Essential Magic Articles

Clawing your way to the top without breaking the bank

by Josh Begerow

    Do you both love and hate the release of a new set? Does you’re your head start to ache from all the possibilities. The new cards, the secret synergies you think up as you make a mental list of all the cards you’re going to need for your new breakout rogue deck. Then you start to think of the cost. The sheer monetary investment you must make to stay competitive with the release of each new set is overwhelming. Then there are those of us who play MTGO and still try to play paper as well. Breaking the bank is an understatement when you try to play competitive standard Magic.

    I have come up with a few tips that may help you save a little coin in your progression towards the top.

    By far the cheapest entry into competitive magic is the pauper format. While it might seem silly to play pauper when you really want to play standard it makes more sense than you would think. Highly competitive pauper decks are extremely cheap and usually require hardly any more investment to keep them that way. Most of the same decks that were strong in the format a year ago are still a viable option today. I keep three good decks and switch them with the metagame. You can top 8 with pauper and the prizes are standard cards Then you can draft them sell them or trade them for what you need for your standard deck.

    Another pit a lot of people fall into is how attached they become to their collections. I simply can’t afford to have three or four tier 1 decks, but I can afford to have one at a time. Once you have the initial investment of a solid deck all it takes is a little business savvy to keep your steam rolling. You have to anticipate the changes in the format and preempt them. If a card is so-so right now but you see it rising in popularity, buy a few extra copies below cost. Then later, when the price skyrockets, unload for some profit. That brings us to the third Tip I can offer.

    Buy low sell high. Sometimes you might have to sit on stuff for a while but in the end you’ll be closer to the cards you really want. Prices change fast on cards so you have to be on your toes. If a card was 3 tickets yesterday and jumps to 7, sell it and don’t look back. If you try to hold out and be greedy it might drop back down the next day, take the opportunity when you can. And don’t worry about how many cards you have if you have one really competitive deck you’ll do fine. A huge collection isn’t worth much if you can’t make a really good deck with it. I currently have one top 8 deck and that’s all I need. You can only play one deck at a time and if you want to try something else all it takes is a little effort to trade and sell where you’ll come out ahead.

    These tips were gathered over time by other MTGO players and they have served me quite well. I have dropped my cost down to less than a third of what I was originally spending and the quality of my decks has gone up as well. When you only have a couple of decks you make sure they are perfect and don’t part with them at a loss. Patience will always be your biggest asset when coming out ahead in Magic; this is after all a strategy game.

Last edited 8/6/2009 10:20:58 AM Page 1 of 1  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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