MTG Finance: A Beginning Like Any Other

I am a Magic: the Gathering player. I have always played, traded, and evaluated from the mindset of just that: a player. I wanted only what I wanted to play with, and nothing else mattered. If it wasn't a card I could see myself playing, I traded it away to get one I did. But what if I wanted to get more than just play out of my cardboard crack?

The plan was to trade to build a deck I could play and win with, then use the winnings to buy more cards to trade with when new cards came out. The winning ebbed and flowed, as did my satisfaction with the trajectory of my trade binder. It wasn't until recently that I realized I cared as much about trading and the value of my collection as I did for winning the games I was playing.

I enjoy trading. There is a mutual feeling of happiness when both parties get what they want in a trade. What I don't like is ripping people off. I don't mind some incremental advantages, especially if they don't have anything I'm actively looking for. I hate when folks try to trade "Planeswalker for Planeswalker" and give up a $2 Tibalt for a $20 Elspeth. The only win there is a hollow one, and not what I'm after. But, if I don't want to skew the scales when trading, how can I hope to net gain anything?

I struggled for some time trying to figure a way to get the satisfaction of an amazing trade binder without dumping boatloads of cash into one or using and abusing others to get there. Then it hit me: card values are extremely fluid. I already knew this of course, I had complained about it before, but never had I sought to use it to my advantage. A lot of cards are as expensive as they are ever going to be right as they come out. Everybody wants their shiny, new flavor of addiction and they need it right away to build whatever deck they're into. As a player, I always hate this time. I don't want to play a sub-optimal deck because I can't get a hold of the cards, but I don't want to pay ridiculous prices for cards. Some cards, however, get overlooked when first printed and don't spike in price until they are proven winners at high-level tournaments. Some cards used in "older" formats where cards never rotate out of legality are initially moderately valuable and then gradually rise over time as they are no longer printed and fewer and fewer are in circulation. These are just a few, extremely generalized, examples of how card prices rise and fall. This wave of card values is what I'm going to try and capitalize on.

Here's my first shot at it:

A 3/3 Flying three-drop. Even by vanilla standards this is a good enough card to see Standard play. But wait, there's more! Tack on double Devotion in the most played Devotion color and a reasonably costed Bestow for he low, low price of a single life every turn? Consider me sold. This guy has been criminally under-hyped. Mono Black Devotion is the top deck in Standard and this guy is a welcome addition. While he doesn't slot straight into the Control version of the deck as it is built now, I think he single-handedly spawns a more aggressive offshoot.

At the price tag of $1.50 a couple of days ago, I had to pull the trigger. On a playset of playsets. Already, that purchase has yielded some return as it has since gone up on that site to $2 and has been seen going to $2.50 elsewhere. I will track this and future investments through my posts as a way to share my journey and publicly record it.

Bought 16 x $1.50 = $24; Currently 16 x $2.00 = $32; Investment +$8, +33%