Rags to Riches: Week Nineteen

Greetings everyone!

I guess I have to apologize first for the lack of updates in the recent weeks, but my administrative duties have been monopolizing my time! I do have however some exciting news regarding the continuation of the column and a “new” strategy to reach my goal faster….

In one of the earliest “Rags for Riches” I said that I will consider using tournaments to improve the value of my collection- if I think it’s worth the time investment. Well, we have reached a point where I need to use the available resources (cards and tickets) to leverage another of my addictions, ahem, skills- drafting! Most of you probably don’t know, but I peaked at a 1974 limited rating here on MTGO and consider myself a decent limited player. Today we will find out how good…. I have invested all 13 of my remaining tickets in a draft set of Scars of Mirrodin and the entrance fee to draft and then immediately jumped into an 8-4. Please do not expect a draft report- we are still focusing on the economic implications. But more of that later; first I took my standard trading hour in an attempt to buy/sell some cards.

First, I visited a bot to sell my Sylvan Librarys which have spent to much time in my binder without attracting any buyers.

As already mentioned, I joined an 8-4 draft queue, and it fired after I had dumped the Sylvans. I lost in the finals, but had I successfully leveraged my skills for minor profit (and the ability to relax)! Fortunately, that is still a very good result for Rags, considering that we also got a few decent rares with it (value mostly centered around the Mimic Vat).

So that little endeavor upped us to 4 boosters for a possible future draft and additional cards to sell on the open market. Feeling like I needed to recover the lost 2 tix, I went ahead and sold some cards to a bot to bolster my liquid assets.

Finally, I bought a promo Day of Judgment for 4 tickets. Hopefully, I can sell it for more… (I’m a sucker for promos and foils…)

A few hours later, I found some more time to spare (and my hunger for Limited Magic demanded more attention), so I jumped into another 8-4 queue. Fast forward another couple of hours (after a mulled to 6 by both my opponent and me), I was offered a split in the finals. I accepted (mainly because of my extremely awkward hand of 6) and added another 3 boosters and a random assortment of cards to our collection. Two finals out of two drafts is pretty good for our portfolio!

That’s it for today! My tentative goal for the next article will be to again supplement trading with a draft, and hopefully, we will do well again. I realize that drafting is a risky way to increase value unless you are a really good drafter, but I am looking to accumulate value quickly so we can reach our goal- foil Force of Will. Let me know if you think I should utilize this option in the future or not. Maybe by combining it with a draft report?!

For everyone that missed out on some of the earlier episodes or wants to check on the progress over time, just type “Rags to Riches” into our search box on top of the front page, and you will have access to all my previous posts- starting with a single RoE booster.

Take care everyone,


  1. No way jose, this is about trading, not drafting.

    And we all know that in the long run drafting won’t work.

  2. I agree, the appeal of the “Rags to Riches” concept to me is that anyone can feasibly profit through shrewd trading over time. 95% of people are not going to have the ability to consistently profit by drafting, and most will lose value and end up frustrated from that route.

    Additionally, it just isn’t interesting and provides no information of value compared to discussing trades. Saying “look, I won a draft” is meaningless, whereas saying “look, I traded for card X because of this reason and sold card Y for another reason” actually can open someone’s eyes to a new component of trading they may be able to use in the future.

  3. Gotta agree with the other posters. I’ve really enjoyed the previous installations, where you use your knowledge of the market and trading skills to progress toward your goal; this one, not so much. There’s no skill to profiting from drafting, just dumb luck mostly.

    Case in point: my last M11 4-3-2-2 draft. First pack, I was working on a solid, but unspectacular, BG deck; no bombs, but it was shaping up nicely. Second pack, first pick: Baneslayer Angel, which sat in my sideboard because I was getting cut on White and Black kept on coming. I won my first round, then got railed by a lightning-fast RG deck in the second, so I walked away with two packs for a future draft and 8 tix for a card that I never played and wouldn’t have even seen had I not been fortunate enough to crack it.

  4. Don’t want to beat a dead horse but again the whole value was trading up to the force of will. Last week for example would have been an awesome time to buy extended ( ex. Reflecting pool at 8-10 tix is now selling at at least 15 tix this week).

  5. Hello guys,

    I appreciate the comments and will not use drafts to boost my collection anymore (even though they are hardly dumb luck – at least for me :-)).
    You can all expect “trades only” for the next installation. Extended is a nice way to go but you have to see that I am still not swimming in tickets and many of the cards are quite expensive even pre-extended.
    I am glad to get a few responses and will adjust according to the readers preference.

