Here at Casually Infinite, I subscribe to the theory that my Magic Online experience shouldn’t cost me anything. An account with 1000 tickets has a lot of flexibility to vary between long- and short-term specs. New players, or players who have seen their accounts dwindle, are just looking at the first steps to move their bankroll up without having to stick more coins into the machine. This article is for you. Again, if you’d rather just pay $13 and jump into a draft, there are better articles for you. But if you’re looking for ways to move from the starting base of five event tickets to six, and six to seven, then my advice is aimed at you.
Winning New Player Events
At a cost of one event ticket and two new player tickets, the new player phantom drafts have a pretty good expected value. You pay one ticket and one of four people will win a pack. Overall, this has a negative EV, but the possibility of paying one ticket and winning one pack is pretty decent. The scheduled Sealed events are among the best possible value because getting two or more wins give you two event tickets out of the Deck Builder’s Essentials. The cost of five new player tickets is kind of steep and you can’t draft instead of playing Sealed, but the potential rewards are really good and it doesn’t cost you any of your initial event tickets.
Flipping Real Estate
Lands have been in solid demand since the beginning of Magic. Every Standard season has some dual lands that frequently dip down below the one ticket price range. Real estate moves quickly and when someone is making a deck, she will frequently just want to pickup her playset and move on. When looking at real estate to flip, look for lands that are priced just below advantageous price points such as .50‡, .66‡, .75‡, and 1‡. Sometimes you can also find lands that sit around prices over one ticket but you can pickup a play set for an even 4‡ or 5‡. Right now, a Temple of Abandon or Temple of Deceit/card] will run you .70‡, and a [card]Temple of Mystery can be grabbed for .40‡. Selling a play set of Temple of Mystery for 3‡ or 4‡ for Abandon or Deceit is pretty easy. Just put it up in the classifieds and you’ll probably get an answer over the weekend. I have found that posting a playset of each of the cheaper lands in Standard for a ticket more than the playset cost me to buy has helped me sell two or three play sets a week.
Earlier-Run Standard Cards
The way bots calculate value of a card is based on how often that specific card sells. While you and I may not care if we buy a M13 or a M14 Ajani, Caller of the Pride, it often happens that the price of the current edition is rising while the cost of the older edition is falling. I’ve purchased Steam Vents from original Ravnica for less than the current price of a Return to Ravnica one. In some ways, Return to Ravnica shock lands are better because they are available for redemption. But a large portion of buyers don’t care about this factor. If someone is looking for a card in his deck, he’ll take either one. There are far more shock lands being sold from RTR, so these prices move much more quickly than those in RAV. There was a period where an M11 Glacial Fortress was available as low as .25‡ while a M13 one ran about 1‡. Buying M11 lands and then selling them at M13 prices can be quite profitable.
Playing in Promos
MTGO promos are a strange beast. Unlike most paper promos, they are generally worth less than their non-promo counterparts. They also frequently aren’t foil and they aren’t available for redemption. Something else I’ve found about promos is that bots seem to have difficulty recognizing them and pricing them correctly. On occasion you can find a popular standard card that is worth anywhere from 1‡ to 3‡ available as a promo for .05‡ from multiple bots. Much like cards from older sets, these cards frequently aren’t as active, causing a much lower price. For someone that isn’t interested in redemption, they don’t care if they’re playing a promo version of a card. I generally don’t advertise that my cards are promos but I’m always upfront about it when asked. There’s always going to be people out there that just don’t care and don’t spend the time to research it.
Regardless of how you move forward, there are a few important things not to do. First off, picking up bulk rares from a vendor isn’t a good idea. The specific values of cards in MTGO means you can easily spend a ticket to put together an acceptable casual deck by picking up four Shivan Dragons and four Ogre Battledrivers then calling it a deck. However, many cards which have value in paper don’t translate to digital. These cards have essentially no value in MTGO. If you want to start working your way up, you have to buy something that people want. Bulk rares are not that. If it’s not worth .25 tickets, it isn’t worth anything. Just because someone could find it for cheaper doesn’t mean they won’t buy it from you.
Marc DeArmond is a currently a Middle School Math Teacher and the host of the Casually Infinite podcast. He started playing Magic back in Unlimited during 1993. His interests are trading up in value and playing limited on MTGO. He is the author of Casually Infinite, which discusses how to continue to play Magic Online without spending money. He is currently a Level 2 Magic Judge.
Latest posts by Marc DeArmond (see all)
- Casually Infinite – Manifest and Other Troubled Mechanics of Magic‘s Past - March 2, 2015
- Casually Infinite – About the MTGO Closed Beta with Chris Kiritz, MTGO Business Manager - February 11, 2015
- Casually Infinite – Preserving Khans for Future Play - November 26, 2014