Tag Archives: Floor Reports

Returning to the Fold – A Grand Prix Columbus Floor Report

Radio searches through a few stations. After a moment of static – it clears to reveal Steven Tyler belting

“I’m BBBAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCKKKKKKK. Back in the saddle again.”


Let me say hello! How long has it been? Has it been that long? Huh. You don’t say? 18 months? Maybe even two years?  Well, fantastic.  Just enough time to make it worth while to start all over. Now, shall we begin?

For those that know me – or have an idea – let me say hello. I am back, to bring you my varying degrees of insight, easy going banter, and strong belief that you have what it takes to make the most out of what you have. Not terribly long ago, I would bring you my thoughts on Magic based Finance. After much relocation, settling in the bright city of Dallas, Texas and a return to traveling the US (& eventually the world) for Magic – I have returned to having my hand on the wrist of Trading.

The fine folks here at MTGPrice have decided that you should hear me. Let’s not waste that with pomp and circumstance. This week, I will bring you what insight, thoughts, experience, & ideas I have to give you the best tools to prepare yourself for your next Grand Prix Vendor experience.

Approaching a vendor booth is a key component of any Grand Prix. To make the travel, the cost, and the excitement all fit in with your budget, means, and obligations – it is best to occasionally liquidate cards, locate much coveted new beauties, or fill in that last gap for your 75.

The fastest way to do that will always be with a vendor.

I, myself, am a Floor Trader. I pride myself on turning cards you do not need into cards you do. But a booth is a completely different & exciting animal compared to any trade. They have paid for the right and the power to give you not only exactly what you need – but the choice of how you need it. It also can be very intimidating. Why? Because you have no idea where to start. There’s numbers everywhere. Pretties to distract you. Amazing cards you may have never seen to lure you away. And even more – there’s always the fear you’re paying too much and getting too little.
This weekend was Grand Prix: Columbus. Uniquely situated between the Midwest and the Northeast, the GP itself drew a lot of the best talent in the Vendor world.





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This weekend I primarily dealt with three vendors. Adem Hotza @Hotsauce. Jeremy Muir @SavageTCG and Paul Morelli @MTGCardMarket. Surprisingly, most of the published buylists from the variety of booths were all roughly the same. As I get back in the swing of things – in the future, I’ll have a more in depth analysis of where best to spend your money, or get the most out of your cards.

This week, I want to talk first about a couple of key points of what your Vendor relationship needs to be. While there are some unwritten rules, mostly it just hasn’t been thought to be said out loud. As a financier, or someone simply interested in getting the most out of your cards – these points can vastly change your approach to the weekend and how you cash out or trade up. As well as your preparation going in.

1) Online or in person.

While dealing with SavageTCG, the discussion went down the progression of “How has business been.” Every booth has different needs and usually that is going to be reflected greatly in their buylist. When business is good – buylists tend to stay even keel around the room. When it’s volatile is when you will see the differences. Another way to maximize your Grand Prix, then, is to first bring needs.

As with anyone – as the Owner of SavageTCG – Jeremy loves card that will sell quickly or be gone that very weekend. When in person,  it’s very easy and quick to let the vendor cherry pick your collection. While this may not solve your instant needs – getting the ball rolling for yourself and then later matching a smaller list to the greater collective of “Who has the higher buylists” can net you the greatest balance of time spent vs. making your dollar go farthest.

This was my first stop of the weekend and that was my intention. Clearing out a long list of highly needed middle to low range but high demand Legacy/Modern playable Commons/Uncommons. With my organized list now shorter, and one 1,000 count box much lighter, the following day would be my next stop of the weekend.

2) “Picking” your bulk.

At my stop with Adem Hotza, owner of Hotsauce Games a very interesting point came up. I was there to acquire a NM/LP+ Moat for a trade. A young gentleman made it a point to acquire one that weekend – and I love sourcing cards for players that will actually love the cards they play. I had already done a lot of trading on the floor, thus some of my bulk was going to be included in acquiring this for him. Hotsauce had a gorgeous Moat at a great price and we got, again, talking about business.

Something that never had occurred to me is the practice of the Bulk traders using the Vendor booths as the manual labor to pick their $.25s & $.50s from the $.10s. Frankly – us as a collective can do better.

The Grand Prix floor should not be the time you sort those cards out from each other if you are about maximizing your buylisting. Definitely not when you’re dealing with a Vendor. If you’re not worried about the quarters from the dimes, do everyone a favor – just hand a stack and expect to have the whole thing priced as one “unit.” All dimes or all quarters, etc. If you are worried about it – then take it home. Compare buylists online. Send them in properly sorted or wait until the next event, after you’ve had time to seperate into appropriate piles. The week leading up to or the time before going to a booth really should be about maximizing your profit. On the floor is about maximizing your time – and theirs. 

3) “Mutual Beneficiality”

Yes. It’s a made up complete butchering of beneficial.

