Nyx Coinsmiths: Week 3

Welcome back to my weekly finance article focused on the gods of Theros. Today we will be going over prices changes and a new brew with Purphoros, and then we will finish with some actionable tips.

What’s Changed

This week, Keranos continued his growth as he climbed another 17.5%. He hit a peak and went down slightly afterwards, but he seems to be holding $18 fairly well for the short term. Nylea also had a noteworthy increase of 14.1% up to $6.55. No foil gods went up more than 1% this past week, including Nylea, so her new foil multiplier is 1.95x. Also, this week I noticed that many of the casual gods stayed within 1% of their price last week. I looked into this further, and on MTG Stocks it looks like many of the gods have bottomed out and are leveling out at their current price. Kruphix, Ephara, Karametra, Iroas, Phenax, Pharika, Heliod, Xenagos, and Athreos are all within ~$0.50 of their price a month ago, and their graphs all resemble something like this.

All those numbers are pretty boring, but luckily a new brew showed up at the SCG Open this past weekend. Tyler Lytle showed up with his RUG Chord deck, featuring Keranos and Purphoros in the main. The deck runs 4 Rabblemasters, 4 Young Pyromancers, 3 Coursers and 8 singleton creatures in the main along with Chord to fetch up the pieces it needs. SCG featured the deck on camera twice, and it had some absolutely beautiful plays. At one point, Tyler had his opponent down to 11 life with a Purphoros on board, so he did what you would expect any standard deck to do: Chord for 10 to grab a Hornet Queen and drop his opponent to 1 with Purphoros’ triggers. It was one of the greatest plays I’ve seen (behind Notion Thief v JTMS), and I’m hoping we see a similar deck post rotation.


As great as that RUG Chord deck is, it only placed in 35th so it likely won’t do much to the world of finance. However, the other observations we talked about do have some financial force:

  • Nylea’s foil multiplier continues to shrink, but expect that to change. She has a home in EDH (Omnath or Kruphix), and should demand at least an average foil multiplier. It may be hard to profit buying her foils and flipping them, but look to trade into them.
  • Kruphix, Ephara, Karametra, Iroas, Phenax, Pharika, and Heliod haven’t seen much play in constructed, nor are they expected to (Atheros and Xenagos may be expected to). Since they seemed to have bottomed out, now is the time to pick up any you may need for EDH and they are safe trade targets. If you have cards you are worried about dropping, consider these gods something like a mutual fund that will grow slowly over time. If I had to pick one god to trade in to, it would be Kruphix. He is a third set mythic that is very relevant in EDH and his non foil seems undervalued.

Thanks for reading! As always, leave any feedback in the comments and let me know what you’d like tracked in the future articles. See you next Monday.

Nyx Coinsmiths: Week 2

This past week has been huge for the world of Magic, thanks to a new block structure announcement and the return of fetches. What do these announcements mean for the gods on Nyx? Only time will tell, but for now there doesn’t seem like any huge new benefits to the gods. None of them interact too strongly with fetch lands, and the block structure change doesn’t come into effect until THS block leaves standard. So, let’s look into other changes this week among the gods.

What’s Changed?

The biggest change among the gods was the massive run on Keranos brought about by Quiet Speculation, a Brainstorm Brewery call, and a discussion on the Magic Finance subreddit. The general consensus is that he is a good card and if he sees play in post rotation standard he could become a $20+ card thanks to being in a small 3rd set. So of course there was a huge run on Keranos and he went from $8 to $15 in about 24 hours. Last week, we saw his Foil Multiplier was 7.88, so you could guess that he was bound to increase the non foil or decrease the foil to bring that closer to the 3-5 range most gods fall in. However, this change was clearly more dramatic than we would have expected thanks to hype through finance sites.

This past weekend, there were not any breakout decks at the SCG Open featuring gods so none of the others had much of a price change. Mono Black Devotion showed up with Erebos, Mono Blue with Thassa, and they both managed to Top 16. So the sky is still blue, MODO has memory leak issues, and standard is still standard.

Spoiler season has started as well! But so far, none seem to interact strongly with the gods. If Mono Green Devotion with Nylea happens to get top tier post rotation, Crackling Doom keeps it from going all in on one threat! But they can also just not go all in on one threat, so… Yeah not too much synergy or hate spoiled, although we are very early in spoiler season so odds are something shows up in the future.


