How to Make an MTGO Store

Updates based on Reddit feedback:

Big thanks to TheCardNexus on Reddit for helping me post correct information on WOTC’s original post regarding MLBot, which was previously CBSBot. Thanks to HSBen as well for noting that running multiple “bulk-bots” (just buying rares/uncommons at a set price, say 10 for 1 ticket) has also proven cost effective.

I also wanted to note that TheCardNexus co-founded MTGO Software Solutions, which provides an alternative software bot solution, and that works with clients looking to run a more serious business with a 10-50k investment, and may be worth checking out!

Last, keep an eye out for MOxchange.com , which is still growing but offers a particularly innovative alternative in that you don’t need a bot at all! You can “deposit” cards and tix with their bots and either buy/sell in an online marketplace. You can withdraw whenever you want as well. I’ll provide more details as the site grows!

The Hustle

I started a Magic the Gathering: Online “bot” that buys and sells cards at defined rates, and ran it for 3 weeks on an old computer. I eventually subscribed to the API to help my computer pull up-to-date prices as well.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Though pretty fun and can help you buy cards for your own use, I don’t recommend this for getting rich. That said, it was a fun experience.

While I did make some money, there is extensive competition, and the 2.5-3.5% fee that the bot charges per transaction meant that margins were small.

Numbers

  • Costs: $120 in “event tickets,” which are the currency for MTGO
  • Profit: ~$9 resulting from 63 trades
  • Time: 1 hour to set up. 5-10+ hours to manage the price list

Proof

mtgoprofit

I also lost ~1.5 tix on bad trades, so my real number is closer to $9.372. That said, to actually get cash, I would have to sell my tickets. MTGOTraders currently pays out $.90 per ticket, so my actual net if I cashed out would be: $8.43.

Pros

  • Scalable
  • Fun (if you like the card game)
  • Great for building your MTGO deck cheaply
  • Learn how to make API call and first-hand experience with market pricing/theory

Cons

First, the MTGOLibrary program MAY NOT BE SAFE to install. While the customer service I received with questions was great, MTGOLibrary could have the same problems that it’s predecessor CBSBot had (read more here).

That said, I installed it on my old comp and haven’t encountered any problems, but you’ll need to decide for yourself if you’re comfortable with the risk.

I believe that in order to make money with an MTGO bot, you may need:

  • more time to watch and adjust prices and conduct research on the market
  • more money to buy select cards en masse to corner the market on a specific card
  • an effective card pricing model/API or a great intuition for which cards will increase in price and a plan for buying low and selling high within a reasonable time frame.

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Step 1: Create an mtgo account ($10)

Visit the MTGO account sign-up page and make your account! Consider choosing a name with “store” in it to signal more legitimacy for your brand :).

I chose “BardsCardsStore” because I liked the name. Also, I used a password that is unique only to my MTGO account. (Because the MTGO Library bot uses this password to login, I didn’t want to supply their server with a password I may use on other sites).

It will cost $10, but you get a few starter cards, tickets, and tokens you can use to enter noob events.. which are actually pretty fun.

Step 2: Download MTGO!

You can download MTGO directly here. The filesize is only 650MB and the reqs will work with most modern machines.

Note: The video resolution should be 1280×1024 as this is a requirement for the bot! 

req2

STEP 3: Download mtgo bot & Register account

Ok, remember:  The MTGOLibrary program MAY NOT BE SAFE to install.

One workaround may be installing MTGO library on a Virtual Machine.

Here’s one forum post from WOTC regarding CBSbot, which was rebranded as MTGOLibrary:

Screenshot from 2015-03-09 23:04:22

That said, once again, I haven’t had any issues.

If you’re comfortable, you can download the bot here. You will also need to register your bot. You can/should use password different than your MTGO account.

STEP 4: Configure bot

Ok, so this is where you’re going to make it big… or lose everything. My recommendation when you start is to:

  1. ONLY SELL THINGS IN YOUR PERSONAL PRICES DOCUMENT
  2. Read the MTGO Library Manual
  3. Start with the Pro Version, skip right past the Lite version

I recommend only buying/selling from the PersonalPrices.txt file because you have full control over the prices you’re buying and selling for.

Consider choosing 10 cards and use the buy/sell prices from the MTGO Wiki Price page to build your file.

STEP 5: Updating personal prices

You can check out my default settings below. Also, click on the Collections tab and MAKE SURE NO SETS ARE SELECTED if you want to use the Personal Prices file:

mtgosettings1_001

MTGO Library has a great business… and they will charge you if you download the pricelist everytime! (I believe it’s .2 tix).

Next, go to the Prices Folder:

pricesfolder

Once there, double-click to edit the PersonalPrices.txt file.

Next, we need to do a little market research by visiting MTGO Wiki Price to set some prices!

First, I check out Elspeth, because she’s awesome:

badelspeth

Despite her awesomeness, she’s a bad card to trade given the current market conditions!

mtgosell1

Alright, no matter how much I love Elspeth, the numbers don’t make sense right now.

Because someone is buying 27 for 14.014 and has 150+ tickets, I’m going to need to pay more if I want a reasonable shot at someone selling to me.

That said, if I pay more, I would need to sell Elspeth for 14.045, which would put my profit around 0.03, which is hardly exciting. (Also, remember that after the trial there will be a 2.5% tax!)

Occasionally, the top buyer may only have a few tickets or only be buying one. In that case, if the second highest buyer were far below 14, I may consider listing Elspeth. Just for practice though, here is what I would put in my PersonalPrices.txt file.

mtgoprice1

 

Syntax:

SETNAME;CARDNAME;SELLING PRICE;FOIL SELLING PRICE;BUYING PRICE;FOIL BUYING PRICE;BUYING QUANTITY REGULAR;BUYING QUANTITY FOIL

So:

THS;Elspeth, Sun’s Champion;14.05;0;13.85;0;4;0

Means

Sell Elspeth regular for 14.05, and buy 4 regular at 13.85.

Now, let’s look at a positive example:

165

Financials:

mtgoprices2

Now, this is a little more exciting. First, even though it is selling for 19.27, I’m reasonably confident I could sell it for more since these two sellers only have 1 in stock. If I put in a buy for 18.82 and a sell for 20, I could net 1.18 tix, or ~6.3% return, which would cover transaction costs on the buy and sell. My personal price may now look as follows:

mtgopersonal2

STEP 6: Review and Update your prices!

Prices change! You’ll want to review at least twice per day when you’re starting and revise prices accordingly. Also, as many people are using automated systems, you’ll be surprised how bots will adjust to beat your prices, so stay current on the market!

STEP 7: Pro-Tip

Subscribe the the API and generate a script to keep your prices more up-to-date!

I’ll provide more details on this soon, but check out their tutorial for now- It’s pretty good and you can pickup some sweet skills.

Resources

  • MTG Gold Fish – This site has awesome lists that you can use to determine which cards my net the best return in the current market.

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