My last stop of the weekend was with MTGCardmarket. Paul & I haven’t had many occasions to deal with each other, but I have with Cameron. Most Vendors LOVE $5-$10 retail price cards all day long. For us, they can do wonderful things like trade into bigger items and net a consistent build up, but even better is the cash power to buy those large collections. Any time you can get past a certain dollar amount that others are just not able to deal with, you gain power. The people that can and do buy $3,000 collections weekly are few and far between. You want to be one of those people. And they will always nets you more than $5 bills will. Cashing those out will get you larger transactions, more flips, and better outlets for your cards.

However you do it – the best thing you can do is give any Vendor the best balance struck of what they need versus what you can leverage. This generates a mutual benefit and gives you the priority over even the most alluring offers. While talking with Paul – he paid me a great compliment. He wanted my cards over another sell that was trying to come in. A fully foiled out Legacy deck.

What you may not know – most Vendors do many Grand Prixs back to back to back. Some times – four shows in – cash flow can be a little hard to come by. Not just a difference between Friday & Sunday, but a complete paradigm shift from what the would normally buy and the much leaner “focusing on needs.” If you want to give yourself the edge – and also make sure what you are liquidating will always be bought – don’t just bring corner case expensive cards that, while having great upside, will sit in their display cases for weeks.  It’s not making it someone else’s problem to deal with. It’s bringing them items they just can not buy. Bringing the things that will sell day in and day out can and will bump you to the top of any shortlist a Vendor loves to deal with.

In closing – these three points can really improve your selling experience with Vendors. Each Grand Prix isn’t just about who’s buylist is best. Often – if your relationship is built with a Vendor – not only could you received priority treatment but getting the inside track can easily make you the person everyone wants to deal with.

In the future – I will be modulating my Grand Prix reports to bring you a mixture of insight, cool deals, price points to pay attention to, and items of note on buylists. This decision to bring me back on board was made late in the game, so this week’s report is focused on highlighting the points that made the most difference this weekend. With the Grand Prix in the rear view – these deals I made with these particular Vendors absolutely raised my Grand Prix from “Well played” to “I still had all deeze.” Incorporating a wonderful Vendor or LGS relationship into your Finance game is a key cog in the cycle of buy/trade/sell. I plan on showing the way to make this one you can maximize for yourself, if you choose.

Trading and Finance is not just about maximizing one card and riding it to the finish line. It is also about bettering the experience of the players you trade with. It’s about providing the cards the stores need to keep providing playing & trading space. It’s about getting you into the right situation and raising the tide. After all, the tide raises ALL ships. If you have not realized that – take a closer look at what you are doing. It really is that simple.

You can follow me on Twitter @dylan_beck or @Dylan Beckham on Facebook.

Floor Reports: Grand Prix Minneapolis

Hey Guys!

I’m fresh back from Minneapolis to discuss what went down at the GP this weekend. Many trends are starting to pop up in the vendor world when it comes to card prices, and as usual I will be reviewing each vendor! As a note, my camera card was corrupted halfway through the event, so some vendor pictures may be old from previous floor reports.


I had tweeted out before the event that I was building Ogre boxes. Quite a few of my followers had no clue what an ogre box is. Without stealing too much from Douglas Johnson’s article, it’s pretty simple to explain. This process was started by another St. Louis local known as Ogre in the vendor community, and can lead to way more money for only a little bit more work. An ogre box is where you take all of the cards that retail for under $5 or so, and look up the highest buylist for each card and place it in the corresponding stack. You then take the stacks and put them in boxes labeled clearly with how much you are looking to get for each section of the box. Vendors pick through them, and it saves you both time as well as getting the most bang for your buck. In my experience, smaller shops will take quite a bit as opposed to a shop like CoolStuff who has predetermined numbers that they are paying on everything even before the event halls open. Remember to take your boxes around to each vendor before compromising and going lower on cards before each booth has had a look! Remember, we make money off of players being lazy. Don’t be lazy, and you’ll make more money if you put in more work!

Without further ado, let’s get into the nitty gritty vendor review system.

Power Nine

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Power Nine was situated towards the middle of the room with MTGDeals when one walked through the doors first. As a result, they accumulated quite a long line of bystanders checking out their prices between rounds and a ton of foot traffic. I wasn’t happy with their prices on the higher end stuff, but their buyers were friendly. Ogre was buying for them and bought all of my Portal Three Kingdoms stuff at the highest buylist numbers I showed him off of MTGPrice’s own collection tracker.

They also were paying the highest on Promo Stoneforge Mystics in the room at $12. An interesting situation occurred when someone brought in a pile of cards on a dolly, and sat at Power Nine for 2 straight days. To the untrained eye, it appears that this collection would be a goldmine. However, this meant that one of Power’s buyers would be encumbered with only buying and pricing this collection and haggling with this individual for the entire GP. Because it isn’t cheap to fly and house a buyer, it would have probably been more efficient to pay the seller to fly to Power’s shop and sell them cards after the GP. This is because if all the buyers are busy, people waiting to sell cards will simply go to another booth to sell their cards about 75% of the time, meaning that the shop will lose the opportunity to buy their cards in and make a profit. I myself walked away from Power the first day after a 45 minute wait, as all of their buyers were busy, but did come back Saturday night and was happy with the prices they gave me on my remaining cards.

