Insider: Tales from the Floor – GP Nashville

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I’m back from Grand Prix: Nashville, and I have it say it was quite the experience. I want to take you through my weekend (a trading tournament report, if you will) and offer some input directly from the trading floor.


After convincing my carmates to leave Thursday at midnight, we started the 11-hour drive to Nashville from Norman, Oklahoma.

Nothing of note happened, unless you count the fact that I drank two Red Bull and my body couldn’t handle it since I normally don’t drink caffeine. I was still exhausted since as I began the 4 a.m. – 8 a.m. driving shift, but my body was all twitchy. Not really the most pleasant experience of my life.

But we did eventually make it into the Country Music Capital of the World (very exciting for me), and promptly found out that the car that had left some seven hours before us had stopped for the night, so we couldn’t actually get into where we were staying in Nashville, which turned out to be a pair of quaint cottages about a half-hour from the event site.

While we did get a very favorable price on the rooms, I can’t say I recommend such a plan. I’ve never regretted paying more to be walking distance from the event site, and that would have held true for last weekend as well.

Anyway, after getting some pretty decent barbeque for lunch, we talked of going to a distillery to kill time, but since the closest open one was another hour’s drive, we passed and settled for a trip to the liquor store (don’t worry, this isn’t going to devolve into a “we got drunk and acted dumb and we’re so cool! Report like some do).

On site, I had a few friends with byes go to dreamcrush in the grinders just for fun while I took to the trade tables. As expected, Geralf's Messenger and Gravecrawler were trading hot, and I targeted those.

The other important thing I did on Friday is something I suggest any trader do at a large event. I went to every dealer booth in the room and asked for a buylist. This allows you to spot anything that you can get a particularly good price for.

My entire trading strategy at events like this where I am planning to cash out is to find a few target cards for the weekend that I know are being undervalued on the trade floor. For last weekend it was Black Suns Zenith, which was being bought on site for $4, and Birds of Paradise, which could be sold for $2 to dealers.

Considering that was the price most people traded them at, you can see how easy it is to quickly turn trades into cash, and it’s something you can do just by spending a few minutes picking up buylists from around the room.


Little did I know Friday was going to be my best day. I had never attended a Friday at a GP before, and from now on I won’t miss one. It was my best trading day, since many traders weren’t yet on the floor and people hadn’t cashed out to dealers yet.

By Round 3 on Saturday the floor was infested with sharks and grinders. And while a good many of them are my friends (and/or readers of this column) and I enjoyed getting to hang out with everyone, it certainly makes it more difficult for each of us to profit on the day. Contrast this with last weekend at SCG Dallas, where I had the run of the floor and had an insanely good weekend.

Anyway, I appreciated meeting everyone who introduced themselves to me and I hope you all had a good as time hanging out as I did. There’s little better than just shooting the sh!t with a group of like-minded traders at a big event, and Nashville was no different.

Another card that jumped out to me was how hot Phantasmal Image was. You might think that since it’s been such an in-demand card for a few months now it would cut down on the number of people looking for it (like Hero of Bladehold, which is still pricy but not often inquired about), but that was the opposite of true. Everyone wanted Images in Nashville, and despite my best attempts to hold onto some for both my Modern Merfolk deck and the local shop owner at home, I couldn’t turn down people giving $17 in trades for them.

Speaking of things I traded at $17, hello Misty Rainforest. You all know of my current project with fetchlands, but again, it’s tough to turn down someone offering to trade for Mistys at $17 when I know I picked them all up at $8. I still have a very sizable fetchland collection, but it’s something I’ll have to wait a few months on to begin picking back up cheaply after Modern season is over.


Here’s my one comical tale from the weekend. At our cottages we had three rooms. After sleeping in the “Violet Room” on Friday night, I came back late Saturday to find one of my roomates who was playing in Day 2 (Will Craddock, who Top 16’ed) had stolen my bed.

Whatever, right? I figured I’d just grab a blanket and crash on the floor whenever I went to sleep, which turned out to be a few hours later after I finished crushing everyone playing 60-card casual with my Master Transmuter deck. Of course I ended up not being able to find a blanket and how to get into a tiny bed with another man for the night, which wasn’t really on my to-do list for the weekend.

