An Introduction to Abundance Trading
So, while there’s nothing really epic to talk about in the “pick it up now” department, I promise I’m going to dedicate a little bit of our budget today by the end of the column, if only to sate everyone with a hole burning in their pockets.
First things first. I know this is going to sound arrogant. This is going to change the way you trade Magic cards forever. That is, if you have some balls. This might change the way everyone trades Magic cards forever, and I intend this to be reflective of the kind of game-changing content you can expect from QS premium once premium content goes live next month. [We’re aiming for the 1st week of September! -kbr]
This kind of article is the reason you want to (or maybe the reason you won’t want to) tell all your friends about QS, and the reason it will be worthwhile to get a premium account. I don’t know what we’re gonna charge, but it’s not enough. [The price to get the articles will be competitive with the going rate online -kbr]
I have been observing a friend of mine and he trades like a mo-fo. He’s a passable player, but he is a GOD when it comes to trading. He just recently came back to Magic, with literally no formal budget, and is already in possession of a Mox Emerald. One thing I’ve noticed him do, that very few other Magic traders do: bulking.
I like to call it “Abundance Trading.” Maybe you’ve seen dealers offer some preposterously low price on “bulk rares.” Rares they don’t really want, they’re willing to take off your hands for the paltry price of usually $0.10. As you I’m sure have experienced, you “can’t” (read: really, really shouldn’t) buy and sell cards at most shops unless you’re buying from or selling to the shop. This doesn’t mean you can’t conduct business like one.
The other day, at the local Sunday tournament, I was trading with an acquaintance of mine, and he wanted to pick up a Ranger of Eos. I was fairly shocked to hear it had fallen to $5.00. There was no five dollar card I was really interested in in my friend’s binder, but there was a lot of janky rares.
“I’ll bulk it to you,” I said, almost asking.
“Sure,” he replied. I proceeded to remove 50 rares that he didn’t want from his binder, pointing and asking as I did.
“This, this and this?”
“This and this?”
“Not that, but that, sure.”
This went on for about three or four minutes as I took cards which were rotating, or just worthless for a dime each.
Why would I do this? There are stores online that will buy bulk rares for $0.10 cash – often $0.12 in store credit. At big events, the dealers are excited to sort through your crappy longbox of rares for varying prices – you see the guys there who sit for 40 minutes to an hour just sorting cards into piles of $0.10 and up. There’s no real accounting for what a dealer will pay for cards at a big event (see my last column ). So consider the following:
You have a Gideon Jura. He’s worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $30. There isn’t a dealer on the planet who is buying Giddy Lee for more than $15 right now. Even if they are, what are the odds that you got it on the downturn?
Jed Moutainbilly needs a Gideon, and he’s willing to trade for Mr. Lee at $40. Jed has some good cards, but in all likelihood, you’ve still come in at a significant loss or break-even at best; because let’s assume in a best-case scenario, you squeeze three Lotus Cobras outta Jed, you can still only sell those for like $12 each. $36 cash for $30 in cards isn’t horrible, but considering Gideon’s relatively recent $50 price tag, it’s very, very low EV. Unless…
Unless you bulk him to Jed. “I’ll give you Gideon for bulk rares – at $0.10 per rare.” 400 Well of Discovery, Fountain Watch, Angelheart Vial, and Baneful Omens later, you’ve got a metric ton of dimes. “But what do I do with all those rares?” That’s the simple part – Sell them to a dealer. Congrats – you’ve just found a way to sell your cards for dealer prices (or better) to dealers.
I shouldn’t even need to detail the sickness of what happens when you ship a Jace the Mind Sculptor, but I will: 800 rares – traded in to dealer @ $0.12 each (because you don’t want the cash, you want store credit) – the dealer has Jace for $70 so now you have another Jace and $26 in store credit – by my estimation, that’s nearly a Baneslayer Angel for your troubles.
I’m certain I’ve explained how Abundance Trading is an insane way to get maximum (actually maximum + value) from your singles, but it’s exponentially increased when you trade for non-rotating Standard rares. Why? Because there’s always an overlooked card or two from the non-rotating block that shoot up a couple weeks after rotation, and it’s likely you can pick them up cheap-as-free before they do. [When you buy everything, you’re sure to get a few hits. I endorse this practice. -kbr]
Okay, so I promised some cards to pick up, so here they are. For the record, here is your current portfolio:
Current Performance: Static.
Lemme hit you up with some rationale: In the wake of post M10/Shards, the value of linear strategies in Standard in the early weeks is not to be understated. Especially since we’ve seen Stoneforge at a lot higher than she is now, she is an enabler as well; you never need more than one of an equipment to almost guarantee you see it if you have four-of her, not to mention:
Scars of Mirrodin. Yeah, we already know about Sword of Body and Mind which, while probably garbage, suggests at least two more swords in this block as the lower-limit for playable equipment. Couple that with high potential for playable non-sword equipment (I mean, we saw Loxodon Warhammer, Grafted Wargear, Lightning Greaves, et al in Mirrodin Block 1.0, we can safely anticipate some cool equipment in this next iteration as well, I believe) and you have something with high potential for abuse.
Goblin Guide is at $3 and change right now. Again, it’s in line with a fairly linear strategy, and it’s, for my money (preparing for hate) the best red creature ever printed – I know Grim Lavamancer and Goblin Lackey would like to have a word with me, but I won’t share a word with either of them because I honestly would almost 99% of the time rather play the Guide. It’s always a card people are looking to pick up one or two of at the constructed PTQs and in an environment with no real Zoo, and no Tarmogoyf (Double Standard), this could be even hotter during the early PTQ season next year.
The final card, Armament Master is a little riskier for return, but probably worth it. The mighty Kor lord is included in a pre-con, but he just seems to be too cheap right now, and gives a huge bonus at +2/+2 for each equipment attached. Picking them up for dirt right now, especially if you can Abundance Trade for them, just seems high value – what’s the worst that could happen? They can only go up, or lateral, and lateral means you can still sell ‘em for a dime.
Current Portfolio: 4x Stoneforge Mystics , 4x Goblin Guides, and 12x Armament Masters, 2x Lim Duls Vault, $37.00. You should have some Mind Over Matters for sale for about $16-$20, we’ll account for that next time.
Current Performance: Static, which is a bit disappointing. Will someone on mtgthesource.com please break Mind Over Matter? PLEEEASE?
Just for my own personal vindication.
Until next time, may your favorite color be green. And abundant.