Endless Horizons – Looking for More

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"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." -Gordon Gekko

So, you’re dominating your markets by this point. You walk in dressed sharp, and ready to trade. Last week you showed people your awesome new trade folders, gave away a bunch of free cards, and made a healthy profit line. Cards flow into and out of your binder freely, and you’re starting to see some income from recording your activities in your trade journals/ledgers. Keep up the amazing work, keep people happy, and your trade journal will continue to show you in the black.

Last week, we had an explosion of articles that touched on Peter Jahn's segment about trading, and his idea of playing nice in the sand box. Here's what I'm saying this week: "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."

In the original Wall Street movie, a conversation between the two main characters takes place where Bud asks Gordon "How much is enough?" at which point Gordon tells him in a lot of words, "More". Interesting answer to his question isn’t it? Keep the answer he gave in mind. Can you say that you feel the same way? If you have 8 Jace, the Mind Sculptor, would you pass on the opportunity to get a ninth? I know I wouldn’t, since a Jace TMS is almost as good as cash, and in some deals even better.

But what happens when we can’t find cards we want? What happens when during the winter months less people show up on a constant schedule? The holidays tend to shift weekend priorities as colleges and other schools take their winter breaks. This can lead to a lower turnout at events, and a lower turnout in your trading week to week. So how do you survive the winter? You go look for more.

More can come from a number of different sources. If you’re visiting family for the holidays, look in your local area for card shops. If you’re only in town for a weekend or two, take a couple hours for yourself and go expand your network even further. The mail system is rather decent, and if they don’t mind waiting a couple of days for mail this is another excellent chance for you to create a larger trading network.

Having touched on the subject of distance and how the mail system can shorten it brings up more possibilities for us. A few weeks ago I mentioned Magic Online Trading League or MOTL as many of us know it. While I don’t have a trading post there for people to browse, I do go through other peoples and see what they want and what they have. If I see an opportunity there I will message them and see if some deal can be worked out. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that people tend to try and make a deal as close to “even money” as possible, with each side throwing things in to try and even out the value. This can make it extremely hard to make a profit unless you know the system they are using to value trades. Once you know the system, target cards that the specific system they use has undervalued, and shoot for those. This may seem underhanded or immoral to some. I say remember that you’re reading an article on a site that is all about making profits from Magic.

A quick note that I feel must be said here. Online trading is as different from in person table trading as night and day. At the tables, I suggest you practice the theories from my previous four articles since you will work with these people on a constant basis, and your reputation is much easier to damage in person and much harder to repair. Online trading is a completely different beast, and people are looking at the value side more than the personal desire side. Rarely will you find the person willing to take a difference of more than 5 dollars in your favor on paper, that’s why it’s important to know what they use to price cards.

Another option for online trading is the marketplace at To have access to that you must have an account with them, but it’s free and the market there is alive and well. What I previously stated still applies and is made simpler by the fact that many people post the pricing method they use on their trading page.

Hey Steve! I’ve got tons of cards and made lots of profits on paper, but now I want to turn my on-paper profits into real paper profits. Have any suggestions?

In fact, yes I do. Your options are many when it comes to unloading your ninth Jace, the Mind Sculptor. You can take the easy money and vendor it at a large event. I don’t suggest this unless you’re in a tight spot and need the cash right then, since usually they will only give you 40-60% value on higher end cards. E-bay is an option, and if you choose to take that route I suggest you read up on E-bay selling strategies presented by our own Douglas Linn so you can make the most money out of it. This is the option I prefer for anything of real value, since it has the highest profit potential.

More like It That Rewards a savvy investor

On the subject of dealers, I think there is a time and a place to sell to them. At GP Portland, many dealers were buying cards that many players considered worthless for decent prices. I sold multiple Chandra Ablaze for $4 apiece, Serra Ascendant for $2.50 apiece, Vampire Nighthawk for $1, Echo Mage for $0.50, and It That Betrays for $0.50. While none of these prices seem amazing, Chandra Ablaze and Serra Ascendant  would now cost me what I sold them for to buy back. Vampire Nighthawk would cost me far less than a dollar each in trade to acquire again, and It That Betrays is almost given away.

I stocked up for three weeks on low value rares that many considered bulk that I knew the dealers were buying at the event. I went for anything that was being bought for 50 cents or more each, and many times I got them at bulk rate in trades, which is 10 cents. That’s at least a guaranteed four times return on my investment! It may not seem like 40 cents is much of a profit, but the weekend cost me about $350 in total and I paid for most of it selling off those 50 cent – 2 dollar rares. Scope out the buy lists for big events you’re attending, and instead of trading for Jace, the Mind Sculptor to vendor off, trade for multiple It That Betrays at a much lower price, for much higher return percentages. It won’t take much more time but in the end you’re going to get what we’re all looking for profit wise – More.

Until next week,

Stephen Moss

MTGstephenmoss on twitter

And my new e-mail address,

Stephen Moss

Stephen Moss currently lives in Lancaster, CA, is a usual PTQ grinder in the southwest region and working on his Masters in Business Administration. He has an obsession with playing League of Legends when not working on articles or school work. His articles often take on a business minded tone, and usually contain information applicable to magic trading as well as real world business.

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7 thoughts on “Endless Horizons – Looking for More

    1. It that Betrays is savage tech. Sarcasm aside though, if this article helps even two people attend a GP or 5K they otherwise wouldn't be able to, then its worth it. Most people don't realize the potential value that small trades have, so hopefully this helps a few people fund those larger event trips.

  1. I've tried picking up bulk rares, but nobody in my area will let go of their stuff at bulk rate. They all try to eek more out of them, and I have access to quite a few traders.

    So far my best scheme has unfolded to be to buy the cheap rares online that ppl trade for, then trade them at the shops @ a much higher value for cards that are worth the same online as in the store.

    1. If you cant get them to trade to you at a true bulk rate, then offer to increase the price by .05, up to .15 each. If they still wont go for it, then get them as throw ins on other trades. As long as the trade is equal or slightly in your favor before throwins, you can only come up. If you deal with a shop that is that tight with their money, then you may need to take a bit of loss to loosen up the environment a bit. Using last weeks 4 tier trade folder system and its freebies is a great way for you to free up a market a bit.

  2. @hordling: That is a great point. My store is mostly T2, and I hate buying packs just to get random crap. So I buy playsets on ebay and trade at the store. A good example is Garruk sells for $4/ebay but trades at $12 locally. I trade for what I know I can turn online or elsewhere. This lets me keep the trades even or in the others' favor and allows me to pick up a wide range of cards.

    The longterm problem with this is you are flooding your local market with rares obtained from elsewhere. Driving local prices down and sticking the store with their single stock. So keep this in your back pocket.

    1. Shazam,

      If you're moving product through multiple markets, then you reduce the effects of this flood of outside cards. This will help the economy of your local area thrive in the long run, as the saturation will be minimal. At worst, if you notice that a single staple card has over saturated your market, then you should be trading for them at the low price to take up the extra stock. When the card comes into demand again, then you will be the primary supplier and be able to trade the card at a premium. This is the way that we as heavy traders can make money on both ends of the market, when its going up and when its going down.

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