Thursday, August 09, 2007

Store update, anyone?

Okay, it's been a while since I gave everyone who's interested in such things a Store Update. And today's a good day to do one, since I have something to celebrate:


Yes, I have finally edited every last one (I hope) of the 5000+ magic card entries I have available on eBay, fixing the shipping options to match the new USPS "First Class International", and updating the wording on the generic text in the descriptions. It was a long, arduous process, but at long last it's finished.

Now I can shift focus and get back to adding new cards to the store. I still have literally thousands of cards to get up, most of them Uncommons, Rares and Foils. First order of business, though, will be to get the common cards from Legends and The Dark up onto - I finally decided during the overhaul to take them down from eBay and put them up at the new store. So I need to edit the old photos to match the new Store's standards, and get the things listed. This includes a lot of Italian Legends and The Dark common cards as well.

I've made a bunch more purchases since I last updated here. I believe the last I reported I had purchased Lot 23. Well, there's been quite a few more since then. I'm more focusing on unopened packs and batches of Rares/Foils/Promos these days...
  • Lot 24 has become now a sort of generic Lot number for unopened packs that I buy and auction still unopened. I find people offering larger lots of packs, then sell them individually at auction and (hopefully) make a profit. For example, someone had a batch of 34 unopened booster packs of Urza's Legacy (that's 2 short a complete box). Unfortunately for him (fortunately for me), he misspelled Urza's Legacy as "Urza,s Legacy", so I think a lot of searchers missed his auction. The set ended up going for less than it probably should have, but that means that when I sell them off one at a time, starting the bidding at $5, I should make some profit.
  • Lot 25 was a "deck" someone had up that included "29 special cards". There wasn't much of a description, but the price was very cheap, and no-one else bid on it, so I got it at the minimum. Unfortunately the "Nevinyrral's Disk" they advertised was from some Pro Tour set that's practically worthless, and was in such beat up shape I couldn't sell it anyway. SIGH. I might be able to get my money back on this one.
  • Lot 26 was a whole bunch of uncommons, (2100+), rares (300+) and foils from recent sets. A couple was needing to get some money to pay off their debt, so decided to dump their rather expensive Magic habit and sell off their cards. It seems they bought boxes to collect complete sets - and didn't play with them. What I bought were their extras, which were in incredibly good shape (I'd say Mint if I didn't reserve that term for cards I took out of packs myself).
  • Lot 27 was a small batch (38) of Foils - including a 9th Edition Serra Angel. Since I collect those, this was an added bonus.
  • Lot 28 was another batch (95) of Foils I bought from a guy that I also bought over 100 unopened packs from. The unopened packs get filed under "Lot 7", the generic Lot number for unopened packs that I then open myself to sell the individual cards.
  • Lot 29 was a small batch of Foils (26) and Token Creature cards (8).
  • Lot 30 was a batch of 198 Foils and 5 Promo cards.
  • Lot 31 was around 1000 Rares and over 300 Foils. I've been auctioning off many of these Foils over the last several weeks. Many are Friday Night Magic (FNM) promo cards, or Pre-Release cards. When a new set is released, Wizards of the Coast throws Pre-Release parties, and these special promo cards, Foil jazzed-up versions of a rare card from the set, are printed for those events. They even had fun for a while using never-before-used languages, like Hebrew and Latin!
  • Lot 32 was a small (37) batch of Foils.
  • Lot 33 was a batch (325) of Foils and a few assorted other Rare cards.
  • Lot 34 was a box of 9th Edition. This Lot still galls me a little, and I'll tell you why below.

Okay, why am I so upset about Lot 34? This guy lists this item, starting the bidding at some high amount. He claims that he considered getting into Magic, and bought this box (and another box of some other set - he listed two at the same time), opened the packs, then never played the game. So he wants to sell them off. He says that this box contains all the cards originally in there. I emailed him asking him to let me know how many foil cards there were, and what they were. Also, what are the Rare cards? Since he opened the packs, I might as well take advantage and see what he's offering. No response. The box doesn't sell. A week or so later I see it up again, this time with a more reasonable starting bid. So I email him again. This time he replies, and says there are no foils, but he sends me a list of Rares.

Two problems here. First of all, the odds of opening up an entire box of 9th Edition and not getting a single Foil card are EXTREMELY low. Maybe impossible, I don't know. Secondly, the list of Rares has only 35 cards listed. As there should be 36 packs in a box, and one Rare per pack, there should be 36 listed. I emailed him for clarification on the last point, and he replied that there were two copies of one of the cards, so there were indeed 36 Rares. Okay, I bid (the Rares were good ones - Wrath of God, four different Pain Lands, Royal Assassin - basically the Rares alone would cover the asking price) and won.

