Archives for : mtg

What is a buylist and how do I use it?

A buylist is just a list that a store or dealer puts out for what they are buying and how much they are buying it for. It also tells us in most cases how many of that item they are buying.  How does this help you? You have an Underground Sea that you know is worth $175. Unless you have a store to sell it at or know someone in immediate need of that card it is basically just a good fire starter. You could start an ebay account, but that could take weeks to sell if it does sell. How do you get cash from it relatively quickly? There is a local gaming store (LSG) that will buy it for like 30 percent of it’s value. Someone must be willing to pay more than that right?

Financial Crisis / Finanzkrise
alles-schlumpf / / CC BY-NC-SA

Buylist will pay you a little more than an LSG because they are competing on the internet. Your LSG may have one or two competitors that are also buying for around the same price, but internet retailers are competing with more and more stores everyday. With stores publishing their buylist publicly, they have to feature more competitive pricing. Each store has a different price on their buylist. How do you find who is paying the best?

One way to do it is to go one by one to each retailer’s buylist. This isn’t too bad if you are just looking to buylist one item. If you have more card you are looking to buylist this becomes very inefficient and time consuming. It may only take ten minutes to do for you Underground Sea, but what if you have thirty cards to do? That is like five hours!!! Good news is there are sites that will compare buylists for you.

My favorite site to use is They have an app that is easy to use and very efficient called Trader Tool. It does cost to use this, but it’s only $12 a month. It also gives you access to the site and their amazing forums. Bidwhicket is a free site that isn’t near as efficient, but hey, it’s free. No matter how you gain access it’s good to check more than one site before deciding. Now that you know where to go you need to decide if you are looking for cash or store credit.

Using buylist to trade can yield very amazing results if you know what you are doing with it. Some online retailers will give as much as 30 percent bonus when you get store credit. Do your research beforehand though. The first time I went for store credit I buylisted some cards to They happened to be paying the highest cash on the cards that I was selling so I went to them. They have a 25 percent bonus for trade in which is very high. What I didn’t check was who was paying roughly fifty cents less for the cards in cash, but they have a 30 percent bonus on store credit. It would have got me an extra three dollars, which doesn’t seem like much but add it up over a year. I buylist weekly so that is almost an Underground Sea. The other thing to look at is how much they are selling cards for. It does you no good to buylist something for a dollar more if the store charges five more for the card you need.

To trade with a buylist you want to use cards that buylist for relatively close to their value. If you do that you can trade almost even up with a store! What if none of your cards buylist close to retail? Trade for cards that do. How many times at your local FNM when people ask you what you are looking for do you reply with “lots of stuff.”? Not only does this not answer their question, they feel like you are about to attempt to screw them. If you are targeting specific cards it will not only make trading easier, but you can then trade them to a store for anything that you want. You can literally turn your standard binder into a legacy deck.

I will be publishing cards on a weekly basis that you can target for  this purpose. Until then go ahead and try a buylist out this week and see how it works. A few disclaimers before you use a buylist. Most buylist take about a week to sort through your cards and give you a store credit amount. Before you use a buylist you may want post to #mtgfinance on twitter and ask if the buylist is reputible. I will back,, and but anything beyond there check out with the community. And as always, welcome to the grind.

Questions: What questions do you have concerning buylist? What would you recommend to beginning buylisters?

Why MTG Finance Matters to You

Speculators and private dealers obviously need to have in depth knowledge of how MTG finances work, but why should this subject matter to you? What uses could the average player have for knowing anything about the financial spectrum of Magic: The Gathering? It’s not like Average Joe is going to make money off mtg, he just wants to have fun with the game.


photo courtesy of Danielle Nicole Conine

Though Average Joe may not be looking to try to make money from his beloved game, he may like to play with expensive cards. If Joe knew how to be proactive with his collection there are many benefits to enjoy even as a player.

