Awesome! Expedition! Now What?

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By: Cliff Daigle

My second opponent at the prerelease last weekend (we both lost in the first round) said to me, “It doesn’t matter if I win a few packs, because I already won!” and then he showed me the Steam Vents he’d opened.

After the match, he asked me if I wanted to buy the Expeditions land off of him. I declined, and I said to him, “I think the price is going to come down in a few weeks.”

He said, “Maybe, but I don’t know what to do with it.”

Perhaps this is you. You opened an Expeditions land and now you’re asking, “Now what?”

Well, I’m here to walk you through your choices. I am not a professional seller, I am not affiliated with any store, and my views reflect only my experiences.

Option #1: Keep it!

This is the most straightforward of your choices. Pick a deck, or choose a binder, and leave it there. Maybe you keep it in the back page of your binder just to show off, maybe you add it to a Commander deck, but whatever your preference is, the card is in your possession.

This is also the choice that will probably give you the best return on the value. If you leave it in there for a year, it’s going to be worth more than it is now.

Would I do it: Maybe. I have one all-foil Commander deck, and it doesn’t have a Scalding Tarn or Polluted Delta…but those are among the most expensive cards from Expeditions. If I opened one of those…yeah, I’d keep it.

 

Option #2: Trade it!

This sounds like an appealing idea to a lot of people, to give up this one single card and get so much in return! I could easily see someone emptying out their binder in order to get their hands on the Expeditions land they want so very badly, not least because you don’t often find people with high-end cards for trade.

It’s worth saying that if you’re going to trade this, be aggressive in what you’re asking for, especially if you’re trading a fetch land or shock land. While it seems these aren’t as super-rare as originally anticipated, they are still pretty hard to find and you shouldn’t be shy if you’re going to part with yours. Grab everything of theirs you want, negotiate a little, and if they don’t want to trade the things you want, start to walk away. Most of the time, they will come around.

If there’s no trading partner available at your store, there’s always online trading. Deckbox is my preferred method, but if you are just starting you’ll be asked to send your cards first and I know that can be intimidating at the beginning, especially if you’re trying to start with a card worth more than $100.

Trading the card on PucaTrade is a strong option. This is the way to get all the points you’ll need for a while, or jump you up to the big cards you desire. Think of it as getting 100% of the card’s value in store credit.

Would I do it: Yes. I have never been a heavy PucaTrade user, mainly because I don’t have a lot of time to watch and jump in when someone wants a card I have. I would be content to gain a stack of PucaPoints or spend a couple of days haggling on Deckbox until I got exactly what I wanted.

 

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Option #3: Sell it!

There’s a simplicity in selling your Expeditions land to whichever online card shop you like, because you’ll get the cash or credit right away. No haggling, no discussion, just click, pack, send. If you want cash this may or may not be the best option, since right now lots of stores have lots of prices set up. I would expect that the prices will stabilize this week as stores begin opening their product.

As ever, though, doing the simple thing is going to cost you some. Typically, stores will give you about half the retail price of a card in cash. Most big stores will then add a percentage to it and give you more in store credit, to avoid paying cash.

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If you’re not used to dealing with expensive cards or selling things yourself, there’s an ease and a comfort in dealing with the store of your choice. Just understand that there’s a real cost.

Selling the card via Facebook, Twitter, or other social media is an option, but carries its own set of risks.

eBay might be the best option if you want to convert your card to cash. There will be fees from eBay and from PayPal, and so you should expect to pay 10-20% of the final sale value. If you’ve sold things on eBay before, you don’t need me to tell you about it. If you haven’t, understand that eBay almost always sides with the buyer in disputes, so there’s always the chance you could get burned as the seller if you’re unfamiliar with the process. Other buyers will shy away from someone with low feedback.

It’s my understanding that TCGPlayer isn’t that much better than eBay when it comes to small amounts of cards, but I’ve never sold there and I’ll let people share their experiences in the comments.

Would I do it: Probably not. Turning a card into cash usually means that I’ll spend it on other things that my family needs. Plus, I don’t like losing the percentages of a sale, so I’d stick with trading.

Let’s use an example: Arid Mesa.

Here at MTGPrice, it’s listed at $150, because that’s about what it’s going for on eBay. Card shops aren’t allowed to sell them until today and so there’s a lot of volatility.

Looking at the sold items, that seems like a good average. There’s been some lower offers accepted, some bids aren’t too much above or below that number. Remember, though, that you’d be looking at about $20-$25 in fees.

