Tag Archives: buying collections

Shotcalling a Shopcrawl

I don’t travel a lot.

Deranged Hermit

While several of my friends and co-writers across the country have the opportunity to travel to multiple Grands Prix and Star City Games events on a semi-regular basis, I generally only get the chance to travel to two large-scale events a year at the most. Being tucked into upstate New York way over in the corner of the United States does have its disadvantages, since Wizards of the Coast and SCG only feel the need to drop into my neck of the woods once in a great while.

Thankfully, our relatively isolated ecosystem means that I’ve been able to grow a stable, small-scale setup in my college town of Oswego, where I can help buffer my school expenses and foil Commander decks through buying and selling locally. A mix of Facebook, TCGplayer, and Twitter sales help move some of the larger stuff that my local budget customers don’t want to touch, but that leaves me with a pretty sizable pile of bulk picks from the commons and uncommons to $1 to $3 rares that end up stagnating in the display case. Normally, the correct out for this type of stuff is a long buylist order to a single store to help save on shipping, but alphabetizing and set sorting cards is basically torture to me. I just don’t have the patience for it.

This year, I’m planning on doing something a little bit different.  Have you ever heard of Thomas Dodd? He’s the proud father of Card Advantage, and has been a frequent face of northeastern Grands Prix for a while now. Just five months ago, Card Advantage put the finishing touches on its gaming center, and Thomas and friends have been living the ultra-glamorous full-time LGS life ever since.


I’ve sold to Card Advantage a few times at previous events, and the experience has always been great. They’ve always given me excellent numbers on bulk rares, and I haven’t gotten to travel since Vegas in May. Slowly, the idea formed in my head. I could take a trip down to check out the new gaming center, sell a bunch of cards, and turn the trip into a mini-vacation of sorts with the fiancee, where I could also shopcrawl on the way there and back.


If you don’t know what shopcrawling is and you still clicked on the article, I appreciate your daring bravery and thirst for knowledge. In essence, my plan is to carve a swath of destruction down Interstate 81, buying out every card store from Oswego to Athens. I want to create the next Dust Bowl across the eastern coast of the United States, only with Magic cards. All joking aside, the goal is to explore and visit several local game stores along the way, hopefully buy a bunch of bulk that the stores don’t care about (and maybe even the whole Magic inventory of a lower-tiered store if I’m extremely lucky), and then unload my treasures to Thomas when I reach the Peach state. It’s something I’ve never actually done before, but I’m excited to try before my springtime of college youth is over.

EN MTGHOP Cards V3.indd

Of course, phase one of this operation was clearing the operation with my lovely fiancee, Emily. While she’s always been supportive of my… unique source of income, she’s understandably apprehensive when it comes to me spending hundreds of dollars on piles of cardboard. If I wanted to put Operation Sowing Salt  into action, I had to convince her that this would be a fun adventure that probably wouldn’t involve me spending a ton of money. In fact, the goal of the trip was to sell a bunch of cards once I got to Georgia.

“Yeah, Sounds Like Fun!”

Oh. Okay. That was a lot easier than I expected. I had this whole persuasion speech planned, and… Nope. Not gonna question it.

So with phase one complete, now I had to start figuring out our plan of attack. Unfortunately, Wizards doesn’t exactly have an option on its website for “these are all of the stores that you should probably stop at from point A to point B,” so we have to improvise a little bit by combining Google Maps with the Wizards Event Store Locator.

Screenshot 2016-01-26 at 11.01.23 PM

This is our route. I’ve already visited pretty much all of the shops up to the northern Pennsylvania border, so let’s start our Wizards store search with the first large city that we’ll be passing through, Scranton.

