Puca Pals: Week 25 and 26 – Going Infinite
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 25 and 26: August 7th – August 21st
- Boon Reflection (foil)
- Parallel Lives x3
- Lord of the Void (foil)
- Xenagos, God of Revels (foil)
- Darksteel Forge
- Llanowar Waste
- Chandra Nalaar
- Cabal Coffers x2
- Serra’s Sanctum
- Elspeth, Knight Errant (Duel Deck)
- Ajani Steadfast
- Volrath’s Stronghold x4
- Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker (M13)
- Doubling Cube
- Maelstrom Nexus
- Kor Haven
- Coat of Arms
- Ezuri, Renegade Leader
- Pearl Dragon
- Femeref Enchantress
- Quirion Druid
- Seeds of Innocence
- Call of the Wild
- Thran Tome
- Tolarian Serpent
- Winding Canyons
- Replenish x4
- Goblin Bombardment
- Rishadan Port
- Goblin Grenade
- Goblin Bushwhacker
- Adaptive Automaton x2
- Helix Pinnacle
- Admontion Angel
- Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
- Kruphix, God of Horizons
- Worldspine Wurm
- Explosive Vegetation
- Mikaeus the Unhallowed
- Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
- Primordial Hydra (promo)
- Norn’s Annex
- Gilded Lotus
- Geth, Lord of the Vault
If that looks like a lot of cards, it’s because it was. I sent 56 cards, 46 of which were sent in week 25, and 10 cards in the following 26th week. There were some bulk cards I sent to sweeten a shipment, but this is the most cards I’ve ever sent in a two week period, and 46 cards is the most I’ve ever sent in one week. Yeah, I was busy going to the post office but the amount of profit I made was totally worth it. How did I manage to send out so many cards so quickly? Simple: I raided a town I know that has a store with Magic cards but little to no demand for legacy, EDH, or modern format cards.
Initial Costs and Total Shipping
As you can see from the pictures above, I went pretty deep on a large number of cards. I bought close to $400 worth of cards, but all of them were great returns on investment. The Volrath’s Strongholds only cost me 1000 yen each, Replenishes were 600, and the Vorinclex I bought was only 500 yen. The best deals were the Rishadan Port for 4800, and the Serra Sanctum for 1700 yen. There was a pretty good profit margin on a lot of the small stuff too, but these cards are the ones that (when compounded ) gave me the most.
About a third of the cards were shipped by themselves (19) for 110 yen a piece, 2 were shipped with tracking for 520 yen each, 1 was sent to Brazil for 130, and 2 envelopes were overweight and cost 190 and 130 yen to ship. The remaining 21 cards were all sent in 10 multi-card shipments that cost 110 yen each. The total price came out to 4680 yen, or 84 yen per card. Week 26’s average cost was 88 yen an envelope, whereas week 25’s was 82 yen an envelope. This was more expensive than some more recent weeks, and that was mostly because I sent out A LOT of single cards with a high profit margin on them.
Profit and How Long it took to send cards
I made a pretty good profit on foils and non-foils alike this time around. I made almost 1500 points in profit on 3 regular Parallel Lives I bought for 50 yen each, and made 1700 points total on a Xenagos, God of Revels and Lord of the Void foils. The Volrath’s Strongholds I bought netted me more than 1000 points each which was easy money, and the Rishidan Port was almost 3000 points in profit. I had very few low profit trades, but at the same time I didn’t have any super high profit trades such as foils as I did before. This time period was more about the volume of cards shipped.
After shipping costs my profit in week 25 was 20,376 points, and my profit in week 26 was 4308 points for a total of 24,684 points. These were solid, but not amazing results. The average profit in week 25 was 443 points per card, and in week 26 it was around 431 points. These averages are both less than my profits from the two weeks prior, but not horrible.
Lower profit margins means that the losses will also increase. Shipping ate up almost 19% of my profits this time around. This is an unlucky trade-off that happens when your volume increases but your profit per card average doesn’t.
8-9 days was the most common length of time it took for cards to arrive, but there were a few long ones that took upwards of 3 weeks to reach their destination. Strangely enough, these problems all happened in the USA. For as old of an institution that the US Post Office is, you’d think they’d be able to deliver things faster. Europe continues to be incredibly efficient, and even cards to South America get delivered before cards to America sometimes.
What I Received
There wasn’t too much coming my way during these two weeks, but I did get some cards for my Modern GR Shaman CoCo deck, and also a few more missing pieces from my Tempest block Cube. The Stronghold cards were actually sent during the next puca period, but they arrived rather quickly so I’ll just include them along with this weeks’ goods. The only other cards I got were some bulk buys and a pair of Stifles for Legacy. I was re-filling my account with lots of outgoing points during these two weeks, as I had received cards like Karakas as well which really put a dent in my “savings”.
