Hello, my name is Ada (for the denizens of #wall-street, I go by “Frejya” on the FAB Discord). I wanted to throw out an “about me” and a little bit about what I want to do with this space to get things started. Professionally, I’m a former instructor at a large state university where I taught English, Film, and some other miscellaneous classes that featured multimodal textual production. Since then, I’ve moved around a bit and done various non-academic jobs. Currently, I’m at Amazon where I work on Alexa.
I’ve pretty much always had nerdy interests. I suppose it was kind of inevitable. When we were little kids, my mom read my brother and me Tolkien, McCaffrey, and Lewis; taught us how to change parts in the family computer; and made sure we knew how to use DOS. Then, while my parents were at work, we’d spend the days at my grandma’s house where she introduced us to Atari (Nintendo was out at this point, but we wouldn’t own one for another year or two) and did other immensely responsible things like show Aliens to a 4 and 6 year old (she’s the absolute best). So one day while my mom was picking us up from grandma’s, I heard about this fantasy card game called “Magic” on some random NPR story that was playing on the radio. My interest was immediately piqued, and I jumped in circa Alliances. I played until Odyssey when I sold my collection to pay for car insurance (woo, high school), got back in at Coldsnap, and played to Theros. In 2013 my wife and I were moving so she could pursue a post doc, and I had no job lined up, so I sold out of Magic for the last time to pay the bills.
Post-Magic, I played some Netunner, and I’ve played Hearthstone at varying frequencies since beta. But, I never really thought I would get back into a physical CCG because they’re such a time sink, especially upfront. And I also have a real problem with wanting to collect all of the old rare cards, which is financially daunting with any established game. Then COVID happened, and I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands and all of this money I wasn’t spending on travel, bars, restaurants, clothing, etc. While perusing the Team Covenant podcast randomly (I hadn’t really frequented their content since Netrunner died), I happened upon their Flesh and Blood video, perked up at Dorinthea (I’ll forgive the boob-plate), was really intrigued by the design of starting at your most powerful state and getting weaker as the game progressed (which seemed fairly novel in a CCG), and ultimately said, “what the hell, I’m in!”
I ordered cases of WTR and ARC —we were still in the $65 box era— started cracking packs, and very quickly found myself drawn into the secondary market right at the moment things were really heating up. That’s when it all clicked. I realized that one of the big things I’d apparently missed about Magic was the market aspect of a CCG. When I was at my most competitive in Magic (2008-2013), my preferred formats were Legacy and Vintage. Despite living on the salaries of two grad students, I managed to amass a pretty solid collection though a few means. I was fairly good at being a bit ahead of market trends: I started buying dual lands in 2008/2009 and had playsets and extras at $20-40 a dual, and I bought most of my power at less than $400 each. I did some flipping: my proudest was lining up tabs with every Candelabra of Tawnos I could find, and then buying them all as soon as the Mental Misstep Legacy ban was announced before selling all but a playset over the next couple weeks for a quick double up, which felt like an incredibly high roller move to me at the time. I also got into EDH early and speculated on cards that were quite cheap but had a lot of upside, things like: Diao Chan at $5, Gate to Phyrexia at $0.50, Tawnos’s Coffin at $8, Karakas for $2 (which ended up being banned in EDH but more than made up for it with its rise in Legacy) -this sampling perhaps also hints at my affinity for weird cards and oddities.
That brings me back to FAB. I stepped in at just the right time to buy a bunch of MAP and sub-MAP WTR and ARC to shove in my closet and scooped up everything but Heart at what have turned out to be very good prices. It’s been very exciting to watch the game explode in both popularity and value over the past few months, and I’d like to think that I’ve generally made good calls on buys and holds, even if I skew a bit more conservative on how deep I buy into stuff that I plan to resell in the future.
So where is this site going? Overall, I expect it to be a little bit of a grab bag. The content will likely have a lean towards FAB finance or finance-adjacent subjects – stores aren’t open in my city, so all of my games are in TTS, and, at this point, I am definitely not at the skill level where I think I have a lot to contribute on the strategy end of things. But as anyone who is familiar with me knows, I do have a lot of thoughts on the market. I also have a little bit of background in game design –I did some freelance work for some as-of-yet unlaunched Kickstarter titles, and I just have a general interest in it as a topic, so I’ll touch on that occasionally. My wife has even tentatively agreed to collaborate on some pieces I want to write about how psychology intersects with the financial aspects of the game. She has no clue how FAB works, but she does have a PhD in cognitive psychology (think less “Freud on a couch” and more “gather a lot of experimental data and build statistical models”), so she’ll help make sure that I’m not just making things up. To be honest, I’ll probably write about any random aspect of FAB when the mood strikes me, though I will promise not to write any Kassai/Dash femslash.
To wrap this up, my goal is to write an average of two pieces a week as time permits (which will probably be often in the age of quarantine), though I don’t have particular days in mind. My aim is posts of about 1500-2000 words, but we’ll see how long that holds up. Thanks for indulging the rambling introduction; we’ll get into actual FAB finance next time around!
*Header Image – Fyendal’s Spring Tunic by Sergey Gurskly