Screenshot 2016-01-27 at 12.15.19 AM

Screenshot 2016-01-26 at 11.08.26 PM

Chances are, I’m not going to have any luck going to the biggest named stores in the area. The well-oiled machines will more than likely have their bulk processed or sorted, everything priced out perfectly, and have zero incentive to sell out of a bunch of cards at once. I’m looking for smaller stores that might want to clear out some room on the shelves for more enticing product, and places that might have a smaller total inventory. While I won’t be able to make an assessment like that until I actually walk into the store, I can still do a little bit of research to get a rough estimate of what kinds of stores I want to walk into.

5Ds collectables

This is the kind of store that I would be interested in stopping at: only a couple hundred Facebook likes, mostly evening hours (which suggests that the owner most likely has another “real” job and running this store is a secondary hobby), and not too far off my chosen path. While I highly doubt I’d be making offers on a bunch of high-dollar staples, I’d be happy to start a conversation about the bulk commons and uncommons or bulk rares that the store has been stockpiling for an extended period of time. Now to repeat this process for the rest of the fourteen-hour blue line on Google Maps…

While stores that focus primarily on games like Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, Force of Will, and tabletop games are fine choices for loading my fiancee’s vehicle with large quantities of cardboard, we’d really prefer to hit the Atlantis of shopcrawling. We want the dusty old binder from Arabian Nights and Legends that’s been sitting in the back of the store for longer than I’ve been alive. No store that’s focused even remotely on Magic as a business is going to have this legendary binder full of ancient cards, so we’re going to have to look to other types of stores that our fellow Magic players aren’t as likely to have already stripped clean.


Apparently, sports cards stores still exist. While I know essentially nothing about how to play a Derek Jeter in attack mode or what Michael Jordan’s ability is when you direct attack your opponent’s heart points, I do know that there’s a (slightly) higher chance of finding a shop owner who would love to get rid of  his mana and spells to make room for more sports memorabilia. The further we stretch away from the bigger cities, the more our luck increases. I highly doubt that those three shops located in a larger city like Scranton haven’t already been picked clean by savvy Magic players like ourselves. Basically, this is the store I’m looking for while shopcrawling:


To be honest, I’ll probably just pull out my phone and google “baseball card stores near X location” every half hour or so instead of planning out this huge expedition and targeting stores in advance. I’d rather wait and find the ones that are off the beaten path, but unfortunately Interstate 81 is a pretty well-worn trail. We’ll see where it goes, and I’ll report back on our results when I get back from our trip.

Preparing for Negotiations

Now, let’s actually get to the fun part. We’ll assume that Emily and I actually find a store that’s interested in selling a large chunk of their inventory, whether it be bulk or otherwise. How am I going to go about making an offer and actually buying? I’m a young city-slicker from out of town, and there’s no reason for this mom-and-pop store to trust I don’t have forked tongue. We need to be sure we are actually offering them a service that they’re interested in. Trying to bully or force someone to sell cards is not only obviously wrong, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. 

Starting the conversation will likely go something like this: “I see you have a lot of bulk commons and uncommons lying around. What do you usually sell them for?” Some stores are happy setting their customers pick through the bulk at five or ten cents per card, and make a surprising amount of money just from non-competitive players digging up decks. we’re not going to try to compete with that. We’ll be offering $4 to $5 per thousand, depending on a rough guesstimate as to the age and picked-ness of the bulk. Shopcrawling is one of the only scenarios in which I can see myself gambling and paying a little bit more than $5 per thousand, if I really wanted to lock in a purchase and it looked like the cards were from a prime time frame (say, 2003 to 2009). I’d be accepting a possible loss in that scenario should the bulk have been picked by someone who knows what they’re doing, but I’m willing to take a few more risks on this trip than I normally would otherwise. 

Our trip is scheduled for February 11 through the 16, so I’ve still got a couple more weeks of planning and preparing. While it’s definitely possible pretty likely that we won’t find any stores worth buying from, I’m still excited to make the drive. I don’t get to experience the “play the game, see the world” part of Magic nearly as much as I’d like to, so I’m getting a few last chances to travel before I have to settle down with graduate school next year. Until next week!

