Puca Pals: Week 3 Report – Diving into Madness
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 3: February 26th – March 4th
Some might call it addiction, some might call it madness, but I call Puca Trade pure value. Going into week 3 of my experience with Puca Trade I had found myself addicted. I simply couldn’t get enough of sending cards out. I scoured my collection of cards on hand and took out anything that was remotely worth any money. I also took apart casual decks and my Soul Sister and BW Tokens modern deck to try and get some value out of them (I usually play affinity, burn, or my own Red devotion deck). At this point I was also looking heavily into the stores in my area to try and pick up whatever deals I could find. I would leave no stone unturned in my quest to maximize my profit. By week 3, I was also feeling pretty comfortable sending out Japanese foils and had made quite a good profit by doing so.
- Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (JP foil) x2
- Moonveil Dragon
- Praetor’s Counsel
- Elspeth Tirel
- Venser’s Journal
- Thorncaster Sliver (foil)
- Scute Mob
- Gideon’s Avenger
- Omnath, Locus of Mana
- Apostle’s Blessing (foil)
- Cyclonic Rift (JP foil)
- Chromatic Lantern (JP Foil)
- Everflowing Chalice (FNM)
- Phenax, God of Deception (foil)
- Parallel Lives
- Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
- Talara’s Battalion
- Rider’s of Gavony
- Ravenous Demon
- Utvara Hellkite
- Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
- Windbrisk Heights
- Spectral Procession
- Painful Quandry
- Champion of Stray Souls
- Tamiyo, the Moon Sage x2
- Overbeing of Myth
- Argivian Find
- Prototype Portal (foil)
- Mwonvuli Beast Tracker (Game Day)
- Serra Avatar (DoTP promo)
- Mindcrank (JP foil)
- Rhox Faithmender x2
- Akroma’s Memorial
Yeah, that’s a pretty long list. It’s close to double what I sent out the previous week. It also includes 5 JP foil transactions in which I successfully negotiated a premium price. While not everybody is up for paying anything extra for a Japanese foil card, there is definitely a market out there and being one of the few traders on Puca Trade with immediate access to Japanese foils has put me in a unique position. If you’ve seen my profile on Puca Trade then you’ve probably seen the list of all the JP foil cards I have up for trade. As more players in Japan sign up for Puca Trade I expect there to be a lot more Japanese foils available from other traders but at least I’ll have the experience and good rapport of my “customers”. I’ve already had some return business, and I hope that more people continue to come to me in the future for JP foils.
My Initial Cost and Total Shipping
By week three I was starting to burn through a lot of the cards that I had bought for cheap and I was now starting to invest my cash into cards around town that were a little more money but had big profits if I could move them on Puca trade. The Shu Yun foils were picked up at 200 and 380 yen apiece respectively, the Omnath was 500, the Chromatic Lantern foil was 1250 yen, and both Tamiyo’s that I sent out were originally bought for 400 yen at the LGS down the street from my apartment. While I did get some good deals over all, I was still a little bit too quick to pull the trigger on some of these cards as the potential profit just wasn’t there. Elspeth Tirel was bought at 800 originally to use in my BW tokens deck, and while I did make a few hundred yen on her, it wasn’t really worth it in the end. Some of the best deals I got in town were probably the Apostle’s Blessing foil for 50 yen and Mindcrank JP foil for 30.
My shipping costs this time around was a paltry 2730 yen. In week 2 I had spent 3600 yen in shipping due to using registered mail for an expensive shipment, and had also shipped a lot of lower value, single cards. I had learned from my mistakes in those first 2 weeks and by week 3 I was shipping out a lot more multiple card shipments in order to cut down on cost. I believe I shipped about 15 more cards than the week before, yet I was able to reduce my costs which I consider a small victory. Included in this price was a 160 and 190 yen envelope which contained 2 top loaders to protect multiple foils (which tend to be high profit items and worth the extra cost).
Profit Made and How Long it Took to Send Cards
So how does smart shipping and more restrained buying help the bottom line? in week 2 I sent 25 cards for 9752 point profit, or 390 points on average per card. In week 3 I shipped 39 cards for a total profit of 10,862, which comes out to a profit of about 278 points a card. Wait, what? I made less of a profit per card than I did the week before? Well, this is where shipping costs come into play.
After shipping all those cards last time I ended up with 6152 points of profit, which reduces my per card profit in week 2 to 246 points per card. In week 3 I had less shipping costs and after everything is calculated I made a profit of 8132 points, or 208 points a card. While the average points per card was lower, I did manage to get rid of a lot of chaff, or difficult to trade stuff. I sent a lot of these cards along with other high value ones which means they were pure profit and probably shouldn’t be counted in the average points received. I could probably classify 6 of these cards as throw ins to just add more value to my trade (such as Riders of Gavony), and if I do the math again it comes down to a much more respectable 246 points per transaction, which matches week 2. I’ll be trying to move away from these types of trades in the future, but from time to time I am happy to get rid of those extra cards cluttering up my trade binder/boxes.
