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From Columbus With Love

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Finance, Magic Culture

I started the weekend by lighting two $20 bills on fire to play Standard. I went 1-2 drop and then I was on my way to the trade tables. Whatever. I got a camera feature match and I got to kill someone with a Wolf Runned Angel of Serenity. That’s a lot of action for three rounds!

You never know how the weekend is going to pan out when it comes to trading. Sometimes it’s a huge blow out. These are the times when the majority of the traders are the typical value-grinding douche bags that can’t hold a conversation or even be bothered with concepts like manners, respecting people, and fairness. I thought it was going to be one of those days. The trade floor started out by trying to prove me right.

Lesson One

Douche Bag: Wanna Trade?

Me: Sure.

Douche Bag: How much on your Savannah?

Me: $110

He flips the page.

Douche Bag: How much on Snapcaster Mage?

Me: $25

This exchange goes on for another five minutes. He was running the typical game of overvaluing his cards and undervaluing mine.  The key to this game is to only under/overvalue cards slightly so that if you get caught you can blame price fluctuation. Obviously, this is scummy, but I let it slide because it’s normal behavior for a value trader. But then he got greedy:

Douche Bag: I’d also be interested in the foil Magma Jet.

I played dumb.

Me:  What’s that worth?

Douche Bag: $3.

Me: Really? What’s a regular one worth?

Douche Bag: Like fifty cents.

Fun fact: Mama Jet is $1-2 on most buylists, but why not string this guy along a little more? If he’s going to waste my time by trying to “get me” then I might as well have some fun with it.

Me: Okay. Let me find something for $4.

I took my time looking through his binder and then I pulled out a Deathrite Shaman and asked if he could find an $11 dollar card in my binder. While he was looking I took my phone out.  

Me: I’m going to check the Magma Jet just to be sure.

He closed the binder.

Douche Bag: I didn’t see anything.

Me: Wait a second it’s loading.

He stood up and started putting his stuff away.

Douche Bag: I’ve gotta go. My round is up.

Me: Looks like foil Magma Jet is $8.

He tries to act surprised.

Douche Bag: Oh really, I just wanted it for my Modern burn deck.

Me: Sure you did.

Here’s a pro tip kids: when you’re trading with a guy who has a binder full of foils and judge promos, don’t assume that he doesn’t know the price of his foil Magma Jet. That’s lesson number one. Don’t worry there’s more wisdom on the way. Reading that long pointless story was just the initiation fee to get to the real info.

Modern Strategy

Even though my day started out on the rocky side of things, it got much better. My goal for the last few months has been to get Modern cards. Some may say that this is a terrible play with Modern Masters around the corner, but I think it’s a fine play.

Modern Masters will add more supply of certain cards to the market which will cause all previous printings of the card to drop in value. How much? We don’t know. It depends on how much they plan on printing.  It also depends on how much demand there is for the cards after the release of Modern Masters. With the release of Modern Masters and with Modern as an FNM Format, I think that the demand for Modern cards is going to grow significantly. This means that after the initial dip from the reprint, some cards will rebound due to their demand. If they do then picking those cards up now is a big win for me. If they don’t, well, we have a plan for that too.

I’m not much for speculating. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think about which cards will go up or go down. As you can see from the previous paragraph, I do think about those things. The difference is that I don’t make decisions based solely on if I think a card will go up. In the case of Modern cards, I have another motivation: Pro Tour Qualifier (PTQ) Season. With PTQ season upon us, the demand for these cards is starting to ramp up and I want to be stocked. Being stocked is an important function of being an online store and it goes much deeper than flipping cards for profit. There is intangible value in being the “go-to” place for Modern cards. Are you still following me?

My decision has layers (like an ogre [ed: or a parfait]). The first layer being that I want to be stocked for PTQ season. The second layer is that there’s an outside shot that my stock may also appreciate in value despite the Modern Master release. There’s even a third layer that I didn’t talk about, but it’s relates to focusing on Modern cards after the Modern Masters cut off of Alara block. Cards like Inquisition of Kozilek are sure to appreciate in value. In short, my seemingly innocuous statement of “my goal is to pick up Modern cards” has layers of protection to keep me from make a bad investment.

Quick Hits

Yes, I have totally taken the train of the tracks and down a cliff and set it on fire. Let’s get back on track. The whole purpose of this article was to give you the latest from the trade floor. I accomplished my goal in a big way this weekend by picking up an all-Modern collection and trading for cards I needed to buff up my stock. Every weekend on the trade floor yields new information and confirms things that I might be unsure of. Here’s a list of cards that you should know about.

Disclaimer: The pricing that is with the heading of each card is an amalgamation of many prices. It’s pretty close to the price that we will be selling these cards for on Legit MTG and it’s an acceptable value to give at the trade tables. For eBay/TCG Player pricing, see the graphs.

