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CardShark Content - Rick Silva (3/5/2003)

This is part of a series of articles in which I will examine the art and science of trading, an aspect of Magic which can have its own unique set of strategies, opportunities and pitfalls, and can frequently be just as rewarding and enjoyable as playing the game. The main reason that trading is such a vibrant part of the Magic community is that value is subjective. In spite of the presence of price guides and internet resources like Cardshark and Ebay, when it comes down to the actual trade, cards are worth different amounts to different people. And that's a good thing. If all players placed exactly the same value on every card, there would be a lot less reason to trade. You'd be better off just converting your cards back into cash and buying whatever cards you wanted at whatever the fixed single card price was, or else gambling that cash on more unopened packs. When values vary from player to player, though, opportunities can present themselves at every tournament and event.

Let's look at how different players might view a selection of the different cards found on the first page of your trade binder. First, the cards:

- A foil Korean Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
(Odyssey, Mint)
- A Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
(Onslaught
Onslaught
OnslaughtSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
92
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
, Near Mint)
- A Brimstone Dragon
Brimstone Dragon
Brimstone DragonSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Artist:
David A. Cherry
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying Brimstone Dragon is unaffected by summoning sickness.
(Portal: The Second Age, Good)
- A Berserk
Berserk
BerserkSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's attack is completed.
(Unlimited, Heavy Play)
- A Foil
Foil
FoilSet: Prophecy
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
34
Artist:
Bradley Williams
Text:
You may discard an island and another card from your hand instead of paying Foil's mana cost. Counter target spell.
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar ElvesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elves
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
(DCI-Stamped promotional edition, Near Mint)
- A Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
(Battle Royale white bordered edition, Good)
- A Cursed Scroll
Cursed Scroll
Cursed ScrollSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
X
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
3, T:Name a card. Target opponent chooses a card at random from your hand. If he or she chooses the named card, Cursed Scoll deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
(Tempest, Good)
- A Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.
(Guru Promo, Near Mint)
- A Sheep Token (Unglued, Mint)

Then, our players:

Player #1 plays in tournaments on a regular basis, and so do her friends. She's on a tournament team at the local store, and attends all the Pro Tour Qualifiers in the area. She plays Type II and Block Constructed, with the occasional Extended event. She's been playing since the release of Urza
Urza
UrzaSet: Vanguard
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
7
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
-1
Toughness:
+10
Text:
3: Urza deals one damage to target creature or player.
's Saga. She changes decks frequently to suit the local metagame, and she likes to have a good selection of decks ready to go at any given time. She trades mostly to get the cards he needs to build competitive decks, and since she really only spends her time with competitive players, she's only interested in trading for top-notch tournament-level cards.

Player #2 has been collecting since the release of Unlimited, and is more of a collector than a player. He mostly plays in limited events because they give him a chance to take home cards from the newer sets for his collection. He owns all of the Power Nine, has complete sets of Arabian Nights and Antiquities, and is working on Legends. He's interested in the obscure and the unusual. He collects foreign cards, foils, and promo editions. His decks are Type I legal if they're tournament legal at all, and they tend to be built around bizarre and obscure card combinations. He's most proud of a Type I deck that runs four copies of Shaharazad and seems to exist mostly to confuse the opponent.

Player #3 has also been involved in the game since pretty early on, but she has lost and regained her interest several times. She plays primarily in a casual environment with a group of friends who also do boardgames and D&D. They have their own set of casual play rules that allow any card ever printed as long as it's in English. Proxies are allowed too, but they prefer to use Collector's Edition or World Championship Deck cards if a ´´real´´ copy of the card isn't available. Her group plays a lot of theme decks and gigantic numbers of elves, goblins, or squirrels on the table are encouraged. She very seldom plays in any tournaments, and only works on building one deck at a time. When she gets tired of her latest deck, she trades it away as she builds something new. She's not interested in filling her apartment with cards, and sells most of her extra cards online.

Player #4 has been playing since the release of Tempest, and plays mostly Extended format events. He doesn't make new decks very often, but he enjoys playing with a certain degree of style, whether it's all Beta lands, or an all-foil deck. He likes the look of the cards and artwork is an important issue for him. So are black borders. He already has most of the cards he needs for the decks he likes to play, and he isn't interested in collecting sets. He does like to upgrade cards that he has to ´´better´´ editions, and he keeps an eye out for cards he might want to use on the occasions he does make a new deck.

So, how do these players and the sample cards measure up?

