Ill-Gotten Gains

Pandora's Deckbox


14 July 2015


Editor's Note

A user, who will remain anonymous due to the controversial nature of the subject, has asked that I help tell this story for the benefit of the community. The article that follows is a patchwork of ideas collected through some lengthy conversations. We've tried our best to sanitize the content such that you, the reader, will focus on the story and not the individual.

Please read the article in its entirety before you respond; this narrative takes many turns and leaves many impressions, and it's important to understand everything together before coming to a judgment about the content. We'll be giving you a side of the story that doesn't get too much coverage in the Magic community, largely because of the negative reception it tends to invite. But it's nonetheless a part of our game and a part of our community. Whether it's for better or worse is up to you to decide.

No matter what your opinion, please voice it civilly.

I'm the one that LGS regulars whisper about. The one that white knights love to hate. The one that people don't forgive. Your kind probably doesn't like my kind. Most players see us as predators. Most of us see each other as rivals. We chose the numbers game while you chose the card game. But that's fine. We like it this way.

I could speculate if I thought there was some money to be made. I've done P2P the hard way. I've opened god packs (and more than my share of useless trash in the process). But what I truly excel at is sharking.

I guess I haven't really endeared myself to you. But how many people would really take the shark's side? Nobody ever does. We're the pariahs of the trading community. Unless you're one of us, you see us as scammers and liars. Cheats and criminals. Anyway, I'm not here to gain your sympathy. I'm here to tell a story.

Let's get the definition out of the way first. Sharking is trading up in value through manipulation. That's it. You can manipulate people by lying about prices. You can manipulate people by playing mind games. You can manipulate people by strongarming them into deals. Every approach has its pros and cons to a seasoned shark. The art is in sensing which one will be the most effective on your mark and then executing it flawlessly.

Now, I've been a shark for a long time. I learned to swim with sharks. When I started playing, my LGS was the only one in the area, and at least half of the regulars were sharks. If you didn't know value, you lost value. And even if you did know value, these guys were pros at the multi-binder strategy, so you'd trade your occasional $20 pull for a bunch of garbage for your casual decks and be none the wiser.

It took me about a week or two to adjust to this kind of environment. I watched how they manipulated people, and I learned to do it myself. And I learned to do it better. These guys were good, no doubt, and I ran with them for years at major events within a five state radius, but I honed their craft into something truly magnificent.

My mentors were your typical sharks: cunning, manipulative, and seasoned. But they weren't personable enough. You could tell, if you were a reasonably attentive person, that these guys were used car salesmen in their other lives. They missed the opportunities available to someone who came across as just another FNM-level player. If you can make your mark comfortable, whether it's through the way you carry yourself, the types of conversations you initiate, or the way you handle trades (all three, really), then you stand a much greater chance of successfully manipulating them.

When you invite someone into a trade, you need to make them feel like they're in their own home even though they're in your territory. You have to disarm them. If you go in too hot, you'll end up scaring your mark away or putting them on edge, and both of those outcomes lead to incomplete or less advantageous trades. My go-to tactic at GPs and Opens was to chat with people about what they were playing and how they were doing in the event. I feigned awe or interest as appropriate all while pitching myself as the small-time player from the town down the road. I'd "admit" to having borrowed a deck form a friend and scrubbing out against the flavor of the month deck. I'd also "admit" to never that really cool staple before. Maybe I'd even ask for tips if the other player seemed friendly enough.

This kind of chat serves several purposes. First, as I mentioned, it disarms people and makes them think you're not a threat. People always feel like the scammers are the ones who want to blow through and rob you blind; they don't see the friendly scrub as someone who's likely to pull one over on you. Second, it helps to distract people so they're less likely to know or notice if you're getting the upper hand in an offer. Third, it may make people sympathetic to you, and they may be inclined to give you more favorable trades if they feel like they're helping you out.

To the last point: you can sometimes get away with claiming that you really need a certain card to finish your deck, but this needs to be done carefully because an astute and enterprising trader can use this to try to shift the trade in their favor.

There are many other tricks as well. If you're looking through someone's binder, you can use strategically timed pauses or feign careful study for a moment to get the other trader to pick up on interest. Pauses and contemplative looks do wonders during the negotiation phase as well, as many traders are unlikely to try to haggle you down if they perceive that they're only just selling you on the current offer. If you're looking to get a card that's a bit worn, you could do a double take at the condition to try to make the other person more conscious about the wear (and thus more likely to discount it for you). A look or exclamation of surprise at the other person's offer could help shake them to a lower price. The list goes on.

These things are all (to me) very obvious psychological games that anyone with the appropriate awareness and care in execution can play. You don't have to be Merritt McKinney trying to hypnotize people into giving you the shirt off their back. But you do have to know what you're doing. If you stuff it up, then it'll be really obvious that you're trying to be cleverer than you are, and the other player might pick up on that.

These tricks netted me thousands of dollars in trade victories. I probably sank about $6,000-10,000 into this game over my many years playing. My collection was, at its highest point, worth $45,000. In basic math terms, this means I just about septupled my investment. And I'm happy with that.

The best trade I ever made was Jwar Isle Refuge for Underground Sea . Yeah.

So let me set the stage. This was back in SOM Standard. Some new kid (I say "kid," but he was about 15 or so) showed up to FNM with a little Ziploc bag of what I assumed were cards he must have got from a friend who stopped playing or something.

I could tell right away that he was new, and, under the pretense of getting a snack from the vending machine, I struck up a conversation as I passed by. I found out that he was just checking out the game and had some cards from a friend who didn't play anymore. He hadn't really ever played a trading card game before, but heard Magic was a big one. Jackpot.

I led him toward a table in an emptier section of the room and asked him what he had to start with. I flipped through his cards. Most of it was junk from Revised and a couple early core sets. Not really worth anything. But then I passed an Underground Sea .

Part of my strategy when I do flipthroughs is to go reasonably quickly and always take a uniform amount of time so as not to arouse suspicion. The only exception is an occasional pause to read an irregular card. You have two choices here: you can choose a valuable card and express interest in it because it's "cool" or something, or you can choose a junk card and read it "because you've never seen it before." You have to be careful about your choice. It's all based on how you measure the person across the table from you and what kind of impression you're looking to make.

I passed by the Underground Sea and made a mental note. As I was looking, I told the kid that there was a regular event going on that night and that I might be able to help him get a deck ready in time. I told him to go up to the counter and ask for the blue and black starter deck from Rise of the Eldrazi, which would give him enough legal cards to play. While he was doing that, I broke out my bulk binder and pulled out some / junk.

He sat back down with the box.

"So that deck will get you started. It's not bad, but I found a couple things you could put in for tonight."

I showed him the cards in question: Jwar Isle Refuge , Stormtide Leviathan , two Doom Blade s, Cancel , and Guul Draz Assassin .

"I don't really need these cards, and they could help you out. I have some friends who have been playing for a long time, and they play with some of the older cards, so we could work something out if you want to trade."

"Yeah! Thanks so much for helping me, man."

"No problem. You had an older blue black land, and this is like the newer version of it." I pointed to Underground Sea and slid Jwar Isle Refuge toward him.

Eventually, I matched up the other cards with various stuff from his bag. Nothing earth-shattering, but I was getting an Underground Sea for fifteen minutes of my time and basically half of a repacked booster.

We did a one-to-one exchange on those cards and we played some casual games while the regulars started coming in for FNM. The kid was actually pretty decent after a few games. Maybe he's out there now sweeping some PTQ. I still have his Underground Sea in a box. I was pretty happy when it spiked up to $250+.

By now, I'm sure you're all wondering how it's possible that I find people who are willing to hold my knife to their chest for me while I rummage through their pockets. A lot of it is knowing how to find a mark, and a lot of it is knowing how to handle them. But a lot more of it is luck now.

When I started sharking, it was a different time. I was already established in the game during the golden age of trading, before people were regularly checking card values mid-trade and before most people were aware of sharking as a practice. Smartphones are probably the single greatest challenge to sharks now. Before, it was all about memorizing card values and winning in trades through your encyclopedic knowledge. Then, it was about softening the approach and being believable enough that people didn't feel like pulling their phones out to check your numbers. Now, there's a pretty high chance that the phones are coming out anyway.

The increasing presence of smartphones has compounded with the increasing size of the online trade market, and the corresponding rise in trader savviness has made it a great deal harder for sharks to survive. A lot of people are glued to sites like MTGS or Quiet Speculation and they either know the value of their cards or they know enough to identify a fishy offer. Sharks are starting to feel like knights when the crossbow first made its way onto the battlefield. We used to be the best in the land, but now any scrub can spend ten seconds and render your training and skills irrelevant and even dangerous to yourself.

Have you ever seen a shark get called out or banned from a local shop? I have. I was almost that person myself, and I suspect people started spreading rumors about me at various stores after I left them. Once people catch on that you're a shark, either through your failed sharking attempt on them or through them hearing how you robbed their best friend in a trade, you don't have long left. The news will spread, and it'll be impossible for you to find an unfair trade after that. If you have a selection of stores in your area, you have a little more room, but it's still possible that news will travel around town. If word starts to get out between players at an event, then your whole day could be shot.

I guess I don't mind telling you all of this because my time has come to a close. I have all the cards I could ever really use, and I spend most of my time cubing or playing Legacy. I don't need to shark people anymore, and I really don't enjoy it anymore with every other player looking up the value of everything when you just want to swap and bail.

Why did I do it all? Greed, mostly. I wanted more. I don't have a problem with that. At the end of the day, I'm capitalizing on other people not knowing what they have. They're consciously making the decision to hand me their cards in exchange for my cards. If they look the price up later and feel bad about it, that's on them. Caveat emptor. You probably feel differently about it, but you're not me. You probably hate me, to be honest. And that doesn't bother me. I'd hate me, too, if I were in the other player's position. But I'm not. And I haven't been for many, many years. I really don't know what kind of trader I would have been if there were a different crowd at my LGS during those first few weeks of my Magic career. But, looking back on it now, I can say that I don't feel like I've lost anything. I'm happy with all I've accomplished.

Please remember to keep this discussion civil. We'd like to hear the community's response to this particular perspective. Do you feel any sympathy for this kind of person? Empathy? Is there nothing but disdain? Do you understand why he or she made these choices or even admire the sensibilities that allowed him or her to succeed?

What about your own experiences? Feel free to share your perspectives on trading, stories about your encounters or observations regarding sharks, or thoughts on the role they've played in Magic's community. Do you think they're fading away? Should they?


Edit 1:

Good responses so far, for the most part. Some questions to guide the discussion:

  1. There's a lot of talk about morals and sharking being either immoral or neutral. What moral metric is supposed to be applied here? What are the considerations?
  2. Is there an obligation on the part of the "shark" to let someone know how much their cards are worth (in essence, is the onus on you to educate the other guy about his own property)?
  3. Some people argue that there's a moral scale by which sharking becomes more morally reprehensible if the person being sharked cannot have known better. Why is this different from sharking someone who can have known better? Is it different? Is it right to assume that someone who's competent enough to play this game is not necessarily competent enough to be trusted with his or her own property?
  4. Is the moral assessment inherently different for a situation in which the shark makes the offer than it is for a situation in which the mark makes the offer? Does accepting little Timmy's offer of his Underground Sea for your Jwar Isle Refuge strike you as different from you making an offer of your Jwar Isle Refuge for his Underground Sea ? How does this apply to the "garage sale" scenario being passed around? Do you feel the same obligation, or lack thereof, to inform the other party that they're not getting equivalent value for their property?
  5. Now let's take a page from the book of trolley problems. If you happen to observe a trade in which someone is going to lose money, do you feel compelled to intervene and make the parties aware of the difference (whether you knew if they were already aware or not)? Does your answer change between situations in which two "adults" are trading and situations in which an "adult" and a "kid" are trading? What about if one person is pushing the trade and the other is kind of going with it?
  6. Is there a difference between a situation in which you lie to someone about the value of their cards and one in which you simply agree to terms that happen to be unfair? In other words, is saying "your Dark Confidant is worth $5 and my Dark Tutelage is also worth $5" morally different from allowing someone to offer their Dark Confidant for your Dark Tutelage ? Is it different from you offering your Dark Tutelage for their Dark Confidant ?
  7. Does the happiness of each trader factor into your perception of whether the trade is moral or fair? How moral or fair is a trade in which both people are happy with a value disparity? What about one in which the shark is happy but the mark is not? What consideration should be given to the non-monetary exchanges (e.g. sentimental value, relative "need" for a card, the social value of the interaction, etc.)?