Finance 101: Emotions and Goal Setting

When my coworker Sigmund Ausfresser posted his article for the week on Monday, I almost had a heart attack because I thought he managed to grab my idea before I was able to put it up for my own deadline later in the week. Thankfully after reading through it, I learned that his content was mostly different than what I plan to write about this week. Instead of struggling to pick out a specific format I want to sell out of, I (and I can only assume many other Magic enthusiasts out there) have previously been emotionally conflicted with selling out of cards for a myriad of other reasons.

One of the more frequent mistakes I made as a budding Magic financier several years ago was letting my emotions and desire to show off my “victory” in my trade binder before I had actually made any money in reality. I remember one of the first singles purchases I ever made online with value in mind was pre-ordering two sets of Inkmoth Nexus for $20 each through eBay, on the night that the card was spoiled. My rationale for making the purchase was definitely flawed at the time because of my semi-casual bias towards infect, and my desire to make some sort of infect deck work in standard. I thought that it would be in every single Standard deck ever, and I knew I would be able to flip the second playset that I had purchased with ease at my local card shop that I had recently started attending in the previous months.

By the time the set was released and my cards were shipped to me, Inkmoth had made it to approximately $10 a piece. My years of calculation and planning had finally come to fruition. The first bud of a future Magic finance empire had finally begun. I would take the world by sto- …..

Except, there was one problem. I never actually ended up selling those Inkmoths. Well, I shouldn’t say that was the problem specifically. You don’t need to sell cards to achieve a goal, and I didn’t even sell cards back then: partially because I didn’t know how, and partially because I actually played Magic. However, I didn’t trade the playset of Inkmoths away either. I let them sit in my trade binder for weeks, even during the several requests of “Would you trade your extra set away?” that I was approached with during the first few weeks of the set’s release. Eventually, the hype over the new infect land had faded, the the price moved to reflect that.

Why? Well, I was proud. Those Inkmoths represented a story to me, even though my initial reason for buying them was “I think this card will be worth more by the time it arrives in my hand, and I will be able to get more trade value out of it if I buy now.” They were a reason for my 17 year old self to humblebrag to the other guys at my shop, and a constant reminder to myself that I had made a smart buy every time I flipped to that page in my binder.

The lesson here, if it’s not too visible already, is to remove emotional attachment from your cards when you’re planning on buying them for strictly financial purposes. As Magic players, we tend to have a tough time with this because the cards are tangible, and we can see our rewards in front of us while using cognitive dissonance to shove aside the failures and bad thoughts. We got into this game on an emotional level, and can have trouble separating business and pleasure when it comes to what we’re willing to sell, whether it’s in our personal collection or investment portfolio.

Personally, I’ve been very loose with my goals when it comes to how much money I want to make through my various streams of revenue in Magic. As a broad goal, I would love to just be able to pay for my graduate school degree, and maintain a sizable collection to use as inventory at the same time. Interestingly enough, players who need to liquidate their collection for unexpected life expensive and are selling at a discount are much better at this aspect of goal setting than I am. Some people need to sell specific decks to pay for rent, to buy a car, or help afford a trip to their next Grand Prix. Due to the fact that I’ve been very poor with goal setting and not having any immediate bills to pay, I’ve grown apathetic in how many cards I currently have listed on TCGplayer, my Facebook posts in the buy/sell/trade groups, and buylisting as a whole. With no immediate need to acquire funds, I’ve gotten really lazy when it comes to selling cards.

Goals in Goal Setting:


If you were forced to go to some sort of goal setting orientation at a job, school, or something else, you’ve probably heard of SMART as an acronym for determining goals that you can stick with, instead of just saying something vague like “I want to sell Magic cards and make money” as a goal.

You’re going to want a particular exit price in mind when you buy cards with the intent to sell. If I buy 5,000 copies of Seance, I need to be immediately ready to sell them (emotionally and physically) if I pick $.50 as my buylisting sell point. I don’t recommend picking a spec and saying to yourself “I’ll sell this when it goes up.” When I bought into He Who Shall Not Be Named, I chose $6-7 as my price point that I would sell out at, after buying in at $3. It can help to write down your projected sell point on the sleeve of the card so that you don’t forget in the long term.