TCGPlayer has these in that same range, about $165. Notable that their data shows these as pre-selling for more than $200 earlier this week! As of this writing, though, the lowest price on a NM copy is $145, and with the downward trend, you could probably undersell that too.

Selling to stores appears to be an even worse play, with buylists not even breaking $100, and most between $80-$90. Even with store credit, you’d be hard-pressed to break $120 at a store.

PucaTrade is by far the most profitable option. You’d get 17150 points, the equivalent of $171.50 worth of cards. Puca is a surprisingly good place to get high-end cards, and you’d be well on your way.

I’m putting this up for people that aren’t sure what to do with their one Expeditions card, especially if you have no interest in trying to get a full playset. I welcome discussion about the best way to move one of these, along with your experiences.


 

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17 thoughts on “Awesome! Expedition! Now What?”

  1. I’m not sure I agree with the statement, “Puca is a surprisingly good place to get high-end cards, and you’d be well on your way.” I’ve had a Tundra on my Pucatrade Want list for the better part of a year now with the necessary points. It’s one of the few 100+ USD cards I still need for a deck I’m building, and I’ve just about given up hope that anyone will send one my way on Pucatrade.

    1. I’ve been on Pucatrade for a few months now and actively trading, though not a high volume. I’ve managed to get three Tundras in excellent condition and offers for several other duals. Perhaps you need to foster more relationships with other traders, or improve your profile? It goes a long way, as the puca community is still pretty small.

  2. I got polluted delta in the pre release party. Sold it on eBay in 4 hours for $300. Pretty turn on profit. I just made the shipper require signature for receipt.

  3. Sell them immediately ! New set hype always happens and expedition is not an exception. The only cards that the prices are going up will be those that are difficult to be evaluated by the majority.

    You are so wrong in this article IMO.

  4. I opened a verdant catacombs at my prerelease. The card wasn’t as pretty as I had anticipated, on another note. A guy offered my one MM and one MM15 goyf, and I snap took that deal.

  5. I think continuing to evaluate Puca points as 1pt = 1 cent is going to be a problem in the near future. As you see more and more sales of Pucapoints for .70 or .65 on the dollar that economy isn’t guaranteed to be stable either. at .70 cents per dollar that 17150 in points is 12005 which comes out pretty close to the trade in value at a store and you know you can get exactly what you want there vs waiting for the right people to come along at Puca.

    1. I don’t think of Puca as cash. I know some people do well selling their points at that rate, but at 70 cents on the dollar, now you’re looking at the same rate as buylisting or eBay.

      I look at pucatrade as a tool for trade value.

      1. No I agree, the difference is that you 1) have no guarantee of getting what you want in any reasonable time frame and 2) are at risk of the whole thing falling down around you with no way to get value from those points.

        I say this as an avid Pucatrader but I don’t know that I’d want to keep a large balance in there.

        1. I feel that if PucaTrade fell down and you had a large point balance you’d be in a good place for some litigation. It is up to them to protect the value of their “currency” If they value it at 1c = 1pp and they caused their economy to fail as predicted in previous articles, I’m sure you’d have some litigating power.

  6. IMHO, these are a sell right now, and a fast one. A lot of LGSs opened up a lot more product than normal (some even on credit) with the intent of recovering quick cashes via the expedition prices, however the market has been flooded with these and in order to recoup costs quickly, they will need to under cut the lowest price. Not all LGSs fall into this category, but there are some who cannot have 5 to 10k tied up in a few dozen cards for months.

  7. Cliff and friends,
    Sorry to speak only on pucapoints here but it seems pertinent to the discussion-
    I find that you can still correlate Pucapoints directly to a dollar value. It seems that fear of diluted value hinges on the idea that the quantity of active/available pucapoints is a finite number- Yeah if the entire economy of the system were capped at say.. 20 million points and the users were selling these things below their value then yes the value of a single pucapoint would be decreasing. However, the points in the system as they were originally generated correlate directly to the dollar value at a 1:1 ratio and continue to do so as new traders and deals appear-

    Quick point; If I buy a 100$ bottle of wine and my friend chips in 20 bucks-is the value of the bottle now only 80$?