If you guys are selling cards to Power, I recommend selling to Ogre or Alex as they move very fast and don’t hem and haw over dimes and condition as much as the other buyers at the booth.

Grade: B+

Tales of Adventure

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Tales of Adventure was a booth that I had previously contacted before the GP started about potentially getting an advanced buylist and selling Pokemon bulk to. For those that aren’t aware, Pokemon bulk can go for $100 a k in the right condition. I ended up selling played Pokémon bulk to Tales for 40 per k, an agreement both of us were happy with. I walked up to Tales with an Ogre box, and sat down with Jim and their President, Michael. I had previously talked to Michael about selling those cards and he had implied he would try and match mtg.gg numbers. I didn’t expect for Michael to buy 60% of my box at first glance however!

They both worked on pulling apart the ogre box, and in a little less than an hour most of my first ogre box was demolished. I was very happy and had sold them a few things in my binder, when I received this message while still at the GP. http://imgur.com/Dt9zmFh . The fact that Michael reached out to me after I had sold a CE Chaos Orb to pay me more meant a lot to me, as he felt that he would have screwed me on the now $60 card (seriously guys? Too high of a price). Overall, I was very happy with Tales.

Grade A


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Coolstuff has become a mainstay on the tournament circuit. I sat down with their buyers Victor and Ricky, and was happy with the numbers I received. Although Coolstuff doesn’t really haggle since they are a larger company, they do occasionally pay higher than others on random things that they are out of, such as Jhoira of the Ghitu and Gaddock Teeg.  I didn’t sell them that much, but they always have consistent pricing and solid customer service at their GP booths. I ended up buying quite a few cards from their damaged binder, a practice few finance people look at when trying to get deals. I was able to get a MP scroll rack for $20, and also walked away with some free pens and life pads (now that’s value).

Grade B+


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MTGCardMarket also had a central location right near the entry point of the hall. However, they didn’t seem that busy during the weekend. I didn’t sell anything to them, but I did scrape some fun deals from their damaged case such as a damaged Scroll Rack for 17 and a damaged beta Dark Ritual for 12. None of their buy prices really were high compared to the rest of the room, so I’m sad to see them on a decline from the last GP they vended. However, they did have a ton of high end magic cards in stock and quite a bit of graded power for those interested in trading for collection gems.

Grade C

Moose Loot

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Coming into this GP, I had never heard of this shop. These guys ended up being pleasantly surprising with both their prices and personality. Having your buyers wear moose antlers is pretty amusing and a gimmick that draws people to your booth. These guys had some of the best foreign priced cards on the floor, and solid buy prices. I didn’t sell that much to them, but I enjoyed the banter while waiting for them to look through my binders. Something that many vendors need to work on is their personalities and friendliness, and these guys crushed it. I hope to see them in the future, as this was a great booth that has so much potential in the future.

Grade B+

Chimera Hobby Shop

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This booth was situated closer to the back of the room, and one could tell by the amount of foot traffic that they weren’t really buying as much as their neighboring booths. However, Chimera showed up with the largest amount of sealed packs at the GP. A lot of players traded in and bought old packs for nostalgia, and I definitely pack war’d a couple too many with friends from their booth. Their buyers were friendly, but I didn’t end up selling anything to them. I did buy a played savannah from them later in the weekend, but for the most part I skipped this booth.

Grade C

Alter Reality Games

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Alter Reality brought some of the cheapest original Modern Masters packs on the floor to the GP. Besides that, I wasn’t happy at all. They were consistently 10-15% lower on almost all cards they picked through in my binders, and their staff wasn’t the most pleasant to deal with. This was a repeat of the last time I encountered them at SCGSTL, and none of my friends had a good time dealing with them in Minneapolis either.  I hope to see a better booth at the next GP I attend, but I spent very little time and money dealing with them.

Grade C-


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MTGDeals had some of the best buy prices and sell prices in the room, something they’ve become known for at almost every GP that they have vended over the last year. They had the highest buy prices on almost every staple in the room, and their booth was packed all weekend. Being near the doors, they had some of the highest foot traffic all weekend, and were packed for almost the entire weekend. I bought a lp savannah from them for 48, and sold them loads of Modern Masters cards that they were paying practically TCGLow on. They were also paying $90 on Lion’s Eye Diamonds, a sign that demand for this card is only going up as reserved list cards continue to provide good returns for those that invested or traded for them years ago.

Grade A

Hot Sauce Games

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Hot Sauce had the third and final booth near the opening doors this weekend. They had great deals on played cards, but little was to be found when it came to their buy prices this weekend. After about 10 minutes of them looking through my binders, I walked away not satisfied with many of their prices they were offering when I could have walked a booth over to deals and gotten much more.

