And we’re back for another week! First of all I really want to thank Randall and Angie at http://growingupgamers.blogspot.com/ for their support and for Randall posting about this blog on www.reddit.com! I hope that people who came and checked this out last week will come back and also check out the other great content hosted by Neale on www.wrongwaygoback.com
Today I wanted to talk about Trade Tips, Tricks, and Etiquette. So far we have been discussing how to organize your collection, how to have an idea of what you are looking for in trades, and also how to protect yourself (see previous posts if you haven’t had a chance yet). Now let’s look at actual trading situations and discuss how to make them enjoyable and successful. In no particular order I present 5 things to know as a new/casual trader!
1. You Don’t Have to Trade: It might seem weird to start with this one, but it’s really important. Oftentimes you will find yourself in a situation where you don’t really need anything from someone. Be honest about it. Don’t let the person talk you into trading just for the sake of trading. It’s fine to say, “There’s nothing I really need for this Elesh Norn, sorry”. There’s no obligation to trade, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do it. I’ll admit that when I started doing a lot of trading I would trade just to trade. I felt like I was getting a good deal so I would trade for something just because I MIGHT be able to get something better down the road. But what started happening is that I wasn’t enjoying trading. I felt like it was becoming a job or another kind of game where I would spend the whole time I was in the store trading, never getting in any games. Now I try to make sure that I either really need the cards I am trading for or I know someone who will want them.
2. Don’t waste time: The biggest part of this to remember is that you don’t want to waste someone’s time and you don’t want your time wasted. Try to find stuff quickly, or at least figure out if someone has something you are interested it. Let them know if don’t find anything (sometimes they might surprise you by “finding” more stuff for trade). One of the worst trading experiences I’ve ever had was over about 15 dollar in cards. I had found some foils I needed for EDH (Brine Elemental, Spin Into Myth, and a couple of others) and then waited around for nearly an hour as a guy pulled stuff out of my trades, put the stuff back, pulled more stuff. Rinse and Repeat. He finally found some stuff and added it all up and we were within a buck of value and only then (after nearly an hour and a half) did he say, “Ok yah I don’t really want to trade since this stuff isn’t worth a lot.” As I said above, that is totally fine with me. But time is precious (I could have been in other trades) and he took all that time to look through and have me convinced he wanted to make a deal.
3. Cards in Standard are artificially inflated: Most older cards have fairly stable values (they might go up and down based on certain formats, but it’s easier to identify the staples). However, newer cards fluctuate a lot. I traded for Elesh Norn’s when they came out at like 5 bux each, then they jumped up to 25+. However, they are now getting ready to rotate out of standard and will most likely come to settle at a steady price. The key thing for casual players to know is that when a card jumps up in price it’s a great time to trade it away for stuff that you want for your decks. Standard players will need these cards and you can great value/older cards that will hold value. If you keep these cards too long you risk the price dropping drastically and you end up with something you have no need for, but also can’t get rid of. Obviously sometimes cards will stay up there (Jace, The Mind Sculptor being a great example), but you are better off trading off that Huntmaster of the Fells you pulled from a pack and getting the cards you really want.
4. Now is not the time to speculate: When you are first starting out trading, you are going to be happiest when you are trading for cards that you want. In general I try to do this even now that I have been playing/trading for 10 years. I don’t like to get into the speculation game. Trying to get a ton of one card and hoping that it goes up is just way riskier than I want to be even now. I basically like to trade for cards that I am either going to use or that I know I can trade off quickly. I don’t like to trade for cards just to have those cards sit in my trade binder/box. Since magic cards can all of a sudden jump it’s tempting to try and get a lot of cards cheap and then hope they are going to triple in value. As a casual trader (which is what I really consider myself and what I think most people should be) you should just be trying to fix/help your decks!
5. One Trade at a Time: I am a laidback and fairly trusting person. While this often works in my favor (making people feel comfortable when trading and playing), I’ve had to be very careful with it when it comes to people wanting to trade. I admit I have let multiple people look through my trade box all at once. I don’t know for sure if anyone has stolen cards for me, but doing this wasn’t smart for many reasons. First of all, when it comes time to actually make trades I have five people trying to get me to look through their stuff and complete the trade with them. This often can cause people to get annoyed (rightfully so!) since they have other things they want to do (another trade or playing a game of EDH). It’s also much riskier for me. It would be very easy for an unscrupulous person to take a few cards. This tip really is one for safety and respect. It will help you get better deals and also prevents a lot of headaches, such as 4 people all wanting the same card!
That’s all for this week. I was thinking of either talking about doing your first draft/FNM or presenting a casual deck tech. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to read about. Basically I want this blog to really be aimed at newer players and casual players in general and will cover any topics that will be helpful to this demographic J
I can be reached on the comments here and @HobbesQ on twitter! I appreciate any and all feedback