Topic: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

I realize there are many opinions out there regarding trade downs (accepting many low value cards for a high value card), from those who get offended at the thought to those who are open to it when the value proposition is right.  My question for today assumes you might consider trade downs.  If that's not you, I thank you for your time--you may move on now.

If you are willing to accept trade downs, or would like to offer some, my question is for you: Is there a specific value proposition that makes trade downs worthwhile?

When cards on both sides of a trade are nearly similar in value, 1:1 is the rule of the day.  Sometimes I might sweeten the deal if trying to get a specific card, but those still typically end up very near 1:1.

What about trading a $20 card for multiple cards in the $4 range? I've done it. Would you? Would you keep it at 1:1, or would you expect a little more.  For example, would you expect $24 of $4 cards in exchange for your $20 card? How would that ratio change if the other party were offering $2 cards. Bulk commons/uncommons?

I got to thinking about this at length when I saw another trader noting that he'd give double or triple value from his inventory if he could get a card he wanted.  It was a very tempting offer, but I couldn't find enough stuff that overlapped his tradelist and my wishlist to make it happen.

What I'd like to do is this: using your input, develop a table of general guidelines for trade downs that I can post to my profile. That way, anyone interested in one of my high value cards knows they have the option of offering a trade down at a set premium.  The devil, however, is in the details--developing that table.

Help me out by posting any rules of thumb you use for trade downs.  If aware of a thread on another discussion board that has already dissected this issue, please feel free to link to it here.

At a first pass, I see a few main categories for trade downs, based on the average value of the offered cards in relation to the value of the desired high value card: 90% / 70% / 50% / 40% / 30 % / 25% / <25%.

Of course, if a trading partner is offering a mix of card values, one would need to decide what level should be used.  I figure I'd look at the average value of the cards in a trade (perhaps by eyeball, but might calculate it out).

Anyway, your input on the topic will be greatly appreciated.

Your fellow trader,


Last edited by HikingStick (2012-08-19 19:45:46)

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Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

I traded for a snapcaster recently and I offered $25 of cards in return. I think that was fair considering 1) The cards I offered were from SOM, and would've rotated, and 2) they're all in the $2-4 range. The cards were 4x Inkmoth and 4x Crusader, so while it was a trade down, it probably let the other person pretty much finish up his infect deck. I think when trading down, a lot of other factors are in play. For example if I was to trade a Show and Tell (around $45) for snapcasters, I'd ask for at least $55-60 in value, so likely 3 snapcasters. That might sound too much considering Snaps are played in legacy as well, but I think it's fair because there are a ton more snapcasters in circulation than Show and Tells and it's much easier to trade for a snap than show and tell. Hell my small LGS has 40 copies for sale. People who have Show and Tells probably use them and I don't think many people have spares for trades. My point is trading for a old legacy staple is much harder than a current standard card that's also played in legacy, so value must be added for that. There are a lot of factors that come into play like rotation, how much you want it, how soon etc. Each trade will be situational.

PS: I do not have a Show and Tell for Was just using it as an example.

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

Wow, where to even begin on something like this.  So I'll apologize for the long-winded response before I even begin.

I think Anubomb has really hit the nail on the head saying, "each trade is situational;" because, really, I can think of numerous reasons why the "extra" value would change.  But let me begin by saying, if you come up with a good system that people buy into, props to you (but I fear you might need an advanced degree in economics to really pull it off, as this is, technically, an empirical question that could be answered if someone with the right expertise and time to kill wanted to survey the existing trade data - with some help from Sebi to export it all, of course wink ).

Just some of the factors that I can think of off the top of my head include:

1) What format is the large card you're trading down? (I feel it should warrant more extra if it's something that cannot be pulled from a pack tomorrow)

2) How available is the large card?  Could the card be purchased easily, and, if so, for how much? (Even some legacy staples are widely available, whereas others, people tend to hold on to.  For this someone should look at how many people have them in their tradelists.  If I'm one of only 4-5 people willing to part with it, that should garner extra value, as opposed to a card that could be picked up from one of a hundred different traders).

