who would need to pick up their Spawnsires at $3 to $4 before I saw any sort of profit. I didn’t want to buy anymore than I already had to force the market to move. Getting rid of 50 copies of a casual card that was likely only a one- or maybe two-of of in a deck was hard enough, so I held back.

In hindsight, I should have also tweeted here that SCG still had 40 copies in stock.  I focused too much on the TCGplayer and eBay stock affecting the price, and should have tweeted back on the 13th that SCG still had a bunch of copies, and that they were probably the place to buy them if you needed Spawnsires to play with.

That was my last tweet before the last of the supply on TCGplayer and eBay disappeared on the evening of October 5. I really wish I had written my last week’s article three weeks ago so that it didn’t coincide with the actual release date of Battle for Zendikar. I would be interested to see if Spawnsire’s available supply decreased at a similar or identical rate without my article, simply because of the set release allowing casual players to get their hands on Battle for Zendikar and start crafting their Eldrazi decks.

Similarly, I wonder if my article would have been enough of a match in the powder keg to spark a buyout three weeks ago, without the set being released in the same weekend. As things played out, though, I think it was the combination of both factors that made the buyout happen. Now, let’s take a look at what I did that night as a result of the buyout, regardless of who bought the copies that started it.


This screenshot was taken on the night of October 5. As you can see by checking your own TCGplayer mid prices, Spawnsire has settled since then at around $6 to $7, right where I was hoping for. Immediately after I noticed this jump, I went to TCGplayer and listed my own copies. I put up 37 NM copies for $6.99 (if you’e been keeping track, I only got 15 or so NM copies from PucaTrade. I graded all of the 35 SP copies that I got from SCG, and I personally felt that almost half of them were NM. SCG’s grading system is extremely rigid). I also put my 17 SP copies up for $6.49 and crossed my fingers.

While I waited to get lucky and hopefully sell some Spawnsires into the hype, I went to SCG to see if they had been bought out as well. Did the instigators of the buyout really grab all 40 of SCG’s SP copies? Well, not exactly.



While the cheapest copies of Spawnsire on TCGplayer were my own at $6 to $7 and eBay was completely empty, SCG still had 40 SP copies on their website sitting at $3.35 each. Huh. While this is definitely a risky move and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to sell all of these, I felt that I would be able to slowly move them on TCGplayer or through trades at $6 to $7 a piece, eventually making a strong profit. It would take a while and tie up my money, but I didn’t really put a lot of time into thinking about it. I was concerned that someone else would snap them up before I did, so I hastily jammed them all into my card and swiftly made it through checkout.

Ugh. Now I had to move almost 100 of these things. I went to bed that night thinking of strategies of how I would move more than 90 freaking Spawnsire of Ulamogs. Maybe if I got lucky, one buylist would hit $4.50 or $5 and I could just sell them all en masse for a small but safe profit. Facebook would probably be a strong outlet, as there are a ton of non-competitive players in all of the groups that I’m in. I could jam a few in my display case, because I mostly market myself to EDH and newer players out of the store. I’m sure some of them will want to build Eldrazi decks, and slam Barrage Tyrants and Desolation Twins into play with Spawnsire. Hmmm…

Greater Fools

Alright, now we’re almost caught up to present day. I got out of my sports psychology class Tuesday afternoon to check my email, and I was happy to see an email from TCGplayer. I had a Spawnsire sale! The first of many, I’m sure. Although it would be a slow process, I would eventu—



Well, alright then. Either this person knows something that I don’t, or he has a really weird thing for tentacles. One person bought out all 37 NM copies for $6.99 each, so I suppose that solves one of my problems. Obviously no player buys 37 copies of a single spell that’s not a Shadowborn Apostle or Relentless Rat, so this is a purchaser looking to make money. I’m assuming that this person doesn’t read my articles, because I suggested the exact opposite of what this party did. If you buy in at $7, then you’re looking for Spawnsire to hit $13 or $14 before you sell, and you plan to sell 37 of them at that price?

