The Art of the “Trading” Card Game

Trading is an important part of many cards games. Heck, most card games are CALLED “The (Insert Name) Trading Card Game”. One of the aspects that makes TCG’s fun is that you pick what cards you want to use out of a large variety. New cards are always coming out and some are easier to get than others. This is where the trading aspect comes into play.

Everyone has something their looking for. Cards are kind of like stocks. Some are high in demand and everyone want’s a piece of them, while others are useless and people see no future worth of them. But there is always someone who’s looking for something special or different and if you get lucky you might be able to get that $30 card you were looking for by trading something of much lesser value.

With internet today many people just buy the cards they need from auction sites or reputable card vendors. This makes it a lot easier to get cards than back in the day when trading and boosters was the only option available. But trading can still be an important option for many players.

Take players that are in the senior or junior levels. They are obviously younger and most presumably don’t have the means to get cash to go online and build their top of the line LuxChomp deck. Even take me, a 17 year old Masters player for an example. I’m currently unemployed and in High School so cash for me is a little tight. I have been relying heavily on trading to get my decks put together before competitions.

And I’ve learned over my time playing that there is indeed an art to trading believe it or not. There are multiple factors that can go into weather or not you can make a good deal to get those Gengar Primes you were looking for without giving up more than it’s worth.

bebessearch.com1. Know the value of cards!

I honestly believe this to be a super important factor. If you’re going around trying to push Pokémon Collectors to try to score a Luxray G LV.X because you think it’s worth much more than it is, people won’t think to highly of you. They’ll either think your a complete noob or trying to rip someone off. Either idea isn’t one that would much help your reputation. Know the average values of cards you are trying to trade or trade for. This can easily be found on sites like Bebe’s Search or even ebay.

2. Don’t be too pushy!

There is a difference between bartering and pushing. I’ve seen this a lot at the few tournaments I’ve been to already. Someone who desperately needs a card before the rounds begin and is rushing around to find it. But they’re going about it all wrong. They come up to someone and find out said person has the card their looking for. When their offer is declined, they insist and fight and push to try to make a deal.

I personally would not want to trade with someone who is acting rudely toward me for declining. And people around will notice and hear of this situation, which again would lower your reputation in the community, and next time you need to make an important trade, someone remembering your previous attitude might just decline you downright. People respond better to someone who is nice, cooperative, and has an upbeat attitude. Don’t get on people’s nerves just because you came unprepared, you probably should have had a back up plan in place anyway if you weren’t sure you could get all the cards you need.

3. Always have your trade binder!

One of the best parts of trading is when you get that one sweet deal totally by surprise! Most of my best trades were during times between rounds where some of us just decided to browse each others binders, and someone found something that caught their eye. Often times when someone finally spots something they’ve been looking for for a good while, their willing to make a more generous offer than usual.

One of my best trades was at the Call of Legends Prerelease. Between tournament rounds another player asked if I had a trade binder on me. When he opened it up he spotted my Tyranitar Prime and excitedly informed me that it was the last card he needed from that set for his collection.

I always tend to have a few binders stock full of stuff for trade.

He had looked all day for anyone who had any and since the tournament was almost over, he decided this was his best chance to get one and offered me his spare Gengar Prime! It was a great way to end a Prerelease with a disappointing set.

It’s also a good idea to keep your binder nice and organized. Some people dread going through a binder where cards are just thrown in here and there. Many people like to organize by type or rareness. I myself prefer the latter, putting my cards in this order: Primes/Legends, Holo Rares, Rares, Reverse Holos, Promos, Trainers/Supporters/Stadiums.

4. Know what’s hot & what’s not!

Knowing what cards are big on the want list of people is a great way to make deals. Usually any card that is used in a meta deck is tradable to someone for a good worth. Another note to keep in mind is to always bring your spare Trainers/Supporters/Stadiums. 70% of the time when I go into a group of traders, they are looking for some kind of supporter card. Another strategy to use is to stock up on staples. Staples always go for a pretty penny and someone is always looking for them!

So there you go. I mainly wrote this article because many of the people I play with blow way more money into the game than I feel they need to. Sure all TCGs cost money, I realize that, but I myself have gotten many of my more expensive cards by trading rather than spending hundreds of dollars in cash. Hopefully these tips, as basic as they are, can help you out in saving some dough to use for eating at regionals and nationals than blowing it all one card right away.

Until next time guys!

Reader Interactions

4 replies

  1. Anonymous

    Regarding organization of sets, another fun option is to organize by set number. My trade binder has a slot for every single card in format, one binder per set. That way, I can go to exactly what somebody is looking for.

  2. Anonymous

    tnice. it is a trading card game and you see more articles about the meta and playing then on trading. ya i know not to have a lot of trading articles but still. great read. i sort my main binder which has most my cards by type and my few set binders by thier number. i like to bring a few commons and such cause you neevr know when you need them. at one battle roads some dude needed 2 larvitars. i gave him a reverse one and a regular one and he let me have a reverse vileplume UD!!

  3. Anonymous

    Great article. Another good way to save money by trading is to always try to trade your old stuff for new stuff. That’s something like trading a lot of TGIs at the BW prerelease for some of the new cards, and it’s a repeatable cycle to save you from having to get those cards out of packs.

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