  1. Watching your mtg collection grow: Every playgroup or store has a Collin. Collin is the guy with a collection that everyone is super jealous of. He brings in a trade binder that looks like a store binder to every FNM that you have ever been to. Collin only ever seems to be looking for like three cards to finish any deck that he wants to play. There are two ways to be a Collin. First is to place exuberant amounts of cash into your collection so that you can have every card you’ve ever dreamed of. For most of us this is way outside of our boundaries. The other way is just to manage your collection very intelligently. It doesn’t happen overnight, but by paying attention and making smart decisions when it comes to trading, we can slowly build a quite large collection.
  2. Keep from getting taken advantage of: We have all seen someone being taken severe advantage of in a trade before. But how many times have we been slightly taken advantage of and never known about it. We all have smart phones to try to keep this from happening, but how many times do we need it when it is dead or running slow? It really doesn’t take much to keep up on the prices of things that we are looking for. You should pretty much know the value of the things that are in your binder and it really doesn’t take that much to do. I use the trader tool on quiet speculation to keep live track of my binder. This keeps me from having to type every card in individually. Before I subscribed to that I used to take almost an hour and write down the each cards price after using the deckbuilder function.
  3. Keep the cost of deckbuilding low: How many times have you needed a few last cards to complete a deck and they shoot up in price, making them almost impossible to get a hold of? You didn’t get unlucky, you were just under informed about price trends. We know that cards go up and down, why not take advantage of that? If we are going to take a month to build our decks anyway we can take advantage of cards that are undervalued right now. If you know that post rotation you are going to play esper, pick up your Blood Baron of Vizkopa when they are down per-rotation. Doing this would have saved you about $48 on a playset of them. Doing this with your entire deck could save you over $100. Then you might be able to afford to play with shocklands instead of guildgates.
  4. Buylisting your way into the cards you want: Most people are a little uncomfortable using a buylist because it makes them feel screwed. A few tips to not feeling that way, start using tcg mid or low prices. You would be surprised at how close some cards come to tcg prices. If you are used to using SCG (starcitygames) prices, buylist will seem more than a little off to you. It will just leave you with the feeling that you got robbed out of half of your cards. A buylist is a great way to “trade” with someone that will give you anything that you want for a certain cost. The best way to go about this is to do some research and trading before you start buylisting. Current example is Card Kingdom is paying $12 cash for Griselbrand. With their thirty percent trade bonus that means that his trade value is around $15.50 to them and his current tcgplayer price is $16. So you can trade the cards with a much larger difference between buylist and tcgplayer mid to get some Griselbrands, such as Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx with a 50% spread.  This allows you to finagle your collection around to fit your needs.

So how do you find out all of this information? The answer is just to study up. Take in as much as you can, but keep in mind where it comes from. My previous article has a few different places that you can find reliable information, but feel free to explore.  The internet is a big place and there is no way that I have scoured the entire thing. If you stumble upon more places for reliable information feel free to let other grinders know in the comment section. As always

Welcome to The Grind

MTG Finance – Resources For The Grind


Welcome grinders to my humble abode. I am Caleb Gothberg and this is my website dedicated to bringing you sound financial information on everyone’s favorite trading card game, Magic: The Gathering. With so many people now displaying an interest into the financial spectrum of MTG, we could all use some insider tips on how to gain advantage of Magic instead of losing it. I don’t claim to be the most knowledgeable person in this area but I have learned a few lessons along the way that could help you in your MTG finance endeavors.


photo courtesy of Danielle Nicole Conine
The only piece of advice I will give you for the moment is to stay informed. There are plenty of good rescources out there for anyone to access. Some of these require monetary investment, while others are completely free. Here are my mainstays in MTG finance:

  1. Brainstorm Brewery (free) – The Brew Crew puts out a weekly podcast that is not only entertaining but informational. There are more articles going up every day by financiers with solid information. I do currently write for them bi-weekly so check it out
  2. #MTGFinance (free) – If you don’t have a twitter account, make one. This thread gets posted to daily and is especially relevant during large tournaments when price spikes happen very quickly.
  3. (free) – I don’t like near as much as the rest but with this, you get what you pay for. Still some solid finance advice it just takes a bit more weeding through to find good content.
  4. Quiet Speculation (paid) – By far my favorite just squeezing past Brainstorm Brewery. It does require an investment of $12 a month, but I would pay $100 if they asked for it. Solid written content as well as the trader tool. Try it for a month and I guarantee you won’t know how you lived without it.
  5. (Freemium) – They allow you to do what I use it for for free checking current card trends. they also have some paid for things that I have never used before. Great for looking at what cards are dropping and what cards are rising.

My only thing that I have left to add is to never fully rely on information from just one source. All of these resources are best used in conjunction with one another. And don’t be shy to use comment sections anywhere. Most writers are very grateful to have comments and are more than willing to start a discussion.

Thats all I have for today so as always,

Welcome to The Grind.