Puca Pals: Week 5 – The Man with the Plan
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 5: March 12th – 18th
After the Pro Tour 2 weeks ago and 2 Grand Prix in Krakow, Poland and Kyoto, Japan last week, the Puca Points finally seem to be flowing again. Standard saw the biggest bump in value after the Pro Tour, with more than half of the dragons lighting up the want lists on Puca Trade. It was great for sellers that wanted to out their cards right away and make a nice profit on them. I was lucky to have bought my GW and GR Commands as well as Den Protectors during the first week of release.
But this isn’t about what standard cards I got my hands on for cheap. No, this is article about great deals I’ve found, the profit I turned off of them, and how I’ve been trading up in value. Lets turn back the clock a little bit a few weeks. March 12th to the 18th was the first week after my shopping spree in Shizuoka and I was anxious to put all of my recently acquired deals up on Puca trade to see what I could get. No longer was I hoping to make small change. I was ready to really dig into the bigger cards for higher profits. Here’s what I sent out in week 5.
- Font of Mythos
- Primeval Bounty
- Izzet Charm (promo)
- Nightveil Specter
- Wild Defiance x3
- Rhys the Redeemed
- Timber Protector
- Primordial Hydra
- Darksteel Plate
- Wound Reflection
- No Mercy
- Huang Zong, Shu General
- Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
- Varolz, the Scar-Striped (foil)
- Primordial Hydra (foil)
- Mystic Monastery (foil)
- Frontier Bivouac (foil)
- Dragonmaster Outcast
- Khalni Heart Expedition
- Scourge of Valkas
- Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
- Phyrexian Altar
I sent out 24 cards during week 5, which is one of the lowest amounts I’ve sent so far, but the value of these cards was one of the highest I’ve sent out yet. I was able to move much more expensive cards, and also had 2 big transactions that saved me a lot on shipping.
My Initial Costs and Total Shipping
I don’t think there was one card that I didn’t pay money for on this list, but all of the cards I bought were gotten for a great deal less than what it would cost overseas. Before leaving for Hamamatsu that weekend, I did my homework and poured over buy list information on Channel Fireball to get a long list of cards that could be bought for cheap. I got 3 Wild Defiance for 50 yen each, Rhys the Redeemed for 720, Wound Reflections for 100, Dragonmaster Outcasts for 700, Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund for 514, Phyrexian Altar for 771, and No Mercy for 308 yen.
All of these doubled the value of their initial investments, but my best deals were gotten on Tamiyos for 600 yen, Primordial Hydras for 20 yen, and Darksteel Plates for 50 yen each. I was also able to out a few Japanese foils that I had been holding onto for a while. My foil Primordial Hydra bought at 600 yen netted me a nice chunk of change, and the foil tri-lands I picked up for under $1 each were also good trades.
As for shipping, 12 trades only cost me 110 yen in shipping each for a total of 1320, and another one sent to Singapore only cost me 90 yen. My most expensive shipments cost me 190 and 160 yen respectively because of a heavier package to accommodate multiple foils. All together, it cost me 1760 yen for 24 cards, or an average of 73 yen. This was pretty much the same it had cost me per card last time.
Profit Made and How Long it Took to Send Cards
Dealing in more expensive cards has definitely paid off. Even though I sent less cards than usual, I made the most profit ever: 11263 points. With a lower amount of cards sent, this also led to the best per card profit of 469 yen. Of course once shipping is subtracted the new average is 396 yen per card, but even then it’s still pretty impressive. I should note that this is higher than any of my pre-shipping averages too. I attribute this to 2 big, multi-card deals which included foils that I got a premium on, as well as half of the cards initially costing less than 100 yen to buy. I got multipliers of x3 and x4 on many of these cards.
As unbelievable as it sounds, my losses dropped to 15% of the total profits. Last week’s 21% was pretty good, but it looks like I haven’t maximized my profits yet. It’s going to be hard to beat 15%, but the more high cards I get my hands on and the more I send in one package, the better it will get.
