Time's running out! By next week, we need to have our portfolios liquidated for the final tally. I’ll again be going over my thoughts on positions I’ve recently closed and give an overview of my strategy for the final week.
Molten Vortex - I had picked this up months ago, in hopes that it would do something. I mean, I really like the interaction with Drownyard Temple, I think it’s super sweet. This got a bump from the above mentioned budget deck, so I happily got out of it, even though I only netted 1 tix in profit.
I snap bought these when the EMN number crunch confirmed they wouldn’t be reprinted. I thought it was the perfect storm for Damnation, everything lined up just right. The price had just halved because of flashback drafts, so it was a cheap pickup, and I assumed with the end of flashbacks AND not being in EMA (which people had clamored for) that it was a no-brainer. Turns out I was wrong and the price has stagnated, except for, you know, just now, after I sold…
Similarly, I had thought Omni-Tell was still a great deck in Legacy, so no reprint of Omniscience was a clear sign that the price would be moving up. I guess I didn’t fully appreciate the wide-scale destruction that Eldrazi has brought to Legacy. Is Omni-Tell even still a deck? That’s probably the question I should have asked before making this spec.
Chord of Calling – This was the final position I had leftover from the multi-GP ‘Modern Weekend’ back in May. I don’t really get it. Chord is still good, it gets played in decks and does well, but the price keeps falling. Perhaps the problem is that the redemption from the M15 version was propping up the RAV version’s price, and that is following it’s natural down-trend as we approach the redemption cutoff date for M15 (Nov 2016, I believe). Lost 1.6 tix, feels bad to lose, even just a little.
Demonic Pact & Dark Petition – I would hope by now everyone has heard how CatPact ripped through Grand Prix Portland. When this deck was, like, 10-1, somebody posted about it on reddit and I immediately bought some copies of Pact and Petition, even though the spike had already started for Pact. Despite getting in a bit late, I still managed almost 1 tix/card profit on Pact, walking away with an easy 15 tix. Dark Petition grew a bit more slowly, so I started selling out too early, as I didn’t anticipate a slow growth. I still managed almost 12 tix from Petition, but I could have managed at least 3-4 more, had I sold later. I can’t complain too much, though, as the trajectory was a bit odd, to me, at least.
Narset Transcendent – Narset also made a showing at GP Portland. I had forgotten that she had a whopping 6 loyalty for only 4 mana, so I optimistically picked up a playset. Then, my senses returned and I realized that it’s very unlikely for her to take off, as she just doesn’t affect the board enough. I did get lucky and make half a ticket, so that’s something, right?
Sunken Hollow – I had mentioned Hollow before. Most of my 37 total copies were sold during the PT EMN spike, as flavors of U/B were doing well. I held onto 8 copies hoping for further gains. They didn’t come and the price fell after the PT. I managed to out those last 8 at about what I could have gotten during the PT, so all was not lost. 24 tix profit for a solid, if unexciting, spec. Lands are frequently good specs as they show semi-patterned volatility, but you’re unlikely to get any kind of extreme spikes for incredible profits.
Westvale Abbey – 0.052 tix profit!! Woooo!!! We did it! I had initially bought into these at the end of June for 1.5 tix and was up at least 0.25 tix/card in July. Turns out this card doesn’t do much in EMN standard? I had to buy into two more playsets at 1 tix each in order to lower my average buy price and eventually break even at the first opportunity.
Hushwing Gryff – I think that I thought M15 was standard legal when I made this spec? Maybe I was anticipating it doing something in Modern during the GPs? I still think it’s a nice little card with a underrated ability. Maybe Modern Hatebears just has too many good hatebears? In any case, this was a bad choice for Battle of Tix, as it’s a long term hold where you just wait for the metagame to shift. I was luckily able to make 0.6 tix profit (150% gains!, #DeceptiveStats), which I attribute to fluctuating demand from M15 redemption.
Thought-Knot Seer – I grabbed this when standard card prices tanked post-PT EMN. It was virtually at an all-time low, so seemed like a slam dunk. And, it did recover quickly, putting me at ~1 tix profit/card. Then, just as fast, it started to tank as people realized small Eldrazi isn’t a thing, only Emrakul and Emerge Eldrazi are being played. Thankfully, I was able to get out before the floor completely fell out from under me: 6.5 tix profit
Cinder Glade – This spec really should have done better in my opinion. *Checks price history* Ah, yes, the classic up-tick after I sell. Actually, I think the real issue was that I just bought in a little too high. Live and learn. +3 tix, which is honestly not bad for a 13 tix investment
Evolutionary Leap & Den Protector – Budget Deck, + 15 tix & -3.5 tix. The spike with this one was MUCH slower than what I’ve seen in the past, so I got out of Evolutionary Leap far too soon, probably halving my potential profit. Now, this deck did salvage my horribly failed Den Protector spec. I spec’d on Den Protector right after the SOI rotation. I think the lesson there is to wait until you see the post-rotation metagame. It was, in all honestly, a very stupid move to get in on Den Protectors, elevated in price from being a significant part of the metagame, before seeing how the metagame will evolve. Fortunately, I stubbornly held onto these as the price fell for months. I bought in at 4.38, and the buy price got as low as 0.6 tix….It was very lucky that this budget deck came along and let me sell for 3.5, that saved me 12 tix in losses. I may have been rewarded for bad behavior, there. The smart strategy would have been to sell out back in April when it became apparent that Den Protector + Deathmist Raptor ‘wasn’t a thing’ anymore, taking a loss, but preventing a catastrophic loss. So, yeah, multiple mistakes made there. Bought in without respecting the shifting metagame. Also bought in without much analysis, using the excuse that “I need to take some new risks.” Held too long out of optimism and stubbornness/fear because I didn’t want to take a loss.
