Tag Archives: supplies

Natural Crit

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Hey there, you! I recently reached out on Twitter asking for article ideas, because I’m at a bit of a loss for words. Final exams are coming up, so I’m trying to juggle the whole “school” thing with staying on top of the Magic finance market for your benefit. I appreciate all of my readers who sent me great ideas, so I’m going to splurge this week and try on touch on a little bit of everything instead of saving these up for multiple article ideas like a rational human being. If I end up hitting my head against the computer next week on the night of my deadline, I’m sure I can just fart out another piece of god-tier penmanship about how I should be swimming in Mayor of Avabruck right now if I knew anything about this game. Let’s roll.

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The Little Boar that Could

So this little piece of ham is something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, because it’s just so innocuous at first glance. Is it Modern legal? Nope. Legacy playable? Not even close. Commander appeal? Basically none. The trick here is that it’s actually legal in the Magic Online Pauper league, where it’s printed as a common and sees a little bit of play in Green Stompy lists. There was a Reddit thread on the mtgfinance subreddit about a week and a half ago that gave some excellent insight into why a card like this can appear to be at $7, so I’ll just link that here instead of paraphrasing and regurgitating it up here. /u/another-reddit-guy had some excellent insight into a format that none of the rest of us “financiers” really pay any attention to, and its’ absolutely worth keeping your finger on the pulse of the trends in Pauper if you want to make sure that the next Brindle Shoat doesn’t slip through while you pick bulk.

Shoat

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However, a slight bump in pauper popularity obviously isn’t enough to cause this kind of increase in price. Supply is absolutely a factor, and we can talk quickly about just how low that number is for Planechase. You know that stupid joke I always repeat when mentioning the scarcity of a card? I say that there were basically six packs of Coldsnap or whatever opened, so the supply is extremely low and easy to dry up if even a small spark of demand appears for the card. That holds especially true for all of the cards from Planechase and Planechase 2012, where even the uncommons can be treated as super mythics considering how low the print run was.

Amazonshoat

Even Amazon has no idea what that card is. That’s not to say Amazon is the hotbed where all the Pauper aficionados buy their “battle boxes” (a new term I learned recently), but you know that supply is a barren desert when there’s a combined total of less than a dozen copies on eBay, SCG, TCGplayer, Coolstuff, Amazon, Cardshark, and Channelfireball combined. Normally I just say “Oh, wait until people start pulling these from their bulk and listing them online, the price will settle at a degree between the pre-spike price and the post-spike price.” This time, I’m not sure there are enough of these in bulk to satisfy that growing Pauper demand. If you’re in the market for these to build your battle box, I’d still avoid paying anything over $4 though.

MTGTop8Shoat
This is how much play the little boar sees, at most. Yes, that’s enough.

Pucashoat

Planeswalking Segue

So if an uncommon that sees play as a two of can hit $7, surely the planes from the same set are equally as popular…. right? Well, not exactly. I mentioned this week on Cartel Aristocrats that you should probably go through any of your old oversized Commanders or Planechase cards, and see if any of them are worth anything. After doing a b it of digging, it looks like the real money is in the 2009 and promo planes, not so much the 2012 versions. While this information probably won’t be relevant for the next few collections you buy (I think I’ve only bought three or four collections in my life that had Planechase planes or Archenemy schemes), it’s definitely something that should encourage you to go through your own old stuff if you’ve been playing since these were released. The same goes for the 2011 Commander oversized cards; Kaalia goes for around $8-10 for the supersized version!

SCG Planechase

SCG Planes2012

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So you ran into your basement, pulled out twenty Stairs to Infinity, and you want to turn them into crisp dollar bills. I understand. I was in your situation not too long ago. While I was doing some cleaning last year, I found a pile of schemes and planes from my days as a casual player, and decided to buylist them all to save myself some trouble. While you can technically sell them on eBay or TCGplayer, I can’t speak for how quickly they’ll actually sell. There’s also the added trouble of shipping single oversized cards; They obviously don’t fit into a regular toploader, so you’d have to get creative with the packaging to make sure the card doesn’t get damaged in transit. I had success selling all of mine to ChannelFireball, as they paid the best prices out of all the stores I looked at.

