Trading Around

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Scars is hitting the shelves and Whinston’s Whisdom is here supplying the financial knowledge you need to be prepared for it. As I write this, the Sunday Prereleases have only just ended, and while I was occupied at the Season 9 MOCS (dropped at 5-3, but still made top 64) and so unable to attend, I’m still here showing you some trades I made last FNM, in preparation for the new set

Trade #1


1 Triskelion (1)

1 FTV: Relics Nevinyrral’s Disk (10)

2 Stoneforge Mystic (2x6=12)

2 Basilisk Collar (2x5=10)

My total: $33


1 Primeval Titan

His total: $40


Here is where we see the Scars hype paying off. Having bought up around 10 playsets of Stoneforge Mystics, I had plenty available to trade away. The inflated value of Stoneforge Mystic, and that of the Triskelion, made my partner feel comfortable with this trade. For my part, I was happy trading away a Trike and a FTV: Relics Disk, which I would have difficulty trading away later, while picking up a staple Mythic with a fairly stable price.

Trade #2


4 Brave the Elements (4x.5=2)

1 Devout Lightcaster (1.5)

My total: $3.5


1 Pyromancer ascension (2)

His total: $2


While I technically lost value here, I’m still very happy with this trade. This also brings up the principle difficulties with using Starcitygames prices when evaluating trades, mainly because bulk rares are “worth” $1 or more, when in reality I value them far less than that. Here, I traded away a rare only slightly better than bulk and 4 uncommons that were just released as textless promos, for a rare that should be seeing Extended and possibly Standard play.

Trade #3


2 marsh flats (2x10=20)

1 misty rainforest (12)

My total: $32


1 inferno titan (8)

1 gaea’s revenge (4 on Starcity, but the store buys them for $7.50. Arbitrage time!!!!)

1 goblin guide (5)

1 eldrazi temple (4)

1 Emrakul (6)

1 Emeria Angel (1)

1 Eye of Ugin (3)

His Total: $34.5


Now the trades are getting a bit larger. First off, I’ll just point out my comment about Gaea's Revenge[card]. This is the kind of thing that can be a major way of making profit, and finding these differences in pricing between stores is critical. Here, Starcity sells Gaea's Revenge for $4 each, while the store buys them for $7.50 store credit or $7 cash, and that's $3 of pure profit for each copy. While I would've preferred to hold onto the fetches, as I now have less than a playset of each, there was nothing else my trade partner was looking for. I took advantage of him valuing both Gaea's Revenge and Emrakul low, and picked up some value though, but that was slightly undone by some overvaluing of [card]Inferno Titan and Eye of Ugin. I took the Emeria Angel as a small way to tilt the trade in my favor, but once I thought about it, the Angel seems like a potent threat in the new Scars metagame, one with significantly less removal to get rid of it. I’ll take a more detailed look at it in my Tip of the Week.

While I’ve only been generating a small amount of value so far, this next and final trade is the real bank breaker.

Trade #4


5 Armament Master (5x.6=3)

3 Conqueror’s pledge (3x1.5=4.5)

1 Merfolk Sovereign (1)

6 Bloodghast (6x7=42)

10 Pyromancer Ascension (10x2=20)

6 Summoning Trap (6x1.5=9)

3 M11 Glacial Fortress (3x4=12)

8 Stoneforge Mystic (8x6=48)

1 M11 Baneslayer (25)

1 Avenger of Zendikar (10)

2 M11 Day of judgment (2x4=8)

1 M11 Silence (1.5)

4 Kazandu Blademaster (4x.5=2)

My total: $186


2 Time Shifted Lord of Atlantis (2x4=8)

1 Power Artifact (25)

1 Force of Will (50)

3 Mint Lim Dul’s Vault (3x8=24)

5 Spell Snare (5x4=20)

1 MP Lim Dul’s Vault (6)

2 Elvish Spirit Guide (2x5=10)

1 Antiquities Hurkyl’s Recall (12)

1 Revised Demonic Tutor (10)

1 Booster box Scars of Mirrodin* (90)

His total: $255


*when they are avail. for sale

And this is where we see my trading down making a profit for me. I did this trade with the store’s owner, whose collection is effectively the entire store’s stock of singles, and just look at this beauty! Out of all the cards I traded away, the only big ticket items are the Bloodghasts, Baneslayer, Mystics, and the Avenger. In return for this, I picked up a huge number of Eternal and EDH staples, which I’ll be able to trade away for a comfortable margin. Force of Will,  a playset of Lim Duls Vault,Power Artifact? Even 5 Spell Snares! And this is all in addition to a booster box of the most recent set. I could not be happier with how this turned out, and I’d make this trade any day of the week. This trade might not be as bad for the store as it may seem, though. This store is mainly a Limited and Standard community, with very few Eternal players, and almost no PTQ grinders. As such, these Eternal staples are not as important, and hard for the store to move.