With Keranos we saw that foil multipliers can be somewhat indicative of which gods are destined to adjust. Although, expect longer term adjustment like weeks instead of 24 hours like Keranos.

  • Nylea is the god with the lowest foil multiplier (2.25), so she seems likely to either drop in non foil price or raise in foil price. Be on the lookout for movement here, likely not much room for gain/loss if the non foil moves but if the foil moves there could be opportunity.
  • Ephara has the highest foil multiplier (8.03), so be on the lookout for a non foil rise or foil drop.
  • Kruphix has the second highest multiplier (7.04), so be on the lookout for a non foil rise or foil drop. Since he is an all star in EDH, I would expect the non foil to rise instead of the foil to drop, so consider buying yours now if you need them.

If there is anything in particular you’d like to see me cover in the future, let me know! As always, thanks for reading and my data is viewable at this google doc. See you again next Monday!

Nyx Coinsmiths: Week 1

I wanted to start a new series of weekly articles, but I am going to try an unusual method. I am going to apply the approach I take to the stock market to the world of finance. What I do is follow a few companies closely, and buy when one of them is undervalued then sell when it has adjusted. As you might guess, this strategy ends up involving a lot of research but minimal action. Luckily, with Magic it should be less research so I’ll expand it to 15 different “stocks I follow.” Until they rotate from standard, I’ll be following the gods to see what opportunities we can find.

Week 1: Foils

For the first week, one of the traits I looked into was the foil multipliers for the gods. The gods are big players across different formats, and different formats generally mean different multipliers for foils. For example, Legacy all-star Deathrite Shaman has an 8x multiplier while Standard all-star Desecration Demon has a 2x multiplier. So, I also looked into which formats the gods are seeing play via MetaMox so we can take that into account.

The average multiplier across the gods was 4.58 using TCG mid pricing, with the noteworthy outliers being Nylea, Kruphix, Keranos, and Ephara.

Nylea | $5.50 v $12.88 | 2.34x | Nylea has a very low multiplier compared to the rest of the gods. She sees a bit of Standard play, but more heavy play in EDH as part of the 99. The best comparison is Heliod who sees similar play in EDH, but none in standard. His non foil price is lower, but his foil price is about the same so his multiplier is much higher at 3.57x

Kruphix | $3.28 v $23.40 | 7.13x | Kruphix is a casual EDH all-star, though his MetaMox numbers are low his casual paper numbers drive his price. Casual EDH is hard to track, and MetaMox uses MTGO results to get the play frequency so his numbers are understated. Either way his multiplier is very high, so we’ll be sure to follow him closely.

Keranos | $8.19 v $64.50 | 7.88x | Keranos is Nyx’s gift to modern, seeing a very respectable amount of play at 117 copies. Oddly enough, modern is the only format where he is played, so that may explain the high multiplier. It’ll be interesting to see if he starts seeing play in standard post rotation, since we know he’s strong enough for modern.

Ephara | $2.48 v $20.23 | 8.15x | Ephara is only played in EDH, and her effect is very good in casual EDH because it doesn’t attract fire like Mogis, Athreos, or Purphoros. 

The rest of the stats on gods are available on this spreadsheet.


So the real questions after all this data is what actions should we take? Well the point of this approach is that it is safe, so action items are rare. Instead, we’ll take about key points to watch out for that may lead to action items.

  • Nylea’s foil multiplier seems low, it is likely either her non-foil price is too high or her foil is to low. If it corrections in the near future, be ready to buy if the non foil overcorrects or sell if the foil overcorrects.
  • Keranos’s prices seem accurate for its currently play level, but with Khans spoilers coming up be on the lookout for powerful UR effects. He is only played in modern and is still $8, so if he gets played in standard at T1 or T2, there is plenty of room for growth.
  • Ephara’s foil multiplier seems very high, and although she was from a less opened set than Theros her multipliers are even higher than the highest of JOU. Be on the lookout for her non foil price to climb a bit (likely not enough for much profit) since she is popular in EDH and the lowest priced god at the moment.

