In this MTGO 1 Event Ticket Collection Challenge, I was very high on Captain Lannery Storm from Ixalan. I bought into her at 0.14 tix each, only to watch her fall to 0.07 tix. She did recover enough for me to make a 0.02 total profit. But I bought in too early. I didn’t think that would be the case with Deadeye Tracker at 0.19 tix.
Then on the 10th, he fell to 0.05 tix. Ouch.
While Deadeye Tracker is starting to see more play, as I predicted, and will recover, I’m really kicking myself. How do I keep picking so badly?
That’s why I’m putting moves on hold today and discussing online vs paper card investments and how they wildly differ.
Deadeye Tracker is Still a Good Card!
The reasons I bought into Deadeye Tracker are still good ones. He’s a one-drop that doesn’t require others of his tribe to be effective. Already, he’s proving to be a useful sideboard card in four different deck archetypes in Standard. But he’s main-deck worthy, I believe. He just hasn’t found a home yet.
One-drops that are good in the mid to late game are really important. The drawback to Deadeye Tracker’s ability is that it requires your opponent to have two cards in the graveyard. But paying 1B to explore is great, even if you have to tap. Many other cards with explore work when they enter the battlefield, and this is repeatable. Explore is a cool mechanic because either you beef your guy and either put a card back or in the graveyard or you get a land to your hand. It’s not always instant card advantage, but in many cases it can be.
But the reason I really like this card is that it has potential in other formats. Modern, Legacy, and even EDH could warrant running this card. I realize in Modern and Legacy he might eat a Lightning Bolt, but that might be worth it if you’re boarding him in against Dredge, Reanimator, or another deck that relies on its graveyard. In EDH, he’s great in Pirate Tribal decks, but I can see him working in some other decks, as well.
Honestly, though, his day in the sun will likely be Standard. And because he’s not seeing widespread main deck play yet, the Tracker’s price is bouncing around. Any time he’s being drafted and his price rises, people cash them in and his price dips. I thought maybe he was good enough for people to not want to sell, but I was wrong.
On the other hand, in paper, his demand has been pretty flat. Copies are hitting the market about as often as they’re leaving and he’s still over $1.
The fact is, people really don’t like selling $1 cards. On MTGO, it’s so quick and easy to unload cards and buy back later that even cards that are on the fringes of Standard see huge peaks and valleys in their price graphs.
So while these are great to pick up in paper as a Standard spec and could be a big winner in Standard in the near future, I bought too soon online.
To remedy this, I’m going to only buy specs that are already 0.01 tix or have been bottomed out for some time (like a week). I’m also going to avoid Ixalan for now. It’s still being drafted so much that new copies are making seemingly good picks too risky. I’m already on the picks I want in the other Standard legal sets for now..
But what about beyond Standard?
First, let’s see where our portfolio stands:
Attune with Aether KLD 0.001 x 4 0.004
Search for Tomorrow MMA 0.002 x 3 0.006
Invigorated Rampage AER 0.002 x 4 0.008
Tainted Sigil ARB 0.002 4 x 0.008
Minister of Inquiries KLD 0.002 x 4 0.008
Kumena's Speaker XLN 0.002 x 4 0.008
Merfolk Branchwalker XLN 0.002 x 4 0.008
Essence Extraction KLD 0.002 x 4 0.008
Refurbish KLD 0.002 x 4 0.008
Blighted Agent NPH 0.002 x 4 0.008
Fairgrounds Warden KLD 0.002 x 4 0.008
Negate MOR 0.005 x 4 0.02
Entrancing Melody XLN 0.01 x 4 0.04
Arcane Adaptation XLN 0.01 x 4 0.04
Old-Growth Dryads XLN 0.01 x 4 0.04
Shadowed Caravel XLN 0.01 x 4 0.04
Walk the Plank XLN 0.01 x 4 0.04
Herald of Secret Streams XLN 0.01 x 4 0.04
Oviya Pashiri KLD 0.01 x 4 0.04
Mana Leak 8ED 0.01 x 4 0.04
Deadeye Tracker XLN 0.19 x 4 0.76
I made some more arbitrage picks, and the hotlist bots are simply getting their fill before I get to them! It’s been very frustrating, but after breaking even on some and hitting on others, I was able to cash out an event ticket!
