This article's title will make sense to some of you, but not everyone. That's fine. If you didn't get it, you probably avoided the blurb on the QS front page in a fevered frenzy to discover first hand what I had to say this week. That's fine too.
The plan today is to take a brief vacation from our Breaking Bulk column and instead talk about the joys of flash sales, particularly those that have been firing off on eBay recently. For those unaware, I'll explain.
What is a Flash Sale?
Over the past several months, eBay has been dishing out flash-sale coupons for those who are quick enough to act upon them. They usually only last for five to six hours (until 11 p.m. EST) on the day they're announced, but they're definitely worth it for those who keep tabs on the Twitter-verse and r/mtgfinance on Reddit. Either myself or one of my colleagues on Quiet Speculation is usually quick to announce that you've got a few hours left to get in on these sales. When you see these, you should absolutely take advantage of them for some quick flips, cheap cards for your decks, or even long-term specs if you're into that sort of thing.
Every coupon has been the same so far to the best of my knowledge: if you spend $75 or more at a single time, you get $15 off the purchase. If you manage to go exactly lethal and end up spending $75, this is a 20-percent-off sale. Not a Black Friday-level deal by any means, but certainly reasonable if you know what you're looking for already.
Let's note that these coupons only apply to those who use PayPal as a checkout method. If you're someone who doesn't trust PayPal for one reason or another, these coupons unfortunately won't apply to you.
One of the goals of this article is to give you an idea of what the best buys are should you not already have a wish list full of cards you'd love to pick up. However, if you're someone who actually plays the game and is trying to buy cards for a decklist, that should probably be your number-one priority instead of spending $75-plus on quick flips that will only make you $10 over a week or two. eBay usually has prices comparable to TCGplayer low, and combining this coupon with eBay Bucks can land you some serious deals on singles that are scarily close to buylist.
The reason I'm choosing until now to write this article is because eBay has increased the frequency of how often these sales happen. Over the past several months, it was common for there to be one flash sale per month, if that. Missing out on it would mean waiting multiple weeks before you could take advantage of the deal, and I don't personally know of a way to set a trigger for you to be notified through email when the sale goes live. So if you checked Reddit past 11:00 p.m. EST, tough cookies.
However, there have been two flash sales within the past week. If they continue to bump up the deals to twice a month, there's definitely going to be more opportunities to scale up your eBay bucks and continue to buy some excellent sealed product.
Tell Me What to Buy Already
"But DJ! You've written at least two articles talking about how sealed product is gross in the modern era, and how you don't like speculating on it anymore!"
That's partially true. I still believe that the time of "buy a booster box on release and wait five years" is dead and gone. The last box where that was an option was original Innistrad, with Return to Ravnica ending up as a miserable investment for everyone involved. However, I'd argue that there's still hope for sealed product if you know how to sell within your local area on Facebook, have friends to draft with, or simply want to collect product without paying full retail.
I've personally bought a couple of Conspiracy: Take the Crown boxes over the course of the past few flash sales. This store in particular has always had them in stock at $90 shipped, and they ship quickly and safely. With the help of the flash sale code (and now you know what the article title was for), you're paying $75 on a booster box with 36 packs, so even less than wholesale. While cracking single boxes of Amonkhet or Kaladesh is almost a financial death sentence (unless you rip a Masterpiece), Conspiracy is loaded with enough crazy foils and higher-end mythics to at least consistently break even.
Check out DawnGlare if you're curious about the EV of various sets. While obviously not every box has a Leovold, Emissary of Trest, you can still easily recoup value on foils and mythics by cracking it. Hell, most of the mythics in the box are $10 solid, and have no signs of decreasing anytime soon.
Now that you've got a $75 Conspiracy box, you've got options. You could just do a $12 draft with seven other friends and end up getting $84 with a free draft. Not bad at all. If you're lonely and have no friends, you could simply try to flip it to someone who does. Local Facebook groups are great for moving sealed product because you get to avoid the obvious hassle of shipping. I moved more than one Conspiracy box at $85 to locals in my area for a simple $10 profit. It doesn't feel like owning a billion Decree of Silences pre-spike, but it's simple and efficient. Overall, I'd say Conspiracy (preferably Take the Crown) is the safest pickup for someone looking to throw their $75 at eBay during the sale.
If you listened to Brainstorm Brewery, you'd know that both I and Ryan Bushard really like the Commander Anthology product as a pickup going forward. I'm not planning on hoarding or keeping them either – I want to crack and sell all of it.
There's a ton of hidden value in these boxes, especially when a lot of people are only thinking about the foil commanders. Did you know that the life counter dice sell for $8 to $10 easily? I'm shocked at how quickly I've sold all of my Commander Anthology life counters, considering phone apps with life tracking exist. Still, if you sell the four life counters that come with the product at $9 each, that's almost 30 percent of the value in the product upfront – before we even crack the decks.
That's also assuming we use a flash sale coupon on the above listing, getting the product for $108 shipped. After that, we only need to get $72 out of the four decks, and that will be easy. There's four Sol Rings, three Command Towers, a foil Kaalia of the Vast... yeah. The Commander Anthology provides some of the easiest money to make off of sealed product I've ever seen, and that's even before you sell all of the bulk.
Wait, did I say all of the bulk? I sure did, friend. Did you know that Card Kingdom is offering five cents on every single common or uncommon in the product?
Yep. They'll pay you the standard ten cents on most of the bulk rares, but they 'll literally give you at least a nickel on their buylist for every single garbage guildgate and Altar's Reap in the decks, provided you alphabetize the product first. If you were planning on shipping an order to Card Kingdom in the near future, there's pretty much no downside to loading up all your Commander Anthology bulk into the existing order, then throwing the higher-end stuff on Facebook, Twitter or TCGplayer to sell separately.
Not a bad investment, eh?
Finally, I want to talk about Masterpieces. They're not an area where I have a whole lot of expertise, but I wanted to at least make a brief note of them as a purchasing option before shipping this article into the aether.
The cohosts of Cartel Aristocrats (specifically Edward Nguyen and Travis Allen) have been keeping a closer eye on these than I have, but the Kaladesh and Aether Revolt Masterpieces are still looking to be strong buys, if the competitively played ones follow the suit of Chalice of the Void, Sol Ring and Mox Opal. I'm not as confident on these as I am about the two above sealed products that I mentioned, but the graph on Masterpiece Arcbound Ravager looks like it could start following Mox Opal if the supply gets low enough.
The same holds true for Ensnaring Bridge. If you're even remotely considering picking up either of these two Masterpieces, I'd do so sooner rather than later. The potential payoff is much higher than a box of Conspiracy, even if it might take you longer to flip for a profit.
While the #mtgfinance hashtag and subreddits have primarily devolved into a cesspool, they're still going to be the best place to be notified of an eBay flash sale. They're only live for approximately five to six hours, so it's best to know what you want and have a plan to pick it up immediately as soon as you notice that the sale goes live.
Deals like the Ensnaring Bridge picture above will dissipate quickly, so have your PayPal at the ready and willing to snap up those 20-percent discounts. Alternatively, you could play it safe and put in the effort to grab one of those sealed products I mentioned earlier in the article. Either way, I hope this article was able to save you some money in the future.
See you next week!