    Take care all,


  6. I like reading this series. I agree that it wouldn’t be good to focus exclusively on using drafting as a means to achieve your goal. The inclusion of it this article is an interesting diversion though.

    Regarding formats, extended will be hot and heavy for a while, and I don’t blame you for avoiding it.

  7. There are plenty of articles out there that try to use drafting for profit. This series is so interesting and informative because it examines a nearly lost art on MTGO: trading. I would agree with the audience that you should stay true to the series and keep grinding it out.

    Great series!

  8. Would be kind of kewl if you made another series possible after this one on drafting to profit while at the same time explaining why you picked the cards and such for a learning purpose. Not everyone has a 1900+ limited rating and can profit from drafting unlike trading to profit.

  9. Point of clarification: Being good at drafting and winning because of your skill is not dumb luck. As you have (had?) almost a 2000 Limited rating, you are obviously pretty good at it.

    Opening a Baneslayer Angel, Primeval Titan or other bomby expensive Mythic Rare is dumb luck; you had nothing to do with the pack that was cracked, but you reaped the benefits nonetheless.

  10. Not quite waht i did expect to read, but looking forward to the next Part of RtR with more trading =)

  11. Yeah I enjoy these articles myself and was dissapointed at the drafting. What about resetting your total to where you were before the draft? The whole point of the article was to show how anyone could do it and not everyone has your crazy drafting skills.

  12. Even though drafting depends on your play skill and the quality of your packs / draws, it can still be fun to look at the numbers behind it. I know that some authors have looked at the winning percentage required in different draft formats to go infinite based on the price of packs and the average buy price of rares in a set. It would also be cool to similarly analyze constructed formats – look at deck price vs prizes vs required winning percentage to profit on average vs time required for a deck to pay for itself with a given win percentage.

  13. Cool to hear you’re a pretty awesome drafter, but I agree with the general sentiment that this series shouldn’t be about that.

    But that said, I love the series so keep it going =)

  14. No one likes playing Magic anymore. We just like playing make believe stock exchange with our 1000-person pseudo-economy.

  15. I’m going to be sour and sarcastic about the fact that people want the column to be about what it is about. Rawr!

  16. Hello everyone!

    I am kind of glad the emotions are high on this one – it shows that people care about the column. After carefully reading all the comments I have decided to take drastic measures; All cards and boosters I have acquired via the two drafts I did are removed from the account and the 13 tickets I spent to beginn the drafting are back on.
    With this “reset” I hope to satisfy the loyal readers that prefer the pure trading aspect of the “Rags to Riches” column. I will double my efforts to present interesting trades and “hidden” treasures.



  17. Great! That’s excellent. Of course you set the rules for Rags to Riches but I think this is really what we all want: For you to reach your nigh impossible goal with just trades.

    Good luck continuing the journey, I’ll be sure to tune in whenever it’s updated :)

  18. This weeks article was kind of more like week 18.5 since you decided to essentially restart over for this weeks article. Glad to see your at least showing other methods are possible. Still think you should do a draft rag to riches series after this one and teach people to be better drafters.

  19. I agree that this was a “off” week for this column. and since that is the conlcusion from most and yourself i feel no need to further comment on that. Nice to see you reset it.

    I do feel an urge to comment on the whole draft for profit issue though. Im a draft addict and ive tried to keep it going with minimal added resourses
    in a past set i was also at 1900ish this set im stuck between 17-1800 and im not near breaking even and no way close to a profit.

    Getting closer to breaking even is what this series is helping me to do !
    So the article this week is to me a paradox. Im following this to help me break even doing what i love the most and in week 19 im told that i should just do what i love to make profit if i where good enough.

    I have however read many many articles from even pro players and they all state that breaking even has to include constructed play with the top tier decks, which i cant afford just yet when most have 4 jaces in em atm.

    So thx for a great series and thx for continuing in its true nature.

  20. Great read so far. Shame it fizzled out.

    I’d love it to be trade only, but if the drafting is what would get you to finish the series then do it! Only the conclusion then has to be that you’d require more time per week to do it via trades, or once you get to the high cost cards it’s best to do it via other methods.

    Heck – double the trade time available to get back into it :)

    For a new player like me it’s great to see how much value you increased your collection by – will be trying to do this in paper cards!!