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 Post subject: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-20 10:55 am 
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Joined: 2010-Jul-18 9:59 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Hey folks,

So I finally (with help from a big tax return) bit the bullet and bought a whole bunch of cards. I noticed something funny about my buying behaviour; I was going through old Commander Set Reviews by Sheldon on SCG and I'd insta-buy anything that cost less than a dollar if it seemed useful, would only buy cards from one dollar to five dollars if I was sure it was going to make the cut, and would only buy cards in excess of five dollars if it was a slam dunk include in the deck.

Similarly, I would balk at any single card over 10 dollars in price - and in fact I didn't buy a single card 10 dollars or more, out of an order of 260-odd cards (admittedly 30 of those were Wastes, but that's still 230-odd)

Now 10 dollars isn't that much for a card, but apparently that's my point at which I think "I can replace that with a similar effect for less money".

So when you're buying cards, what's your per-card "limit"? I was surprised mine was so low to be honest; I suspect my subconscious is telling me "you can get so many more good cards for that money, why buy this one card when you can get 5-10 other ones?"

Maybe I'm just a cheapskate :P

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"- if this spell is played ten times in a given game then I suggest you warm up the tar and pluck some chickens" - tarnar

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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-20 12:18 pm 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I'll make it rain for random cards if they are less than a few bucks. Around 10 is where I start to question whether I needed it, and around 20 is where I have to seriously justify buying it. Of course, this is dependent upon my financial situation at the time of purchase and the likelihood of said cards changing in price drastically.


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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-20 7:17 pm 
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Joined: 2016-Nov-27 2:39 pm
Age: Dragon
I only buy single cards when I'm building them for a deck, and I build only with cards under $2ish or that I already own. I'll permit myself a handful of $5-$10 cards to the extent that they're cards I love on their own and which are important to the deck and hard to replace with something cheaper, and I'd only permit myself over that for a card that's the general. I'll buy the main 100 plus 10ish other cards in my maybeboard.

To date Animar remains my most expensive card purchase.

I've also bought commander precons, so most of the expensive cards I own came from those, or from when my friends and I did drafts and prereleases a while back.

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Beloved precons: Atraxa, Praetors' Voice; Saskia the Unyielding; Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.


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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-20 7:23 pm 

Joined: 2015-Apr-23 11:27 pm
Age: Drake
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
For non-reserved list cards, I don't want to spend more than 5€ a card, except if there's very little chance that the card will ever be reprinted. It also depends very much on how often I'd be able to include it in a deck, I'd spend more on great artifacts than I'd spend on very niche BRG enchantments.

Reserved list cards are a whole different case. I buy ABUR duals when I see an interesting opportunity and my current financial situation allows it. Since they're very unlikely to ever drop in value, I consider them as a solid investment, and I can always sell them when I need money.


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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-20 7:34 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Dec-26 7:50 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Amsterdam, Holland
I believe the most I've spent on a card was 450 euro (a good looking Beta Bayou a couple of years ago) and the most on a collection 4500 euro. I have traded for more expensive cards and I would buy higher assuming my financial situation allows it*.

The upper limit for me is what I can afford and whether I think the deal is right (I won't buy anything I feel is overpriced). I have a hard time justifying buying new cards, as they often drop in price after rotation or after a reprint, but I am happy to pick up something old and expensive for my collection, especially if I can trade for it. In fact I rarely buy cards over 100 euro as I can often trade instead (sometimes using store credit I got from trading in, where I get the cards I trade in from collection buying and online trading). Basically if the price is sensible and I want it we can make a deal.

* Currently it does not, however it shouldn't stay that way for too long.

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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-20 8:42 pm 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
Depends on what I'm doing. In general, I don't think any individual card is worth more than $25 if it isn't that way on sheer collectibility- but the secondary market disagrees with that notion quite a bit. I find that saving up over a few weeks to acquire a few clutch pieces is almost always preferable to splurging, or trying to settle for bulk bin alternatives.

With that in mind, however- the most important thing to understand about the secondary market, is that it almost entirely exists on speculatory "value". The bubble pops every few years, and cards that were previously expensive diminish greatly in their "value." Moreso than than it's multiple extra limited print reprintings; Tarmogoyf (the premier beatstick for over a decade now-) demonstrated this as alternative cards to fill the role, and in some ways fill the role better have popped up in more mass produced sets in lower rarity slots. The older editions of Goyf now only have collector value- but the willingness of the players to pay out $500 for a playset has drastically been diminished.

To Commander's role in this- most of the spec cards have little to nothing to do with true performance outside of mana rocks which can never be printed again outside of extraordinarily limited runs. In it's earliest days of exposure- Commander drove the prices of Glimpse the Unthinkable, and Consuming Aberration- after years, Doubling Season kept climbing and brought things like Wurmcoil Engine with it. Today, the bubble is coming up around other doubling effects like Wound Reflection or trashy punishers like Polluted Bonds out of speculation. The thing about all of the cards I''ve mentioned here, is that with the exception of Wurmcoil Engine- none of these cards actually do much of anything if you don't already have excessive forward momentum (and Wurmcoil Engine itself is often just a lukewarm play if your deck can't entirely utilize it for being an artifact creature with a death trigger to create artifact creatures.)