Deathrite Shaman ($15)

Snapcaster Mage, you better check yo self! Deathrite Shaman is the real deal. He’s proven himself as an Eternal staple and promises to climb into the realm of Snapcaster Mage, Stoneforge Mystic, and Noble Hierarch. The fact that he has been hiking in value despite all the downward pressure of Magic Online redemptions tells me that it’s going to continue to rise steadily. There are too many things going right with this card for it to slow down.

One of the telling signs that this card is under priced at $15 is the fact that its foil sells for almost four times that amount. The other thing is that its buylist value is over 50% of the card’s value. They are $8 on some buylists and even $10 on others (including ours).

deathriteg

Future price (1 month) : $20-$25

Serra Ascendant ($15)

Let me tell you what’s happened to every EDH Player ever: you’re sitting at the table shuffling up, ready for some EDH fun and the [Insert Random White X General here] player drops a white source and a Serra Ascendant on turn one. The table groans.

“Sorry, guys. I can’t not play it.”

After you get the wrong end of this beat sick for three to four turns, you only know one thing. Well, two things:

1) You’re going to get revenge in the next few games against Ascendant boy.

2) You need a Serra Ascendant for your EDH collection.

The demand for this card was already high before the Modern Soul Sisters deck started to make a splash. With Modern season approaching, the price has punched through the ceiling. This card will never return to $4, but unless it sees play beyond the Soul Sisters deck in Modern, I can’t see it maintaining this price. I expect it to drop back down once the dust settles.

serraascendantg

Future price (6 months): $8-$10

Jace, Memory Adept ($20)

Shortly after I tweeted about the Duskmantle Guildmage interaction, the card disappeared from the internet. To be fair, the slow nature of Standard has already put this card in high demand and the Duskmantle interaction was probably just a nudge along the card’s trajectory. The current spoilers suggest that the Dimir want to win by milling and that fact further strengthens Memory Adept’s position. I’m not sure how this will pan out. I can see Memory Adept being a power house against the control decks, but a liability against aggro strategies. I can also foresee traditional control decks running Jace, Architect of Thought to combat the higher casting cost threat. That raises the question: is it worth running Memory Adept if it’s bad against aggro and unreliable against control? It seems we’ve gone down quite the rabbit hole here. It’s a hole that I don’t care to explore any further. One thing is for certain: unexplored possibilities translates into price spikes.

memoryadeptg

Future Price: ?

The Brothers Garruk ($15 /$20)

Garruk Relentless has always sold well for me and it has even seen a smattering of Legacy play in Nic Fit and Maverick. Garruk, Primal Hunter is now on the rise because of his appearance in Standard. Both Garruks are taking the format by storm. There were ten copies of Relentless and seven of Primal Hunter in the top eight of the Columbus Standard Open. I expect these cards to bounce up and down as the meta shifts. That’s what both of these cards have done since they’ve been released. If you remember, Primal Hunter was $30 plus at one point, only to fall to $6 and now rise again.

Garruk Relentless $15

relentlessg

Future price: $12

Garruk, Primal Hunter $20

primalhunterg

Future price: Five Mana?

The Eldrazi (Above $25)

These cards are really hard to buy. I’ve been an official “buyer” for over two years and it’s rare that I get to squeeze these out of anyone’s binder. The price just can’t seem to catch up with the demand. One thing about these that is not commonly known is that foil prices are insane (see below). These are not going down in price. Even after Emrakul, the Aeons Torn got a promo and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre got the From the Vault (FTV) treatment, they have continued to rise. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth is the only one that hasn’t been reprinted, so it has the most potential. But all of these still have plenty of room to grow. Here are the current prices:

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn $30

Foil $50
Promo $20

emrakulg

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre $30

Foil $40
FTV $25

ulamogg

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth $30

Foil $80

kozilekg

Thragtusk $20

Most people were trying to trade them off and the price has already fallen to $18 on TCG player. The card is still all over Standard, so I’m not sure why it’s on the decline. If I had to guess, I assume that the excitement of the new set is moving people out of their current decks as they prepare for new Standard. There’s also the fact that the event deck has been circulating for a few months now, adding a small influx to the market. Maybe people are hedging against Skull Crack, the new anti-life gain spell. No matter the reason, Star City Games is being stubborn on the price, keeping it at $25 and buying them at $15. You be the judge on this one, to sell or not to sell.

thragtuskg

Future price (6 months): $10

Goodbye for Now

There’s a lot more analysis that can be done here and plenty of cards that I haven’t mentioned, but finance information has a very short shelf life. It’s only three days after the event and the information in this article is already becoming useless. That means it’s more important for me to publish this as-is than to analyze it deeper. I hope you enjoyed this. If you have questions or if you just want to give me a high-five, then hit me up in the comments! Thanks for reading.

Jonathan Medina
@mtgmedina on Twitter

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