Overall, I would say that the 25,000 yen ($210) I spent on cards that weekend in Hamamatsu was money well spent. I’ve spent more money on singles than I ever have due to Puca Trade, but I’ve also saved a lot of money. I’m not buying as many standard singles, I’m selling into value spikes, and I’m able to get cards from the USA at vastly discounted prices compared to Japan. I’ve also been selling cards here and there at the consignment shop in Nagoya and at shops around town. It might take a while, but I’ll eventually come out even with the cash I spent and have a lot more valuable cards than I started with. I didn’t have any problems sending cards this week either. Most of them reached their destinations within 8 days.
What I Received/Learned
After week 4, I always seemed to have a steady stream points coming in from all the cards I was sending, so I was able to really bring some value back from all the bulk, casual, and EDH cards I had been sending out.
I picked up 3 Chain Lightnings to complete my playset of regular ones, but also so I could sell the foil duel deck versions that I had bought at 1000 yen for a premium. I managed to put together a 2nd playset of Thoughtseize during this week as well so I could have them all in the same language. The card is still selling rather briskly at $30+ in Japan, so I’m able to get quite a bit of profit from the cards I don’t need.
As for the Knight of the Reliquaries and Mutavaults, I felt like they were undervalued and decided to pick them up as a long term investment. Both cards are still selling for double their value on Puca Trade in Japan, so even if there was little movement from the cards in the next few months I could still make a decent profit on them. I’m actually considering putting together at Hatebears deck in Modern if more of the cards in it are reprinted in Modern Masters 2, and the Knight wouldn’t be a bad choice in it.
What I learned in week 5 was that I could make more profit/value by spending more money on more expensive cards with high profit margins instead of trying to send out the small stuff and making the value up through bulk. While I’m always willing to buy some stuff for 50-100 yen then sell it for 7-8 times what it’s worth, I feel much better buying one thing for 1000 that I can sell for 2000-3000 yen. That’s what I’ve been doing with cards like Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, and it’s been bringing in steady streams of profit while keeping my shipping costs low.
Best Laid Plans
“the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” – Robert Burns
The world of Puca Trade changes with the wind. One card can be smoking hot one week and then ice cold the following week. It’s a tricky game to play well, but there are many different ways to play it. When we put cards on our want lists, we are at the whim of the person with the card. Whether they decided to send it or not is entirely up to them. This makes it hard to jump on specific cards at they spike, but makes it incredibly easy to dump cards at their peak. Today I’m going to discuss the importance of having a plan, or an objective when it comes to playing the Puca Trade game.
Trading for what you need
By far the most widely used reason for Puca Trade is to trade for what you need. If you’re a building a deck in any format, Puca Trade is a great tool for doing so. This will also net you the most value out of your points. Even if the card goes down in value, you still have a card that you can use and need. Many MTG Finance people that use Puca Trade tend to say that this is the best use for your puca points.
So far, I’ve used Puca Trade to get some Monastery Mentors for my Mardu tokens deck, Containment Priests and True-Name Nemesis for my Jeskai Delver deck, and even Flamewake Phoenix for a FNM worthy Red Devotion deck. Whenever I want to build a standard deck but don’t want to spend double or triple the money (due to local prices here in Japan), I ask for cards on Puca trade. While I have to wait 2 weeks usually the shipment, it still is welcome and saves me money in the long run.
Trading for Value/Trading Up
This here is the dream of most Puca Traders. People want to toss away all of their bulk cards and build up a bank of thousands of Puca points then use those cards to get cards that are inherently worth more than what they traded away. You might have have 4 Utvara Hellkites that are worth $5 each, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a card like Thoughtseize in trade for them.
However, if you have the 2000 points that you received from trading away those Hellkites then that is worth a Thoughtseize. While you might not need these type of cards right away, they have more worth than what you traded in order to get them and are more valuable in the eyes of other players. Before GP Kyoto, I was trying to get my hand on lots of legacy staples to trade away at the event. I picked up Thoughtseize, Containment Priest, Dark Depths, Counterbalance, Stoneforge Mystic, and Craterhoof Behemoths for this strategy. I basically took things I had no chance of trading away at an event like a Grand Prix, and turned them into cards I COULD trade away.
This is also a good strategy for those of you using Puca Trade. Depending on where you live, you could get your hands on some hot cards that everybody wants and trade them away easily to get cards you want. Is Modern a thing? Get those Splinter Twins sent to your place. Or perhaps Legacy is what you’re into? Trade into some Containment Priests. Puca Trade is incredibly flexible in that it allows you to pick up staples and cards that otherwise might be in low supply where you live. It’s a great way to help markets reach equilibrium.
