Has this ever happened to you?
I have my eye on a particular card at a large Magic vendor’s website—typically it’s Card Kingdom, Star City Games, or ABUGames. Rather than commit funds to the purchase, I head downstairs to the basement and dig through my cards, looking for cards I can ship to the site’s respective buylist. This takes some time because I don’t want to ship just any card. I want to make sure the amount of store credit I receive is competitive with the market.
With that in mind, I take the time required to piece together the buylist. After submitting, I package up the cards and ship them out to the vendor. Now, if I’m shipping to ABUGames, I’ll immediately place the order using their “WILL BE SENDING IN BUYLIST (TRADE PENDING)” option.
But for Card Kingdom, Star City Games, and (I assume) other vendors, this isn’t an option. Instead, I have to wait for the credit to be issued before I can place my order.
So I wait. And wait. And wait some more.
About a week(ish) later, my credit is issued. Time to place my order and acquire that card I’ve been dying to get… only to find that it’s sold out.
I could always choose to wait for the card to be restocked. Oftentimes, however, I wanted that particular card because the vendor’s price was very attractive. What’s more, most of the singles I’m after nowadays are from older sets, so they don’t necessarily get restocked all that frequently.
I don’t like sitting on credit for long periods of time; it’s effectively like loaning “money” to the vendor interest-free, and it makes me vulnerable to price fluctuations over time. If prices climb, my store credit effectively loses purchasing power—not a place I want to be in.
This is normally when I shift gears and seek out an alternative way to spend my store credit. If I can’t find something similarly old and collectible (e.g. a well-priced Beta rare or Arabian Nights card), then I need to start getting creative. This is precisely what I started doing recently, and it’s what I wanted to share in more detail this week.
There just may be some neat, outside-the-box options on which one could spend store credit at these sites. I am not sure how well-known they are, so I thought I’d share them for consideration.
This is the vendor I have the most experience with, as well as the most recent experience. Just last week I received some store credit from the site even though I had nothing in mind for potential acquisition. I just knew I wanted to sell them my Beta Clockwork Beast because they were paying competitively on the card.
Fast forward, and I suddenly had $150 or so in store credit to the site with no desire for any particular singles. What I was interested in, however, was picking up some more sealed product. I’ve been on a sealed product kick lately and this seemed like an inexpensive way to expand that collection.
Unfortunately, their booster box prices weren’t all that thrilling, either exceeding the market price by a modest margin or else exceeding my budget. That’s when I started browsing their other sealed offerings.
Did you know that Card Kingdom makes and sells Chaos Draft bundles? Check out this one themed around all sets legal in Pioneer:
With this product, you get 24 different booster packs from sets that range between the 2015 Core Set and Zendikar Rising. Granted, you’re not going to make a ton of value here, but $100 for a Chaos Draft for eight people is a great deal. That’s $4.17 a pack! I think my LGS charges around that for Standard sets, so purchasing some new and some old boosters at that rate seems like a steal. Plus, I have a soft spot for Chaos Drafting.
If you’re on a budget but still want the Chaos Draft experience, Card Kingdom also offers a Standard version of the chaos bundle for $69.99, just $2.92 per booster pack. They also have a $100 starter Cube, which sounds like an inexpensive and convenient way to build a Cube for playing with friends. Unfortunately, they’re sold out of that one, but I love the concept.
How do you find these options? They’re under “CK Exclusives” on the website. This is a menu choice I had never really explored before since I normally focused on singles. But there are some hidden gems within!
Another less-known option at Card Kingdom is their “Deals” page. Here’s what it looks like currently:
There usually aren’t a ton of options here, but it’s worth a glance when you’re looking to burn store credit. That non-English booster surprise is kind of cool, though it is a gamble. On the one hand, you could end up with a foreign booster pack from Portal: Three Kingdoms or The Dark, which would definitely be worth the $20.
On the other hand, if you end up with a foreign booster pack of Prophecy or Invasion, you’re probably less than thrilled.
Lastly, Card Kingdom has an interesting selection of fat packs (aka “bundles”) in stock. This is what I ended up shopping from with my store credit. I picked up a Coldsnap fat pack for $199.99 plus shipping. There’s not a lot of pricing data on this one, but the cheapest on eBay was $300 plus shipping so I figured I did alright. Besides, I love the artwork on that particular fat pack box.
Star City Games
I don’t trade in cards to Star City Games nearly as often as I do to Card Kingdom. Once in a blue moon, however, I’ll find that Star City Games is paying more competitively on a given card and it’s worth my while. SCG matches Card Kingdom’s 30% trade-in bonus, and I have been purchasing some Magic singles and products from SCG throughout the year.
At one point I was snapping up heavily played, discounted Alpha and Beta cards. Star City finally adjusted their prices on these sets though, so deals aren’t so easily found anymore. That said, there are some other categories worth browsing, especially if you have some store credit to burn.
On the main menu across the top of their site, they offer “Lots & Collections”. These are some convenient instant collection-building options for an up-and-coming player. They have bulk commons and uncommons, and also various options to acquire a stack of rares. Bulk rare chaos draft anyone?
Star City Games also puts together these gift boxes that make for fantastic gifts for the Magic player in your life.
Ok, that last line may sound cheesy, but you do get a lot of cool stuff for $50. There are nine set boosters included, which are worth over $4 a piece at retail anyways. That means you’re paying around $15 for the rest: a bunch of card sleeves, playmats, spindown life counters, and tokens. Is it the deal of the century? Of course not. But if you’ve got store credit lying around and you have a friend’s birthday coming up, there are worse things you could spend it on.
Star City Games also has some decent prices on their sealed product. I already mentioned last week how I picked up Battle for Zendikar, Ixalan, and Oath of the Gatewatch booster boxes from SCG for below market price. I’m not sure I’d go crazy buying newly released boxes from Star City Games, but some of their older inventory can be priced competitively.
Don’t forget they always have a weekly sale going on, so you could always sit on your store credit for a little while to see if there’s a relevant sale that pops up. Just don’t wait too long—often times the sales are only slightly better than the deals you could get by simply subscribing to their SCG Premium service for a month ($7.99). I often find it’s worth subscribing to that service simply for their discount on singles and sealed product. I make my purchase, earn that discount, and then after the month is up I’ll cancel until next time.
Wrapping It Up
Hopefully, you learned something new about some of the product offerings from Card Kingdom or Star City Games this week. I never really investigated these alternatives until recently, but there are some worthwhile considerations. Again, not all of them are going to make you the most value for your store credit. If you’re looking for something fun and different though, these options can be attractive considering the inherent discount you’ll get by using credit instead of cash.
If Card Kingdom ever puts together some Chaos Draft options with boosters from even older sets (e.g. Modern legal), I’d be even more tempted. Of course, the price would be significantly higher. With that 30% trade-in bonus though, the store credit can really lessen the blow of a steeper price point.
I don’t like sitting on store credit for the long term—there are too many fluctuating market factors for my taste. If there are no singles I’m after, or no deals I can find in those oft-searched places, dabbling in the corners of these store offerings can be worthwhile. There are probably not many instant profit-making deals to find in these areas. However, if you’re OK with losing a little value to acquire some fun and diversification in your collection, then these are certainly viable considerations.