Tag Archives: Mtg

A Guide to Black Friday Buying

I remember the appeal of Black Friday. Stuff yourself on turkey (and ham, and potatoes, and deviled eggs, and stuffing, and wine, etc), play games with the family, listen to your crazy uncle and live-tweet what he says, drink more wine and then pass out.

Then wake up at 4 a.m. on Friday and drive to Wal-Mart or Target to begin to camp out for those 7 a.m. openings. If you’re really hardcore you get there even earlier so as to try and get in on the doorbuster sale. You walk away with the fancy TV if you’re lucky, and you probably get a lot of stuff you maybe don’t actually need. Then you go home and sleep.

These days, Black Friday starts on Thursday. At not at 11:59 either. 6 p.m. openings is, frankly, stupid. I get that some people (very few) want to eat and then go shop, the fact is you’re never going to get the doorbusters unless you skip Thanksgiving meal altogether. I’m not a fan of this at all, but it would be fairly disingenuous of me to criticize it too heavily given that it is the natural conclusion of capitalism, and I have a writing gig here and a store to run thanks to that. Still, I hate it.

Luckily, when it comes to Magic, we don’t have to worry about that. You wake up in the morning and begin the crazy Black Friday rush of surfing the Internet in your pajamas. I had originally planned on compiling a big list of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, but Reddit has beat me to it. Since I can’t imagine making a more comprehensive list than theirs, I’ve decided not to try. Instead, I want to offer some tips on how to plan out your holiday purchases this year.

The Big Ones

Let’s start with Star City Games, the biggest retailer of note. Their Black Friday deals have just been announced, and there’s some big ones. Battle for Zendikar boxes at just $80 is actually insane, given that it’s a full $10 cheaper than boxes available on TCGPlayer. Even the EV of the opened packs comes out to above that — though you’re playing the Gideon lottery here, of course.

Next up is there sale on true collector items: Alpha/Beta and graded goods. While I’m no expert on these prices, there’s certainly a lot to like here if you’re in the market. Rarely do you get the intersection of a truly reputable dealer (and SCG is unparalleled here) with such high-end collectibles. I understand how little of the market this speaks to, but it’s worth checking out. Of course, there’s also the consideration of this being timed just a few weeks after the big announcement of reduced Legacy support. While I’m not drawing any causation here between the two, I imagine others will chime in on the subject in the days to come.


While we haven’t seen all of Channel Fireball’s deals, I have to imagine they will look good as well. Both of these retailers can afford to really jump in with some “loss leaders,” if you will, and that means they’re willing to offer up some of the best deals on the market to get people into their store.

The third of the big outlets, TCGPlayer, has a significantly less exciting offer. Getting five percent of your purchase back in store credit is nice, sure, but it’s not anything to really go deep on. While TCGPlayer is obviously still your best outlet for cheap cards — and if you were planning an order now’s the time to place it — nothing about their deal makes me want to jump in.

Other online stores

Moving down the list, I would also suggest checking out TrollandToad, which has an actually insane deal with $60 Dragons of Tarkir booster boxes. This is a full $20 under TCGPlayer, and essentially half of the EV of the box. I’m not going to say arbitrage is worth your time here, but the truth is that’s just an absurdly low price for a set that’s going to be legal another eight months. [EDIT: SOLD OUT on boxes; that was fast].

Card Kingdom is doing a “spend $100, get $15 in store credit” deal, which again isn’t bad if you’re planning a purchase but not something that draws me in. CoolStuffInc seems to have their actual singles discounted, so if you’re looking into something specific it’s worth comparing there, though I’ll note that their prices aren’t exactly low to begin with, so there’s maybe not a ton to be gained here.

But here’s one that I do consider worth going out of your way to check out: Face to Face Games. The store is located in Canada, but if you’re north of the border or even in the U.S. (sorry, everyone else), this is worth looking into thanks to a 15 percent off coupon code for Black Friday only (code: BLACKFRIDAY2015). If I’m looking to buy a deck or a collection of cards (or spec targets), this is likely the best place to look. In many ways this is the same as Card Kingdom giving $15 on a $100 order, except in this case you don’t have to spend your “savings” on more cards.

Big-Box Stores

These are your Wal-Mart and Targets of the world, as well as some smaller chains. While those two big ones don’t have anything to write home about, Walgreens has 40 percent off, I’ve heard Hastings has buy one, get one deals going on, and you should also be on the lookout for any other price-matching guarantees that stores in your area may float around.

Overall, there’s nothing huge here, but 40 percent off at Walgreens is a great excuse to buy any product you may want either for yourself or the upcoming gift-giving season. I’m not sure if you can grab Commander 2015 product at these locations or not, but this is a great way to get in on those if you can.

Everything’s local

With all of this in mind, remember that “Small Business Saturday” is a newer trend that’s popping up. I know a lot of local stores that are having some big sales, and when you’re done recovering from Thanksgiving food and finished scouring the internet for deals, be sure to go check out your local game store. They almost always have good deals of their own and are highly likely to want to work with you, given that you represent repeat business to them. The typical LGS is a lifeline to all players, and we don’t want to forget them in the rush that is Black Friday madness.


With so many places to look, I’ll stop here. Get out there and find some deals!


Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler

@Chosler88 on Twitter/Twitch/YouTube

Grinder Finance – Winding Down the Year

With the conclusion of this three-Grands Prix weekend, we draw ever closer to the end-of -year lull in Magic.  Let’s talk about some new announcements and discuss the expected price drops in the comings weeks.

Shadows Over Innistrad

If you are a Vorthos player, you may have been expecting this.  In this article, Ugin explains to Jace that the only way to stop the Eldrazi is to seal them again.  He instructs Jace to go to Innistrad and find Sorin and bring him back to Zendikar.  Another important thing that Ugin mentions is that the Eldrazi Titans will planeswalk away when mortally threatened.  There are a few expectations we can draw from these events.

  • Shadows over Innistrad is the start of a new block.  It will be treated like a large fall set.
  • Liliana is MIA in the Zendikar storyline, I expect to see her return in Innistrad (This would be a prime place to reprint Liliana of the Veil without devotion in Standard)
  • We may see flashback return in SOI but with a Snapcaster Mage RPTQ promo he will likely not return in the set.
  • We may see an Eldrazi titan escape and attack Innistrad (Given the fact that Oath of the Gatewatch‘s set symbol looks like Kozilek’s head shards, it will probably be Emrakul)

This is all of course speculation but so far the story articles seem to be a reliable way to tell the future.

Why are we going back to Innistrad?


With a real definition of what is “new” and what isn’t, I expect this to continue to in the future and be a conduit for important reprints outside of Modern Masters.  We can expect the Fall 2016 set to be a “new” plane.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s shift gears and talk about events.

What events are left in the 2015 calendar year?

Do you know how many weekends of Grands Prix are left? After this triple Grands Prix weekend, there are five left on three weekends to close out the year.  Seattle/Tacoma (Legacy), Atlanta (Sealed), and Pittsburgh (Modern) are the last three Grands Prix in North America this year.  There are two Standard GPs left, one in Brussels and one in Kobe, and that’s it!  There is over a month off and then GP Oakland opens up the year with a Standard Grand Prix before almost another month off before the next set of Grands Prix after the release of Oath of the Gatewatch.  Thats not a lot of Standard being played outside of the LGS level.

Let’s take a look at the other major circuit, the Star City Games Open Series. There are five SCG opens for the remainder of the year.  Four are Standard (Philadelphia, Kansas City, Denver, and Las Vegas) and one is Legacy (New Jersey).  That’s also not a lot of opportunities for the rest of the year to play in high level Magic events.

What does this all mean?  Well, it precludes the December price dips.  You basically have one month to sell or trade any Standard cards you will not need for the rest of the year before their price starts to drop significantly.  I already traded away my Gideon, Ally of Zendikar this weekend for Eternal playables. I would recommend dumping any Khans of Tarkir cards especially since there will be no more Standard Pro Tours to breathe new life into them before they rotate.

siege rhino price

As you can see from this graph, the post Pro Tour price tag quickly dips into a yearly low in December.  If you want to get expensive cards from Battle for Zendikar, I’d wait until then.

gideon price

Although Gideon doesn’t have a long price history, we can see he’s peaked and is already on his slow descent.  I’m just guessing here but I could see Gideon being as cheap as $20 by Christmas.  While it’s clear he will be a player in Standard for his entire lifetime, it is unwise to hold copies you’re not actively using.  But, it’s not all gloom and doom for a buyer.


These two lands have already shown up in some decks as a way to ramp out huge Eldrazi.  It might not be a thing today but I feel like the deck is very close to breaking out.  I wouldn’t be surprised if these two lands are the mainstay of a top tier deck in Oath of the Gatewatch.  Kind of hilariously, right now that is the basis for one of the cheaper Standard decks as it doesn’t play any fetchlands, Gideons, or Jaces.  At about $0.50 per land, I wouldn’t fault you for picking up a playset of each in preparation for Kozilek in Oath of the Gatewatch.

Grand Prix Articles

Do you like the articles that Jeremy (@LengthyXemit) does for Grands Prix?  I will be lucky enough to attend the last two American Grands Prix of the year and can provide some commentary for people looking to buy cards.  Are there other questions you have for the Grand Prix process?

I took a week off due to some work-related complications but I will have the Pucatrade article for next week!  Hope you all had an awesome Halloween and I look forward to your comments below!


PROTRADER: Invisible Hand Hard at Work

My name is Sigmund and I’m a capitalist. I believe in the Invisible Hand and all the dictates of supply and demand in the realm of MTG finance. This means I embrace all the positives – and inevitable negatives – of such a system.

I’ve been hearing many disgruntled voices lately berating one body of people or another for their business practices. Wizards of the Coast is executing sets poorly by mismanaging print runs and introducing new “rarities” via Expeditions. Local game stores are unfairly price gouging on new products when they receive less supply than anticipated. Even Hasbro cannot escape the pitchforks, receiving blame for manipulating Wizards and poorly executing an online gaming platform.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I’m not going to sit here and decry that everyone needs to embrace capitalism as I have. But everyone should at least be aware of the underlying drivers that have gotten us into certain pricing situations. And if you take away nothing from this article but one thing, I hope that one thing is simply that there isn’t a single body to blame for certain pricing behaviors. Oh, and you may learn a thing or two about MTG economics along the way.

Ready for another off-the-beaten-path type of finance column? Here we go!

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