Now, when I get the cards, my son and I immediately fall to sorting them out. Most of our work has already been done for us, however, and the work goes quickly. Then I count the cards (yes, I am that obsessive). There should have been 108 Uncommons (36 packs times 3 Uncommons per pack). There were 111. There should have been 36 Basic Lands (1 per pack). There were 51. There should have been 360 Commons (10 each pack). There were 371. And to make matters worse, three of the Commons come from a 9th Edition sub-set, only available in the boxed set version.

So, this is obviously not the original contents of a box of 9th Edition. But I actually come out ahead (there's more cards in every category except Rares). So I'm torn between being pleased with the purchase (I think it was a good one) and being ticked off at the guy for so obviously lying about what he was selling.

Right now I have a bid on a factory sealed box of 9th Edition - if I win it, it will be amusing to compare what I get (especially in the Foils category) versus what I got for Lot 24. I am also keeping an eye on a huge Lot of Japanese 4th Edition cards. You may remember my foray into the Chinese 4th Edition cards (first mentioned in this post from October '06). Well, the Japanese 4th Edition have the same draw - the black borders, the Asian mystique. If this lot doesn't get bid up too high I will grab it up and sell them individually as I have been on the Chinese ones.

On another note entirely, the traffic to the Abilities page on continues to amaze me. From the tracking I'm doing, I see double-digit hits on that page nearly every day, almost all from Google searches for Magic abilities. It's very cool - I just wish it was resulting in sales from as well. I think some of the hits end up becoming eBay customers, but I'm still confused as to why there has been so little interest in the cards at the new Store. If anyone reading out there has any ideas, give me a holler, please!

Well, I think I've managed to babble on quite a bit tonight, and there may be few of you still reading at this point, so I'll sign off for now. Hopefully these posts may come a bit more often now that the major overhaul is done (although maybe not - I may be getting a part-time job soon!).

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Token Creature cards in 10th Edition

Since the very beginning of Magic (the original Alpha Edition in 1993) there has existed the concept of a "token Creature". In Alpha Edition there was a card The Hive, an Artifact that allowed the controller to spend 5 mana and tap The Hive to put a 1/1 Wasp Artifact Creature token with Flying into play. As long as you had 5 mana to spare, and The Hive was untapped, you could make yourself an annoying little Wasp. The intent was that the user would represent these Wasps with a coin, or a spare card, or anything that could be flipped or rotated to indicate it was "tapped" (when it attacked, for example).

Since Alpha, more and more cards have come out that creature token Creatures. Saprolings, Goblins, Angels, Beasts, Demons, Soldiers - even Sheep and Squirrels! But the intended representation remained the same until 1998.

In 1998 a "silly" set called Unglued was released. This set was never intended for serious play, and I have discussed some of the cards in it before. Included in this set were 6 honest-to-goodness official token Creature cards - cards which served no purpose other than to act as representations of token Creatures generated by a card or effect. There was a Goblin, a Pegasus, a Sheep, a Soldier, a Squirrel and a Zombie. As an example, here's the Squirrel token pictured to the right (cute, isn't he?).

Then, starting in 2001, Wizards of the Coast started releasing more official token Creature cards as part of their Players' Rewards program. I have some of these available in my eBay store at the moment. There have been many printed over the past few years, and the only way to get them was to join the program that they were given out in (or buy them from people who got them that way, as I have done).

But now, with the advent of 10th Edition, official token Creature cards are being given out in ordinary booster packs. About 1 out of every 3 10th Edition boosters contains one of six Creature token cards (which I of course have available for sale): Dragon, Goblin, Saproling, Soldier, Wasp and Zombie. Why these six? Because they are each generated by a card in the 10th Edition (Dragon Roost, Siege-Gang Commander, Verdant Force, Mobilization, The Hive and Midnight Ritual, respectively), and they are the only six token Creatures created by cards in 10th Edition. Yes, The Hive has returned to the Core Set after being absent since 6th Edition - and the Wasp Token (pictured to the right) has been printed to be used to represent the little blighters.

Wizards of the Coast has already announced that they will continue to include token Creature cards in booster packs at least through the next three expansion sets (Starting with Lorwyn, to be released this Fall), and has said that they will start to be more common, in around 2 out of every 3 packs instead. I'm glad to hear it - I think they're kinda cool, and I'm glad that "ordinary" people can get their hands on them now.