Where should I buy my cards?
When you are interested in purchasing magic cards there is a wide variety of options for purchasing, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.
We will briefly look at the most common eCommerce sites which are used by people to purchase cards, and talk about the pro's and con's of each.
This will focus primarily on three different ways to purchase cards online:
- Major Online Retailers
Ease of Use
Total Score 12 / 15
Ease of Use
Total Score 9 / 15
TCGPlayer.com is a website which allows 1,000's of different card retailers to list their cards for sale, and allows you the opportunity to pick the combination of price, condition, and reputation of sellers, as you make your selection.
The interface can be tricky for first time users, but once you become familiar with card conditions, expansion sets, and learn to distinguish longstanding sellers from unknown entities, premium cards can be found at competitive prices. Occasional promotions can be found on the site which offers further price competitiveness, and if there are any issues with a sale made on the site, TCGPlayer can step in and help to mediate any issue.
Overall a good choice for any buyer with beginner to intermediate MTG buying experience.
Ebay is one of the original eCommerce sites on the internet, where any collectable can be found, and Magic Cards are no exception.
Using Ebay to find and purchase magic cards requires you to know exactly what you are looking for including expansion set and card condition. It also requires you to understand the various "repacks", counterfeit "proxy's", and "non-tournament legal" options which are brought up with most searches.
Using Ebay to purchase magic cards is not simple, and the potential for an inexperienced shopper to purchase a product that they do not want, is much higher than other options. Ebay has buyer protections in place to help shoppers in these cases, but resolution can be a time consuming process, and requires the shopper to be able to identify when they have been taken advantage of.
The advantage of using Ebay is it allows shoppers to find the absolute lowest prices available for a card, and take advantage of Ebay auctions to find even more attractive deals. No other site can compete on a direct price comparison basis.
For these reasons Ebay is the best choice for a buyer with a high level of MTG buying experience, or someone with moderate MTG buying experience and who is already very familiar with Ebay as a platform.
Large Retailers are the easiest and most secure way to purchase cards. There is a very low chance of purchasing a counterfeit card, and all issues and returns are dealt with swiftly and to the satisfaction of the customer.
Notable larger retailers with long standing track records include:
- Card Kingdom
- Star City Games
- Channel Fireball
The only drawback to these large established retailers is that they are unable to be as competitive on price, and in most cases when buying a premium card, you will also be paying a premium. That being said it is also possible to find good deals, and competitive prices on these sites when they are motivated to move inventory.
Overall a good choice for any buyer with very little MTG buying experience, or someone who is interested in putting in the time to find deals.