Hail and well met Gentle Entities and Emulsified  Enemies! In the dominion of Hipsters of the Coast we sit the day after “May Day” and folk are either of a mind to play and forget the detailed April tally of their hordes and the horrors of having to relinquish some in exchange for infrastructure OR are now focused on creating the next round of acquisitions to fill the space left empty in the vault. In Spring a Duelist’s fancy turns to Pre-Releases and other local gatherings and with new events comes new opportunities for trade!

A time honored method of socializing and being able to add to one’s various hordes, it nonetheless creates numerous rituals, opportunities and exploitations in a community. Many who initiate or enjoy trades are deeply familiar with the joys, pitfalls and skillsets of trading. Those who are just venturing back to public spaces have had several questions to navigate how to participate or avoid participation in the local trading practices.

This week we shall answer three questions about the social niceties of trade heavy environments, when to advise, how to avoid, and whether or not one needs accoutrement in trades.

Let us begin!

We welcome you if you are new to the world of our column. If you missed our initial column, and would like to see how we started you may peruse it at your leisure at this location.

Content Warnings

Mizz Mizzet’s Guide to Magical Manners is pleased to provide Content Warnings, given that solving bad behavior often means describing bad behavior. It shall be noted immediately in front that missive and response, so you may enjoy the others and skip the delicate one.

Dear Mizz Mizzet;

How do I politely decline to trade cards at a PreRelease. Everyone seems really excited to be able to now that pre-releases are a thing again but I feel overwhelmed.

Trouble Trading 

Dear Trouble,

It is perfectly acceptable to decline to trade at a pre-release with a simple “Thank you, but I’m not trading today” without offering any further information. A polite fellow gamer will simply move on to find someone who is indeed looking to trade new cards. An impolite fellow gamer who continues to ask more than once more “to be sure” should be ingested immediately without garnish, except in locations where that is not legal.

Others may eat the rude on your behalf; you do not have to digest them yourself. If you are already overwhelmed you are not obligated to risk indigestion simply to beautify your community.

However I am aware that on planes where the rude may not be eaten there are numerous social complexities that make up the tone and tenor of a tournament location, and we, as participants may find that we are out of synch with the type of establishment we played in and might be dealing with someone who considers themselves a “sharp trader” or is simply socially unpracticed at taking a polite statement as a firm “no.” So to protect my readers of delicate gastronomic systems or legal liability I offer the following responses for a “second no” to fit the “vibe” of your location as the Selysnyans say:

For insistent traders who are interested in specific cards they saw you play:

“I don’t trade my pre-release cards until I know if I’ll be using them later in the season.”

For insistent traders who believe they are helping you and saying things like “We can use whichever online buy prices you like to set value”:
“I appreciate that offer, but I don’t enjoy trading at pre-releases. I’m sure there are others here who would be happy to though – Good luck!”

For someone who seems to be “peer pressuring” you into trading by being insistent:
“I’m not going to change my mind, but maybe the TO can find you a trading partner”

Honesty is the best policy for a polite but firm boundary. You NEVER owe a community your discomfort.

If someone seems overly interested in your card pool or overly impolite and aggressive in attempting to get you to trade, I strongly suggest that perhaps walking over to ask a judge a rules question or the TO a sales question is an excellent way to break up an unpleasant conversation and gives you access to a person of authority if the would-be-trader is continuing to follow you through the store.

This happens rarely but I would be remiss not to provide a polite–but-effective option.

Trading CAN be fun! However it is most fun when everyone involved agrees and sets terms together.


Dear Mizz Mizzet;

I don’t want to assume everyone who trades with younger players is taking advantage of them, but I also know lots of folk who consider themselves speculators that go to events younger players will be at to try to take advantage of them being less online to get favorable trades. Should I say something? Sometimes kids are happy to get a cool looking card even if they lose monetary value. Not all trades are about money but it still feels predatory.

