I have previously written articles on getting into Magic: the Gathering and even one with some advice on sealed and preparing for prerelease. This article is another kind of "introductory" article but in a different vein. In this article I will be discussing financing your MTG addiction.
For most, Magic isn't just a game but a way of life. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration but many people that play magic semi-seriously will spend a lot time and money on the game. I won't lie to you, but Magic can be quite the expensive hobby.
I am stepping out of my comfort zone with this article. I am not someone who is good with their money, particularly when it comes to Magic. However, I am aware of how I can improve on this and I do know how spend my Magic money wisely. Although, I often choose not to. For example, I recently (literally this week), fully built my modern UR Twin deck in about 4 days. Sideboard and all. Money was spent. Too much money.
Anyway, let's get to it.
First of all, let's talk about what you should spend your money on when it comes to Magic: the Gathering.
Sealed Products vs Singles
I am a sucker for fat packs. I have bought and will buy at least one fat pack from every new set that is released. However, this isn't an entirely efficient way to spend your magic money. Generally, sealed products aren't worth the money that they are sold for. Neither are booster packs or booster boxes. For experienced Magic players, a lot of the time it just isn't worth it to buy a booster box, or buy booster packs especially when you could be spending that money on the single cards you need.
Because you don't know what you'll be getting from your fat pack or booster box, you often end up wasting money you could have spent on the single cards you needed. And you could have saved a lot of money just buying that single card.
Don't get me wrong, I love cracking packs but honestly, it just isn't worth the money you're spending on it.
Now, you can get singles from many different places. Your LGS might have a couple of binders of cards, or you might buy them online or you might come across the only singles shop in London... (That's us!). However, in the interest of your wallet and time, you probably want to find the cheapest and most convenient place to get your single cards.
When looking to buy singles, I would suggest making comparisons between each retailer and seeing which one is the best for you! If cards are cheaper elsewhere, or you need them sooner rather than later, you might find yourself looking at somewhere local where you can pick up your cards or get them in store or somewhere that has all of the things you need at a lower price.
Buying singles is an art if you ask me.
As well as buying from retailers, there is always the option from buying from other players or even better, trading with them.
Most players ask for reasonable offers for their cards that usually amount to around half SGC (half of the price on Star City Games in dollars. For example, a $100 card would be £50 on a trading group). A lot of the time, this is cheaper than buying from a retailer however, this isn't always entirely reliable unless you are trading or buying from another player in store. I personally have never had an issue buying from players in the trading groups, however I know people who have.
Often in official trading groups there is a post that lists users and their positive feedback as well as the banned or restricted users in order to try and keep it's members safe so it's almost a completely safe environment to buy, sell or trade cards. However, I agree that most trades or sales should happen in store so if you get ripped off there are other people around.
If you wanna save mega magic bucks when it comes to getting singles, trading can be the most efficient to do so as you'll be getting rid of cards you don't need in favour of cards you do need!
Patience is the Key
Now, I am not very good at waiting. If I want to build a deck, I often try and get all of the cards in the space of a week. Never a good idea, especially when you prefer to buy cards over trading.
Recently, I built a complete UR Twin deck for modern. I bought most of the deck (playset of Mistys, playset of Tarns, 2 Snapcasters... my bank account is weeping) and traded for bits of it. However, I did all of this in a week. Less than a week! My deck was ready in about 4 days. Sideboard and all. This seriously took a toll on my wallet. This was a mistake. Although I now have another complete modern deck, I could have waited to build this deck, the same way I could have waited to build mono blue tron or my Rhys the Redeemed EDH deck. But I'm impatient.
The best way to build a particularly expensive deck is to trade for bits over time, buying in hard to find cards when you need to and just being patient. Especially in a eternal format like Modern or Legacy. Sure, the meta can change but more often than not, it is the same or similar decks on top. But seriously, don't try and buy all 75 cards in one go! Take it slow and you'll still be able to pay rent this month.
Another way to save money on your cards is speculation. More often that not, it's easy for cards like Collected Company and Kolaghan's Command to go under the radar, suddenly shooting up in price after a big tournament. If you've got an eye for Magic cards, it can be good for you to speculate over cards and try to get a hold of them before they go up in price.
Also, you can watch price trends and figure out the best time to buy a card. For example, right now would be a good time to buy a Snapcaster Mage. The card is ridiculously expensive but he is slowly dropping in price as the modern season comes to an end. Although, he did shoot up in price earlier this year after not being reprinted in Modern Masters 2015, he is beginning to decline again. The card is bound to go up once more as he becomes less and less in circulation and harder to get a hold of. Another good time to get a hold of a card is just after its been announced for a reprint. Whilst this doesn't happen very often with expensive cards and the price drop doesn't always last very long on staples, if you are quick, you can save a lot of money.
These were a few tips on saving your magic money, straight from my empty pockets. I hope this helps guide you in not making the same mistakes I have made in the past (and probably will do in the future). Check out all our other Magic articles here on Legion City!