Conjured Currency #21: Tackling the Boring Parts of MTG Finance

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Last Time on Conjured Currency

Welcome back, newly knighted experts of bulk Magic cards! For the past couple weeks, we’ve focused on how to go full Golgari in the world of MTG finance, focusing on the “trash” that nobody else cares about. If you’re not up to speed on what to do with the thousands of commons and uncommons stored in your closet, I recommend checking both articles out here and here, with absolutely zero bias whatsoever (NB: there may be some bias). As a small follow-up to both of those articles, I’d like to mention that Craigslist does in fact work, and it’s a great way to meet new potential friends and customers. A few days ago, I sold an 11,000-card starter collection to a new player who I met on Craigslist, and it may have been the longest consensual Craigslist meet-up in history. I was able to teach her a lot about the game, and she went home happy and (hopefully) willing to come to me with any future Magic needs!

The collection contained 1,000 cards of each color, plus five random 1,000-count boxes of commons and uncommons, 200 of each basic land, approximately 15 rares from my dollar box, a dozen or so bulk rares, six booster packs from various sets in Standard, and a Scavenging Ooze, so she’d have at least one powerful and competitive card to start out with. As long as you make sure you look and sound like you know what you’re doing (and actually knowing what you’re doing doesn’t hurt either), then you shouldn’t have an issue snowballing the number of collections you start to buy and sell. I just wanted to mention this to show that Craigslist doesn’t have to be the place where you just throw a bunch of cards in the back of someone’s car and binge on Amazon that night with the profits, never to see that person again. Real (consensual) business relationships can be built off of that site!

Laziness

I had a bit of trouble coming up with a topic this week, so I’m going to tie that theme into the article itself. I’m a very lazy, procrastinating person. I absolutely hate doing actual work that doesn’t provide with an immediate, satisfying result. Some parts of Magic finance are fun, like the parts where you buy a huge collection for under buylist value and dig out the treasure. Selling cards in person is awesome, because you get to hang out and socialize while getting some extra spending money. On the other hand, buylisting those thousands of Go for the Throats and Manaweft Slivers make me want to never want to touch Magic cards ever again. Going on the computer and monotonously typing numbers into a list is not fun for me at all. Actually alphabetizing my bulk rare boxes so that I can find cards for my friends with ease took a level of focus and concentration I didn’t think I had in me.

The end result of this is having several thousand cards sitting in boxes, sorted by color but not by set or alphabetical order, and having months fly by with me refusing to touch them. Because seriously, League of Legends is that much more attractive to me in the short term. My solution? Convince someone else to do it. I’m not talking about the “scam your little brother into mowing the lawn for $1 when your parents are paying you $5” routine, but it’s something that I’ve found helps me teach someone else about Magic finance while getting my own work done with much less effort on my part. My best friend, Sean, has a much higher patience for the tedious process of buylisting than I do (Heliod bless him), so we worked out an arrangement where he takes 15 percent of whatever the buylist order comes out to when the check comes. In return, he takes care of all of the sorting/typing/grading for me. He also gets to learn about all of the cards that I tend to pick first-hand, why I pick them, and all of the other great parts about Magic finance that I’ve already vomited onto this site in previous articles. As long as I keep track of the prices that I pay and what my profit looks like, I’m not worried about losing a percentage if it means I get more personal time.

Insert Amazing Segue Here

This tip isn’t exactly how to make money off of Magic, but more of how to realize that selling cards isn’t a bad thing. That sounds completely weird and obvious, but it actually took a while for me to figure out. I used to buy way more at buylist than I would ever need or use, and then just never sell things. I enjoyed being the guy who had a huge collection and trade binder—basically having a good chunk of my bank account in my binder. I guess it was to impress people? I don’t know, I was young. I don’t know if anyone else suffers from the same problem, but I’ve gotten much better lately. I’ve realized that cards I don’t have sleeved up to play are often just waiting to be turned into money to buy something that U have been desperately wanting lately, but didn’t think I could afford.

With all that I had invested into this game at an early age, it took me way too long to realize that real-world expenses are actually a thing. And you know what? It’s okay to “lose value” on luxuries like going to the movies or eating out at a nice restaurant once in a while. Being someone who specializes in finance doesn’t mean I (or you) have to be that guy in the new Greed art who has a lot of money (or cards) and nothing to do with it.

Random Thoughts

Seeing as we just got done talking about bulk commons and uncommons, I’m throwing out a couple of picks from M15 that you shouldn’t leave lying around on the table after your sealed event is over.

Constricting Sliver, Diffusion Sliver, Leeching Sliver, Belligerent Sliver, Venom Sliver: There will always be a demand for slivers. Thousands of years from now, when aliens find a smoking, war-ravaged Earth, they will find the corpse of a Magic player holding his slivers close to his heart. Pick these. Someone will want them. Buylists will probably want the black and green ones.

Mind Sculpt: Reprint is annoying, but I can usually get dimes for these when shipping buylist orders (I’m also fine with taking 8.5 cents after Sean’s cut).

Lightning Strike: Standard staple. Sometimes worth a dime.

Illusory Angel: Potential to be broken in Modern. Maybe with Phyrexian mana? I don’t know. I’d rather have them set aside just in case.

Military Intelligence: Could be nothing, but it’s also no additional investment and continuous upside.

My favorite benefit to all of these picks is that there’s no real risk in picking them from Sealed or Draft pools: you’re just grabbing them for practically free and setting them aside. Are there other cards you’re picking out of M15 bulk in the future? Let me know in the comments section below or on social media! If you have anything you’d like me to discuss moving forward, I’d love to hear your suggestions. Until next time!

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Douglas Johnson

@Rose0fthorns     -     Email     -     Articles
Douglas Johnson is a 20-year-old MTG player who goes to college courtesy of a scholarship from Gamers Helping Gamers. He is currently found writing a weekly finance column at MTGprice.com, and you can always feel free to contact him on Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit.
Douglas Johnson

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