Jason Alt – MTGO Zero


You see what I did there? I made a clever pun at the expense of “FNM Hero” which was a series about someone who fancied himself very good at trading and winning FNM.

You all know me. I don’t have to actually poll all of you to know the answer to the question “How much would you like an article series from me about my experiences playing Magic?” would be “somewhere between “Hepatitis from licking a toilet seat” and “Shotgun blast to the torso.” I know that. I want to write that series roughly as much. The only thing I play right now is EDH, and we all know I play EDH for the same reason that guys in their 30s suddenly take up whiffleball – sometimes it’s the only way to get someone to play with you. For me it’s not a three-year-old like in the whiffleball scenario but rather someone who has roughly the same table manners as a three-year-old – my wife, Brittany. If I want to play Magic and include her at all, it’s going to be EDH and she is going to use the same general for the rest of her life. One a scale from 1-10 in terms of mental stimulation with 1 being watching MtV for 30 minutes and 10 being differential equations, it’s rapidly approaching 1, but really, it’s not that bad. It’s not like I’m desperate to play some really high quality games of EDH and she is holding me back.

I just don’t play a ton. That’s fine – for a guy who doesn’t really play a ton of Magic I’ve managed to go pretty deep on this game. If I were still grinding the PTQ circuit you would never have heard of me. So, great, I’ve managed to carve out a bit of a niche for myself. Financier, podcaster, curmudgeon. Who needs to play?

But isn’t actually playing Magic well and consistently the greatest possible challenge? Does it get any more difficult than unseating Finkel and Budde as the greatest of all time, and at this point in my life? Not in terms of Magic, no. But we’ve already established that no one wants me to try. You wouldn’t be interested in the process, and I would be, frankly, out of my depth taking another run at it. No, I was never super serious about playing this game to perfection and it’s best that I don’t pretend I ever was. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a longing there – a desire to be challenged.

The idea came on very suddenly, but I immediately recognized it as my destiny.

I am going to enter the world of Magic Online Finance.

And I am going to fall on my ass.

At least at first. I don’t have Magic Online installed on my computer. I don’t know anything about buying or selling cards on MODO other than that I know that “bots” are involved. I am vaguely aware that the currency is “tickets” which people call “tix” because they think that sounds cool (they’re kinda right) and sometimes when a card is the equivalent people call it “a tick” which I think is silly and fun. I know a few websites to check prices and I know that the prices are going to confuse the heck out of me. I know that set redemption is a big deal and how to prepare for it. And I know that it’s a much more efficient market than paper and it moves at the speed of light. This is the closest I can get to the stock market without abandoning all of my knowledge about the game and wading into the shark-infested waters of the NYSE or the FTSE (how funny is it that they call it the “footsie?”).

Some of you know a lot about MODO finance. You’re probably going to laugh at me at first. Good. I welcome it. This is going to be a real shit show at first and people who know a lot about MODO are going to get an even bigger kick out of it than most people. It will be like a private, inside joke that the two of us will share. I welcome your ridicule – it will fill me with purpose and make me resolve to make you rue the day you scorned me by building an impressive MODO portfolio that has so much value that I can afford to hire someone to kill you.

Some of you know very little about MODO finance. You’re probably going to get as much out of this as the people who are laughing at me for being a total noob at first. You can learn along with me, and best of all, you can watch me make mistakes with my own money and learn costly lessons for free. We can grow as MODO financiers together, you and I. It will be like a private study session the two of us share. You can send me tips, warn me of mistakes I am about to make, or thank me for teaching you something new. If it’s really obvious, this thing you’re thanking me for teaching you, the experienced guys might laugh at us. Don’t worry about it, I already indicated that I’m going to have them killed. I’m thinking I’ll have the hitman choke them out but then turn on some porn on their computer and pull their pants down to simulate what the coroner is going to euphemistically refer to as a “death by misadventure” and their parents will get really quiet when people ask what happened…but I’m getting ahead of myself, here. Back to the article. But, you know, between you and me, there will be rueing.

