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Floor Reports: Grand Prix Indianapolis

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Hey Guys!

GP Indy was a great time this weekend. With 11 vendors in the room, there were plenty of opportunities to get top dollar with so much competition for the bucks in your binder. I figured I’d share my opinion of GP Indy with you, so that you guys can come to recognize the GP scene more. As a disclaimer once again, I’m not a writer, only a finance guy who wanted to express my opinion.

For this GP, I decided to ogre a few cards in my collection. Ogreing is named after a well-known vendor called Ogre, who is present at pretty much every GP. It’s pretty simple. You get a two or four-row and fill it with cards by price that you want to get on each card. Using top loaders or sticky notes,  write how much you want for each card and have each vendor pull out the cards if they’re okay paying the price of the card in your column. It saves the vendors a ton of time, and allows you to get top buylist for each card.

Let’s get in to the 11 vendors and what each of them brought to the GP!

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MTG Deals

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MTG Deals attended their first Midwest GP in quite a while. They came strong out of the gate with a buy price of $30 on Gideon and $57 on Jace, Vyrn Prodigy, as well as a strong buylist price of $5 on Anafenza and $4 on Oblivion Sower. With Sower appearing to be a failed buy for now, it was a good weekend to dump copies at a break-even point. I didn’t sell anything to MTGDeals, but I did buy a few cards from them. Like most vendors, they had a played section case for deals that appealed to players of all stripes. I found a warped reliquary tower promo for $1 which I kept for personal use, and a beat up Thoughtseize for 13 that I traded for a monastery mentor. I hope to see them in the future for more sweet deals in their played case, and hopefully next time I will have cards to sell them on their hotlist.

Tales of Adventure 

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Tales had a strong buying crew this weekend. Adam; normally a floor grinder for Ogre was buying for them in his usual tophat. They seemed eager to buy cards, and were definitely asking every person walking by if they could see their binders. I also didn’t sell any cards to them, but Adam’s power of persuasion incited my need to spend a couple dollars on a playset of Splinter Twin. Their other buyers were also friendly, and they definitely had a line on Friday of people waiting to sell cards. With bulk buy prices of 11 cents per rare and $4 per thousand on bulk C/U, many people were outing bulk to them throughout the weekend.

Hotsauce Games 

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Hotsauce was an interesting experience to say the least. Although it didn’t seem like they had stellar buy prices outside of Ulamog at $12, they definitely had enough people selling to them to make it a profitable venture. Aaron Werst, a bubbly shop owner from Indiana, was in attendance with quite a few people stopping by to see how he was doing and sell him some stuff. Joe Bernal, a well-known grinder when he’s playing, was buying for them this weekend as well. I didn’t get the numbers I wanted on cards I showed them, but their deals sure were hot. I picked up a played Tropical Island for $90, a foil Time Spiral Vesuva for $15, and a played Volcanic Island for $175. I sold the Vesuva to Coolstuff for a dollar more, and expect to get a premium in trade in the future for the dual lands. I highly recommend stopping by this booth in the future to buy some cheap cards out of their case.

Coolstuff Inc. 

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Coolstuff has always been known as a great booth to sell and buy casual cards from. They definitely lived up to my expectations this weekend. After picking through my ogre box, they pulled out about 20% of my cards. Getting $1 on Wild Slashes, Chaos Warps, and Jet Medallions sure added up fast. I was able to trade in for a LP Mana Drain with their store credit bonus of 25%. I also got about $150 in cash from them for the other cards that I sold them. They didn’t have the cheapest prices in the room as far as selling cards went, but they were definitely paying high numbers on random cards throughout the weekend. Their buyers are also some of my favorite people to work with, as they know how to chat with the players instead of grumpily offering numbers on cards with a dour face.

