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Today, I had initially planned to spend some more time on the pricing evaluation model, but most of our other writers have touched on all the key cards already, and rather than rehash all that, I want to talk about how to not hemorrhage funds during prerelease weekend.

First, there’s some prerequisite reading (also, your one-stop shop for the QS pre-re picks):
Kelly put up his review of the mythics in the set, and when Kelly speaks, you should be listening. {EDIT: Kelly put up his rare review today}
Stephen Moss has touched on prerelease pricing a couple times now, and both of his pieces will give you some good insight on what to look for.

Last, but certainly not least, is Chris McNutt's piece about potential pack shortages due to the early leak of the set.

So, now you’re caught up. You’ve hit the key articles here on QS about the prerelase, and hopefully you’ve applied some of your own judgement to the spoiler released on the mothership. Have some cards in mind to target in trades. Keep in mind that casual players may not value key staples as highly as you do. Cards like Mental Misstep may be easy to trade for from certain players, while not so easy from others. There is an employee at my LGS that has promised to buy every Surgical Extraction people will sell him, because he’s convinced it will be a $10 card. I will be trading for this card heavily, just to sell to him. Some people have an irrational attachment to a specific card, know about this, and use it.

I hope by now you’ve got an idea of what cards to target, if any, and you’re ready to go game some sealed, and maybe even draft or play 2HG at some side events. If your LGS is like mine, you’re operating on a store credit system, and Prerelease weekend can be a huge dent in your store credit, if you’re not careful. There’s two reasons for this phenomenon. First, prizes are typically paid out in packs, rather than credit, which you have to either hang onto to trade/sell or crack for money cards. Second, there’s a large number of events. Our LGS has a sealed event both Saturday and Sunday, as well as drafts and 2HG events throughout the day. It’s quite possible to flunk out of a couple of events and be out of all the hard work you put in saving up store credit during the previous drafting season. Lets talk about how to avoid these pitfalls, and walk away with as much store credit as possible, while still keeping the cards you may need.

Show up to your prerelease early. Arrive early, and talk to the owner before it gets too busy. Ask to take a look at his buylist. They should have this ready for you on Pre-release day, if they don’t, suggest that they do, and ask them about buy prices on some key mythics, especially ones you feel are over-valued based on pre-sale pricing. Also, ask if they are buying the prerelease promo. If they are, it will be at its peak right away. If you decide you want one later, you’ll be able to trade for it at a reasonable price down the line. Be sure to sell off any cards you identify as over valued ASAP. This means DURING the sealed event, if the cards aren’t going to be played, or immediately when you drop/win if you need them. As the owner buys up cards, his buy prices may decline as he fills up stock on certain cards. Be aware of this.

After carefully studying the buy list, you should have some extra time. Spend this time organizing you binder, AT THE STORE. It allows you to clear out some space for the pre-release cards to make a front and center appearance, so you can move them quickly, and it also allows other early-birds to see your trade binder, and approach you for a trade. The pre-releases tend to bring out not only the regulars, but a huge number of casual players as well. It’s time to unload some of the Timmy and Johnny rares you haven’t been able to trade to any of the usual faces you normally see. It also gives you a chance to find out about what cards certain people are overly excited about, so you can seek them out if you happen to open something they want in your sealed pool.

At some point, you’ll receive your product, and build your deck. Hopefully, you’ll have some success with that, to soften the blow of the $30+ entry fee. To aid in that regard, I can’t recommend Limited Resources Podcast enough, to get you completely caught up on how this format will shake out. If you end up with some prizes, great! These prizes can often be sold on the spot, either to the store owner or to other patrons. Please be careful about making sales at your LGS. If your owner is not okay with it (which most aren’t) do so off the store premises. It’s not good practice to piss off the store owner, who may be buying cards from you that day also. Your other option is to simply trade them away. Because these packs aren’t available for sale, people will irrationally over pay for these. Keep in mind, you’ll be able to buy these as of next friday, for normal retail. Be sure to be wary of potential shortages in packs in your area. You may be able to ask the owner if he expects any pack shortages in the coming weeks/months. See Chris McNutt’s recent article, for more about this. Ultimately, unless you’re speculating on the value of these packs rising due to shortages, get rid of them right away.

After your exit from the main event, you’ll likely want to jump into some side events. If your exit was early, its your chance to recoup some value by dominating a draft, and scooping up some sweet cards. Keep your eye out in draft for key uncommon foils. Frank Lepore wrote an article about cards he thinks will have sleeper playability. Use your best judgment, but poking around the Spike articles for playable commons and uncommons will give you an idea of what foils will be in high demand early. Remember, we’re currently in Standard PTQ season, and even if an uncommon isn’t going to be expensive, Spikes will need them immediately after the release, be prepared and stocked.

2-Headed-Giant has also been a profitable event for me in the past as well. Grabbing a solid teammate can not only be an easy road to victory, but many times the limited players don’t care much about the cards in the pool, and will let you take first pick of what you keep.

Prerelease is all about fun, but don’t fall into the money trap that the weekend can be. Grinding trades, and moving unreleased cards is your key to getting in a lot of freeroll gaming.

Enjoy your Prerelease weekend, and onto the Release. In two weeks I’m going to talk a little bit about what Expected Value is, and how it should affect what and how you draft.

Chad Havas
follow me: @torerotutor on twitter

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Chad Havas

Chad has been with Quiet Speculation since January of 2011. He uses price speculation to cover all his costs to keep playing. Follow his journey from format to format and be prepared to make moves at the right times.

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