The biggest number I can take from this week is that I reduced my losses even further to 25% of my profit from last weeks 37%. By shipping multiple cards and buying smarter, I DID become more profitable. While you won’t see it here, I think you’ll be seeing all of this experience coming to a head in the next few weeks.
Overall I would say that most of my shipments took about 7-8 days to arrive, but I did have some cards that I was worried wouldn’t arrive at all. I had a card sent down to Australia that took 12 days, 2 others sent to Austria that took 12 days, and another one sent to Pennsylvania in the USA that took a full 2 weeks and a day to arrive. Perhaps I’m spoiled, but I expect most people should receive their card within 10 days. Just as a reminder of common courtesy, please complete your trades as soon as you can when you receive your cards!
What I received/Learned
By week 3 I had enough points for some real cards to finally start pouring in. While I didn’t receive these cards until a week later, they were sent to me during week 3.
This beautiful Deathrite Shaman to complete my playset:
While it doesn’t show it in the picture too well, there were a lot of spots all over the front of this Thoughtseize like it had been played single sleeved instead of double sleeved. If you’ve ever seen a card that has been in the same sleeve for 6-8 months you know what I mean.
By far the best card I had gotten so far was this Griselbrand, at least as far as value is concerned.
I also managed to get my 3rd Geist of Saint Traft during week 3.
My main reason for getting the Thoughtseize and Griselbrand were to capitalize on the price disparity between the USA and Japan. Currently, Thoughtseizes sell anywhere from 3000-3500 yen ($28-$32) but I can get them on Puca trade for about 1900-2000 points (or $20). Griselbrand still sells for about 3000 yen + here, and buy lists in some places for 2000 yen ($18) while on Puca it was only 1700 points or so. Both will be great trade material down the road.
As for Deathrite Shaman and Geist of Saint Traft, I had always wanted a playset and felt like they were also undervalued right now (especially since they won’t see reprints any time soon). While Geist is about the same price here in Japan as it is over in the USA, Deathrite still costs around 1500-1600 yen or double the price tag of $8-$9 in the USA. Again, I think it will be good trade binder material in the future.
The biggest thing I learned during week 3 was what I said above in my profit portion: ship in multiples. It lets you move a lot more product for a lower cost and gets you more product in the long run. This is especially good if you’re shipping low profit margin products. Another thing I learned during week 3 was that some tokens are worth quite a bit of change. Well, I knew that the GW Elemental Tokens form Dragon’s Maze and the Wurm tokens from Scars of Mirrodin were worth something, but I was shocked to see that Kraken tokens from BNG and Vampires from DKA are also worth a nice chunk of change. Make sure you monetize all you have if you want to make some money on Puca!
The Great Divide – Price differences in Japan
I was actually going to save this information for my next article on Puca Trade, but things are happening so fast and there have been so many other developments that it seems like it would be better to share this information now. In my last article I talked about treasure hunting and how there were some deals to be made in Japan. I think this doesn’t only carry over to Japan, but also to where you live as well. I’ve noticed that most people in other countries outside of the USA such as Korea and Malaysia usually price their cards based on big companies like Star City Games or Card Kingdom, but not all prices will be the same. One my fellow Cardboard Samurai in Korea said that EDH isn’t too popular over there, which is the same as Japan. Now if most stores followed the USA prices they’d have to sell those cards at a high price, but would players in that country be willing to play it if the format wasn’t that popular or supported?
My answer would be no. I think that after a while store will realize this card just won’t sell at that price and they end up making their own prices to match their customer’s needs. This is the basic law of supply and demand. It’s my belief that even if you live in the USA you can still find really good deals. If everybody plays standard where you live, then there is a good chance that standard prices are high there while the the other formats a little lower than what you’d find online. This is where you can make some profit. If you spend some time looking around, you’re bound to make some profit.