Dice

While we’re on the topic of supplies, I’d like to talk very quickly about spindown dice; the kind you get From a Vault of Some Kind, or perhaps a week before a set releases. In my experience, I saw a lot of people throw these away at the last prerelease I went to. I know because I threw mine away, forgetting that it even came with the box. Whoooops. Anyway, that’s okay. The D20 spindowns that come with the prereleases now aren’t really worth anything; most buylists will pick them up for 25 cents each, so don’t feel bad if you can’t find them.

The real fun comes if you have any of these lying around that are from pre-Innistrad era. Most of the spindowns that you see in the picture are $4 or $5 if you check on SCG or Coolstuffinc, except for a couple that I mispriced (can you guess which ones?). I ended up getting around $40 for this lot when I sold them on Twitter, which was a nice buffer to the collection that these came in around a month ago. If you’re an old timer and were around for the “good old days” of Magic (or so I’ve heard, I was like eight years old at the time), you can sell the spindowns from Apocalypse, Onslaught, or  Judgment for around $25.

Just another side note about shipping before I take off for the week; Ship spindowns in a PWE at your own risk. While I’ve talked to a few friends about their experiences mailing dice in envelopes, they’ve had mixed results. Some post offices will be comfortable mailing it as a non-machinable letter with just a stamp or two, but my local USPS made me ship it as a small package so I ate $2.50 shipping a single one of these at $5. Gross. Thankfully I was able to ship the rest to a single individual and save a ton on shipping, so find that one guy in your local area who wants to catch ’em all.

Until next week!

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Stitch Together

Alright. So… I have no topic for this week. I tried, I really did. I sat in front of my screen for two hours trying to think of something that

1) I genuinely cared about

2) I could relate to Magic finance

Unfortunately, I don’t really care about the Commander 2015 spoilers, except for the fact that Necrotic Ooze dodged yet another reprint opportunity. I love both of the new Golgari commanders, because they give me an overabundance of options for my favorite queen of life and death. Honestly, I’m surprised that she didn’t make it into the deck herself.

Now you see, this is the kind of thing I was trying to avoid. You don’t give a damn about me talking about Commander 2015; that’s Jason’s job. I can’t talk about Standard, because I don’t care enough about the format to pay attention. Grinder finance is Jim’s area of expertise. My niche in our arsenal of writers is collection buying, and I think there’s only so much I can say before I start to repeat myself to death. Whatever. I’ll just wing it this week, and see what comes out. There’s got to be at least some relevant info in here for someone.

Pucadvice

I do enjoy Pucatrade, I really do. However, I just have too much stuff constantly moving in and out of my collection to keep my haves list current. I think it would literally take me days just to piece together my current inventory as a have list, so I rarely (read: never) really send cards nowadays. Instead, I’ve taken up the practice of buying points for $.70 on the dollar from Facebook groups and Twitter acquaintances.

Due to the fact that I have a large Commander/non-competitive customer base in my area, every now and again, I get requests for certain cards that I don’t happen to have in my inventory. For whatever reason, some of these customers prefer to avoid buying cards online themselves.  I appreciate that they would prefer to support a local business, because it works out well for me when they request to have me order cards for them.

So, let’s say that I buy 2000 Puca Points for $14 from someone in a Facebook group focused on the buying and selling of Puca Points and other MTG currency. Then, local customer Jimmy texts me and asks, “Hey DJ, do you have any Wurmcoil Engines?” If I don’t happen to have any Wurmcoils, I’ll usually reply with something like this: “No, but I can order one for you using the trade credit I have on a website, and it would cost you $18. Is that okay?” I’m usually met with an affirmative answer of some kind, because who doesn’t like the convenience of someone else ordering your cards for you? I then put the Wurmcoil on my want list, have it shipped to me at the cost of 1800 pucapoints, and get to turn those points into cash back at a 100-percent conversion rate.