Grade C

Pink Bunny Games

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In the past, I have been highly critical of Pink Bunny’s conduct at both events and shipping practices when it comes to them selling cards online. Pink Bunny had one of the strongest buylists this weekend on standard cards. They were paying $3 on most Battle for Zendikar dual lands, something that other vendors used to arbitrage their buys over for cards that they really wanted. Both Damien and Matt were highly friendly at this GP, and I found myself sticking by their booth and selling quite a bit to them. If Pink Bunny keeps this up, I will definitely look to make their booth one of the first stops at any GP Circuit.

Grade B+

Floor Trading

After talking with most vendors and floor traders, a clear picture emerged. Almost everyone on the floor was dumping Dragons and Origins rares out and trying to get low priced Eldrazi and blue chip cards in stock. After talking with a floor trader and reader of this site named Ryan, he echoed what many were thinking in the room. “Picking up Restoration Angels, Thoughtseizes and shocks seems like a good long term bet” according to him.

A ton of vendors were also paying very low spreads on gods as they continue to soar in popularity. I still personally feel like the gods have quite a long way to go, especially the ones from Born and Journey (I just wish I hadn’t sold so many at their low to Ryan Bushard). Other cards that were in heavy demand on the floor were Library of Alexandria, Chromatic Lanterns, and Rishadan Ports. Port had been confirmed as not in Eternal Masters during the first day of the event, so traders were trying to get every copy they could on the floor. Chromatic Lantern continues to be a blue-chip card, as every multi colored EDH deck needs one of these and most players don’t care paying the ever increasing rate this artifact commands.

Many players were trying to dump foreign foils, and I picked up a couple Russian Foils that were intentionally underpriced for my cube.


Pastimes did a very good job with this event, unlike previous disasters such as GP Chicago that I had attended. The Legacy event Friday had a mishap with the payout, and Alan the owner personally confronted each player about it and provided twice the amount of payout as well as a free $25 entry fee into another event this weekend. Rounds were quick, and side events were moving very well. Overall attendance for the GP was around 1500, with many pro players trying to grind last minute pro points to secure their Platinum status for next year.

Overall, Minneapolis was a fun event and a great city. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments, or reach out to me @xemitsellsmagic on twitter. I hope each one of your Eternal Masters packs has a Jace!



Floor Reports: Grand Prix Albuquerque

Editor’s note: We’d like to thank Matt Nafa for his coverage of Grand Prix Albuquerque, and hope to follow with more floor reports in the future.


Hey guys! Floor reports have become increasingly popular and I noticed not as many #MTGFinance peeps went to Grand Prix Albuquerque as usually go to GPs so I took it upon myself to write this!

GP Albuquerque was a great event to go to if you were looking to play some Limited Magic with Shadows over Innistrad. The same may not be said for the weekend of trading. Since I wasn’t trading, I had a lot of time left to myself to walk around.  I gathered a ton of information. The vendors were out in force and looking to buy, with great buy prices on a lot of modern cards and standard alike. Nine vendors at the event meant a lot to see and a lot of research to be done. Let’s jump into it!

MTG Deals

The first table you saw walking into the room, accosted by their bright yellow table cloths and just past the score keeper stage. MTG Deals may have not always been a big name in GP vending, but they have decided to make a change to that and a change they have. Appearing at quite a few events these days they usually run a pretty tight ship and have very competitive prices, and this weekend was no different.

They had the highest buy price on Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy at $68, and among other notables they were also buying Voice of Resurgence at $27, Linvala, Keeper of Silence at $30, and Noble Hierarch at $30 as well, buy prices either the highest or tied for highest in the room.

They left the played case at home this time in favor of bringing staples from Legacy to Standard, both foil and non-foil, and they had quite the foil case! They had some crazy low prices, almost everything in their case was priced to sell and the crowd in front of them surely showed it. Between rounds and on Friday there were at least five people browsing the case at a time, many stopping to hand an employee money for around TCG Low on most cards.

I was on the hunt to grab some playmats as a collector and for some friends back home, and when I asked about it I was given the personal number of an employee and told to text them periodically to see if they had bought some mats for me to purchase. This was also the booth that multiple different vendors stopped by to check buylists, and change prices accordingly (Tales of Adventure sent over people multiple times).

I was able to buy a set of World Magic Cup Qualifier Thalia, Guardian of Thraben at $35 and walk over to another vendor to sell them at $40. Who doesn’t love some good ol’ arbitrage?

As good as MTGDeals was, one of my biggest problems of the GP came from them.