July 14, 2015 9:22 p.m.

Pretty solid read. I enjoyed it, actually reminded me a little of myself when I was younger (before I quit the first time around Stronghold).

July 14, 2015 9:36 p.m. Edited.

-Fulcrum says... #3

I think what this person did was natural. Not right or wrong, fair or unfair. Just natural.

July 14, 2015 9:50 p.m.

hamiam says... #4

Shame on you!

July 14, 2015 9:52 p.m.

ThisIsBullshit says... #5

That was a really interesting read, sort of similar to a criminal explaining why they did what they did.

I can empathize with them, and although I'd never do things that drastic, as a poor scrub, I've got no problem admitting I try to pull ahead a bit more every time I trade, so I can slowly work up to the cards I need.

July 14, 2015 9:54 p.m.

PepsiAddicted says... #6

Very well written, as usual.

Cant say i would do it myself (and i doubt id be able to) but i can imagine the feeling after such a trade.... addictive probably. And tbh thats life. People aren't nice. The night is dark and full of terrors.

I don't even want to know how often I've been sharked ;)


July 14, 2015 9:55 p.m. Edited.

ChrisH says... #7

In general I try to even things out... I have never been sharked and accidentally sharked (I played casually and thought the shocks were worth 2 life and got a lot of them for low value that way). From my perspective I would have tried to make a friend out of Mr. Underground Sea and had him trade it for a modern deck, for example. I think growing the player base is a higher priority personally.

July 14, 2015 9:58 p.m.

TheAnnihilator says... #8

Sharking seems like it would just get less value than speccing nowadays, really. If you'd consider trying to shark away value, you'll actually do alot better by just finding the right specs and trading for or buying those cards -- regardless of people checking smart phones. Then you'll be making good trades in a less secretive/devious way, and a way more people will approve of.

I do have to say, I believe sharking is immoral. I've even swindled people in the past, and I'm not proud of it (not large value though, small stuff).

July 14, 2015 10 p.m.

SimicPower says... #9

Yikes. At first I skimmed through the editor's note and thought this was from Epoch's perspective. I am glad to see it is not.

My LGS doesn't have many typical sharks. I do occasionally see someone trying to value down a card for the slightest nicks on the edges. Assuming the card is not too heavily played, I usually respond, "if you won't value it at full price, I can find someone else that will". In fact, I was once able to trade away a HP/Damaged Akroma's Memorial at full price. The other common ploy is to try to trade a high value card out of my binder for a bunch of cheaper cards from their binder. I used to fall for this one, but now I know that should avoid it.

July 14, 2015 10 p.m.

DrFunk27 says... #10

Very interesting. I need to digest this a little longer before commenting further.

July 14, 2015 10 p.m.

VampireArmy says... #11

Yep i was a victim of this. Even beyond that, i still disagree with it especially when people do it to kids. Yeah I'm 100% the guy who will step and block you from sharking a teen. Sorry not sorry that being said i get why people do it. Thanks op for At least informing the masses

July 14, 2015 10:06 p.m.

Ruffigan says... #12

I had similar experiences when playing the Pokemon TCG as a child, ended up trading away some killer holographic legends to a conniving classmate for uncommon/rare garbage. I learned quickly that if you're a guppy swimming into uncharted waters the burden is on you to navigate safely, whether that means taking a knowledgeable friend along or using your phone for guidance.

So it goes.

July 14, 2015 10:07 p.m.

Rocknj06 says... #13

I sharked my friends, and ive knowingly let them shark me. To me, card value is all trivial. What do you value it as. I just completed a trade with a user here. He got my Noble Hierarch and The u/b fetch. I got about 20 cards in return. I wasn't using these two cards, not really. Yeah the Delta was in my dimir deck, but I only had one. So it really didn't hurt me. Each card I got in return will find its way in a deck I'm working on.

July 14, 2015 10:08 p.m.

slovakattack says... #14

An interesting read.

I didn't have the reaction to this that I thought I would have. I expected at the start to be incensed by the end, as sharking is a practice that I've never been particularly fond of (but one that admittedly, I've found myself involved in more than once- mostly during my numismatist phase).

However, the existence and prevalence of smartphones has done a lot to lower the bar of 'due diligence' that comes with trading.I believe that there is a basic level of commitment that a trader should have first, in order to later claim offense should they get screwed out of a card.

You can't help people who won't help themselves.

Now obviously, there are degrees of sharking. There's a big difference between taking advantage of a seasoned FNM regular through quick wit and plucky determination and convincing little Timmy during his first time at a LGS that your Shivan Dragon is totally worth the Karakas that he found in a shoebox of cards in his closet.

The moral gradient of sharking is something that everyone needs to come to terms with individually. At a certain point, when all is said and done, sharking is very often a case of a person simply using taking advantage of a person with lesser faculties. And that is where every individual must decide where they draw the line.

Would you trade your Shivan Dragon for Timmy's Karakas?

What about a mentally disabled person? I know a person whose mental disabilities (serious, medical issues, sadly) make him very vulnerable to manipulation. Would you pressure him into trading the Thoughtseize he pulled for your Meletis Charlatan?

Is a person who would do either a tool, or simply a dashing rogue, using his or her quick wit to get ahead in the world? ("After all, Timmy is happy with his shivan dragon, right? Right?")

That's for you to decide, and without a firm determination at where your moral lines lie, discussion of this subject can quickly become a slippery slope, due to the moral relativity of it's nature.

So with that in mind... I didn't feel much of anything. By the time I started this game, the 'golden age of sharking' (or 'golden age of screwing people', if you prefer) was long over. Smartphones existed, and for the most part, I haven't managed to get screwed out of much (save for one time about three weeks into my magic career. The shark in question spun a story of rotation that made the trade of my Xenagos, the Reveler for his couple of Scavenging Oozes seem reasonable at the time. I eventually realized what had happened, of course. It hurt a little, but not nearly as bad as learning that the shark in question had bragged to his friends about how dumb I was. That really hurt.)

I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to feel about this article.

Am I supposed to feel sorry that the bar of due diligence has been lowered? I don't.

Am I supposed to sympathize with the author, who compares himself to a knight (associating himself with chivalry, honor, and the traits that come with it) being made obsolete by the cold, finesse-less machine? The very idea is laughable.

Am I supposed to be intrigued, maybe even in a morbid fashion, as to how someone could justify a hobby that is commonly considered reprehensible? I am, if slightly. Justification is what humanity does best. While it is interesting, it's certainly not shocking.

At the end of the day, sharking is what it is- and in the magic the gathering world, what that is, is nearly obsolete. And you know what? That's alright with me.

July 14, 2015 10:17 p.m.

blackmarker90 says... #15

I have sharked and been sharked as well. It is harder to do in today's day and age. It is him a nature to try and get as much value as you can for what you have while minimizing loss on what you receive. It is becoming a lost art. I know some people see these practices as immoral and wrong, but necessity drives people to do strange things.

July 14, 2015 10:22 p.m.

While I can see why this would happen given the trading environment the player started in, and am somewhat impressed by how he/she was able to succeed, I am amazed (and not in a good way), that anyone would be so lacking in morals that they would be able to do that constantly. I'll admit that I've been on the good end of an unfair trade in the past, but that was right around the time I was becoming aware of the value of Magic cards. I've also been on the bad end of an unfair trade in the past, and I really did not enjoy it, which is why I make a point of keeping trades as fair as possible, so that neither party has to feel bad afterwards. Thankfully, my LGS has a very nice community, so this is rarely a problem.

July 14, 2015 10:27 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #17

Honestly I don't see why this is an issue. If you don't know the value of your cards, that is your problem and your problem alone. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at yourself or your friend for not explaining that the cards were valuable. I've never sharked anyone, but I have friends who have taken advantage of people trying to liquify their old collections and don't know the real value of the cards. And I would do the same if given the chance. With a caveat, I wouldn't do this to a disabled person.

It's honestly funny. This is absolutely no different from going to a garage sale, finding a box of old alpha-revised cards, and buying it for $20. I've seen plenty of those stories on this site, and everyone always says "Wow! nice job man, what a steal!" The person could have told the person selling them that they were losing a bunch of money, but didn't. This is no different, and shouldn't be viewed differently.

Being naive isn't a crime, but neither is taking advantage of other peoples naivety.

July 14, 2015 10:31 p.m. Edited.

AG4W says... #18

The community of my LGS, where I volunteer, is way more tight than that - whenever a scam happens it gets posted in our local facebook group, the scammer is identified on Facebook (usually not that hard), and in most cases, a quick talk to their legal guardians will resolve the issue.

Sharking is for scumbags, really.

July 14, 2015 10:42 p.m.


There is a difference though. At a garage sale, the seller has willingly chosen to forgo checking the real value of their cards without any kind of persuasion. When you buy the cards, you're not convincing them that they aren't worth anything -- your simply purchasing the item that they themselves have priced. If they want more than $20 for the cards, they'll ask. But that they don't bother to check the online value (probably because they just want to save time), isn't your fault.

Sharking, however, is not the same. This person with a valuable card, though ignorant about its value, trusts you to give them a fair estimate for what it's worth. They've chosen to entrust their faith in you (as the Shark's plan for gaining their trust signifies), and they think you're trying to help them. By sharking away the card, you've broken their trust and ultimately deceived them by your own choice. In fact, you have hurt them intentionally. this is what makes sharking immoral in my eyes.

July 14, 2015 10:46 p.m.

SimicPower says... #20

kyuuri117: The difference is that in sharking you are outright lying to someone about the value of a card. If someone walked up to me and offered to sell me a Force of Will for 10$, I would take it immediately. That is different than walking up to someone and saying, "That Force of Will is worth 10$" and offering someone 10$ for it.

July 14, 2015 10:50 p.m.

JANKYARD_DOG says... #21

I learned about the type early on. Try to make a trade and they say "these for this" and after your done exclaiming because you know they are trying to shaft you they say " well, how bad do you want it?" Sorry bub, not that bad! Scoop and find someone more honest, that's what I say.

Agreed though that smart phones are the bane of their existence now which makes trading sooooo much better and always fair. Value/Value not right on the penny but close enough that both parties are comfortable and feel good about the trade. I just wish the LGS would trade cards Value/Value but understandably they need to make a profit on transactions because it's a business.

July 14, 2015 10:51 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #22

You are assuming that the person sharking is saying "hey that force of will is worth 10$" instead of "Hey i'm kinda interested in that card, would you check out this binder (full of garbage) and see if anything interests you?" The second is probably more likely, and that's exactly the same as going to a garage sale.

Honestly it's the exact same thing as extreme haggling. If you don't know your stuff, you shouldn't even be trading. If you've spent money to buy your kids expensive stuff, you should be firm in letting them know that "cards a, b and c are NOT for trade, for anything". If you aren't, again, that's your problem.

July 14, 2015 10:53 p.m. Edited.

@SimicPower Ninja'd you! =D

July 14, 2015 10:53 p.m.

