Welcome back!! This week I want to talk about when you are ready to leave your house and get out there and make some trades! Last week, one of the comments I received was from someone who had just recently done their first in-store trade.
“I recently went into my local shop and traded for the first time ever, although it wasn’t a complicated affair… I had an extra Griselbrand and I asked the shop owner if it would be a fair trade for Avacyn and a nearby guy standing at the counter said “Here, I’ll make that trade. Enjoy!” Easiest, most awesome thing ever. I’ve always just bought the cards I want or went without, but now I’m thinking maybe I should try trading some more! I have about 15 Commander decks and I don’t like to tear them up, so I always need more cards.” — @growingupgamers
Angie, had a great experience in her first time trading at a store, but a lot of us didn’t. Most of us can remember times when we got ripped off or taken advantage of in a trade. It’s these stories that make a lot of new traders wary and might scare them off from trading. Which is a shame, because trading is such a fun aspect of the game! I will get into ways to protect yourself more later on, but for now I want to pick up where we left off last week in organizing your trades.
After I wrote my last blog post, I went into my LGS and sat down with another regular EDH player. He needed some stuff for his new deck, so I asked to see his trades. Guess What? It was all disorganized, across three boxes and some stuff wasn’t for trade, etc. It was frustrating, I found stuff I needed but it took much longer than it should have. This is a guy who trades an ok amount and is at the LGS often. He still was making this mistake though. So remember the most important thing before you leave your house: Organize your trades! And somehow denote what isn’t for trade!
Once you’re ready to head out to your LGS you should have a plan. This might be as simple as “Ok I know I want to make an Angus Mackenzie EDH deck” or it can be a list of cards you specifically are looking for. The reason for this is that simply put trading can get overwhelming. A lot of people have tons of cards for trade, and looking through each card one by one can increase your anxiety. If I have a lot of time and am just sitting around I will look through people’s stuff kind of aimlessly, but usually I know somewhat of what I am trying to do. Am I looking for standard stuff that is overvalued but easy to trade off? Am I looking for a new deck idea? Do I seem some staples that I know I can use as trade bait in future trades? I like to have a basic idea of what I am looking for.
Oftentimes people start out trades because they know what they are looking for and will just yell out “Hey anyone have any Silverblade Paladins?” If you have these for trade then the person is gonna want to know what you are looking for. Having even a vague idea is going to help the trade good more smoothly. This example here also brings us back to learning how to trade for the first time. A lot of new traders are worried about shark traders and are worried about getting taken advantage of. None of us like to feel like we are getting screwed over, and once someone has a bad experience it can take a long time before they are willing to trade again. This hurts the older players as well as these new traders. It’s less cards available for you to get without spending money. I am cheap when it comes to magic since I am a broke Ph.D. student. Trading is my biggest outlet for building new decks.
So my advice for new traders is simply this: ASK FOR HELP! Most owners of LGSs want their customers to be happy. In this same vein, most of them are willing to look over a trade, or look up card values for you. Don’t be embarrassed to let someone know, “I don’t know if my Jace, the Mind Sculptor for your Birds of Paradise is fair, let’s ask the person working.” This example may seem silly, but I’ve seen people make trades like this and just take the word of their trading partner that it’s fair. As a new trader I encourage you to look through your collection, and identify what cards are worth something. Once again this is something you can do at home before you ever step out to trade. You don’t need to know the value of everything, but you should have a rough idea of what stuff is worth. Along these same lines, use your smartphone for trades. If your trading partner is getting upset because you want to look up prices, alarm bells should be going off in your head anyway. A lot of the onus is put on you as a new player. Just taking small steps to be informed about your cards is going to help your first trading experiences be more positive. Another thing I like to do when starting out is just do smaller trades. Target some cards you know you want for a deck, and see if people have them. By just getting in a bunch of trades you will become more aware of the process and of the people who trade. In later posts we will discuss the types of traders that you might come across and strategies for trading with each of these.
That’s it for this week, some of this stuff might seem kind of elementary, but I really want to help new traders feel more comfortable about getting into the stores and engaging in the most social aspect of the game. Was thinking of switching it up next week and presenting an EDH deck and my rationale behind the cards in it, let me know what you think!
I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback as this is my first blog.
Ps. You may have noticed my blog titles are related to music. This week for example is a Cat Stevens album I was listening to while writing this. Last week was a Pixies song, stay tuned for more