Wesconomics: Rare and Mythic Stock Tips

Thursday, Sept. 2 – This week, I will discuss a number of cards I believe are at their peak (and should be sold), as well as cards I believe will rise in value (and should therefore be acquired).

I’m not at the level of Ben Bleiweiss when it comes to studying price trends, nor am I at the level of Patrick Chapin when it comes to anticipating future metagames. But I am good enough at both price trends and metagames to make informed decisions that return net profits when investing in Magic cards. This week, I will discuss a number of cards I believe are at their peak (and should therefore be sold), as well as cards I believe will rise in value in the coming months (and should therefore be acquired).

As a word of caution about investments: sometimes they don’t pan out. I still have a thousand-count box that is filled with Jinxed Chokers, Maralen of the Mornsongs, and Andradite Leeches. Fortunately, all these cards have already paid for themselves at least three times over thanks to the Tangle Wires, Cursed Scrolls, Rishadan Ports, Tarmogoyfs, Grim Monoliths, and Stoneforge Mystics that did pan out.

Investing in prognostications involves taking a risk, and sometimes your investments fail. The key is to recoup all of the money lost from your failed ventures from your successful ventures, plus more.

Primeval Titan — Move
I just completed my playset of Primeval Titans this weekend, and when I return from my two-week trip to Europe, hopefully I will own zero.

They are still trading at a healthy $50, and dealers are buying them for between $32 and $38. I do not see this price going up, nor do I see it remaining this high for much longer. The Green Titan peaked shortly after M11 was released, when everyone was scrambling to acquire them. Multiple Primeval Titan decks performed well in Japan, including Destructive Force decks and Turbo Land decks. Now that the hype of those decks as subsided and everybody who wanted to play the hot new decks has their playset, I expect the market to begin filling up with unwanted Titans. People will be looking to switch decks and get rid of him.

I doubt the price will drop below $25 since it is a very powerful Mythic, but I don’t see him maintaining Baneslayer Angel levels of value for as long as she did. If Abyssal Persecutor dropped as far as it did after the initial hype despite continuing to see play, I am skeptical that Primeval Titan will hold its value better. I don’t expect him to see much play in Extended — so unlike Elspeth, Knight-Errant and Baneslayer Angel, the Titan has mostly Standard appeal.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant — Move
If you still own your Elspeth, Knight-Errants, you may have already missed your opportunity to move that at a premium. As soon as word got out that Elspeth vs. Tezzeret was on the horizon, people started flooding the market with their White Planeswalkers. Hopefully you were among them. I wasn’t, because I was still playing with two of them in my Blue/White control deck and someone else was borrowing the other two for their Mythic deck. Nevertheless, you can purchase the new Elspeth for about $17.

Despite the old artwork being far better, if play value is all you’re concerned with, unload your old art Elspeths if possible. I do expect Elspeth to continue seeing play, even post-rotation, in Extended. However, I expect it will not be worth more than $25 anytime soon. When you consider that she is rotating out of Standard, and I have little reason to believe her price will go anywhere but down.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant (MTGO Digital version) — Acquire
Due to a glitch having to do with emblems, Magic Online found it easiest to just ban Elspeth altogether until they can fix it. As a result, there will be people trying to do two kinds of things:

1) Trade off the cards in their current Elspeth-based deck for cards in a non-Elspeth-based deck, or:

2) Get rid of their Elspeths, because they don’t realize the ban will only last until the emblem mechanic gets fixed.

Both types of people will be looking to get rid of their Planeswalkers, and bots are not buying them at a premium right now. So keeping an ad in the classifieds saying you are buying Elspeth for more than anyone else will probably yield a profit for you whenever they fix and unban her.

Fauna ShamanAcquire
Right now Fauna Shaman trades for around $12-$15. My initial thoughts about the card were that it was overrated. But after playing with it enough, I realize it is a very solid card. It dies to anything, it’s slow, it ties up your mana… but if it’s not killed on the spot, it can almost single-handedly take over a game.