SimicPower says... #24

July 14, 2015 10:56 p.m.

@kyuuri117 Yes, but not suggesting what their card's value is (and pulling out a binder instead) still intentionally breaks their trust that you won't swindle them. Either way, you'd be deceiving the person.

July 14, 2015 11:02 p.m.

Dalektable says... #26

Very, very interesting read. I don't have any disdain towards sharks, I do believe everyone should take it upon themselves to know the value of their own cards before willingly handing them away. However, personally I could never do it to a person. I refuse trades with kids who want junk rates for their 10+ dollar card, I always make sure both parties know the value of all cards involved even if they don't check themselves. Obviously I'm okay with getting the better end of a trade, but I always make sure all players involved know 100% of what is going on. I have a friend who is a bit of a shark, not on a large scale but he does play the casuals who drop by one of our smaller places we play FNM at. He will gloat about getting Collected Company's and the like for Stormtide Leviathan's with glee, and I applaud him for his endeavors. Anyways, super interesting read.

July 14, 2015 11:02 p.m.

@Dalektable I admire your position, but not preventing said friend from swindling people is accomplice to his behavior. By not preventing the behavior, you become party to it. =\

July 14, 2015 11:06 p.m.

SimicPower says... #28

kyuuri117: The purpose of garage sales is to get rid of a bunch of stuff really fast and acknowledge that you will lose some money, unlike trading where you expect the deal to be equal on both ends. This doesn't actually invalidate your point, just means that garage sales are probably a bad example.

About the duty of price being on the parents: That holds true in some scenarios. If you hand your child an Underground Sea, it is foolish to not tell them the price. But many parents who hadn't played magic before don't know the value of the cards. A kid who pulls an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in a booster pack might not expect it to be worth that much more than the price of the pack.

July 14, 2015 11:06 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #29

You aren't deceiving them, it is their responsibility to know what the things they own are worth. Most people are concerned over card prices, others are just happy to get a card that does something cool.

Is the person checking you out at the grocery store responsible for telling you "hey this "organic, non GMO" corn is exactly the same as the regular corn you can buy half a mile down the road for half the price, and did you know it's also not GMO?" No, they aren't. You just pay extra because it's "healthier" and advertised as "non GMO" even though most corn is non GMO anyway.

July 14, 2015 11:07 p.m.

Dalektable says... #30

TheAnnihilator Fair enough. I play the angel on his shoulder, sometimes talking him out of it but I won't ruin his reputation over a trade as he is a good guy and one of my better friends.

July 14, 2015 11:08 p.m.

HSF117 says... #31

I started playing magic near the end of the Innistrad block and have not taken a break from the game since. That's just 3 years compared to people that have been playing since magic's origins. Laughs? No one? Anyone? Fair enough. When I started playing, I knew that people were out to cheat me. Not because I had heard anything bad about magic players but because in general people will try and advance themselves before others. As for the naivety, I think there is a difference. Whereas I knew starting out that I needed to know prices while trading, other people may not have. New players, young or old, are the easiest prey but it's not fair to them but I guess what is fair? If you're a player that has been on the scene for a while then that is just your fault. That's the difference that I see. As for sharking as a whole, it is a business practice. Go to any used car lot and see what happens. They will try and sell you their junk for your gold, or in magic's case, they will try and get your gold for their junk. From a business standpoint, I can see exactly why sharks do what they do. From a magic player's standpoint, my opinion is that sharks don't care if the game of magic survives, it's just an easy way for them to make money immediately. I feel like sharking is a good way to push people away from the game. How many of us have played games like Clash of Clans and just completely quit when our entire base and army was destroyed? Maybe I'm the only one but I feel like it has the same effect after getting sharked. "I spent all of this time working and building this all up and some person came along and took it away. Why should I continue?" I want to continue playing magic and in order for that to happen there needs to be an interest in the game and new players need to be coming in all the time. While sharks are not the leading reason that this would not happen, they do contribute to the negativity so in my opinion, sharks should become extinct.

July 14, 2015 11:10 p.m.

kyuuri117 While they are responsible for knowing what they have, this doesn't mean it's OK to take advantage of them when they don't. Decieving someone even though they're ignorant is still deceiving someone. It become a question of "Is deception immoral?", which I cannot answer for you. My opinion is obviously that deception is usually immoral (but not always, there are extenuating circumstances).

July 14, 2015 11:11 p.m.

@Dalektable Discussing it with him is good enough, actually. Letting him know you don't support his behavior, and reminding him every once in a while is the best you can do, really. So, yeah, don't feel bad. =D

July 14, 2015 11:13 p.m.

Ruffigan says... #34

@TheAnnihilator: Knowledge is power, so how would you go about empowering ignorant players? Bulletins at the LGS with price apps? Pamphlets on trading does-and-don'ts? LGS clerks offering arbitration for the unsure?

July 14, 2015 11:20 p.m.

miracleHat says... #35

I personally have no problem with shark traders. I know that I have been sharked twice, yet I don't care. I just learned from my mistakes and moved on.

I don't consider myself a shark, though there have been opportunities to snag 400% profits off of trades, but I haven't because he was younger than I am and I'm not even in college.

I personally don't feel the same way about players who are self-sufficient and are have been playing for more than 7-8 years.

July 14, 2015 11:22 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #36

And I just don't see it that way. If you make a trade and both sides leave happy, that's the end of the story.

If you "shark" someone and they are perfectly happy with the trade, and then someone goes out of the way to tell them "hey buddy you just got got", it's not you who've upset them, it's the third party. The person you traded with would have been happy until the end of time with that trade until someone else stepped in. And I don't see that as the expert traders problem.

What if you had never mentioned it and they remained a casual player for the rest of their magic career, would they even care? They probably would have just remained happy with that trade.

July 14, 2015 11:24 p.m. Edited.

I'd like to interject here and point out that kyuuri117 is making some very good points. I still believe that sharking is wrong because it can discourage people from playing the game; it doesn't matter whether it's the shark's fault that the other side got upset. However, I remember a time when I traded off a Deathrite Shaman for a pair of Scab-Clan Giants because I wanted to build my Gruul deck, and I was perfectly happy with the trade.

July 14, 2015 11:30 p.m.

SimicPower says... #38

I wish this had been posted during Shark Week.

July 14, 2015 11:32 p.m.

SimicPower says... #39

Ruffigan: Trading dos and don'ts on an ad card actually sounds like a pretty good idea.

kyuuri117: You make some fair points, but I still don't believe taking advantage of someone is justified just because they didn't know they were ripped off.

July 14, 2015 11:35 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #40

A magic card is only worth what it's worth because of supply and demand. In other words, their prices are subjective. To a new casual player, an ABUR land might be absolutely worthless to the point where Summoner's Pact is worth two or three of them. After all, they are just lands, who cares.

You aren't scamming them, and are under no obligation to educate them.

July 14, 2015 11:42 p.m.

SimicPower says... #41

kyuuri117: Supply and demand aren't subjective. Someone can sell an ABUR land and buy multiple Summoner's Pacts.

July 14, 2015 11:45 p.m.

Orbrunner says... #42

Caveat emptor indeed.

July 14, 2015 11:46 p.m.

IcyLightning says... #43

I will never forget when I conned a friend of mine into trading his Foil Charizard for a Promo Mew card that I got from going to the Pokemon 2000 movie because I was the only one in school who had one of those cards and it was "Special"... Kindergarten was ruthless man

July 14, 2015 11:48 p.m.

Well, I have to say this story made me feel bad.

I'm not going to be a moralist about it, because I've done shit like that in the past, but (obviously) in a smaller scale.

I used to have a friend in college that sucked at magic, but she had a fairly nice collection of cards, she didn't know anything about prices and all, but I loved trading with her because it didn't feel like scamming, so I wouldn't feel bad.

I feel bad now, I didn't at the time. I won't stop doing this, because it's much too profitable, but this is the list of what I can remember trading:

1 Resolute Archangel for a Desecration Demon

Something rather useless for a Blue Sun's Zenith

and, maybe the worst of all:

4 Orzhov Guildgates for a Blackcleave Cliffs and an Increasing Vengeance

July 14, 2015 11:49 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #45

TheAmazingSalsa Funny how in the long run, aside from the Blackcleave Cliffs, your friend really didn't lose any money. Just ask to hang out for old times sake and buy a pizza and call it a night.

July 14, 2015 11:53 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #46

And it seems blackcleave cliffs actually JUST spiked from a buyout like a few weeks ago, so even more reason to not feel bad.

July 14, 2015 11:59 p.m.

gnarlicide says... #47

Well, wow.

When I was kid, back in the mid 90's, I would pull some good cards with money I got from doing yard work in the neighborhood. The older dudes at the shop would trade me copies of Stone Rain for my random big pulls. I would accept because the artwork looked waaaaay cooler on that stone rain! I didn't know any better.

Now interestingly enough, a potential incident could have gone down literally last Friday.

I walk into my LGS, and there are two boys playing (around 12 years old). The owner is doing his bills in the corner and watching some stream. I arrive for some casual modern testing with my daughter and a couple of my friends.

One of the kids asks if I would like to trade, I said sure. The owner looks up and shakes his head in a very "come on, man" type of demeanor. I honestly figured I would give the kid a chance to trade, maybe I would find something neat for EDH or something. He opens a shoe box with around 150 cards in it and begin thumbing through them. I saw 3x foil Elvish Archdruids, 2x foil Ezuri's a play set of foil Elvish Champions and 3 of that elf that generates 3 mana if you tap three elves. Those were literally the only noteworthy cards. I ask the kid what he would be looking for as I pull out my binder. He says, "I would like some more fire cards, and my friend wants some water cards" (my heart skipped for a second, and the owner starts to chuckle). I set the box aside and put my binder away. I saw too much of my 1996 self in these guys. I open up my random box of common and uncommon staples and begin going through it. I pull out 4x Lightning Bolt and 4x Counterspell. And hand them to the guys. Then I tell them something that I wish someone would have told me. I said, "bro, those elf cards you have are really good. Don't put yourself in a position to lose them so easily."

I won't consider myself a "white knight". Because had they known a little more about the game, yes, I would have taken those cards in a heartbeat. But it's the principle that as a community, the older players should be doing what they can to create a positive experience for new players. Even if it's writing down a list of cheap cards that would help their deck a little more. Or giving new players some extra bulk you have laying around. This very site is what I am talking about. People can chat and trade and have a genuinely great experience. Yeah, there are going to be some assholes trying to shark you, but think about the story about the school of fish that come together to be bigger than the shark trying to eat them. That's how a community thrives.

In short: what this dude did was a little dicked up. But there is nothing that I can do about it. I can only try to be as honest with traders as possible. Unless they are suspicious, then I am pretty good at playing their game, lol.

July 15, 2015 12:10 a.m. Edited.

This article makes me realize why I like Eve Online so much :3

Because this kind of thing is really common :P

July 15, 2015 12:10 a.m.

o_O says... #49

Ok. Let's be real here. Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game. So it's ok to trade like a shark? Probably not in most cases. FNM is an event where people go and play their favorite game. A community is created, and most of the people in that community are just simple people with easy going minds who want to play a few simple games of Magic. But alas, like every other community ever formed ever, there will be some 'bad guys' so to speak, or at least that's what they are according to the general public. But then again this is your LGS's community, where simple people go and play a few simple games of Magic once or twice a week. For god's sake your actually scamming inoccent people in a f** game store. Is there money to be made this way? Yes, of course. But there's also money to be made by scamming people outside of a game store by other means than trading cards. Tbh, I'd be happier telling that kid he had a 250$ card in his ziploc bag rather than practically stealing it from him. But hey, that's just my opinion. If you're into scamming cluless kids who are too new to know what they're worht is, then alright, whatever floats your warped and crooked boat. Whatever makes you happy. :)

July 15, 2015 12:29 a.m.