I was waiting behind a store owner who was selling the bulk of his magic supply. I’m talking four full binders, five small 2×2 binders and a box of high end cards. Because of the swarm of people MTG Deals had only one buyer and it was the owner himself sitting down to buy cards, I waited in a growing line for two hours. And then I noticed another person waiting to sell had been seated at another table attached to the adjacent Dex Protection space and an employee from MTG Deals was buying from him. I waved down another employee to let him know that I had been waiting and was not with the man currently selling and I should be next in line. I then watched as another two people were seated to sell cards while I still waited.

It took over two hours for me to finally sit down and sell cards. Thankfully I will say that the owner was very apologetic and extremely nice about the whole ordeal. He didn’t mind chatting with me while he pulled cards out and bought everything I expected him to without a hassle, and though it was worth the wait I did feel a bit slighted watching multiple people essentially cut ahead of me.

Overall I would say I had a great experience with MTG Deals minus the little hiccup.

Brainstorm Games


Being from Texas and having only attended GPs within that general area before this, I had never had a run-in before with Brainstorm Games. They had a lot of smiling faces and were very approachable. Despite the smaller booth they definitely had a lot to offer, showing off many foreign foils, and foreign cards in general. They did not have the best prices but were able to be talked down to some degree on most things. This is where I ended up buying the bulk of a legacy Death and Taxes list after haggling with the owner on many prices. Overall things went smoothly purchasing cards from them and I was able to leave happy.

I did not sell anything to them though as their buy list prices weren’t close enough to my asking range. They also had a few foreign Mirrodin Besieged-era boxes that were quick to sell.

Amazing Discoveries


I have seen these guys at a few events, but they never seem to have the highest buy prices on cards I am looking to sell. Nor do they have great sell prices on random cards.

Rather than having a row of cases they show up with a shelf of 5k’s. There is something to be said about them having just about any card if you are willing to pay their asking price [Editor’s note: can confirm this was great]. A lot of their prices are firm on many things, however they do have a played or signed case that they usually show up with and a hefty supply of recent foreign product and more accessories than you could imagine. Their buyers were always busy however with someone in front of them. I imagine it was due to their Standard buy prices on Friday being so high, but those quickly came down by Saturday afternoon. They were paying the highest on playmats however, at $10 and selling them at $20. 

MetaGaming NW

I had never seen these guys before, like I said. They had a moderately sized table at the back of the room right underneath a Jace banner from the venue. Their own personal banner was larger though. Their prices on some things were quite odd, however they had quite the collection of older cards and had them very accurately priced. No one batted an eye when I very thoroughly inspected some dual lands before purchasing them. Additionally, their playmat game was on point, with very competitively priced popular playmats such as Delver of Secrets from GP Tacoma and a Christopher Rush playmat with some hand drawn Lotus art added to it. They also had some adorable hand-drawn tokens up for sale, as well as a free lifepad with any purchase.

That being said, their lack of any sort of written buylist and strange pricing did drive me away from buying anything else.

Channel Fireball

Selling to CFB

I feel there might be some stigma against the big dog in the room, assuming that their buy prices are going to be lower than anyone else’s — and sometimes that is true, though not always and not in this case.

They had one of the largest tables at the back left of the room. With my research done ahead of time and reinforced by their paper buylist at the venue, I was ready to sit down in front of my favorite buyer at the venue and catch up since we had last seen each other at GP Houston. I made sure to start with telling him there is still a standing invite to meat on swords (Brazilian Steakhouse), what has now become a GP tradition. He went through the usual of pulling cards out of my binder and I won’t bore you with the yes-no details. He was always very upfront on why they were buying at what price and what they sold them at and my numbers worked out. I sold off over $500 worth of items to Channel Fireball and sat in the chair for around an hour making small talk. I left a happy customer confident in the decisions I had just made.

On their retail side, things were a bit odd but expected. All Standard cards were still at presale prices and they were shying away from paying too high on buylist for most things in Standard.

The prices on Legacy staples were priced to sell however, with duals at close to prespike prices: Tundras were $180 when they were $230 at Houston, the same spread for the rest of the duals and it was a bit off-putting. I didn’t spend much money here except for taking home two boxes of CFB Ultra Pro sleeves. For some reason they are a hit amongst my playgroup and I got a good enough deal on them from the manager of the booth.

Tales of Adventure


With a table that could rival CFB but slightly less organized, Tales of Adventure showed up at yet another GP. You seem to see these guys everywhere “Buying Pokemon to Power” as they like to say.

This time they were buying a humble amount of cards at very reasonable prices, but also had a paper buylist ready to go Friday morning. I sat down to sell a few cards I had replaced with foils and had a pleasant experience. I was helped right away, as it looked as if they had been very light on people selling to them — their prices may not have been competitive enough for the room they were in.

They did, however, have a lot of great foils, and good enough pricing on many staples. They also brought along a huge selection of playmats, which didn’t surprise me (they are usually my main competitor with playmat sales on eBay), as well as the usual happy-to-help smiling faces you come to expect from someone who has been at this as long as they have.

