Get Organized!

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I love snow and I hate school. So today was pretty much the perfect day. A massive snowstorm has shut down pretty much all of Chicago, and I get to explore this new winter wonderland while having the first snow day at my school in 23 years. Despite the roads being blocked, the internet knows no such constraints! So welcome back to Whinston’s Whisdom on Quiet Speculation. This week I’ll discuss how to organize your binders, in a way significantly different than some others have suggested. Let’s start right in!

One of the most important tactics for creating favorable and easy trades is to maintain a system of organization. Nothing's worse than opening up a binder and seeing cards haphazardly strewn about, with no regard to format, playability, or even color. Maintaining an organization system will make your trading partners more willing to trade again, and make your own life much easier when trying to locate a specific card.

The first binder you want to have is your Type 2 binder. All your Standard staples and fringe rares should be in here. This ranges from the Jaces to the Basilisk Collars. Anything worth more than $1.50 goes in here, but only if it’s rare. This should be organized by color, then by set. Having a proper system of organization will make it easier for people to find the cards they want, making everyone’s trading experience much easier and more pleasant. This type 2 binder should be the staple of your trades. Because most people play Standard, the majority of people you trade with will be interested in your Standard cards, so be sure to keep it well stocked. There are of course cards that aren’t rares, but are still important pieces in type 2 decks, but we’ll get to that later.

Next up, we have the Extended binder. This should be significantly smaller than type 2, because Extended is only ever a PTQ format, but it’s still important to keep this binder around to trade with Spikes trying to finish off their deck before the next PTQ. Unlike type 2, I like to organize my Extended binder by archetype rather than color. Why? Mainly because Extended archetypes don’t conform to colors as much. In Standard, there are the known factors of U/B and U/W control, but in Extended, decks can range up to U/R/W control splashing Black, or the ridiculous mana costs of 5 color control. Because colors less clearly define archetype boundaries in Extended, I always sort this binder by archetype. There will be some overlap between decks, in which case you’ll just need to remember whether you have Thoughtseizes with Faeries or in 5CC. Like type 2, make sure that this binder is only rares.

To round out the formats, we have 2 Eternal binders. The first and larger of these is the basic Eternal binder. Like Extended, this should be organized by archetype. Eternal is the format where the colors have the least impact on how an archetype functions because of the extremely easy mana bases with the original duals. But unlike Extended, you should set a cap for the larger Eternal binder of a card price of $40. Anything the cost of a dual land or higher shouldn’t be in this basic binder. But the more archetype specific cards, like Back to Basics for Merfolk, or Sneak Attack, or Show and Tell, go in here. This makes it easier for players with a specific archetype in mind that they want to build or need cards for to find them. The 2nd binder should be the higher level cards: dual lands, Tarmogoyf, Force of Will, and the Power 9/Bazaar of Baghdad level cards for Vintage. These are less archetype specific, and also of significantly higher value. Keeping them separate makes them easily findable, more organized, and also helps keep your collection secure. If someone sits down to trade with you, you hand them your lesser Eternal binder, and they take it and run, at least you didn’t lose your extremely expensive cards, and can recover more easily. As with Standard and Extended, make sure these binders are only Rares.

So, I’ve been stressing to only keep rares and Mythics in your format specific trade binders. This is where the commons and uncommons come in. I keep them in a separate binder. This prevents over cluttering for your other binders, and makes them easier and quicker to find. Even though some of them may be more expensive than many rares, I’ll still keep them with the other commons and uncommons. This binder I’ll sort first by format in which a card is useful, with a bias toward newer formats. For example, I’ll put Path in the Extended section even though it is played in Eternal formats as well. Then sort these by color. This leads to players being able to accurately find that specific card they are trying to pinpoint without too much of a hassle.

Only three more to go!

The pimp binder is a little more contentious, as some traders simply won’t have enough “pimp” cards to fill one. But if you do, it’s extremely important to keep the older ones in here. Pimp cards are essentially foreign, miscut or misprint, foil, promo etc. cards. This is important because Eternal players will pay a premium for these “pimp” cards, so sorting them out will let you make a greater margin than you would otherwise.

The EDH binder is devoted entirely to that most noble of formats, Commander. All of the format specific cards belong here, like Blatant Thievery, Trade Secrets, and of course, a large supply of quality generals. Unlike the type 2, Extended, and Eternal binders, keep your EDH pimp in the main EDH binder rather than sorting it out. EDH players, like Eternal players, love their pimp, so keep it in the normal binder with the normal cards.

My final binder is bulk. This is where I keep all the dollar or less rares that aren’t ever played, or the big bomby Mythics that casual Timmies love. I’ll usually sort this so that the more recent cards are at the front, and then sort by color. While most players wont even look at this binder, it’s useful to have it to break it out when evening a trade, or when trading with a more casual player who will go wide eyed over multiple Mythic Rares on a single page. I’ll try and keep at least 150 bulk rares in here, and you can always easily pick up more during trades. Always remember that standard bulk rares will go for at least 10 cents to dealers, so you can clean this binder out consistently by selling off part of it.

Now obviously not everyone will have the immense quantity of card stock necessary to maintain this many individual binders. If you are one of those people, it’s more than acceptable to combine several of these binders. I usually keep my “Pimp” and Eternal sections in the same physical binder, along with EDH. This article is mainly just a guideline for keeping your cards organized, accessible, but also advertised. You will continue to make margins on trades where your trading partner wants more and more cards, so the goal of your binders should be to convince them to take more. While the descriptions were relatively brief for each binder, I hope the theory as a whole will help you to organize your binder more effectively.

On to the comment contest! The winner for last week was q1006662, so if you’ll send me your mailing address through my email I’ll get your prizes out to you. This week’s winner will receive an altered art Man o’ War. I don’t have a scan for you, but I assure you it’s a very nice alter. Remember, a minimum of one positive comment, one constructive criticism, and one future article idea. The responses from last week were all great, so keep it up everyone!

Until next week,

--Noah Whinston

nwhinston on Twitter

arcadefire on MTGO

baldr7mtgstore on Ebay

One thought on “Get Organized!

  1. Here we go again, Noah!

    Pros: Organizing your Extended binder by archetype is an idea that I hadn't thought about before, unfortunately nobody plays Extended on the nights I get up to my LGS. I will have to agree Eternal/Pimp/EDH can all get tossed into one binder — I frequently put my larger standard stuff in there as well (Jace, Fetches, etc).

    Cons: What should we do with all of the other cards that DON'T get into our new-found collection of binders? These are the cards that pollute your desk, interfere with your homework time, need to be smashed into boxes before friends come over, etc. My solution: (

    Suggestions: Again, offering just a since piece of insight about cards or decks to watch out for in the upcoming weeks would really be great. I understand not wanting to put solid predictions down on the internet for people to reference, but I think people would really like to see it. ie: Sell your Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas now — pick up Counterbalance with the money, as the card is inevitably going to jump once it wins a SCG Open or other Legacy event.

    Keep up the good work!

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