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MTGO Econ 101: Keeping Dry Powder

Hello everyone, This is BoBoFraggles once again bringing you some MTGO economics content. I love writing about finances, but when I get to write about MTGO finance, it's a good time. Today’s topic is about keeping dry powder available in your trade binder and why it's so important. The term “dry powder” in finance means cash. In MTGO terms, dry powder means event tickets.

Keeping event tickets readily available gives you so much flexibility in the client and can really help you capitalize when you are very aware price swings are about to happen. I’ll give an example. Two weekends ago now, I’m sitting down watching Reid Duke win the Pro Tour, rooting and getting all excited while my wife looks at me like I’m a crazy person for getting superlevel hyped over Reid winning the pro tour.

I had taken a second and I thought to myself, GW auras in pioneer just made it to the finals of a pro tour.. I immediately went and looked at the decklist. When it comes to MTGO, the overall price of cards are cheap and things that get expensive are not like in traditional paper. Still, I normally look at the manabase first to see if a card will spike when a new deck makes it to the top 8.

Needless to say, I saw 2 land sets, Mana Confluence and Branchloft Pathway. I immediately thought that mana confluence, since it's older, is going to spike up in price. I went to my trade binder and realized that I was out of dry powder!! If I was going to buy these confluences right then and now, I had to dish out new cash that I wasn’t planning on.

Since I’m a budgeter by nature, I thought to myself, I’ll wait until March 1st, when I put more funds into the client, how much would it go up in that short amount of time. And did I ever learn….

As you can clearly see, the card more than doubled in price and I knew it was going to happen. What I didn’t do, was have enough tickets in my event binder to capitalize on such an event. Something now that paper events are back on coverage, I assure you I will not let happen again.

If I had some event tickets, I could have gotten the confluences for around 4 tickets each, but that is now a pipe dream. Buying these at 10 tickets won't break the bank, but it's also not worth it to me to have them at 10 tickets, so I will not be buying them. I will not be playing GW auras in Pioneer, I missed my shot.

Now this is an example of something recent, but this happens all the time in MTGO. Being able to take advantage when the MTGO market is in decline is a beneficial thing. Let's take a look at another example, one that I benefited from greatly.

Force of Vigor is a great card, a staple in multiple formats. I also need it to play both current modern and legacy, so I knew I was gonna have to pull the trigger on them. About 5 months ago now, I noticed that the card started to decline in price and it went down to 13 tickets. I had plenty of dry powder at the time, so I pulled the trigger and now they are back up to almost 23 tickets each.

This worked out really well and it happened because I kept tickets on hand to buy cards that I needed when I needed them. It's smart to keep tickets on hand for these types of emergencies. If you rent cards, you probably don’t care, but for those of us who like to manage their own collections, learning to buy and sell cards at the right time feels alot like the stock market.

One thing I want to say about all of this though, no one can time the MTGO economy perfectly. Just like my Force of Vigor success story, I have a MTGO failure as well. Probably my largest loss in MTGO ever, comes from believe it or not, a Modern Horizons 2 card. I needed 4x Endurance to play MTGO, and at the time I purchased them, Endurance was almost 80 tickets each!! It's crazy that I paid that, but I did. Fast Forward to present day and now the Endurance sells for 18 tickets.

The MTGO economy is up and down, I believe that before its all said and done, Endurance will go back up when the metagame demands everyone have 4x in their decks. In order to protect yourself from the swings of the MTGO economy, I like to keep the Dollar Cost Averaging strategy in place. Every month I purchase Bot Credits from Cardhoarder with an 8% cash discount, and use the credits to purchase the cards that I need.

This strategy keeps me feeling like I pay a monthly subscription, but I’m also building a collection that is worth real currency. I prefer to do that over renting, but to each their own. Renting is a great strategy if you can’t build the collection slowly over time. Overall though, keeping some dry powder in your trade binder can help you capitalize when an opportunity presents itself.

Of course you could always just shell out cash, I personally am not a fan of putting any more money into the program that I had allotted for that month, it's too easy to step out of bounds and end up spending too much money if you don’t.

Thanks again for reading another MTGO Finance Article, check back for more content every week!!



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