Home > Finance > [Finance] Dual to Deck: Part 4

[Finance] Dual to Deck: Part 4

by Ryan Youngbar

I’m not gonna lie readers, it hasn’t been a very good few weeks in the Dual to Deck project. I haven’t been able to make it to a card shop in almost a month. This really hurts because I was hoping to capitalize on the hype of Innistrad to get some good deals and really make the box trade worth it. Sadly, the only trades I’ve gotten in have been a few trades with casual players around campus. Nevertheless, for your reading pleasure here are trades 3 through 5.

Trade #3


  • 1x Kessig Wolf Run-$5.00
  • 1x Festerhide Boar (foil)-$0.25
  • Total-$5.25


  • 1x Birthing Pod-$6.00
  • 1x Day of Judgment-$2.5
  • 1x Stony Silence-$1.00
  • Total-$9.50
  • +$4.25

This trade was with a guy who was trying to get Wolf Run Ramp together for fnm later that week and was basically starting from scratch. I wish I had more of the deck in the binder but alas, I only had the deck’s name sake in the D2D binder. To give this trade a time frame, Wolf Run had just won Worlds so I didn’t have much trouble getting an inflated value on the card. I put the Wolf Run at $8, $3 more than it was currently retailing on Star City for. I’ve seen Innistrad dual lands trade at around that so there was some precedent and I fully expected him to counter offer since the price was obviously high. He accepted the $8 straight up so I went shopping. Birthing Pod is not getting much love right now so the price has dropped since the beginning of spoiler season, but with a full 2 sets to go in a graveyard block with the morbid keyword I still think they are safe speculative pickups at $5 or less. Day is a staple as long as it’s the current 4 mana Wrath effect, so despite the numerous printings it still trades well at $2-$3. The last card is an interesting pick, I needed a $1 card to finish up the trade and Stony Silence is one of those very niche cards that does one narrow thing but does it very well. When these types of cards have a market they trade well above what you can pick them up for from most people. He wanted one of the foil commons as a throw in last minute so there went green Uncle Fester.

Before going on to the next trade I wanted to stop to talk about the concept of precedent in trade. Regardless of prices or values, if you can show that a card is trading at x or above/below then it will be much easier to make trades at that value. If it’s been done before people will assume that’s how it’s done and won’t question it even if it seems a little off. This can also work against you if a card trades low in your area and everyone knows it, it will be impossible to get full value out of it. Precedent also only works for up to a few dollars worth of value either way. You can only get so much value this way before the nagging voice in your trade partner’s brain becomes a full on scream that makes them duck out of the trade.

Trade #4


  • 1x Stromkirk Noble-$6
  • 1x Kessig Cagebreakers-$0.5
  • Total-$6.50


  • 1x Jin Gitaxias-$4
  • 1x Path to Exile-$4
  • 1x Firespout-$1.5
  • 1x Punishing Fire-$1
  • Total-$10.5
  • +$4.00

This trade was with someone who was in the process of dismantling his Commander precons. It had been awhile since I had seen an intact Commander precon so I wanted to talk to the guy about what he was doing. He said he had enjoyed playing with the precons as an intro to the format but wanted to make his own decks now. I offered the D2D binder and asked him which general he was interested in. He liked the way the Devour For Power deck played so I made some suggestions, but he said he had a box of Innistrad in the mail and considering my binder is all Innistrad at this point I was almost out of luck. He did find 2 things he wanted, the Noble and Cagebreakers. He was also getting into Standard and figured he would start with RDW and knew he couldn’t get a playset of Nobles out of a single box. He liked the effect of the Cagebreakers enough that he wouldn’t mind taking the risk that he would end up with multiples and wanted them as well.

I put the Noble at $7 and Cagebreakers at $1. He said he didn’t have much to trade besides what was in the Commander decks and some old prerelease stuff from New Phyrexia. The Commander decks were a gold mine of good commons/uncommons so I pulled a stack of those out to start. I then looked at his prerelease leftovers and found a Jin. Jin is an undervalued card that has room to grow since the Graveborn deck just released, hopefully making the Reanimator decks more popular. I pulled the Jin at $3 and then asked how many uncommons he would be willing to give up to fill the gap. He said 3 so I pulled 2 cheaper less impressive in Commander cards and a Path. He said he wasn’t interested in playing red or white in Commander so the deal was a go. With a Modern PTQ format coming in January, I’m hoping these cards pay out close to double later on. Worse case scenario, all 4 of these cards have seen play in Legacy and should hold their value.

