Insider: Introductions and Buylisting Bulk

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Hey there! Wow, I never really expected to be writing here. As someone who only four years ago was reading these exact same articles and learning to trade up at FNM to afford a deck, it's kind of surreal that I'm on the other side of that and teaching the things I've learned to other Insider subscribers. On one hand I'm really sad to see my articles go behind a paywall, but I'm honored that Kelly and Doug believe in me enough to value my content that highly.

Let me back up a bit and introduce myself, before we get into any actual Magic finance content. My name is Douglas Johnson, but everyone calls me DJ. I started playing Magic in middle school, when I taught a friend how to play Yu-Gi-Oh! and built him a deck in exchange for him doing the same for me with Magic. I still think I got the better end of that deal.


I played exclusively casually from 2006-2007 until the Rise of the Eldrazi prerelease, when I became aware of actual competitive events and tournaments where you could win prizes and such. By Scars of Mirrodin, I was hooked and became an FNM grinder.

As a high school kid with very little money, I realized I had to get the most out of my cards. I started value trading, rare drafting, reading articles, picking what little bulk I had, and generally trying to afford the next budget Standard deck I could throw together for FNM. Eventually, that turned into buying collections, bulk rares, commons/uncommons and anything else I could get my hands on. If you're interested in the rest of that story, here's the link.

Niche Magic

Earlier this week, Doug introduced me as someone who helps you make money off of Magic in "unusual" ways. I suppose that's true. I really couldn't care less about the financial state of Standard, Modern, or Old School MTG (Is that how you folks type and space it out? I'm not too familiar with your format).

I still enjoy sorting bulk, picking out the gems, and trying to find the niches of #mtgfinance that few others are willing to delve into. Instead of trying to chase the next Traverse the Ulvenwald, I'm setting aside Geth's Grimoires for when they finally show up to the "casual kitchen-table spells worth money" party, hosted by Mind Funeral and Liliana's Caress.

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But you all know about these cards already. You're paying for a subscription to read about #mtgfinance from those of us who would sell kidneys for bulk rares. You know that Jace's Phantasm is a bulk pick that competitive players don't touch (well, they didn't until that mill deck popped up at GP Los Angeles), and you know that Bloodline Keeper was an easy way to make money off casual vampires.

But what about the real near-bulk, that's a lot harder to pick and buylist? Let's look at Trader Tools real quick again, and admire how far it has come in the several years since I've last used it.

incorrigable youths

Okay, so I did not expect the first random SOI uncommon I thought of to be on the list. But that's kind of my point, isn't it? That shouldn't have been a question. It is my point. There's very little to be lost when trading for bulk commons and uncommons, even from the most recent sets.

Sure, Future Sight and Fifth Dawn bulk makes my mouth water, but bulk is bulk is bulk in the endgame. And I'm not just talking about Duskwatch Recruiter...

Blueprint vs. Isle of Cards

SOI Blueprint

What is this spreadsheet and what are these numbers? Well If you followed any of my work, you might recognize this buylist format. It's called "The Blueprint," and is arguably the most comprehensive single-store micro buylist in existence. I only say that because I haven't really tested the TCG Player buylist yet, but that's an article for another week.

In summary, go to and click both of the buttons that appear. One downloads a huge spreadsheet file; the other adds you to the mailing list so you get the next update a month from now on the hottest cards that Card Advantage is buying.

Some of these cards might be obvious (Duskwatch Recruiter and Lambholt Pacifist come to mind), but you can really get 15 cents each for all of your Village Messengers, and $3.00 for 100 copies of Warped Landscape---a card not even Isle of Cards is buying. Isle will give you 0.12 each for two playsets of Gryff's Boon, and then Card Advantage will take the rest at a nickel a piece.


I did notice that store, Isle of Cards, also has a pretty extensive micro buylist based on my first examination of Trader Tools in a while. 25 cents on Incorrigible Youths is insane, and even half of that at 12 cents a piece for 19 copies is hard to pass up on if you're shipping a mass order.

I'm not a corporate shrill trying to sell you on a hip new homeopathic drug called Ard Cadvantage. However, I will point out that one of the advantages of shipping a mass order to Card Advantage is their willingness to accept up to a hundred of a single card, something that Isle is unable to offer.

At this point, you have to pick your buyer based on the amount of bulk you'll be picking. If you're picking through 200,000 bulk commons and uncommons that you traded off a few Legacy staples for, you'll probably end up with more than 19 copies of Incorrigible Youths. You might even end up with more than 100, but then you can send an order to both stores and everyone wins.

End Step

Remember that Conspiracy 2 spoilers are starting. Conspiracy drafts will cut into Eldritch Moon drafts, thereby reducing the overall amount of opened product. Combine this with the possibility for some booster boxes to be mapped out for all of the non-flip mythics, and it's signaling that there will be less Eldritch Moon product opened than otherwise expected from a normal set released around this time.

That $40 price tag on planeswalkers normally seems irrational a month after the set's release, but Liliana could very easily stand above the rest of the pack and hold her own thanks to the reduced product opened.

What's Up Next Week?

Well, I originally planned to do an extensive article involving TCG Player Market Price this week, but that got pushed back because of the maintenance their site was going through for most of today. I can address that article next week, or I can continue to talk about the 500,000 commons and uncommons that I currently am in the process of sorting through myself.

This one's up to you guys and girls---I'm new here, and I want to write what you want to read. Let me know in the comments below what you're looking from me, now that I've tested the waters!

7 thoughts on “Insider: Introductions and Buylisting Bulk

  1. I’ve bought 3-4 small bulk collections from friends who don’t want to play anymore. I can say I really enjoy doing it, but I usually just sell the gems and add to my boxes of cards. Learning how to sell off the bulk and make money despite shipping costs would be awesome 🙂

    1. As a QS Insider, let me remind you that you have access to the ION Scanner as part of your membership. ION makes parsing bulk near-brainless and about 5x faster 🙂

      1. That definitely seems awesome. Do you know if the promoted camera is required for the software or if others will work? I have a very old and crappy USB camera but the resolution was terrible when I tried it. I’m wondering if the $100 camera is necessary.

        1. Hey Chason,

          I’ve got a $50 USB camera attached to the top of my desktop monitor that I use for podcasting. It has a high enough resolution, but because its’ built do sit on top of a monitor I would have to set up some sort of structure that would keep it still while looking down on the cards. Might require some tape and tools but it is a cheaper option.

  2. Hey DJ,

    Sorry to Necro comment this post, but it made the most sense. Have a few questions:

    1. When is the sweet spot to sell commons/unc?
    Example: Return to Ravnica — Is this ready to be sold or should I wait on the some of the com/unc?
    Example: Battle for Zendikar — I realize this isn’t a great set overall to discuss, but timing wise should one wait till now before selling them or just unload?

    2. Is there a better packaging option then flat rate boxes? Do you have dimensions available for better option of sending thousands of cards?

    Appreciate it!

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