That is it for our first week’s article, and I hope you enjoyed the topic. If there’s anything else you’d like to see me track about the gods, let me know. See you all again next monday!

MTG Finance: Life Goes First

By now you all know I absolutely love this game. Whether I’m watching Magic on Twitch, queueing up on MODO, brewing some awful deck of cards I enjoy, or reading tournament report outs I spend an abundance of my free time on Magic. So logically most of the money I set aside for enjoying myself goes into Magic, and this adds up quickly. But sometimes in life you need to remember to put yourself before the hobby. For me, this came up when I started running.

Now for a bit of a back story, I’m not the healthiest guy. I eat relatively well, am not particularly heavy (170 lbs at 6’2”), but I’m far from healthy. I haven’t been to a gym in years, and I have lost all the physical fitness I had in high school thanks to volleyball year round. I know my family has a history of heart problems (for example, dad nearly had a fatal heart attack before he turned 40), so I finally reached the point where I know it’s time to get healthy. I’m not concerned with getting particularly strong, which luckily helps keep the costs of getting healthy down, but there are some costs.

So what I decided to do is run. And running definitely has some costs associated with it. Financially, it’s somewhat expensive with shoes over $100, low end socks at $5/pair, running shirts and shorts $10 each.. It adds up real quick. On top of that, it costs time. Although running is rewarding (think winning your draft pod), it’s certainly not fun for me so it’s taking up my free time for something that feels like work. Then it takes up more time afterwards since I need a break to recover and go back to functioning.

So as hard as it was, I had to put myself first and get running. To afford the shoes, clothes, etc I had to sell out a reasonable chunk of my collection. There were some items I couldn’t bring myself to sell (like a box of each RTR block for drafting at my bachelor party… someday), but I scavenged together a few hundred dollars in singles and sold ‘em for running gear.

I’m a few weeks in, and it has certainly been worth it. I’m running 3-4 miles a day at a very slow though non-stop rate, and getting better quickly. Like I said, it’s not my cup of tea but it certainly is rewarding and builds up your self confidence. Selling off Magic cards to fund running gives me extra motivation to get out there, and the satisfaction of finishing a few miles keeps me out there.

So remember, for most of us Magic is entertainment. It’s an absolute blast to play, but sometimes you have to sacrifice the hobby. Also, if you’re looking to get healthy selling off some cards to help fund it may be the extra motivation you need. It worked well for me, so maybe it’ll do for you too :)

Not so constructive criticism

Recently, there was a miscommunication among Wizards of the Coast and the Magic Online player base regarding Vintage Masters (VMA). In WotC’s first announcement they stated VMA would continue past July 2nd for a period of time, and be available in the store until Khans. Online WotC’s Community Team stated it would have queues until Khans and players interpreted the same, but then in Wizards announced they planned to end events on July 25th. Now, miscommunications happen and surely the Magic player base is mature enough to handle the discussion and figure out a good compromise. WotC’s Worth Wollpert (Director of Digital) even tweeted “If you guys want to have a discussion about how we should offer VMA events I am all for it. Dont like the current schedule? Tell me.” [x]

Of course, everything went to hell. Players were attacking Worth and his team directly, as we do with every update regarding Magic Online. Starting with Reddit for some examples, let’s see the title of the thread letting people know that WotC planned to end queues on July 25th, not the release of Khans as some people thought.

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Man, that is some really aggressive wording for something that could just as easily say “WotC ending VMA on July 25th” but it links to Twitter so maybe it is going to something more than just the announcement that would make someone (and the high number of people up-voting it) upset about Worth. Well, it happened to go to that same Tweet mentioned at the beginning where Worth was asking for a discussion about the schedule for VMA. It turns out the comments were no better….

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I personally love all the people who never play MTGO, or never give MTGO a try, but still continue to complain about the product and the team as if they have been playing for years and know what they are saying. Setting that  aside, these comments are all pretty harsh. Saying he has never done anything right, MTGO announcements all feel like they’re attacking players, and saying you wouldn’t play until “literally everyone was fired and replaced” is completely unnecessary. What do people think this is going to do? Suddenly solve all of the problems? Get Hasbro to fire all of the Magic team and outsource it? Obviously not. Put yourself in their place, and how would you react? What it’s going to do is make the player base look like it is full of passive aggressive whiners and make people outside of the game think something is wrong with the game and its player base.

