PROTRADER: Right Job for the Right Tool

Travis Allen

“Oh come ooooooooon,” I groaned exasperatedly. Mike had finally drawn into his Hornet Queen, and with that, the path of the game was now firmly headed in one direction. Hornet Queen would act as a stupendous rattlesnake, preventing anyone from attacking Mike. Eventually it would get cloned. Then it would die, and someone would reanimate it. And then it would die. And brought back with Puppeteer Clique. And so on and so on, until the world was nought but fire, brimstone, and bees. Even drawing an exile effect was dead, as Mike had a sac outlet on the board.

Ten or fifteen turns later, Mike cast Sepulchral Primordial reanimating Diluvian Primordial and Sheoldred, the Whispering One. Sheoldred would reanimate Hornet Queen for the umpteenth time, and Diluvian Primordial would cast spells that had already been cast three or four times. “You need a new deck.”


Aside: I’m sure a lot of you reading this don’t see anything wrong with any of this. To me, this is miserable EDH. While the format can be a truly engaging, fulfilling experience, there are three things that stand in the way of a healthy game:

  1. Recursion/cloning
  2. Tutoring
  3. Unlimited hand size

EDH is at its best when it offers fresh, evolving play experiences. That’s the whole point, right? To play cool and weird cards that you don’t see elsewhere. Points one and two lead to a direct reduction in novel gameplay. Reanimating or cloning Hornet Queen (or any creature) eight times isn’t fun or interesting Magic. Casting it once is fine, sure. But over and over? It invalidates so many other creatures, so many other cards, and so many attack steps. It’s not always Hornet Queen, of course, just whatever the biggest and baddest threat on the table is. “Just run exile effects!” Those get rid of whatever the most obnoxious thing is at the time, but it will simply be replaced almost immediately with something else. There’s always a tallest building.

Similarly, tutoring reduces variety because you just end up getting the same few cards over and over. You’re either tutoring for a wrath, the same two or three creatures, or some giant game-warping permanent. Instead of playing what you draw — essentially playing your whole 99 cards — you play with what you tutor for. Suddenly you’re only casting maybe 30% of the cards in your deck, because you tutor for the same ones each and every game.

Unlimited hand size is unhealthy for two reasons. Not only does the unhindered player’s turns take an excessive amount of time because they have to decide which of their 28 cards they want to cast that turn, but because the dynamic of the game changes. Instead of several players battling for position, it becomes all-against-one, with a slow slog through one gigantic hand’s worth of resources. That player is going to hit their land drops every turn and keep presenting major threats as everyone else tries to stop them. Eventually the other three at the table will run dry on resources after answering the first 27 cards, and it’s the 28th that wins the game. It’s a tedious process that elicits a lot of head-desk reactions.

Ok, enough of my EDH soapbox. I told Mike he needed a new EDH deck, to which his response was that he agreed, and wanted to build one, but he wasn’t interested in trying to buy all the odds and ends needed to get it together. It can be a time consuming and expensive process. I commented that I’ve been successful finishing EDH decks using PucaTrade, and Mike was into it.

In fact, there’s a collection of specific goals that PucaTrade is excellent for. Last week I wrote about the state of Puca’s market, reasonable expectations for users, and the dynamic of exchange rates. This week I’m going to put some of that into concrete use scenarios that will help you maximize the utility of the product.

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4 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Right Job for the Right Tool”

  1. I’d love to try Pucatrade, but unfortunately need to turn a majority of my cards into cash rather than other cards. However, with how lucrative some of the trading is, I may have to find the time to delve into it and trade up.

  2. I recently got into PucaTrade and I am doing exactly what you mentioned with Commander cards.

    I wait until one of my specs spike in price, most recently it was Melira, Sylvok Outcast. I bought in under $5 a copy, outed a playset or two on PucaTrade for 1200+ points each… Then I just added a TON of commander cards to my want list, sit back, get them in the mail and then put them into Commander Decks. Pretty fun way to “invest” in EDH cards in my opinion. I actually enjoy building up my collection this way.

    I’ve also had great success receiving Modern cards as long as I have some durdly commander and casual cards on my list. Think about it this way… If someone can get rid of 5 casual/commander cards along with that “Modern Staple”… Why not “save” on postage and send the Modern Staple to the guy with a lot of $1 cards on his want list… rather than send it to someone offering some sort of bounty. Some people genuinely just want to ship as many cards as they can for a single stamp, bounties be damned!

    The point is that there are multiple markets emerging on PucaTrade right now and there are ways to take advantage of each one. Travis brings up a GREAT point about people building Commander decks with PucaTrade. Its just so much easier trading casual cards on PucaTrade than it is anywhere else these days. The arbitrage opportunities between PucaTrade and TCGPlayer is something to look into also… ESPECIALLY if you find trading partners that accept SP/LP cards for full points.

    Thanks for the Article Travis. I think everyone that isn’t on PucaTrade should re-evaluate it in a new light. I personally wasn’t into the whole “grinding value” or “pyramid shceme” crap that was rampant on PucaTrade for awhile… But now that there are so many “casuals” on PucaTrade its looking less like a “shark-market” and more like a fun place to build Commander decks.

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