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Getting in and Getting out

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If you listen to MTG Fast Finance or read what we all put here every week, you’ll know that we tell you what cards to buy before they get expensive. 

There’s two ways to use this information: Buy what you need while it’s cheap, or buy a whole bunch so that you can make a profit. 

As suggested by discord users mtgPapa and Bacon_Shuffel (who you’d know if you were a ProTrader and kept up on our group discussions), I want to go over how I go about getting in and getting out of a card. This includes amount, places to buy, and how to extract value once you’ve gotten the hoped-for increase.

A caveat: This is my process. I’m not someone who spends thousands a month. Hundreds, if the moment is right, but generally I spend about two grand a year on singles/sealed product. If you have more to spend, you’ll need to scale up accordingly. 

Second, you must keep track of what you’re buying at, and what you’re losing to assorted fees. (More on fees in a second.) I’ve got a spreadsheet I’m happy to share, but if you want to use an app, or format it how you want in Excel, whatever appeals to you.

On my sheet, you have to enter the card name, the date bought at, average price purchased, the number of copies, and then space for the new price (when it gets to the new price). The rest of the columns fill in automatically for you, making it easy to determine what your profit will be and your rate of return. For this sheet, profit percentage is your profit in dollars divided by what you originally spent. Basically, what did each dollar you spent turn into?

When I’m looking at a card, I’m deciding how long I think I’m going to keep it for and what formats it’s relevant in. Last week, I talked about Unbound Flourishing, a card I think is going to go crazy in Commander, especially with the new Hydra commander in Core 2020. 

Plus, I like this as a go-to card for all the shenanigans that X spells can do in Commander. I do not think this will grow quickly, I’m looking at a longer-term hold as people realize how busted this can be. Because it’s a long-term hold, I’m not going to break the bank getting in. I bought eight copies at an average of $8.50 each.

For an example of a larger-volume spec, Let’s look at Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering.

Back on March 12, when I guested on Fast Finance, I picked this card as a growth target. My reasoning was that since you just needed any planeswalker or legend in play, and we’d just found out there was going to be 36 new planeswalkers, I figured that this would be one of the best things to cast. The card was nearly bulk, and I cleaned out TCGPlayer to the tune of 80 copies at about a quarter each. I anticipated being able to sell it within three months, especially because it was going to rotate in the fall.

Why did I buy so many more? For one, they were cheap. It doesn’t hurt to spend twenty dollars on a spec and miss. You spend a couple hundred dollars and miss, that stings more. The principle applies to all costs, and if you believe in your reasoning the cost shouldn’t be an issue. 

The other reason I bought so many was that I was hoping to sell them all to one buylist, and operating in large quantities makes that process more efficient. If they buylisted for a dollar each, then I could ship one big package and save a lot on shipping. 

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As you can tell, they haven’t hit, so they are sitting in a box, waiting patiently. I prefer to think of my box of shame as my box of super-long-term investments, though with these buylisting at fifteen cents I’d lose something like five bucks if I really needed to move on. 

Getting out of a card you bought a ton of requires finding the buylist who wants a bunch, and sending them in. Websites aren’t always helpful for this, it’s not every store who just puts 100 in the possible quantity. It’s better to lose a little per card if you can sell them all at once. 

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For example, with the Offerings, let’s say I found three stores that took them for $1.10 each but would only take ten per store, but another store that offered 90 cents but could take them all off my hands. That’s not a hard decision for me: I’m cashing out and moving on with the 90 cents. You have to evaluate the value you’re leaving behind in terms of the shipping costs and your own time. 

For lower quantities, you can sell on TCG or eBay, but there’s going to be costs associated with the sale. Buylisting allows you to move a higher volume and move on to the next card, whereas selling one or two at a time can really eat you up in fees and time. Please use the spreadsheet to calculate what you’re selling for, it’s easy to forget about the associated fees with eBay and Paypal. Generally speaking, given all the hurdles, it’s about 15%.

