Welcome back to the Revenue Review, where this week we pick up the story of our “hero” (That’s me!) as I finish discussing the flurry of trades I made before the M11 Game Day. If you haven’t read the first part, you can do so here.
I was still feeling a little down after the Grim Monolith trade, but I knew I still had work to do before the night was over, so
I took a few minutes to reorder my binder and got back to work.
My first stop was with a guy dying to build Faeries for the upcoming Extended season. Luckily I’ve been picking up playable Extended cards for the last few months and had some of what he needed.
Misty Rainforest ($13)
Stoneforge Mystic ($5)
3x Sunken Ruins ($8)
Looking back on this, I think I was still a little rattled from the previous trade, and clearly didn’t bring my “A game” to this trade. I valued the Ruins at about $5 even though I knew their price had been increasing for the last few months. With that said, I’m hardly disappointed with picking up fetchlands and Stoneforge Mystics.
At this point I had exhausted most of the traders still left, except for a group of two guys talking in the corner. I walked up to them as the semifinals of the tournament began and introduced myself and gave my usual, casual “are you interested in maybe trading some cards?”
Imagine my dismay when I got the reply, “Sure, I traded off two Jace, the Mind Sculptors earlier, but you can look through what I have left.” Ouch.
I inwardly cursed myself for missing out on one of the few players in my area who are interested in trading Jace (most either play him or sell him), and went to work on his binder.
Eldrazi Temple ($4)
Nantuko Shade ($3.50)
2x Volcanic Fallouts ($.50)
3x Scalding Tarn ($13)
2x Avenger of Zendikar ($8)
Goblin Guide ($7)
Brittle Effigy ($2.50)
Frost Titan ($11)
Mystifying Maze ($2.50)
Promo Pathrazer of Ulamog ($1)
I think the technique I used to make this trade is worth sharing. If you take trading cards as serious as you should be, you need to treat it like a small business. As a businessman, you need to sell your product, which in this case is a proposed trade.
The first thing I did was let my partner price all the cards involved, and either accepted his price or informed him of my personal values as we went. In this case, he undervalued his Scalding Tarns, and I formed my strategy around that.
Once we laid out the cards, I separated them into three piles, each with values tilted slightly toward me. I started at the top of our three “mini-trades” and asked him if he was okay with this. He was. I then moved to the second pile, and he accepted again. When you use this method is becomes much easier for your partner to accept each trade being a few dollars off, because to them it’s usually a negligible price to pay for getting what they want. It also helps you to close a trade with them, and establish a level of trust before moving on to the bigger ticket items or the more profitable “mini-trade.” It is in the third pile that you are looking to make the bulk of your profit.
In this case, the third pile contained his Scalding Tarns and was more clearly tilted in my favor. My partner told me he was uncomfortable with what we had laid out in this pile. I offered to throw in the promo Pathrazer and let him pick another dollar rare from my folder. While this does relatively little to my profit margin, it’s a sign of good faith. Add in the fact that we had already established a trading relationship by completing two mini-trades, and my partner happily accepted my offer and picked out the Magmaw for his buddy’s casual deck.
If, instead of using this trading method, I had simply thrown all the cards into two piles and asked my partner what he thought, there’s not much chance I’m able to make the margin I did.
Large trades like this are very intimidating to new/casual players or players unfamiliar with prices. It also makes the math harder for me to work out in my head. By breaking it down I’m accomplishing objectives vital to trading for profit – Establishing trust with trade partners, making the trade easier to comprehend and maximizing my profit. If you are serious about trading for profit (and you should be) I highly suggest utilizing this method.
Onto the next trade!
Lotus Cobra ($18)
Blood Crypt ($8)
2x Glen Elendra Archmage ($4)
Promo Thirst for Knowledge ($5)
Promo Mulldrifter ($3)
I start out every trade by asking my trade partner to value the cards we’re interested in. All pricing is subjective, and if your partner doesn’t value a card as high or low as you do, you have every right to accept his price or offer your own. In this case, my partner assumed the Blood Crypt wasn’t worth much since its rotation from Extended. In reality, most of the shocklands have retained at least some value, and will shoot up again if Overextended becomes a reality (for those who don’t know, it’s a rumored format that would be from Mercadian Masques forward and would allegedly replace Legacy, making the Ravnica shocklands the best duals available in the format).
At this point the semifinals were nearly over, and the store manager was trying to kick out all the players not still in the tournament (even though we were all in one room anyway. Store owners, I do not recommend doing this to your customers). The guy who had been sitting next to me during the previous trade wanted my Chrome Moxes. I told him I didn’t know if we had time and that I don’t attend that shop regularly, and he was literally throwing cards at me as the manager was putting up chairs on the table we were at.
4x Wall of Omens ($2)
3x heavily played Aether Vials ($10)
Tempest Reflecting Pool ($8)
Gaddock Teeg ($4)
Trygon Predator ($2.50)
Bloodbraid Elf ($2.50)
2x Sower of Temptation ($6)
2x Chrome Mox ($18)
As I’ve talked about before, there aren’t many times you want to “trade down.” What I mean by that is that most of the time it’s strictly better to have one $50 card than 10 $5 ones. This trade makes for one of the exceptions to that rule. There are a few reasons why in this situation I’m happy trading away the highest-priced cards (Chrome Moxes).
First of all, I don’t know how long the Mox can hold that pricetag. It’s played in basically zero relevant decks now that’s it’s rotated from Extended, and casual appeal isn’t going to hold it at $18. I don’t know exactly how much play it sees in Legacy, but my guess is it’s not enough to warrant that price. The other obvious reason is that I made a solid profit by trading them, and I’m confident the cards I picked up will make me money somewhere down the road.
So there you go. My up-and-down, trading-filled, rating-busting night ended at about 2 a.m. when the manager impatiently pushed us out of the store so he could get back to impatiently waiting for the tournament to end.
I wasn’t free for the Saturday night Magic 2011 Game Day, so a couple friends and I decided to head to a small store we had never been to before to play in their 10 a.m. tournament.
The Game Day turned out to be even more epic than the previous night. Exactly three people showed up, and we all got a free full-art Lilianas Specter and Mitotic Slime for our trouble. Obviously a little disappointing, but I can tell everyone I got in the top three and I even have the foil to prove it!
That’s all the trades for this week, but I do have one other thing I want to mention before I go. There are some exciting things coming to Quiet Speculation in the next few weeks, and one of them is an exclusive forum available to members.
One feature of the forums is a section called “rate my trade,” where members are able to post their own trading exploits. Moving forward, I’d like to pick a QS member’s trade each week to incorporate into the column, so make sure to record any trades you’re particularly proud of and detail them in our forums.
I’ll see you next week when I talk about trading for my first-ever Jace, the Mind Sculptor! Until then, you can get up-to-the-minute updates and spoilers by following @Chosler88 and @Quietspec on Twitter.