Hi there! I'm the new guy.

My name is DJ Johnson, and I'm here to talk about a little something called Magic finance. What exactly is Magic finance? Well, cards are worth money. From the lowliest Magic 2011 Giant Growth to the crown jewel of Alpha Black Lotus, these collectable cards that we all love and share all have a dollar and cents sign in their shadow. Because Magic is an ever-changing game, these prices can shift and change for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes cards jump in price with seemingly no explanation (Season of the Witch), and sometimes it's on the back of professional play (Hazoret the Fervent). Magic finance can be a lot of different things for a lot of different players. Some of you are looking to pay a little bit less for the Standard cards you'll want before the next set comes out. Some of you want to know how to buy and sell collections. Still more are reading this column hoping to learn which hidden gems to pick out of bulk. It can be really difficult to keep track of the massive information web that is Magic finance as a whole, and TCGplayer is filling that niche alongside an arsenal of impressive content creators.

What's my resume, and why am I writing about the financial aspect of the game? I started playing Magic toward the end of the original Ravnica, in early middle school. I'll date myself with that right there. I played casually for several years, until moving to a city where we had a local game store with weekly events. My first prerelease was Rise of the Eldrazi, and my first FNM was right after Scars of Mirrodin. As a high school student, I didn't really have a lot of income to dedicate to the game. My ability to build decks for Standard centered around my ability to guess price changes, make smart trades and dig through bulk commons for relevant cards that other players would want.

Over the past eight years, I continued to grow my collection and use Magic to help me afford most of the bills in my life. My friends joke that I majored in "Magic finance" throughout college, and I'm currently using this game to support myself financially. I soaked up as much information as I could, and applied it in real time while buying collections, selling singles and building a brand for myself. Everything in this column is coming from someone with firsthand experience frequently selling on the TCGplayer platform. I also operate the singles case at a local game store, so I see a lot of angles when it comes to Magic cards.

My weekly article series on TCGplayer will dispel some of the negative perceptions of Magic finance, while bringing a friendly and positive way for you to get more mileage out of your own cards and money. Some of you might already be familiar with a series written by Craig Wescoe (The fact that we write for the same site is still surreal to me). Every set, he does an article of financial predictions, making suggestions on which of the new cards to buy or sell at their pre-sale prices. I actually remember reading these back during New Phyrexia, and using them to help afford Standard decks based on my ability to trade for the cards that he said would become harder to find. Some of my content will be similarly structured, although I'll be focusing on the commons and uncommons of a set instead of the rares and mythics.

Some of you reading this already know me from other websites I've written for. Among the hundreds of finance articles I've written since I started in November 2013, one of the focal points of my series has always been extracting value from bulk. I like to think that I specialize in the commons and uncommons that are often left in closets, on draft tables or even given away for free. I want to assure my existing reader base that those articles aren't going away. I'm still going to be writing and teaching how to extract the nickels, dimes and quarters from your collection and turn them into relevant cards for your Standard/Modern/Commander deck. Did you know that you can sell cards like Hedron Archive and Drana's Emissary from your Battle for Zendikar bulk? While it's important to pull out the more known uncommons such as Abrade and Supreme Will, there are tons of casual gems buried in your bulk commons and uncommons that we'll be discussing throughout the coming weeks. Even better, I'm going to go through and show you exactly how you can make actually money off them (It's pretty easy to see that you can't pay $.49 for shipping supplies in order to sell a $.25 card like Hedron Archive), along with step-by-step guides on sorting, packaging and shipping cards safely. Let's save that discussion for another day before I get too ahead of myself!

Throughout my previous columns for other websites, one piece of advice I give out relatively often is to sell a card on TCGplayer once it spikes. One of the reasons I'm happy to be writing here is because I do actively prefer selling here over eBay, and I can endorse it while having confidence in the product. One of the future discussions we'll have through my articles here is exactly how to go about setting up a TCGplayer store account, and the steps you'll need to go through in order to turn that Hazoret you were holding onto into actual cash.

End Step

The name is a bit cliché, but I normally end my articles with a little mini-segment called the End Step. I might address some time-sensitive price changes that don't line up with the topic of the week, but remain good information to share. I might address some current events or announcements that could have an impact on the financial future of other cards, or I could preview next week's article topics, though today I just want to use this space to thank everyone who's been along for the ride. Some of you finishing this article have been with me since Day 1, and I wouldn't be here without you. I will continue to provide accessible financial content on TCGplayer, and demystify the dollar signs that are inevitably attached to our card stock.

Thanks for reading!

- Douglas Johnson