The End of The End

Cliff Daigle • September 30, 2023

There’s a whole lot going on in Magic right now, including the indignation of selling a lot more Surge Foils in the Holiday edition than there were in the original LOTR packs, but today, with a heavy heart, I say goodbye to the best asynchronous trading platform that ever existed.

If you’re here, you might well have used PucaTrade at some point. I certainly did, and while they did a lot wrong, they introduced a great concept. Cardsphere looked at all those mistakes and said, “Let’s do this the right way!” and proceeded to knock it out of the park.

I freely admit that my CS use has gone up and down over the six years I’ve been a member, but I always knew it was here and available and I always came back, too.

Cardsphere sails into the Unchanging Lands for me, with forty-something on my account, hoping for those last few etched foil Medallions.

The great thing is, I get to talk about all the neat things I did with the site, aside from being a writer.

I joined in May 2017, making it into the early wave not long after the site launched, and I’m user #490. Swag. I’ve been a Magic player from early on, and once had a DCI number in the six digits, but that #490 is a number I’ve been irrationally happy about.

In August 2018, I saw a post on Twitter where Cardsphere was looking for more writers, and here we are, five years later. It’s been a lot of fun to write about Magic finance for a company that allowed us all to save a lot of money. I’ve said it several times: money here is worth more than it is on TCGPlayer.

So to say goodbye, I want to go over the highlights of my buying and selling on here, as my usage represents a very casual and a very focused user experience, depending on the year. So when I joined in May 2017, I immediately I put $40 into the site and bought just about everything I needed for the cycling deck that was in Standard at the time, with Drake Haven being the star. Ah, memories.

The next month, I started sending out cards $5 and $10 and a time, because I wanted to build a Thraximundar commander deck. I’ve since modified that deck to Varina, Lich Queen, for Esper Zombies, and I’ve gotten most of that deck through Cardsphere as well.

In that summer, the biggest thing I sold was a stack of Coldsnap snow basics. I don’t remember why I had so many snow basics, but I sure did and people wanted them. Win for me and a win for them, a theme that has always been present here.

One of my most fun purchases was 200 basic lands in early 2019. Forty of each land. Ten from each Guild kit, in nonfoil, which I still have in my Uncommons cube. It was a huge pain in the butt, to find folks who had enough and save me from getting 200 individual packages. The Cardsphere Discord helped a lot with that.

When the pandemic hit I decided to start chasing premium cards for assorted Commander decks. By June of 2020, I’d sent off enough cards for an Invention Chromatic Lantern.  If you want to know how cheap, I’ll tell you on Discord. I also got many foil dragons for my Dragon deck, and like any member of the winged and scaly species, I wanted more.

My The Ur-Dragon deck needed the best possible manabase and a few more shiny Dragons. I couldn’t go to my school to teach, or go much of anywhere, so I embarked on a quest for dual lands and foil Dragons.

I moved a lot of cardboard, and in late 2020/early 2021, I got most of the blue duals, generally in MP/LP condition. Near Mint is hard to assess online, and getting flawed duals made for an easy strategy: I’d take those duals to the next big Magic event and upgrade them. Worked like a charm once Magic Cons started up again.

All of 2021 was me getting new and shiny dragons very early in their cycles for much too much, compared to the prices they would be at within a couple months. In 2022 and 2023, I went through ups and downs for my CS use, but my goal was always the same to turn old stuff I wasn’t using into new shiny things I wanted to use.

That’s been the marvel of asynchronous trading for me, and lots of others. We’ve all turned lots of things that we didn’t want to have around into the things we want to have. I’ve learned a ton about negotiation, about shipping tricks, and done it in such a low-pressure environment. I used to use other platforms, where folks listed all their cards, and I’d list mine, then we have to choose what we want and negotiate over every darn penny.

I’m really going to miss Cardsphere. The experience, the community, the satisfaction of building up a big balance and then blowing it all on sweet duals or foils. It’s been a lot of fun doing the trading, and the writing, and I hope all of you enjoyed your time on Cardsphere as much as I did. "The days of the Cardsphere have passed, for the great Age was over and and end was come to the story and the song of those times."

Credit to Tolkien, who writes much better than I do about the sadness that comes with the end of an era. May you all find value in unexpected places.