There is no wrong way to eat a piece of peanut butter covered in chocolate, and there is no wrong way to trade on Cardsphere. Unless you're violating the terms and conditions, then there actually is a wrong way to trade. But I digress.
Today I will cover some tips and tricks to help you maximize your Cardsphere experience. Maybe you're trading thousands or just a few bucks, either way there should be a fun avenue for you to explore. This article is not comprehensive as Cardsphere's a robust platform with plenty of angles to shoot, but I hope it will give you some things to think about.
Throughout the article I will refer to the patient trader and the eager trader. The former is the person who is willing to wait weeks or maybe even months to optimize value, and latter is willing to pay more to get whatever they need quickly.
There's nothing better or worse about either mindset. I won't advocate for either of these approaches, in fact I'm guessing most of us do a little bit of both.
1) Ignore Sales, Promotions, and Hype!
I know what you're thinking, this is not a real tip. But it's actually the most important one. Some people forget that Cardsphere is not just a trading tool, and that you can just straight up use it as a market to purchase singles. No trading needed. When you go to buy singles what do you want? The best deal!
People get suckered in all the time by "sales" that are not very good value. Don't let the marketing fool you. Let us imagine, for example, that a popular magic online shop has a 5-10% off sale. In the past you would instinctively go buy a bunch of singles. While a 5-10% sale might sound nifty, I get cards all day long at 10% to 30% off on Cardsphere.
Even adding $30-$100 through trades to my funds every week, I get orders committed to me so quickly I can't maintain a balance. No gimmick, no sale, no hype, just another day on Cardsphere. If I ONLY got 10% off, that's still great, but that is basically the MOST I ever pay for cards on Cardsphere.
So next time there is a 5-10% off sale on some big time website that sells magic cards, put the brakes on making a buy and instead go deposit the funds you would have spent elsewhere. Track what you get from Cardsphere with the money you put in, and you should easily end up with at least the same if not better savings.
2) Min/Max Your Offer
Cardsphere provides a number of tools to figure out how much to offer to pay for a card. To start, on the homepage of Cardsphere there is this handy dandy macro statistical breakdown on Cardsphere trades. Just at a glance, for example, we can find out that half of the $1-5 cards bought and sold on Cardsphere are bought and sold at 70% to 83% of their index value (as of 5/17/18). This is good general information to get us started on a proper price for a card we are looking to buy or sell.
Next up, you can click on any card in your "haves" or your "wants" and it will bring up information on that card regarding current offers, recent trades, and how many copies are currently out there available for sale on Cardsphere.
I need to digress for a minute and talk about the two main barriers that keep people from sending you a card. First, it helps to be one of the top offers for a card if you want to have a shot at getting that card quickly. If ten people are each offering more than you for a card then you probably will not get that card anytime soon and maybe never.
Second, most people have a minimum acceptable value point they will take for their cards. Remember, this is the point you're trying to find.
The Top 10 Offers tab on card pages shows you the highest current offers so you can adjust your % offer accordingly. Sometimes, even if you are the top offer currently, it's worth checking the Trade History to see what percentages of value the card typically trades at. This is especially important if you're eager to get the card.
Generally, to get a card fast make sure you're the top offer. If you're in a more patient mood then just stay in the top five. Just remember, the further down the rankings you are the more questionable it will become as to whether or not you will ever get the card.
3) Have Assorted Wants
It's worth mentioning the difference between a $.50 card and a $10 card. You don't have to be as competitive on $.50 cards because people will be more likely to toss these in to packages, even if your rate is not as competitive as others. However, on more expensive cards it does not make sense for someone to send you that card when they can easily send it to someone else for more money, unless they have a lot of extra bulk cards they are tossing in to make up the difference.
Obviously don't trade for junk you don't want, but having a nice mix of more and less valuable cards can really help you get the cards that you want. If someone sees that you are offering 80% on a $20 card and someone else is offering 82%, the 2% difference becomes less meaningful if you let them also move a bunch of cheaper cards. Additionally, this may help you get some of those cheaper cards even cheaper, because the real reason you're getting the package was because of the $20 "anchor" card.
4) Don't Overpay
Another reason to check the last 10 trades, and current top offers on a card is to make sure you aren't overpaying on a card.
The more you are willing to pay the faster you will get the card. However, even if you're very eager to get a card, checking the market info might mean you can lower your offer by 4-5% and still get that card reasonably soon.
Here, I am talking about your normal modern, commander, and standard cards. If you're looking for older set foils, beta cards or rare promos then you may indeed have to pay a premium, but then the trade history will tip you off to that as well.
5) Stagger Your Offers
I see people missing this one often. Just because you want multiples of a particular card, doesn't mean you have to make a single offer for all of them. This one is great for Commander or Brawl players who want a singleton to play with, but also want to eventually have a playset for 60 card constructed.
Go ahead and offer 95% for your first
Walking Ballista and then offer 70% for the other three. Who knows? The person sending the first one may message you and starting talking deals for the remaining three.
6) About Those Messages
Which brings us to our next topic: messaging.
This one's somewhat controversial topic, and I am not going to tell you that you should or should not message people to make offers. Instead I just have some suggestions to help you navigate this issue regardless of your position.
Cardsphere is designed to allow you to trade without any negotiation at all. However, it doesn't violate the terms of service to message other users and politely say, "Greetings, I see your offer 80% for an unstable Forest, I'd be willing to commit to send it to you if you could offer 85%, thank you for your time."
Just be sure not to spam people who don't respond. That's your indication that unsolicited messages are not welcome.
If you don't like getting messaged offers, then I suggest adding this to your profile notes: "Please do not message me with trade offers, the rates I'm offering are firm."
Of course, this means always checking profile notes before sending unsolicited messages, too!