Yeah, while I possess the ability to empathize, I still find this reprehensible. I don't feel like getting into the details of whys and what nots, because I would divert from being civil. Needless to say, I am not at all keen to know who this person is and I certainly do not approve of what they did. To me it is little different than theft.

July 15, 2015 12:43 a.m.

JDMCRIB says... #51

I'm a young kid, 14 and now entering high school in a month. So I don't have much access to my local LGS and have attended a few prereleases and a couple of Modern tournaments there. I spend most of my MTG playing time either at my house with friends or at school with friends.

The current scenario is like this: in the high school, there are four guys who are really deep into the game. Collectively they've just hit the $2000 mark in their shared card pool; really good for high school kids. I'm part of a less elite group of people as well. We have somewhere between $200-400 in our collection. I'm the biggest contributer to the value in the group. I'm currently trying to build a Living Lore deck in Modern, so I'm always buying pieces a little at a time to someday complete it, and as a result see the prices pretty often.

There are about 10 or 15 kids in both the middle and high schools who play the game casually. They have decks like Izzet Counterburn, Dimir Mill, and Bant Exalted (without the Hierarchs and stuff). They all play independently and regularly as well. Surprisingly enough, they actually enjoy playing with the more "elite" players for two reasons. One, they get to test their decks against a "real opponent," and two, they get to trade afterwards (usually).

Naturally, most of us buy booster packs; some more than others. In the eyes of a more seasoned player, Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker may seem like nothing more than a junk rare. In the eyes of a casual player, it's the prized card in their Mill strategy. To them, that card is worth a lot more than what its pricetag is. And so they give me what I ask for it.

When I was a month or so into the game, I bought a few packs of the 2014 Core Set. One of the cards I pulled in that instance was a Mutavault, back when it was easily $40. At the time I wasn't even thinking about prices. All I wanted was some cool card for my Gruul Stompy deck.

I went to marching band practice the next day and one of the elite high schoolers I mentioned earlier was going around asking if anyone wanted to trade. I asked him what he wanted and the first thing he said was Mutavault. My eyes widened as I realized I had a chance at getting some sweet cards from him. So, I pulled out my little UltraPro deckbox full of rares and showed him my mint copy. He then proceeded to show me his binder and I looked through it in awe.

So many mythics and foils. I saw plenty of Sphinx's Revelations, Abrupt Decays, Deathrite Shamans, and even a Stoneforge Mystic. But then my eyes fell upon a moderately-played Chandra, the Firebrand. I read the card and instantly wanted it. After all, it would be my first planeswalker! So, we did a one-for-one trade. That trade was roughly $40 for $7, which, in hindsight, is ridiculous. I would never do something like that today, even if I currently needed that Chandra more than the Mutavault.

But that day I was so happy. I went around showing everybody my new powerful Chandra. I played many a game with that card, and I probably had a blast using her.

The moral of the story? Sometimes, trades are'nt about price. To a casual player, like the kid in the Refuge for Sea trade mentioned in the OP story, that trade was in the kid's favor. I know that he could've sold the card and bought a lot of cards with the money, but what if that's not what the guy wanted? Sometimes I think back to the days where I strapped a Blanchwood Armor onto a Kalonian Tusker and just wish that I could have those days back. Where nothing was considered "obsolete" to the playgroup and every game lasted 15+ turns.

When you get your head into the money, you kinda loose the aspect of trading that made Magic fun in the first place.

July 15, 2015 1:11 a.m.

shadow63 says... #52

trading up is just part of the gamete but trading that nickle land for an abru land is just f***ed up seriously

July 15, 2015 1:14 a.m.

JDMCRIB says... #53

shadow63 Yeah, I'll agree with that.

July 15, 2015 1:28 a.m.

Gale7 says... #54

A lot of the discussions here say it's theyre responsibility to know the prices, I remember in my first week of playing I opened Steam Vents and thought it was useless and someone came over and offered me a blood artist or something for it to help me out with my vampire deck. Preying on newbies is something that is simply wrong, it's the whole taking candy from baby's type thing.

July 15, 2015 1:32 a.m.

magiceli says... #55

Very well written. It made me look back on all of my trades and think if I've been sharked. I got a bit angry around the Jwar Isle Refuge for Underground Sea but still a fascinating read.

July 15, 2015 1:36 a.m.

TheGamer says... #56

I remember I was sharked before back when I didn't have a phone to look up prices and didn't know the prices in my head. Well, I was in love with promo cards and thought they were very cool, so I traded for some. Well, it was like a Dimir Charm, Farseek, Judge's Familiar, and one other trash promo card. And I also traded some shock lands for them, and I was told they were like $3 each. The trade happened, and I lost like $50 that day.

Trying to find a bright side... I got closer to foiling out my EDH deck? Still doesn't feel good. BibleThump

July 15, 2015 1:40 a.m.

Babafaba says... #57

I understand trying to pull yourself ahead for a couple of dollars in a trade. But just for a couple of dollars.

Exploiting someone because they are not aware of the price is a despicable act. Especially if you blatantly lie about card prices. And doing that to a new player is the worst.

shadow63 pretty much summed up everything there's to be said about the Jwar Isle Refuge-Underground Sea trade.

July 15, 2015 3:27 a.m.

awphutt says... #58

I'm slightly surprised to be in the minority on this but I'd consider card sharking around the same level as what Jared Boetcher (SP?) did and got banned for. It's just cheating another player in Magic.

Doing something like that to another member of the community is awful, and taking advantage of someone who you know cannot know card prices, i.e new players, is totally immoral.

What's kind of worse though is how indifferent the majority of commenters here are to it. That kind of "Have mine, get yours" attitude says a lot about the community...

July 15, 2015 4:53 a.m.

2npii says... #59

I can't help but think that if this guy was so good then they should have gotten a job in sales or finance; then they would be bragging about their $100,000 bonus each year instead of a $250 card they swindled off a kid 10 years ago.

July 15, 2015 4:59 a.m.

JexInfinite says... #60

You're considered a jerk for being a shark, but most 'crimes' are opportunistic. If someone is willing to trade a fetchland for a Zurgo, good for them. If they don't care about money, I see no problem, and have made such trades myself, though I always make sure they know what the cards in question are worth, and that they are willing to make the trade.

Sharking is a bad practice, but I don't see how it's harmful to the game when in regards to newer players. Players interested in money are making monetary gains, and newer/less skilled players are getting cards they are happier to play with. The classic Shivan Dragon for a Tarmogoyf problem isn't really a problem. The victim gets a fun dragon, and you get a competitive card to fuel more decks, or to play with.

July 15, 2015 5:19 a.m. Edited.

BuLLZ3Y3 says... #61

I've never been very good at sharking players. I'd do it in a heart beat if I could though. This game is effing expensive, I'm poor, and I want to play strong, tier 1 competitive decks in formats like Modern and Legacy.

No, I can't Shark. But what I can do? Fish.

I can't tell you how many times I've been at a comic con or some similar event, and there he is. Older guy selling Magic cards. You've all seen them. He's got a bunch of different boxes of "bulk" commons and uncommons, a binder of "$1.00" rares, and another binder of "$5.00" foil rares. I love every person like this, and I will take them for everything they're worth.

One such event, I had just finished working a booth, it was the last day of the event, and I start perusing through his stuff, doing many of the same things the OP said. "You've got a lot of cards here, how long have you been playing?" "Oh man, I remember when this was in standard, what a great time!" So on and so forth. After I pulled out everything I wanted from the guy, I made out with 3 Force of Will, 4 Wasteland, 2 Foil Vendilion Clique (Lorywyn), 1 Foil Cryptic Command and 1 Regular Cryptic Command, a Jace, the Mind Sculptor (He asked for 7.50 since it was that new "mythic rarity") and a handful of other 10-25 dollar cards.

I spent less then $50.

Or, and this is even better, people selling Magic Cards at Garage Sales.

Let me give you this advice right now; If you want to keep your collection out of people like me's hands, don't move out and leave it at home with your Mom. She will clean out your room, and those cards will be sold on Garage Sale day.

I once purchased a binder of cards (someone who clearly played Legacy at one point) for $25 dollars at a garage sale. The person selling it to me was ecstatic that I would pay such a price for some stupid cards. The binder was probably worth over $1,000. I didn't blink then, and I wouldn't blink now.

Look, there's just no excuse for not knowing something's value. Took me 20 seconds to google how much an Underground Sea is worth. It would've taken them just as long.

July 15, 2015 5:31 a.m.

I remember feeling cheated a couple weeks after I traded a Liliana of the Veil (that I bought for $20) for a Godless Shrine, an original Sacred Foundry, & a Wild Defiance (During Innistrad-Return to Ravinca Standard). At the time it was probably a decent trade, but boy did I feel stupid ever since then..

July 15, 2015 5:50 a.m.

Ruffigan says... #63

@TheAlexGnan: He is posting the article for someone who wants to remain anonymous, says in the first line...

July 15, 2015 6:50 a.m.

Boza says... #64

I read the whole thing and I am fascinnated that someone is able to do is. I am actually jealous of people who have the skills and determination to do this and obviously not feel bad about it.

I have to say, I cannot do this myself as guilt over what I have done would swallow me whole. But this is what the entire world thrives on, whether you are scamming little Timmy off of a card worth several hundred dollars or being Greece and basically scamming creditors off paying your debts by several hundred billions.

The morality can be similar, only the scale can be different. And I think that the whole world is based on sharking and scamming and it is up to you to figure out when to shark and beware of getting sharked.

For example, have you ever bought something at a discount? That can of beans in Walmart usually up for 2 bucks is now 50% off? Have you ever thought of going to the register and saying "Thank you for offering this can of beans at a reduced price, but I would like to pay normal price for it."

Everybody is guilty of sharking in one aspect of life or another and that is the predatory nature of economics.

Another example would be art. I went to a gallery for the first time in my life and saw a painting that was just a white canvas with a red stripe in the middle of it. It was available for purchase at $10 000. Is that not a prime example of sharking? Surely, there must be a reason for it. For a person who does not understand art like me, I would offer them to trade the painting for a Storm Crow and think of it as a fair trade. An avid collector of that artist might value it even higher than 10k.

Value is entirely subjective, even when you put monetary tags on it. Playing Magic is not only about gaining cardboard cash, it is about the experience - you are buying a work of art you can transform into a great and memorable expirience.

I am 100% OK with sharking and applaud those who can do it without moral reprimand. It is a practice that has permeated into every possible aspect of our lives. It has become a survival skill not only in MTG, but in anything connected monetary value and economics. You will shark people and people will shark you.

In summary, there was a movie that said there are two kinds of people - hammers and nails. We are both at different times and make active choices to be either - you inevitably end up being both.

July 15, 2015 7:14 a.m.

Schuesseled says... #65

You should track down that kid and give him back his Underground Sea.

Poor kid probably cries at night whilst he thinks of you.

July 15, 2015 7:16 a.m.

ljs54321 says... #66

I hope nobody here chastising this user and others like him/her ever has to buy a used car. Whether it's from a car dealer or Joe Schmoe on Craigslist, there's about a 99% chance it's not worth what they're gonna end up making you pay for it. Almost everyone gets upset when they find out the truth about it, but at least with Magic there aren't any potential safety risks from getting ripped off. The same goes for the housing market as well.

The way I see it, the only difference between a Shark and vendor is the fact that a vendor has a physical/online store. How many people here would jump at the chance to pick up cards from a store at the prices they buylist? Or even sell/trade cards to them for prices above "market value"? I'm willing to bet not one person here would hesitate. In a sense, that's kinda worse because that profit they make when deals are slanted in their favor is to help their business grow/thrive as well as "pay" themselves to support their family. Hell, I do it all the time and the owner of my LGS knows it, but I also unload cards to him way cheaper than I would anywhere else as well, so it balances out.