The initial plan for this article series was for it to be a once-a-month series, but that doesn’t seem like it holds much value. The market moves super fast and going a month between installments is not going to get there. But I certainly don’t want to write these weekly, especially given that I am the guy who pays people on this website and if I paid myself what I’d like to be paid for these, words like “embezzlement” and “police” and “not as good as his QS articles” are going to get thrown around and no one wants that. So I think we can all live with two of these a month. That will be frequently enough that it will feel like a smooth learning curve and infrequently enough that I don’t climb a clock tower.

Was this entire article a delay tactic to distract from the fact that I still haven’t downloaded MODO? Not really, considering I could have published this whenever I wanted. No, readers, this is to serve as an announcement of my intention to add another skill to my toolbox and bring something to the podcast as well. Lots of you want to hear more about MODO on the podcast, and I hear you loud and clear. This series is going to chronicle my journey and hopefully in a few months I’ll be chiming in with Marcel on MODO finance tips.

  • I will be building a virtual portfolio and tracking the cards I keep, buy and sell.
  • In the spirit of the “hero” series I am lampooning, I am going to start with a fixed budget of 100 tickets and if I run out. Ummmm…. what did Medina do when he ran out? Anyway, I’m not going to run out because you aren’t going to let me do anything that stupid. Remember, this is about those of you who know a lot about this helping to teach people who don’t, so you’re going to advise me not to do anything stupid. Besides, this isn’t a totally new game, it’s just a different market.
  • I am going to try and hijack the podcast every once in a while to give updates on how my portfolio is doing. If I can’t do that, I’ll at least update on Twitter. You all follow me there, right? @JasonEAlt ? Ringing any bells? If you’re not following me on twitter, follow me now and I’ll pretend like I didn’t notice. If you don’ have a twitter account, have a twitter account. They’re useful. I will be tweeting and retweeting about finance, both #MTGFinance and #MODOFinance. Those are like 140 character bonus articles except I can write them on the toilet.
  • A year from now I am going to cash out all of my tix (I already love typing that) and throw all of you a pizza party!
  • I probably won’t throw all of you a pizza party.

And that’s really all there is to it! The comments field on this article is a great place to ask questions, troll me preliminarily, and get engaged with this silly project I’m embarking on. If you think this is incredibly derivative of project that Jon Medina and Chas Andres have done already, I guess all I can do is point out that the value in this is watching me learn how to engage in MODO finance and not so much in coming up with an entirely new premise. Like anyone can come up with a new premise in Magic writing at this point. Besides, I think I may be the first person doing a series like this to show how bad they are. This is going to be fun, I just know it.

About the Author
@JasonEAlt     -     Email     -     Articles Jason is a financier living in Michigan. You can find his work on Gathering Magic, Quiet Speculation, and MTG Price. Jason brings several years of MTG finance experience to the podcast as well as his signature wit and comic relief. Jason joined the podcast as a guest on Episode 10 and again on Episode 12 and it was clear that the group had a great dynamic. He became a permanent member of the cast soon after and the world of MTG finance hasn’t been the same since. Jason is also a disgruntled former member of Team Simic.

6 comments on Jason Alt – MTGO Zero

  1. Mike says:

    Awesome! Really looking forward to this!

  2. RichJMoney says:

    As a MTGO amateur myself I’m looking forward to following this article series!

  3. Douglas Johnson says:

    Definitely looking forward to this, as i’m in the same boat as you. Don’t even have MODO downloaded, but sounds interesting enough. Thanks for taking the dive and letting us all learn from your experiences!

  4. Mark (marcusp619) says:

    This is going to be a great article series, since i just started playing both paper version and online. Good luck!

  5. Joakim says:

    Ha! In the same situation. I’m so going to download the client after lunch today.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Never played MTGO , gonna make my accout soon and this will be helpful

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