Happy Belated New Year! I suppose a New Year-themed article would have made more sense last week, but I was really interested in last week’s topic, which distracted me from the fact that we just turned over to 2022!
This week I’m going to focus back on the holiday, and use this time as an opportunity to re-focus my priorities for Magic and Magic finance in 2022. I started going down a couple of different paths in the last quarter of 2021, and I need to get deliberate about where I want to go from here—especially since my Magic account has dwindled significantly of late (i.e. I’ve done a lot of buying but not as much selling).
Without further delay, I’m going to jump in and share my top three priorities for Magic in 2022!
Priority #1: Take a Pause on Low End Beta Rares
This is my top priority because it will take the most discipline for me to uphold. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that Star City Games has gradually been restocking played and heavily played Beta cards (they were sold out for a long duration). With this restock, I’ve been able to grab some very inexpensive Beta rares. This includes Beta Drain Power, Righteousness, Deathlace, Web, Purelace, etc.
In an ideal world, I would keep every single Beta rare that I acquire. But I ran into an issue buying so many budget-friendly Beta rares: I ran out of funds to purchase cards I actually want for my collection! Yes, I find the art of the original Righteousness cool, and the ability always interested me, but I don’t really need the card right now.
Meanwhile, I pursued an upgrade for my deck last month, switching out Unlimited Disrupting Scepters for Beta copies—no inexpensive task!
I found myself regretting buying these Beta rares, eating up my Magic budget. Sure, any Beta rare is likely to be worth more in 2023 than it is in 2022. So you could argue I’m not making any financial errors here. But the reality is, I would rather be buying one or two more useful, playable Beta cards than a handful of budget stuff just because it’s cheap.
In 2022, I’m going to switch that. If I can flip small stuff for store credit, and use that credit to get an inexpensive Beta rare here or there, I’ll certainly jump on the opportunity. But when it comes to spending my hard-earned dollars, I am going to save that for Beta cards the next tier up. Cards I will play, such as Disrupting Scepter, Granite Gargoyle, or even Royal Assassin.
To enable these purchases, I may even have to sell a couple of the low-end Beta rares I picked up in 2021. These are the cheapest rares in the set for a reason, so I anticipate I may get another chance at grabbing them again in the future should I experience any seller’s remorse.
Priority #2: Stay Persistent Shopping for the Small Stuff
I went through a phase in 2021 where I attempted to consolidate some of my collection (the cards not in my decks, that is). I would send my played Arabian Nights, Legends, and Antiquities commons/uncommons to Card Kingdom for some store credit. This was my way of attempting to “trade up”—it’s nice going from 10 or even 50 small cards into one more significant card.
There are three problems with this strategy, however. First, I quickly ran out of the low-end stuff I was willing to part with. To use a common analogy, the well ran dry. Each time I decided to repeat the process, I’d have fewer and fewer cards of value worth shipping to Card Kingdom and ABUGames, which meant my buylists were becoming uninspired, and therefore not worth it!
Second, I started experiencing seller’s remorse on some of these cards. I was so eager to submit a buylist for “something to do” and “to consolidate”, that I started cutting cards I liked. One example was Season of the Witch, a cool card from The Dark with a unique ability and a really sweet artwork. It was painful to buy this one back (which I did), and I won’t be so eager to let it go anymore.
Finally, I regretted selling these small cards because many of them have been climbing in value lately! When I shipped Blood of the Martyr to Card Kingdom, they were probably paying around $0.40 for near mint copies. Recently, they were paying up to a buck! These are small numbers, but these differences really add up across a stack of cards. I wouldn’t be surprised if I could have gotten double or even triple the store credit for the small cards I shipped in 2021, had I held them until 2022.
For these three reasons, I’m going to spend some time in 2022 browsing inventory across the web to try and find a few cool small cards to put back into my collection, this time to hold! This means I’ll have to maintain some discipline when I do my buy-listing. I’ll ask myself, “Am I OK not owning this card anymore? Are the cards I plan on trading toward more desirable than the cards I’m shipping?” This will force me to stop and think about whether I’m shipping cards for the sake of shipping cards, or if there’s really a favorable trade-in I’m looking to make.
This will help me stop myself from shipping cards for store credit, and then realize after the fact that the very cards I shipped were the ones I would have wanted to spend the store credit on!
Priority #3: Increase Play Time (A Little Bit)
If 2020 was my “year of Magic Arena” (I hit mythic multiple times, and I played in multiple qualifier events), then 2021 was my “year of abstinence from Magic Arena." I probably booted the game up no more than four times from February through November last year.
For paper Magic, I hopped on a webcam to play Old School no more than once, and Vintage the same. Each time I do the webcam games, I have a great time, meet someone really friendly, and become re-inspired to maintain or improve my decks. The last time I played Old School, I decided I wanted to try Diamond Valley in the list. That's a pricey card of course, but the idea motivated me to sell and trade cards with a purpose. It's a good feeling.
I want to try and do this a little bit more this year. And if COVID can finally calm down again, I may even try to stop by my LGS for a draft (no promises, though).
As for Magic Arena, I don’t want to let it eat such a significant amount of my time like it did in 2020. But I would like to re-engage if just to stay more in touch with what’s going on in the hobby. I have almost no cards in my collection now that were released in 2021, so playing Standard right off the bat will be tough. But when the next set is released, I can try to hop onto the drafting bandwagon to enjoy the game once again.
This will help rekindle my interest in the game, which will help me stay focused on my other two priorities for 2022 at the same time.
Wrapping It Up
It has become an annual tradition, for me to establish my priorities for Magic at the beginning of each year. Going through this exercise helps me think critically about where I want to spend my time and resources going forward, and also helps drive some accountability as I share this with the community. Now when you see me selling a few random, low-end Beta rares, and asking to buy some others, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
How about you, the reader? Do you have some New Years’ priorities for 2022 in Magic (or otherwise)? Feel free to message me on Discord or Twitter with your own goals for the year. We can have a dialogue about our ideas, and help hold each other accountable.
As for my 2022 resolutions outside of Magic, I will share two that I’ve come up with. First, every time I go to a restaurant I’ve been to before, I will order something to eat that I have never ordered before. I have fallen too much into a rut with my dining out, ordering the same things over and over again, that I’ve lost a little bit of my flair for adventure. I wish to reclaim that.
Second, I want to cut down on alcohol for 2022 so I intend on doing this by enforcing a strict, $500 budget for alcohol for the year. Note this includes not just trips to the liquor store, but also ordering drinks at restaurants, bars, etc. To give me a strong start, I’m doing “Dry January” again this year, so that means I’ll only have to manage this budget across 11 months.
There, now I’ve shared my personal resolutions for 2022 as well. Hold me accountable, and wish me luck!