I’ve said it a thousand times before, and I will say it a thousand times again: To everyone you meet, you are the face of Magic. It’s not Jace, Kibler, or even Maro. It’s you. Everyone you know that knows you play Magic doesn’t know much about the game other than the fact that you play, so how you handle yourself changes what they think of the game. Being the face of Magic doesn’t just mean be nice to new players, it means be kind to you fellow experienced players. Be kind to your friends. Heck, even be kind to the person making your sandwich at Subway.  Your actions come back on all of us, so attacking fellow lovers of the game on Twitter, Reddit, in person, anywhere is wrong. Every time you do that you are hurting everyone else who plays the game, so at the least be mature and civil.

I honestly don’t care whether you think the original announcement was clear or unclear, but I do care what you do with your opinion. Do not attack individuals, do not make a fool of the rest of us. Be constructive with your criticisms, and help make the game better for everyone involved. Progress isn’t made by pointing fingers or treating someone like a punching bag, it is made when we work together to move forward. So if WotC makes an announcement you disagree with, put your pitchfork down and discuss how the situation can be improved so we can better the community.

Magic Finance: Shiny Safe Haven?

Recently (or 3 weeks ago for the Quiet Speculation subscribers) all of the finance community read the brilliant article called The Current and Future State of Modern by Corbin Hosler regarding the prices of Modern Staples like Scalding Tarn. In short, the article was: they’re going down because the spike happened earlier and it couldn’t be sustained.


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I think we all remember that spike, when cards would triple overnight when a blatantly fringe deck did well on camera, or our friend Snapcaster Mage climbed from $19 on December 31, 2013 to $37 come April 2014. Cards were going up everywhere and no one could fail on a call because every staple was going up so we just kept buying them because “if we wait, they’ll only go up more.” Finally, the large group of new players who arrived with Return to Ravnica and could afford modern had what they needed and that demand went away. And modern prices did the unthinkable: they fell. Not hard, but they switched directions and slowly trickled down. That Snapcaster Mage is down to $30, and there is no sign of it climbing up in the future. Personally, I agree with Corbin and think we’ll need to see that barrier of entry lower with the reprinting of shocks to get another wave of players. Something something complementary goods something something supply and you know the story.

Parallel Lives

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 1.10.07 AMYou know what else was spiking along with modern staples? Those foil commons and uncommons that are heavily played in formats. I remember adding a Foil Gitaxian Probe to my Deckbox a couple months ago, and the thing was $27! That felt wrong to me because I knew it had an FNM promo so it couldn’t possible be that much, so I looked it up on TCG only to find that was the right price. Guess what it is now? $20. If you take a look at Probe, Spell Pierce, and Delver of Secrets you will find they all had a similar rise to glory. Starting in January, they climbed until they were 3x-5x their starting price and some of them have started to drop  like Probe and Spell Pierce. So it seems like they are following a similar trend to Modern staples, and were likely parallel occurrences where the number of people after older cards (foil or playables) had a significant increase over a short period of time.

Sphinx’s Revelation

What is the point of noting the similarities? Be weary of what you opt to invest in. Just because Spell Pierce was a $50 common doesn’t mean Delver is going to do the same, because what drove Delver as high as it is now is the same wave that drove Spell Pierce to $50. In addition, more recent cards like Delver have an inherently lower ceiling due to having significantly more copies out there (estimated 40% more INN opened than ZEN). So that safe haven some people are trying to fall back on that is their foil Delvers, foil Wear//Tears, etc has the same weakness as modern staples: they need another wave. However foils may have an additional weakness in that they need another wave of players with deep pockets, which may not be the crowd entering with a reprint of fetches. This last claim has the major assumptions that reprinting fetches will trigger the next wave of modern players, and that most of this new wave will be people who couldn’t afford it before but can now that fetches are $20. Since the theoretical new wave couldn’t afford fetches before, I am guessing they will not suddenly have the money for premium foils like $40 Spell Pierces so they may not trigger a new wave of demand on Premium foils.

