welcome to part one of today’s article that will focus on the different types of players out there and how to benefit from them when trading.
Lets start with a simple question:
Would you try to sell steaks to vegetarians for a profit?
No? Well, many traders do that in the sense that they are advertising their cards in the wrong market, either not selling or sometimes even worse, selling for far less then they could get doing it right. If you want to become an effective card trader you have to use ALL tools available to sell for the most and buy for the least amount possible. Let me explain in detail.
To sell and buy from the right people means understanding that people are playing Magic for very different reasons. Each and everyone of them tries to maximize their utility and return with what they see as pleasurable and fun. I would classify the players into the following types (most players having the features of several basic types):
The Drafter – this players main reason to be online is the advantage that he can draft any time of the day his favorite sets either casual, to qualify for online events or for real life tournament practice. Drafters usually have a good supply of standard cards and are often standard players themselves. Many of them do not care much about the cards they are drafting and only see them as additional source for tix to buy packs and enter tournaments. The fact that they have a huge pool of commons and uncommons makes drafters a very good source for bulk cards. They often sell their good rares cheaper then other players to get into the next draft queue, especially if they are not playing any constructed formats.
What worked for me here is to build good relationships with drafters so they come back to you and sell you their cards. To achieve this you have to offer fair deals of course, but if you manage it you will usually be better of then people buying at classified or even at bots.
+ good source of bulk common and uncommon from current sets.
+ usually cheaper then average classified prices.
- Not a big selection because they tend to sell fast.
- Many times no cards from older out of print sets available.
- Not interested in buying cards or trading casual.
The Standard Player - they want staples and chase rares from current sets. Standard players have a hard time to keep up with the newest deck developments and as soon as a certain deck emerges on top they try to get the key cards together. Cards such as Bitterblossom, Chameleon Colossus or Magus of the Moon where (or still are) expensive mostly because they are pieces of strong standard decks. They are usually not looking for cards that are not standard legal, often don’t care about foils and have a huge pool of cards from the newest sets. If you don’t play standard but are looking for good deals they are a good source for rotated cards or cards soon to rotate out of the standard environment. Rotations lead to many players trying to sell their cards to get tix for the new sets and often make for very cheap prices. Be aware of rotations will give you a good understanding of which cards to expect to drop in value and go in buy mode shortly before.
+ usually offer cheap cards from non standard expansions and soon to rotate editions.
+ pay premium for chase rares from current sets they need to build tournament decks.
+ huge pool of cards from current sets
+ often not interested in foils and a good source for trades that involve “foil to non-foil”.
- Often not interested in non-standard cards.
- Usually try to trade for staples that are easily sold or heavily used in tournament decks.
- Don’t have much cards from older sets or promotional cards interesting for collectors.
The Foil Fanatic - probably the easiest to recognize once you open the trade binder. Foil Fanatics want your foils and they will pay premium to get them. They are often Classic, Prismatic or Singleton players and try to foil their complete decks. They are in agony if they have to play with white bordered cards or non-foils and blind you when you play them with glittering and shinning cards. This player type is a very good trading partner if you have foils either from new sets (as they are still trying to complete their sets) or very old and rare foils (still missing from their collection). The best deals I have made mostly involved Foil Fanatics and admittedly, I am one of them. They will pay very high prices if you have the right card at the right time and we will discuss in part II where to find them. Never sell your foils to players that are not Foil Fanatics! Why? Because you lose a lot of profit in doing so.
+ Pay high premiums for foil cards especially from new sets and very rare foils.
+ Have usually a huge collection and a lot of tix which makes it easier to trade casual or sell.
- Not much interest in non-foil versions of cards
- Not easy to find (more of that in part II of this article)
The Dealer or Trade Shark - These people are online mainly to make profit. They know the card values very well and usually don’t care what they are trading as long as they are on the long end of the trade. They quickly pull out the money cards from your binder and are not always looking for a fair deal. In most cases you should not trade with them. Doing that constantly is the best way to see your hard build collection dwindle into nothing. They are usually an ok source for buying less popular cards or bulk as they prefer to keep the “hot” stuff and sell of the crap. If you are trading and he is asking you for a trade that is cleary in their favour he is either a beginner that has not idea of card values or, more likely, a Trade Shark. Some of them come in subtler versions seeking only small profits with every trade and in many cases this is acceptable if he has something specific you are looking for.
+ Often sells bulk and crap cheaply.
- You usually loose value with every trade you make with them.
- Some of them are trying to rip you off (A small part, I know, but still existing).
- Especially bad if you are Trade Shark yourself (two of them trading leads often to no trade).
The Beginner – Beginners tend to have very small collections mostly consisting of commons. They have no idea of card values beside the common, uncommon, rare distribution and are often looking for cards that are ignored by most other types. In most cases they do not have anything of interest for a serious collector but sometimes it pays of to deal with them anyway because they are giving away rares for bulk commons which is beneficial for both sides; the beginner gets a bigger card pool to build decks from and the other side gets rid of overstock and bulk for maybe a playable rare card. Usually I just give away a big bunch of commons and hope they come back when they have something interesting to sell or trade. Try to be nice and you could have a source that delivers for the benefit of both.
+ Often accepts bulk cards for rares
+ Usually not chasing the top cards from the newest sets
- Very little to offer
- Some can be very time consuming as they don’t know the cards and spend a lot of time reading.
I am aware that many players are a mix of two or more of these types and the classifications purpose is to showcase the the attributes of the archetypes. Tomorrow we will discuss how to find these players and which type of cross deals makes the most out of your money.