Well, Player #1 places a high value on the Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
. It's a hot card right now, and trades easily among the tournament crowd. The foil Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
is nice too, although in her mind the fact that it is a foreign foil edition only improves its value a little bit. After all, she can win tournaments using a plain old English Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
just as well as with this one. She does give it some consideration, because she knows it will trade better than a regular copy of the same card, but she's not willing to pay too much of a premium. The Berserk
Berserk
BerserkSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's attack is completed.
is worth less than the Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
to her. It's beat up, useless in any of the tournament formats she or any of her friends play in, and would probably just sit in her trade binder. The Portal dragon is just about worthless to her. It's not legal in any tournament format, and it's not that great a card to begin with (too high a casting cost). The Sheep token falls into this category as well. If it had been a Soldier, Goblin, Zombie, or Squirrel token, it might have been worth a look, but who plays with anything that makes Sheep? The promo foil Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar ElvesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elves
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
has some value to her, but not much since she and her friends have won a fair number of these at Friday Night Magic events. It's got some trade value, but again, when it comes down to it, the common 7th Edition version is just as legal to play with. Same goes for the Guru land, although it's worth more because there are fewer of them out there. The Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
and Cursed Scroll
Cursed Scroll
Cursed ScrollSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
X
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
3, T:Name a card. Target opponent chooses a card at random from your hand. If he or she chooses the named card, Cursed Scoll deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
are both good Extended cards, and they might be worth trading for if their owner isn't looking for too much. If so, she'll pass. They'll be rotating out of Extended in another year or two anyway.

Player #2 has his sights set on the Berserk
Berserk
BerserkSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's attack is completed.
. He already owns three: one Alpha, one Beta, and one Unlimited, but he never bothered getting an extra one since it was always restricted in Type I. Until now, that is. Now he has visions of first turn kills using Lotus/Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
/Mox Emerald
Mox Emerald
Mox EmeraldSet: Alpha
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Add 1 green mana to your mana pool. Tapping this artifact can be played as an interrupt.
/Ball Lightning
Ball Lightning
Ball LightningSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ball Lightning
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Power:
6
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample Ball Lightning can attack the turn it comes into play. At the end of any turn, bury Ball Lightning.
/ Berserk
Berserk
BerserkSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's attack is completed.
/Berserk
Berserk
BerserkSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's attack is completed.
. The condition is an issue, but not a major one, since he wants the card to play, and he's already got a mint Unlimited one in his collection. He also places a high value on the Korean foil Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
, although not for its use in tournament play. He just doesn't see very many Korean foil uncommons, and he'd be eager to trade for any. The foil promo Elves and the Guru Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.
are also of interest, but he realizes that these promotional cards tend to stabilize in value and that there are plenty of them out there. He wants them, but he's not going to go overboard trading for them. The Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
, on the other hand, isn't worth much more than a typical in-print rare to him. After all, he figures that sooner or later he'll get one in a pack. In the meantime, if he wants a big nasty face-down creature, he'll use a Phyrexian Dreadnought
Phyrexian Dreadnought
Phyrexian DreadnoughtSet: Mirage
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Pete Venters
Power:
12
Toughness:
12
Text:
Trample When Phyrexian Dreadnought comes into play, sacrifice any number of creatures with total power of 12 or more, or bury Phyrexian Dreadnought.
and an Illusionary Mask
Illusionary Mask
Illusionary MaskSet: Alpha
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Poly Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
X: You can summon a creature face down so opponent doesn't know what it is. The X cost can be any amount of mana, even 0; it serves to hide the true casting cost of the creature, which you still have to spend. As soon as a face-down creature receives damage, deals damage, or is tapped, you must turn it face up.
. He bought the Battle Royale boxed set when it came out, so he doesn't have any interest in the Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
, and his collection of Unglued is complete. He realizes that the Cursed Scroll
Cursed Scroll
Cursed ScrollSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
X
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
3, T:Name a card. Target opponent chooses a card at random from your hand. If he or she chooses the named card, Cursed Scoll deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
is a viable Type I card in some types of decks, and that it has held onto a decent value through changing play environments.

Player #3's eyes immediately go to the Brimstone Dragon
Brimstone Dragon
Brimstone DragonSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Artist:
David A. Cherry
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying Brimstone Dragon is unaffected by summoning sickness.
. It's huge, it's a dragon, it flies, it has haste, and none of her friends have ever seen one! Boy are they going to be in for a surprise! She's willing to trade a fairly strong tournament-quality rare that she no longer uses for it. She also likes the foil Elves, but isn't too familiar with promotional editions, so she doesn't really value it much any higher that a foil 7th Edition Llanowar Elves
Llanowar Elves
Llanowar ElvesSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elves
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
. It does get some consideration for having the original artwork. She has a fellow player in her group who might like it. In a similar vein, the Sheep token would make a great joke gift for one of her gamer friends. She'll trade for it, but she isn't willing to give up anything too good to get it. Cursed Scroll
Cursed Scroll
Cursed ScrollSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
X
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
3, T:Name a card. Target opponent chooses a card at random from your hand. If he or she chooses the named card, Cursed Scoll deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
is one of those cards that is considered somewhat impolite to play in the creature-heavy melee games she usually plays in so she doesn't have much interest in it. Berserk
Berserk
BerserkSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's attack is completed.
and Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
both look like fun, but she isn't willing to give up a great deal for either one. Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
is a card she's been seeking out for a new deck idea she's got, and she's eager to trade for the white-bordered one, especially if she can give up less for it than she'd have to for a black-bordered one. The Guru Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.
, on the other hand is an overpriced version of a card that she has plenty of, and she doesn't think anyone in her group would trade much for it, pretty though it may be. The foreign foil Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
is also worth very little to her, since non-English cards are basically banned from the group she plays with.