Angel of Finality

Now that many of us are in the trough of the Modern wave, we are looking for new ways to improve our collection. As tempting as the shiny safe haven of premium foils may seem, it has the same problem as the modern cards we are holding: the premiums spiked with the same wave of new players that we rode in to where we are now. As for where to look for profits instead, I honestly cannot tell you with certainty since I did as well in Trelawney’s Divination class as Hermione. For that, I would recommend listening to the members of the community who see further ahead than I do, such as  the Brainstorm Brewery crew, Quiet Speculation, or maybe even /r/MTGFinance, but do your due diligence to make sure their claims are worth following.

Magic Etiquette: Ethics Is More

Lately I have seen a few articles and debates on the ethics of Magic, and they are primarily about how keeping trades even and being respectful is helpful for the community. Most are filled with stories about someone trading something like Utvara Hellkite for a Hallowed Fountain or someone laughing at a young kid who showed up at FNM with his Simic evolve deck, and although I think these are good to remember I think people are forgetting something very important. The Magic community is filled with amazing people who never do anything like this, and I would guess at most 5% of the community would do something so wrong. Also, the people reading these articles are often not the 5% since the readers are involved enough to be reading articles online and clearly have a deep respect for the community. So am I just hear to call out the articles or do I have a point? Luckily for you, I have a reminder that I think all of you wonderful folks could benefit from and in turn better the community: don’t be a bystander.

Personally, I am a fairly introverted person and I find that much of the community is as well. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it is just a way of being. As a result I sometimes find myself shying away from taking a stand when someone is doing wrong at FNM, whether it being bullying or any of the other things that happen from time to time. When it happens I usually think something along the lines of “someone else will take care of it”, but this is probably not going to happen because everyone else is thinking the same thing (darn bystander effect)! I know there are a good number of you like me, so what we really need is a reminder that we are not just responsible for ensuring we don’t do wrong, we are responsible for maintaining the community as a whole and standing up for others when need be, so never just blend in because someone else will deal with it for you.

I could fill this article with more examples or details, but I’d rather you give you a short reminder so you walk away with what is important. You are not just responsible for ensuring that you don’t do wrong, you are responsible for the community and standing up for others, so never blend in and assume someone else will come to the Rescue.

MTG Finance: Scavenging Ooze

With some patience you can currently find a playset of Scavenging Oozes for about $20,  and at this price point I think Scavenging Oozes is as easy pick up. Similarly, if you are looking to trade out of your standard deck before rotation and struggle to trade in to modern cards, Spellskite is a great target.

According to MetaMox, Scavenging Ooze is currently the 13th most played non-basic in Modern, with 579 copies. It makes the Legacy list with 19 copies showing up in the last 60 days, and it is a staple in cube. A card that seems similar levels of play in modern in a similar rarity is Spellskite, though Spellskite sees more modern play with 629 copies and it has fewer printings. So let’s look into this comparison and start with Spellskite‘s price graph below from MTGGoldfish.

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Spellskite dropped consistently going in to rotation, then only dropped a little more and leveled out. Come the next modern season it spiked up to double digits, and a year later it was up to $17. Now let’s look at the M14 Scavenging Ooze graph.

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Similarly, it has been dropping in to rotation but it looks like it is starting to level out now around the $6 mark. Since people seem to be selling off their standard cards already, this premature level out makes sense. Spellskite tripled during the modern season after its rotation, but we cannot expect that high of an increase in Scavenging Ooze. Spellskite was a third set rare whereas Scavenging Ooze has three printings (Commander, Duels of the Planeswalkers Promo, M14) even though Commander and DotP were not necessarily huge reprints they still add supply. However, expecting Scavenging Ooze to double over the next year is not excessively greedy with the growth of Modern as a format, especially if we see fetches reprinted within that time frame.

The largest risk to Scavenging Ooze is it could see another reprint in M15, so if concerned with that risk it may be worth waiting until M15 is spoiled to start collecting them. Assuming it doesn’t see reprint, I expect it to be around $10-$12 in 12 months, and you can get them easily in trade/cash from Standard players trying to get out of their rotating cards. Until Spellskite sees reprint, Scavenging Ooze will likely always have a lower ceiling, however there is still plenty of room for it to go so be on the lookout to getting Scavenging Ooze cheap.




