The art of trading can be a very difficult skill to perfect, and even more so when dealing with certain types of traders. Today’s topic will be covering one of these types of traders, the casual player. This is a very broad topic so I will be breaking it up into a couple of installments as there is a plethora of different types of casual players, and each has their own unique trade style. Casual players, unlike my last two topics, are not something you will regularly find at larger events. This is a boon for a savvy trader as you don’t usually have to look through a binder that has already been picked through. The casual players will hardly ever know true value on cards and frankly even if you tell them values most of the time they just don’t care. They are strictly in this game to have fun at a kitchen table level with their friends and rarely if ever venture into a competitive shop. The best locations to find these types of players are in smaller casual card shops or local college cafeterias. If you have the time and commitment to devote to a small amount of searching and traveling you can find yourself a great set of new binders to search through. This article will concentrate on two types in particular, the one-for-one trader and the color trader.
These players can be a whole new experience to the trading world if you have never encountered them before. They don’t care for values and don’t want to know how much your collection is worth, or there’s for that matter. They typically acquire cards through buying the occasional packs or sometimes even boxes and trading with their small group of fellow casual players. What does this mean for you? It means that they don’t have access to a lot of binders and will jump at a chance to look through everything you bring with you. Now as I’m sure you have deduced by now one for one means just that, they want one of your rares for you one of their own. Some groups even have their own rules for commons and uncommon. But bringing a hefty box of these can net you some solid rares for a great price as well. The only thing you have to watch out for here is to keep in mind what you hand them, that Grim Tutor may look cool to them but I doubt you will be finding much that can equal such value for yourself. Keeping your more expensive cards in your bag can keep you out of awkward situations where you have to tell them you can’t part with particular cards. The best things to bring to the table are a hefty box of bulk rares and perhaps your cards you have been sitting on for too long.
Before I go any farther I just want to say as much as I am for value trading (That is how I pay for Magic now) that doesn’t mean you have to rake these kids over the coals. Even if a trade ends up heavily in your favor, which it always will, its still good practice to throw these guys some extra stuff at the end. This not only lets you sleep at night and makes you feel better, it also serves as a barrier for future trades. Who doesn’t want to trade with someone who gave them an extra 5-10 rares for their deck last time.
These trades typically conduct themselves, just be warned there will be cards in these kids binders that they don’t want to part with, and you just have to accept that. Unlike competitive players who do this, I am willing to accept that these players don’t know the etiquette of a proper trade and just move on. Causing problems or conflict will get you nowhere and destroy any chance for future trades.
This is probably the most casual player of them all. The player picked a color when they started playing the game and every deck since then has been that color. I have seen everything from black based discard to green saproling builds and everything in between. You just have to realize these players will never be more than a casual player and move on. You can give them slight critiques but there’s just no point in trying to tune this into a PTQ winning deck or even FNM. This trader is very similar to the one for one trade and many times will follow the exact same rules except for one major difference, they don’t care about the rest of the color pie. This is a good thing to know when looking through their binder as you can streamline the trade by directing them straight to the part of your binder/box that they would be interested in. At the same time you also know what to look for in their binder, they are always happy to part with a card as long as it can’t fit into one of their current decks.
I can’t stress enough how casual you must be in these trades. Just like any clique or group they will be wary of any new face. Keep this in mind when approaching them for the first time, sometimes it is best just to sit near and watch. Running up and asking for binders can be a huge turn-off and can lose you business now and in the future. Usually after you break the ice lightly and show them you can be a friendly individual you will be welcomed back if you treat them with respect. Yes they are not the best at the game, no they don’t care, as long as their deck can hold its own in their 6 man multiplayer chaos games they are content. While in the trade don’t command the trade, allow them to, similar to the EDH (commander) player to drive the trade. Let them pick out what they want first, even perhaps pointing out cards that could give their deck that little boost they desire. Keep in mind also these players love combos, no matter if it’s a ridiculous five card combo that requires perfect timing. It’s what they play for. The flashier the better and pointing these synergies out can not only net you more trade but also create a better relationship with the player. Skim their binder for cards your interested in while they are searching but don’t rush to pull cards out, for the same reason as the EDH player it is much more difficult for them to say no if they already have their heart set on some of your goods.
Keeping a good relationship with these players as I’m sure you have deduced by now is key. This doesn’t mean you have to show up every day or even week to trade, nor should you, but popping in every few weeks can be a great idea. Another key to conducting future trades is keeping an idea of what each player is playing/looking for. This may not be exact cards but even just keeping themes in mind can keep your stock fresh for them and can create easy future trades. Not only does it allow you to trade again, but it also makes them seek you out when you show up, hoping perhaps you have a treasure for them this time. Many of these cards can be acquired very inexpensively from your more competitive cliental whether at your local shop or a major event.
Keeping all this in mind, finding a group can sometimes be difficult, but well worth the effort. Calling the less competitive shops and figuring out what days these players show up can help the search but sometimes you just have to go out and do a process of elimination. As I stated, local colleges can be a great place to find a play group. Many of these colleges will have a club of sorts set up and figuring out this information can be helpful. If nothing exists, cafeterias and local restaurants can be a great place to start. Many people don’t know these groups even exist and getting in with them can be a great boon to your binder when back at your competitive shop as well.
If you are as fortunate as me to have multiple shops/colleges in your area, take advantage of this. Having more binders to trade with is never a bad idea and once you get into a routine these groups will know when to expect you. As I stated showing up every day or each week is probably not in your best interest as their binders aren't likely to have changed much at all. The only time I advise this is when a set first releases as they are likely to be buying more packs during this time and will be looking for the new cards which you may well be stocked on.
Well that’s all for this week, I will be continuing next week with the other types of casual traders to conclude this article, if anyone has any particular trader they would like covered or perhaps one you have encountered that may be something of a rarity let me know either through the comments or message me through any other form of media.
Until Next Time Stay Casual
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