According to the greater fool theory, irrational buyers will set the price of a commodity when that thing’s price is not driven by its own intrinsic value. In this party’s mind, they’re not the fool. They’re going to sell to some other guy who’s a greater fool.

“I can’t wait to get these 37 Spawnsires, so I can sell them to some guy for $10 each. I’ll make like a hundred dollars because I’ll get approximately $3 profit off each one.” –Spawnsire Sam

The problem here is that you’re assuming that person exists, and that the market will still be as volatile as it was when you bought my copies. I’m shipping those Spawnsires out on Wednesday afternoon, so the buyer probably won’t get them in the mail until Monday. Do you still think Spawnsire is going to be $10 on Monday? Hell, it dropped below $10 already, and it’s probably still going to be $7 when this article goes live on Thursday.

When I bought Spawnsires three weeks ago, I had a choice when I saw the spike happen. I could either sell them immediately by racing to the bottom of TCGplayer (an option that I only have because I had the luxury of having copies in hand from three weeks ago), or I could take a greater risk and try to predict that the price would stay at $10, $11, or predict that it would go to something like $15. The choice I made is pretty obvious: I took the safer route. Move the cards, lock in the profit.

The party buying my Spawnsires had a different set of choices. They could either buy my $7 copies, hoping to sell them for $10 or $15 as soon as they get them in the mail (what they did), or they could stay out of the game entirely. The bus already left the stop, and this guy is trying to take the elevator to the fourth floor of his apartment building and parkour from the top of a roof to land on top of the bus, all so that he can hand out free Spawnsires to all of the little boys and girls. I didn’t feel confident that my copies of Spawnsire would be able to sell at anything above $7. More specifically, I didn’t expect any fools to come along and believe that there would be any greater fools to buy at $15.

Unfortunately, I’m still not out of the woods yet. I have to sell the 40 copies I’m getting from SCG in the next week, and that’s going to take, uhhh… a while. Only one buylist has hit $4 as of right now, and I doubt there will be many that go above that. In hindsight, buying these additional 40 wasn’t the best move, but at least I won’t lose money on the purchase.

End Step

Are you tired of Spawnsire yet? I hope so. It’s been a while since I’ve dissected a spec to such a degree, but it was a lot of fun writing both of these articles. I hope everyone learned at least a little something, even if it was, “Don’t buy 37 copies of Spawnsire of Ulamog at $7.”

Let me know what you thought of my article through Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments section below!

Specsire of Ulamog


Man, I haven’t been this apathetic about Magic in a while. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. Magic: The Gathering is my life, and I don’t think I could ever quit the game barring some unforeseen life circumstances that force my hand.

But man, I’m just so bored of this set already. I eventually need foil copies of Retreat to Hagra and Omnath, Locus of Rage for Child of Alara, and a foil Smothering Abomination for Savra, but that’s basically it. I don’t get as excited for EDH as Jason does, and I don’t have a brewing bug like everyone else. I’m stuck in this weird limbo that’s not quite backpack-finance-grinder and not quite full-time MTG retailer, so I have to sit and wait patiently for everyone else to crack their boxes and then sell all of their unwanted stuff to me at buylist prices.

Playing It Safe

Anyway, enough about my first-world problems. Most of you know that I don’t speculate much, especially on the new stuff. There’s nothing in Battle for Zendikar that strikes me as a “buy this now before the Pro Tour so you can make hundreds of dollars before it’s too late!” and I wouldn’t follow my advice even if I was confident in one particular card.

When I do tend to pick out a card that I think is going to go up, I (obviously) want to be as sure as possible that the card will see the price changes that I predict, and I want to minimize risk to the point where I basically can’t lose out if my decision ends up being incorrect. These factors are why I continue to slowly stockpile up on cards like Necrotic Ooze, Heartless Summoning, and Glistener Elf. Barring the erratic multiplayer product reprint, all of these cards are safe to sit in my speculation storage, while I patiently wait for the right combo piece to be printed, or the right Top 8 configuration to make me a bunch of money.



