Read me on Quiet Speculation

If Quiet Speculation isn’t part of your normal Magic content rotation – well, why isn’t it?
Head on over there right now to read a guest post I wrote that talks about why I keep track of card prices.
It’s not because I like to wheel and deal a whole lot. But it has a lot to do with making sure I get the most for my Magic money over the long run.
Click here to read the guest piece and then hit me up on twitter and let me know what you think.

Buying Conflux

As I’ve said previously, my basic pattern for buying any new set is to start by picking up a full common/uncommon playset as a unit (that’s four of each common and uncommon card in the set). This saves me the trouble of trying to guess which commons and uncommons will be useful in, say, the Extended lifespan of the set. It’s also more economical over even a moderate time window, especially as some uncommons pick up value. I expect Path to Exile to be that kind of uncommon, for example.
After that core purchase, I then look to pick up rares that I expect to want to use, with an eye especially toward picking up now those rares that will go up in price for much of the foreseeable future. For example, I picked up my Elspeths for 8 bucks each when the set came out; my local store is now offering 20 dollars credit for Elspeth these days.
In our ideal world, all the rares work like that. Well, in my ideal world, anyway. However, some rares are clearly and immediately good. These cards still tend to rise in price over time, so we want to get them sooner rather than later.
Click through to the extended for my purchases…

Continue reading

Recommended seller: DJ Magic Cards

Last month, I talked about how I buy cards when I discussed my projected purchases from Shards of Alara. In that post, I mention that I buy through ebay, but I realized since then that I should have amended that to say that I buy largely from ebay, with the exception of some additional purchasing through sellers I know from ebay.
Over the course of the last year or so, ebay has become a bit more difficult for collectible game sellers, as the minimum price for store items has gone up, making it hard to effectively clear out back stock of low-cost singles. Combined with the ever-present listing fees, it can end up being more economically sound to have your own store. As it happens, sometimes one of the sellers I use on ebay goes ahead and splits off their own store, although they usually keep their ebay account as well.
Today, I’m giving a heads up about DJ Magic Cards. Since I got back into the game, they’ve been one of my purchasing stops. They’re easy to use and reliable, and always ship promptly. As is always the case with sellers, their prices may end up being higher than you can get in an auction — but often they’re just plain old cheaper, and also as always, you’re saved the trouble of dealing with auctions if that’s a problem for you or you just don’t like having to do last-second bids. They offer discount coupons for each new release, and their shipping is cheap.
If you’re buying Magic singles, I recommend looking to DJ Magic Cards as a solid, reliable source with good pricing and cheap shipping.

Sticker shocklands, once again

In the last two months, I’ve been thinking of (gradually) picking up a full set of the shocklands, those Ravnica duals that are nearly as good as the classic, Legacy-and-Vintage-only duals I sold off two years ago. I have two reasons:
1) I think they’ll be back in a core set soon enough, perhaps as soon as eleventh edition (which I hope maintains tenth’s black borders, by the way)
2) Once Extended rolls over in late 2008, we’ll actually have the makings of a decent Extended card set across my pool of friends (for this same reason, I’ve been rounding out my Kamigawa collection, since I’ve gone back and decided I really do enjoy the flavor of Kamigawa block after all)
However, you always need more lands than anything else, and with only one amongst us having Ravnica duals, it figures that we’re going to want more. Fair enough — there’s no rush, so we should be able to pick up them up at a fair price…and until the beginning of December, that was true, with playsets of four shocklands going for less than twenty dollars.
But not anymore. Checking in with ebay shows that the prices are shooting right back up, although still short of their full-legal-in-Standard heyday. So what gives?
It’s PTQ season for PT Hollywood!
With an Extended PTQ season kicking up on January 5th, it’s no wonder that people are rushing to pick up shocklands and the prices are going back up. Fine by me, as I’m almost certainly not going to waste my money by trying to play in an Extended PTQ. I will look forward to the end of the PTQ season in early March, when people will be dumping their duals once again. In the meantime, I remain fascinated by the forces pushing the Magic secondary market.