For this reason, I've rarely had to put down more than $50 on an order for a set of cards for a Commander deck- these bubbles target popular deck archetypes which tend to not actually be all that exciting or strong in the first place (lookin' at you Superfriends-) but instead appeal most often to people whose idea of "casual play" is to take out their frustrations on players too inexperienced to work their way out of something like Winter Orb or Isochron Sceptre with a Counterspell on it. When you actually play Doubling Season- it often feels like the biggest do-nothing turd imaginable unless it's outright destroying the game, because you're already in a good position.

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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-20 9:09 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Jul-18 9:59 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Mr Degradation wrote:
Snip essay

Well that was quite...something. I'd say your assessment of Doubling Season is way off to begin with, and I wish I'd held on to mine because now I have the perfect deck for it and I don't own one any more (and the Battlebond printing doesn't really appear to have dropped the price at all).

Thanks for the lesson though :P

_________________
"Degenerate, unfun decks generally come from degenerate, unfun players in my experience." - Cthulus Thrall

"- if this spell is played ten times in a given game then I suggest you warm up the tar and pluck some chickens" - tarnar

"I'm happy to serve as a quote machine" - Sheldon


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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-20 9:19 pm 
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Joined: 2017-Mar-11 6:43 am
Age: Dragon
Viperion wrote:
Mr Degradation wrote:
Snip essay

Well that was quite...something. I'd say your assessment of Doubling Season is way off to begin with, and I wish I'd held on to mine because now I have the perfect deck for it and I don't own one any more (and the Battlebond printing doesn't really appear to have dropped the price at all).

Thanks for the lesson though :P


:P Sorry for the text wall. I just get worked up about things like that. In my experience- when I have played it; it requires a cornercase of it's effects combining (like with Planeswalkers) to ever be impressive, and then like most doublers just tends to disappoint where a card that actually has action would excel. That isn't to say that I'm not sitting on a pile of Anointed Processions because I think it'll blimp; but that every time I've tried to work it or Parallel Lives, Primal Vigor, or Doubling Season into a deck, they tend to get cut for action when they have to compete with do-nothings like Mirari's Wake which are easier to jam and then do something with in the same turn.

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Last edited by Mr Degradation on 2018-Aug-21 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-21 12:32 am 
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Joined: 2009-Jun-02 3:54 am
Age: Dragon
Location: Germany, near Berlin
As I also call myself a Modern and Legacy player (or used to for Legacy), I have spend some more money in the past years, and still do.
My limit lies somewhere around 50€ for one card - and I've gone above only twice: 2xJace tMS for 60 each and 4x Force of Will for around 300 (the latter was a Christmas present to myself, hence the exception)
Every other card I own was costing me less money - either by luckily buying before the price jump or by trading away other cards - giving away a playset of FtV Berserks for a Volcanic Island felt way less painful.

Buying for Commander happens more often than for other formats, but actually stays much lower in price. I'll pay more than perhaps 20€ only if the deck REALLY wants the card and there's no cheaper replacement.

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too many, and always changing... except:

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Melek, Izzet Paragon (Dragonstorm) -> these must stay because of a house rule


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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-21 1:47 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-02 5:25 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Costa La Haya, capital del ducado Holanda
The timing of this discussion is interesting, as. I just read this: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/th ... rd-problem

My perception of what a card is worth is skewed by my history of starting before Chronicles and the existence of the reserved list. 25 bucks has been the upper limit for a single card (with buck not being a specific currency: it was the Dutch guilder until 2001 and the euro now; basically this means I'm willing to pay double for the a card compared to when I started). At that price point I got all the duals I need, but I missed out on the Bazaars I wanted because the price kept going up and I was outbid on ebay repeatedly (Derp). I think I only spend more on four occasions: an Italian The Abyss for 35 (with an Italian Chains for 25) and three judge promo's between 25 and 45.

I just don't play enough to have a card be worth more than this. For me, personally that is. I spend more time behind my computer, so I'm not against spending more money than 25 bucks... and computer hardware doesn't keep its value like cards do. I'm to lazy/busy to sell or trade cards, or maybe I would even let the valuable part of my collection go. I did let go of a load of tournament staples though, so perhaps the day will come I'll sell the valuable stuff or a part of it. I buy cards through MCM now, but very rarely more than 10 for a single. The increase of fakes freak me out, that makes cards even worth less for me.

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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-21 5:35 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I used to be a big spender. I own hundreds of cards over $100, tons over $500, and a big handful of cards over $1000, but i don't really get so spendy anymore. When i was in the Army and single, my income was like 3400 and monthly expenses less than $1000, all i did was buy expensive stuff.

Today i pretty much only trade. I have other life expenses, and a family. I try to just keep my collection at a constant value instead of hoarding more and more. I still buy tons of little dinky stuff to try out, or when i find really sick deals. I bought an UNL Gauntlet of Might and a Force of Will $150 for the pair, and that was only a couple months ago.