Q&A Magic


They didn’t get up a buylist until late Friday and by that point everyone had made their way to other vendors to sell. However these guys did have a nicely sized table with lots of pretty cards in their cases. They laid out a not-so-humble foil selection and quite a few legacy and vintage cards. Their prices weren’t the most competitive but they were one of the few vendors in the room with the kind of card selection they were offering.

I did not spend any money here as I was not in the market for power and would have liked to get things a bit cheaper to help along my margins. I would like to hear how their weekend went as most of the time it looked as though it was employees sorting cards, and waiting to help someone.


This is another big store that had higher-than-necessary prices on most cards. They did not need to be as competitive with others due to taking the SCG approach. That’s not to say the employees weren’t friendly or that they didn’t have an amazing selection of cards. But they are definitely an online giant and act like it. They did not deviate from their printed and online buylist all weekend nor did they change many prices in their case.

That being said, they were friendly and quick to help you purchase any cards you were looking to buy. They also had their new playmats with them as well as some other popular playmats up for sale that seemed to be selling quite well. They did have a damaged and foreign binder but it was absent of any “coolstuff.”

Hi De Ho Comics

Not a stranger to GP’s but definitely an odd one to see. The booth was run most days by a one-man team but I believe there was another employee hiding behind their wide sign. These guys had a prime space at the front of the hall on the far end. And they looked to be quite busy. This was the only seller in the room with WMCQ Thalias at $60. They also didn’t have the greatest buylist on many cards so the only thing I sold to them were Thalia’s. They did have some attractive cards in their case and some good pricing but I didn’t spend any money here.

Cascade Games as TO

I feel like something needs to be said about Cascade Games as the tournament organizer for this event.

And it is that they did a fantastic job.

They started off Friday morning with an entirely free Mini-Master, anyone was allowed to play in it as a thank you to maxed-out attendance. They ran multiple Friday morning events.  I played in one, other friends played in several. I traveled up to New Mexico with a group of judges and heard a lot about behind the scenes with Cascade. From what I heard and what I saw they handled the event phenomenally. When the main event sold out they made accommodations including hiring more judges last minute, adding a Saturday morning event that was as much value as the main event at half the price.

The only catch was you weren’t playing for anything more than prize tix, but to the people I saw in that room playing that was all that mattered to them. They paid $40 for a playmat, a promo, and six packs and to a lot of them that was more than enough; the prize tickets to them were just an extra bonus.

They also opened two more ballrooms for the venue to put On Demands and the Saturday Morning Special in as the main event hall was full to capacity. Cascade handled any issues that arose very professionally. Their prize wall was stacked with great prizes from UltraPRO to Dex Protection. The only complaint I can imagine is that the chairs in the venue weren’t the best, and side events were cash only. There were a few scheduling errors but they were handled as best as they could be. I would love to return to a Cascade Games event and hope that they continue to run GPs close enough for me to attend.


Thanks for reading, these are my opinions on the event. I would love some feedback and to hear your experiences if you went to GP Albuquerque. Leave it in the comments below or you can reach me on twitter @MattNafarious



Floor Reports: Grand Prix Pittsburgh

Hey guys! GP Pittsburgh was a great event to go to if you were looking to grind the tables and buy some cards. With prices in their seasonal decline, many opportunistic players were there looking to acquire underpriced staples and discounted deals. I myself did not play sanctioned magic at all during the weekend, and I’m sure that the other price writers present will be covering what happened with the TO and the GP as a whole. I can say that because the venue was packed, many grinders had extremely good weekends and I was lucky enough to partake in the spoils. After feedback on my twitter account from these articles, I also will be grading the vendors just like school.  Let’s get into the plethora of vendors!

Strike Zone


StrikeZone seemed to barely be vending this weekend. They left early all three nights, and were one of the later vendors to be arriving on site during Sunday morning. I think they ran out of cash due to their proximity to the entry hall, and as a result didn’t have to grind the long hours that the vendors farther away from the action had to. Their buy prices weren’t the best, but there were enough people selling to them to make their booth worth it. The weirdest part about buylisting to StrikeZone was the fact that they make you organize the buy piles into set and alphabetical order, which is something few lazy Magic players do. They used to be one of the top vendors to sell to, but it seemed that their prices waned with the sun at this GP. I sat down with them as they perused through my binders, but said no to all of their offers confident that I could get more for my cards elsewhere this weekend.

Grade: C (Average)

MTG Card Market


MTG Card Market was at the very end of one of the two rows of vendor tables. They seemed to get little traffic because of this, and their buy prices weren’t amazing. They did however grab quite a few quarters this weekend out of my ogre box, perhaps in an attempt to get cards in at all! Jameson was quite friendly to everyone who stopped by however, and quite a few Chicago locals were selling to them this weekend.