3) What is being offered in return? (Again this is a completely idiosyncratic variable.  If they're trading you cards that are more than say, 25% of the large card's value each, then I'd say anywhere from 10-25% extra would be fair.  If none of the cards even top 10% of the large card's value, I don't think I'm out of line saying an extra 25-50% would be warranted - especially if the majority of the trade is comprised of junk commons/uncommons - or as I call them, penny cards.  I think you would be hard pressed to expect anything more than 50% extra value in any trade.)

Other factors that I won't even pretend to know how to operationalize include:

1) How much does the person want/need the card?  (This really works both ways.  How much do you want to move the large card?  How much do they want to get it?)

2) How much trouble is someone willing to go to in order to get the card? (I've actually had someone go to an LGS to pick up other items on my wishlist in order to make a trade work - but I hardly consider this the norm).

3) Cross-Format trades? (How much value is gained/lost between legacy and standard?)

4) As Anubomb said, rotation status, or even, time remaining to rotation?

5) Overall demand for the large card?  (You can bet someone that puts a Bonfire of the Damned up for trade is going to want a fair bit for it because they're in such demand right now - such that you cannot even purchase them from a lot of LGSs).

6) At what value do these rules even kick in?  $5, $10, $20?

Again, sorry for the lengthy response. I do wish there was an established protocol for this sort of thing, but realistically, the factors I've listed above are just the proverbial "tip of the iceberg." 

Personally, I'd just setup some ground rules for what you think is fair so traders can know what they're getting into when they try to trade for a larger value card.  Then it's really up to the two of you to sort out what a fair "extra" compensation for the larger card is.

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

This sort of thing doesn't seem like it you will be able to come up with a perfect system. I think you might be able to establish a scale for trade ups/down based on card value, but their are simply too many variables to consider. I think your best bet would be to put on your profile that you are open to these sort of "uneven" trades and that if anyone is interested they should start a trade and message you to work out the exact value and details.

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Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

shifty4690 wrote:

This sort of thing doesn't seem like it you will be able to come up with a perfect system. I think you might be able to establish a scale for trade ups/down based on card value, but their are simply too many variables to consider.

Agreed.  I'm not looking for a perfect system, but want to present a set of general rules or guidelines regarding such trades with me.  TyWooOneTime also hit on the complexity.  I think a general set of rules establishes a baseline, and the negotiations may progress from there.

I plan to do as best I can, and still welcome further discussion and feedback.

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Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

Personally, if the value of the cards is within a few bucks, and I'm trading stuff I won't use for stuff that will see some time in a deck, I'm okay with a trade.  But it totally depends on the trade...something in the $40 range for a bunch of $3 cards isn't really worth it to me, but that $40 card for a $20 card and a bunch of cards in the $2-3 range that adds up to, say, $37 may be worthwhile if the cards I'd be receiving are needed for a deck.

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

Okay, I've put some additional thought into this and have worked out a tentative ratios for defining values for trade downs.  Look at what I've devised, and let me know if it seems reasonable.

If you trade with equal (or nearly equal) value (card for card), 
we will always trade 1:1 unless we negotiate something different.  
If you want to trade at a different value ratio, use the following 
table as a starting point.

For the table below, you are trading for one of my higher value cards.

(yours)    Value
2-3        1:1
4-5        1:1.25
6-10        1:1.5
Many        1:2

That means, if you want to trade $10 cards for a $40 card of 
mine, I'd expect to see at least five $10 cards on your side of 
the deal (1.25 x $40 = $50).

If you want to trade a bunch of $4 cards for the same $40 card, 
I'd expect at least $60 of $4 cards.

If you want to trade a bunch of low value cards (<$4) for the 
same $40 card, I'd expect at least $80 in value.

Now, if your trade proposal has a mix of card values 
(Ex.: 1@$10, 4@$4, and many low value cards), we'll need to 
negotiate the value proposition, but it likely be slightly higher 
than 1:1.5 (perhaps 1:1.7).

If you are trading for multiple cards of mine, I'll match up cards 
close in value at 1:1 and then consider the value proposition for 
the balance.

