In the first part of my series on PucaTrade, I covered the basics of how PucaTrade works, the Silver and Gold tiers, and best practices for sending trades. Now I’ll talk about how to really leverage PucaTrade to gain maximum value for the cards you’re sending, and to receive the cards you want before someone else takes them.
Becoming a Silver or Gold User
If you pay to become a Silver or Gold user on PucaTrade, your listings are grouped at the top: gold first, then silver, then the rabble at the bottom. This is a low-pain way to make your cards more prominent. Also, if you advertise your affiliate link and a friend signs up, you get points from PucaTrade... but only if you’re Silver or Gold.
Many of the serious PucaTraders offer bounties on cards they’re really after. Bounties are advertised on user profiles and even at the end of usernames. For example, I might change my username to Username 300pp BOUNTY ON STEAM VENTS. That way, someone scrolling through the listings looking to trade away a Steam Vents might see my name first and desire the extra 300 PucaPoints.
Bounties are an imperfect science, though, since there’s no good way other than the above to promote them, and no way to ensure the recipient sends you the bounty besides the honor system. There’s a third-party site, not affiliated with PucaTrade, called PPBounty that was created to facilitate Puca bounties more easily.
Often, the best trades are scooped up in a matter of seconds, leaving only the dregs for casual PucaTrade bargain hunters. For example, if you desire a Standard staple, someone will send it to you instantly. But try to unload a Canopy Vista, and it’ll rot in your Haves for ages.
Bots are automated scripts that attempt to solve this problem by constantly monitoring the Send a Card page for cards you have, then automatically accepting those trades when it finds them. Setup is fairly easy (even easier on a Mac than a PC) and it’s nice to fire up the script, leave for work, then come home and have a big stack of cards to mail out that you couldn’t care less about.
The automated nature of these bots means that you could activate one and accidentally approve a trade that you wouldn’t have manually, so be sure your lists are entirely accurate before doing so.
The PucaTrade people have not banned bots as of yet, so don’t fear that you’ll get into account trouble by using them. However, beware of any third-party app that asks for your account password. If you want a good example of a reputable bot, try Pucauto.
Leveraging Price Spikes
The PucaPoint algorithm is based on price data from numerous sources and is as much a secret formula as the Krabby Patty recipe. However, it’s not updated in real time, but instead periodically throughout the day.
That means that if a card spikes in value on TCG Player due to a buyout, and the corresponding buylist prices rise at your favorite online card sellers, then sometimes Puca can be slow to react. Many sharks take the opportunity to spec on multiple copies of the same card this way, and some get lucky before the Puca values correct themselves.
Be sure you keep an eye on that PucaPoint value and shut off the trades when they start to align themselves. Conversely, when Splinter Twin got banned, many copies flooded PucaTrade before the price started to plummet. Complete those trades before a banned card crashes.
It’s also the case that a card will spike not because of a buyout, but because a deck is hot. It never hurts to hoard Modern Tron staples through PucaTrade, for example, because there’s no ban imminent and prices on cards in the hottest deck in Modern aren’t going anywhere but up for a long time.
Of course, the old maxim is true: the best time to buy into Modern is two years ago, and that goes for trading, too. Keep an eye on when a player discovers a brand new deck in Modern, like the hot Eldrazi deck, and grab everything on PucaTrade as soon as you can. Not only will you get value out of the cards you’re receiving, but if you decide to play with the cards, you’ll get to play a fun new deck.
Officially, PucaTrade doesn’t want you to acquire PucaPoints outside of its own store, where $1 equals 100 points. If you call too much attention to yourself engaging in this practice, you can get banned or suspended. If you do PayPal someone for a big pile of points, though, the market rate is between $0.60 and $0.70 per 100 points.
This makes the trades you receive an even better value, as it means that buying points and acquiring cards on PucaTrade becomes cheaper than buying singles outright. But you didn’t hear it from me.
Sending Many Cards Together
After accepting someone’s trade and agreeing to send a card, have a look through that person’s profile. Often, you can accept a few more trades, perhaps for lower-value cards, and send them all at once to the same person. Not only will you save on postage, but you’ll also get that many more points when the other trader receives and approves all the trades at once.
What Not to Do
There's a meme going around about fleecing PucaTrade users. It goes like this: Speculate on many copies of an obscure card with low supply, then when the PucaTrade algorithm responds to card shops running out of cheap copies and inflates the PucaPoint value, send away to all the unsuspecting casual users that have this card on their want lists.
Don't be that person. When trading Magic cards, reputation is everything. If you feel you might have been taken advantage of in this way, contact a Puca admin and he or she will attempt to resolve the situation.
More to Come
In the next article, I’ll really get down into the nitty gritty and explore real-world examples of all the advanced PucaTrade techniques I’ve discussed. Look for it soon!