Pink Bunny Gaming 

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Pink Bunny has always been an interesting case for both me and other sellers in the room. Their online reviews are quite bad, and I have always stayed away from their booth due to past experiences of them cancelling my orders. In my opinion, they seemed to have turned over a new leaf at this GP. Their head buyer Damien was extremely charismatic this weekend, and after a lengthy discussion about buying tips convinced me to sell him some cards. Their prices on them were fair , and they matched a couple of top buylists in my ogre box on cards that they were confident they could move. I hope to see a repeat performance from them in the future, and cautiously advise you guys to stop by and see their prices at the next GP.

Aether Games 

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Aether came out swinging this weekend. Not only were they offering insane prices on competitive cards, they also were vending two GPs simultaneously on two different continents, splitting up their buying talent. After trading a Mox sapphire for Tasigurs and Eidolons at Buylist last weekend, I was really happy to make a profit selling those cards to Aether. They took over a hundred Tasigurs and 40 Eidolons from me, as well as many Constructed staples such as a complete set of 40 shock lands and over 20 fetch lands. Aether is still my go-to place to sell competitive cards, as I’m not sure that anyone can beat buy prices above TCGLow. It could have been possible to crack BFZ Event Decks and almost get 40 free cards after selling them Hangarbacks, Tasigurs, and Whisperwood Elementals. I sat down with Keith multiple times, and he was quick and professional when buying from me. They also had pretty good deals on Expeditions, such as Temple Gardens at 45 that seemed to disappear whenever I turned to look at another case. Aether has been my first stop when the doors open at every GP for the last couple of months, and I see no reason to go to another vendor first. However, it also has become well known that they are not interested in casual cards in the slightest, so I don’t advise selling any EDH cards to them unless you want to hear lower numbers than normal.

Pastimes 

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Pastimes looked through my ogre box and pulled out around 50 copies of Roast and Silkwrap that they bought for $1 each. I was pretty happy with the profits, but not happy with the mood of their buyers. They didn’t seem happy to be there, and should have greeted each potential seller with a smile on their face. I haven’t really sold much to Pastimes in the past, and honestly I haven’t seen a reason to do business with pastimes at almost any GP. They haven’t paid higher than any other vendor in the room for a while, and it seems to be locals that like to sell to them to support their shop.

MTGFirst 

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I haven’t seen MTGFirst at a GP for quite a while. They didn’t seem to have great buy prices or sell prices. However, they had a shelf entirely full of alters which looked really amazing.  The prices weren’t that much more expensive than the normal cards, but I wasn’t in the market for alters at this GP. If you see them in the future, I recommend stopping by to see what they have in stock alter-wise,  but they seemed tepid at best for selling to based on their hotlist and the amount of people selling this weekend.

Q&A Magic 

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Q&A Magic debuted for their first time this weekend.  AJ from Gray Ogre decided to open his own booth, and he had Ogre working the booth for him this weekend as well. As always, when Ogre is working at any booth, you need to stop by. I’m not sure what it is about Ogre besides his smile, but he could charge $20 to talk with him at GPs and people would line up to say hi. Due to Ogre working at Q&A , they had a considerable amount of traffic this weekend. In order to stay competitive, they raised buy prices on their hotlist to match other vendors this weekend.

They seemed determined to make a name for themselves on the circuit, and this GP was a great start to it. Ogre picked through my Ogre box and didn’t find anything, but he did find a small amount of cards in my binders that he paid handsomely on. However, they also weren’t without their faults. AJ had the persona of a brick wall when dealing with many people this weekend. Although I was happy with my experience, quite a few of you reached out to me on Twitter about how you were treated at his booth. I also wasn’t happy with his practice of pulling out cards and putting them on the mat, and then downgrading them for condition right before adding cards up. Hopefully this practice will cease soon, as it made me feel uncomfortable seeing my $9 sell price on Sacred Foundry go down to $7 right before I was handed cash.  As a newcomer to the scene, I still recommend stopping by Q&A magic in the future to see some of their deals and buy prices. They also were willing to negotiate on cash buys for random foils such as cascade bluffs and shizo, death’s storehouse. Being flexible might not make the best margins for them, but it sure made me a happy customer!