Now, your results will vary with this when it comes to more obscure cards. If someone asks me for a foil version of an older common or uncommon, or something that I know will take Puca forever to send me, then I’ll kindly let them down and tell them that I don’t think I’ll be able to get it with trade credit, but that I can order it off of TCGplayer or eBay for them, as long as I’m still making a couple dollars for my trouble.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have the time to grind the Puca system by constantly sending out small cards and churning them into big cards, you might just be able to use it as a bridge to turn your 70 cents into a dollar, if you’re willing to wait and have a potential customer base waiting in the wings.

Tools of the Trade

I’m literally just looking around my desk/workstation and looking for things to write about at this point. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever brought up how useful having your own business cards can be, even if you don’t decide to turn Magic into a full-time trade. While I would never advocate whipping them out while in an LGS, they’re a cheap and professional way to maintain a customer base through Craigslist, word of mouth, and good, old social-media outlets.

I personally use Vistaprint to make my cards. They were cheap (I paid $31 for 500 double-sided cards and used an existing logo/design, so they were only about six cents a piece), and the ordering process was very easy. The below pictures are the second version of business cards I’ve ordered, and you can get them even cheaper than that if you opt for a blank backside and take advantage of sales. The first time I ever ordered cards from Vistaprint, I took advantage of a “250 free sample cards” option and used a stock background, and they only charged me the $6 shipping. They still worked well enough to land me several collections back in the day, which made it all worthwhile.

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Shoutout to Tim Ano, a former classmate of mine who designed the awesome logo and background.

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I’ve found several ways to make sure that my lotus logo gets spread throughout the community. I tend to give them out after each Craigslist meetup, leave them in my display case for the store employees to distribute to anyone who asks about the cards in the case, and I personally like to include them in the envelope whenever I ship out cards to someone who’s semi-local on TCGplayer. I’ve actually gotten a text from someone who I once sold cards to through TCGplayer, and I ended up buying their collection because they only lived two hours from me.

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Here’s another tool that I use constantly, whenever I buy collections, or trade for other cards at less than retail. If you’ve ever been to a Grand Prix or dealt with someone who does what I do, this picture looks familiar. It makes buying lots of cards at buylist a simple breeze, and the mat is simple enough to make with only a sharpie and ruler. The same rules apply here as with the business cards: please do not bring this type of mat to the LGS without prior consent. If you can work out a deal with your shop owner so that you can buy cards for them or in their place, that’s great! Just be sure to make sure they get something out of the deal for sharing their space and customers.

I’m actually in talks with my graphic designer friend Tim to try and get a customized design for a custom mat, which I will then order from InkedGaming.com. It will definitely look a lot more professional than the dirty and used mat above (to be fair, that’s my travel mat; I have a matching, yet cleaner one at the store). Would you rather sit down across someone with a mat like mine, or the one below?

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If you’d rather not spend a lot of money on a mat just to look fancy, though, that’s perfectly understandable. That’s money that could be spend buying cards at buylist prices! You can find brand new blank playmats on eBay for less than $8, and then take a sharpie and a ruler to it for free.

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Useful Gift Boxes

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Apparently there’s been some pretty funny controversy on how the Battle for Zendikar gift box is still sub-par quality compared to the Theros and Khans of Tarkir gift boxes. I really don’t care because my fiancee knows not to buy me Magic-related product for presents, but I would like to let everyone know that the Return to Ravnica boxes are actually of very good quality in my experience. I use them reguarly to hold sleeves, toploaders, and other shipping supplies that I keep at my workstation.

I’m not sure if they intentionally cut corners on these boxes or if it was just negligence, but if you’re someone who does like the style and size of the boxes to hold their collection, I recommend the RTR one. I mean, they can’t be that expensive….

Wait, what the hell? Someone bought a sealed RTR gift box for $90 over the summer? And ABU has sold them for $40? Uhh… I was going to suggest that you grab them for cheap from other players and save them if you pick up collections in them while you throw the THS and KTK ones to the curb, but damn. I didn’t think they’d be this expensive on eBay. I mean, does anyone actually have any of these things still sealed? Props to you, I guess. I got like three or four RTR gift boxes as a combination of birthday and Christmas presents three years ago, and I cracked them all for those sweet Dreg Manglers because I’m a Golgari member ’til death and beyond. If anyone reading this actually owns the sealed ones, throw them up on eBay and see who bites.