Two Player Drafting: How to Solomon Draft

I can’t be the only one here who hates to buy packs and just open them without getting some sort of limited use out of them. Pack Wars gets old fairly quickly and sometimes ends in a draw, which never feels great. On the other hand, Solomon drafting is a far more interactive way to do a two player draft, so I’ll go over how to do it.

6x Booster pack
Yourself and a friend

How to draft

Solomon drafting is just like most things with Magic the Gathering: it is simple to know how to do, but hard to know how to do well.

  1.  Shuffle the 90 cards together.
  2. Roll a dice, and the winner picks to split or select.
  3. The person who ended up with split reveals the top 8 cards of the 90 card pile, if there is a land remove that card and replace it with another card from the pile. The person who splits then divides that pile of 8 into 2 piles of any size they want (it can be anything from 4-4 to 7-1).
  4. The person who selects then picks which of the piles they want.
  5.  Switch roles, continue until there are ~12 cards left (12-18 left due to lands) then only reveal 6 at a time.
  6. Make a 40 card deck out of what you ended up with, shuffle up, and play!

That’s all there is to it! As you can tell, some very challenging decisions come up (Do I split the two very powerful cards and six playables? Would I rather pick a powerhouse or 7 fine playables? What colors am I? What colors is my opponent?) and it ends up being far more interactive than Pack Wars. You can also grab a stack of 84 commons and replace the 6 packs with that if you don’t have the money. So next time you’re out buying packs with friends, grab 3 each and give Solomon drafting a go!

MTG Finance: Hero of Bladehold


I expect Hero of Bladehold to go up in value within the next couple months, likely to the double digits range thanks to the Modern Event Deck.

Two months ago, we saw the pre-production mock up of the Modern Event Deck with the theme of Black & White tokens featuring Elspeth, Knight-Errant and Hero of Bladehold as the two main attractions. When the official deck list came out, we learned the two new mythics are going to be Elspeth and Sword of Feast and Famine, and they will be backed by a multitude of $5 cards. Although many speculators are disappointed in the event deck, and some are upset they didn’t print staples like Dark Confidant or Bitterblossom I believe the Event Deck will serve its purpose. It will get interested players into modern at their LGS, because this deck will hold up fine at a low level with a few improvements. Those improvements are where I would be looking to make money with this product, and I believe Hero of Bladehold is the best candidate to buy or trade in to. Hero of Bladehold sees play in BW tokens as an alternative for Planeswalkers in some metas, and it is the exact effect people will want to experiment when they first purchase the deck.


We don’t have past modern event decks to compare to and see how improvement cards fare, so we’ll look at Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas for a card with slightly more since it sees play some in Legacy and Modern, with more casual appeal. As you can see based on the graph above, Tezzeret has grown in steps over the past 15 months and nearly tripled in value. In a similar time frame, Hero of Bladehold (promo) has gone from being approximately $4.50 to $6.50, with most of the growth being within the last 4 months. With this event deck, I see the demand for Hero rising to near the level of Tezzeret and following a similar trend, resulting in a good buy over the next few months. Another plus side to Hero is it will trade very well to anyone who buys the modern event deck and wants to improve it, so it will move quickly and can be a quick turnover if that is your preferred method of handling MTG Finance. The price I would look to start selling him off at is $12 each for the promo, and leave whatever is left for others to make their 15%.

The main risk with Hero of Bladehold is that it was removed at the last minute, which could sign a reprint in the future. The most likely reprint scenario is if we see Battle Cry return in M15 and we see him in that set. However, should this happen his price should not drop too heavily since he will almost inevitably see play in Standard with his power level, which will increase the demand for him and help ease the fall. Given that the risk is low, Hero is a good pick up because he is the perfect target for people trying to improve the precon Modern Event Deck so demand will increase along with his price and, if you don’t have a good online outlet to sell it, Hero will move well in trade.

Since I am new to the MTG finance community, I will be keeping track of all my recommendations and how they do over time in this Google spreadsheet. I will keep this updated with each article and I will mention when I think the time to sell off is to keep track of profits assuming 25% of the sell price is lost to costs.