Speculating for Fun


Every once in a while, though, I like to get in on the fun of speculating on shake-ups in the Standard metagame, or the effects of the casual market. In a previous article of mine, I pointed out how much I liked Spawnsire of Ulamog as a pickup. While the card obviously has zero competitive appeal (except for this one Travis Woo decklist, and the accompanying article that never fails to make me laugh), it’s a casual double whammy for both Timmy and Johnny, and is a budget version of “I win the game” for players that can’t afford Emrakul and friends.

I predict that as these non-competitive players buy packs from Wal-Mart, Target, their LGS, etc., they’ll start to build their own Eldrazi-based decks, and look to utilize some of the older Eldrazi from ROE into their new lists. Spawnsire is cheap, but more importantly, flashy. Remember how there were several dragons that increased in price after the Dragons of Tarkir set release, because these invisible players wanted to complete dragon decks? It’s basically the same principle.

I started by picking up a dozen or so copies off of PucaTrade at an average of 329 points (a point is basically a penny in trade value, so I paid $3.29 in trade). After I checked and noticed that there were a dwindling number of copies available on TCGplayer, SCG, and eBay, I became more confident in my speculation choice and bought out the remainder of SCG’s copies (on September 9, 2015; they’ve since been restocked at a slightly higher price). There are a couple of benefits that ordering from SCG will give you, even if their prices are usually a little bit above the market value. Thankfully, these Spawnsires were the cheapest available on the internet at the time, so that problem was negated. But otherwise, buying from SCG means that my order is guaranteed to come, and I don’t have to worry about the store cancelling. In addition to that, SCG employs extremely strict graders, and several of the SP copies that I bought turned out to be NM by my own standards.


Right now, the cheapest single copy of Spawnsire I can find is on TCGplayer as an LP one for $3.69, and NM ones are upwards of $4.50 on TCGplayer and eBay. I’m not writing this part of the article to try and convince everyone else to buy in with me so I can flip my copies. I’d actually advise against buying in right now if you’re solely trying to make a profit, because for every dollar extra you pay, you have to hope that the card increases by twice that much more to cover the costs of what you bought in at. I bought in at $3.25, so I’m hoping and expecting that Spawnsire reaches at least $6 to $7 retail before I cash out through TCGplayer or trade outlets. If you buy in at $4 to $5, you’re hoping that it reaches $8 to $10 before your profits become noticeable and worthwhile. I still think the card is a fine trade target at $4, if for some reason you happen to still find these in trade binders.


Now, the price isn’t the only thing that I’ve kept my finger on the pulse of over the past few weeks. There’s another number above the store listings that has been slowly and steadily dropping, and it’s a lot less visible to someone who’s just looking up the TCGplayer mid price every few days.


As the number of stores that have the card in stock decreases, the closer we can expect there to be to a sudden price jump. When I bought my copies from SCG, the total number of English sellers on TCGplayer was above 70, and we’re down to 55 as of September 30, 15. While Spawnsire isn’t exactly the kind of card you usually want to own a playset of, it’s worth mentioning that only eight of the sellers on TCGplayer have four or more copies in stock at the moment. It’s very easy to decrease the number of sellers one at a time, as each non-competitive player picks up the one or two copies they need for their ramp deck over the next few weeks.

My last point about Spawnsire goes all the way back to an article I wrote in March, and it was one of the first pieces of content that I ever produced for MTGPrice. If you haven’t read it yet, I personally think it’s one of my better and more original pieces of writing. If you’d rather not go through and read another 2,000 words in addition to your weekly dose of DJ Johnson, the TL;DR of the article was that it’s important to keep track of the cards at the bottom of the MTGstocks interests page, whose prices have only ticked up by a small percentage day after day. These small bumps can forecast a larger, more sudden spike that everyone will later claim “came out of nowhere,” even though it was fairly predictable to those who paid attention.