Ebay allows you to sell cards as playsets, so if you have 40 of a card you can say you have 10 items and each item is a set of four. That’s a more profitable way to sell a bunch, especially if you price a little more aggressively. 

Because of the fees, selling via social media is an option that allows you to price cards a bit lower and generate more interest. Our discord is lively with offers and purchases, and there’s Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, and other apps/sites for buying and selling. If I don’t know someone that I’m buying from online, I’ll always pay the 3% fee that Paypal charges for goods and services. Sending via gift gives you no protection at all. Most commonly, when you’re looking to sell via these methods, start at the TCG low minus about 10%. The buyer is getting the card for less than they would spend anywhere else, and you’re getting more cash than you would via buylist, with no fees! Winner all around.

One method of outing cards that doesn’t work for me as much is vendors at a GP or local store. I’m on the West Coast, so there’s a real lack of big events and stores here, but at a vendor’s booth you can often go in and move a ton of cards for cash in hand. Feels phenomenal, but be aware of the security risk when someone else watches you sell a grand worth of specs.

Some other time, I’m going to go over the two types of spikes, but generally speaking, sell when everyone is agog over a card. Hopefully you got in while it was cheap, and if you sell while it’s going up you’re getting your value back and if you sell too soon, that’s okay because you already made your profit! Don’t hold on too soon, because you’re going to take that profit and move it into the other specs you’ve identified. 

Bonus pick: Echo of Eons. It’s another Modern Horizons mythic that is aching to be broken. You get to cast it twice, note that the first cast doesn’t bother exiling itself. You can get in around $11, don’t bother with the foils at $60ish unless you’re getting it for your Commander deck. The nonfoils are going to go up, but probably not soon. We’ve seen Wrenn and Six spike hard, and I think Echo of Eons will pop to over $30 when it gets hot.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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The Watchtower 6/17/19 for ProTraders – Plan Your Specs

By: Travis Allen
@wizardbumpin


Don’t miss this week’s installment of the MTG Fast Finance podcast, an on-topic, no-nonsense tour through the week’s most important changes in the Magic economy.


Magic 2020 spoilers started today, which uh, alright. Modern Horizons completed on May 31st, barely over two weeks ago. Then it wasn’t officially released until June 14th, which was three days ago? So a brand new Modern-themed set was released for sale three days ago and we’re getting spoilers for the next set? Gahh. But then once M20 is released in mid-July, we’re done until like September or October? I don’t know you guys. This release schedule is maddening.

Primal Beyond

Price Today: $4
Possible Price: $10

A theme hinted at with the Chandra reveals last week, and basically confirmed today, is that there’s an elemental theme in RG. All three Chandras mentioned elementals in some manner, and there’s an uncommon elemental lord that’s obviously meant to support a draft archetype. How hard elementals are going to be pushed isn’t clear yet, though with one of red’s mythics an elemental knight, and a leaked green rare a basic elemental, I think it’s fairly clear.

With elementals returning in a seemingly big way, the first place to check is Lorwyn. A keen observer will notice that both Horde of Notions and Flamekin Harbinger foils, the two cards most likely to make it into an elemental EDH deck, have already been aggressively purchased. With almost no supply and a large gulf between the market price and the cheapest foil, it’s obvious someone went after those with a plan.

Primal Beyond has been chased down as well, with foil prices having sat at $10 for the last three years. You’ll pay about $20 for one as of Monday morning. If someone has already gone after all the foils of the most obvious elemental specs, including Primal Beyond, is there anything else we can do with it?

Sure, buy the non-foils. Primal Beyond is still going to be the first card written down under the ‘lands’ column of every single elemental EDH deck. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s a faultless 5c land. And for our purposes, supply is rough. While the foils are virtually gone, non-foils aren’t too far behind, with less than 25 vendors selling NM copies, and few have more than one. If elementals catch on this summer — and I want to stress the ‘if’ in that statement, since we do not know if they’re going to be popular yet — the last remaining Primal Beyonds will disappear quickly.