July 15, 2015 7:24 a.m.

Schuesseled says... #67

Seriously if I had been in your situation, meeting this young gentlemen with the underground sea, I would have likely tried to trade with him for it to play in one of my decks but I wouldn't tricked him into buying a pre-con deck and trade for a couple of junk rares in order to enter a competition.

July 15, 2015 7:26 a.m.

IvoryFrost says... #68

It was an interesting read, I'm quite thankful for my smartphone and being able to check up on prices before making a trade.

I now have a rule that I must check the value of the cards so neither party is screwed over. I guess it's a healthy habit to have now.

July 15, 2015 7:32 a.m.

yeaGO says... #69

I don't really take predatory trading as a granted like some posters do. People tend to overlook that one of the basic tenants of capitalism and a free market is perfect information. I also think its pretty likely that your predatory behavior tended to be targeted toward people newer and younger than you, which just makes you an ordinary shit-head. And your spoils are probably equally unimpressive lunch money, so I guess why bother?

I cite a philosopher on this topic, mister Doyle Brunson of Texas Hold'em fame, who correctly realized that to hurt and abuse particular individuals in a game hurts the whole economy and solvency of the game.

It shows you really just don't have any love or appreciation for the game as a whole and it isn't fundamentally different than people who go online and create fake accounts, drive up trades to fictional recipients, and then disappear.

But it was a fun read!

July 15, 2015 7:37 a.m. Edited.

Alright, so unpopular (?) opinion time.

Everyone keeps mentioning preying on noobies. If your LGS is anyway decent at all, they'll have good older players there who aren't sharks, and if the kid is value-conscious at all, he'll get one of those older players to look over the trade to make sure it's all in good value. Before my LGS shut down, I was one of those older players.

Did I shark people back in the day? Sure. I still do it on occasion (kind of) in my local playgroup, where card value isn't as important as "do I need this for a deck?" (I say kind of, because I'll let them know about the value ahead of time, and then ask them if they're still cool with the trade. Most of the time they will be, for the reason mentioned above.)

But back to my original point. If the LGS doesn't have vets who can look over trades to prevent sharking, that's on them. The blame needs to be shifted from being 100 percent on the shark, to 80 percent on the shark and 20 percent on the other members of the LGS. "No man is an island," as the idiom goes.

July 15, 2015 7:59 a.m.

ljs54321 says... #71

In personal practice, I'm with the majority in the sense of making sure all parties involved know the market value of all cards involved as much as possible. At the same time, if the other person looks at me and says they're good with a value discrepancy of more than $1-2, I'm not gonna twist their arm to take more of my cards or remove cards I'm trying to get from the trade just to make it "even". As many have said, value is subjective, so if they really feel their Shockland is worth less than the Checkland that's their deal. Maybe down the line they'll understand why there's a significant price difference, but then they'll only have themselves to be pissed at for not getting more out of the trade because I did inform them of the card values. OP's example of Refuge for Underground was definitely going way too far though. That's kinda like taking candy from a baby and then yelling at the kid's mom because the kid wouldn't stop crying.

July 15, 2015 8:02 a.m.

Babafaba says... #72

Boza, you are talking about two way different things. Buying something on discount is not sharking in any way. The seller and you are both aware of the normal price and you are just offered the reduced price to increase the chances of you buying the product. Sharking is exploiting someone's ignorance. In the Underground Sea example, the kid wasn't aware of its value and never offered a discount in the price of Jwar Isle Refuge.

If for example a bottle of water was sold to you by the seller at the price of the finest champagne. And you bought it, would you applaud his taking your money because he felt no remorse and he managed to deceive you because you've never actually bought a bottle of water before?Would you justify his act because value is entirely subjective and even if the the bottle contains plain, simple water you price it at what it was sold to you for?

Well, that kid was at the same position, he traded a Jwar Isle Refuge for an Underground Sea. If you had made that trade, wouldn't you feel cheated? Wouldn't you think that the shark that persuaded you into the trade was just a selfish **? Or would you retain your opinions concerning subjective value and that everyone's a shark so you have been at the same position?

As it's already being stated, perfect information is mandatory for a fair trade.

July 15, 2015 8:11 a.m.

SpartanCEL says... #73

I am against taking advantage of new players and people with little to no knowledge of card prices. I am okay with making good deals

For example, during the prerelease I pulled a Erebos's Titan(and went 3-2 with a fair r/b midrange deck) So after the tournament, I asked this guy(20's 30's he had some black scruffly facial hair who came and sat down in front of me) if he was looking for anything. He says Erebos's Titan. I look through his stuff and talk about his Goblin Piledriver and how modern goblins could be a thing. He talks about standard and how mono black devotion can come back for a little. He says his goblin is worth 5$. I inform him it's actually worth about 15$ and I look up prices. 14$, I was close. I inform him what my Erebos's Titan was worth. (I think about 8 at the time) I was thinking about evening it out but he asks if I'd trade. Ofcourse! This guy is obviously well informed (atleast about standard tournament play) and looking to complete a deck before (what I assume) prices jump.

Another senario which you may have seen me post multiple times.

I pull a Narset Transcendent at her prerelease. (35$ at the time) I look through this guy's binder.... Pages of Abrupt Decay, snaps galore and a Force of Will. I also overheard him talk about how he owns the power nine. He looks through my small binder, but still wants the narset. I ask if his fetch lands are for trade (because I might still feel bad) he says yes. So I ask for his 2 Polluted Delta's and a Bloodstained Mire. Apparently that was 34$ then, so he hands me his other trade binder and I choose an Underworld Cerberus. Deal!

I feel ripping off the uninformed youth is wrong. Taking 'advantage' of speculators like I did I'm okay with because we were trading the actual price

July 15, 2015 8:33 a.m.

weisemanjohn says... #74

I am no shark, but I have had my share of shark trades. Generally though it is because the other party is really enthusiastic about a card. I knew the trade was unbalanced in my favor and made sure they were informed to the best of my knowledge, but they wanted to make it happen.

Some examples recently were $70 in trade fodder including Whisperwood Elementals and Sphinx's Revelations for a normal Ugin, the Spirit Dragon during prerelease, and Atarka's Command foil for a Savage Knuckleblade, Christmas land of modern green stompy cards for foil Bloodstained Mire on prerelease day just before the price drop.

July 15, 2015 8:37 a.m.

Boza says... #75

@Babafaba, thank you for bringing bottled water into this as an example. Dasani, the coca-cola water brand, has been proven in numerous studies to be nothing more than purified tap water. Yet with some marketing, it is now worth 3 bucks. The plastic bottle and water plus all production and distribution costs (economies of scale FTW) probably cost not more than 5 cents total. That is a prime example of sharking and caveat emptor, exactly what this article is intended to do.

My example with buying on discount was not ideal, but some other user mentioned used cars, which is a lot more appropriate.

Bringing this back to magic - the shark in our case markets the Refuge as the new coming of ABUR dual lands that are actually legal for FNM. Entirely, one hundred percent true, albeit only a marketing ploy.

It is entirely true that a fair trade can be done with perfect information, but that is a concept as tangible and real as unicorns.

July 15, 2015 9:13 a.m.

greensaleen says... #76

Luckily, cell phones have stopped sleazebags like this from being able to flourish like they used to. People like this are the reason so many new players stopped before they started, and ruined a fun environment for many many people.

I have no problems, with trading up in the sense of my giving you a bunch of .50 to 1.00 cards for a 100.00 dollar card. Even over valuing say a modern staple if I am trading it towards a standard card for a deck is fine if you are honest.

But to flat out lie and take advantage of a person, makes you lower than dirt in my eyes, and one of the people that just needs to leave magic.

July 15, 2015 9:29 a.m.

I've been the unintentional shark before- this kid opens up Windswept Heath and a Siege Rhino at the Khans prerelease, I keep telling him to take more stuff out of my binder to fill out the trade after he grabs a few cards for his casual red deck but he refuses since he thinks I've given him too much already. I tell him that's not the case but he's happy with the trade as is and we shake on it. If the person is ok with a trade knowing the value of the cards he has, it's ok. If someone is preying on the uninformed or new players, it's wrong. Period. Dishonesty, lying, and swindling should never be tolerated both in a LGS or anywhere else in life for that matter. It's one thing to make an honest profit, it's another to cheat someone.

July 15, 2015 9:48 a.m.

doriboncore says... #78

This article demonstrates the basic human instinct to take advantage of people. Its so much easier to take advantage of people, that to help someone. Thanks for confirming my faith in how shitty people can be.

July 15, 2015 10:13 a.m.

Wabbbit says... #79

Getting ahead a few bucks or so on a knowledgeable player (assuming they would give you that opportunity) is completely different from what the anonymous writer of this article did. Trading a 50 cent card for a $250 card to a brand new player is simply awful, and probably ruined a lot of his enjoyment of the game, assuming he ever learned of his error. Seeing the number of people posting that are seemingly indifferent to this article makes me rather hesitant about trading any magic player anywhere. Not like I have anything but junk rares myself though.

July 15, 2015 10:52 a.m.

Wow, that was a lot of comments...

Ruffigan To answer your question, the best thing you can do to help out the players who would be exploited is ask to trade with them and inform them of sites like TCGPlayer and StarCityGames. Then, be an example of good trading and find a way to swap some things around, even if small, for equal online-value. After all, the new player is there to gain an understanding of the game, how it's played, and also how people interact within mtg. So show them that whenever you can.

@kyuuri117 In response to your comment, #40:

"A magic card is only worth what it's worth because of supply and demand. In other words, their prices are subjective. To a new casual player, an ABUR land might be absolutely worthless to the point where Summoner's Pact is worth two or three of them. After all, they are just lands, who cares.

You aren't scamming them, and are under no obligation to educate them."

The issue is that the casual/new player has no base of understanding to judge what cards are worth in the first place. Compared to experience players, they have the experience of a child. They come to you, an experienced player, to learn a little about the game, make some fair trades to improve their decks, and to learn how game interaction between players should be. By deceiving their trust in you, you're taking not only card value from them, but you're also setting a bad example of how trades should be carried out (aka, with smartphones checking prices).

You may not be obligated to educate them, but your moral conscience demands you respect them as a person and treat them with dignity. Swindling them and ruining one of their first experiences while joining or rejoining magic is NOT respectful of that person in the slightest.

July 15, 2015 11:15 a.m.

GreatSword says... #81

Cool, if I ever need an ipecac, I'll just read this article again.

I can't even describe how terrible people like this are. The Shark trying to explain it away as "You just don't understand, and I like it that way" is childish at best, and psychopathic at worst.

Honestly I respect Epochalyptik less for even bringing it here.

July 15, 2015 11:41 a.m.

He never said you had to like it. It's just a person telling their story, and it appears to have made the community realize that they need to be better about this sort of thing.

So don't be hating on Epoch.

July 15, 2015 11:46 a.m.

Necrotize says... #83

Might be playing devil's advocate here, but while this may help "sharks" take advantage of the uninformed, it also helps the uniformed protect themselves from the sharks. When I started playing, the people that introduced me to the game were my friends, but since I went to a small school, I also played with a few sharks. I was pretty bad at magic and most of my decks were just premades that I slotted trash rares into.

Luckily for me though, I caught on fast and only got "scammed" once. I say "scammed" because it wasn't a complete bust, but it definitely wasn't in my favor. I had pulled a Brimaz and some guy wanted to trade for it. I knew enough to check prices, but since I wasn't super into standard(and I still am not) I didn't know anything about rotation. He traded me a few staple cards that came close to the 35$ that Brimaz was at the time. Few weeks later, rotation hits and almost all the cards he traded me plunged in price. I was a little annoyed, but I got over it. Sure cards have a monetary value, but unless you were planning on selling it or trading it in the near future, that almost doesn't really matter.

