Finance in a Flash: Week 2

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The Pro Tour starts Friday morning. Unfortunately, many of you will not have the opportunity to acquire anything that’s HOT through trade during FNM at the old numbers (if you do then thats pretty much all you should be doing), however, it will be a great time to get rid of any of those cards you already own at a better value because ‘you think they’re going to go up,’ or because they already have. This plan may prevent you from maximising profits on a card’s rise, but it also alleviates risk in what will likely be a very chaotic weekend.

There’s usually value to be had going against the market. During the last few months it meant hunting for rotation gold and buying aggressively when no one cared about Standard, now it means trading your inventory that’s getting hyped at the PT into high value low spread (% difference between TCG Mid and highest buylist price) cards like Archangel of Thune, Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver and Mutavault. Doing this will help you to lock in profits and regain liquidity for the next couple months before Standard PTQ season (this plan is only good if you plan on cashing out quickly, buylists can change overnight and its easy to get caught with your pants down if you get lazy and wait a few weeks).

If you don’t plan on cashing out then you have two real options, trade into more specs. or trade into cards that are highly liquid that will allow you to easily remold your inventory when you figure out your next strategy. Here are some of the trade targets I really like for this weekend along those lines:

Fiendslayer Paladin and Lifebane Zombie are both intriguing because of their low spread (about 30%) and potential short term reactionary spikes (G/W was very successful last weekend, so people will be buying Lifebane). However, they’re also reasonable holds due to their popularity and being printed in M14, I think they will hit $12 by February as supply dries up.

I don’t like buying Advent of the Wurm at $4, it would have to hit $8 TCG Mid (which it might considering its from Dragon’s Maze) before you saw any real return, but I love trading for it. Unlike many of the other GW cards that get worse the more popular Midrange gets (Loxodon Smiter et al) an instant speed 5/5 for four will always be great, especially considering it dodges Lifebane.

Mutavault isn’t sexy, and while I still love Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, the Vault is free money right now. Its played everywhere and dealers are always looking for more of them. There isn’t much room to grow here but the card is so liquid I don’t think it matters.

A good rule of thumb for this weekend: when in doubt, pick up Standard playable cards from Dragon’s Maze and M14, they have room to grow simply by existing and PTQ season isn’t that far away.

Holy Boon Satyr Batman! Its up to $5 TCG Mid, and pushing Loxodon Smiter to the sidelines in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, I think this is as high as the Satyr goes in the near future, all Theros cards, but particularly non mythics are going to begin the post states decline we see with every base set around this time of year.

Take a look at how the average rare price from Return to Ravnica fell last fall.
rtr avg rare price

Now take a look at Theros.
theros rare avg

Return to Ravnica didn’t dip below 2.5 until December and Theros is already there, get out while you still can.

Echoing the earlier point about targeting cards from Dragon’s Maze and M14, the most interesting cards to me out of the Mono Green list from last weekend’s SCG Open are easily Garruk, Caller of Beasts and Kalonian Hydra. They’re only $15, and $20 respectively TCG Mid and have plenty of room to grow (if Chandra, Pyromaster is any indication there’s a TON) if some type of heavy Green ramp/devotion strategy catches on. I know its much cooler to try to pick up 500 copies of Reverent Hunter than 20 Garruks and 20 Hydras but its also much riskier and harder to get out of.

Don’t freak out that U/W/x decks didn’t do very well last weekend, in fact, if there are any people panicking about their U/W staples, you should be happy to help them out before they change their mind. Its entirely possible that Jace, Architect of Thought gets phased out or is at least less popular as the format trends towards bigger creatures and that Sphinx’s Revelation isn’t good enough in attrition matchups because all the cards it draws don’t really do anything. In that case, I’d still rather have them than nearly any card in Theros over the next month or two, and that’s looking at their worst case scenario. If the pros still like using Islands this weekend we’ll probably going to see $40 Jaces in Standard sooner rather than later.

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