As we can see here, Spawnsire received a small five-percent bump since yesterday, and he’s been on this page multiple times every week. Even though these price changes aren’t nearly as drastic as the newly unbanned Black Vise, they’ll certainly be more relevant and longer-lasting months down the road when non-competitive players continue to seek out Spawnsires with no additional supply and nobody cares about Black Vise anymore.

End Step

Huh. I did not think I could write an entire article about a single card, focusing on my strategy and tactics of speculating on it. Was this helpful to you? I figured everyone wanted a break from the past two weeks of Q&A-style articles.

In other news, Hardened Scales continues to reward me for my laziness. Every time I see that thing jump up another dollar, I think, “Man, I should really sell all of those copies I have. There’s no way that this hype can be sustained for this long without a proven winning decklist.” Then it goes up again. This time I’m going to remember to sell out at $4. I mean it.

Rise of the Rise of the Eldrazi

PAX Preview Pain

One of the downsides to my articles being published on Thursday means that I’m usually pretty late to the party for any Magic news that was shown over the weekend. For example. I was going to spend a few solid paragraphs thoroughly expressing my disgust for how Wil Wheaton butchered the Battle for Zendikar preview show at PAX, but I’m not even going to attempt to hold a candle to Travis Allen’s beautiful explanation on how much of a vomitfest that was. Seriously, if you were thinking, “Maybe I should watch the preview show. Seeing a dumpster catch on fire has no value to the world, but it’s kind of entertaining…”, then forget about it. Don’t give them your clicks or views. Just go be entertained and informed by Travis, then come back here.

Wizards of the Coast, if you’re reading this. Hire literally anyone else to do the preview show next time. Pick a random guy or girl out of the crowd, and let them do the preview show with flashcards or a teleprompter. It would have been better than the middle-school presentation that I had to dredge through. The only things that kept me remotely interested in the show were spoiled cards, MaRo’s interesting design talk, and this guy that I’ve circled in the below image.

Screenshot 2015-09-02 at 10.47.23 AM

Every time they panned back to the crowd, this guy was sitting in that exact pose, giving off that “yeah, I’m not gonna clap for this bad meme personified, just give me the damn spoilers” vibe. Mystery crowd member, you are my hero of the weekend.

Eldra..gons of Zendi…tarkir

You know what? Forget it. There’s a clever joke in there somewhere, but I’m not going to sit here for twenty minutes and try to figure out what it is. I’ve got Magic cards to write about, not subheading puns.

My point is that back when Dragons of Tarkir was released, every goddamn dragon in the game suddenly went up approximately a billion dollars, just because everyone wanted to play dragon everything. Scion of the Ur-Dragon EDH, 60-card dragon casual, 78-card unsleeved dargon casual, you name it. Well, every dragon went up, except for the FTV copies of Bladewing the Risen that I’ve had for forever…

Anyway, the point is that with Battle for Zendikar quickly approaching, I think it’s time to look back at a few of the older Eldrazi and get in on them before any hype starts to lift them up off the ground. I want to look for safe targets that aren’t likely to plummet any time soon, and some of them will definitely be longer-term holds.

While BFZ won’t be the “Eldraziest Eldrazi set that ever had Eldrazi” as DTK was with dragons, I still think there are some safe pickups and holds that have room to grow. A lot of the dragons that picked up the price pace weren’t even good in EDH, but were just being purchased by casual players who enjoy slamming big, fire-breathing threats onto the table. We’re going to look at a few parallels here in the old Eldrazi set.

Spawnsire of Ulamog



At only $3, I really like Spawnsire of Ulamog as a pickup. It dodged all reprints up until now, it makes a lot of mana dorks, and the last activated ability is perfect for both Timmy and Johnny to get excited about. The annihilator 1 is pretty irrelevant, but who cares? We’re casting every Eldrazi ever. Spawnsire gets a whole lot of new tools with this set, and I don’t think he needs to see competitive or EDH play to get up to $6 or $7 on casual demand alone. SCG is out of stock on NM copies at the moment, but has plenty of SP/MP. eBay is practically dried up of non-foil copies, and there are still quite a few on TCGplayer. Maybe this doesn’t pick up until casual players start cracking packs and building decks, but this is a card I’m very bullish on. You don’t see me pick out spec targets very often, but this is one of them.

