Playing the Market: Knowing when to sell your Magic Cards

Recently I’ve been a lot more interested in the monetary value of cards and when their prices go up or down. I’ve noticed that as a set gets older and gets closer to being rotated out, it becomes increasingly difficult to sell those cards. So today I’d like to post a poll and get some feedback as to when you plan on selling your cards. Return to Ravnica arrives on October 5th, and on that same day all of the old sets (M12, Scars of Mirrodin, New Phyrexia, and Mirrodin Besieged) will rotate out.

We’ve already seen about 170 cards out of 249 spoiled for the M13 set. I’ll be posting a full article about it in another two weeks prior to the prerelease like I did with Avacyn. There’s a good chance that some of your favorite rares won’t be reprinted (any time soon at least), and maybe not at all. So why hold onto them if their value is only going to decrease in the future (this is assuming you’re only a standard format player like myself. If you are playing Modern or Legacy, no worries!)?

There are a few things you should consider before selling a card, or deciding to keep it:

  1. Set Specific cards – Take a look at your card. Do you think it will fit into a core set in the future? Will it fit into the new Ravnica set? If so, you should hang on to it. But consider this; Bloodthirst was a M12 only ability, and most likely it will not be back any time soon (maybe on Vampires in a future set, but not as much as it was in M12). Also, Infect will most likely not be coming back any time soon, as well as Phrexian mana. Cards like these that are set specific have very low chances of getting reprinted in the future. Because of this, I’m more likely to get rid of any Gutshots and Gitaxian Probes I have now than later. Same with Stormblood Berserkers. I plan on holding onto my Knight of Bladeholds and Beast Within though.
  2. Waiting until the card price peaks – We have one more set (M13) before the sets rotate out. Whenever a new set comes out, there will be new decks made using the new cards (along with the other ones already being used in the metagame). Some decks might get more popular, while others might drop in popularity (anybody seen UBW Spirts decks lately? Nope, didn’t think so. Wish I would have sold my Drogskol Captains for 100 yen before they dropped to 20 yen). Seeing the drop in popularity of a deck before the store “buy” prices tank is a good way to make some cash. Get rid of those popular/flavor of the week cards just when it’s popularity starts to wane. Don’t wait too long, or you’ll be stuck with extra cards post rotation. This is especially important if you have tons of commons/uncommons you want to unload. Places in Japan do buy common and uncommon cards btw. Not sure of places back in the USA or overseas though.
  3. Chances of being reprinted – Like I touched on above, I think if a card has a good chance of being reprinted like Birds of Paradise, Angelic Destiny, Hero of Bladehold, etc, then it’s probably a good idea to hold onto it. But what if the card is broken? Right now Sword of War and Peace is going for a hefty sum. What are the chances of it being reprinted in a future set? Hmm, has Fire and Ice been reprinted? No. Has Sword of Light and Shadow? Nope . . . most likely these cards won’t be reprinted, so if you want the nice stack of cash now, you should probably sell it. There’s a good chance the card will probably stabilize post rotation, especially if it gets used in Legacy/Modern/etc., but in all likeliness the peak of the card is going to be in the current standard environment.


So when are you planning on selling your cards? I’ll probably sell a few now, but wait a little longer and sell most of my big ‘rotation’ cards sometime in August before everybody sells their cards and push the price down. If you have any other opinions or advice of when to sell Magic cards, please leave a comment. Thanks for reading and please be sure to answer the poll!