Puca Pals: Week 2 Report – Underpants Gnomes
Puca Pals is a weekly/bi-weekly article I write to chronicle my adventures on Puca Trade, the online trading system where Magic Players around the world trade with each other. In the articles, I will be discussing what cards I’ve traded away, the total amount of shipping I’ve paid, the total profit I’ve made after shipping costs, and what cards I’ve received in return. If you have any questions regarding the website feel free to ask. If you want to make your own account there, click on this unique invite link of mine and get started!
Week 2: February 18th – February 25th, 2015
If week 1 was a trial run, then week 2 was the real thing. With everything I had learned and all the mistakes I had made, I was ready to put it all into practice and see if I could start making some real money from Puca Trade. By week 2, I was ready to send out more expensive cards and reap the profit associated with them. I sent out my first 3000 point + card along with registered mail (it arrived with no problems), and also negotiated my first transfer of bonus points for a Japanese foil card.
- Syphon Sliver x2
- Crystalline Sliver
- Avacyn, Angel of Hope
- Striking Sliver (JP foil)
- Blood Artist
- Surgical Extraction
- Grimoire of the Dead
- Fracturing Gust (FTV)
- Venser the Sojourner
- Hero of Iroas
- Crucible of Fire (JP foil)
- Sword of Body and Mind
- Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
- Platinum Angel x2
- Chandra, the Firebrand x2
- Horned Sliver
- Rune-Scarred Demon
- Utvara Hellkite
- Darksteel Plate x2
- Gilder Bairn
- Parallel Lives
My Initial Cost and Total Shipping
Just at it was with the first week of cards I sent out, in the second week my initial buy in was also really low. I had bought Avacyn, Angel of Hope for 600 yen back during AVR when it was exploding in value back in the USA, a Hero of Iroas for 200 yen, and a Japanese foil Crucible of Fire for 20 yen (crazy cheap deal at C-Labo in Nagoya). I also picked up Tamiyo for 400 yen for about a month ago. I got a lot of great deals around town for most of these cards: Platinum Angel (150 yen), Parallel Lives (30 yen), Utvara Hellkite (50 yen), Darksteel Plate (30 yen each). The only card I didn’t really good a good profit on was Chandra, the Firebrand at 150 yen a piece.
My total cost for shipping this time was 3600 yen, which included a 520 expense to send my Avacyn, Angel of Hope with tracking. It was my first truly expensive card to send through Puca Trade, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose all of those points. Since I had paid 600 yen for it originally, adding another 500 to the cost was nothing. It still netted me quite a lot of profit.
Profit Made and How long it took to send cards
You can blindly buy cards and hope for a big profit down the road by speculating, but that’s what I call the Underwear Gnome effect. You can collect tons of cards you think will go up in value and sit on them, but the best way to make money is the same as it has always been: buy low and sell high. I did a lot of shopping around and found quite a few good deals (which I stated above in my initial costs). Let’s start off with Avacyn. I spent 1100 yen altogether on it, but ended up making around 2000 points in profit on it. Crystalline Sliver netted me 694 points, Surgical Extraction 465, Venser, the Sojourner 616, Sword of Body and Mind 769, and Tamiyo around 1000 points. 410 and 412 points profit on the Platinum Angels was also pretty nice, and Darksteel Plates have been cash cows for me on Puca Trade. They are still incredibly cheap around Japan ($1-$2) but are fetching close to 700 points now which means I can double or triple my initial cost on these. I bought quite a few at 30, 50, and 100 yen and am now reaping the benefits.
In week 2, I made a whopping 9752 points in profit. When shipping costs were subtracted I made a total of 6152 points. I reduced my losses to about 37% of total profit from the previous week’s 46%, and I consider that a small victory. It was still a lot, but as I send more and more high value cards, that number will continue to get smaller. Week 2 was the first time I sent out Japanese foil cards for extra points, and it will only get better from here on out. I also sent out my first double shipment, or multiple cards to the same person. Not only does it help me to make a larger profit on smaller value cars, but it also clears out my binder faster.
The average time it took for my trade partner to receive and okay my card was between 7 and 8 days for the most part. I had a few people okay my cards around the 12 day mark (in Canada, Philippines, and Australia), but I’m going to guess that it was due to how remote of a place the person is living in.
What I Received/Learned
By my second week, I had a decent number of points piling up in my account and cards were starting to pour in as well. My first two money cards to arrive brought me new found hope in the Puca Trade process. If you spend some money to send stuff, you will be rewarded.
On top of the beautiful Restoration Angel and Deathrite Shaman that I received in the mail, I also got 2 perfect condition Scavenging Oozes from my buddy Aroni in Kyoto. Now you have to understand that these cards were what the cards I sent in week 1 got me. Week 1 was mostly junk rares that I had no hope of trading away and would be glad to get rid of if I could get what I ended up receiving in trade.