I'm a quiet person in real life and usually very courteous to people, even if on the inside they are just enraging me. Because of this and my fondness for budget decks, people often assume that I'm an easy target. I've had several people since then try to pull shit like that on me, but I know what all my cards are worth and I don't rush into trades, especially not after the incident with Brimaz.

It sucks that new players can get scammed out of valuable cards, but such is life, and the sooner you realize not everyone is your friend the better.

July 15, 2015 12:33 p.m.

eralebus says... #84

Google + buying cards online = never had to trade for cards. I remember when someone (under 18 kid) tried to shark my Liliana of the Veil i just opened (being a bit older than most at the store and bit bigger) it was pretty easy to intimidate the little cunt to piss off, never saw the punk again at that store on fnm.

Sharks (as the term used in the article) are the equivalent to the bankers that crashed the world economy in 2008 in my book.

July 15, 2015 12:43 p.m.

Scytec says... #85

I have mixed emotions about this. I think it can be best explained with a quote from one of my favorite anime shows.

There is no inherent right or wrong in this world, those labels are just artificial constructs. Right and wrong are held by positions of authority, thats the way its always been, so how then could anyone know this truth you speak of? Dont you see the reality is that truth long ago became nothing more than a shadow of itself; its a mere echo of the past now The world is one big moral gray area, it just makes you feel safer that it can be categorized into good and bad, thats not actually how it works.-Doctor Franken Stein, Soul Eater (Anime)

In essence, I respect the skill, and almost artistic ability it take to manipulate people as a long time poker player. Taking advantage of the disabled, or children I do NOT advocate. Adults should know their investments, no sympathy there.

July 15, 2015 12:45 p.m.

PepsiAddicted says... #86

Now that I think about it I lost far more value (not in terms of money but in terms of personal value) by playing for ante when I was a kid and really sucked at magic. The older kids at my school told me it's part of the game so I never questioned it... and yeah it was still printed on cards back then so who was I to argue against it. "Sharks" in a way as described above only got me maybe once or twice. And as stated multiple times already... now we have smartphones and websites. As a kid the only way I knew to officially check prices was to buy the MTG comics (afaik there was no german version of Inquest etc), sometimes they included a card price list at the end (who knows what prices they used for that list and no cared about it).So long story short... if it's not the very first week of your magic career NOWADAYS a shark shouldn't be able to get you. But in the article it doesn't sound like any of that happend very recently...

July 15, 2015 12:58 p.m.

Apoptosis says... #87

Watch The Wolf of Wall Street for this sort of thing on a much bigger level. The simple fact is that this sort of behavior is immoral, dishonest, and disgusting. It is not to be admired, nor celebrated. What makes it ugly is that we're not always talking about two informed adults, but often an informed adult essentially stealing from an uninformed child. My 7 year old son just started playing Pokemon, and the older kids at some of the camps he goes to have started pushing him to make trades that I can't imagine are in his favor. Honestly, I know nothing about Pokemon as a trading card game, but he's not allowed to trade unless he writes down all the cards first and shows me the trade so I can show him the value of those cards through tcgplayer. The phrase "stealing candy from a baby" is not meant to be a compliment.

Does everyone have some greed in them? Does everyone want to "get the good deal". Sure, but I'm talking about the extreme of preying upon the weak and shoveling them garbage, which this narrative highlights quite clearly and demonstrates a complete lack of morality. I'm not talking about good "salesmanship" or charisma, I'm talking about morality. Generally speaking, it's immoral when most would view this sort of manipulation as occurring against someone who can't know better: stealing from a child, the elderly, or otherwise handicapped are good examples. Conversely, when someone "gets the better deal" against someone who should be more informed (i.e. has the capacity and the expectation), we applaud that as a victory and an example of capitalism in action. The line falls somewhere in whether the person who loses had the inherent capability to make an informed decision.

In this case, idealizing the behavior of those who prey upon the weak as "sharks" is disgusting. I would encourage people to actively oppose this sort of behavior in their own LGS. In the end everyone really loses.

July 15, 2015 1 p.m.

Absolutely vile. Enjoy your stolen goods.

July 15, 2015 1:08 p.m.

Necrotize says... #89

Probably sounds harsh, but I really think nothing fits this better than "Welcome to the real world".

July 15, 2015 1:15 p.m.

StealthyGunnar pun unintended, I assume.

July 15, 2015 1:23 p.m.

Kcin says... #91

the last time i was on the competetive scene was back in Innistrad Standard.... even then I was on tappedout and was looking up card prices daily to build my u/b zombie deck... that way i knew what i had was worth in the event of a spontaneous trade... and if i didnt know... i found out. the way i view sharking is not that it is necessarily a bad thing... if you are ignorant of what your cards value is (are) and you get screwed... it is kind of your fault to. I have been sharked b4, never been the shark... and the few times i have been i learned my mistake and moved forward.

July 15, 2015 2:20 p.m.

Let's be real, if you had the opportunity to trade a Jwar Isle Refuge for and Underground Sea, you would be in there.

July 15, 2015 4:01 p.m.

Schuesseled says... #93

@Vergil_Redgrail No any decent person would explain the vast vast price difference and offer their binder of junks and tell the newbie to take literally everything they like the look of.

July 15, 2015 4:42 p.m.

nobu_the_bard says... #94

Interesting read. Thank you for sharing it.

July 15, 2015 4:42 p.m.

JakeHarlow says... #95

Not much to say here.

The narrator of the story, in my opinion, exhibits mild to moderate sociopathic tendencies. His attempt to justify his behavior fell rather flat. In fact, his account fits more into the genre of a boast than anything else. His comparison of himself and those like him to knights is comical. He clearly says he feels fine about his deeds and carries no guilt. He even says he is happy.

Lying to people is wrong. Taking advantage of people in a predatory way, even if they haven't done their due diligence, is wrong. His behavior is disturbing because it is easy to imagine that it is not confined to his Magic: The Gathering career.

Should he be ashamed? I think so. Is he? Certainly not. Sociopathic people are by definition not furnished with the ability to feel shame for harming others.

Sharking is really fine, as long as the parties to the trade know what kind of value is being exchanged. But representing a trade as fair when it isn't (even when the "mark" hasn't done his due diligence or has been too lazy to know card prices) is dishonest and therefore morally destitute.

July 15, 2015 5:17 p.m. Edited.

Good responses so far, for the most part. Some questions to guide the discussion:

  1. There's a lot of talk about morals and sharking being either immoral or neutral. What moral metric is supposed to be applied here? What are the considerations?
  2. Is there an obligation on the part of the "shark" to let someone know how much their cards are worth (in essence, is the onus on you to educate the other guy about his own property)?
  3. Some people argue that there's a moral scale by which sharking becomes more morally reprehensible if the person being sharked cannot have known better. Why is this different from sharking someone who can have known better? Is it different? Is it right to assume that someone who's competent enough to play this game is not necessarily competent enough to be trusted with his or her own property?
  4. Is the moral assessment inherently different for a situation in which the shark makes the offer than it is for a situation in which the mark makes the offer? Does accepting little Timmy's offer of his Underground Sea for your Jwar Isle Refuge strike you as different from you making an offer of your Jwar Isle Refuge for his Underground Sea? How does this apply to the "garage sale" scenario being passed around? Do you feel the same obligation, or lack thereof, to inform the other party that they're not getting equivalent value for their property?
  5. Now let's take a page from the book of trolley problems. If you happen to observe a trade in which someone is going to lose money, do you feel compelled to intervene and make the parties aware of the difference (whether you knew if they were already aware or not)? Does your answer change between situations in which two "adults" are trading and situations in which an "adult" and a "kid" are trading? What about if one person is pushing the trade and the other is kind of going with it?
  6. Is there a difference between a situation in which you lie to someone about the value of their cards and one in which you simply agree to terms that happen to be unfair? In other words, is saying "your Dark Confidant is worth $5 and my Dark Tutelage is also worth $5" morally different from allowing someone to offer their Dark Confidant for your Dark Tutelage? Is it different from you offering your Dark Tutelage for their Dark Confidant?
July 15, 2015 5:44 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #97

The answer to those questions is the same for all of em, and that answer is "whatever makes that individual feel good about themselves at that point in time". It's going to be a different answer for everybody.

July 15, 2015 5:48 p.m.

yeaGO says... #98

I don't really see how any of that applies. Yeah, of course we'd all like to tip a trade in our favor. This moral compass naval gazing is kind of out the window when you've got someone who just seems to have a chronic obsession with ripping people off and splitting town when he makes a bad name for himself. And the questions themselves start to some across as something of a strange apologism for that.

July 15, 2015 5:50 p.m. Edited.

And to respond to some comments in particular:

@GreatSword: Part of this response may be some simple indignation on my part, but I find it intellectually bankrupt to disrespect or lose respect for someone for presenting an idea. Ideas, whether you agree with them or not, or whether they're "right" or "wrong" by any standard, are worth considering and discussing. I'm very much a believer in JSM's "marketplace of ideas," and you can't discover more complete answers or understandings without (1) exposing yourself to ideas you disagree with and (2) exposing your own ideas to challenges.

So I guess feel free to disagree wholeheartedly with the article (I have my own reservations, but I withheld them from the article itself), but I don't think it's intelligent or "honorable" to disagree with the idea even being mentioned. Of course, I can't stop you from holding whatever other opinion of the article or of me you like, nor would I stop you if I could. I just think it's worth being receptive of new perspectives.

@TheAlexGnan: See above for why I considered posting the article. I'm sure the other individual is either subscribed to this thread or occasionally monitoring the comments, so your remarks will get to him or her in time.

@yeaGO: A lot of it is playing devil's advocate because the most passionate voices tend to come from those who would chastise a shark from some perceived moral high ground. We'd like to see the dissent be more articulate than "that's wrong and you're a bad person" because there are a lot of questions that the people who advance that basic claim tend not to ask.

I suppose there's another question to ask, and that's whether the happiness of the individuals in the trade factors at all into its morality. And does the answer differ for cases in which someone did know the disparity of value and cases in which they did not?

July 15, 2015 5:56 p.m. Edited.

I think the issue is honesty. Trades are generally made in an assumed context of good faith. Those that aren't, where one party is actively trying to exploit or deceive the other is morally repugnant.

I don't think this is all that complex of an issue, nor do I see any ambiguity here, contrary to what seems to be suggested.

As far as the article is concerned, the tone of it just seems rather silly. Its Magic cards're not dealing Coke. Quite frankly the entire thing to me just seems laughable.

"Sharks are starting to feel like knights when the crossbow first made its way onto the battlefield. We used to be the best in the land, but now any scrub can spend ten seconds and render your training and skills irrelevant and even dangerous to yourself."

I actually legit LOL'd at this paragraph. Seriously...we're talking about making unfair trades with Magic cards. I was waiting for the fast cars and loose women portion of the narrative.

Other than Trump level bluster...nothing to see here as far as I'm concerned.

July 15, 2015 6:38 p.m. Edited.

Let's talk about the supposed "moral high ground".

As I stated in my first post, I possess the ability to empathize with this individual. But that is because I am quite good at perceiving and understanding various perspectives. However, that being said, what was portrayed in this article is wrong. And I'm not talking about on an individual level, this is simply socially unacceptable.

In its basest form it is false advertising. False advertising is, by law, illegal. Now, of course since we are talking on a small scale the chances of charges being laid are so miniscule that it is laughable to consider it. However, given the evidence within the article, I can safely conclude that what occurred with the Underground Sea incident is a case of false advertising.