Alter Reality Games 

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Alter Reality Games didn’t bring much to the table this weekend, besides overpriced Modern Masters packs compared to the rest of the vendors at $12. I was quoted about 20% lower prices than top vendors like Coolstuff and MTGDeals. I also wasn’t happy with the mood of their buyers. They didn’t seem to interact with any of the sellers sitting next to me, and didn’t attempt to make conversation or friendly banter with anyone. The mood of a buyer is important to me, as I want to feel happy sitting down across from you while selling cards instead of listening to grunted numbers. After a negative experience as well at SCGSTL, I’m going to stay away from these guys for a while. Once again, this is just a personal view of mine. If you had a different experience, feel free to leave comments or reach me on twitter @lengthyxemit.

Dave & Adams Card Shop 

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Dave and Adams brought the most high-end inventory by far with hundreds of graded pieces of Power. They picked through the rest of my Ogre box and took the dregs, as well as a couple commander and Khans cards. I struck up a conversation with the head buyer, and chatted for a bit while he bought cards from me. I’m sorry that I can’t remember his name, but it was definitely one of the top experiences buylisting this weekend besides Aether and Coolstuff. Even if someone is only buying $200 of cards from you, he should be able to talk about bad beats stories with old cards as well as how D&A runs their operations with one of the largest gaming spaces in the United States.  I gained a lot of insight about the price of Pokemon bulk as well ($40 per k minimum is insane!) and walked away happier with some cash and their business card in my pocket. Even though they didn’t have the highest buy prices in the room, the experience of buylisting to them will definitely make me a repeat customer. They also had sealed high end product such as Collector’s Edition, Legends, and a Revised box that were cool to look at though a bit out of my price range.

Pastimes as TO

Disclaimer: This weekend was Halloween and RPTQ weekend, which may have led to the numbers below. However, it should also be noted that there was a RPTQ on site Friday afternoon.

So as many of you read from my tweets, pastimes TO’d an interesting GP this weekend. Pastimes rented one event hall for Friday, two for Saturday, and one for Sunday in order to accommodate all of the players for the GP. The thing is, they didn’t even need the second hall Saturday because not enough people showed up! A $70 fee to enter a GP is approaching ludicrous territory. Pastimes seems to have overestimated the amount of people willing to pay $70 and have $700 tier one decks.

On top of that, myself and a couple friends attempted to enter a Legacy Win-a-Box and ran into trouble. They were asking $20, more than twice the cost of a box for them since they rake in $160 per event. After looking online, it said that their Legacy Win-a-Box was $15. We showed it to them, and they still insisted that it was $20, as well as the Legacy side event also being $20. After being frustrated, we decided to not spend another dollar at Pastimes that weekend and instead play casual Legacy in a corner of the room. I honestly will most likely not attend another Pastimes GP for quite a while after this weekend. After attending both GP Chicago and GP Indy, it’s time to ask for a better TO in the Midwest than Pastimes.

The low attendance also had an effect on the vendors. Friday was very good for all of them, but after Round 2 of Saturday, there were very few people selling to any of the vendors for the rest of the weekend as some of my pictures show even in between rounds when people are normally selling. I think most of the vendors made an okay amount of money, but due to the lackluster attendance were not able to get enough cards in to make the Grand Prix as profitable as any others this month. Fetchland buy prices had also stabilized across all of the vendors, plateauing at $20 on Polluted Deltas instead of being higher like other GPs this month. Bloodstained Mire was the most sought after fetch this weekend for some reason, and at least four of the vendors had none in stock by the beginning of the GP. As of the time of writing the article, I’m still not sure where the meta is that prompted the high demand for Bloodstained Mires this weekend.

Anyways, thanks for reading. Once again these are my opinions, and I’d love feedback on your experiences at GP Indy.  Until the Next One!

-Xemit

Bonus Questions:

Question: Biggest Trap in MTGFinance?

