Value x Time x Percentages

Cliff Daigle • February 25, 2021

I’ve decided to foil out my five-color The Ur-Dragon deck. Notably, I can’t foil the whole thing --I’ve got duals and a couple of other random cards in there that aren’t available in foil– but I did recently acquire a set of all ten fetches in the Zendikar Rising Expedition frame. It’s nice that all of them match now.

Foiling out the deck is not a huge deal, as I’m perfectly willing to be patient. I’m not in a hurry, which is good. No one has traded a foil Mirari’s Wake from Judgment in over a year, but hopefully I’ll be the first in a while.

To fuel the foils, I decided to send out all ten fetchlands that I just took out of the deck. I’ve had one of them since Zendikar, the others acquired in a range of times and ways. Here’s the mismatched list, and you can imagine why I’d be so keen to get ten that all matched each other:

(If you’re not using the tag function, it’s super handy for a lot of circumstances, especially when you’re doing a bulk addition.)

So I’ve added the cards to my haves, and unsurprisingly, lots of people want these fetchlands. But how do I maximize the amount I’m getting for these ten cards? It turns out that this is not a simple quest, and I want to walk you through this process.

My default search is set to prioritize the percentages, which under most circumstances works great:

Oooo, I can get 80% on the Misty and the Heath. Someone really wants those cards! I can respect that mindset: Khans fetches are nicely priced, and even the little trickle of reprints like Secret Lairs and Expeditions have kept prices in check.

However, I have to admit that given shipping’s current slowed-down status, I’m not enthused about seven stamps and deciding if I want to go tracked on the Misty, at least. Plus, none of these top offers are for more than one, so what’s my search look like if I sort by total package?

Now we’re talking! There’s a trader who wants all ten, in these editions. The problem is, that’s at 65% for most of these, and now I have to do some math.

It is totally defensible for someone to just ship these out to that one person, because you don’t want to bother with multiple packages. Shipping for something this expensive would likely involve insurance from me, but that’s up to you if you don’t want to do it.

So how much am I giving up if I go for the all-in-one shipment? First, I have to look at the cards individually. One percent of value on a $60 Misty Rainforest is four times as much as 1% of a Windswept Heath.

Since I’ve tagged the ten cards, it’s easy for me to click through each of them and see what the top offer is on each of them. Sure, there’s a lot of folks who are offering 65% on these, but if I can get into the 70s at least, that helps a lot.

The gap between 65% and 80% is significant on the offers I’m considering. All of them aggregate to about $370, if we’re talking total value that’s $3.70 for each point it ticks downward. It’s not that simple, though, because I’m having to piece them out as ten units. If I send out ten Plain White Envelopes (PWE in the vernacular) that’s toploaders and stamps for each, which is worth remembering too. Ten envelopes or one big one, either way I’m looking at nearly six bucks in postage.

One avenue that’s open to me is to talk to other Cardsphere members in the Discord. That has been a great source for me to find trading partners, both for buying and for selling. Advertising that I want to send out these cards will help me find folks who want to give me 75-80% on these cards, which is my goal.

I also want to consider being patient, as looking at the last ten trades shows me that the Misty and the Tarn especially are going for percentages in the 80s. In the end, that’s the last factor that needs to be controlled: How long I’m willing to wait on the cards will determine the value I eventually get.

Another factor that’s minor in this case but still bears repeating is the time I’m spending. If I spend hours refreshing my Send page and drumming up interest on Discord, is that the most profitable use of my time? It’s going to take me longer to pack up ten individual cards, too. If I sent all ten at once, I can use a hinged case and a little padding, with no need for sleeves inside. Shipping out all ten with their own sleeves and toploaders (and team bags) is going to take longer.

As I said, I’m not going to take the mass 65% offer, though it is tempting to unload it all at once. There’s a convenience to making one package and sending it out, but the lower percentage (and the extra cost of insurance on the shipping) is preventing me from taking that offer. If it was a mass 80% offer, I’d likely take it.

One more trick I want to mention: Because I am searching via tags, if I go to send from the Send page, I’m only choosing from the things I tagged. I always want to click on the user’s name and see what else I have in my Haves that I might be able to send out!