Be firm, and stick to the decision you made a year ago, if and when the card actually reaches that price point that you picked when you purchased it. If you bought into Snapcaster Mage at $35 in late 2014 and decided you would sell at $60, then you need to be steadfast and hold yourself to that number, or else you risk the demand for the card declining over the next several weeks and days. (Yes, I get that Snappy peaked at $80 or something ridiculous, but it’s one of the exceptions to the rule)

Screenshot 2015-11-25 at 7.21.39 PM

Going back to the “paying for a college degree with Magic cards” goal a few paragraphs ago, I’ll use myself as an example for how a more specific goal would help encourage me to list more cards at a time and keep a more constant flow of income happening, instead of just relying on the local players who irregularly ask me to piece together decklists for them.

If I pick a more specific, measurable, and achievable number for a month’s worth of TCGplayer sales, I’ll be able to constantly keep track of where I am in my goal, instead of just guessing on the vagueness of an unclear finish line. To start us off, I’m going to try and have 150 TCGplayer orders in the month of December. If I really work towards it and start listing a larger portion of my collection, this is almost certainly a realistic number for me to achieve, as it boils down to 5 orders a day. Depending on where we end up at the closing of 2015, we can increase or decrease that number based on how close my estimate is to my real potential.

End Step

Having a personal goal to stick to that’s specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound should help to increase my personal productivity, and remove some of the emotions from the equation to help me focus entirely on the business aspect of Magic. Even now, there’s still a lingering emotional satisfaction when I buy a collection, sort everything out, and have the pile of all of the relevant and listable stuff on my desk. Sometimes it takes me much longer than it should to actually incorporate those new assets into my existing inventory, simply because the cards are tangible in front of me, and the changes in numbers for my bank account are much less so. Here’s to hoping that I manage to fix this personal problem, and help you set some goals in Magic finance as well.

Sibling Rivalry

Douglas, the Returned

Wow. It feels like I’ve been gone forever, but it’s only been a week. A mixture of a stomach bug and huge workload at school joined forces, so I took the week off from writing and tweeting about Magic cards. Now that we’re up and running again, I want to pick up where I left off, and continue to focus on collection buying. I don’t want to pretend to know what I’m talking about by bringing up Commander spoilers, even if it is the only format that I play anymore.

I went to Twitter two weeks ago to crowd source a collection buying topic to talk about, and Scott Munro wrote in with this gem:


While I’m lucky enough geographically to be one of the only cash buylists in a 45-minute driving distance, most of the people reading my articles and trying to level up their finance game probably don’t have that luxury. Some of you guys live within an hour or two of a huge LGS that has an iron grip on a lot of the collections that come through your area. Some of you have to compete against, well, people like me. Heck, some of the locals reading this article might even be reading it to learn how to compete against me. That’s fine, too. The content of this article originally had a lot more references and metaphors for treating your competition like your brother or sister, and how sometimes you have to give each other space and sometimes you have to work together, but… meh.


Anyway, there are two prevalent strategies that I want to bring up that can help you build your own personal brand as a buyer and seller of cards, without encroaching on another established buyer’s territory. One focuses on flying solo and trying to learn the weak areas of your competition, and the other involves cooperation between you and the buyers that you’re “competing” with, for lack of a better word, so that you can both end up winners.

Anytime, Anywhere

Let’s say that for argument’s sake, you have an LGS within walking distance of you. We’ll call them CardGarden, or CG. CG is a great LGS, and you love to play FNM there every week. They have solid enough buy prices that a lot of your local players will regularly sell their cards to CG when they need cash, and fair sell prices such that you can’t really catch them unawares by grabbing cards that should be priced much higher. All in all, CG is a quality LGS that you enjoy attending and playing at, even if you personally don’t buy or sell with them.

