Rags to Riches: Final Edition

Hello dear readers,

Yes, it has been awhile since our last episode but for a good reason; as indicated in my last article, I wanted to make this the last step on our mission to world domination… err, to our foil Force of Will. It isn’t really helpful that the card is on an all time high and sells for over $300 on bots, but such is the nature of the beast. Remember where we started? If it’s too long ago or if you just recently joined us, you can find the introduction here.

In our last article, “Rags to Riches: Week Twenty,” we traded for several midrange cards, bought a whole galaxy worth of Green Suns, and depleted our Ticket count doing so. So our priority now is as always gaining value and consolidating the bulk into Tickets if possible. Our collection value, ending the last session, was:

Mythics/Rares: 129 Tickets

Uncommons/Commons: 27 Tickets

Total value of collection: 156 Tickets

We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s go straight to the trading table and see what I did. Prepare for a lot of trades in this edition! I started off by purchasing two Zeniths – a black one and a green one. The price seemed to be quite good, and these cards should hold value over time. I like the flexibility and power of the spells and feel they will sell well in the future.

Next up was a little Goblin, a staple in all the hyper-aggressive red builds currently in Standard. This one is a foil to boot and seemed like a deal for 5 Tickets.

I’m spending Tickets again only to hopefully sell with profit. Checking the recent Standard results and the buying ads on the Classifieds, Wurmcoil Engine seems to find it’s way into decks. So why not get a few for a good price and resell the Wurm later?

So far so good. It is time to check a few bots and see if they have a foil I can arbitrage with. I do that in regular intervals about three or four times while online, and many times I’m out of luck. But sometimes, well, sometimes I hit…

That was a good deal, I guess. I am curious for how much I can sell the foil MOCS promo later. But meanwhile we can start selling some of the cards we’ve purchased. How about the Wurmcoil Engines?

Next up we sell the foil Elspeth and the Marsh Flats that we’ve had in our binder for a while. Remember, I need to cash in those cards to allow for new purchases. Even small profits are welcome.

Our little Goblin has to go next. But don’t be sad; he sold with profit. Farewell!

Next up was my trade with Academy_QuizBot — Yes, I know it belongs to us, but why pass on a few free cards? Check it out if you haven’t and keep track of the time limit!

Another card that is basically everywhere and always to be found it Standard tournaments is Sword of Feast and Famine. I spotted a sell ad for a foil one and immediately took the opportunity to buy it.

Do you remember the days when everyone was either playing Jund or hating on Jund? When Bloodbraid Elves were making lives miserable, and cascade was the Magic version of a lottery ticket? One Planeswalker made a brief appearance but somehow got forgotten: Sarkhan, the Mad. I was checking prices on some older cards and found an offer in the Classifieds that seemed too cheap. I checked the bots, and one of them was buying for a Ticket more then I would have to pay. Not much of a margin but it’s quick and free.

Our next sale involves our foil MOCS Ajani, which we bought for around 6 Tickets, as well as our regular Sword of Feast and Famine. Nice profits included.

I also thought I might sell some of the common bulk to a bot. It is not really profitable to sell to players due to the time involved and the low value, but bots might grab some of the stuff.

Then I went to a bot and purchased a few foil Elspeths for 8 Tickets each because they seemed to be a good deal. Three total is what I added to my portfolio (only showing one of the three screenshots).

Next up is a sale of our foil Tezzerets, a small but nice profit.

You might have noticed that I particularly like the foils from the DD sets. They are often overlooked and sell quite well if you can find them cheap on a bot. A more recent example of what you can do with them in a short amount of time will come later.

All the Green Sun’s Zeniths we bought last time for about 2 Tickets apiece have gained a bit value, and I am unloading a few of them for Tickets.

To understand my next purchase you have to wait until you see the one afterwards. At that point I had one Inkmoth Nexus in my collection, and while scanning the Classifieds, I found a player that was trading his foil Tezzeret for three Inkmoth Nexus. If you don’t have the material to make a favorable trade, try to get it ASAP! I opened chat with him, asked him if the trade is still valid and then immediately purchased two Inkmoth Nexuses from a bot, only to trade them away immediately for the shiny Planeswalker!

I was talking before about my secret love for the foil Planeswalkers from the Duel Decks and indicated a little something coming up regarding another one. As most of you know, Jace, the Mindsculptor is currently the most loved/hated card in the Standard circuit. Some want to ban him, others play him wherever and whenever possible. As it turns out, some people have thought about clever ways to either replace him or kill him, and one of the most elegant solutions for that is Jace Beleren! For a while I have been checking on the price of that little guy and was surprised that

a) Most dealers were sold out on Jace Beleren from M10, M11, and Lorwyn, which drove the price up

b) Apparently no one was paying attention to alternate art foil Jace from the Duel Decks!

This led me to believe that I can start to buy and trade for those in bigger quantities, sell them in the Classifieds, and rinse and repeat. It turned out I was right. Note: even though the following trades did not happen in chronological sequence, I am putting them together for clarity purposes (click on pic to zoom in). The trades that happend in between are depicted afterwards.