Trade #5


  • 1x Mentor of the Meek-$3.00
  • Total-$3.00


  • 1x Sol Ring-$6.00
  • Total-$6.00
  • +$3.00

This trade was with the previous guy’s friend. He was also taking apart some Commander decks but had no interest in any other format. He wasn’t sure if he liked any of the generals from the precons enough to make a new deck but already had a G/W token deck. He looked through the D2D binder and instantly had to have the Mentor. I also suggested Parallel Lives and Mayor of Avabruck, but he had already gotten a foil Parallel Lives on eBay and said he didn’t want any flip cards in his deck (which is fair, I don’t like them in cube or EDH either). He handed me a stack of leftovers which were mostly commons/uncommons with a few rares mixed in. He had a few Sol Rings in there so I grabbed one and offered the one for one. He happily accepted and then we played a few group EDH games where not even my Savra control deck could keep up with his token army or the cards he drew off his shiny new Mentor. This trade was a definite win on paper but I am slightly concerned that the market for Sol Ring may be dried up since there are so many out there from the precons, guess we’ll find out later on if everyone has theirs or not.

Trading with true casual only players is an interesting and potentially very rewarding experience. Many times they will not have bought new cards in a while or even be aware of what is going on in current sets. They don’t trade very often and usually don’t know the values of cards. Usually they won’t be interested in trading unless you know what they play and happen to have something from a newer set that is very good in one of their decks. They may not have much to trade and what they do have they will likely be very attached to. Trying to trade using values could end up being a mistake as either they don’t care what a card’s value is beyond the enjoyment they get out of it or talk of prices confuses and scares them. When I found out the first casual guy was also going to be playing Standard, I felt more comfortable talking dollar amounts on cards, but it still could have easily been a mistake that ended the trade. The second guy overheard my first trade with his friend but once I found out he only played EDH casually with friends I didn’t want to bring value into the trade with him. It’s true that if we were using money values that he may have asked for more cards to even up the trade but it just as easily could have upset him and made him not want to deal with me when he could just go to eBay. One for one trades with casual guys are the norm most often and value beyond enjoyment and pet cards don’t matter. The only thing I have left to say about trading with casual only guys is not to completely rip them off. They are usually good guys who just want to have some fun with this card game and though it would be easy to score old expensive cards for casual junk, don’t take advantage! It’s true I may have gotten double profit from my trade but it was a recently printed card that he had multiple copies of and had no plans to use (he had old school signed ones like a boss). It is my goal to do this project as fairly as possible without ever taking someone for everything they’re worth.

That’s it for this time. I should be able to make it out to the shop this coming week for some serious trades. Before I go, I wanted to ask how people like the format of the articles, with less actual trades and more theory. If you want them to be longer or more focused on the trades with less theory let me know in the comments.

“Rebar” at Collectors Corner
@Brass_Gnat on Twitter

  1. Keith Cooper
    December 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Good job Rebar. I won’t call you a Jonathan Medina type…but I’m enjoying what you’re doing so far. Might have to trade you for those Inkmoths this week.

  2. December 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I’m curious, do you know people interested in the types of cards you’re trading for? Sure you’re getting value, but in my opinion, some of these are questionable. Trade #3 you’re trading a popular card that sees play (wolf run) for basically day of judgment (pod while popular within casual doesn’t see any play, and nor does stony silence). Trade #4 is similar, where only the path to exile will move quickly. Jin-Gitaxias/firespout might rot in your binder for a while, while punishing fire was banned 2 days ago.

  3. Rebar
    December 23, 2011 at 6:05 am

    So when I make trades for this project, yes I’m looking to gain value but I am also trying to trade for stuff that I know I can move where I play the most or stuff that will retain value. In trade #3 I’m doing a bit of speculation on pod and stony silence. I really do think in a graveyard block that pod will have a resurgence and become a $8-$10 card again, and if not it will never drop below $4 since it’s a popular casual card. Day trades pretty well, even as a low value card that you can use as a stepping stone to better trades. Also note that wolf run has fallen to the same price as the rest of the better rare lands ($2.50), while pod is still hovering around $4-$5 and day at ~$2. Path and firespout should move well with a modern ptq coming up and I have actually already traded the Jin to a local player building a reanimator legacy deck. When I made this trade, about a month ago, punishing fire/grove was still the best engine in modern and there was no talk of banning yet. It’s still a fringe playable in legacy and cards that get banned trade well to casual players because they have a certain allure. I still think the only questionable trade here was the sol ring but I am currently working on a trade that involves the ring so we’ll see.

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