The myth of “going infinite” has always been around. Back before Magic Online’s switch to the current system of points + tickets , good players on MTGO were able to win enough tickets to continue to playing indefinitely, thus “going infinite”. I’m here today to say that it’s possible to “go infinite” on Puca Trade as well. The key is to to buy low and sell high. This is common business knowledge when working with investments but how to get this to work for you all depends on timing in good decisions. While this only pertains to playing standard, the same could be said for other formats when you know a spike is going to happen eventually. Down below, I’ll go over some ways to make it so that you’ll never have to buy standard cards again, or even if you have to it will be at a huge discount to what you paid before.
- Buy Low – this is the most important point. You shouldn’t be spending a lot of money on cards if you can help it. During every set release, it’s pretty obvious to see which card is going to be the break out mythic/rare. What people tend to pass over are cheaper playable cards, especially those that would be a 4 of in an archetype. I recent example of this would be Tireless Tracker. It started at about $1.50 when it first went on sale, but after showing up in a variety of decks during the most recent SCG Open and Pro Tour, the price shot up to $7. For cards from the previous set, look for low prices on cards a few weeks before the next set comes out, or right after a deck has taken a dive and led to a massive sell off. Just because Eldrazi ramp is bad now doesn’t mean Ulamog is worth less than $10.
- Sell High – If you have bought a play set of Tireless Tracker at $1.50, you could have made a $22 profit. Of course it all depends on where you sell. Luckily Puca Trade is a rather fast and easy way to dump cards that spike in value. What’s most important about selling high is timing. The best time to sell a card is after a big event. Events like the Pro Tour, a large Grand Prix, or other kind of high stakes tournament usually have deck lists posted on Sunday. Once somebody sees a deck do well, they’ll want those cards. The cards won’t have reached their maximum value on this Sunday or Monday, but the demand will. This is what’s important. There are times when you’ll have 20 buyers at 550 points for that Tireless Tracker, but only 2 for it at 750 points. Sell a card as it’s going up, not down.
- Recognizing playable cards from past sets – this is where it gets a little bit trickier. How do you know what’s playable and what’s not? Well, for starters you can look at decks that were popular the season before. Which ones aren’t losing cards to rotation? Which ones will be better with rotating cards? If the last best deck was a 4 Color deck full of fetch lands and 3 color creatures and none of those cards are legal anymore, then you know the other cards in that deck won’t be that good anymore. It’s also better to get cards that are playable as a 4 of instead of a card that is a 2-3 of. There is a lot more potential value in 4 Sylvan Advocates at $4 each than 2 Ob Nixilis at $5. Sure they could both go up to $7-$8, but you’d make $16 in profit on the Advocates and only $6 on the Ob Nixilis.
- Gambling on Mythic Rares – There are some junk mythic rares in constructed out there that are only for EDH, don’t get me wrong (Behold the Beyond), but there are also a few that you look at and say “you know what, this could be pretty strong in the right deck. Why is it only $1 now?”. Mythic rares that “might” see play are a good investment, if only because their rarity adds to their value. If anything ever happens, such as people thinking it’s good post rotation (like everybody thought Avaricious Dragon would be good with madness), the card will spike pretty hard. It doesn’t happen all of the time, but I’d say 50% of the time I make a nice profit on the cards I picked up for $1-2. This worked out well for me when I got my playset of Archangel of Tithes at $3 each (now $20) and Kytheon’s at $5 (now $15). You can make up a large part of your profits though mythic trades.
- Get rid of cards early – Lastly, if you’re looking to get the maximum value from a card, you can’t wait until a few weeks before rotation. Cards from Magic Origins or Dragons of Tarkir have about 4 months left in standard. This doesn’t mean people won’t be using them, but it means they won’t be using them for much longer. Some cards such have modern/legacy playability like Collected Company or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, but the vast majority of others won’t see any play. Those $14 Deathmist Raptors or $7 Dark Petitions will probably both be $2-3 by July when the next set comes out. If you’re not using them or don’t plan to use them, just get rid of them now.
In my opinion, having about 20,000 Puca Points before a new set is a good number for people that want to get most of the new cards when they are released. You can’t go spending them all at once though. You should budget them and use them in steps. First off, look for undervalued cards that you think will see play and spike. Then try to get cards you will most definitely use right away in your decks. After a few weeks have passed, most of the other cards will have dropped significantly and can get picked up for pennies on the dollar. This is when I usually pick up the remainder of off color lands I don’t have, mythic rares in colors I don’t usually use, and cards that I wanted before but were just too expensive initially (I’ve recently picked up Arlinn Kord for 1900 instead of the initial 3500 points). Don’t feel the need to pick up every card either, especially if you never plan on using it. The longer you hold onto the points, the further you can make them go so that you can keep on using them whenever a new set comes out. With practice and some luck, you just might be able to go infinite and not have to spend money on cards again (but you’ll still be stuck with postage ^_^).