We’ve all been there: a new expansion is on the horizon, you eagerly scour the internet for the spoilers that are leaking everyday, anticipating the holiest of all Magic days: new expansion release day, and by god, you are prepared to let your wallet recklessly explode all over your local game store’s counter. Well, hold on a second, with the upcoming release of Khans next Friday, I figure that now is as good of a time as any to give you a few tips that I use to enjoy the hobby while not denting my bank account.
1. Shop for singles: This tip has saved me the most money by far. Instead of buying sealed product, make a list of the singles that you are interested in owning and go to Starcitygames.com and/or eBay. When I started playing again, Gatecrash had been out for a couple of months and I wanted two Boros Reckoners (as well as a handful of other cards), so I went to the game store and bought ten
packs and ended up just pulling one plus another two of the other cards I wanted. Well that wasn’t enough, I needed one more. So instead of going straight to eBay I bought five more packs and pulled none. Again, instead of just buying the ****ing card online, I went back and bought five MORE packs and finally pulled the second Reckoner but nothing else I wanted. So all in all, to pull four cards out of the ten or eleven that I wanted, I spent 79.80 + tax. At the time Reckoners were going for $25.00-$35.00 for a set of four on eBay. Ouch.
Of course now he only goes for around $3.00 a piece (sonofa…).The point is that in my experience, I’ve been able to get 90-95% of the cards I’ve wanted for the price of 10-20 booster packs, and you are GUARANTEED to get what you want. “But Blondie, opening boosters is fuuuuuunnnnnn!” Stop whining, yes, I agree but so is building up a savings account. It’s a different kind of fun, it’s fun in a financially responsible way. Ok, ok, it’s not fun, but you’ll thank me when your
car craps the bed and you get the repair bill. What? You thought your mechanic took payment in the form of Thoughtseizes and Mutavaults?
2. Wait for the block rotation to buy the high end singles: I know, I know, pick your jaw up off of the floor. I’m well aware that this tip requires a certain amount of patience (and a massive amount of willpower) and if you are a regular participant in Standard tournaments, this obviously won’t work for you. For the rest of us that play Modern and Legacy this one will save you some scratch. As I illustrated with Boros Reckoner in tip #1, after a block rotates out of Standard (or even if it’s about to), the value of the majority of high end cards in that block drop significantly as people are looking to unload them. This is your chance to swoop in and grab those cards that at one point were financially unattainable. Now with next year’s changes to the block rotation format, this money-saving tip is more feasible than it was in the past.
3. Sell to buy: If you absolutely insist on buying that booster box that you just can’t live without (you can but I won’t argue with you, junkie), and you apparently enjoy looking at the same commons and uncommons over and over again. ZING! Well, put down that debit card and make your existing collection buy it for you. Sell those unused rares and boxes of commons you have sitting in a closet on Craigslist or eBay. You’ll clean up some clutter and also get some
return back on your initial investment.
As I said before, I’ve used these tips myself for the past year and it has made a huge difference not just financially but how I feel about the hobby in general. It doesn’t have to be the money pit that some people make it out to be if you just take a step back, breath, and really think about if you need that box or those ten packs or even those five packs, or can you get the cards that you really want by just going singles shopping? My last bit of advice for you is to remember that these cards are not serial numbered, there are literally thousands and thousands of each one, budget yourself, they’ll still be there when you can comfortably afford them.