To condemn this is not from some moral high ground as Epochalyptik suggests. It is simply a case of reinforcing a social structure. Will the counter to this then be, "Well society is artificial?". That is an absurd counter argument, because society is something we maintain for the benefit of all. Artificial or not, these are the rules that have been constructed and these are the rules which must be abided by. This individual disturbs me for their lack of remorse. And as yeaGO has said already, people like this harm the game. They harm the community.

But let me jump on my moral high horse for the last part of this post.

I understand why this person is anonymous, but I suppose what frustrates me is that I view that as cowardice. Especially after using such colourful language and showing absolutely no consideration for those harmed. But, this is what I expect from the self centered. They do not wish to be harmed themselves in one way or another so they hide. They have hurt others, but what of it? So long as they themselves are safe, who cares? I think I would like to know who this person is, not to berate them. Not to threaten them or chastise them, but simply so that I could safely remove myself from ever interacting with them on this website.

July 15, 2015 6:58 p.m.

mathimus55 says... #102

My biggest question to everyone tearing the mystery author a new one is this: when you go to a garage sale and find an old box of magic cards, while thumbing through you find a Mox, duals or some other older and valuable cards do you tell the person running the sale the value of the cards or do you quickly ask what they want for the whole box and snap accept their $50 offer and run away?

I only ask this because every time I see a thread pop up telling some sort of story like that the general reaction is "sweet score man! I wish I was that lucky!" It just seems like a double standard to curse the person for taking advantage of a fellow player, but if it's some former players parents trying to make room in their basement it's completely ok.

July 15, 2015 7:36 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #103

mathimus55 That's exactly what I said yesterday, but the majority thinks it's "different", as the person at the garage sale has "agreed to sell the cards at that price". There is literally no difference between selling cards you don't know the worth of, and bringing cards to trade you don't know the worth of. Sorry, but there isn't.

July 15, 2015 7:42 p.m.

@CanadianShinobi: I think it's a stretch to go to false advertising as the foundation for your argument; it's so broadly defined and applied that any form of lying could well be called "false advertising." Further, it wouldn't seem, at a high level, that false advertising is a legitimate claim in cases where the shark played no active role in declaring inaccurate values (what happens if the trade comes to "this side for that side" or "do you want to just do that for that?").

False advertising might be a useful perspective for understanding part of the situation (or rather, parts of some situations), but I don't think it's as complete a rebuttal as you'd like to think.

Also, the individual has chosen to remain anonymous because the focus of this article is supposed to be generating discussion about the phenomenon of sharking rather than inviting criticism aimed at one person in particular. Even with anonymous authorship, look how many comments are about "that person" or "this guy" being immoral or wrong. That the majority seem to be more nuanced than that is to our mutual satisfaction, but I don't think the case would have been the same if it were him or her making a forum post on his or her own.

Of course, I don't claim that there's no possibility at all that the individual doesn't want to escape criticism for the simple sake of escaping criticism. In fact, it seems likely given the writing that this was a part of the motive. But again, I've never been one in favor of wholesale dismissals or declarations.

I do think there's an interesting point to be made about your last statement, though. Supposing you could never know, apart from my telling you or him or her making an announcement that I could verify, you might never come to know whose story this really is. And if you couldn't tell by their other interactions, would that really be terrible? I will say that this member isn't the most frequent user of the site, but there's a good chance that many of you who've responded already have seen him or her "in the wild," so to speak, and I don't really get the impression that he or she's despised. There's a distinction between hating a person and hating his or her actions, and, while I don't deny you the freedom to do both, I think it's worth keeping that distinction in mind.

July 15, 2015 7:46 p.m.

mathimus55 says... #105

Yea kyuuri117 I agree. It's entering a very moral gray area of picking when it's convenient to break or change the rules. If it's so vile to shark anyone under any circumstance then we should never here anyone celebrating "I found a set of Serum Visions in the 10 cent box at a book store!" Everyone wants a bargain whether it's at a stores expense who uses the income as their livelihood or some kid who just started playing. In reality ripping off the store could be more impactful if it happens enough, what of the store closes because of it? Extreme example i know, but the idea is the same. It's like when people get upset because their LGS isn't paying top dollar on their buy list, but really they have an overheard to provide the store setting for everyone else.

Note: I have been the older playing who watches out for the new kids at prereleases since I got back into the game. I don't appreciate people being taken for a ride, I just don't like it when the store/random seller is either.

July 15, 2015 7:52 p.m.

Fine, false advertising is a stretch, but I think we can safely conclude that this person may be judged, not from some lofty moral high ground, but simple social values. Unless of course you would consider such things another form of the moral high ground.

As for the point of my final statement, Epochalyptik, all things considered, I do find it somewhat repulsive. And who said anything about hate? Hate, to me is an extremely specific emotion. I do not hate this person. I despise them. I detest their actions, but they are not worthy of hate.

Perhaps it is the way the narrative is structured, but there is ample personality leaking through in that presentation. Perhaps if there was an element of remorse here, but it seems to me that the perpetrator only cares about themselves.

July 15, 2015 7:59 p.m.

mathimus55 says... #107

TheAlexGnan I wouldn't say he's politicking either way: he's trying to moderate and encourage discussion about the TOPIC, not the person. In your argument you are doing what he expkicitly said he doesn't want people to do. We aren't talking about the person, but the act. The author isn't getting any credit or attention.

You also say this should be done democratically, but then you say right after that he should have decided already in a dictator style move that we are condemning this person.

Sayin that epoch is lesser of a person because he wanted to have an educated conversation about a controversial topic is completely asinine. You wouldn't lambast your buddy for wanting to talk religion or anything else in the same light, don't do it here.

July 15, 2015 8:07 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #108

TheAlexGnan Epoch isn't enabling anything, and he has no reason to censor anything. There is freedom of speech on the internet whether or not you like it and no one is forcing you to read it.

CanadianShinobi Irrelevant to the argument, but to despise and detest are synonymous with hate.

July 15, 2015 8:17 p.m. Edited.

o_O says... #109

I'm getting tired of receiving red numbers in my notification box all of the time, hoping somebody is commenting on a deck, but it's just this every time. So I'll try to pose the Supreme Verdict argument to end all this rhetorical nonsense.

Quite frankly, nobody should give a damn about what this guy did. Everybody here is just arguing over whether or not sharking, or stealing, is morally right or wrong. Sure, we can all empathize with this dickhead because we all have tendencies like that, but it's still morally wrong. He's not actually trading, he's stealing. Think of it like this; if you lost a pinky finger while stealing the Mona Lisa, is it still stealing? Not really, you're not trading a finger for the Mona Lisa.

So, what is the moral of the story?

He stole (practically). And by the general opinions of most of the world, if not all of it (some scammers won't stick up to this fact), stealing is wrong. And unless you're a modern day Robin Hood who's stealing Magic cards from the rich kids and giving them to the poor, then don't do it.

Can we all please just drop this debate? We're actually not getting anywhere.

July 15, 2015 8:19 p.m.

@TheAlexGnan: Because censorship or repression of ideas is the first unfreedom?

Maybe that's a bit pseudophilosophical, but again, why is it anyone's position to legislate what ideas are worthy of being expressed? Do you presume to be the arbiter of what is and isn't allowed to be said? Or, worse, what is and isn't worthy of being said?

Further, I don't "hesitate to pass judgment" because I'm afraid that someone will disagree or because I don't want to commit to an idea. Rather, I choose not to make irresponsibly broad condemnations or cursory assessments that do no justice to the complexity of the matters at hand.

Further still, this is not a situation in which the public needs to come to some mutual consensus regarding how it shall function in the present and immediate future. There is no democracy here. This is a situation in which people are invited individually and personally to express ideas and evaluate the totality of the subject in a way that they're not often encouraged to.

Nobody is unworthy of a stage.

@Coopernicus: Actually, we're getting fairly developed ideas at least every handful of posts. Lack of consensus doesn't preclude a lack of progress.

July 15, 2015 8:22 p.m. Edited.

kyuuri117 says... #111

Coopernicus Your argument is based on the assumption that every magic trade needs to be financially equal to be a good, non "scamming" trade, and that just isn't true. The monitory value of these cards is not their sole value. They are worth different things to different people, that is the actual foundation of a trading system.

If you bring cards to a card shop with the intention of showing them off or trading, and end up trading something of value for something that is not valuable, that is on you. It doesn't matter how young or old you are. And if it's a little kid? You know what? Their parents, or uncle, or whoever gave them those cards, should have explained that they are valuable and that they are not allowed to trade them. Getting indignant and upset over these kids getting "scammed" is ridiculous, you should be getting upset at whoever is giving these kids hundreds of dollars of cards and not teaching them responsibility. That is the end of the story.

July 15, 2015 8:26 p.m. Edited.

So, I have digested this... and, you know, as someone who's successfully completed P2P and sharked my fair share when I was younger (because kids can be brutal to each other), I honestly would've loved if this had more substance to it. It really feels like it has no point other than saying "here's this thing I used to do, I can't do it anymore because people have more information at their fingertips, here, let me tell you I don't care what you think but want to brag about what I've done while remaining anonymous because I fear backlash from the community."

It really feel like this article is just stirring the pot for no reason other than the act itself.

July 15, 2015 8:41 p.m.

There's a guy in my local area Who's been banned from all the card shops around for sharking. The biggest steal I've heard of him making was to this little kid. I think it went something like this:

"Hey kid, you're running Green/Red? That Tarmogoyf isn't even Standard legal, and besides, it's just a 0/1. How about this, I'll do you a solid and trade you this Shivan Dragon for it. It's huge, evasive, you can pump it, and with all the dragon-related effects in standard he can really take off in your deck, especially with that Draconic Roar you're running."

Yup. He traded a Shivan Dragon for a goyf.

I never personally met him, but his reputation was so strong and the local gamer's community so tightly knit that he is permanently banned from the store I go to, despite the fact that he never even went there.

July 15, 2015 8:52 p.m.

o_O says... #114

kyuuri117, you just said that it's ok to make scamming trades. And no, I don't think every Magic trade should be financially equal. If a person wants a card or anything bad enough, they'll probably trade more valuable things for it. I know what trading is. But my argument was based off of the general idea that stealing is wrong. Think about it. Do you think that kid's sole value of whatever that crap 'comes into play tapped, you gain 1 life' land was greater than that Underground Sea if he had known what they both were? Absolutely not. Sure, if you traded your Underground Sea for that other land knowing what they both were and what they both did, you must be a f* idiot, and shame on you. But that kid must have just started playing if he was carrying that in a ziploc bag. Shame on the shark, not the kid. That kid was tricked into thinking that the crap land was worth more than his underground sea, it's not like he wanted it because he knew what it did.

Now, if you were showing off your cards that were expensive, and you knew they were expensive, and later traded them for Sh*t, then yes, shame on you. But once again, that kid had no Idea what was in his bag. And yes, of course it doesn't matter how old you are.

Now, because you got confused, I'll tell you I wasn't angry at the kid, but only the shark. I don't care that the kid got scammed, and I don't care if whoever game him the cards didn't tell him what they were worth. I only care to be upset at the guy who scammed the kid, because almost all of the time, scamming or stealing is wrong.

July 15, 2015 8:53 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #115

I didn't get confused. I've got a firm belief that if you are going to be irresponsible as a parent, buy your kid a three hundred dollar magic card (or even just let them use it), then if someone convinces your kid to trade it, that's on you. If you give a seven year old an Underground Sea, you are saying to yourself "I am ok with it if he/she spills something sticky on it, if he/she irreparably bends it, if he/she tears it, if he/she loses it". Getting upset if he/she trades it when you've accepted all the other risks as ok is hypocritical and makes you look like an idiot.

