Magic Online Trading Tips.

Magic Nerd "Kills" His opponent. My other card is a black lotus. (c) N. C 2003
Tone's Tricks of the Trade (How to Survive in the Magic: Online Jungle)

So you've bought your first virtual cards, maybe a theme deck to get you playing. Maybe it's boosters, looking for some valuable Rare trading commodity. Or maybe you're going route 1 and you've bought a load of tickets (MO's ersatz currency) in the hope of piecing that killer deck together card by card. Whatever your modus operandi, you're gonna have to trade at some point. Wise up and listen to the voice of experience, as I, Tone guide you around the pitfalls and towards the treasures of trading.

As of 7th May 2003 we are trying out the official Wizards Auto Card function. Where a card name is clearly a link, eg. Giant Growth, clicking will launch a popup with that card's details!

Lesson 1. Basics.

Well you know already but to recap, cards in MO are either COMMON, UNCOMMON or RARE. As a very rough guide, bear in mind that COMMONS are 4 times as common as UNCOMMONS, which in turn are 4 times as common as RARES.

As of version 1.0.968.3 of the Magic.exe file, there is a 32 card limit to a single trade. Remember that this includes Event Tickets, so if you're planning on bulk selling, split the trade into even-sized chunks. I doubt whether this limit will ever change.

NEVER give cards to anyone on the premise of being paid for it later. Wizards can do nothing to help you if you have been gullible enough to fall for this...

Lesson 2. Remember good traders.

Add them to your Buddy List.

Buddy Lists aren't just for friendly players and people you know in `real-life`. A polite, non predatory trader will trade much more than a shark. And word gets around pretty quick in a close-knit community like MO.

Lesson 3. Values.

Every card has its value. All cards have well-published prices which, although variable, generally agree. These prices however are for the cardboard equivalent, and while Wizards would have you believe that a virtual card is worth just as much as a real one - it is not. Virtual card values tend to be `squashed` into the middle of the price range, with a few notable exceptions. The higher value rare cards will not always fetch as much in tickets as they will in real world dollars, unless the market pushes it that way. Notable examples are: Birds of Paradise (19tix), Underground River (11 tix). At $1 per ticket, these cards have exceeded their real-world values through good old supply and demand.  Likewise, power commons (more on those later), for example Counterspell and Basking Rootwalla, can go for anything between 4 for 1 ticket and a ticket a piece! If you need cards for your deck badly and you have the tickets, then the seller is king! So don't live by dollar values alone. There are players out there who, to quote Oscar Wilde, know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

1 ticket DOES NOT equal $1! But I just said... That's what a ticket costs, but a ticket has other uses and ceases to be real money once you've bought it.

If in doubt as to the validity of an offered deal, ask a friend, or field a question to the room.

Come look at my M:TG pricelist. It isn't exhaustive but you'll know what the popular cards are trading for in tix.

Don't disregard commons. As much as Wizards have kept the truly great cards as rares for as long as I can remember, the power commons are the newbie's friends. I'm talking about Counterspell, Werebear, Ravenous Rats, Corrupt, Samite Healer, Circle of Protection, Force Spike, Muscle Burst, Basking Rootwalla, Raging Goblin, Lightning Blast, Llanowar Elves and others. These cards are staples of their respective colours and are ALL COMMON. Once you've purchased enough boosters you'll be giving these kinds of cards away, but for a newbie they're quite literally mana from heaven (sorry)!

Lesson 4. Advertise.

If you want specific cards and have tickets or other cards to trade for them, tell people!

Prefix your message with SELLING, or BUYING. Don't waste people's time (and your own) by making them ask you "4xWerebears 1 tix - are you buying or selling?"

If you really want to you can pretty your messages up with all kinds of emoticons and mana symbols by making use of the CTRL+Q escape sequence. For example, CTRL+Q followed by 1 produces the (1)  colourless mana symbol. See the guide in your Magic Online help, under Chat.

Lesson 5. Survival.

Avoid the Sharks. Wizards of the Coast have been warning players of a scam whereby unscrupulous traders add or remove cards in their favour just before the other trader clicks confirm. This of course means they must click confirm again themselves, so if you confirmed a trade and something seems wrong, you might want to just check that everything is as it should be before clicking confirm again. If you don't feel good at all about a trade, walk away. A genuine trader will understand.

Lesson 6. Save.

Ooh, Wizards are gonna hate me for this one, but it has to be said, you DON'T have to spend a fortune to build a killer deck. I started off spending $10 to join, spending my certificate on a theme deck. I bought another deck and 12 tickets for a total of $30 (20). After some initial trading I had just shy of 200 cards and a measly modified version of the Decay theme deck. I now have a few reasonably well-playing decks and around 900 cards at the time of writing, AND I HAVEN'T SPENT A PENNY MORE ON CARDS OR BOOSTERS! No, I haven't ripped anybody off, and no I didn't inherit a rich uncles Magic: Online card collection, I just traded, traded, and then traded some more.

So, now you know - get out there and trade yourself a killer deck!

Suggestions or amendments are welcome, Get in Touch.

[ Magic: TG ]
[ Gameware & PC ]
Magic Online Forum - Discuss everything about the game here!