This is both good and bad. It means that we’ve successfully made back our event ticket, so our collection is completely self-sustaining now. But the bad part is that we have nothing more to actually spend unless I cash that event ticket back into a bot. It means either I hit on some more arbitrage fodder or wait for Deadeye Tracker to rebound so I can cash in and reinvest
Or one or more of our other picks.
You may see Kumena’s Speaker and Merfolk Branchwalker on the list. These aren’tr arbitrage. These are actual specs baed on the Modern Blue/Green Merfolk decks ggetting some attention. These are so cheap that I couldn’t resist. The rest of the list up until Negate are just waiting for a hotlist to want them or I can cash them out at break even or a tiny profit.
As for our actual specs, Herald of Secret Streams is looking good as far as demand. Whether he’ll actually see play yet is unknown, but he’s a great hold. He’s a good pick in paper, too, as he could become a key part of an explore-centric Merfolk deck, since explore can give creatures +1/+1 counters. I could cash out my set for 0.12 tix and profit but that’s not worth it to me.
Entrancing Melody keeps bouncing between 0.01 and 0.02 tix. There’s demand but drafters are still dumping them. I really like this in some cintrol build and my buyin was pefect. As a card with an X cost, I really like this in EDH, especially in paper.
Arcane Adaptation is a fun build-around enchantment. It’s cute with Turntimber Ranger in Modern, but I’m banking on a good rogue deck built around this in Standard to allow me to cash in on this 0.04 tix total investment. I don’t like it in paper yet as it may drop a bit further. But I’d keep them if you have them because people will want multiple copies.
Olf-Growth Dryads is pure speculation. Green Stompy in Modern, perhaps? No one noticed. Will some Green Stompy deck emerge in Standard? Not while energy is around I think, but nothing to lose here. In paper? Demand is flat and I don’t like there yet.
Shadowed Caravel may have to wait awhile with so many string Kaladesh vehicles, but this plays in with explore. It also works well with Herald of Secret Streams. I really think there’s a +1/+1 counter synergy here that isn’t yet able to be exploited in Standard. This could be a key piece in that. In paper, I don’t hate it, but I wouldn’t actively invest. Just squirrel away copies.
Walk the Plank was a bargain and while it’s not premier removal, it does see some play. This is a card that I like better in paper, but even as an uncommon, cards like these can get silly on occasion on Magic Online. A Magic Online promo version hurts MTGO spike potential. But it won’t take much of a spike for me to sell. In paper, this is a steady card. It’s better than Doom Blade in a lot of EDH decks, but it’s Sorcery speed, which hurts its playability somewhat. It doesn’t hit Merfolk, but it hits a lot of stuff. In both online and paper, it just needs to be in the 75 of a tournament winning deck to make money. If not, I lose almost nothing online. I’f only buy this in paper if I really needed it for a deck, though
Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter has been seeing some play in Green-White Aggro decks in Standard. At a penny I was happy to buy in. As a Legendary Creature, you’ll probably only see two or at the most three copies going in a deck. I don’t think her ceiling is incredibly high, but token producers are always cool. In paper, she’s dirt cheap with lots of EDH potential. But online, I’ll take a little profit here.
My last penny stock was an accidental one n Mana Leak. This permission spell is still played a ton in Modern. But I’d be selling at a loss for no good reason without a hotlist wanting it so we’re stuck with it without a huge Mana Leak buyout. The 8th edition version is one of the better ones to be stuck with as it does appear on hotlists often and people love the classic art. I can easily turn a 0.08 to 0.12 tix profit here.
I did say in Part 8 that I’d get more aggressive with penny stocks. I will, but I need to clear out some arbitrage picks first.
In the next part, I’ll discuss why I pick the arbitrage picks that I do. I don’t just blindly buy them, after all. Some of them are really good paper targets, too. Hopefully I’ll cash out enough to make some penny stock buys!