How do you buy cards locally at buylist prices when most of your players default to a known constant? Well, a brick and mortar store inherently has limitations. They can’t stay open 24/7, so there’s a window of opportunity when their doors are closed. Again, we’re going to come back to Facebook because it’s one of the hot spots for buying and selling cards locally. If it’s a Sunday evening at 9:00 p.m. and your LGS is closed, Bill might post his Modern deck on Facebook in the local group in order to pay his rent, insurance, or whatever. If Bill needs cash ASAP, you can send him a PM and he’s much more likely to negotiate with you.

While you obviously don’t always have a ton of windows where your LGS is closed, there’s also the possibility that the person selling their binder or deck doesn’t have the transportation to make it to CG. If you have a car or are able to meet the person without them putting in any actual effort, you can step up your game where the LGS is rooted to one specific location. The magic words, “I have cash in my hand and can drive to you right now,” have sealed the deal on many collections in the past several years for me, and adds an extra convenience factor to sweeten the deal even if you’re not paying as highly as the LGS.

Pure // Simple

Now, this obviously isn’t always going to work: no method here is a guaranteed get-rich-quick scheme that will leave you with thousands of players swooning at your door trying to sell collections next week. A relationship and brand take time and trust to build up, and it took me years before I had people messaging me saying, “Hey, my brother’s friend told my mom to tell me that you buy Magic cards.” With enough time and effort (and a bit of luck), I do think that it’s possible for anyone to pull it off.

Back to Bulk

Does your LGS buy bulk commons and uncommons? Most don’t, at least in my experience. Some shops also pay less on even the higher-end Legacy staples, just because there’s really no market for them in the area. I’ve seen a store offer a mere $40 for a minty Force of Will to a kid that found it in his dad’s shoe box collection. Because the owner had no experience running Legacy events, he knew that it would sit in his stock forever, and he didn’t sell on TCGplayer at all. Even if you have no way to move that Force of Will locally, it doesn’t take a brick and mortar store to message the guy on Facebook later and give him the option of $55 or $60, then flip it on TCGplayer for $85 later.

Arms Dealer

The point I’m trying to make is that there are probably some things your LGS (or other local finance grinders) try to stay away from. Maybe it’s outside of their comfort zone, or maybe they don’t know the intricacies of the outs for it. This works in your favor. If nobody else in your area buys bulk commons and uncommons, pick up that banner and make some room in your closet. If there’s something that your LGS or other buyers want to stay away from, that’s a chance for you to move in and find the person who wants that particular product without stepping on any toes.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

In that same vein, it’s entirely possible for you and other local buyers to work together. Let’s keep going with the assumption that your LGS doesn’t buy bulk. It can’t move it because it mostly sells to competitive players for Standard/Modern nights, and it’s way too much work to deal with 50,000 cards in bulk that the store owner has at his house.

Now this sounds like an opportunity. If that bulk has been sitting at his house from cracking boxes over the past few years to sell singles and he’s not going to move it, why not make an offer so that you and him can work together? Pay him $200 to get those 50,000 cards out of his basement, or maybe work out a deal where you give him cards equaling a bit more than that in value. Hell, if he knows that he has a constant out flow to incoming bulk, it gives him a reason to start taking it in at the store if he knows that he has a low-effort out that will guarantee a profit margin. He buys it from locals at $3 per thousand, then you swoop in and pick it up at $4 or $5 per thousand.

Icatian Moneychanger

End Step

Before I make my exit for the week, I just want to talk really quickly on what you don’t want to do to play the finance game with other local buyers. Getting into a bidding war with your LGS is not a good way to secure repeat customers and a positive reputation, even if it nets you a few collections or decks in the short term. Name your price, and let the customer decide where he takes his supply.