Grade: C (Average)

Channel Fireball


Channel Fireball had a booth about four booths down from the GP entrance. They were packed all weekend, and paying highly on miscellaneous cards. As a GP mainstay, many people were selling to them due to their brand loyalty and credit bonus. Their buyers were very friendly and I sold a couple hundred dollars of mid-priced cards to them. Taking credit, I was able to pick up some blue-chip modern staples such as Noble Hierarch and Thoughtseize that I’m confident will see nice returns next year. They also bought over 100 Snapcaster Mageand 100 Rhystic Study from individual buyers, which was pretty funny to see.

Grade (B) Above Average

Savage TCG


Savage has vended the last couple GPs in a row. They always seem to attract a crowd, but didn’t have any stellar buy prices this weekend. They did, however, have low prices on played cards and had multiple Legacy staples at attractive buy prices all weekend. It seemed that they sold a lot of these to cube enthusiasts as quite a few happy people walked away with new cards. I didn’t sell anything to them or buy, but I always like to stop by and see what they have for sale.

Grade ( C) Average

Gaming ETC


Gaming ETC had an interesting booth setup this weekend. Half of their booth was covered in miscellaneous Magic products such as playmats and sleeves, compared to other vendors’ higher-margin items like packs and played binders. I wasn’t happy with their high sell prices and low buy prices, and the demeanor of their buyers didn’t make it seem like they were happy to be there.

Grade (D) Below Average

Jupiter Games


Jupiter seemed sparsely populated all weekend. They had both low buy prices and high sell prices. Their buyers seemed to be on their phones for most of the GP, and they only seemed animated during the busy Saturday morning. Next time, I don’t think I’m going to stop by Jupiter if this trend continues.

Grade (F) Unsatisfactory

Wizard Tower.com


Wizard Tower was one of the most interesting vendors this weekend. They had electronic boards that made seeing buy prices easy. They also had some of the highest buy prices on casual cards this weekend, and had the line to show for it. The weirdest thing about their buying practice was that they manually looked up inventory numbers of each card that they were interested in buying. Selling to them took about twice as long as usual, which was fine for me as I wasn’t playing in the GP, but could be harder for those who were. They almost ran out of money on Saturday, as I was paid quite a bit of money in $5 dollar bills. However, their buying staff was top -notch and friendly. I’ve never seen them vend a GP before, but they will be one of the first stops I make if I see them at another. Phil was one of the nicest buyers I worked with all weekend, and made small talk with me while waiting for their inventory to load on his computers.

Grade (A-) Excellent

Ice Imports


Ice Imports is another vendor that has been showing up lately at many of the GPs.  They had sell prices somewhere between TCGLow and TCGMid, which was pretty good for a booth. I wasn’t a fan of their buy prices, but they did have quite a few people selling them cards. Their buyers were asking people as they walked buy to sell them cards/ look at their shelves, which means they weren’t just sitting there during slow booth times. Busy times for booths happen between the breaks in each round when players are killing time, and slow times happen during the first 15 minutes of each round.

Grade ( C) Average.

Kirwan’s Game Store


Kirwan had a small booth in a corner of the room. It didn’t seem that they were buying many collections, but the people selling to them were selling giant collections that took quite a bit of time to buy in. I didn’t sell anything to them, but their hotlist was around 5% less than the top buylists in the room which wasn’t bad if you were looking to get credit for a specific card.

Grade (C ) Average

MTG Deals


MTG Deals has earned the reputation of one of the top vendors to stop by first at any GP. They definitely lived up to it as this GP. They had a pretty busy booth, and solid buy prices. I sold 10 Expeditions to them at barely below TCGLow, and their buyer Dave was friendly. He also offered a higher number on cards after I said no to the initial offer, which was a nice change of pace. At GPs you can always barter with vendors on high-end cards on the numbers you want, but it was nice to see him haggle with me on $20-$50 cards. I would recommend stopping by MTGDeals as one of the first booths at any GP.

Grade (A-) Excellent



Coolstuff Inc also had a ton of traffic this weekend. I bought quite a few $16 original Modern Masters packs from them. Although the EV of the packs was great, my pulls weren’t. I sold them quite a few cards that they were paying extremely highly on, such as Modern Masters Slaughter Pact at $7. Their buyers were friendly, and I was satisfied with some of their cards in their played/ foreign binders such as a japanese copy of All is Dust at $4.

Grade (B) Above Average

RIW Hobbies


Being one of the booths directly next to the doors of the room, RIW was quite busy this weekend. They had cards at retail prices, but had a ton of people buying from them. Customer service was exemplary with Marcel doing his best to accommodate weird card requests and talking about the history of the shop with people. They brought all of their sealed product and product damaged from their fire that had happened a couple months ago in a discounted binder. The cards didn’t smell smoky, but the prices were on fire in this binder. I picked up a promo Eternal Dragon for $5 in the binder, and one of my friends got a foil Sphinx’s Revelation for $10. I recommend stopping by RIW in the future if they still have this binder in the future, or to pick up packs for drafting with your friends.