Atarka's Command – The gains on this command had stalled, so I sold out while the getting was still good, +25 tix. Looking at the price history…me selling out might have caused the price to dip, even though it was only ~20 copies?
Lumbering Falls – Similar to Sunken Hollow. Most of these were dumped during the G/U Crush hype the week before the PT. I kept 12 copies hoping that G/U Crush would make a showing at the PT and push the price even higher. That turned out to be a bit too greedy of me. Recently, the price trajectory started to trend down, so I got rid of my last 12 at sub-optimal rates, but still +20 tix overall for the spec.
Day's Undoing – Picked up during PT Portland coverage when it received some press as a way to screw over Delirium. I think it’s pretty sweet, but I wasn’t cometely sold, and I was getting in a bit late, so I only picked up 12 copies. It took a week after the GP for the price to finally go up, for some reason. Whatever. +6 tix
Dragonlord Kolaghan – Part of my going wide for PT EMN. I’ve always thought Big Daddy K’s last ability was super slick. However, I must shamefully admit that I did not immediately make the connection that it could be a great hoser when Delirium decks burst on the scene. I had pretty much given up on this spec and resigned to take the ~10 tix loss (bought in ~2 tix each). But, there were murmurings during GP Portland that Big Daddy K was the real deal, allowing Jund to beat Emrakul. So, I, uh, triple-downed, buying 24 more copies. The price spike never materialized, but we did see a bit of gains, such that I could break even with the spec, which is better than being down ~10 tix, so…not terrible.
Diregraf Colossus – I picked up the colossus pretty soon after SOI’s release, knowing that zombies could randomly be a thing at some point, so there’s no harm in ‘investing’ about half a tix. Sure enough, EMN spoiler hype had Colossus riding high, which is when I sold out of most copies. Foolishly, instead of closing the position during the hype, I kept a single playset tucked away “just in case.” Well, the full EMN spoiler revealed very little zombie power, and Colossus (appropriately) tanked. +4 tix for this spec, coulda been +5, but oh well. If you are already keeping an eye on the pulse of the market, random little specs like this are nice. They don’t cost much, and you can make a few tix, but you have to be watching the market, because the spikes happen, then fade, so quickly.
As I mentioned last time, I’m on a “CoCo” strategy at the moment, involving CoCo itself, Dromoka's Command, and Oath of Nissa. Last week, I was actually +40 tix on CoCos, then….the price dropped back down to where I bought in? I’m very confused as to what’s going on. CoCo continues to put up good numbers. Heck, it even won the SCG Invitational in Modern Elves. Looking only at tournament performance, it should be doing great. Perhaps everyone is still underestimating CoCo because they don’t want it to be good anymore. Maybe people already sold their CoCos and don’t want to buy in, knowing it’ll rotate soon. Standard prices, across the board, have pretty much just been dropping the past couple of weeks. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ll try to make due.
With ~2 weeks left, and 750 tix, I made a final gambit, a push to earn a few more tix before the end. I spent all my tix 1) going deeper into CoCo and 2) grabbing some Zen Fetch lands during the flashback drafts.
Both of these are somewhat risky moves. I actually got the fetches on Thursday, the first full day of Zen drafts. It was probably a bit premature, but everyone is going to be speccing on Zen fetches, so I anticipated a very short window. Hopefully I did okay and prices will continue to rise this week as people draft less. I believe I got in on everything so that I won’t lose any tix, but I might not make much.
As for the rest of my portfolio, it’s very very sad, unfortunately. I’ve cleaned out all the successes, so I’m left with a bunch of losers that I’m just praying will have a random spike to redeem themselves.
After all is said and done, I was planning to do an article with some metrics and number crunching. If there are any particular statistics you’re interested in, let me know, and I can try to include them.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions (particularly about features you’d like in a spreadsheet), I can be contacted via reddit (https://www.reddit.com/user/MTGKaioshin), Twitter (@MTGKaioshin), or email (MTGKaioshin@gmail.com)