Home > Finance > [Finance] Dual to Deck: Part 12

[Finance] Dual to Deck: Part 12

by Ryan Youngbar

Welcome back to Dual to Deck. This week was supposed to be a retrospective article where I went over the progress of the first 4 months and looked at the future of the project. However, the more I worked on it, the more and more it started sounding like a dirge. Doing a value trading project like this today is very tedious and not so popular. Everyone is aware of the monetary value of cards now, and even if they don’t know their prices they check a smartphone or ask someone else to check for them if they don’t have a phone. You can still make money in trades in a smartphone world through speculation and acting during the window between when a card rises in popularity and when websites update prices. However, due to Twitter and weekly large events, this window is much, much smaller than it used to be. Value gain projects like Dual to Deck and Pack to Power rely on making uneven trades in your favor to build up value towards the end goal. In a world where everyone knows or can easily find out the price (not necessarily the actual value) of their cards and it’s rare that you find someone who isn’t fixated on making an exact even deal, these projects become something of a chore. I don’t really need to do a project like this, I have the cards for several Legacy decks already and can build almost any deck in Standard or Modern that I want so there really isn’t a point for me to continue. If I really had a passion for getting one of the 3 Legacy decks I listed in a previous article and if the only resources I had to spend on that deck was a single Tundra, then no matter how tedious I would keep grinding. As it stands now, this project is taking time and resources away from my personal trading and playing with very little return, so I will be stopping the project here. I will still be trading what I have gotten so far into a complete Legacy deck, just a cheaper one. Next week will be part 1 of the conclusion where I trade into the deck, but for today I have the last normal trades I made before going for a deck.

Trade #47

My
1x Witchbane Orb (foil)-$3.00
Total-$3.00
His
4x Vapor Snag-$4.00
1x Darksteel Ingot-$1.00
Total-$5.00
+$2.00

(no picture for this trade, I didn’t get a pic and don’t have Witchbane Orbs laying around)

The one place where people don’t stick to hard and fast pricing is on commons. I’ve said it a million times already, but it’s still true: commons and uncommons are a gold mine in value trading.

Trade #48


My
1x Day of Judgment-$3.00
Total-$3.00
His
1x Cemetery Reaper-$4.00
Total-$4.00
+$100
I’m happy to trade away the Day which did not see the interest I hoped for a 2 of in a popular deck and a card with more casual appeal.

Trade #49


My
1x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (foil)-$15.00
Total-$15.00
His
1x Reanimate (tempest)-$5.00
1x Geralf’s Messenger-$10.00
Total-$15.00
+$0.00

Everyone loves pretty foils, but rarely do they want to pay the price on them. I got a lot of interest in foil Thalia, but only 1 person was willing to give me full value on it. I was able to trade it into a Legacy staple and a popular Standard card. It’s important to be able to move your trade stock so that you always have new stuff and a better variety of stuff, so sometimes it’s right to trade a card that isn’t moving at retail for slightly less. I think Thalia has a bright future in Legacy so holding out on the price for her was something I was willing to be stubborn about.

Trade #50


My
2x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben-$8.00
Total-$8.00
His
1x Swords to Plowshares-$4.00
1x Cephalid Coliseum-$5.00
Total-$9.00
+S1.00
This project is Eternal-minded so I will trade Standard into Legacy any chance I get. While Thalia is starting to see play in Legacy, it is a lot easier to pick up copies of her than it is of either Swords or Coliseum. Plus, it’s original art Swords; it doesn’t get better than that.

Trade #51


My
1x Geralf’s Messenger-$10.00
Total-$10.00
His
2x Animate Dead (Graveborn)-$6.00
2x Exhume (Graveborn)-$3.00
1x Lingering Souls-$2.00
1x Lightning Greaves-$2.00
Total-$13.00
+$3.00

Again, Trading Standard into Legacy and casual. Also another example of people not valuing commons and uncommons very highly.

