Should I Quit Magic? The Financials of Magic The Gathering – The Raf Gaff with Roy Raftery

Should I Quit Magic? The Financials of Magic The Gathering – The Raf Gaff with Roy Raftery

Should I Quit Magic? The Financials of Magic The Gathering


Hey, welcome back to what will hopefully be an ongoing series. This week I wanted to discuss a topic that all of us have undoubtedly asked ourselves and relates to last weeks ideas about progressing as a player (if you enjoy financial, general information and statistic articles this is for you).

The topic of: Should I Quit Magic?

After a bad run at a PTQ or shock horror, a game day we ultimately ask ourselves is this worth it? Can I be successful? I read all the articles, spend money and time on the game and can’t even top 8 a game day let alone a PTQ. I’ve asked myself this question many times and came up with, what I believe is a good way of addressing it. Constructed a chart of my complete financial outgoings on a monthly basis of Magic.

mtg moneyMy theory is, if I’m spending to much money on the game and not getting a decent turn around of prize to cash ratio I should not invest as much money into the game or play it from a different angle, either casually or approach my game from a different level. Now while this works for the money side it does not take into account play testing, proxying decks and reading articles but you can argue article reading is just casual leisure time.

Its in the numbers

So this was my plan. Write down every event I go to in a month, include every penny spent at the event, travel, food, entry and anything in between. Next I would record the format and my overall result (by doing this you discover what formats your better in, that way if you did want to slow down but not give up the game entirely you get months of the year off and months on, say if someone’s a modern specialist, this also makes the cost cheaper and will give a person more recreational time on other hobbies). Lastly I would record my final result and any prize take home, cash, boosters, credit anything.

Now I’ve been planning this for months and was always going to start with December because I plan out my events each month, I’m a teacher and a dad so can’t go to everything. Because I won a PTQ this month obviously my take home will be a lot higher (£930 flight higher) so to balance this out I’m including my total cost of GP Bochum in November.

Event: Games club weekly Standard – Escapes Sports Bar London – Standard
Entry and travel: £5, £4.50 (Oyster return from London)
Result: 3-0-1
Reward: £15 of trader credit

Additional info: none

Event: PTQ Colchester – Xtremetrades – RTR sealed
Entry: £39
Travel: £7 (petrol split)
Result: 1st
Reward: £930 return flight to Canada and qualification for pro tour gatecrash

Additional info: £10 spent on food

Event: Games club weekly Standard – Escapes Sports Bar London – Standard
Entry and travel: £5, £4.50
Result: 3-0-1
Reward: £15 trader credit

Additional info: £7 spent in cash prior the event on modern cards

Event: Games club weekly Standard – Escapes Sports Bar London – Standard
Entry and travel: £5, £4.50
Result: 3-1
Reward: £10 trader credit

homework maths working out

Additional info: £7 spent on Burger King, £15 spent on 2 Temple Gardens

Additional monthly info – Buying Cards

£5 – Supreme Verdict buy a box promo
£4.03 – Cascade Bluffs
£8.97 – Sphinx’s Revelation

The Totals

Total travel: £52.50
Total entry: £54
Total additional: £39
Total reward: £40 (store credit), flight to Canada.

Even if we take away the flight to the Pro Tour, on average I believe I spend too much on Magic. Over a £100 on just travel and entry fees alone is a staggering amount but not anywhere unrealistic. Someone dedicated to a hobby such as Magic would even pay more, consider the cost of two PTQs a month. Now obviously PTQ’s are expensive and without it then my monthly outgoing wouldn’t be that bad but think about it, the playing on Wednesday nights, the draft and sealed FNM helped me win that illustrious prize.

So December only turned out to be a profitable month because of the PTQ win. It’s important to note the trader credit is like actual money. The credit is either exchanged for cards that I would have spent real money on, or it’s sold to a friend at a discounted rate. My results for my Standard deck are 6-0-2, the two draws were all in the last round and all because I wanted to leave early and I was guaranteed a profit of £5.50 (you’re rewarded with £20 if you 4-0 but after a long day teaching I usually just bail).

The events I plan on playing in this month are the Modern PTQ in Chesham and one, possibly two Wednesday night Standard events in London but for a basic idea of how to help players who have been pondering cutting or getting out of Magic entirely I wanted to offer this theory.

Grand Prix Bochum 2012 Financial Break Down

GP Bochum 2012

So as promised, here’s the event information and results for my trip to GP Bochum:

Travel £43 – car and ferry split
Hotel £80 – 3 nights in a quality hotel

Event: Super fnm – RTR sealed
Entry: €15 (because of gambling laws in certain parts of Germany the maximum they could charge for events at the GP was €15. I would happily take 6 packs of Ravnica for that!
Result and reward: 4-0 – 4 packs of RTR and 4 fnm promo cards (Forbidden Alchemy, Lingering Souls, Evolving Wilds, Tectonic Edge)

Event: Last chance qualifier – Standard
Entry: €10
Rhox FaithmenderResult and reward: 3-1 (these are single elimination rounds) and 8 packs of RTR. On a side note about opening packs, this is a great set to open with loads of worthwhile cards. Even something like collective blessing, while its not a buy buy buy card it’s still solid in Commander and has applications in Standard token decks so you’ll ways find a home for it, just look at how much something like Rhox Faithmender has gone up.

So I advocate opening packs of high value sets, if this was Innistrad I would have kept them for drafting or sold them on. As it turned out I opened a foil Rakdos, 2 shocks, Armada Wurm, Angel of Serenity and Dreadbore, no joke.

Main event – GP Bochum Standard
Entry: €15
Result: 5-3 (drop last round for dinner)
Reward: nothing (although the Lotus Cobra could recuperate some of the price)

Day two: Team RTR sealed
Entry: €15
Result and reward: 1-1-1 (drop to drive home, the event was massively attended and over ran by a good two hours just on the start time, the passing of the pools was sinful too with my teams original pool coming back to us.) My reward was the division of the rares (in 3 man team sealed you’re given 12 booster for the team).

Additional info
£35 – £25 on a meal that a friend insisted went on his credit card and £10 which I owed him from the car drive to the reading PTQ
£150 spending money. Although this isn’t in addition to the entry costs, this money was used to enter events, buy food, cards and everything in between.

Total cost = £308

Total reward = £40-50 (this is valuing the packs at £3, the FNM cards at around £10, lotus cobra at £10 and the odd rares from the team sealed)

As you can see that’s a significant hit.

So what does one do with the information?

You either set yourself a budget, give up other games to pursue Magic (a friend of mine is cutting his Magic collection because he plays Warhammer and at least 2 other card or table top games) or knowing how much money you intend on spending you have to dedicate that much time to prepare for the event. I’m sorry if you think that’s a giant cop-out but everyone’s final monthly outcome differentiate greatly.

One last point, my results at sealed PTQ’s has been decent, winning me packs that pay for the event or opening cards that I sold to claw the money back. I always recommend you do this to cover the cost of the event, even if your sealed pool claws you back £10, that’s a third of the entrance.

small thumbs upHopefully this has given you something to think about and been entertaining. Next week I want to address my choices and results for Standard and how I’ve still been brewing decks for Standard with Gatecrash even though only a handful of cards have been spoiled.

Roy Raftery (A non smoker, non drinker and single man)
Twitter: @Roy_raf


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