Eye of Ugin

Image (1)

I’ve heard some rumors and suggestions on Eye of Ugin recently, so I wanted to clear the air with my thoughts. Eye of Ugin just got reprinted into dust because of Modern Masters 2015 by being rare instead of mythic, and you only really need one, maybe two in a deck. I’ll admit that I almost had a heart attack when I considered using it with the devoid mechanic, because Forerunner of Slaughter is technically colorless… but you still need to pay colored mana to cast it. Maybe there’s still something there, though. It makes you only need one black mana to cast Dominator Drone, and if you’re in black then you can run Urborg to let Eye tap for mana… I don’t know. Maybe I’m crazy. Being able to tutor for “colorless” devoid creatures isn’t irrelevant late-game, but there’s just so many copies in supply right now. I’m calling Eye a hold for now, because I don’t want to give up on the possibility that there’s a really cool interaction in the set that we haven’t seen yet.

Awakening Zone

Image (2)

Awakening Zone has been creeping and crawling very subtly over the past couple of months.


It’s easy to not notice a trend of a card slowly creeping from $2 to $3, and Awakening Zone has shrugged off two multiplayer product reprints  over the years. It doubles as a repetitive token engine and ramp spell, and we could definitely see increased demand with the new Eldrazi. It’s always been a semi-staple in Commander decks that can make good use of the tokens, but additional casual demand could put it in the $4 to $5 range relatively quickly.

Keep an eye on this one, but I don’t think we buy in at the $3 it is now. If you want to buy a $3 rare, go for Spawnsire. Just be ready to sell this off at $4 to $5 if it makes it there. I still think it’s a good trade target at $3, especially if you end up being able to move soon-to-be BFZ bulk rares.

Eldrazi Temple

Image (3)

How the mighty have fallen. If it weren’t for the back-to-back reprints, I would’ve loved this as a pick-up. Everyone would have. Being dropped down to uncommon from rare basically kills any chance for this to be worth anything in the next ten years, so don’t even touch it, unless you’re picking bulk and basically getting them for free. Sell them for a quarter to all of the new Eldrazi players and enjoy the small demand bump, but don’t go hoarding them thinking that you have a master plan.

Pathrazer of Ulamog

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Did you know that Pathrazer of Ulamog is close to being a $3 uncommon? Yep, it’s worth almost as much as a Gitaxian Probe or a Boros Charm, and those ones actually see competitive play. I always preferred Artisan of Kozilek in my EDH decks because of the bonus reanimation and cheaper mana cost, but I suppose there’s something to be said about a higher annihilator number and pseudo-unblockability. At $3, though, I wouldn’t expect this to see any additional gains. The rule here is identical to how you’re moving Eldrazi Temples: be happy with the new buyers, and don’t look back.

End Step

Now, let’s step back into something more recent. Shaman of Forgotten Ways recently shot up to $8 off the back of pure, unadulterated hype, but there’s no actual decklists to back up the price tag yet. Because of that, I made the executive decision to list my copies on TCGplayer yesterday, and they sold in less than three hours.


Nick is correct in that it’s not particularly fair for me to say that I sextupled up purely from speculation, because I paid buylist prices for them anyway back when they were $2 retail. I was just happy to unload them into the incoming hype, when I still haven’t seen a tangible decklist yet for any sort of green ramp containing the new Eldrazi. Mark Rosewater confirmed that Ulamog was the only titan left on Zendikar, so we won’t be getting Emrakul or Kozilek as backup (at least in this particular set). I’m curious to see if there will be anything else worth slamming down for 10 or more mana mana; if not, then See the Unwritten and Shaman of Forgotten ways could both very well crash and burn. I don’t want to be holding them when that happens.

Do you have any pocket picks that you expect to jump up from the BFZ spoilers? Let’s continue the conversation below, or on Reddit, Twitter, or Facebook. I’m not picky.