Well, enough of that. I know what you really want to see is my updated list of cards that have significant price differences between the USA and Japan. This is how you can make some money if you’re visiting the country in the near future for an event like GP Kyoto or GP Chiba. (Keep in mind these are the prices as of this article. I used MTGprice.com for an average pricing)
Japan-USA Price difference list
- Door of Destiny (JAPAN 100 yen) – US $3.50
- Chromatic Lantern (100-150 yen) – $5.50
- Utvara Hellkite (100-150 yen) – $5
- 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) – $11-12
- 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
- Asceticism (200) – $6.50
- Coat of Arms (200-300) – $8
- Font of Mythos (200-300) – $5.50-6
- Gilder Bairn (100) – $3.25
- Creakwood Liege (300-400) – $11
- Balefire Liege (300-400) – $7.25
- Scourge of Valkas (150-250) – $4.50
- Apocalypse Hydra (300-400) – $8.50
- Chandra Nalaar (150-200) – $4.50
- Dragonmaster Outcast (400-600) – $16.50
- Rhys the Redeemed (700-1000) – $17.50
- Eladamri, Lord of Leaves (200) – $10-11
- Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (500-800) – $15.25
- Helix Pinnacle (200) – $6.50
- Phyrexian Altar (700-900) – $17.50
- Swarmyard (300) – $7.25
- Wound Reflection (100) – $5
- Boon Reflection (100) – $5
- Black Market (400-500) – $13.25
- Timber Protector (200-300) – $7.25
- Forced Fruition (100-150) – $6.25
- Scarecrone (300-400) – $14.25
- No Mercy (300-400) – $9.25
- Captivating Vampire (150-200) – $7
- Vigor (500-600) – $14.75
- Bloodline Keeper (100-150) – $3
- Elbrus, the Binding Blade (50-100) – $2.50-3
- Unwinding Clock (100) – $3.25
- Lighthouse Chronologist (400-500) – $9
- Godsire (300) – $7.50
- Nemesis Of Reason (250-300) – $7
- Doubling Cube (200-300) – $7
- Gilded Lotus (200-300) – $5.50
- Master of the Wild Hunt (800) – $14.75
- Elvish Piper (300-400) – $7-8
- Dragonspeaker Shaman (100-200) – $5
- Dust Bowl (400) – $8-9
- Phyrexian Tower (800-900) – $14.50
- Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary (1000-1100) – $20
- Nissa Revane (500-600) – $14
- Tamiyo, the Moon Sage (800-1000) – $18.25
Some of these deals are downright unbelievable. There are hundreds of deals to be made if you know where to look in Japan. This is a much more extensive list than the last one. I put it together by looking at Channel Fireball’s buy list then doing some research of my own around town here in Nagoya as well as looking online. A disclaimer though – not all stores will have these same prices. Some might be lower, some higher, and some might actually be the same price. In all likeliness, you won’t find that many great deals at the big stores in Tokyo, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Osaka. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, but I wouldn’t expect you to find that many.
No, where you’ll find the best deals are going to be in smaller cities, at local shops, and pretty much everywhere else I recommended you look in my previous article. To show you what I mean, I recently went to Hamamatsu city in Shizuoka prefecture in Japan. The city has hosted a Grand Prix or two before, but it’s Magic community hasn’t really grown like Nagoya’s has. There used to be only one store in the city (well, good one), Master’s Guild. Now there are a total of 5. Competition is tough and sometimes it’s all about location, location, location. Both TCG 193 and C-Labo are close to the main station, but Master’s Guild is a bit of a walk from there. There is one thing they all have in common though: Amazing prices.
I dropped about $110 at my first two stores, C-Labo and TCG 193 in Hamamatsu. I was especially proud of the 550 yen Rhys the Redeemed, 500 yen JP Foil Sheoldred, the Whispering One, and a 1750 yen Avacyn, Angel of Hope. The entire bottom row was foil and I got them all for about $40.
Whatever I got at those first two places paled in comparison to the deals that I received at Master’s Guild. I spent another $110 or so here and almost wet myself with how cheap some of the cards were. 40 yen Darksteel Plates, 350 yen Black Markets, 100 yen Forced Fruitions, a 500 yen Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, 300 yen No Mercy . . . when you total it all with tax, I still probably tripled my money. The sad thing is that I ran out of money and had to leave a good many cards behind. There are still lots of deals to be had in Hamamatsu.
I was pretty motivated by my success in Hamamatsu that weekend and went to one of my local stores here in Nagoya, Mishimaya to give it a once over with this new list I put together. Mishimaya is a mom and pop store that is based on consignment. Players put their cards up for sale there, and when they sell they get the money from them while the store gets a small cut. This usually works out better for the players than buylisting, but you have to keep up to date on prices or else you can lose out on some profit. Apparently, not everbody got that memo. ^_^
Call me crazy if you want, but I consider it good business sense. Puca Trade has allowed me to buy out cards that originally were very to move in Japan for a very cheap price and to ship them for a healthy profit. My initial goal on Puca trade was to get rid of all of the bulk and untradeable cards that have been building up in my binders and boxes, but now I find myself constantly looking for deals to further help my Puca Trade account.
Some people are saying these cards might be hard to move, but I beg to differ. English cards can be buylisted back in the USA or other places, and eventually the Japanese market will catch up to the USA. I don’t expect it to happen soon, but as Puca Trade spreads and people visit the country for GPs and what not, the supply will slip and the prices will go up. Until that time happens though, I’ll happily pick up whatever deal I can find.
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 later this week for my thoughts on how Dragons of Tarkir will affect card prices in Standard!