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Grab Bag

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When I was a kid I used to read a lot; most people claim to read, but I used to take it to a whole new level. I grew up on the rough side of town in South Bend, Indiana, and up until I was ten or so, I rarely had the chance to leave the house . . . so I fell in love with books. This carried over when I moved to the country and was fortunate enough to have a library within walking distance.

One summer, the library had a competition that involved a board game similar to Monopoly, and for each book you read, you got to roll the dice, move, and pick something out of what they called the grab bag. This idea of a random assortment of prizes intrigued me so much and only fueled my love of reading, which by the end of the summer, had become more of an obsession as I dragged my wagon down to grab another stack of books.

Within the grab bag, there was an assortment of prizes that included Magic cards and Star Wars cards—from the good game; not this new cop out—along with gift certificates and the like. After winning enough times, I had a little bit of everything, though not enough to truly have a collection of anything at all. Each prize provided enough information to give me a highlight of the game, but other than Magic, which I had been playing since I was young, I knew very little about the rest. I took the time to look into these other games and even deeper into Magic due to these prizes, and given what small amount of information I had, I could form an idea of whether I found the game interesting.

By now, I am sure you are asking yourself what exactly this has to do with Magic beside the fact that I managed to get my hands on some free cards. Well, it got me thinking this week when I was searching for a topic. There were so many things I wanted to write about, but so many of them can hardly cover an entire article by themselves. In this article, I want to cover some of the topics that, up until now, I haven’t had enough information to cover an entire article . . . So think of this as a grab bag or potluck of information. There are so many finer points in trading that can be told in a single paragraph, yet are important enough to cover that I wanted to finally do just that.

Community Notice

Blatant Thievery
One of the first things that popped into my head when I decided to write this article was the recent outbreak of theft at Magic events. Most people know what happened at Gen Con, but since then, there have been reported incidents at every major tournament. Although there isn’t much we can do as players or traders to prevent people from stealing outside of the usual keep-your-bag-close-and-keep-an-eye-out, that doesn’t mean we can’t voice our opinions to bring light on the subject.

First and foremost, I think there should be far harsher penalties than just the slap on the wrist that is usually doled out. I have seen multiple people be allowed to walk with just a warning not to return, and that just doesn’t set right with me. If you stole a television, it is unlikely you would be let off so easily, and in many cases, the value of the cards lifted equals or exceeds the amount that television would be worth. There is a particular trader who is easily recognizable who has had a history of such theft and bad behavior in general. I normally wouldn’t call a particular person out just for his trade style, as that seems more like a personal vendetta, but in this case, Bulk Rare Guy, or Peter Yong, has forced me to do just that.

He not only has a history of suspected theft, but he also preys on the person he is trading with, offering unreasonable prices and bullying his trade partners into accepting. He was kicked out of Grand Prix: Nashville and has been banned from StarCityGames events due to these tactics, and it is time more is done. I would like to see a permanent ban put into place. I feel banning a player for cheating is no different than banning a trader for stealing or bullying, and in this case, that’s exactly what we have.

I am unsure of whom to contact in regards to this, and I am sure it is already in the works as of this past weekend, but as a public notice, keep an eye out for this guy. He does not have anyone but his own interests in mind, and he is a cancer on the community who only creates a negative image for traders in general. I won’t go into any more detail than that—as it is not my place—but I hope if you ever run into this guy, you will steer clear and advise your friends to do the same.

Reprint Be Rare . . . uhm Beware

Steam Vents
As we find ourselves in the middle of Modern season, it is important to mention the reprint policy when it comes to some of the formats staples. Unlike many cards in Legacy, Modern does not have any cards on the reserved list. In fact, not only are the cards free to be reprinted, it has been stated numerous times by wizards that the format was put into place as an accessible alternative to Legacy when the cards can, and likely will, be reprinted.

Some of the cards we may see fast approaching include the shock lands and Tarmogoyf. I am not saying you should fire-sale them immediately in fear of a price drop, but it is certainly something to be cautious of when looking to pick these cards up. Before the days of mythics, cards had a single rarity, and given that these cards were as just normal rares, it is unlikely they will be printed as mythics if and when they are reprinted.

Of course, this means they will be far more accessible and will probably drop in value. Before, we never had to worry about block-specific cards such as Kitchen Finks, making them safe pickups, but now, with the Commander and Planechase sets, it gives Wizards an opportunity to print them again in order to harbor the demand for these cards. Although Scavenging Ooze is a hot-ticket item currently, it is quite possible cards such as this will see a reprint, whether it be within a set or not.

These decks also allow Wizards to print cards they do not feel should be in Standard, driving them straight into Legacy. Though some of the cards in these sets may drop in price, it is just as important to look for the next Scavenging Ooze when these sets release. Finding these hidden gems before they become public can be a great way to make an easy and readily accessible called shot while still being able to gain value from the other cards in the set.

Lingering Virtue

Intangible Virtue
This week, Wizards announced the Banned and Restricted Lists update, and for the first time since the format’s release, Modern finally seems to be to their liking. Not every format escaped the ban hammer, though—Innistrad Block Constructed is going to have a major overhaul with the banning of Lingering Souls and Intangible Virtue.

This ban tells me a few things—some predictable, some hopeful. The hope is that Wizards is starting to pay attention to Block outside of the Pro Tour and perhaps is looking at adding some Grands Prix or even smaller local events to the roster this year. Though, if you don’t play online, chances are you don’t know anything about Block. It can at least be a helpful indicator as to what is going to start next season off strong. This is where the predictable part comes in: Not only are these cards ban-worthy in Block, but one of them is even seeing Legacy play now, meaning we can expect an obvious port over to Standard next season.

Though neither card is rare, that doesn’t mean there is no money to be made with this information. As I look down decklists, I notice a few cards few people are talking about currently that are likely to see a price spike next season. The first one I notice is Hellrider. With a token-driven set, it only makes sense that this guy would be a major player, so if you can find them cheap now, do so!

Other than Hellrider, I would be on the lookout for the Innistrad lands. When Standard rotates, we not only lose the M12 lands, but we lose the Scars lands as well, which have reached monumental prices in the past few months. Though we will probably see a land cycle in M13, it is still worth holding all of the cheap lands such as Clifftop Retreat for now.

We Only Part to Meet Again

As usual, when we come to this part of the article, I must bid you farewell for now. I hope you enjoyed this type of writing; it is something I would like to do more of in the future when enough small topics compound. If you have any questions or comments regarding more detail on any of the above subjects, let me know through the usual methods—whether your prefer Twitter or commenting. If you have any subjects you feel are noteworthy but may not fill an article, ship them my way, and I will try to find them a home. Until next week, keep the information at hand, and start looking into the future so rotation doesn’t sneak up on you too quickly!

Ryan Bushard

@CryppleCommand