In the comments of my Financial Predictions for Modern Masters article a couple months ago, it was requested that I write an article periodically that reflects on my predictions for the past year. I offered to do so if there was enough demand. The comment got 71 likes, so here is the promised article.
9/26/14 Financial Predictions for Khans of Tarkir
My overarching advice was to invest in the five fetchlands and in sealed product. Sealed product hasn't changed much, but each of the fetchlands is worth more now than they were at the set's release. As they are about to rotate out of Standard, I expect the market to be fairly saturated with them. A significant number of players only play Standard and will therefore be looking to trade off their fetches for newer Standard cards. My advice is to pick them up en masse. Once all the Standard-only players get rid of their fetches, they will start climbing in price due to Modern and Legacy demand. They will likely never again be as cheap or abundant as they are now and for the next few months.
Of my sleeper picks, Dig Through Time ended up being the slam dunk. It has proven to be the highest demand non-mythic rare in the set other than the five fetch lands. It will continue to pull demand from Legacy as long as it remains legal in the format.
Despite seeing some amount of play in Standard and Modern, Jeskai Ascendancy only briefly spiked to $4 before settling down around $1. If you picked them up at $2 at the time of the article and sold them when they peaked at $4, then you doubled your money. If you held on too long, thinking they would continue to rise in value, you may have either broken even or lost money. This is a combo card and has the ability to spike to $20 all of a sudden pending the printing of a card in a future set that works with Ascendancy in Modern or Legacy in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 way. At the current price of less than $1, the risk is low and the potential payoff can be high to very high.
My reasoning for Ghostfire Blade was accurate. I said it felt like an Eye of Ugin type card that would see Standard play upon playable artifacts being printed in a future set. Whirler Rogue ended up being that playable artifact. Nevertheless the price still did not really spike enough to make the initial investment worthwhile. It was at least enough to make all your money back and unload them all though.
Mindswipe, Villainous Wealth, Mardu Ascendancy, and Howl of the Horde never caught on, but three of seven sleeper picks waking up and seeing tournament play is a pretty solid rate, especially when one of those seven ends up being the premier sleeper of the set ( Dig Through Time).
The mythics of the set pretty much all tanked, in large part due to the crowding out effect generated by the five fetchlands. Siege Rhino retained its value for most of the year, seeing abundant play in Standard and some amount of play in Modern too.
Monastery Swiftspear proved itself as the premium Uncommon of the set, pulling a sizeable amount of demand from both Standard and Modern. In Standard it saw play in Red Aggro and in Modern it saw play in UR Delver.
1/23/15 Financial Predictions for Fate Reforged
I predicted the following three cards would be the top mythics to retain their value:
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Soulfire Grand Master
As it turned out, I was exactly right about this, including the ordering in price. I said that Ugin would be "the most expensive card in the set pretty much forever," which has so far held true and likely always will.
I did not Anticipate the Whisperwood Elemental spike, mostly because I underestimated how strong the card was. I figured it would not be able to compete with the other five-drops of the format, but I was wrong. It ended up being one of the defining staples of the format.
Tasigur, the Golden Fang was my lone sleeper pick of the set and I nailed it. The card spiked to nearly $12, which was triple the $4 price at the time the article was published. It has since dropped a bit in price but is still worth more than the $4 initial investment. As the premier delve payoffs in Modern, I expect Tasigur, the Golden Fang to slowly rise in value over time. He is among the few cards in Khans block that I expect to be a long term Modern staple.
My overarching advice for Fate Reforged, in addition to investing in Tasigur, the Golden Fang was to trade off your Fate Reforged cards for Khans fetchlands. For the most part, this proved to be good advice. Most of the initially high demand Fate Reforged cards tanked in value while Khans fetches and Tasigur went up in value.
3/27/15 Financial Predictions for Dragons of Tarkir
For this article instead of giving overarching pieces of advice like I did in the previous two financial articles, I gave more individual card advice and recommendations on which cycles of cards to invest in.