Fauna Shaman is to creatures what Knight of the Reliquary is to lands. I remember a time when Knight of the Reliquary was worth about $10-12, and then slowly dipped down to around $4-5 — and then it suddenly shot up to $25.

I’m not sure whether Fauna Shaman will lose value in the short term or not, but I can almost guarantee you that within a year Fauna Shaman will be worth more than $12. It has the potential to be busted if a card resembling Recurring Nightmare gets printed — but even without such a card, the Elf Shaman will undoubtedly see rampant play in both Standard and Extended in the coming year. Pick these up now!

Jace, the Mind SculptorAcquire
Jace TMS trades for about $80-85 right now. When Alara Block rotates out of Standard, I expect this to be the first Magic card in the history of Standard to be worth $100. The card not only sees play but is a firm staple in Standard, Extended, Legacy, and even Vintage! Calling it a “staple” is pretty conservative since, as far as Standard will be concerned, the more appropriate term is probably “format definer.” How will you deal with this card in the future?

Bob Maher and Owen Turtenwald recently battled for the Vintage Championship trophy at Gen Con… And both of them were playing Jace, the Mind Sculptor decks. When asked about how good Jace is in Vintage, Bob declared, “If you don’t have a way to get Jace off the board immediately, you can’t win.” That’s a pretty strong endorsement for a card that is currently legal in every Constructed format.

Abyssal PersecutorAcquire
Conley Woods loves this card about as much as I love Trusty Machete. He recently played four copies in his Vintage deck, and had success with it at the Vintage Championships. He has also been brewing plenty of decks that center around the card. Even without accounting for Conley’s endorsement of the card, I believe the current value of $8-12 is low. I can’t see it going much lower than that price, so I see picking them up as a safe investment with the potential for a huge reward. I would not be surprised if they reach $25 again by the time Alara Block rotates out of Standard — though I would be surprised if they dropped below $10.

I wouldn’t go crazy on this card, but I would trade for at least an extra play set if you can pick it up for under $50. There is a good chance you’ll double your money, and very little chance that you’ll lose more than 20% of your investment.

Grave Titan — Move
I do not have much faith in any of the Titans to hold value in the long term. M11 as a whole is a bit underwhelming, and even though six mana for ten power worth of creatures is a lot, it’s really just a glorified Broodmate Dragon. If Broodmate Dragon were Mythic, it would have ended up around $8-10, even when Jund was interested in six-drops. Now that Aaron Wilburn got 9th place at U.S. Nationals with the Grave Titan/Jund homebrew he has been working on forever, I expect demand for the Black Titan to rise in the short term. I would recommend riding this wave of demand and moving them at the $25-30 they are currently trading for.

I don’t think a lot of people fully understand what will happen to Standard once Alara Block rotates out. You will have Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Mana Leak, without Blightning or Bloodbraid Elf or Maelstrom Pulse. The ramp decks will not be ramping into Grave Titans…. And this assumes that ramp strategies will even continue to be any good (which I am skeptical of). I doubt there will be a deck that wants to run Grave Titan once Scars of Mirrodin is released, unless Scars has some sweet Titan combo interaction (which is unlikely). Get rid of these now before they lose half their value or more.

Cryptic CommandAcquire
Right now you can pick up the original version or the promo foil version for around $8 each. Once the Extended season rolls around, that will be quite the bargain. I expect many of the decks to be either combo or reactive decks. Cryptic Command will play a significant role in the reactive decks. $8 is low, but $20 is probably the cap on this card.

Reflecting PoolAcquire
Like Cryptic Command, decks will need to fix their mana in Extended, and everyone loves Reflecting Pool. There are a lot of options in terms of mana for Extended right now, but once Time Spiral Block rotates out between the Pro Tour and the PTQ season, the combo decks will get diluted and control decks will thrive. Many of these control decks will run Reflecting Pool.

Right now you can pick these up for between $6 and $10, and I expect them to be worth at least $12 to $15 by the third or fourth week of the PTQ season. If you got rid of yours when they rotated out of Standard, now is a good time to start picking them back up for Extended before they double in value.

