The Traveling Trader

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by Blaine Rybacki

Editor's Note: Quiet Speculation is pleased to announce Blaine Rybacki, the newest addition to our lineup. Blaine will be covering a variety of MtG Finance topics every Monday night so be sure to tune in!

It's Friday night again. That wonderful night when magic players stream into gaming stores across the country to trade, play, and earn bragging rights. When considering what deck to bring, what to sideboard, or if you should finally listen to your friend's advice about main-decking those White Knights, you should also be considering something else; trying out a new store. For most players, there are a plethora of stores that offer FNM, drafts, and constructed events most nights of the week, yet week in and week out, many players end up just going to the same store. The next time you start packing up your stuff to go to a tourney, consider the following points first before heading to your regular store.

New Store, New Card Stock

One of the main benefits to traveling to a new store is the wide array of fresh trade binders available. When attending the same store week after week, trades become stale and options become limited. The same guy wants the same cards as last week and unless someone decided to randomly buy a box or two, everyone's trade collections are pretty much unchanged. However, when venturing to a new location, a multitude of new deals become available. To the regulars at at this new shop, you're the foreigner resplendent with a binder full of riches. To you, they are a new world filled with unexplored treasures. Additionally, if this new store sells singles, you may finally be able to find the cards you've spent weeks if not months looking for.

Different Meta, Different Values

Before I sat down to put the finishing touches on this article I decided to take my own advice and traveled about fifty miles to a store I had never been to before. Upon entering the shop, I was greeted by a whole host of unfamiliar faces and a strange new metagame. Down in my area, the demand for Planeswalkers had pretty much come and gone with the exception of Sorin Markov, that little devil. In the new shop I played at, Planeswalkers were still very much in demand. While at this store, I managed to trade away a whole slew of Garruks, Ajani Goldmanes, and Elspeths that had been pathetically rotting away in my binder for weeks. In addition to being in high demand, the denizens of this store also valued them significantly higher than what I could have traded them for in my local store.

Each shop has its own metagame, and thus its own trading metagame. Some closely resemble the most recent major top 8 deck lists, but many have a good amount of casual or creative players that are interested in cards that are untradable at your local shop. These same players may not value tournament staples nearly as high as players back home. At this new store I managed to pick up some M10 duals which had become hard to find in my area, Nissa-Monument pieces (Thanks Kelly!) , and a whole slew of other cards that I knew players back home had been looking for.

Additionally, and off the topic of trading, new shops give you the advantage of being an unknown factor. If you happen to play a home-brew deck or a tier 1 deck that this meta has had little contact with, you may just have the edge necessary to win. At your local store people have started sideboarding for your pet deck and know how to beat it easily. Getting some nifty new cards with store credit never hurt anyone right?

You Guys Play That?

During my travels to different stores I've learned that each store has it's own set of events. Some stores just have Standard and Draft events, while shops in other areas have events for Legacy, Extended, and even EDH. Phone ahead to see what events this new store offers and use that knowledge to your advantage! Don't forget to include as many cards as you can comfortably carry for every format, even if it's not one you may be intimately familiar with. Although you may be primarily concerned with whatever format is currently in season, that's not necessarily the case with the store you are visiting. There has been several occasions that I have managed to complete some very advantageous trades due in part to the massive amount of “EDH” cards I carry with me. [EDH cards can be a goldmine! -KBR] The best way to make the most out of your journey is to try to have all your bases covered in trade stock. That way you won't walk out of the store shaking your head for not bringing that foil Horde of Notions some kid would have traded his fetchlands for.

Some Helpful Tips

One of the main things to remember while traveling to new shops is to be social, friendly, and respectful. There are so many chances to make new connections and even friendships if you have the right attitude and demeanor. These connections can have a huge impact on not only your trades but your reputation in the area. Your reputation can either become your best friend or your worst enemy. A good reputation will help you gain access to more trade binders, insightful tips into new archetypes, and possibly even test groups. A bad reputation will cause binders to snap shut as you walk past.

Also, while talking to the regulars of this new shop don't forget to ask them if there is a problem with theft and if there is anyone to be wary of. While you may know everyone at your old store, this is a new area, and as such could hold new dangers. Regulars are usually more than ready to warn newcomers of problems with theft, sharks, or just generally unpleasant people it's good to steer clear of. This approach could not only save you time but possibly even help prevent your prized collection from being stolen.

Another tip is to make sure you call the store ahead of time to become familiar with tournament start times, formats played in the store, and other important store policies. While some stores sell singles and restrict players from selling cards, others do not have this policy and will allow players to sell cards. If the latter is the case, don't pass up any opportunity to sell or buy cards. While some players may be unwilling to trade that Maelstrom Pulse for anything less than twenty points they may be very happy to sell it for a little over ten bucks. Also, you may find players willing to open their wallets for the cards they need rather than having you pick over their small trade collection.

Finally, don't be scared to take down contact information for the people you meet. When doing this make it a point to ask them if there are any cards they have been looking for but have been unable to find. On many occasions I have taken down a players number just to call them the next day when I managed to get a card for them that they had been hunting for. Not only is this one more trade to help your collection but it also can help boost your reputation in the area. If you develop a reputation as a trader who actively tries to find cards, players will be more than eager to open their trade binders to you.

That wraps it up for this week so remember traders, don't be scared to take that leap and m
ake the journey. You never know what amazing trades and people you could discover!

Blaine "Top Hat" Rybacki lives in Puyallup, Washington and is currently in school working his way towards becoming an English teacher. A fanatic trader, he never leaves home without his trade stock on hand. He regularly crosses state lines to complete, play and trade, and manages the collections of many of his friends in the area.

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

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4 thoughts on “The Traveling Trader

  1. I agree with everything in this article; great job. This is one of the main reasons I got to large Prereleases, the trading pool I've become unable to trade in my card shop is now much bigger. Also, if you know that someone at your shop is looking for another card that you see in the new area, I'm sure you can get a good deal for it back home so snap it up.

  2. Nice article! Agree fully with the EDH cards, not enough people I see have nice foils in their trade binders.I hope I'm right in assuming that Grand Prixs are high points of a trader's schedule. I've got a nice stack of cards with someone elses' names on them.

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