Insider trading is not a particularly rare event in MTG’s secondary market. Typically, individual parties will get access to spoilers early. With this exclusive information, offenders can buy up some cards that may be affected financially by the upcoming spoilers. It can be difficult to pinpoint when insider trading is intentional or just a coincidence, but it looks like this particular instance is incredibly suspicious.
MTGO Insider Trading
During the Wizard’s Presents on August 18, Goatbots, one of the most popular trading bots on Magic Online, posted a tweet that saw a lot of activity. In this tweet, Goatbots shares that a user bought more than 1,000 Pain Lands and multiple playsets of Liliana of the Veil. These have both been spoiled a week ago for Dominaria United, but these purchases were made before the spoilers went live.
Liliana of the Veil was somewhat telegraphed a few days early. In a Dominaria United worldbuilding video, the Planeswalker’s art was spoiled. In combination with Mark Rosewater’s hint that a ‘fan-favorite Planeswalker’ would be reprinted, this jump isn’t huge. The Pain Lands can also be construed to be a good guess. These are all famous settings lore-wise on Dominaria, so their return is somewhat predictable. That said, this illustrious user bought an enormous number of these cards.
Liliana of the Veil was worth about $9 before spoilers went up on MTGO. After spoilers, this card is going for as much as $25. While Shock Land prices aren’t as exciting, they did jump from around 10 cents each to close to a dollar. These prices vary by Pain Land, but they have all doubled at minimum, reaching as much as $2 in some cases. Most of these fetchlands go from worth less than ten cents to more than a dollar. Considering that this user bought more than a thousand of these lands, they could make ten times their investment should these prices hold.
This player is literally spending thousands of dollars on a speculation. The fact that they hit everything perfectly makes things much more suspicious. Truth be told, the most questionable part of the purchase wasn’t any of the items above.
The nail in the coffin for this particular user was getting a third ‘speculation’ correct after getting two other overwhelmingly profitable ones correct. Alongside buying more than a thousand Pain Lands and dozens of Liliana of the Veil, they also bought a ton of Merfolk.
This insane Merfolk Lord was released on August 23, five days after Goatbots made their first tweet. The power that Vodalian Hexcatcher offers the Merfolk tribal strategy is no joke. Not only does it have a low mana value of two, but it can flash in, buff all your other Merfolk, and use Merfolk to counter an opponent’s spell in a pinch! This will likely see play in Modern merfolk decks and may bring the archetype to Pioneer, Explorer, and Historic. More versatility is always appreciated in any format, so this spoiler should be exciting for the community!
Judging from the cards reportedly purchased by Goatbots, this speculator seems focused on Merfolk’s Modern iteration. This archetype has seen a recent resurgence in the format, winning multiple Regional Championship Qualifiers this weekend.
Unlike Liliana of the Veil and the Pain Lands, there was a lot less going on pre-spoiler season that would allude to a powerful Merfolk lord being printed. Not only has our mysterious buyer landed this complex speculation, but they have also landed two other gigantic ones while making no mistakes. Goatbots found this behavior suspicious enough that they took the initiative to send the trade data to Wizards of the Coast’s Fraud Specialists. Insider trading is taken very seriously and may result in the trader’s banning from the MTGO platform. Should they be proven innocent, this trader will have a massive windfall, but the risk is not worth it.
Don’t Risk it!
If one should participate in insider trading, one would likely be banned from all MTG-related events. One would hope that their source for these early spoilers would be punished or rescinded, preventing them from profiting from insider info. Hopefully, if guilty, this buyer is caught and appropriately reprimanded to keep MTGO’s marketplace as fair as possible. While this may heavily impact MTGO’s market, it looks like Commander may be the driving force for Dominaria United’s financial climate.