Insider: No Longer a Skeptic

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I’ve been an Insider here at Quiet Speculation for close to a year, and have found the articles and forums to be valuable supplements to my speculative pursuits. When I’ve got a speculation itch that needs scratching, I always go to the Single Card Discussion forum and read the latest on each card in my shopping cart, adjusting my orders based on the best arguments. It’s nice to have a community of intelligent, invested people who can either confirm what I already suspect or can illustrate why my opinion is wrong. This alone has saved me a lot of money.

Another major resource available to Insiders is Trader Tools, which quickly allows you to see what various dealers are paying on almost any card you might be looking to sell. Trader Tools has been useful to me during the last year, but mostly just to help my decision-making process when deciding whether to speculate on a card. Seeing that a card has a low spread can really give me confidence in a spec. If dealers are paying closer to retail, that means demand is high and the price is likely on its way up. This is crucial information when deciding where to put my money.

On the other hand, I’ve never really used Trader Tools for its main purpose, which is helping the user quickly maximize the buylist value of a pile of cards. To be honest, I’ve always kind of disliked the idea of buylisting. Trading allows me to get “full value” for my cards, selling in my community often allows me to get around TCG low, and selling on eBay allows me to get somewhere between TCG low and buylist. Buylisting is just leaving money on the table, right?

Moving Junk

You know, after this past weekend, I’m not so sure. As I’m sure many of you have experienced, being an active trader/speculator in addition to a regular drafter has left me with lots of random odds and ends. These are the type of cards that are “worth something,” but aren’t necessarily high-end or high-demand. They’re EDH cards that are just above bulk, random mythics from decks long since rotated, draft foils that nobody ever wanted, and more. Are cards that have been in my binder for more than a year and never received any interest actually worth something? Despite TCG Player telling me that, yes, these cards have value, I wasn’t really seeing any evidence.

Fed up with trying to extract value from the same old cards that nobody wanted, I decided to just purge my collection of this junk. So I went to Trader Tools and started making piles. I didn’t put anything too exciting in these piles. In fact, they were mostly cards worth under a dollar. After I went through my trade binders, I went through my spec box and pulled out the failures and mild successes (nothing is more thrilling than buying in on a card at 43 cents and outing it at 55, right?). I also checked on a bunch of casual and Modern cards I’m not using. I was surprised to see that a lot of these were buylisting for more than I paid for them. Seems like profit. Oh, and then there were old draft leftovers. I got 18 cents each on Typhoid Rats, people. That’s a pretty recent common, and it buylisted for more than your average bulk rare.

All told, my list totaled close to $200 among the four major retailers included in Trader Tools. There are virtually no cards in those piles that I will miss or regret selling. They were draft leftovers, rotated cards, trade bait that was failing to bait anyone. All of my big specs are still with me, but my binders and boxes are more streamlined and ready to fill with more liquid investments.

I won’t say that this process didn’t take a lot of time, but let me tell you, I am really, really enjoying the Theros Draft format. So much so that I’ve been drafting it on MTGO multiple times a day. I play fast and never double-queue, so I often have time to kill in between rounds. What better way to use the captive time at my desk than to pull dimes and quarters to the tune of $200?

Keep in mind that I’m still waiting to get paid (in fact, I’m going to mail the packages right after I submit this article), so I may have a different opinion in a few weeks. But assuming everything goes as planned, I’m converted. After this weekend, I can say that buylisting is (relatively) quick, easy, and cuts down on my least favorite part of speculating on Magic: going to the post office.

If you haven’t been using Trader Tools to its full potential, or even at all, I suggest you stop spewing value, because you’re making a mess. And I mean that literally, because you almost certainly have a bunch of useless cards sitting around, collecting dust, taking up space, getting in the way. The next time you’re on hold with customer service, or are listening to a podcast, or waiting for an MTGO round to start, or whatever, don’t just play Angry Birds on your phone. Turn that dead time into dollars and cents. You’ll even be more organized afterward. Now that’s value.

@dbro37 on Twitter

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Danny Brown

Danny is a Cube enthusiast and the former Director of Content for Quiet Speculation.

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Posted in Finance, Free InsiderTagged

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5 thoughts on “Insider: No Longer a Skeptic

  1. I would have liked more details, but this is exactly the type of finance article tons of people need to read. This concept is especially important if you get into buying collections. Getting the most out of your cards is key and much of the time you will have “dealer bulk” that no one wants so make sure you take Danny’s advice and move it!

    1. I would have to agree. I find all the ‘unlimited drafting’ articles to be quite low value as well. Discussing 1-2 of trades after drafting events really offers nothing in terms of speculation.

  2. Something I found as a goldmine is a buylist % of the trade price, meaning what % is buylist price / trade price is the highest to maximize your cash when trading.

    Looking at mythics, Ajani Caller of the Pride and Ral Zarek had 60-70% buy% of trade so I’ve been trading for those, thinking they’ll slowly grow or spike and worst comes to worst sell them off for a decent buy price. Trader tools have shaped my trading strategy slightly.

  3. One great way to make money with your trades is to target these types of cards you are talking about in exchange for hot standard or modern cards. Often people will jump at the chance to trade the random crappy mythics and rares that have been stuck in their binder for ages at very bargain rates if they can trade it up into something good.

    There is nothing I love more than trading a $20 mythic for 30 rares that someone doesn’t want, and then buylisting those same rares for $25-30

    People who aren’t in the business of selling cards often won’t care that the TCG mid on a crappy rare is $1.5 and you’re giving them .5, they are just happy to get rid of their bulk for new cards for a deck.

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