Welcome to another edition of Write to Reid, Quiet Speculation's mailbag column where you get to pick my brain and get answers to all the burning questions about Magic, Trading, Buying and Selling you may have. If you'd like your question answered, shoot it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll answer my favorite ones each time.
I am not the best person at ‘trading for profit’ mostly because most of the players in my community are stone cold sharks. However, I have enough money saved up to be starting my own retail store (Magic, Warhammer, DnD, board games, and a high-tech gaming zone (top end computers, monitors, big screen tv’s and comfy chairs)). Even though I didn’t make the money trading magic cards, do you think I can be successful as a Magic and gaming retailer? -- Dan
Dan, you're not ready to consider a retail store unless you have more money than sense. Show me how having big screen TVs and top-dollar PCs converts into profitability and I'll reconsider, but a gaming store needs only a few basic things to succeed - knowledgable, friendly employees, a wide selection of products including single cards, some tables and chairs, and a community. Throwing money at a store is about the worst mistake you can make, and I strongly urge you to reconsider. You'll sink 4 figures into each PC and TV, and that's money you will never see again. If you charge an obnoxious $5/hr to game on the "high end PCs", you'd need to amass 300 hours of play per machine to make $1500, which can buy you a very nice desktop these days. Avoid PC gaming like the mother-loving plague. If you are talking about stone cold sharks and not including yourself in the discussion, don't even consider going into business.
In a Mananation article you said to pick up FTV: Relics, without question. You can find them for $100 on ebay pretty easily, and I was wondering if that is a good price at which to pick them up, and if one should then break them up to trade/sell or keep the thing sealed and try to resell it later? --Sean from Minneapolis
I would not encourage you or anyone else to buy them at $100 each. Dealers are not buying them that highly, and while they may eventually sell for more, I'd not pay more than $50 or so for them. Obviously buy as many at MSRP as you can, but that seems pretty hard for most people. In general, sealed box sets with small print runs sell for more sealed than opened, but I usually break a copy for my own EDH decks. Otherwise, just keep it sealed!
With scars coming, what is your best advice on getting max value from the new cards? Preorder singles, crack cases, or buy the 4xcomplete set? -Scotty from Toronto
Scott, that's a tough question to answer without seeing the full set spoiled, but in general, I like to bust cases open as a player. The 4x complete set is a luxury, but retailers need to price in the labor to open, build and sort these sets so it will be more expensive than cracking a case. I find that 6 boxes of a large set or 4 boxes of a small set will do the job well. You will get a playset of rares and 1-3 of each mythic rare, and you'll have trade fodder and spare non-rares. It's a pain to sort it, but I feel like that's overridden by the fact that you can call all your friends over and draft/sealed deck the entire case out and play a ton of Magic while opening it. Considering that value, you can usually recruit friends to sort too! All that said, I'd go with a case or so.
Regarding From the Vault: Relics. Which cards do you THINK will drop the most in value after its foil reprint? Especially Aether Vial, and Mox Diamonds? --Eric
I don't think FTV will effect prices at all. There are so few released. The most a single store will get is 18. Thus, there just aren't enough new cards being put into circulation to screw with prices. People who want the FTV cards want them for the alternate art, the foils, or just for completion. I haven't noticed a big change in the existing cards, so I see no reason for that to change now.
A common theme for trading for “profit” is to not be attached to the cards you’re trading. But what’s a good strategy for trying to acquire those expensive staples that you want to keep for yourself? Think of it in terms of multiple mini Pack to Power quests? When should you “bank” a card to your collection? Etc… --WombyDance
This is something I struggle with. You have to think of your trade binder as a business, and taking an expensive staple in should be like cutting yourself a paycheck. You should have a running idea of what your profitability is, so you can usually figure out if you need to be building more equity or taking cards out for your own nefarious purposes. As a trader, as long as your binder is well-stocked at all times, it's not an issue. I prefer to keep those cards available anyway, just in case someone is willing to grossly overpay for a Force of Will. I have no problem asking an extra 20% because I feel like keeping it.
What do you think will happen to the the price of JItte, since it is being given away now at the GP’s (it has already decreased in the last few months)? --Eric
I see no reason for the card to stay too expensive. It's useful in Legacy, but its absolute mandatory inclusion in some extended decks kept it above $20. The GP foil puts a lot of new copies on the market, and combined with the rotation, I see it around $10-$15 long-term.
That's all for this week! Remember, shoot an email to email@example.com if you have a mailbag question you'd like answered. Feel free to also shoot me some feedback about the site to that address as well. We're always growing and evolving, and serving the needs of our readers is of paramount importance to us. Thanks for your questions, and I'll talk to you all soon!