Grade (B) Above Average

Brimstone Games


Brimstone brought the greatest amount of sealed product to the GP this weekend. Although their buy prices weren’t stellar, the selection of packs was quite insane. I bought a few original packs of Ravnica for fun at $20 each and pulled a Remand and an Overgrown Tomb. Their buyers were quite friendly with many people coming over to admire their sealed wares, asking how much they were, and then leaving after hearing the answer. For example, there was a sealed box of foreign Urza’s Saga on display. Many people incredulously walked away after hearing the number, but it didn’t seem that bad if you were in the market for something so rare. In the future if you want to see some unique stuff, I recommend stopping by Brimstone Games in the future.

Grade B (Above Average)

Face to Face Games


Face to Face was also situated near the doors of the venue, leading to a high amount of people stopping by. Their buyers were very friendly, but it seemed like the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar hampered their buying power this weekend compared to other vendors. They had prices around retail as well, but due to brand loyalty still had quite a bit of traffic. I was sad to say that their booth this weekend didn’t stand up to the pleasure of their game center in Canada. Had their buy prices been higher I would have sold them some stuff, but I was in the business of making the most money on my cards this weekend.

Grade (C )  Average

The Comic Book Store


These guys had solid traffic all weekend, with many locals stopping by to sell cards. I wasn’t a fan of most of their buy prices, but they were paying highly on Command Tower which meant that there must be a huge casual market for them. Their buyers were friendly, but I didn’t sell them many cards.

Grade ( C ) Average.

Aether Games


Aether has consistently been one of the first vendors I have stopped at at nearly every GP. This weekend was no different. They were paying $17 on Thoughtseize, $2 above the TCG Low at the time. I sold them quite a few Emrakul, the Aeons Torn at $19 and Leyline of Sanctity at $7. They were paying the highest in the room on the fetch land Expeditions, and also were paying $50 on the SCG Tasipurr playmats. They bought so many of these cards at their high buy prices that they dropped many of them after their quote was filled. One person singlehandedly sold them almost 200 Thoughtseizes. Their buyers were friendly, and very professional. I also bought quite a few cards from them this weekend. I bought them out of Japanese foil Plains at $5-6, depending on the art. With those prices barely above English, this is something that I expect to see better returns on then their English counterparts. I also bought quite a few Russian fetch lands since I like Russian more than English cards. Overall, I would recommend making Aether one of your first stops at any GP.

Grade (A-) Excellent

Troll and Toad


You could barely tell that Troll and Toad had a presence this weekend. Whether it was their low buy prices or shipping practices, they had almost no traffic this weekend. They have also been known to not honor their online buy prices. Cards were haphazardly flung into their cases in different directions, and their buyers seemed quite moody as well. This is the exact opposite of what a vendor should be like at a GP, and I was extremely unimpressed.

Grade (F) Worst Vendor at the GP.

Empire Cards


Empire had a good selection of high-end cards and sealed product this weekend. I sold them quite a few standard cards that were not tier 1 anymore. I also bought a few RTR packs for fun, but didn’t open anything worthwhile. If I see them at a GP in the future, I’ll probably stop by again but nothing they had blew me out of the water.

Grade (C ) Average

Grinder Gains http://imgur.com/5ZTdiNY

The floor was extremely busy this weekend. With the venue packed to capacity, most of the grinders there Saturday sat by the last row on circular tables. Many people gave up value to get Expeditions at a loss, and as you’ve probably read by now Expeditions are finally rising from their floor.

Trinisphere was virtually nonexistent in anyone’s binders, and had a strong demand from grinders even though no one had any. There were many established shops grinding inventory, with many getting rid of fetch lands for local goods as fetches have finally started to dip back down.

I also helped a friend get a Black Lotus this weekend. He came up Saturday afternoon with a binder full of dual lands. I had already asked each vendor their buy price on duals, and had calculated the amount of credit/ cash he would receive in order to make it easier on him since he would only be at the GP in a couple hours. We ended up trading 24 mainly non-blue duals for a MP- Black Lotus that Aether had at 2300 in buylist. Aether was offering the highest in the room on dual lands this weekend, which was odd as I had heard that almost no vendors wanted duals the week before. Coolstuff also only wanted mint duals and had extremely low prices for even SP duals, something I think more vendors will be shifting to in the future.

After four straight weeks of GPs, many vendors were also out of cash. Only Aether, Deals, and CFB had cash left towards the end of Sunday, meaning that desperate or lazy Magic players got the lowest amounts of cash offered and still took it. If you want to sell at a GP, make sure to sell before the GP even starts Saturday morning.

Overall, GP Pittsburgh was a fun time from a financial perspective! With no GPs for the next six weeks, I expect card prices to drop more overall as people try to sell off inventory by the end of the year. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments, or reach out to me on twitter @LengthyXemit.

Bonus Bits

“The only difference between half the vendors and the grinders is a table” – @Zachsellsmagic

“I’ll take bulk rares over staples any day” Thomas Dodd (Owner of CardAdvantage)

“Sell your Abrupt Decays” Anonymous