Insider: Watching and Waiting (Too Long)

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Hey there. So you all watch the movers and shakers at every week, right? That and are two of the most important tabs to have open during spoiler season, and most of you probably noticed a little near-bulk rare jumping by 100 percent this past week.

On the back of the recently spoiled exert mechanic, Always Watching was being closely, well, watched. A bunch of people on Reddit bought into the hype of being able to exert your Glory-Bound Initiate every turn, and now we have $3 Always Watchings. Personally, I had been begrudgingly picking these up for the past few months with very few people pointing at them from the other side of the display case. It had gotten to the point where I was paying $.25 on a $1.50 card, and people were still okay with that because of its lackluster performance.


I hope my readers don't take that as a humblebrag "still have all these" introduction, because it's not. To be honest, I don't even want to "still have all these" by the end of the week. This is the kind of card with a graph shaped like a bell curve, and you want to out these immediately before waiting to see if results push it any further up the ladder. Possible spoiler alert: the chances are very low that this card reaches anything higher than $3.

Unfortunately, the card is in that awkward price category where most people don't feel comfortable listing it on TCGplayer. We've talked a bit about scaling TCGplayer fees in previous articles, but I'll go over it quick again for those who are new to the classroom.

TCGplayer takes 10.5 percent plus a flat 50-cent fee per transaction, and that's before the costs of postage and shipping materials. If we round up to 55 cents for the stamp, top loader and envelope, we're losing almost $1.50 on a $3.00 card on TCGplayer. Yikes. For people who still manage to trade at their LGS, those are ghoulish margins. You're losing 50 percent of the card's current market value by throwing it up on TCGplayer, which is obviously unacceptable if you're trying to offload something like a Polluted Delta or a Karn Liberated for any kind of value.

Maybe you were already speculating on Always Watching, or maybe you just have a playset in your binder. I'm here today on Quiet Speculation to tell you to sell them now. Like, pause your reading this article, go list them on TCGplayer and cross your fingers. Open up a buylist cart with Card Kingdom or ABU Games, and dump them at an even juicier $1.70 to $1.80 each. If you can move a playset at once, even better. You do not want to hold out for the rest of the exert cards, because they already previewed the mythic one. By holding these, you're taking a gamble that's significantly out of your favor. Presently, the TCGplayer low on this white-weenie enchantment is around $3.50, but the market price still hasn't adjusted.


Another excellent way to take advantage of this is your local Facebook groups. Most of the time, selling cards on Facebook quickly and efficiently involves selling for the equivalent of 10 percent less than TCGplayer low with free shipping. At least that's how I do it.

Want to know how to do it faster? Ship these puppies off at $8 playsets to your locals, giving them a better deal than they'll find anywhere else, while also unloading your copies before they risk plummeting. You might be selling to someone who's already crafting their exert deck, or to the greater fool who thinks this card can hit $5 or $6. Doesn't matter. You got in at $1 or less, you can get out at $2. That's how this game works.

This works even better if you advertise the exact percentage off of TCGplayer low that you're trying to out cards at; I highly recommend it with any of those awkward $2 to $4 Standard playables that are too annoying to buylist or sell on TCGplayer, like Traverse the Ulvenwald, Metallic Mimic, Spire of Industry, etc. Waiting too long to move a card for profit is something we've all fallen victim to at one point or another. While I often like to talk up my success on Heartless Summoning, I didn't unload all 100-plus of them in time to fully capitalize on the opportunity. I still have some playsets that went back into the long-term spec box, because I was being too greedy about my margins.

Speaking of margins on recently spiked cards, let's talk about this "sell immediately for lower margins on spiked cards" on a slightly higher scale. Restore Balance finally hit its stride, and boy, do I feel vindicated. All those weeks of waiting and hoping, finally paying off. Well, kind of. I've been so busy with school, my internship and my job, that I actually haven't had time to sell them. My TCGplayer store is hidden, and all 100-plus copies of Restore Balance sat on my desk this week, mocking me. Let's talk about what I would have done, had I the time to dedicate to Magic that I want to.


As you can see from this beautiful and sexy graph, we finally got there on that one card that I've been talking about for at least two years. It peaked at around $15 on TCGplayer the day when As Foretold was spoiled, while I was stuck in my internship from 9:00 to 4:00 then class from 5:00 to 8:00. During those key hours of people scrambling to pick up the copies they wanted for their decks, you had an opportunity to list them for $13 while matching the lowest listing on TCGplayer.

If you're someone who buys into cards based on shaky and irrational hype, what are you going to do when you see someone listing them for $9 a piece or $32 per playset? That's right, you buy those immediately. As someone who currently owns 100-plus Restore Balances, that's kind of what I wish I had been able to do. Now the TCGplayer low is around $10, and I'm going to hope and get $9 each for my copies. It's still more than a double-up considering I got most of these at $2.50 or $3, but still a less delicious victory than I had originally planned, considering how I had my finger on the pulse of this card for so long.

End Step

Personally, I can't wait until the summer when I have more time to dedicate to Magic. While it may be the doldrums of activity in the finance community while everyone else plays outside, it's my time of freedom from internships and school and "regular job" that allow me to really pour a lot of time into my passion that is this children's trading card game.

Let me know in the comments section below what you want to hear about next week!

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.