Of the mythics, I was correct that Narset Transcendent and Sarkhan Unbroken would tank in value from their positions as the two highest demand cards in the set. I was also correct that Deathmist was worth buying a playset of.
I said that all five of the dragonlords were good and I was right about four of the five. Dragonlord Kolaghan never caught on but the others all saw quite a bit of play. I predicted the cycle would "see more play than people are currently predicting," given their $4-7 prices. I ended up being correct on this as Ojutai and Atarka spiked in price while Dromoka and Silumgar remained about the same. The cycle proved to be an overall good investment.
I picked Shaman of the Forgotten Ways as the sleeper of the set, which it did not end up being. It seemed like it had a lot of upside, and it has seen some amount of play, but it definitely did not compete favorably with Deathmist Raptor or Courser of Kruphix for the three-drop spot in green decks.
I predicted that the Command cycle would rise in value and that each of the five commands was playable. I was correct about four of the five. Atarka's Command and Dromoka's Command each doubled in value at their peak (from $4 to $8). Ojutai's Command saw some play but dropped in value. Kolaghan's Command more than tripled in value from its starting price of $2, mostly due to Modern appeal rather than Standard appeal, seeing play in Jund alongside Eternal Witness and Grixis alongside Snapcaster Mage. Silumgar's Command basically just fell on its face, but if you followed my advice and bought a playset of each command, you overall turned $60 into $100, comparing starting prices to peak prices.
Another cycle I recommended investing in was the megamorph rare cycle. I said, "This whole cycle is playable and I would recommend investing $20 to acquire a playset of all five. I'm not yet sure which will spike but I predict at least one of these five will spike in a big way." As it turned out, Den Protector was the one that spiked, and it spiked so big that it became the sleeper of the set. It went from $1 all the way to $7! So if you invested in a play set of the entire cycle, then Den Protector more than paid for the whole cycle by itself.
I couldn't have been more wrong when I said $3.50 was too much for Collected Company. It ended up seeing lots of play in Standard and Modern, exceeding $10.
Of the ten cards in the set that proved to have the highest peak demands, I correctly advised to invest in:
I also correctly advised to sell Narset Transcendent and Sarkhan Unbroken.
The only card I was wrong about among the Top 10 was Collected Company.
I said to invest in a few other cards that didn't pan out, but they were mostly small investments that were more than paid off by the correct investments.
5/15/15 Financial Predictions for Modern Masters 2015
My overarching premise for Modern Masters 2015 was that the price patterns would follow that of Modern Masters 1. In the first three months of the set's release, this premise could not have been more wrong. As a result, my short term predictions were essentially a disaster. It's only been three months, but I expected a major spike by this time, just as we had seen with MM1. It's still very possible and I think fairly likely that we see a spike around the one-year mark, which is approximately when MM1 re-spiked. As long as Modern continues to grow, the demand for the format staples will increase proportionally, whether marked by gradual growth or by periodic spikes. In other words, even though pretty much everything across the board has dropped by 10-25% from its initial price, there is still good reason to believe that longer term the investments will turn a profit.
If we look at individual card advice, I recommended buying:
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Leyline of Sanctity
Eye of Ugin
I recommended selling:
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Iona, Shield of Emeria
All Is Dust
Tezzeret the Seeker
As it turned out, there were no good investments in the entire set. Every card dropped in price. Therefore every recommendation to sell was correct and every recommendation to buy was incorrect. Hence the best advice in the article was to sell off every card worth $4 or less. This proved to be very good advice as none such card is worth more than $1 currently.
As I already said in the beginning of this section, I would recommend staying the course. I expect Modern staples to rise in value as long as Modern is a supported format that continues to grow in popularity. Unlike with last year's Modern Masters set, the fruit is taking longer than expected to ripen this year. We'll be in a much better position to evaluate the investment advice for this set in nine more months. Anyone investing in Modern Masters probably already knew they were making a long term investment though anyway.