Vizier of Remedies (Foil)

Price Today: $3
Possible Price: $12

While Hogaak is the new hotness in Modern, the Vizier/Devoted combo keeps on trucking. It popped up in second place in a MTGO Modern Challenge a few days ago, and exists as the premier infinite mana combo in Modern. Plenty of cards are evaluated with this as a backbone behind a new strategy. Most recently Finale of Devastation out of War of the Spark was considered in light of the existence of these two, as it fills a role similar to Chord of Calling that could perhaps function better. We’ve also seen the Karn/Mycosynth combo used along with them, and other ideas that don’t always make it to a top eight.

Point being, Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid aren’t going anywhere. It’s a two card infinite mana combo that can win the game on turn three, and possibly turn two if you’ve got some help from a Simian Spirit Guide or Gemstone Caverns on turn one. Devoted Druid was just reprinted in UMA as an uncommon, and with nearly 200 vendors of non-foils and close to 100 for foils, not counting the Shadowmoor copies, it’s going to take some time to burn through that.

Vizier is looking different. There’s less than 40 foil vendors on TCG, with barely more copies than that. You’ll pay roughly $3 each, though with so few vendors carrying more than one copy, shipping is likely to push it above that. If you can find multiple from a single source, that’s going to be helpful. People are going to keep playing this combo, which is two four-ofs, for as long as its legal. And so long as it is, they’re going to keep buying sets of the foil uncommon. A few more people doing that this month is going to mean this isn’t a $3 card any longer.

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Diabolic Intent (Foil)

Price Today: $18
Possible Price: $35

Ahh, Battlebond. It was summer of 2018, the warm air a somnial blanket wending through our homes, and we were blissfully enjoying all these wild new EDH cards. Now, a long 365 days later, we’re blissfully enjoying all the wild new EDH cards in War of the Spark and Modern Horizons while Battlebond quietly disappears from shelves, binders, and crystal commerce inventories.

Diabolic Intent was a welcome reprint, with the last time the card had graced the inside of a booster pack (under normal distribution) was Planeshift. We saw it as a reviled Amonkhet Invocations, the card frame that ended the Magic community’s love affair with Masterpieces. Planeshift non-foils were pushing $15 at the time, and foils have been over $50 for nearly three years. The BBD copy came out of the gate to match that, bottomed out at $16 or $17, and is creeping upwards.

There are 27 foil NM BBD copies on TCG right now, with about half over the $20 mark. At 10,000 listings on EDHREC, there’s certainly demand for Diabolic Intent. The introduction of Yawgmoth has sent players to the drawing board for a new mono-black commander, and Diabolic Intent is a popular inclusion. PLA foils are sitting at $55 and Invocations are $35, so a double up for the BBD pack foils is certainly in the cards.


Travis Allen has  been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1994, mostly in upstate New York. Ever since his first FNM he’s been trying to make playing Magic cheaper, and he first brought his perspective to MTGPrice in 2012. You can find his articles there weekly, as well as on the podcast MTG Fast Finance.


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Collecting like never before!

Well, I hope you’re feeling less drained than I am. It’s difficult to believe that the rollercoaster of Mythic Edition 3 was only nine days ago.

Hopefully your product is on its way to you, but for the rest of us, we’re getting quite the consolation prize: an uncut sheet of War of the Spark foil rares/mythics, plus $20 of eBay credit.

What’s this consolation prize worth? How about these Japanese alternate-art planeswalkers? Holy hell, is the preview season for Modern Horizons ten days away!?!

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expensive cards ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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ME3 and Me!

I was having a relatively normal preview season, enjoying the story aspects, reading through cards and looking forward to the War of the Spark novel, when they dropped the Mythic Edition 3 bomb on us.

Frankly, I haven’t recovered.

The rest of this content is only visible to ProTrader members.

To learn how ProTrader can benefit YOU, click here to watch our short video.

expensive cards ProTrader: Magic doesn’t have to be expensive.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

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