Even if you pay lower than the other buyers, you can find areas where you can make up for the raw cash with a convenience factor. If someone responds to your offer with, “CardGarden is paying $130 on this lot,” after you offered them $100, so be it. Don’t just one-up them and offer $140 just to steal the business—stick to your original number and let the seller make the call.

Being able to meet up at 11:00 p.m. in a Wal-Mart parking lot on a Saturday night to buy a collection when no one else in town wants to do so has its perks. Being open to buy anything and everything from bulk to basics will allow you to access markets that other vendors and buyers don’t want to get involved in, and it will secure you future lasting relationships that can help build your brand name. Good luck, and let us know if you have tips of your own!

Started from the Bulk and Now We’re Here

So has anyone found interesting lots on Facebook as a result of last week’s article? I’m curious to see if anyone found some nice decks, piles of staples, or anything else at a significant discount while using the methods I described.  That article was a sort of flashback/addition to one from almost six months ago, so I figured I might as well repeat the trend. Does anyone else remember this personal anecdote that I wrote up back in June? I wanted to explain my evolution from “random high school student and FNM grinder” to “that one guy who buys all of your Magic cards and has most of what you need for your deck.” I felt that it was successful in doing so for the most part, but it lacked in a pretty significant area that I’m surprised nobody called me out on.

Starting from (Almost) Nothing

I never really actually explained anything in detail with hard numbers about how much cash flow I started out with, how I used that initial cash flow to get cards, and the methods that I used to recycle that money into more cards and money, then into more money and cards, and slowly build a house of some sort. Almost like a house o—oh, forget it. I actually got the idea to write this article thanks to @LengthyXemit on Twitter, who just recently  put out a floor report of GP Madison for us. The afterthought at the end is actually what sparked this for me: what would you do with $100 if it was all you had to start your MTG finance portfolio?

Bonus Question:
If you had $100 to start your MTGFinance portfolio what would you buy?

“Collection at buylist” – Ogre
“Original Zendikar Lands at a quarter or less” – Ryan Bushard
“Bulk Rares at 10 cents as long as I had an out”- CoolStuffInc Buyer
“Bulk C/U at 3 per K” – Floor Grinder.
“A collection from a local player” – This editor

“Most of the above.” –Douglas Johnson

Personally, I’d try and diversity my investment a little bit, but my answer incorporates most of the above responses. I’d want some bulk commons and uncommons at $3 per thousand, a good chunk of bulk rares at a dime a piece, and a couple of small starting local or Facebook lots at approximately  buylist prices. I disagree with Ryan on the Zendikar lands, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Now let’s hop back in that time machine to when I was an FNM grinder in high school. I was lucky and had literally zero bills to pay, so any income from my unpleasant job at Kmart went straight into my only hobby.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that I only had $100 to spend on cards back then, and was starting from absolutely nothing.  We have to try and grind this $100 into $200, while keeping both cards and cash liquid at all times. Nothing loses a returning customer faster than the phrase, “Sorry, I don’t have cash at the moment. I can’t buy that.”

If we start at $100 cash, then we want to stick to getting as much bang for our buck as we can. We might not want to jump in the big pond by buying Force of Will from a local higher-end player for a buylist of $70 (even if he needs the money)—that runs the risk of the same guy coming back with another Force or equally high-end card while we have almost all of our initial hundred tied up in a single card. While there’s a chance that  we could flip the Force for $90 on TCGplayer (or more likely, Facebook) for instant return, I think it’s much more wide to go wide instead of tall with our initial investment.

If I’m a young teenager with a hundred dollars in a pool full of larger fish with big pockets, I want to attack a smaller market that they’re not bothering with. Don’t be the guy chasing after everyone else’s Expeditions lands. There are tons of competitive players with thousands of commons and uncommons sitting in their basements from sets and blocks in the past. Does your LGS even buy bulk rares? What about bulk commons and uncommons? These are common blind spots of some tournament grinders, because they just don’t want to take the time and effort involved in picking, piecing, and sorting out their cards. There’s a physical space constraint on bulk, as well, and some significant others don’t take kindly to their living rooms being full of white boxes of cardboard.