Doubling SeasonAcquire
These are worth about $12-$s15 right now, see no play in any competitive format, but show no signs at all of losing value. Those in the know are going to hate me for giving away this secret stock tip… But Doubling Season is literally infinitely tradeable. I have never traded off a Doubling Season for less than twice the amount I acquired it at, and I have also never owned a Doubling Season for more than two weeks. It is a bizarre card that is aptly named.

If you are looking to pick up hot trade fodder, invest the majority of your money in Doubling Seasons. Competitive players have no use for it at all, while casual players want it more than almost any card. I would gladly trade my Primeval Titan for a playset of Doubling Seasons.

Pyromancer’s Ascension — Acquire
Gerry Thompson talked about how this card should see more play in Standard, Extended, and even Legacy than it is currently seeing. Gerry is usually right about these sorts of things — and even when he is not right, people usually follow his advice anyway. Either way, I expect this card to be worth more than the $1-$2 it is currently trading at. I’m currently looking to pick up non-foil versions for $1 and foil versions for $3. If it ends up being even a marginally successful Legacy deck, as I believe it will be, I expect the card to be worth at least $3 non-foil and $9 foil. If you jump on the train early, you can potentially triple your money.

Probably the biggest difficulty at this point is overcoming the perceived notion that Pyromancer’s Ascension is worth anything at the moment. You might be best off just buying a certain number of them from a dealer and sitting on them for a few months.

Grove of the Burnwillows — Move
If you are reading this and Pro Tour: Amsterdam has already happened, trade this off as soon as possible, before the Magic community at large puts the following two pieces of information together:

1) Time Spiral Block rotates when Scars of Mirrodin enters Extended, and:
2) Scars of Mirrodin is released after Pro Tour: Amsterdam and before the ensuing Extended PTQ season.

I imagine there will be enough people scrambling to acquire these before the imagined upswing only to realize none of the Time Spiral cards will experience an upswing.

If you are reading this before Pro Tour: Amsterdam has happened, then trade these off now! They are only actually worth anything for this one last tournament.

This was a card that was initially hyped pretty highly, and it has done more than live up to the initial hype. The card made Top 8 in at Grand Prix: Columbus in a Legacy Blue-Green Madness decks. It has seen play in multiple successful Standard decks including Next Level Bant, Naya, and some Jund builds. The card is also poised to see play in Extended. This all means that demand for Vengevine is going up and not showing any signs of declining.

It’s not quite Tarmogoyf or Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but it is a four-of in plenty of decks across every non-Vintage format. His value will only go up when people scramble for remaining answers to Jace, the Mind Sculptor in post-rotation Standard as well.

Rise of the Eldrazi Booster Packs — Acquire
I have about four boxes worth of Rise of the Eldrazi boosters in the trunk of my car, mainly from tournament prizes just before M11 was released. I’ve been trying to get rid of them for $5 a Draft set and have been unable to move any of them. If for whatever reason you are looking to pick up cheap Draft sets, there are plenty of others in my same position who would be happy to unload their outdated Draft sets for a low price.

Given the fact that this was one of the best Draft expansions ever created, I would imagine the demand for Rise of the Eldrazi boosters will exist to some extent even in the distant future, despite Vengevine being the only card in the set that will most likely have enduring value beyond Standard.

Besides, buying a box for $50-60 and opening a Vengevine basically means free-rolling the entire rest of the box.

As I said in the beginning, not all of these stock tips will work out. I will likely be wrong on at least one or two of the above cards (if not more!), so be careful investing a lot in any single one of my tips. Nonetheless, I feel pretty confident that the package as a whole will be profitable.

So if you’re looking to make some money and want to put your faith in Wesconomics, I would recommend diversifying your portfolio (or, more likely, your trade binder) by investing a little in each of my suggested acquisitions rather than a lot in any one of them. Even better, consider my arguments for why I’m advising you to acquire each card, and invest more in the ones that sound more reasonable to you. Two minds are usually better than one.

However you decide to use my advice, good luck with your investments!