And finally, Player #4 is drawn to the foil Elves and Psychatog
Psychatog
PsychatogSet: Odyssey
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Atog
Rarity:
U
Number:
292
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard a card from your hand: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Psychatog gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
, both of which could work in decks he uses. He especially likes the combination of the original artwork and foil on the Elves. He is willing to pay a premium for these cards, especially if he can get four copies of them. Special lands are also of interest, and he will always trade fairly high for Guru lands. He's hoping to get enough to run an all Guru land deck at some point. He also likes the Cursed Scroll
Cursed Scroll
Cursed ScrollSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
X
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
3, T:Name a card. Target opponent chooses a card at random from your hand. If he or she chooses the named card, Cursed Scoll deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
, although the condition does lower its value in his eyes. And speaking of condition, that Berserk
Berserk
BerserkSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's attack is completed.
is just way too beat up for him want to trade for it. He considers the Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
a solid card certainly worth more than the average rare, but he's not willing to give up an excessive amount for it since he doesn't have immediate use for it in a deck. He finds the whole concept of a white-bordered Living Death
Living Death
Living DeathSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Charles Gillespie
Text:
Set aside all creature cards in all graveyards. Then, put each creature that is in play into its owner's graveyard. Then, put each creature card set aside in this way into play under its owner's control.
to be borderline offensive and would never be seen playing with such an inferior version. The Brimstone Dragon
Brimstone Dragon
Brimstone DragonSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Artist:
David A. Cherry
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying Brimstone Dragon is unaffected by summoning sickness.
has curiosity value, but nothing more. It's a pretty card, but the fact that it is not tournament legal keeps it from having any real value. The Sheep token falls into the same category. Although he likes to have a supply of token cards for when he plays a deck that can make them, he just doesn't have much use for Sheep tokens.

Four different players, each with his or her different set of values for the cards in your binder. What are you to do? Well, ideally, you match up the best trades with the best players. If you could manage to trade the Blistering Firecat
Blistering Firecat
Blistering FirecatSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
R
Number:
189
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
7
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample, haste. At end of turn, sacrifice Blistering Firecat.. Morph RR (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face. up any time for its morph cost.)
to Player #1, the Berserk
Berserk
BerserkSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Until end of turn, target creature's current power doubles and it gains trample ability. If it attacks, target creature is destroyed at end of turn. This spell cannot be cast after current turn's attack is completed.
to Player #2, the Brimstone Dragon
Brimstone Dragon
Brimstone DragonSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Artist:
David A. Cherry
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Flying Brimstone Dragon is unaffected by summoning sickness.
to Player #3, and some of the more unusual promotional items like the Guru Mountain
Mountain
MountainSet: Arabian Nights
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Tap to add R to your mana pool.
to Player #4, then chances are you'll do some pretty decent trading. The trick is to find all four players, or rather, to find the greatest possible variety of players to trade with. An old saying mentions that one man's trash is another's treasure, and never has this wisdom been more right than in the Magic trading environment. Where some players look for play value, others focus on artwork and foil. Where some are after cards that will be fun in their melee games, others are looking for that one obscure missing piece of their collection of Italian Dark, or whatever. For every player out there who turns up his nose at a card because it's not used in whatever format he plays, there's another player who's interested in collecting the obscure and unusual oddities of Magic. It's just a matter of finding those different players and being able to offer them something that will suit their tastes.

Of course this doesn't mean you throw your price guide out the window. There are some basic trends in pricing that just about every player agrees on. Cards that are stronger in play are more valuable than weaker ones. Rare cards are more valuable than common ones (although a good uncommon might be worth more than a bad rare).

Still, when it comes down to it, a card is only worth what the people involved in the trade are willing to agree to. Card value is basically subjective, and that's good news for the dedicated trader. It means that by seeking out the greatest possible variety of players to trade with, you'll be able to effectively buy low and sell high. By paying attention to the values that the players you trade with place on cards, you'll begin to open yourself up to the opportunities that await.


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