Trading Up: A simple guide for new players By Gaz Hirst

Trading Up: A simple guide for new players By Gaz Hirst

Trading cards by name, trading cards by nature. Cards do not simply walk into our personal collection and we all want to hold onto our hard-earned cash for as long as we can. So how do we support this game we all love and get the cards we want with minimum monetary spend?

The answer is simple… Tournaments of course!

Half of the time we spend at tournaments– the hour or so before the tournament starts, the moments between rounds and even before the end of day draft –are spent hanging out with fellow players and collectors. These (as most of you will already know) are perfect prime time slots for “gettin-some-tradin-done” and here’s a quick run down and a few pointers to help you get your modest kitchen-table collection to Empire of Immense Proportions status!

Before we proceed, I would like to make it known that trading is great for the game equally as is supporting your local tournament organiser and trader. They all have important roles in the industry, born out of necessity and demand. If you do not have the time or energy to trade then buy from traders. Good traders will also be more than willing to trade with you and the top traders will already have a transparent and efficient trading system in place ready to cater for your needs. A good example is Manaleak who also do walk-in trades at their shop.

OK so lets crack on with it.

1) Know what you want.

Trading for cards is all about knowing EXACTLY what you want. There is little point in trading unless you are absolutely certain what you want. It may sound a like silly but a Wishlist of cards and the quantity is a great place to start, it’d certainly give you a sense of direction. This stops the Magpie effect (I want it, It’s SHINY!!!) when you see something you don’t really need. The list will also allow you to keep track of how many cards you have, after all I will admit I have inadvertently traded for a 5th Emrakul only to have to trade it on at a later date.

2) Sort your cards for trade.

Nothing can put off another person from trading with you than them going through your so called trade folder for you to say “I’d like to hang on to that card” for the 7th time. If it’s something you want to keep, put it in a differnent folder/box. This makes the whole process of trading much easier for both parties as it keeps things simple.

3) Know the value of your trades.

There is nothing worse than trading a card, particularly from a new set, for a desired card than to find out you have been fleeced. The whole basis for fair trade is based on 3 factors…

1) How much do I want/need this card?

2) Are the cards of similar value?

3) Am I happy to make this trade?

You must balance these factors carefully based on your situation and what you believe is good for you– after all nobody would trade you their Jace, the Mind Sculptor for your humble Birds of Paradise would they? This may sound silly but it could happen if they really NEED that card, they are happy to trade with YOU and they are aware that the card they are trading away is considerably more valuable. That Jace could after all be a one of or a spare (highly unlikely, but it could be your lucky day).

Also bear this in mind yourself too when trading. After all, if you have 8 copies of Day of Judgment, do you really need that many? Probably not, so trading down in value is not really an issue if you can obtain cards on your Wishlist.

4) Work with the other person.

Trading is a two-way street and requires the cooperation of both parties. Understand this and appreciate it. So you have a goal (Wishlist), the first thing to do is help the other person figure out what it is that they are looking for, explore their needs. Their needs can be anything, a particular card, a type of card for a deck, value etc. Be open, talk to them, and with them work it out.

Once you have both worked out each others needs, do your best to meet the needs of the other person first when trying to trade for the card(s) you want. Think: “I want this card, how do I help the other person get what they want so that we both get what we want.”

Set yourself in alignment with their needs and they will respond in kind.

5) Be prepared to compromise.

Don’t be afraid to haggle, as I said in the previous point, as long as both people are happy with the trade, everyone gets what they want and goes away happy. Take the following example:

You have a Baneslayer Angel and it’s current value is, lets say £22, are you going to refuse to trade for 4 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle because they are valued at say £5 each? So you lost out by £2 but gained 4 cards that you actually want. Besides, card prices go up and down all the time so that different might not even be the same next week. It is always good practice to have a sense of this dynamic when negotiating.

Negotiation is the key to sucessful trading. Be aware of what you are prepared to trade and be flexible. If you are not happy with a trade propose a counter offer and settle on a compromise.

Be realistic, if you only have 1 Gideon Jura, what are your chances of getting another? If you have a chase rare that is hard to get hold of, is it worth hanging on to on the off chance that you will get another? or are you prepared to trade it away for a considerable amount of less valuable cards but all from your Wishlist for it?

6) Look after your cards.

Nothing puts people off like battered cards. Invest in sleeves or binders/folders to store your cards. This one is a very important point to all those of you new to the game. Nothing destroys the value of your cards like not looking after them. I confess I was terrible for this myself when I first began playing and subsequently had to trade more cards, as their condition had reduced their desirability considerably.

Please in sleeved cards, store your cards in folders.

Folders are not expensive, they should be around £5 to £10, Manaleaks doing a special walk-in offer of only £1.99, some are even free! They will repay you in kind as they not only protect your cards but help you with keeping them in some kind of order… which brings me to next point…

7) Set, Colour, Rarity.

I find that ordering your trades helps potential trading as it makes it much easier to find and keep track of what you have for trade thus reducing any unnecessary stress for the other person and yourself. A good way to do this is: Set, Colour, Rarity and in that order. For example if I want to find Goblin Guide, I would go to Zendikar, Red section, Rares. Simples.

Time saved during trading can be a big feature as trading is normally done between rounds or before people start packing up to go home. Be mindful in such situations that time is limited and can cost you a potentially fruitful trade.

8) Be polite.

Being polite and being approachable doesn’t cost anything and just helps things run smoothly. No one wants to deal with someone being rude. You are effectively “selling” your wares and “buying” from the other person, so a little common courtesy makes people much more amenable to a proposed trade. I’m not talking car salesman smile here but try to be polite and it will pay dividends by helping you trade better and makes you new friends along the way.

Well that’s it, a basic guide for trading success…. As Del Boy would put it “Luvvly Jubbly”…

Thanks for reading and Happy Trading!

Gaz Hirst

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