Maybe It IS My Circus

Dear Maybe,

I think the thing that you have quite correct, is that not all trades are about money. “Inequitable” trades are sometimes still very welcome and not exploitative. However, trades are not the same as REL games as there is no requirement for spectators to stay silent when they see a trade that raises one’s frills.

If there are known bad actors at an event and you play someone with a desirable set of cards, you can casually mention it so they are forewarned about the local sharks.

“Oh that’s a sweet card you pulled, better be careful if Krenko sees it he’ll try to trade  – make sure you agree to use the Cardkingdom buylist prices for the trade value”

This does not accuse Krenko of ill behavior directly while also serving to inform your fellow player of the worth of their acquisition AND the minimum standard to use for value agreement, if they did not already know.

If you see an uneven trade in process you can address it while it’s happening- “Wow that’s that hot Teferi everyone on the internet loves – what are you putting up for that?” While keeping eye contact with the known bad actor.

If you are personally non-confrontational you might inform the TO that you know there are predatory traders that are planning to use their event to take advantage of young or new customers.

It is also important to remember that Hatchlings are extremely competitive and online as an age cohort and may be VERY aware of trades and trade values, so do not assume they are less informed. Indeed they may be young speculators themselves!

If you are unsure about the knowledge base you should not offer advice that is unasked for. You CAN offer a pleasant topic of conversation to establish that information “I’m really enjoying this event – I expect there’s going to be a lot of trading right after – do you trade much?”

This framework allows your conversation partner to share as much personal information as they do or do not choose and also works from an assumption that they DO trade as a default. It will help you decide how much or little to watch your local sharks, and is a lovely game related conversation to engage in with a fellow player.


Dear Mizz Mizzet;

Do I have to have a trade binder to trade?

Overwhelmed Apprentice

Dear Overwhelmed,

The curation of a trade binder is one of the many ways card gamers get to lovingly interact with their card hordes. The movement of cards in and out of the horde is a source of great joy and the crafting of trades is its own poetry and skill set. There is however no etiquette rule that it must be YOURS. There are many forms of poetry, and there are many ways to manage trades.

If you are trading with someone who does have a binder when you do not, it is good manners to let them tell you about the binder and you should peruse it if you are interested in trading your own cards.

As has been mentioned in an earlier answer, players trade cards for many reasons and not all of them are money, it is poor manners to take up time with a player’s binder during an event if you have no intention of trading.

For your own cards, use the system of keeping your “tradable” cards separate from your main collection that suits your own style best. I DO recommend that you keep them together in some form where you can access and evaluate them quickly at events while still keeping them secure. Trading is a highly individual art.

May you always find the card you’d like in exchange for the card you do not!


Guild Artisan [/mtg_art]

Thank you to Adrienne Reynolds, for her interplanar transcription services.
Mizz Mizzet Portrait by Andres Garcia

Delightful Readers, Please Submit Your Questions to Mizz Mizzet.

You may submit your questions to Mizz Mizzet using this form.

New Mizz Mizzet columns are posted every Wednesday right here as well as in Hipsters of the Coast‘s weekly email newsletter. You are also encouraged to follow her at @MizzMizzet on Twitter.

Any questions answered publicly will be made anonymous, and noms de plume will be created to represent any parties mentioned.

Born a perfect dragon in an imperfect multiverse, Mizz Mizzet (she/her) is the pioneer broodmother of today’s multiplanar civility movement.  She is now working to persuade Planeswalkers to participate in it.

Her tireless efforts to expand the understanding and exercise of etiquette beyond the stereotypical terror of too many pieces of silverware, and whether to use poisons or explosives at celebratory conquest dinners, have not escaped official notice.

She specializes as a consultant in seating arrangements for inter and intra planar political events as long as contracts include the option to eat the rude.

Out of respect for her relative’s delicate sensibilities regarding draconic rank, she does not reside on the plane of Ravnica.

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