Actually, this brings me to a good point on sealed product. If you’re eyeing the BFZ gift box and thinking “Man, I should totally buy this for $25 and then sit on it for three years, I’ll make a ton of money selling it later,” then let me correct you. Don’t do that. I’m assuming that the RTR one is selling at a premium due to a combination of being  the only one study enough to stack on top of itself, plus the lack of print run from being the first of its kind. New generations of sealed product have always held a premium when they’re the first of their kind, just look at the original Commander, Planechase, and Duel Deck. Wizards doesn’t know how to anticipate what the demand will be, so they suddenly become scarce three years later.

Anyway the point is not to buy the BFZ gift box if you’re looking for long-term profit. Hell, the Tolarian Community College professor suggests not to buy it at all if you’re looking for up-to-par box quality and good EV.

End Step

Kabira Evangel is part of the reason I love bulk rares. Oh, I picked these up for a dime a piece two years ago? Now I can sell them for ten to twenty times that. There’s still time to do similar things with cards like Crucible of Fire, Heartless Summoning, and all of the new bulk rares from the new Commander set. You literally have nothing to lose.

Eye of Ugin has managed to creep up by around 25 percent since Battle for Zendikar’s release, so there’s definitely real demand for the “old” Eldrazi cards. It’s up to you whether you sell at $4 or wait for a couple more dollars, but I’m always happy to find a buyer at full retail.

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Stream of Consciousness

Welcome back, DJ!

Thanks, I needed that. As you might have noticed last Thursday, my content was conspicuously absent from MTGPrice. As a resident assistant for the returning students at my school, I was extremely busy last week with preparing the building, checking new students into the residence hall, and repeating the mandatory training that is drilled into us every year. Although the job is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to any of my fellow college students who are interested, move-in week certainly takes up a chunk of my time. To all of my fellow college-student MTG financiers, I highly recommend applying for the job at your school. It’s a great experience overall, even though it’s a pretty large time commitment.

Unfortunately, even if I did have time to write an article last week, I didn’t exactly have a specific topic ready and waiting to be scribbled down. In fact, I still don’t have a topic this week. I’m just kind of winging it right now, because I’m pretty apathetic about most of Magic right now.

Apathy

I’m not one to obsess over the angels in the new From the Vault, everyone else has already written about the fetch lands and their Battle for Zendikar predictions, and I think I’ve exhausted your patience for “articles concerning my weekly collection buying and organizational processes” in the past couple of months (seriously though, if you guys/girls want to read about more of that stuff, I can do that. I love writing about collection buying). So let’s just see where this goes, okay?

More Fetch Land Talk

Actually, you know what? I do want to talk about fetch lands, even though the spike was a billion weeks ago at this point. In recent news,  there was a fake leak of enemy Zendikar fetches being spoiled at PAX. After several diligent researchers determed that the art was cherry-picked from various other internet sources, the frenzy quieted down. If you’re one of the people who bought a huge number of fetches before the spike and had a miniature heart attack at the sight of the faked announcement due to still owning a couple thousand dollars worth of fetch lands, that was your warning shot.

Warning

I’m still advocating unloading these now instead of waiting a few months, as I think there’s a high probability of Wizards including the five lands in the second set of the block. If you wait too long into BFZ to sell them, then you won’t be able to find any buyers as everyone will be holding off until Sweat is released. Lock in the profits now and you can have cash on hand just in case someone comes up to you to sell a collection. I still have some Zendikar fetches left over that I picked up from the story I’m about to tell you, and the few seconds of jump scare made me realize I need to pick up the pace on selling them.

Sticker Time

While we’re on the subject of fetches, I’d like everyone to gather ’round for story time. We’re traveling back a billion weeks ago to the day of the “enemy fetchlands will not be in Battle for Zendikar” announcement, in a small town called Camden, New York. The closest LGS is 30 minutes away, but at least this one has a singles display case, stocked with staples. Although our weekly EDH night didn’t start until 6:00 p.m., I wanted to get there early and see if the shop had any fetches in its display case at a reasonable price. This was right in the middle of the buyout, with SCG being bought out not even an hour before.