Trading to Invest
Everybody wants a dual land. Take a look at about 100 people’s want lists, and I guarantee you that 75% or more of them are looking to pick up a dual land. Are they building a deck with them? Probably not, but it seems to have become common knowledge that if you want to invest in MTG cards, pick up either the Power 9 (Lotus, Moxes, etc) or pick up dual lands. It’s not a bad idea, but you’re not the only person doing it so it becomes that much harder to get your hands on investment materials. I’ve had dual lands in my list since I started trading on Pucatrade, and I still haven’t had a dual land sent (of course I’ve only had enough points to pick one up for the last 2-3 weeks or so).
In the meanwhile, you are sitting on 20,000 + puca points that might better serve you picking up cheap staples that you can flip for a nice profit margin in the future. Sure duals will probably continue to go up in price, but there are plenty of other cards that will also hold their value in the future and will be good places to put your hard earned points in order to make even more in the future. You need to be creative when it comes to choosing investment targets. It’s just like diversifying a stock portfolio. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Look for other cards that have been gaining money steadily, that won’t be reprinted, that are also traded heavily such as Karakas. The only drawback is that there will be a lot less buyers for these cards. Duals can be used by EDH, Legacy, and Vintage players, but some of the older, rarer cards only see play in one format.
Trading to Make Money
The last way to use Puca Trade today is to make money. As I said before, Puca Trade is a seller’s paradise. They can out a card anytime they want and take maximum profits, while you, “the buyer”, have to wait 2 weeks to get it. This makes turning around a card for a profit pretty difficult. How I’ve been making a profit is looking at buy-list disparities between Japan and the USA. Bigger cities tend to have a lot of supply and buy list prices tend to be lower overall, but in other cities things change a lot more slowly. Places like Nagoya have a lot less access to dual lands, Karakas, Tarmogoyf, and other legacy/Modern/EDH staples so their buy list prices change a lot slower.
I was able to pick up Sundering Titan for 480 points on Puca Trade then sell them at 1000 yen for about a $5 profit, and I’ve also sold a Thoughtseize for $30 that I bought for 1900 points as well. Selling to a store might not always be worth it, but it is quite possible to set up your own “Magic Store” of sorts. If you’re one of the only serious players in your area and have built up quite a lot of points on Puca Trade, why not pick up cards that the casual players in your area need and then sell it to them at a small profit? It helps you turn your bulk into cash, and you don’t lose out on half of the value of the card like you do when you buy list something. Some areas don’t have access to a nearby local game store, so this can do a lot to promote growth of the game in your area.
It costs money to be successful on Puca Trade. You have to be looking through those bulk boxes and at local stores for deals and be able to buy something at a moment’s notice. You need cash to do so, and therefore it’s a good idea to devote at least some of the cards you receive through PT to becoming cash to keep your system moving smoothly and for as less money as possible.
If you have any other questions or commments about today’s article please feel free to leave them down below! 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 again for reading and see you back here in a week or two for my next installment!
I love this series.
Last Sunday a local player offered to buy my points. We are both sitting on it for a week but I think I will follow through. It would be nice to see the physical cash to prove the paper profits I have made are real.
I also made out pretty well thanks to Wild Slash, I get most commons and uncommons for free with only a few exceptions if a card is really popular (stoke the flames). Something like Wild Slash, Silumgars Scourn and Flame Tounge Invocation don’t justify a package by themselves but they are fantastic add ons.
I still haven’t had time to really grade and sort my inventory to fully take advantage of it but have set up a system of best practise from now on. I will bring new cards home from my trip to the shop and put them in a “to be sorted box”. Then they will be condition checked, sleeved (good uncommns and up), added to my Pucca inventory and put into the fat pack box of the corresponding set.
I still haven’t bought or traded for cards just for Pucca use yet. But having the ability to out cards does play on your mine. I am more happy to do trades for trades sake (when they are interested in something I have but I’m not interested in their cards) if it means getting something like a Siege Rhino or Death Rite Shaman which i know I can out much easier but will hopefully go up.