My most recent purchase was Insidious Dreams because it sounds really fun in my Tymna Thrasios Razahulk deck. It doesn't sound like a tiered card but i'm going to resolve it and win with it at least once. That's all my purchases nowadays, a few dollars here and there for stuff or when something hot pops up. Everything else i trade for.

My biggest adventure right now is completing 5 Legacy decks all at once. I have all the duals and just need all the random filler, and right now just trading so it's taking time.

I also started a side project of downsizing some high end stuff i didn't find necessary. I kept unique cards (Tabernacle, Moat, Bazaar, Workshop, et al) and got rid of extras or stuff that had nonfoil replacements. I traded 3 foil grim monoliths, a chains, some duals, a cradle for a big extra % bump towards modern staples i now grind with (i offer to take any modern staples people offer, but for +15-20% extra value for me). Some of it got pointless to own, i think, and after recent spikes i figured they would be stagnant for a good while so my little side project has been pretty lucrative.


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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-21 5:41 am 

Joined: 2014-Sep-13 7:28 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Regarding fakes though, i'm not yet worried about the values of ancient high end reserve list stuff. The fakes being produced right now aren't intended to be 1:1 recreations that the printers are selling for hundreds each. They are intended to look good enough to pass across the table at events or be aesthetically pleasing proxies for cube and edh (where many more people consider using proxies acceptable). They barely even try to get the backs of the fakes correct and none are passable in hand if you've seen one identified before.


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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-21 7:34 am 

Joined: 2011-Feb-15 7:09 am
Age: Drake
More than 303,51 € at this point in time*.
Fair to say my wishlist for cards that cost more than that is quite small, with chains of mephistopheles weighing in at 540€ right now (or 275€ if I can live with an Italian copy).

540€ does sound too self indulgent to me? **

* just between us, do not tell the wife.
** do it, you know you want to :P


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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-22 1:59 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
I think the most I've ever payed for a single card has been $250 Canadian Dollars (for an unlimited Timetwister, in 2012). However, I've payed $150-$250 for single cards many, many, MANY times. (I'm semi-regular in the Impulse Buying thread).

I think those days are coming to an end, though. The cards I would pay that kind of money for are vanishing; they are either reserved list cards that now cost a fortune, or modern staples that I don't have much interest in playing.

[warning: generic card prices rant, feel free to skip] Part of me gets really sad about Magic prices, especially on reserved list cards nowadays. I payed $50 for a Mirror Universe once upon a time, because I wanted to play a life-swap deck. It's not a good card. It's restrictive and mana-intensive, and the function it provides is no longer unique, hasn't been for a while (and it's not even the best at it). They're a fortune now, for no good reason. So much the worse for cards that would actually see competitive play in eternal formats.

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 Post subject: Re: How much is too much for a card?
AgePosted: 2018-Aug-22 2:07 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
My card evaluation is almost pure gut. First, I determine whether I want the card or not without any consideration of financial factors. But then when I evaluate the price point, it's less a matter of if I'm willing and more a matter if I'm able. However there are always arbitrary lines. Like, for instance, when Arena Rector came out I was pretty hyped for her. But at $25 or whatever I just couldn't get it up enough to pull the trigger. Now that she's more like $15 I'm 100% willing to buy in, but at this point I'm no longer ABLE. Just can't afford it.

Another thing that factors in is how much I'm spending at a given point of purchase vs. how behind I am on recent sets. Like, a few months back I managed to save up about $250 to blow on Magic but I had FOUR fucking standard sets to catch up on. Hadn't been able to buy more than $5 worth of cards here or there in over a year and a half. So even though I had $250 to burn, I needed to REEEEAALLYYYY make that cash stretch as much as possible. So I had to be pretty picky about my higher-end items. Like, I got 1x copy each of a few higher-$ mythics like Scarab God, but 90% of my order was basically, if I couldn't get a 4x set for $15 AT MOST I just skipped it altogether.

Finally, certain foils are a big deal to me. Like, I don't have the money to spend on a foil Queen Marchesa but as she's one of my favorite new commanders of the last 5 or so years, I absolutely would be willing to shell out $75 to $100 for a foil of her... IF I HAD IT.

But at the same time, there are other commanders I actively use but I have so far balked at spending ~$30 on foils of them. Like I said, it's very unscientific and VERY prone to fluctuation based on pure gut level desire. And, even then, what I would be willing to spend one day, I might balk at the exact same cost on a different day, as, again, it depends on whether I feel "caught up" or if I am way behind and need to get as much cardboard bang for my buck as possible.

I also spent around $40 on a foil Liliana Heretical Healer because I just saw it in the case at my LGS and it was so goddamn gorgeous I couldn't stand it. I just put back the stack of 15 or so cards I'd spent 45 minutes carefully picking out and said "nevermind, gimme that shit" and walked out of the store beaming.

I am terrible at money is what I'm saying.

I will spend ANY amount to get what I want provided two things are true: I want it badly enough and I have the money. And that second rule is actually a little more... flexible... than it ought to be.

Hello. My name is Thaumaturge and I am an addict.

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