A few months after the Battle of Tix event, it is time for some reflection on the event, the participants, and speculating on MTGO. As a general conclusion, the event brought us exactly what we wanted - a broad spectrum of individuals in the finance community, from the seasoned to uninitiated MTGO speculators - a race to the finish - and of course, the disappearance of one of the competitors - never to be heard from again.
The Winner - Nicolas Cancellara
As a 10-year MTGO finance veteran, Nicolas came into the competition with the most experience in the market - and it paid off throughout the event. He was able to slowly and steadily increase his earnings throughout the competition, with some big bets in Week 19/20 paying off to springboard him to a fight to the finish with Joe Hill. Nicolas’s final tally was 1564 Event Tickets; this was both good enough to win the competition, and also net Nicolas a cool 1,064 ticket profit for his work in the competition. His approach to the event was very pragmatic, sticking to known strategies in MTGO, playing things safely, and moving in and out of positions when the time was right. Like many of the other contestants, and despite his prior experience, Nicolas learned a lot about MTGO timing and investing from the competition.
Runner Up - Joe Hill
Joe’s background was unique in the competition because he had extensive experience in both paper and digital finance. His experience in MTGO allowed him to capitalize on knowing which bot chains to use and when - an extremely important aspect of being able to get into and out of positions on MTGO quickly.
Not only was Joe one of the most active participants - making the most number of transactions throughout the event - he also put an extensive amount of time into his update articles. If you haven’t read his articles from the event, they are absolutely worth a read (see them all here) - especially for someone interested in dabbling in MTGOFinance - just make sure you have some serious time set aside, because they are extensive.
Despite Joe’s lead in the competition from Week 6 through Week 20, a strong push at the end from Nicolas Cancellara at the end and a tough Week 21 result put him just 60 Event Tickets behind Nicolas at the deadline. For his trouble, Joe earned 1,004 tickets profit - and left a lasting impression on the MTGOFinance arena for the effort he put into writing valuable articles for the event.
As a well-known MTGFinance (paper) writer and expert, Ryan’s participation in the competition allowed a unique look at how and whether paper expertise can translate effectively to the MTGO speculation market. Although Ryan jumped out to an early lead in Week 4 with a very successful Pro Tour weekend, his results for the rest of the competition stagnated as he realized the amount of time and attention a MTGO finance portfolio requires. He made correct picks, but wasn’t able to unload the cards for profit before the prices settled back down due to his busy RL schedule traveling to Grand Prixs. His final article reaches an important conclusion for those considering MTGO speculation - this is not a buy it and sit on it market; you need to be actively monitoring prices and events because the MTGO market moves very, very fast. If you can’t devote significant amount of attention to your open specs, you are better off avoiding the MTGO speculation market. Despite this lesson, Ryan managed to complete the competition with 702 Event Tickets - a 202 ticket profit.
Tobias came into the competition as a casual MTGFinance player, using it to bolster both his paper and online collections. Like Ryan, Tobias learned the hard way that keeping up with MTGO speculation is a time-intensive process; also like Ryan, Tobias had little experience with MTGO speculation. Tobias fell behind early with a difficult Week 4 Pro Tour. Although he was able to battle back to almost break even by Week 14, things took a further turn for the worse and he ended the competition with just 300 tickets - a 200 ticket loss. In his final article, Tobias explored his experience, reflecting on his unpreparedness for the MTGO speculation market, and the very fast swings in prices that can chew you up and spit you out. With a significantly smaller bankroll than the leaders in the competition very early on, Tobias was never able to get back into the race and compete for the win.
David Shawn - Inactive/Dropped
The unfortunate risk with how we ran the competition was that we were giving contestants 500 MTGO Event Tickets each and trusting them to not only participate proactively in the competition, but to also return those tickets at its conclusion. David took an early, bold “do nothing” approach for the first four weeks of the competition, explaining that he did have a strategy in mind and that he wasn’t simply ignoring the competition. He made a few small (~50 ticket) purchases in Week 5, and it looked like maybe he really did have a strategy. As it turned out, the strategy ended up being “disappear with the 500 Event Tickets”. David made no further transactions for the next 6 weeks, and after Week 11 - when he was unreachable despite numerous attempts - it was determined that he had absconded with the Event Tickets and he was declared Inactive - and his “progress” no longer tracked. We knew this was a risk going into the competition, so we won’t let it affect our future consideration of events like this - but it is still a shame that it happened - not only to lose the 500 Event Tickets in such a way, but to effectively have only 4 participants during the competition.
The selection of backgrounds proved to be an excellent way to view the realities of MTGO speculation. Those with experience in the MTGO market were able to navigate successfully and earn a tidy 200%+ profit throughout the competition. Paper experience certainly has some overlaps in identifying potential specs, but that will be meaningless without the time and wherewithal to cash out those specs at the right times. Pro Tours, bannings, and other market moving events matter greatly on MTGO, just like in paper; however, the violence of the price swings can make the market very challenging for the uninitiated.
We sincerely thank the participants for the time and effort they put into the event. We appreciate everyone that followed the action and we hope that the information and lessons learned by the participants was valuable to you in your own endeavors. This competition was a new experiment for us, and we were excited with the level of engagement from the finance community. If you have any feedback about this competition, or would like to see more events like this, let us know in the comments or via social media.