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Getting Value at Your Prerelease

July 10, 2010

The one thing that stinks about Christmas is that it only comes once a year.  Fortunately for us magic players we get a pseudo holiday in the form of new set releases each and every quarter.  While businesses are busy trying to make sure stock holders are happy we get to enjoy the fruits of Wizards of the Coast most recent minting of cash wrapped in pretty little foil wrappers.

This weekend the Magic 2011 (M11)  goes live and all those lucky enough to partake in the IPO (prereleases) will be the first chance at all the new chase mythics and rares.  Those savvy enough can leave a prerelease with a lot of shares of M11 which can lead to some monstrous returns down road.  If they play their hands…deal their cards…run the tables…Well if they just come to the big show well-informed they can easily pick up prime shares from others at the IPO and leave the venue looking like Mr. Monopoly, top hat and all.

Today I want to focus on the dirty side of a prerelease. You know, that gritty and tough world of trading at a prerelease.  I know many players are actually scared to do much trading at a prerelease but have no fear.  This prospectus will hopefully give you a few tips to come out ahead.

#1 Bring your trade stuff – Yes this one seems obvious but many times I have left my binder at home because I just don’t want to deal with it all day.  Every time I do I regret it.  You can’t make many trades just trading the cards you open in your sealed pool.  Be sure to bring cards that cater to more than just the Standard crowd.  EDH is extremely popular and older cards that you can’t crack in packs can usually go quite far in expanding your current collection.  Cards for the new Extended format and definitely Legacy staples usually trade extremely well due to the fact that sometimes those players (or casual players who use those formats in their play groups) will come out to a fun casual event like a prerelease and have little use for the “hot” standard rares.

#2 Ask people to trade between rounds – Prerelease rounds can take a while and if you finish fast ask people who have cards if they want to trade. Simple right?
Pro Tip – Don’t be the weird guy who just walks up and says “You got trade stuff?”.  Those guys sound like scum buckets and typically turn people away.  Maybe ask something more polite and less intrusive like, “Are you looking for any cards?”  It’s a world of difference because you put them in the driver’s chair.

#3 Shower and dress in clean clothes – Does this need more explanation?

Those are your basics but now you need to know what cards to pick up at the event.  Obviously, everyone has their own decks they want to work on and definitely trade to fill those out.  The list below will be cards that in general I would pick up as often as possible.  These are the cards I believe will jump up in value a lot over the next rotation.

Non-M11 stock to buy (cards to pick up)
Eldrazi Monument
Ob Nixilus
Oracle of Mul Daya
Lotus Cobra
Abyssal Persecutor
Birds of Paradise
Emeria Angel
Stoneforge Mystic (he’s super cheap right now)
Eldrazi Temple
1-2 Eye of Ugin tops (good but not totally insane with Primeval Titan and All is Dust)
Worldwake Man-Lands
Zendikar Fetchlands
Jace, the Mind Sculptor (unfortunately he is going to jump in price again so get him while he’s in a price lull)
Textless Mana Leaks
Textless Condemn
Foil Full art Zendikar Lands

Non-M11 Stock to sell (cards to dump quickly)
Eldrazi Conscription
Time Warp
Siege Gang Commander
Master of the Wild Hunt
Mind Spring
Dauntless Escort
Sovereigns of Lost Alara
Noble Hierarch
Path To Exile
Ranger of Eos (He is officially not coming back)

The part I’m sure most of you scrolled down to anyways, the cards I recommend picking up ASAP from M11.  Hopefully you at least go back and look at the first two lists as they will help you hammer out trades and help you decide what cards to trade away.

Magic 2011 cards to pick up ASAP
Any Titan, particularly the Sun Titan Promo and Primeval Titan
Conundrum Sphinx
White, Blue and Red Leylines  (green is poop and black is a reprint)
Mystifying Maze (Great EDH card and should replace Tech Edge in some decks)
Obstinate Baloth
Mitotic Slime (will be a casual favorite and has potential for Standard)
Steel Overseer (If you can get them at less than $1 pick em up, SOM in the fall…)
Phylactery Lich (same as above)
Demon of Death’s Gate

Magic 2011 cards that are over hyped and currently over-priced. If you get them at bargain bin prices might as well pick em up but don’t try for these cards.  If you open/obtain any of these I’d sell/trade them off asap and get value from them.
Time Reversal (the most over hyped and over priced of them all, I value it at $6-8)
Dark Tutelage (strong effect but not amazing in standard currently due to RDW, $1-2)
Knight Exemplar (easily a $2 card tops, not $7)
Fauna Shaman (way to slow for standard and is only rare, $2-3 )
Magic 2011 Booster Packs  (as far as I can tell the EV on opening these packs will be terrible  and they are always in super high demand before they go on sale)

Ethical Trading – The whole point in trading is to turn the cards you don’t want into the cards you do want.  When I trade I try to obtain cards I need for decks first and  then cards I expect will be in high demand for the upcoming Standard season.  I rarely play any other formats so EDH and etc doesn’t matter so much to me.  When I trade my goal is for both parties to feel good about the trade and feel like they are getting something of value out of the trade.  To make a trade fair some people use a vendor’s sell list to see if the trade is even.  I don’t really like doing that since the vendor pricing is heavily skewed against me.  EDH cards are generally bulk rares while staple Standard commons/uncommons are obscenely high (see Lightning Bolt and Wall of Omens vs Thrixamundar).  I have a value I put on cards in my head based on what I’m willing to pay for a given card if I were to pay cash for it.  You can ask people what they value a card at and negotiate, and you should do this often.  In the end if both parties agree and happy with a trade everyone is a winner.

Thanks for reading,

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 28, 2010 1:55 pm

    Ok well I missed the boat entirely on Fauna Shaman. That card is pretty good but I still think it’s overpriced as of 12/28 and no one is playing it in standard or extended at the moment. It will probably be unplayable in Legacy without papa Survival around anymore.

    Pretty happy with the rest of my thoughts overall. I might do another article like this when Mirrodin Beseiged gets closer.

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