I arrived at the store and noticed that they still had quite a few fetches in stock: Misty Rainforestfor $35, Marsh Flats for $25, Verdant Catacombs for $34, and Scalding Tarns for $54.  Excellent. There were no Arid Mesas, but you can’t have everything. I inspected the condition to make sure they were all NM and gave the employee my card to swipe. I told him that I was purchasing all of these fetch lands because I expected them to be worth a lot more by the end of the day, and I ended up being correct (for once). One of the main reasons I’ve kept coming back to this store is that it always honors the sticker price, even if the card has already jumped. I help the store out by pointing out low prices when I’m not going to buy cards, too.

Now, let’s fast forward to the next week. I wanted to buy new binders because the Monster brand ones that I’ve used for the past few years were finally at their limit. I didn’t want to wait a week for them to arrive from Amazon, so I stopped by the LGS once again. This time, I was met with an interesting change in the store: it was no longer labeling its singles with price stickers—one now had to ask an employee for the price of each individual card.

Decree of Pain

I suppose the owner was tired of having people like me buy cards after their actual retail price had already increased. The store certainly loses out on potential income when I buy $5.50  Living Ends, I’m not arguing that point. Then again, I’ve been on the other side of the fence plenty of times, considering I just sold a Cloudstone Curio out of my own display case for $6 before I had the chance to update the price. It’s an unfortunate reality of the business we’re in.

However, I can’t help but wonder if removing the stickers is the best possible move for the store, and I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments section about this. By forcing employees to check the price on every single card sold out of its case, the store loses out on a large number of impulse purchases from players who don’t play nearly as competitively as us vocal minority. I can only assume that an EDH player who is browsing the case for new additions to her decks won’t go through the trouble of asking the price on every single potential candidate—she will narrow her purchase to save on time. It’s much easier for customers to mentally visualize their own budgets and how many cards they can afford when the prices are right in front of them, and this system also removes the joy of finding a card that’s even slightly underpriced, even if it’s only finding a $7 Blood Crypt that was $8 everywhere else one looked. There’s also the employee’s time and effort to take into consideration, because he now has to double-check every single price every time someone asks about a card.

As someone who sold several Goblin Rabblemasters for $7 out of my case while they were $15 everywhere else, I held no animosity or resentment towards the players and financiers who I sold these cards to. What are your thoughts on this?

Uhh…

Alright, so now that that’s out of the way, what else is there to talk about… Hmm.

One with Nothing

End Step

Apparently Hangarback Walker is a $20 Magic: The Gathering card, which upsets me way more than $80 Scalding Tarns. If you own these, I’m still calling to sell them. I mean, I suggested you sell them at $8, then I suggested selling them at $14, so what do I know? All I know is that this card is the same price as Thoughtseize was almost two years ago, and I highly doubt that Walker has the same longevity.

Temple of Epiphany got its second wind for about a week off the back of the UR Artifacts deck, and then everyone realized: “Oh wait, this stupid thing is about to rotate.” I managed to sell off a pile into the hype, but I think that’s just about died down for now. If you want to pick up any other Temples for speculation, you can probably find the cheaper ones at near-bulk prices as everyone else abandons ship. While I’m still staying away from any and all Temples in favor of collection buying, I’ve been wrong before. A lot, actually.

Foil Hive Mind was bought out recently, but I haven’t really heard or seen anything about that. While it might be part of your daily ritual to check the daily interests on MTGStocks, remember to click that foil tab every day as well.

While we’re on the subject of foils, I fully support Travis’s call on foil Tasigur at $30 to $40. While I’m not going to drop several hundred cash dollars on it like he did, I’m going to horde the few copies I already have in my spec box, target them aggressively in trades, and keep a finger on the pulse of the card’s price moving forward.

That’s all I’ve got for this week. If you have anything in particular you’d like me to write about, hit me up. Summer is usually a pretty dull time in Magic finance anyway, until all hell breaks loose with the release of the fall set. Look forward to the next few weeks as spoiler season starts trickling in, as I’ll be helping Jason and Corbin create up-to-date spoiler coverage and tossing my hat into the ring on where I think most of the cards’ prices will end up in the future months! (Spoiler alert: I predict 90 percent of the set will be bulk rares.)

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