This makes bulk one of your more attractive options when starting from a low cash level. Instead of sitting on your hands for four months waiting for your Mantis Riderto jump from $.50 to $3, you could be processing thousands of cards over and over again.

Immovable Object

Another reason why we’re sticking with bulk is that there’s really no risk of it ever going down in price. Unlike buying singles, a thousand bulk commons and uncommons literally cannot go down in price. The invisible non-competitive players out there outnumber us financiers and grinders on a scale that’s probably somewhere around 10:1. Those players just want a bunch of cards to jam decks with, and you can be the one to help them do that.

How much bulk can you get for $100? Well most larger vendors at Grands Prix only pay $3 per thousand, so you’re going to want to beat that to at least be an attractive option. I personally pay $4 per thousand as long as it’s a mix of commons and uncommons, mostly English, and near mint. I know, I’m a stickler for details. If you have an out ready and waiting, you can pay $5 per thousand, like Xemit, in order to aggressively accumulate as much bulk as possible. At that point, though, people will start bringing you more bulk than you can handle. Remember that we’re on a budget here and only want as much as we can handle without having infinite number of people try to overload us. Let’s stick to $4 per thousand.

So that’s 25,000 cards, assuming we do decide to burn all of our allowance on non-rare bulk. What do we do with that many cards? Well, first, we pick them. I’m not going to go over how to pick because that’s another five articles by itself, and a lot of picking ability just comes down to first-hand experience. I will go over one of my favorite ways to get rid of bulk though, and that’s the ever so useful Craigslist.

Easily Movable Objects


The above picture is my personal listing, which reminds me that I need to update it because it’s about to expire. My rules are very clear, and my customers knows exactly (well not exactly, because it’s 1000 randomized cards, but you get the point) what they’re getting. I realize now that I’m writing this that if you want to mirror my strategy exactly, then you need to invest a bit more in additional 1000-count boxes, but you don’t really have to use the white BCW boxes. You can use old Fat Pack boxes (they hold around 600 cards each), empty cardboard booster boxes, or even make your own out of scrap cardboard.

Did you notice that my binders, pick boxes, and that 12K-count card house are in the picture? That’s not on accident. Non-competitive players who buy your bulk commons and uncommons want to make their decks better, and you can use your own personal collection to sell cards out of to help them with that goal. This is why I believe combining bulk rares with your C/U is ultimately the best starting point, because you give your customers so much more cards per booster pack than they would have experienced at Wal-mart, and they even get to customize their decks before dropping the cash.

Alright, so let’s say that instead of buying just 25K in bulk, we only found 15K and spent $60. We also picked up a hundred or so bulk rares from BFZ and Khans block and spent $10, leaving us $30 or so for random cheap singles that we might happen to come across. We throw up a Craigslist ad and get a hit, someone looking to return to the game with three other friends without breaking the bank. If we sell them 10K of the bulk and 30 of the rares, we get $76 assuming we sell bulk rares at five for a dollar, like I do. Now we have $106, 15k left, and 70 or so rares, and that’s assuming we picked the bulk clean and found literally nothing. Simple math aside, you can see where we start to ride the value train and grow a collection. If we rinse and repeat this process several times, we can start grabbing singles that are worth selling on eBay, Facebook, and TCGplayer.

End Step

While we’re on the topic of bulk rares, sometimes you end up getting lucky once a rotation happens when you re-dig through your boxes of cards you once paid a dime for several months ago. I managed to find seven copies of Hidden Dragonslayer in my white bulk rare box, and that’s a multiplier you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. The same thing happened with Crackling Doom and Mantis Rider, so be on the lookout for potentially playable bulk rares from BFZ that could do the same. I certainly don’t hate buying Blight Herder or Felidar Sovereign for dimes if you can find competitive players looking to pawn off the remnants of their non-Gideon lottery tickets to support trading for your fetch lands.