Puca Pals: Week 9 and 10 – Riding the Wave
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 9 and Week 10: April 9th – 23rd
It’s been much longer than the weekly/bi-weekly articles I promised, and that’s mostly because of all of the information regarding the PPTQs and Magic Origins pre-release. Now that things have slowed down a little bit, I can finally try to get things back on track. It’s been quite a long time and I have quite a backload of information to go through, but it’s given me time to think up more ideas on how to efficiently use Puca Trade to maximize profit for you. During the 2nd and 3rd week of April, we had started to learn a few more cards from Modern Masters 2015, but nothing that would push trades in one way or another. The triple GP weekend was still a month away, and GP Kyoto had just shown how powerful Miracles could be. As for me, I had just did some bargain shopping in Shizuoka and I had quite a lot to show for it.
- Volrath’s Stronghold x3
- Heliod, God of the Sun (foil)
- Anger of the Gods (foil)
- Become Immense (foil)
- Deceiver Exarch (foil)
- Prophet of Kruphix (promo)
- Karametra, God of Harvests (foil)
- Vampire and Various Tokens
- Sin Collector (FNM promo) x2
- Steel Hellkite (pre-release) x2
- Melek, Izzet Paragon (Game Day)
- Crypt Ghast (foil) x2
- Deadbridge Chant
- Kalonian Hydra
- Rise of the Dark Realms
- Unwinding Clock
- Dragon Broodmother
- Hellkite Charger
- Scroll Rack
- Lord of the Void
- Harvester of Souls
- Beguiler of Wills (foil)
- Birds of Paradise (Buy a Box)
- Lighthouse Chronologist
- Inexorable Tide
- Right of Replication
- Hypersonic Dragon
- Burgeoning x2
- Doubling Season
- Reliquary Tower (FNM) x2
- Chief Engineer (Game Day)
- Go for the Throat (FNM)
- Crystalline Sliver
- Gavony Township
- Wild Defiance
- Congregation at Dawn x2
Pucatrade seemingly sprang back to life (for me at least) in the second and third week of April. I believe it’s mostly due to the cards I was able to pick up that were in high demand. I picked up a lot of Volrath’s Stronghold and traded them away, and also did a lot of negotiating for Japanese foils during this month as well. I got rid of 35 cards from April 9th-16th and another 9 from April 16th-23rd for a total of 44 cards. The volume I pushed really helped me to clear out a lot of my trade binder and to give me points to get some really good cards.
Initial Costs and Total Shipping
I always love heading outside of big cities to do MTG shopping. People that live in big cities with thriving MTG scenes are spoiled (myself included). We complain about having to pay high prices and not knowing which format to play on any given weekend, but those that live in the countryside or in big cities where MTG simply isn’t that big thing are lucky to be able to play at all. This leads us to the law of supply and demand. When nobody buys things, prices go down. Luckily for me I have an outlet for great deals (Puca Trade).
Here are the most noticeable purchases I made in that second week of April: Volrath’s Stronghold for 1080 yen, Doubling Season for 1250, Burgeoning for 480, Scroll Rack for 1180, Dragon Broodmother for 400, Crypt Ghast foils for 180, Deceiver Exarch foil for 500, Become Immense foil for 300, and even the Birds of Paradise buy a box promo I bought at 900 yen were great deals.
I shipped a lot of cards in multiples to save on shipping and I think it shows. I sent 22 packages at 110 yen each for a total of 2200 yen, 1 card in Japan for 82 yen, 1 card to South America for 130 yen, and 2 larger packages for 600 and 860 yen respectively. This totals 3872 yen for shipping, or an average of 88 yen per card shipped. It’s not my best but definitely not bad considering how many cards I sent. I actually didn’t add the amount of tokens I added for extra value to a few trades, so it might actually be lower than that.
Profit Made and How Long It Took to Ship Cards
I bought a lot of cards at great prices (as seen above), but what really pushed my profits this time around was all of the foil trading I did with JP foil bonuses. I also moved a lot of cards that I had received from booster packs or as prizes at MTG events I’ve been to. This means my costs were almost nil while my profits were huge. I spent a lot more than I usually do on cards when I travel, but the potential for profit is much higher too. The Volrath’s Stronghold I picked up for 1080 yen ($8.75) ended up netting me almost triple the profit, but I also did well on the Scroll Rack (bought at 1180 yen, traded at 2320 points) and Dragon Broodmother (bought at 400 yen, sold at 1434 points). I also tripled my investment on the Doubling Season I picked up at 1250 yen ($10).
Overall, I made 20,270 points in profit after shipping and handling costs were subtracted over the two weeks in the middle of April. Most of this profit was made between April 9th-16th (17,365 of it), and I believe it was one of my biggest weeks ever on Puca Trade. Over the two week period I averaged 460 points per card, and while this seems low I made up for it with sheer volume moved. If I do just week 2 of April, I made 496 points per card that week.
My overall losses were up these 2 weeks to 19%, and I think it’s mostly because of the large orders I sent that cost me 600 and 800 yen respectively. When I’m only sending out 2-3 cards at a time I can reduce my losses pretty well, but the drawback to that is that I end up not being able to maximize my profits. I’d rather spend the extra 100-200 yen in shipping to add in 400 more puca points instead of holding onto to something I will have greater difficulty moving later for any type of a profit.