Before moving to the Tip of the Week, and just like to go back in time to one of my last picks, Warren Instigator. Just as an example of how these tips are working out, let’s take a little at this little Goblin. At the time I recommended it, Instigator was selling for 4-4.5 tickets a piece on the major bots. Now, it has jumped up 25%+ to 5.25-5.75 tickets. Myself, I quickly sold off my copies for a nice profit in order to build my deck for the MOCS, but they may continue to rise, so holding onto them wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea. But anyways…

Tip of the Week: Emeria Angel

In the previous Standard format with Shards of Alara, Emeria Angel was always regarding as a powerful, but fragile finisher. It was, however, used by Shaheen Soorani as a finisher out of the sideboard of his U/W Control build, for the mirror. Shaheen, the king of U/W Control, has definitely inspired me to take another look at the Angel. While Lightning Bolt and Searing Blaze are still efficient tools to deal with the Angel’s 3/3 body, the majority of the cheap removal from Shards Block will be leaving Standard, making it much harder to deal with Angel. In addition, with Pulse gone, it’s more likely that the tokens will continue to beat face, even after Emeria Angel has bitten the dust. While currently at bulk prices, Emeria Angel shows real potential as a creature that will benefit from a new metagame.

In case you havn’t realized by now, my surprise has not come through. I was planning to record myself opening a booster pack of Portal: 3 Kingdoms for all of you readers, but the pack was damaged and so I was forced to apply for a refund. Once that comes through, I’ll be looking to pick up another and try again. Also, I’m planning to attempt my own Pack to Power adventure with a pack of Scars of Mirrodin. I’m not sure if that will replace my current series, or supplement it, but I’ll let you know as soon as I find out myself. As a set, I feel Scars is very hit or miss, much like Rise of the Eldrazi, with a few big ticket Rares and Mythics, but several that are just horrible, which may present some complications for the project. But hey, if Jon Medina can do it with a Bear Umbra, I bet that I can do it with a Ratchet Bomb! Until next week…

--Noah Whinston

Arcadefire on MTGO

Baldr7mtgstore on Ebay

NWhinston on Twitter

11 thoughts on “Trading Around

  1. I agree that trade isn't as bad for the store that it looks. If I couldn't move that stuff, I'd be glad you were taking it out of my display case. I'm not sure where I could get $10 for a Demonic Tutor for instance or $5 ea for Elvish Spirit Guide.

    There used to be two stores in my area within a 30 min drive of each other. One was only Standard the other had a decent sized Vintage community. There was a guy who used to regularly go between the two shops and pick up staples in the other format for cheep and trade them away at the other shop.

    Here's a question for you. When you're flipping through a binder and the only way the trade is going to happen is to get 3-4 cards for one is there a way you aproach this trade? Do you just tell them that you're going to have to trade down and try to get some value that way, or do you try to feel them out to see if they would trade 10 $2 cards for your one $15 card?

    1. I feel that with most players, even those who would describe themselves as trading-savvy, it will be difficult for them to do a 10 cards for 1 trade. that said, there is no harm in attempting to make that trade, and you may be able to increase your profit margin by offering a $10 with 3 $1 cards thrown in, rather than 1 $15 card

  2. I hate to break it to you, but that last deal for you wasn't anywhere near in your favor as you reported. Here's the real prices you can buy these cards at on Ebay whenever you want, for NM copies.

    2 Time Shifted Lord of Atlantis (2×4=8) 8.00
    1 Power Artifact (25) 11.00
    1 Force of Will (50) 40.00
    3 Mint Lim Dul’s Vault (3×8=24) 10.50
    5 Spell Snare (5×4=20) 17.50
    1 MP Lim Dul’s Vault (6) 6.00
    2 Elvish Spirit Guide (2×5=10) 10.00
    1 Antiquities Hurkyl’s Recall (12) 12.00
    1 Revised Demonic Tutor (10) 8.00
    1 Booster box Scars of Mirrodin* (90) 90.00

    Actual value: $213

  3. @thehordling Before you say that the deal wasn't in his favor shouldn't you convert the other half of the trade to ebay prices. Comparing apples to oranges and such.

  4. Still kinda wondering why people would be willing to pay for a site that features trades. I mean I would probably pay a sub. For before this. I really think some strategy writing along w/ financial features is the way to go and losing medina was the worst possible thing that could have happened to this site scg knew u guys would blow up w/ him oh well sucks right

  5. Good point, yes I should have converted Noah's side of the deal to Ebay prices too. Now the trade looks much better 🙂

    On a seperate note, I watched a well informed guy at my shop last weekend tell someone their Molten Tail Masticore was worth $8.00. Made me so mad; that is stealing. If the owner of the Masticore said "I value this at $8", that's one thing, but lying to someone about the value of their cards is stealing. That's where I draw the line. If you tell them "I value it at $8, but it's worth $15 – $20", then they at least know and can choose, but straight up lying to them and telling them it's worth $8 is stealing.

    Do readers agree?

  6. I actually record the presale prices on Ebay and SCG on a spreadsheet for every set. On Sept 22nd Molten Tail Masticores were selling for $15 on average on Ebay and for $20 on SCG. I'm thinking the Masticore might actually still be undervalued considering it kills plainswalkers without attacking.

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