That was a total of 13 Jace Beleren for 5 Tickets value in Event Tickets or trade material. While buying, I advertised them in the Classifieds for between 7 and 9 Tickets and they sold, as I expected, quite well. I managed to sell all of them without much effort. Jace can make money!

That was fun! Unfortunately, it seems that bots have run out of Jace Beleren for me to profitably sell. So we check out the other trades I made meanwhile and after.

I sold my foil Sword of Feast and Famine to a player who responded to my classified.

Another response from my classified advertisement allowed me to sell 5 Duel Deck Planeswalkers for 34 tickets for a small profit.

Followed up with the sale of both my foil Promo Wurmcoil Engine and my most valuable card, the foil Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

This increased our ticket count to a nice value we can use to purchase higher value cards later on. I also went ahead and sold the foil V10 Sword of Body and Mind I have.

Equipped with so many Tickets, it is time to try to leverage them for some higher value foils. A good target seemed to be a foil Yawgmoth’s Bargain from Urza’s Destiny. The set is not heavily drafted, and the tournament-worthy cards (such as Yawgmoth’s Bargain) are in high demand. A fellow player was selling it for 60 Tickets in the Classifieds. I contacted him, haggled him down to 58 and was hoping to be able to sell for a few tickets profit to a Classic player.

Before I managed to sell the Bargain, I was able to sell my last Sword of Body and Mind from the V10 (From the Vault: Relics) set.

The Yawgmoth’s Bargain was posted on the Classifieds for a while, as well as posted on Classicquarter.com (a great resource to sell and buy foils). I found a buyer and sold it for 10 Tickets profit.

Again, hunting for foils we find a player that is selling the highly popular and expensive Unhinged foil basics. Unfortunately he has only the Plains left, but the price is a great deal, so I buy 20 of them for 2.5 Tickets each.

After we burn through our Tix, it is time to sell and trade a bit or grab a few cheaper cards for quick resell. Classified provides us with a small opportunity.

Our Unhinged basics are in demand, and we sell five of them for 4 Tickets each to a buyer that responded to our Classified ad. We are also able to sell our Phyrexian Crusaders, which are quite hot right now in various Infect builds, and we also decided to sell two of my Green Sun’s Zeniths for 5 tickets and change.

I have touched upon a special case on MTGO concerning foil cards used in Classic or Pauper. They can be worth a lot of tickets, even when the non-foil is worth little. For some players, it’s foil or nothing! Especially old blocks that are not drafted heavily have some nice examples. Currently Urza block has a bunch of nice foil commons that sell quite well. I picked one up on a bot and hope to be able to sell for a little bit more then I paid.

Another important lesson is that generally the higher the profit margin on a certain card, the lower the liquidity; it takes longer to sell a rarely-used foil than a Standard staple, so I am sometimes not really looking to gain value but to exchange for cards that are much easier to sell. The following is an example.

Two quick sales of the Inkmoth Nexus and the Black Sun’s Zenith follow suit.

I added a small foil common to the binder that might sell for a little more, to a fan.

Fortunately I was able to sell the foil Unhinged Plains for a nice profit in two trades. That gives us another Ticket boost.

If you follow my trades closely, you will realize that I often try to repeat trades that turned out well and sometimes forsake profit margin for turnaround. The Classifieds were showing a foil Sword of Feast and Famine for 24 Tickets.

Checking my standard bots led to great discoveries: Jace is back! It worked out so many times before, so let’s get going again…

And off they go!

As usual, I am checking back for my old buddy Jace Beleren to help me make easy Tickets. It works and works and…

Meanwhile I got a response to my forum post that I am offering 260 Tickets for a foil Force of Will. Now I am only 19 Tickets away, and to speed up the process, I sell a bunch of rares to a bot for 20 Tickets. That leaves me with 261 Tickets, a foil Sword of Feast and Famine, and tons of other cards after the final trade… here we go!

“Tuktuk,” the player who responded to my message, contacted me in game, and while I was selling my small rares to a bot, we had a bit of a chat about Classic, Vintage, and Magic in general. To make us both feel safe instead of sorry, we first traded my Tickets for his four Tarmogoyfs and then traded those back with additional Tickets in two swoops.

Wow, I can’t believe it’s finally done. A point I would like to stress is that of course there are other and more reliable ways to create value, if you move outside of MTGO or have huge resources, but my point here was that all the players that are idling within MTGO wondering how to support their hobby without spending tons and tons of money: there is hope!

I would like to leave you with a final screenshot of the card and the promise that I will be back at some point with more insights into the MTGO economy. In fact, you can expect something huge coming up in the future…

Take care all, and good luck with your trading!

  1. I think what a lot of people end up worrying about is how much time it takes to trade and how it takes away from time to play. I manage to do both, but am just barely ahead when it comes to trading.