The real trouble came in the morning. The people in my cottage were all heading out but I was riding with the group from next door, leaving later. This allowed me some sleep-in time, which is another big advantage to being a trader and not a player. Of course, it absolutely backfired in this case.

Upon rolling out of bed I find that the Violet Room is locked from the inside, stranding all of my belongings inside. This is obviously annoying but not the end of the world. I call the group that left, who tell me they don’t have an extra key and don’t have time to double back. I then call the groundskeeper, who despite allegedly being available “anytime” is not answering his phone. I then went up the chain to the owner whose number was on the sign with the friendly reminder “just a few blocks away!”

Of course she didn’t answer either, which led to half an hour of me in my pajamas without a shirt just chilling on the ol’ porch swing in front of my 1800s cottage. I’m sure it would have made for quite the picture.

Finally the owner calls me back and sends me on what I can only describe as a scavenger hunt. She directs me over the phone to her office, where I am to start digging through her old bills to find a bag of keys. Upon finding said bag of keys, I tell her there isn’t one labeled what I need only to hear “Yeah, I didn’t think we had one.”

She then tells me to pick up the bag of keys to the house next door and try them, since one of them might have the same lock and work. 20 keys later, I find the perfect fit and am finally able to put on a shirt. Of course everyone found this entire situation hilarious but me, since I was more interested in murdering whoever closed the door behind them.

Finally back on site, I get a few more trades in but mostly hang out with the crew and help Kelly look for his lost Commander deck, which we were unable to find. He did, however, locate when he got back home.

But on a more important note, we were able to out a con artist and thief at the event and have him thrown out and banned from all future events. Ryan and I talk about “bulk rare guy” more in our most recent podcast of Brainstorm Brewery here, and I can assure you there is no measure too harsh to get people like this driven from our community.

When I finally cashed out at the end of the day, my binder was back to about where it was before Dallas, only now I had two more mint condition dual lands in it and a cool $800 in my pocket. After all expenses for the two weekends, including all food and the $100+ steakhouse we went to on Saturday, I profited somewhere between $500 and $600, which is solid for a pair of weekends spent hanging out with friends.

It’s so great to be able to not only pay for your hobby but also for the pleasure of hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones at large events like Grand Prix. I’m not sure when I’ll next make it to a big event, since I’m getting married in about two months, but I hope to see you all back out on the trade floor again as soon as possible!

Thanks for reading,

Corbin Hosler
@Chosler88 on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Insider: Tales from the Floor – GP Nashville

  1. Sounds like you had a killer time – again, it's a shame we weren't able to connect at the event! I never thought about going on Friday to avoid running into dozens of other profit traders, I'll have to try that from now on when I go to major events. A profit of $600 for the weekend seems pretty sweet, I only came away around $200 ahead myself, but I also found myself trading with grinders every other trade, so deals were difficult to make sometimes.

  2. a few notes..

    1. Image is insane in Modern Merfolk
    2. I cashed in over 25 images at the event, I may have started waves.. I got them for $12 until about half way through Saturday. Lesson learned.. I will stop verbally asking for any hot cards I am targeting.
    3. Saturday was pretty miserable for me, too. Oddly, Sunday was my best day.
    4. Do you think the venue or format hurt us? Or was it strictly the low turn out?

    Over all, Nashville was a blast! I had a great time hanging out with the QS crew. See you guys next time.

    1. @Thomas
      1. True story
      2. Nice! I'm sometimes able to find them at $12 but I think those days are past, at least for the time being. They were moving steadily at $15-17 and $18 may become my new out price for them.
      3. Sunday might have been good overall, but I spent of the day just hanging out and exploring the venue (aka retracing Kelly's every step) rather than trading, so I might have just missed out.
      4. I think the format was part of it, and the turnout wasn't terrible (just not fantastic). I think what hurt us most was that Nashville was in the realm of drivable distances for nearly every good trade grinder on this half of the country, so there were just too many people, not to mention bulk rare guy scaring everyone off.

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