Last edited by HikingStick (2012-09-07 12:55:42)

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Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

Looks reasonable enough, the question is, would someone else buy into it?  I don't have a ton of trades on here, but one was rather substantial (around $200) and I can say the guy was willing to give up like $30 in trade value (I had a dual and 2 FOWs in the trade for his lot of a TON of cards), but he wasn't willing to go much beyond that...

Best of luck with it!

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

I can definitely say that I am glad that I've never traded under those terms. 

The most I've ever had a swing of is a dollar or two, and I've had a whole bunch of cards traded for a few, in both directions.  Unless I'm giving something up that I still have a use for, and as long as I'm getting something that I want in return, I don't see the point in needing to have such a drastic skew in values. 

Value is so relative.  I value a lot of bulk cards for my EDH decks at the same as your standard/legacy cards, and vice versa, because I generally only trade for things when I want them, and if I want them, then what is the difference if I have to trade one big card to get them?

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

I appreciate the candid feedback.  I have had trades up to a 1:1.5 value proposition.  Some cards (e.g., Cavern of Souls) are likely to retain a high value for a long time, and may even go up, while the vast majority of commons/uncommons will remain 10 cent cards.    I'll need to rethink things if it seems unreasonable.

Personally, if I could give up $80 in low value cards (perhaps 150 cards or more) to get a $40 card, I'd be all in.

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Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

I recently gave away an ajani, CoTP (~$18-$20) for about $20 worth of jank. I didn't feel the need to ask for extra jank because my card is playable, i got a stack of cards i wanted (about 13 cards) and that is more valuable to me than my one Ajani.

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

roz1281 wrote:

I recently gave away an ajani, CoTP (~$18-$20) for about $20 worth of jank. I didn't feel the need to ask for extra jank because my card is playable, i got a stack of cards i wanted (about 13 cards) and that is more valuable to me than my one Ajani.

I often feel the same way, if I pull something I don't like to use like a Sword or a Titan, I'm more concerned with getting rid of it than I am about getting the full value and if I need stuff someone else has I'm more than happy to trade even value. One other factor for me is cards that I collect (Bolas for me) and I'd happily trade a 20$ card I don't use for 20 of the cheap versions of him.

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

I think when making a bulk offer that it fair to try to have one card that is worth at least 50% of the highest value card. I also try to consider when trading commons that the price on here is what you can expect to pay retail. My LGS charges 10 cents a common and 25 cents an uncommon with a few exceptions for legacy and other things that are worth more than a couple bucks. So when I trade I try to give my stuff a lower value to make it worthwhile to not just get the stuff at a LGS about 30-50% of the stated value on here for anything valued at 80 cents or less.

Just thought I'd put my trade philosophy out there.

Also on a side note I don't know about everyone else but I prefer to use StarCity when it comes to trading foils because they give a more solid number to work with as compared to TCG and ebay.

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

I've never been one to try and rake someone over the coals, but I think if they're offering something that is at least 50-75% of the value of the most valuable card, they should give up at least a dollar or two.  Typically I ask for things in smaller cards though - junk rares and often commons/uncommons that I could always use more copies of.

Re: [Question] Trade downs [Input Desired]

I find I generally keep close to a 1:1 ratio whether trading up or down.
A few bucks over or under doesn't matter to me. (especially with card price fluctuation).

For example I traded up slightly with TyWooOneTime not too long ago, for close to a 1:1 ratio (at the time).
And I traded down, 2x show and tell's for several standard cards that I need to complete the spells in a deck I'm building.
The show and tell trade was a few dollars lost on my end. But that doesn't bother me at all.
I was never going to use them again, and the cards I got complete the spells in my deck,
plus I won't have to spend $$ getting them off ebay or buying at a card shop.

Both trades were close to a 1:1 ratio.

Low priced cards I sometimes want depending on the card.
Just because it's priced cheap doesn't mean it isn't good.
(provided it's a card I will be using for a deck, be it edh, 60 standard, etc.

Last edited by MrSenium (2012-10-23 03:29:47)