    Let’s just say that I own …a bakery and I sell cookies – not for money but for … Brock’s bux, this currency does not exist or circulate until people purchase my new currency with their USD. In the beginning all bux correlate to dollars- So customer A, purchases 5,000.00 Brock’sBux for 5,000.00 (he loves cookies) time goes by and customer A now needs cash instead cookies so he sells 2500 Brock’sbux to his good friend customer B at 2,000$ (20% less than the cash value). Customer B now purchases a cookie for 10 Brock’sbux – Has he paid too little for the cookie? Since the value of his points was 20% less than when they were originally sold should inflation have to occur for customer B to afford a cookie? NO. The discount on points is similar to your friend chipping in 20 bucks on your bottle of wine- the product prices are not changing with the cost of second hand currency acquisition. The currency is not diluted by this any more than the currency gets diluted by people making profits on cards. If I am able to buy a Tarmogoyf at 100usd from a friend and then flip it on Pucatrade for 15,000points have I now diluted the points system? NO. In this example I have effectively paid a little over .66/1 point and this is exactly how the system is supposed to work. That Tarmogoyf deal is exactly the same as somebody selling points directly-only dressed up differently. Why are people apprehensive about point devaluation through direct point sales and not through great trade deals? Profits and losses will be recorded EVERYWHERE over the course of these trades. Where is the accounting for a guy who paid 25bucks(real bucks!) for a Thoughtseize 2 months ago and is now unloading the card for 2100 points?? Let’s not forget that the products being traded on pucatrade are coming from outside sources, private collections, stores…all over the place, cards have been purchased at great deals and they have been purchased at premium prices- just like the pucapoints themselves. To me, it appears there is a much better balance than the community seems to be feeling exists.

    1. The big concern for PucaPoints isn’t the purchasing of points. It is with the informal introduction of points with their trade guarantee where they return points to the buyer and/or seller for incomplete trades. No one is buying these points, they are just being added to the pp economy. This concern was brought up in a previous mtgprice article. I totally agree with you. If I’m able to purchase 100 pp for .70/100pp then I am effectively using PucaTrade to get a discount on cards. The seller is still getting the full value of pp. It is up to the PucaTrade community to keep the demand for PucaPoints up so people aren’t undercutting each other to trade the points for cash.

  8. I think trading is the best way to go to get the most “value” out of the Expedition lands. TRADE FOR LEGACY OR MODERN CARDS TO PLAY/FINISH A DECK!!

    If someone needs the money figure out who at the LGS is willing to buy it. Don’t get yourself in trouble with the store, but there’s always 1 or 2 guys that even the store knows will buy any new super rare or shiny card. Text the person or talk to them outside the store to set up a sale. If you are younger or inexperienced ask for help moving the card! I think people will begin evaluating Expedition lands and their value based on visual appeal and art work…but the non-blues are already plummeting. I initially thought I would be trading 4 foil Khans Strands for an Expediton Strand and thought that would be lucky for me to get one; now I have to think whether I want to trade 3 Foil Khans Strands for an Expedition Strand and this is only opening day. I opened an Expedition Smoldering Marsh so I’m just gonna hold onto my $40 card 🙁 It does fit nicely into Modern Burn for players running Bump in the Night, don’t think that’s going to cause a spike any time soon though lol

  9. Spencer, expedition Strand is the ugliest card I have ever seen. Don’t waste your pretty Foil Khans on it.

  10. Tim, Strand seems to be the most polarizing Expedition land. My buddy hates it but he likes Marsh Flats and doesn’t like foils. Myself and others think it looks amazing (with Delta and Steam Vents as a contested top 3). So you are the second person who despises it and every opinion is valid. A young player at my LGS opened one and it looks great to me, not amazing cause it isn’t Full Art (I really hate Wizards right now for banning Dig and not printing true full art lands). It’s dropped from $350 to $200ish since he opened it so maybe I can trade for it now.

  11. I opened a Verdant Catacombs and contemplating whether or not to sell it on pre-release weekend potentially cost me $120. Because it was an Expedition land I didn’t stick with my usual mindset which is Sell into new set hype. You can usually buy back a week or two later at half the price.

  12. Honestly I don’t believe the pucatrade guarantee has ANY affect on the community or value of points either- points being “generated out of thin air” are no different than if I just decided to purchase 10k points outright from Puca directly. Those points now exist in the system with no correlation to trades or card value- the thing is all of “your” examples of point devaluation exist in a vaccuum. There is NO cap to points that will be in circulation any more than your LGS puts a cap on customers walking in the door with cash in hand. There is no sort of unbalance created by a magical occurrence of 100 dollars in points. If you find a 20 on the street does it devalue the other 20’s in your wallet? NO. It just circulated with your others and is treated the same at any point of sale across the world- just as PucaPoints should all be considered the same in the system and in your minds.

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