A Conquest Completed: 365 Cards in 365 Days!

A Magictation by Mikeal Basile

“Magictating” is defined as getting into the zone with your Magic the Gathering collection–thinking, planning, organizing, reminiscing about past games, and imagining future games. It is a combination of hard thinking about the game and calm meditation, reveling in the joy it brings you.

Today marks the end of my insane quest to buy a card a day, every single day, during the year of 2021. I did it. On January 1st I bought four copies of Covetous Greed. On December 31st I bought Revel in Riches. Every day between those two dates, every single day, I purposefully purchased a card for either my collection, my decks, or my cubes. Nothing was a random purchase, and I had many sub-goals along the way. I made predictions. I made mistakes. I made memories. I made myself sick of buying Magic cards. I never thought I could write that sentence. It definitely happened. It took me until about 345 cards into the quest to actually find it onerous. It was interesting to find that I could grow weary of acquiring my favorite hobby. I have shared several lessons about his quest with you, my magical friends, along the way. Today, I’d like to reflect on my predictions, my failures, and the lessons you can all learn from my hard work.

Here are my goals from last year copied and pasted below:

1. I will complete the quest by actually purchasing a card every single day.

2. I am going to struggle finding cards during the summer months.

3. I will have zero shipping, delivery, and pick-up issues with the cards I purchase.

4. I will spoil myself on my birthday.

5. I will find at least one card from Beta to purchase.

6. I will buy more black cards than any other color.

7. I will purchase from unique stores while I’m on the road.

8. I will be sad to be done with this quest and will choose to repeat it next year.

Let us tackle each one with honesty and more than a dash of humility.

1.    I will complete the quest by actually purchasing a card every single day.

Uh, yeah. I actually totally nailed this. It was hard. At times, like when life has no room for hobbies, it was stupid hard. I had several nights where I either woke up at 11:30pm, or popped my head off the pillow after shutting off the lights, to open up my card buying list. I would then select a card, shop around for it (if I had the time), and then buy it before the stroke of midnight. I’m not kidding. It was stressful.

The lesson here, and it is one that I’ve learned time and again, is not to rush into buying a card. When you are rushed, you end up making mistakes. Buying Magic cards is a lot like living life—you can do it in a rush, but it ends up messy.

2. I am going to struggle finding cards during the summer months.

So, this actually wasn’t true at all. I’m a teacher by trade, and so I actually have lots of time in the summer. I guess I thought I would get busy with life, but what happened is that I made a massive list over the course of a few summer days, and it actually made purchasing cards more a matter of best price research.

The lesson I got from this was that I could utilize great free resources like MTGSTOCKS, TCG Player, ABU, Cardkingdom, and eBay to quickly get a sense of whether it was a good time to be buying a particular card.

3. I will have zero shipping, delivery, and pick-up issues with the cards I purchase.

Now it is time for me to be humbled. I used eBay, TCG Player, Card Kingdom, and ABU over the course of my quest. I had zero issues with ABU—everything was as expected (though it was annoying to have to sign for my FEDEX package). No, I was not about to let them drop off a $1,000+ order without my being there. TCG player gave me a headache with a seller that actually tried to tell me they didn’t realize a chronicles Arcades Sabbath was not an original Legends version. At 100x the price, you can imagine my irritation. So annoying. Also, TCG player orders tend to take approximately two moon cycles to arrive at times—I just found the sellers I bought from took their sweet time getting cards to me. Meanwhile, Ebayers tended to ship the cards much faster. However, I had six orders that I needed to get refunds on over the course of the year. Granted, I bought over 300+ cards, so the percentage is good. Additionally, the percentage would’ve been far better if I had adhered to my rules about make smart purchases—read the recent feedback, use sellers with high ratings, avoid any auction with crummy quality pictures. If a seller does not present their goods to be sold as best they can, then perhaps they are not actually interested in selling it—they want the short-term cash grab from scamming you. I was definitely wrong in this prediction, but it was a lesson worth learning.