Trade #52

My
1x Elite Inquisitor-$2.00
1x Chancellor of the Annex-$0.50
Total-$2.50
His
1x Curse of Death’s Hold-$2.50
1x Geist-Honored Monk-$1.00
Total-$3.50
+$1.00

This was a speculative trade. Around the 3rd set is when I really start making an effort to stock up on cards that are going to be players once the format rotates. Curse is good now, but once Ratchet Bomb, Elesh Norn, and Black Sun leave the format you’ll need something to combat Lingering Souls and Intangible Virtue. If you’re looking for some cards to pick up now and stash away until rotation I would go with: Monk, Mentor of the Meek, Mikaeus (white), Mindshrieker, Bloodgift Demon, pretty much all the rare werewolves, Kessig Cage Breakers, Parallel Lives, Splinterfright, Evil Twin, and all the Innistrad dual lands. I would also wanna be stocked on white and green humans, Avacyn Restored will probably give humans the same push that zombies got in Dark Ascension.

Trade #53


My
2x Lingering Souls-$4.00
1x Mana Leak-$1.00
Total-$5.00
His
1x Cemetery Reaper-$4.00
1x $1.00 bill-infinite?
Total-$5.00
+$0.00

Even on paper but we made some actual cash on this one. Cash is king and getting a $1 bill for a common was very unexpected. I guess he really needed that Leak. It’s very important to make sure your store owner is ok with you making any cash deals in their store before you do this type of transaction. Even the smallest store has a lot of expenses and does a lot of work to stay in business, so it’s not cool to undercut the owner by offering better cash deals on cards. Even if your store doesn’t deal in singles it’s still a good idea to make sure cash trades are ok.

Trade #54


My
1x Grafdigger’s Cage-$4.00
1x Sever the Bloodline-$0.75
Total-$4.75
His
1x Drogskol Reaver-$5.00
1x Curse of Death’s Hold-$2.50
1x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben-$4.00
Total-$11.50
+$6.75

This person said they were willing to give me a buck or 2 on the trade since it was for the Dual to Deck project, and after they looked up all the prices they still agreed to this deal. I couldn’t tell if it was generosity, that they didn’t care, or that they really needed a Grafdigger’s Cage that led to them agreeing. Even though they knew all the prices, I would still never make this deal outside of the project. When doing value trades, even if the person is being generous, you should try to keep your profits around 50% or lower. If you constantly go for the 100%+ trades you will get a reputation as a shark and people will not want to trade with you. Even if the person is ok with a very lopsided trade when they make it, they may regret it later and have a sour taste in their mouth the next time you want to trade with them. It’s also not good for spectators watching your trade to see you completely destroy your trade partner, it’ll lead to rumors that both damage your reputation and make the person you traded with feel bad.

Trade #55


My
1x Nephalia Drownyard-$1.50
1x Gavony Township-$2.00
1x Solemn Simulacrum-$9.00
1x Drogskol Reaver-$5.00
1x Havengul Lich-$10.00
1x Inferno Titan-$5.00
1x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben-$5.00
1x Karmic Guide-$8.00
Total-$45.50
His
1x Mutavault-$35.00
1x Geralf’s Messenger-$10.00
1x Reckless Waif (foil)-$2.00
1x Bloodgift Demon-$1.50
1x Elite Inquisitor-$2.00
1x Howling Mine-$1.50
Total-$52.00
+$6.50

In this trade my partner was happy to agree to putting Mutavault at $30 as long as he got all the mythics and the Solemn that he initially pulled. This trade came out ahead for me on paper but if I wasn’t getting a $30+ item out of it I would not have done it. Everything I traded besides the lands are very good and would move just fine on their own. At this point I knew the project would be nearing its end and I needed some big ticket items to make the final push to finishing the project.

Trade #56


My
2x Curse of Death’s Hold-$5.00
1x Stromkirk Noble-$5.00
2x Cemetery Reaper-$8.00
1x Frost Titan-$3.00
1x Moorland Haunt-$2.50
1x Nephalia Drownyard-$1.50
Total-$25.00
His
1x Snapcaster Mage-$25.00
Total-$25.00
+$0.00

This was another trade were I was concerned with turning smaller and midrange items into cards that hold a bit more value. It’s interesting that Snaps has finally come down to $25.00, I still believe this card will be a $50 Legacy staple in 4 or 5 years and advocate picking them up as a super long term spec. One reason the price is down now is that aggro decks are more prominent that control, if Avacyn Restored changes the meta so that control is the preferred archetype again, expect them to go back up to $30. I would pick up as many of these as I can at $20 or below right now.

That’s it for this week. Next week will be part 1 of the conclusion to the project. I’ll go over the deck I’m getting as well as everything I have in the Dual to Deck binder. Thanks for reading and see you next time.

“Rebar” at Collectors Corner
@Brass_Gnat on Twitter

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