Gen Con, the Aftermath

After the best four days in gaming, I am left a battered and beaten man. Unfortunately, gaming for nearly ninety-six hours can leave you sleep-deprived and on the brink of exhaustion. Now that the weekend is over and I have rejoined the real world, I have come to share the weekend’s events and share some of the highlights of my weekend, both financial and otherwise. I also have some financial information to share on particular cards that I feel are on the rise given some of the new spoilers from Return to Ravnica and given a spicy Legacy call that I haven’t heard many talking about. I don’t normally provide particular card information, as I find it to usually be a little late by time these articles go up—and I would instead rather inform you on how to trade and value cards rather than giving you the same information as all the other financial writers out there—but this week, I am making an exception.

The General Overview

First thing’s first: As always, Gen Con was a blast, and even more so this year because I managed to actually make it out of the dealer and TCG hall to get some demos in and see what is on the horizon for gaming in general. In addition to countless demos and hours spent wandering, I also did a great deal of networking, and let me tell you: If you are trying to connect to anyone or any business, Gen Con is the place—almost everyone who is anyone in the gaming world will be there. I managed to also connect with Richard Castle, GatheringMagic’s resident video caster and host of Inside the Deck, for an interview on an upcoming episode on the financial side of Magic.

On a Financial Note

On the financial side of Magic, I spent a good number of hours this weekend shopping cards off from a collection Gathering Magic writer Jason Alt and I picked up about a month ago. Gen Con can be among the best places to shop around cards due to the sheer volume of dealers and floor traders present, but this weekend, I was disappointed overall in the prices around the room. That is not to say I did not sell anything, but overall, the room was fairly weak on the buy list, but that may have just been due to the fact that they expected so many more Magic players for the World Cup and therefore figured they could buy cards for cheaper since they had far more people who were looking to sell. Next year, I expect the event to pick back up in terms of both dealer prices and trading, but this year was fairly weak on both accounts.

As a side note to anyone out there who believes themselves to be a floor trader . . . be nice! Most of the traders I encountered this weekend who fancy themselves sharks were very uptight and rude when it came to making deals. Perhaps it was just the weekend and my experience can be considered an anomaly, but you make it very hard to trade when you treat people with disrespect. It also creates a bad atmosphere for everyone trading at the event since the casual traders are turned off by the brash attitude, and rather than spending the weekend looking for cards to finish their Commander decks, they instead don’t even pull their binders out. This is not to say that the weekend was a loss on the financial end, but it was certainly worse than it should have been.

Brainstorm Brewery

This weekend was an especially exciting one because I was finally going to be able to meet Marcel White, the fourth and most elusive member of our podcast Brainstorm Brewery. We all had a great time and spent a great deal of time this weekend getting to know one another and gather coverage for the podcast. We managed to snag some interviews that should be up in the coming weeks on our website Our Spirit tokens created for promoting the cast were a huge hit and even found their way on camera in the World Magic Cup. I will be continuing to hand these out over the coming months at various events, so if you couldn’t pick up any this past weekend, find me at an upcoming event. We also held the first annual Brainstorm Brewery Gen Con Barbeque, which turned into a great deal of grilled meat and alcohol being consumed while we regaled stories and met new friends. Next year, we hope to be more organized and to have a better turnout, so if you plan on being at the convention, come on out and join us for some steak and drink!

The Gathering of Magic Writers

I was also fortunate enough to have a chance to meet some of the other amazing writers who put their time and effort into making GatheringMagic what it is today. In addition to networking with other writers, I also talked business with the boss man Adam Styborski, the results of which I hope work out. The gathering of writers was great, and I was finally able get my hands on a Gathering Magic shirt, which I sported this during the weekend and which I will continue to use as my go-to shirt at upcoming events. Adam was kind enough to treat his writers to some appetizers and drinks as well as a great place to gather and talk, so thank you, Adam for coordinating what I considered to be a successful venture! [Editor's Note: We treated more than just writers! Thanks again to everyone! - Adam]

Gen Con—That’s a Wrap!

As always, Gen Con came and went this year, leaving gamers from all over waiting another long year until we can do it all over again. If there is one event you can make every year, it should always be Gen Con, and if you don’t believe me, just ask any one of the thousands and thousands of people in attendance this past weekend. Any and every game you can imagine is there, and in addition to gaming, it is a great place to network, whether it’s for business or simply to make new friends. I am already looking forward to next year, and I am still sore and sleep deprived from this one!

On to the Financial Stuff . . . 

It is hard to get back in the gear of financial information after such a great weekend, but as promised, I want to talk about some cards I think deserve a second look. First, I want to start with Humility, which is by and far among the most widely asked-for cards right now, as it’s a current and known answer in Legacy to both combo and aggro decks. I don’t understand how this card is still selling most places for $10 when so many people are looking for them. I feel this card is likely to spike in the coming months if trends stay the same, and even over the years as more and more power creatures are printed, the value of this card—both financially and in terms of playability—should go through the roof.

Solitary Confinement
The next card I want to cover has been a sleeper pick of mine for a while now, and I am glad to see some mechanics in Return to Ravnica that may support it. With populate being a confirmed mechanic, I think we should be taking a look at token producers—anything with enters-the-battlefield abilities can easily be abused now. The card I am talking about here is Cackling Counterpart. I believe a solid midrange control deck can use and abuse the various creatures that are currently in Innistrad block as well as anything that may come out of Return to Ravnica. Cards like Thragtusk are just asking to be copied; if one is bad enough, think about how your opponent will feel facing down an army of these guys.

Another card that I also feel deserves some limelight and pairs well with populate is Séance. I have been receiving a lot of flak for this call, but I believe by the end of Ravnica block, it will be quite apparent that the ability to respawn your enters-the-battlefield or leaves-the-battlefield men while also copying the tokens to keep some of the guys around should prove to be a solid metagame option. With the ability to dump cards in your graveyard for value in the current Standard, it only makes sense to pair that with a card that can take those discarded guys for another spin.

One last card I want to cover this week before I depart is Solitary Confinement. I have been testing this card ever since Land Tax was unbanned, and I can’t understand why Land Tax/Solitary Confinement/Life from the Loam is not a deck yet. If anyone can clue me in on why this is not more than $3, please do—I can find no reasoning, and frankly, I can’t be the only one to have seen this engine. I would be picking every one of these up you can because if that deck does become real, it’s a good chance that this card will skyrocket overnight!

That’s all I have for this week in the world of financial Magic and beyond. Join me next week as I dive back into the financial side of things and put away my sorrows of another Gen Con passed. If you have any good stories or comments about the con, I would love to hear about them by e-mail or comment. As always, thanks for reading, and keep on trading!

Ryan Bushard