4. I will spoil myself on my birthday.

Yeah, I nailed this one, too. I totally wrote a whole article about it. You can read about 40 at 40 here. I already said everything that needs saying there. Feel free to check it out if you don’t already know the story—it is a good one, I promise.

5.    I will find at least one card from Beta to purchase.

I definitely did this. I also bought one for a friend as a gift. I was very close to picking up a BETA Raging River, but I balked one extra day, and it sold. It’s alright though, because I was able to get three unlimited cards for the price instead (which also included the unlimited version of Raging River). The last Beta card I picked up was an Ironroot Treefolk for my Doran Treefolk tribal deck. I’m so looking forward to running that during the new year. The lesson here is that you can hunt for collector pieces, but you can also hunt for style. The Beta False Orders I picked up isn’t super powerful. It wasn’t much more than the Unlimited version, but it looks so stylish. I love a spicy Beta card that doesn’t empty my wallet!

6. I will buy more black cards than any other color.

I thought that I would buy more black cards, because I thought I played black more than all the other colors. I was wrong. Very wrong. I bought 38 black cards. Meanwhile, blue had 54; white 53; red 34; green 40; artifacts 31; and lands rolled in last at just 18. Oh, and the multi-colored cards accounted for the largest subsection at a massive 97. I have always loved the original legends, and I love multi-color. One of my favorite sets of all time is Alara Reborn (all multi-color). Thus, the lesson here is that you should, “know thyself.” Know who you are and be true to yourself. It is worth being you, because you are stuck with you forever. At least I know, based on quantifiable evidence, I am a tremendous fan of gold cards. 

https://kaboomvb.tcgplayerpro.com/

7. I will purchase from unique stores while I’m on the road.

I was able to do this several times. However, I was not always able to get to the store. We went camping quite a bit. That means we went on some cool adventures that included fishing, hiking, and shopping. I found that card store hours did not always match up all that well with my camping hours. I did manage to swing into a couple of different stores, and was able to chat with the owners for a bit. Yet, it didn’t happen nearly as often. I did pick up a cool signed card from a place called Kaboom Games in Virginia Beach. Otherwise, it was mostly a strike out getting into stores while on the road. Sadly, I would say that I was forced to buy online far more often than I would have liked.

The lesson here is that you need to familiarize yourself with your local store’s hours. Additionally, if you plan on traveling, then you need to prioritize what you want to do while out and about. My priorities were not buying Magic cards but enjoying time with my family. Consequently, I neglected researching store hours ahead of trips, and it clearly worked out poorly. Knowing when and where you can buy cards is important. I found that when I was dealing with humans I was far happier. Having your card in your hand and a memory to go with it is far better than putting in a bid or “buying it now”—to wait a week or two for it to, hopefully, arrive. There is nothing more convenient than walking into a store, buying your card, and then immediately sleeving it for the intended deck. It might cost me a couple bucks more to buy from a local store, but I am willing to pay that. The extra couple dollars goes towards ensuring that this hobby of ours remains local, friendly, and honest.

8.    I will be sad to be done with this quest and will choose to repeat it next year.

I was definitely wrong about this one. I feel like I set myself up for failure here. I do not ever want to do this sort of quest again. Checking prices every day, searching for meaningful cards, and not missing a day was obnoxious. It became work, though still happy work, about three months into it. It wobbled between fun, greedy joy, and work for quite some time. It was in December that it finally wore very very thin. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m happy to be writing this article. I am happy to share my lessons with all of you. I would be miserable if I had to try and do it all again…it would be a Sisyphean task (though, it really already was). This was a difficult labor, and it was mostly done with love. I’m glad it is over.

The lesson here is one I think we should all remember. Too much of a good thing is bad. I love buying Magic cards, and yet… Buying cards too often is draining, and I’ll be sure to put in larger orders in the future, so that my store visits and online orders are done in batches. That is what will make buying meaningful and fresh and fun. So, don’t over buy, and don’t get overly greedy—it will burn you out. 

In closing, I enjoyed the work. Additionally, I do have another quest planned for this New Year, and it is definitely something very different. I’ll be sharing that with you all next week. Until then, may the bright and shining New Year and the cards be ever in your favor!

CHEERS!

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