I learned quite a bit in my 2nd week of Puca Trading as well. As I said earlier, I sent my first foil card in the mail during week 2, and I did it after negotiating a price increase since it was a Japanese foil. If you’ve seen my profile, then you know that I have quite a few Japanese foil cards for trade, as well as regular cards in Japanese. I’ve become accustomed to asking players by private message if Japanese is okay before locking in a trade, and when dealing with foils I also ask them if they would be willing to transfer points to me as a bonus for the foil being Japanese. There are a few people that don’t offer any type of extra points for JP foils, but most people have shown to be interested.
As a rule of thumb, I’ve been asking people if they are okay with giving me 1.5 times the amount of a normal English foil. I’ve talked to a few people that deal a lot with JP foils or trade them often, and they’ve all said that 1.5 times an ENG foil is fair. Sometimes the JP foil might be 3 or 4 times more expensive (like Karn Liberated. English is $100, but JP foil can be around $300). Some people might talk you down to 1.3 times, but for the most part traders have found the 1.5 amount to be fair. Since I’m dealing with cheaper foils, it usually just ends up being an extra 200-300 points. It adds a nice margin on my initial buy price, most of the time even covering what I originally paid for it so that I receive the entire foil point price in profit. I’ve also been doing this with FNM promos that are even rarer in Japanese overseas. If you’re interested in seeing what foils I have available for trade on Puca Trade, you can check out my profile here.
Looking for good deals and high profits can be hard in some places. Most places in the USA update their prices daily to keep on top of the current trends which makes it hard to sneak into a place and snatch up some bulk rares before they jump up to $5 a piece. You can speculate of course, while watching a pro tour or Grand Prix, and you can also try to guess which cards might spike after seeing a new set’s spoiler list. In those cases, timing is everything. I’d like to offer you two more ways to jump on cards in order to make maximum profit.
The first one is using foreign websites such as TokyoMTG.com, Hareruya, or other store outside of your current country. Metagames tend to be different and some players are ahead of the curve. We might see some sweet new tech developing in modern over in Europe, or some crazy combo or aggro decks coming out of Japan for standard. One example would be Scavenging Ooze and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Both cards are worth about 500 points on Puca trade, but in Japan they sell for 1000 yen easily. Some players just like different cards, and not everybody copies what’s going on over at SCG opens or tournaments in the USA. If you see a card showing up a lot overseas, it might be worth picking up a few where you live for cheap.
The other tip I have for you is to go to out of the way, less busy Magic stores. Mom and Pop shops and places in the countryside are where I’ve gotten some of my best deals on Magic cards in Japan. Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, and Osaka tend to be on the ball and their prices almost mirror what cards are going for back in the USA. Turn on the MTG locator and find stuff outside of the city and you can get some real deals.
Today I’d also like to share with you the list I’ve been making of cards available in Japan for cheap that can fetch you a nice profit on Puca Trade or back home. As some of you might know, EDH is NOT a big thing in Japan and therefore the cost of cards that see heavy play in the format are absolute steals if you know where to look. Below you will find a list of cards with what you can usually buy them for in Japan, and how much they are currently worth MTGPrice.com or Puca Trade.
- Door of Destiny (100 yen) – US $3.50
- Chromatic Lantern (100-150 yen) – $5.50
- Utvara Hellkite (100-150 yen) – $4
- Akroma’s Memorial (200-400 yen) – $10
- Primordial Hydra (200 yen) – $6.50-$7
- Gisela, Blade of Goldnight (300-400) – $11
- Exquisite Blood (150-200) – $5
- Mikaeus, the Unhallowed (500) – $11
- Balefire Dragon (100-200) – $7
- Parallel Lives (100) – $4-$5
- Quicksilver Amulet (100-200) – $7-$8
- Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger (300-400) – $15
- Sheoldred, the Whispering One (400-500) – $10
- Darksteel Plate (100-200) – $6-$7
- Elspeth Tirel (700) – $12
- Venser’s Journal (50-100) – $3
- Platinum Angel (200-300) – $7
This is by no means a complete list, but it’s what I’ve put together so far. For somebody living or visiting Japan it’s worth picking these up if you’re looking to turn a decent profit on Puca Trade or want to fill your binder with decent cards for cheap. Most of these are casual or EDH staples, and if you have a buyer set up at home (such as buy listing them for double what you paid) you can make a nice little profit. Shopping at stores outside of the big cities isn’t the only way to find deals either. In Japan, many stores cater to other card games such as Yugi-Oh and therefore aren’t as focused on updating their MTG prices. You can sometimes find some awesome deals on Magic cards there and they won’t be the wiser. I’ve picked up hundreds of cards for a fraction of what their true value is and turned them around to make a profit. With some extra time and a few places to check out, you can make a killing!
If you enjoyed this article and are convinced to start a Puca trade account, feel free to thank me by using this link to give me a referral bonus! If you are already a member (and have a silver or gold account) and want to show your appreciation, I’m always willing to accept gifts of points ^_^. Just check out my profile and click the “SEND POINTS” button.Thanks for reading and be sure to check back next week for my thoughts on the Dragons of Tarkir set!