Using TCG Mid for trades – Coolstuff Buyer

Condition of Cards . On older cards, SP to MP Prices vary a lot and can be the difference between a $3,000 Black Lotus and a $5,000 Lotus – Ogre.

Foils newer than Zendikar for eternal staples. There’s just too many and they’re printing for millions of players – Floor Grinder.

 

What’s one thing Sellers should know before sitting across from a buyer?

Having a binder of bulk rares with a couple $4 dollar cards in it. It wastes both of our time –Aether Buyer.

Unorganized Binders – Tales of Adventure Buyer.

We’re trying to make a living. Understand that we do need to make a profit on these cards, and sometimes can’t afford to pay high on certain cards because they don’t move well for us. –Anonymous Store Owner.

 

 

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Grinder Finance – The Battle for Zendikar Foils

While there are not a lot of opportunities are this point to make or save money by purchasing cards from Battle for Zendikar, there are interesting foil trends and a lot of commons and uncommons that should be on your radar.

Pre-release promos

Gideon

With so many possible promotional cards, it’s hard to pin down exactly how much some of these cards will cost.  Right now the price of a pre-release foil is equivalent to a pack foil pre-order.  I’d wager to guess that won’t stay true forever. In most cases the pre-release foil will fall under the price of a pack foil so it’s probably a good time to trade them away.  In most cases where they don’t, they are usually still the same price.  The easiest ones to trade away will be the planeswalker and legendary creatures but it’s not impossible to trade away some bulk promos like Aligned Hedron Network ( I traded mine on Pucatrade).  Now is also the best time to move foils with premiums like Planeswalkers.  I’d be especially keen to trade away walkers that cost more than 3 because they likely won’t see any eternal play.   Gideon’s current price tag won’t last forever.

The Diamonds in the Rough

Does your lgs have a bulk foil box? Need a throw in to make up a few dollars in trades?  Here are a few of my favorite commons from the set I like in foil.

dispel

This is Dispel’s third printing (all of which had a foil) but this is the first really standout art.  I expect this Jace art Dispel to carry a premium for Modern players for years to come.

fertilethicket

This is a weird effect, it’s probably good enough for most green Commander decks, though there is always a possibility it can be abused later since its effect costs “no mana.”  I don’t expect to have a hard time trading any of these that I pick up.

mortuarymire

This card might look like a poor man’s Volrath’s Stronghold, and it is, but mono black Commander decks are some of the most popular mono-colored decks.  I’d expect it to easy replace in a Swamp in those decks and be a value land in many others.  Many black decks already play Expedition Map to search up Urborg or Cabal Coffers.

scourfromexistence

This card has probably the best long term common from the set.  I can’t imagine a way they can reprint a colorless spell outside of Zendikar.  This card looks a lot like Unstable Obelisk.unstable obelisk

The key differences are that exile is a much better answer than destroy and there is a surprise factor that comes with Scour from Existence.  I expect at the very least, if you’re going to play an Unstable Obelisk you will also play a Scour from Existence.

What uncommons are worth picking?

retreattocoralhelm

This card, and all of the retreats really, are pretty easy slam dunks.  While Retreat to Coralhelm has already been sneaking into Modern decks, I can’t imagine any of them not being played at some time. Commander players really like playing their 11th, 12th, or 16th land so they will likely want to get value from them.

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crumbletodust

Foil Sowing Salts are $8-10 each.  This card does the same thing while being easier to cast.  I can’t imagine it doesn’t eventually eclipse Sowing Salt as the land destruction of choice in Modern.

sylvanscrying1

Sylvan Scrying is such an important role player in Modern but I can’t imagine it will see much Standard play.  There will be a time when these foils end up super cheap and you will love picking them up and holding them for a Modern season spike.  All it takes is one high profile finish to spike role player cards.

titanspresence

This card has a very unique effect.  I expect we will see more colorless creatures in the next set that will make this better.  Right now it’s not embarrassing to play but we really need some more 4-5 power Eldrazi to make it shine.