Shipping was alright this time, with most packages arriving between 8-10 days from Japan. The cards I sent to Ecuador took 20 days, which is expected, however I also learned that sending cards to the countryside in Australia can take really long as well. One card I sent took 23 days to get there. Europe continues to be a great place to send cards from Japan as they arrive quicker than in the North America or any other continent.
What I Received/Learned
By week 9 and 10, I was sitting on a huge amount of points so I was starting to grab big money cards to trade away at GP Kyoto in the middle of April. I wanted to get Duals, Force of Wills, and Wastelands, but nobody on Puca was trading them so I went for the next best thing: Legacy staples. These cards have a high chance of being traded away for cards I need, so why not? (I ended up trading away the Dark Depths for a Wasteland btw :D)
I also picked up a couple cards for my standard deck at the time (Mardu control) and got some Chalice of the Voids for my Legacy Affinity deck. The Ravager was to replace my Mirrodin art ones, and boy am I glad I got it when I did (at 1800 points) Ended trading away my Mirrodin version for more than twice that on Puca trade!
There were no big problems these two weeks as 95% of the cards arrived in NM condition. I can’t say there was much I learned during this time that I didn’t know already either.
Riding the Wave
Today’s topic is about riding the wave, which is another way of saying selling a card while the price is spiking. Spikes in prices don’t always have to be bad. You can use them to your advantage, especially when you want to send cards, but also when you want a card that’s spiking. The key is knowing when to add it to your want list but before the supply dries up. Puca trade is revolutionizing the way we get a hold of cards, as well as how we “sell” them. While we all know that you don’t actually get money from the cards you trade away, you do get points which then in turn can be transferred into cards with real value that you can sell later on.
Everybody loves to speculate in order to find the next big card that’s going to make it big in the future, but what’s everybody to do when the card is spiking or after the card has spiked? Well, when we’re talking about eternal formats such as Modern, EDH, and Legacy it’s better to bite the bullet and get the card when it’s spiking (if you need it) than to wait. This is ESPECIALLY true if the card is from an older set without any chance of a reprint for a while. Sure we’ll probably see cards like Snapcaster Mage in the next Modern Masters set, but until then it’s going to continue climbing and climbing due to how much it’s played in both modern and legacy.
Standard however, is an entirely different animal. Cards can spike hard and drop almost as fast. When Deathmist Raptor became the go to card for green based decks last standard season, the card rose meteorically here in Japan from 1500 yen to 4500. On Puca trade it was almost the same, reaching heights of more than 3000 pts. The same can be said of Whisperwood Elemental back during Green devotion’s hey day. It started out as a $8 card, but more than doubled to $20 when it was seeing heavy play. If you had bought these low or opened any initially, you could have made a lot of money at their peak.
The problem many people run into is selling too late, after the market has flooded with the card. Once the wave starts its downward trend, it becomes exponentially harder to get rid of your cards for any value. The best time to trade away your cards is during the first day or two of the initial spike. This usually comes after a Grand Prix or Pro Tour. Websites like MTGprice.com have some good articles about getting the maximum value out of your cards. Most of the writers there say you should always sell at a price you are comfortable selling at, but you shouldn’t get too greedy. Let the person you trade with squeeze out a few extra dollars of profit while you double or triple your initial investment. Sure you can buy list cards for cold hard cash, but if you’re not hurting for money getting a profit to use later is great.
As for getting the cards you need at the best price, you can also ride the wave to the bottom. This happens when a card is reprinted or when a set in standard has been out for 2-3 cycles and isn’t being opened any more. At the moment, Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged cards are near their bottom and Dragons of Tarkir is almost to the bottom as well. Nobody can accurately guess what the bottom price of a card will be, but you can look back at the cards highest price to see the disparity. If a card was $20 before and is now $5, who’s to say it won’t spike again? Whisperwood Elemental is a good example. When it was seeing heavy play it was going for around $20 and it has since become a staple of green decks. Doing some research to find out what cards are staples from each set, as well as evaluating what cards have the potential to break out are good ways to buy in cheap so that you can later ride the wave to the top again and sell for a profit.
Until Next Time
If you’ve been playing MTG for a while than you know that prices are cyclical. What goes up must come down, and most likely it will do so again (albeit at a lower crest than the first time when the card was scarcer). With the Pro Tour coming up next weekend it’s probably a little late to pick up Magic Origins cards before they spike (Hangarback Walker and Demonic Pact for example), but there are still deals to be had. I recommend taking a look at the staples from the Tarkir block and picking up some staples for cheap before start going up again. With rotation less than 2 months away the format is going to be shaken up and cards that never had a chance to shine before will become the next must have card for standard.
If you’re interested in what cards are good pick ups and which ones aren’t, join me next week as I go over how I think Magic Origins and the impending rotation will affect prices in my Bang for your Buck articles. I should have the first part out in a few days, and just might be able to finish the series before the Pro Tour is finished. Be sure to check back! Thanks for reading as always and good luck trading.
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 few weeks for my next update!