    I also don’t have any bots that hold Duel Deck cards so that hurts my profits. :P

  2. Glad to see you managed to complete your goal. Sad to see this end. Besides ClassicQuarter and from your screen shoots SuperNovaBots. You didn’t mention much offline stuff or what you post for classifieds and other such details. It could be why some; such as myself can’t seem to pull of some of these big deals or so many of them. Not sure if its cause of the fame or not.

    Does anyone know how to make Windows 7 have taskbars like in the screen shots above? The way they have it set up sucks and there no orange blinking bar or anything when your not on MTGO and someone tries chatting with you or anything unless you got the volume up to hear the ding.

  3. Congrats on the foil Force of Will, i really liked this serie!
    You really had some great trades but a foil bargain for 68 ?!? how did u manage that? was it on the first hour destiny was online?

  4. @Auran Alchemist: Of course everyone has to find the balance that suits him in regards to play/trade. Most of the things I did do not require much time but rather diligence and quick actions. I just checked and Foilbot has foil Jaces; still for the same low price….

    @Nero64: My classified ads were pretty standard. I just made sure to have proper formatting and be at the computer to react to messages – that is already more then 80% of the traders do.

    @Bozsmits: It was pretty late in the process. I cannot remember the exact date but you can probably check the screenshot to see.

    Trading well is a skill as every other – you have to practise and learn. For everyone that wants to delve deeper into the subject we have good news; you can expect something big in the future!

    Thanks for your interest and good luck,


  5. Great series! Can’t wait for more.

    One question, though. When you said you checked the buy prices on bots, is that just checking in the Classfields or is there a resource that tracks this?

  6. The long time was mostly due to the fact that I had to pause the efforts due to other responsibilities or priorities. But it is interesting to note that it took exactly one year. I finished on the same day I started.
    The other factors where – no rip offs and the troublesome fact that Force of Will was constantly going up in price. When I started the foil was worth around 130 tickets. We all know where it’s now. Glad you enjoyed the ride, let’s see what article series we can do next that is different enough to keep it interesting.

  7. When I do ads like that they seem to take forever like a few days even when I’m trying to buy for the same price or better then others. What are some other offline resources you use? How about some things to take into account such as nix tix, evens, rotation, formats or releases? I would love to know cause this is pretty much the only thing I do with magic anymore and I’m not into following ever detail all the time. It feels like fame helped carry you and I refuse to believe thats your trick to all this.

  8. Fantastic work, Plejades. A mediocre pack turned into a FoW, amazing.

    Even more amazing: done without screwing anyone in the process. Just a smart guy getting smart deals. Real impressive, and I look forward to the big announcement!

  9. @alyo:
    There are various resources you can use to check the price bots (dealers) are paying for cards:
    a) Supernova has a buy list for all rare foils and non-foils.
    b) MTGO Traders has a hotlist on their page with prices for cards they are running low (also a good indicator what is really in demand right now)
    c) You can just open buy bots and check if and for how much they are buying your cards
    d) Type /join auction and see if someone is buying certain cards and how much they pay for it. WARNING: The auction room is often not really active and filled with people that chitchat unrelated stuff, often not PG13 ;-)
    e) Check Classicquarter for foil buying/selling prices as it is the home of many eternal players and foil collectors

    Ok, I guess I have made enough advertisement for other sites :-) Of course you can also send us a mail and ask what we are paying on certain cards if you intend to sell.

    There is of course much more you can can do and take into account then I was able to outline in my articles. If you want to go “all in” follow our announcements in the next weeks/month closely for some options you might be interested in.

    Thanks. It was a tough ride but also quite fun. From the beginning it was imperative for me not to use the “screw the clueless” approach. If you cannot make it without taking advantage of beginners it’s not worth doing for me.
    We will probably need 6 or 7 more weeks to get going what we have been planning but it should be interesting for a lot of players interested in the topic.

  10. foil Marsh Flat for 9tix? Wish i could find Guys like that too ;/

    GJ on the Artikels and Congratz for the FoW thou!

  11. Finally you list offline things I’ve been wanting so badly since you mentioned this was your last.

  12. Congrats on finishing the series! And muchos gracias, i learned so much from this!

  13. Very instructive series, thanks a lot! I had a quick question on this last update…what roughly was the time span covered in this last article? I ask because I’m curious if throughout the series most of the gains were made on longer-term deals where you bought cards that then went up in value, or if more were the sort of arbitrage you mentioned here where you find underpriced cards and turn them around quickly. Thanks!

  14. @TheGreenKnight: Glad you liked it. It is always a mix of both methods; I usually try to arbitrage if possible as that allows me to use my tickets again immediately but that is of course not always possible. Usually, at this stage of your collection you are better of with arbitrage then with long term investments. I sometimes also deliberately choose not to sell immediately even though it would be possible because I know I can get more with little patience.
    Frankly there are many more things one can account for and use to make money on MTGO but many of them only start working efficiently with more capital invested. I am planning to share my thoughts about this in a future projects. Thanks for reading,


  15. This was such a great accomplishment. Thank you for completing it. Now only 3 more foils to go =p

  16. Make sure you know what you’re looking for and the value of what you have. It’s very easy to give away too much for little return.