blightedcataract blightedwoodland

All of the Blighted lands are pretty decent pickups.  The white one is probably the worst and the green one is the best.  They are likely to keep some sort of Commander playability.

hedronarchive

Foil Mindstones can be found for $5-8 with two printings.  I expect this is the sweet spot between a Mind Stone and a Dreamstone Hedron which should make it pretty popular.  It shouldn’t be hard to get these easily in trades.

heraldofkozilek

Cards that reduce the mana cost of spells are always a corner case for broken things to happen.  I don’t know if this guy is better than Goblin Electromancer but he could follow a similar trajectory and could break out even more if he becomes a force in some weird deck in Vintage (where you are more likely to be able to abuse this ability).  At the very least he will be an important part of red and blue Commander decks with artifact sub-themes.  Given Wizard’s recent history pushing that theme in those colors I would not expect this to stay bulk.

Final Thoughts:

  • Expeditions look like they might be a little more common than people thought.  The market for them doesn’t seem to be there to sustain prices.  With the limited supply from the pre-release prices are already racing to the bottom.  If you have one you don’t need,  I would try to trade it or sell it.
  • That being said, the expedition supply is all anecdotal at this point.  Without a large retailer opening hundreds of cases of product it’s hard to know how often they appear.
  • The price of battle lands will likely drop quickly.  Many decklists I have seen will not be playing 4 copies of any of them.  Even 5 color decks likely won’t play more than 2 of any of them.
  • Khans Fetchland prices will probably peak next February or June. If you have extra ones I would choose one of those months to move them.
  • There is so much bad press on Sensei’s Divining Top.  It survived the last Legacy ban list but got banned in the rarely played Duel Commander.  This card will likely never get reprinted but I can’t imagine it surviving all formats forever.  It promotes so many bad game play patterns.  I would look to move mine before I get caught with my pants down.
  • Hardened Scales is almost $2 more than Siege Rhino.  I don’t really understand why but I would likely not want to play any deck in Standard without Dromoka’s Command.
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Battle for Zendikar Event Deck Revealed!

We finally got a full look at the Battle for Zendikar Event Deck list today, and it’s a doozy.

BFZ Event Deck

Smothering Abomination. Whisperwood Elemental. Tasigur, the Golden Fang. Hangarback Walker. Llanowar Wastes. That’s a lot of value packed into these decks, and you can be sure they’ll be selling at above MSRP for the next few weeks.

Now, before you completely pull the panic cord, I want to note a few things. Yes, the price on these chase cards will suffer, no doubt about it. But it’s also not the death knell for them, and chances are if you need these cards to play with, you’re likely supposed to hold them. Back in the day, we saw Thragtusk—which occupied a similar “all over Standard” role as Hangarback—shrugged off multiple reprints and remained more than $20. I don’t expect Hangarback to do quite that well, but it’s worth taking note of. Furthermore, Windswept Heath lost about 30 percent of its value after its own reprinting, so unless you’re getting more than 70 percent of retail for these chase cards, you’re not going to “profit” in the long term by selling yours now with the intent to rebuy in a month.

Still, this is very much going to inhibit the prices of these cards, and while I still like Tasigur as a long-term spec, this does damage its ceiling a bit and push that timeline out even further.

One final note, even if it seems obvious: if you can find these at MSRP, it’s very much worth your time to buy them and trade out the contents from inside, at least for the first few weeks.

Happy prereleasing this weekend!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter/Twitch/YouTube

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PROTRADER: Battle for Zendikar – First Impressions

The Eldrazi have returned. So too have the allies. The world of Zendikar is still under assault, and the denizens have rallied to try and fend off their otherworldly invaders. It’s an epic struggle that will almost certainly end in drama, tragedy, and possibly heroics.

Also, we’ve got some cool cards.

It’s the latter I’ll talk about today. Battle for Zendikar has a lot of things going for it (and spoiler season isn’t even over!), and I want to touch on some of the major ones today.

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expensive cards

ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

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