7/17/15 Financial Predictions for Magic Origins
For this article, instead of guessing by how much each card would increase or decrease in value, I based my predictions on how each card's value would change compared to the other cards in the set.
At the time the article was published, this was the relative price rankings from highest to lowest (and the direction I expected each card to move):
1. Liliana, Heretical Healer (down) – went down to 3
2. Nissa, Vastwood Seer (up) – stayed same at 2
3. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy (down) – went up to 1
4. Kytheon, Hero of Akros (up) – went down to 6
5. Day's Undoing (up) – went down to 8
6. Archangel of Tithes (down) – went down to 9
7. Goblin Piledriver (up) – went down to 11
8. Languish (down) – went down to 13
9. Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh (up) – went up to 5
10. Erebos's Titan (down) – went down to 19
11. Woodland Bellower (up) – went down to 15
12. Starfield of Nyx (down) – went down to 14
13. Avaricious Dragon (down) – went down to 25
14. Evolutionary Leap (up) – went down to 29
15. Exquisite Firecraft (down) – went up to 10
16. Sword of the Animist (down) – went down to 24
17. Harbinger of the Tides (up) – went down to 20
18. Demonic Pact (down) – went up to 12
19. Pyromancer's Goggles (up) – went up to 16
20. Alhammarret's Archive (up) – went up to 17
Among the high ticket items, Jace was the best buy and I got that one wrong. He ended up finding a couple of homes including Andrew Cuneo's UR Mill deck as well as Sultai Control.
I listed five cards under $1 and five cards between $1 and $2 to consider as potential sleepers in the set. As it turned out, no card in the set under $2 woke up. However, there were a pair of cards in the $3 range that shot up in value:
Abbot of Keral Keep
Abbot was a fixture in the Monored lists that performed well at Pro Tour Origins and therefore immediately doubled in value after the Pro Tour. Hangarback Walker, however, proved to be the true sleeper of the set. It fit into several archetypes, most notably UR Ensoul Artifact, but also found its way into the sideboard of Brian Kibler's GW deck and also into various UB and UW Control decks. It is even now replacing Rakshasa Deathdealer in Abzan Aggro, drastically improving the mana of the deck. Hangarback Walker is also seeing play in Modern Affinity. Hangarback Walker was definitely the one card I missed, and unfortunately when it comes to financial predictions there are no take backs – only hangarbacks.
2015 Financial Predictions Review in a Nutshell
My predictions for Khans of Tarkir were pretty spot on. My umbrella advice to invest in the five fetchlands was profitable and I correctly picked Dig Through Time as the sleeper of the set.
In Fate Reforged I undervalued Whisperwood Elemental but correctly assessed that Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Monastery Mentor, and Soulfire Grand Master would be the Top 3 mythics by this time. I also correctly picked Tasigur, the Golden Fang as the best investment in the set.
For Dragons of Tarkir I overvalued Shaman of the Forgotten Ways and undervalued Collected Company. I correctly predicted that the top two mythics in the set would tank and I also correctly predicted that investing in the dragonlord cycle, the command cycle, and the megamorph cycle would be profitable.
For Modern Masters 2015 it's still too early to determine how the investments will do, but instead of uniformly spiking by this time like MM1 did, they uniformly dropped.
I definitely missed three important cards in Magic Origins: Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Hangarback Walker, and Abbot of Keral Keep. The set hasn't been out long enough to give my predictions a fair chance at panning out, but it's at least clear that I missed all three of the cards that increased in value significantly so far.
I study patterns and use reason to support my predictions but ultimately it's my intuition that guides the process. As far as the past year of predictions is concerned, my intuition has performed much better than I realized. I'll have to revisit MM2015 and Magic Origins again later in the year to determine whether I just completely missed the mark with those sets or if my predictions just needed more time to come true.
Let me know if you want me to do another one of these next year.
Craig Wescoe@Nacatls4Life on twitter