Sunday, May 22, 2011

New set releases and pricing strategy

Innistrad: available on line from October 17, 2011
During a set’s release is the time when bots have the greatest potential to either make or lose lots of tickets.  Cards change value very quickly and drastically as the set stabilizes, so it’s important to approach the situation differently to maximize results.  Here are some tips beyond the obvious “update your prices more often”. When a set releases, most prices are as high as they’ll ever be due to scarcity.  It is no secret that the overall value of the set is going to plummet, so you don’t have to pay even close to what you would for cards of the same value from sets that have already stabilized.  Those selling want to get rid of everything as soon as possible.  Consider that initially not even a single rare in the set is selling for 0.10, yet very soon almost half of the rares in the set will be.  Be careful not to get too stingy or you’ll lose a lot of potential purchases.

In addition to paying lower than usual, it’s also a good move to sell for well below what you’d normally charge, that way your cards move rapidly. Almost every card is going to go down in value - you don’t want to hold onto them until they’re worth half as much. As the next couple weeks pass, prices will fall more and more as product enters the market. Some cards will randomly spike in value as they find places in decks, but also fade from that point on. During this time it’s important to update prices a bit more often than usual. If cards drop in value you’ll be paying too much for them, and charging so much that you won’t be able to sell them until you do update prices, at which time they’d likely be worth even less. 

Eventually the set ‘‘bottoms out’‘ as the market has become saturated with product. Now is a good time to begin to sell and buy for normal rates - the set will be picking up in value to some extent, so you want to buy what you can while it’s low, and shouldn’t be really too concerned about selling your cards while they’re worth so little, so there’s no need for heavy discounting. It might even be wise to buy extras of any cards you feel are sure to increase in value.  This rise in value is generally caused by set redemption.  If there is great demand for paper sets, or if the paper sets are worth a great deal more than online sets, you can be sure there will be a healthy flow of redemptions to cut away at the flood of MTGO product.   

It can be very beneficial to pay attention to whether or not redemption is already available for a new set, and if not, when it does become available.  A delay in redemption availability can cause the initial decline in MTGO prices to go further than normal. The lack of MTGO redemptions can cut down on paper product supply, increasing paper set values, thus causing a stampede of redemptions once it becomes available, resulting in a steeper aftershock of... yes, redemptions plays a heavy role in the MTGO economy. Eventually the flood of product will overcome the redemptions and prices will stabilize, or more likely, drop back down a bit.  Finally the set can be treated pretty much as normal, with a new set lingering just around the corner.

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