Hi there! I just got back to port from my weekend expedition onto the shores of Ixalan. I met up with some Merfolk, although they didn't really take kindly to me (0-2 drop). I joined up with a local Dinosaur-riding tribe, and we hit it off pretty well. Gishath is a pretty cool lizard once you get to know him (3-1 on Saturday, with my only loss being "leaving the store right before the third round to go get pizza"). My wife and I capped off the weekend by bartering an agreement between the Brazen Coalition of scallywaggs and the formerly mentioned Sun Empire (3-1 in Two-Headed Giant). Two-Headed Giant Sealed is one of my favorite formats in all of Magic, and I highly recommend it to anyone who can find a buddy to pair up with for the event.
I hope everyone else's prereleases went well; For those of you who came home with sweet new cards, we're going to talk about what you can do with some of the ones you aren't planning on using. I've talked in the past about one of the options you have when it comes to moving cards: selling them on the marketplace here on TCGplayer.com. However, that's one tool out of many, and it's not for everyone. Some prefer not to set up their own storefront, so we're going to talk about another way to get cash for cards. This week's article is going to talk about buylisting, discussing some of the pros and cons along the way.
Having a buylist is the primary method that most local game stores acquire their cards, particularly those from older sets that aren't being opened anymore. Stores aren't cracking boxes of Onslaught to open up those copies of Cryptic Gateway or Mana Echoes that they're selling because of the Commander 2017 decks; they post a price at which they're willing to buy the card for cash (or trade credit), and then they have the card in their inventory that they'll sell for a higher number in their inventory. One of the most common ways to experience this outside of a local game store setting is at a Grand Prix or similarly large tournament, where you'll see vendors spread out across the room with paper buylist sheets being handed out, or card names and prices written on a dry erase board. Another common place to look up buylists is online, specifically at TCGplayer!
Larger game stores have the labor force and cash flow to maintain a buylist for tens of thousands of different cards; even some of the cheaper uncommons and rares you might have lying around in your collection. They'll buy your Tarmogoyf, your Lightning Bolt and even your Terminate. Many of these stores are signed up for TCGplayer Direct and the Direct Buylist programs; The Direct Buylist is a way for you to sell your cards to multiple stores, while only having to ship a single package to TCGplayer. Let's say that store A is buying Cryptic Gateway at $4.00, while store B is buying Fatal Push for $5.50. Instead of mailing two packages to those separate stores (and paying for postage on each), you have the option of mailing one package, and getting paid for both cards. TCGplayer handles the rest, at no cost to you!
First, you're going to want to go to the Trade-In page. It's pretty fast and intuitive to use. Type in a card name, choose your set/condition, and click for each copy you want to sell. There's also an Advanced option if you have a bunch of cards from a specific set you want to move without having to type in each individual card from that set. I've sold cards to many different buylists over the years, and this is one of the smoother options available. Here's an example trade-in cart I made off the top of my head (and it includes the foil Gishath I pulled at the prerelease!)
Once you're satisfied with the cards you want to sell, you'll submit the buylist and move to the next step. If you have a keen eye, you'll notice the order of the cards in your sell cart isn't the same as the order you put them in. They're now in the order that you'll need to organize them for the buylist team at TCGplayer. You'll need to alphabetize the cards in your buylist cart before shipping them, to increase the speed at which your cards are processed. Quicker processing means getting paid sooner!
There's a couple other things to note at the top of the page as well. The first is the box for "Discrepancy Preferences;" the correct conditioning of cards is important while sending them in, and checking this box lets TCGplayer know what you want them to do with cards that they don't assess to be the same condition as listed on your sell cart. Here's a link to what that means in detail, and I've posted the most relevant information below.
The second note is the date by which the cards have to arrive. I'm writing this article on the morning of September 24th, and the expected arrival date of this cart would be the 28th. As long as you're shipping from inside the United States with a tracking number, that shouldn't be a problem. I recommend using the same tracking method we outlined in this article a few weeks ago, assuming you're not trying to unload hundreds of cards at once.
That's a good question. If you checked out some of the prices I was getting for my theoretical buylist cart, those certainly aren't retail prices. The foil Gishath I pulled at the Prerelease goes for around $23 based on minimal prerelease sale data, and most of the rest of those cards in my art have a similar rate of about 50% of the market price. Why would I want to sell my cards for less than I can get on the marketplace? We just spent multiple articles in the past month or two going over the advantages of setting up a Seller account, so what's the benefit of buylisting?
There are several perks to going this route, depending on your personal goals and means. The first and forementioned benefit is that you're shipping one package to one location. If you want to sell your Temur Energy deck, you could go ahead and list each individual Chandra, Torch of Defiance, every Glorybringer, and all of the Botanical Sanctums on the site. You might get one buyer per card, and you end up having to ship a dozen or so envelopes just for the higher end singles alone. If you're someone who values convenience, buylisting the entire thing and losing a percentage might appeal to you.
Alternatively, sometimes you can just find buylist numbers that almost beat selling on the site. Let's take that Avenger of Zendikar in my buylist screenshot as an example. I'm getting paid $3.37 on it, when the Market Price is around $5.50. If I sold a single copy on the marketplace, I'm looking at around $1.70 in fees and shipping anyway. As long as this Avenger is part of a larger shopping cart that helps to save on shipping, I can get nearly as much out of my card while guaranteeing a sale.
Did you catch that last point? One of the biggest draws to shipping cards to a buylist is that you guarantee a sale at the listed buy price. Let's say for example that you wanted to sell out of Standard Zombies a few months ago. There are very few competitive Magic players who were in the market for Diregraf Colossus or Relentless Dead, and their prices were on the decline to reflect that as players raced to the bottom trying to unload copies. Both Diregraf and Relentless have lost 33% of their total price since the release of Hour of Devastation, and don't show signs of stopping as people dig out their old Standard decks and piece them apart.
If you wanted to get in ahead of that rat race, you could ship the entire list to a buylist (either a local game store, or an online one like TCGplayer), and lock in the money you wanted to use to buy some Ixalan product. The alternative might have been leaving them on the marketplace as they continuously dropped in price, with rotation looming closer and closer. The same holds true for brand new cards that will likely drop in price. I personally think that Growing Rites of Itlimoc will be cheaper in a few weeks than it is right now; I could try to sell it on the site and end up with $13-14 after fees and shipping, or I could lock in a $9.00 buy offer right now with a buylist. If I expect the card to retail for that same $9.00 in a month, I can save myself some money if I predict the card's price correctly.
The main downside to buylisting is, of course, the loss in percentage of value that you accept when you trade for convenience and guaranteed sales. If you're someone who does a lot of trading locally and knows how to find the players who want your cards all the time, then buylisting might not be for you. However, the benefits and opportunities certainly aren't to be ignored or shrugged off. For several of the Ixalan cards that will drop in value as supply floods the market on Friday, now is the perfect time to ship out the leftovers of your prerelease pool that you don't plan on playing with anytime soon, even before you're able to sell them on the marketplace!
Did you know that you can use the TCGplayer App to sell cards that you scan in on your phone? My friend, editor, and TCGplayer Content Director Adam Styborski outlines some of the newest features of the App, but I'm mentioning it here because it can help smooth out your buylist experience as well! As stores start inputting their buylist prices for Ixalan, you can get first dibs on those prices that are heightened from lack of initial supply. The App is also free, which is music to a frugal person's ears! Thanks for reading!
- DJ Johnson