July 15, 2015 9:03 p.m.

mathimus55 says... #116

Personal responsibility is kind of a thing of the past. If something happens to you, it's someone else's fault.

July 15, 2015 9:11 p.m.

o_O says... #117

Ok kyuuri117. You're absolutely correct. And I don't think it's logical to give your kid a 250$ card, if you know that it's a 250$ card. Listen, as I said before, you're a f* idiot if you know your card is worth 250$ and you just practically just throw it away. I'm assuming that whoever gave that kid Underground Sea was just as ignorant about Magic as the kid he/she gave it to. What you've got a firm belief in is just simple logic, and wouldn't even be a problem for anybody who's not stupid.

July 15, 2015 9:13 p.m.

SimicPower says... #118

But many people obtain magic cards in other ways than their parents handing it to them (namely booster packs). When I started playing magic, ever card I owned was from a booster pack, intro pack, or trade. I didn't know the value of many of my cards back then either.

Even if the kid did receive the card from an adult, the fault is still of the person who specifically actively tried to scam the kid, not an adult who, likely accidentally, let it happen.

July 15, 2015 9:21 p.m.

kyuuri117 a synonym to hate would be loathe. To despise someone or something is a completely different emotion. But, discussing my nuances emotion is pointless, since I highly doubt you would care.

Furthermore, what I said was in direct response to Epochalyptik and was in no way irrelevant. But if you feel that way, so be it. But for my final word in this discourse I am going to agree with fluffybunnypants. This article has benefited no one. It has polarized the community and brought division. It has done nothing but stir the pot for the sake of it, or so it seems. Which I find terribly ironic since the recent efforts have been to try and dissuade the community from tearing itself apart.

July 15, 2015 9:56 p.m.

Tibs was right, this is salty...

July 15, 2015 10 p.m.

@CanadianShinobi: It doesn't matter what nuances or pseudonuances there are between hate, despise, and detest. The point is essentially the same.

You know, I really don't see that this article has "polarized the community and brought division." Again, disagreement is not the antithesis of progress, and it's not like what's being debated here is somehow creating schisms amongst readers that will radiate out into interactions across the site. And you can hardly make the claim on anyone's behalf that this article has not benefited them in any way.

This article is largely a brain dump. It's more of a stream of consciousness that developed over a number of conversations rather than something that was written organically as a developed story. Of course, if you have ideas on how it could be further developed or what other topics you'd like to explore, we're open to suggestions.

July 15, 2015 10:11 p.m.

kyuuri117 says... #122

CanadianShinobi You are welcome to type "Hate" into an online thesaurus. There are a lot of synonym's to hate. Including despise. In fact, in literature, despise is mostly used to describe something even more volatile than hatred.

July 15, 2015 10:40 p.m.

Geez, I can't keep up with all of the comments! xD

I gave my opinions, and Epochalyptik's questions are really thought-provoking, but I can't answer all of these comments! xD

So, in short, I'm out. But seriously, really good conversation here.

July 15, 2015 10:57 p.m.

o_O says... #124

@ TheAnnihilator Oh no you're not, buddy. You will be plagued with notifications whenever somebody comments on this thread. glhf.

July 15, 2015 11 p.m.

Ohthenoises says... #125

enter image description here

As a firm believer in neutrality I really can see both sides of this topic.

On the one hand you have the "shark". Someone who is of the mindset that "it's not my job to tell you what your stuff is worth". Someone who views the cardboard as an investment.

On the other hand you have the Underground Sea guy. Someone who should really know what his stuff is worth but is more willing to get what he wants and be happy with that.

Back when I started playing magic I, too, played in an area full of "sharks" (yes I'm going to keep putting that in quotes because I don't like the term, it's ill fitting). I didn't have a smartphone at the time and was just getting back into the game. Yet I never got sharked. Why? Because I would have the store owner use his computer to find out prices.

The point that I'm poorly articulating is that even if you don't have access to tech you should still be conscious of what your cardboard is worth. I view cards as stocks to be traded and sold. If you don't know what you are doing you flop. If you do you profit. Sometimes you end up with 20 Tasigur, the Golden Fang at $1 each before he spikes to 10$. Other times you end up with 20 Satyr Firedancers that are worth shit because the next set brought Eidolon of the Great Revel. Knowledge is power.

I have "sharked" someone once and I felt terrible for it. Well, not really a sharking more like a VERY unfair trade. He wanted, nay, NEEDED a promo Bloodlord of Vaasgoth and he had a mint chineese Gamble. I instantly accepted his offer but had second thoughts and began asking him if he was absolutely sure that he was ok with the trade and having him look up the prices. All said and done he was happy, I was happy, and we both got what we wanted. Unfair trade but happiness all around, is that such a horrible thing?

TL:DR Know your shit. Trust but verify. If you can't, go to the store owner. All sales final. Void where prohibited. (Ok, that last one was for the haha of it.)

P.S. I agree with fluffybunnypants's sentiment on comment #115. Lots of pot stirring how it's worded. Kinda like a Nelson from the Simpsons; "HA-HA!"

July 15, 2015 11:27 p.m.

Femme_Fatale says... #126

I took a guess, looked to the bottom, and my guess was right. Sort of glad that I don't really participate in this site's community anymore.

July 15, 2015 11:27 p.m.

hamiam says... #127

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." - The Golden Rule

July 15, 2015 11:57 p.m.

ljs54321 says... #128

How do we know the person that gave the kid the U Sea knew it had jumped to that price since they quit playing/collecting. When I first quit playing, the most expensive ABUR Duals were just starting to reach the $20 range. I was shocked when I came back and saw that some were in the $200 range. Judging by the fact that it was mentioned that a large portion of the cards was Revised, I'd say it's very likely the person that gave that kid this cards had no knowledge prices had exploded like that.

July 16, 2015 12:16 a.m.

6tennis says... #129

Yeah, Tibs was right, this is REALLY salty. Anyway, I could care less one way or the other. So, yeah.

July 16, 2015 12:50 a.m.

Prairie says... #130

I have been playing this game since literally Day-1, and because of it I have always had a since of fairness concerning the trading card aspect of this gamemaybe due to this being how most of us met our best friends in the schoolyard.

While most people grew up with a sense of decency there are those who have the tendency of sharking. The thing that I have noticed is that almost all of the victims of sharking I have seen fall under these categories:

  1. Young children
  2. Emotionally feeble
  3. New and innocent

I know all the sharks are going to scream White Knight! but I think its disgusting when these people are targeted. Furthermore, the sharks that think that they are so crafty and refined for targeting the weak are usually socially unhealthy individuals who are making up for their own inadequacies. I personally have not met any sharks from any decent backgrounds, and this is why sharks tend to be so narcissistic about their behavior stealing from children, emotionally wounded, and innocent victims are the only thing that they are good at and they are monetarily rewarded as well.

I know a trade is a trade, but try to make sure that the person you are trading with has at-least the competency to act in their own best interest (morals/ethics). Think of the movie Dumb and Dumber where Lloyd sold/traded the blind child next door the dead parakeet, because this is what sharks do. This is also the reasoning behind why adults are not allowed to date (trying to keep this PG) people below the age of 18.

The last thing that I want to say is that sharks commonly blame the victim for being weak enough to fall for their well-crafted techniques, but when you see their victims it is rather pathetic. You will see this a lot in legal cases when panderers/hustlers/and the like blame their victims for wanting to be extorted, coerced, or physically abused.

Yes, I guess I am a White Knight in the same sense that I believe that stealing someones wheelchair is wrong, and I actively discourage it and call it our when I see it.

And as for most of the post I have been reading...People need to stand up for those who need it.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

July 16, 2015 2:22 a.m.

JakeHarlow says... #131

@ Prairie:

Amen. I'm not ashamed of being a White Knight. I don't care if it's "not my business." If I see somebody being railroaded into a cruddy, unfair trade by a pushy, more experienced player, I'm calling it out every time. Every time.

What's wrong with doing the right thing? The only reason people try to shame others for do so is to discourage opposition to their nefarious behaviors.

I argue that those who see injustice occur, are able to intervene -- yet do nothing -- are in some way making themselves part of the crime. There is a moral responsibility here, whether people agree with me or not.

Now when a lopsided trade happens between parties who have full knowledge of what's being exchanged, there's nothing wrong. But taking advantage of a stranger is just poor form, and it truly harms the game and the community.

It's good that habitual sharks sometimes get ostracized away from communities. Good riddance. These are often the same sorts of people who are going to cheat at events like Prereleases and such. Be wary of their actions, stay vigilant, and penalize them whenever possible. Too many of them escape justice.

July 16, 2015 3:30 a.m.

yeaGO says... #132

Femme_Fatale yeah, what an awful community! Its almost like they seem to collectively abhor abusive trading! Get out while you can! :P

DERPLINGSUPREME people get salty when they read the MTG equivalent of The Libertine. such a shocker! whodathunk.

July 16, 2015 3:59 a.m.

1empyrean says... #133

I've knowingly accepted a clearly uneven trade in my favor when someone offered a trade and all I had to do was say yes, and I don't feel guilty about it at all. However, If he had asked to trade for the card and shown is trade binder, I would have traded fairly. I have also knowingly traded at a significant loss when asked because I think there SHOULD be less emphasis on what the market price is worth when trading with friends (with the possible exception of cards valued at $40+).

In the end, sharking is a pretty scummy thing to do, but I think its sort of a given that people are going to try and do it.

Adults sharking kids is wrong. (question 5 part 2)

July 16, 2015 5:27 a.m.

Hjaltrohir says... #134

I feel I can relate to both sides in a way.

Firstly, forcing someone to do a trade they are not comfortable with is bad. If they say no and mean no, thats when you stop pushing, not later when the matter has come to shouting and swearing. However, if in the case of the Jwar Isle Refuge/Underground Sea deal, the kid was perfectly fine to do the trade. In a way it is his fault he didn't know the value of his cards and so the shark is arguably innocent.

Some might feel a moral duty to tell people who they are trading with the respective value of the cards but others don't and that's their choice and it isn't necessarily bad as they are not lying or being deceitful, just with-holding information. Lying to people is wrong though, if someone asks you directly for a price, then not telling the truth is not acceptable.

If adults take advantage of kids then that is bad, especially because kids probably are too scared of the older, bigger and stronger person naturally to say no.

That's just my view on things.

July 16, 2015 6:12 a.m.

Demarge says... #135

I feel the story dragged on forever with filler, much like someone trying to sell me something, not sure if there was actual info in the filler, if there was my response might seem odd, but it did feel like I was reading paragraphs of the author yelling while powering up and why read that when I have a fast forward button.

In my experience most LGS's like to be the biggest shark in their tank and any smart store owner will do their best to make the other sharks tune down their feeding so the ecosystem of the tank thrives (if the shop manages to scare away or disinterest new players from mtg or their shop specifically there eventually ends up being no one to take advantage of and the sharks who are not chained to the tank will often leave). So a store if it has enough competition nearby has it's best interest to keep the players trading at about the same value so they can attract people to their card cases.

As for if I'd step in and mention if a nearby trade is off value, yes I would and I have on several occasions, though not always for a pure purpose as I'd often also want to get trades in and have been known to force the value of all junk rares on both sides up to $1 if they're below, some pre-release seasons I've left with my binders about 100 cards lighter and having all the staples from the new set, is artifically raising the value of junk rares morally bad, maybe, but I mostly did it to keep trading with some people from being 2 hour affairs and letting them actually manage a trade when they genuinely want piles of casual cards, but would often be told to find more when they try to rip themselves off by half value even with the $1 per <$1 rare in effect.

Overall if everyone went into a trade with some price check system hooked into a major website (which any local shop I've ever been to is happy to tell card values when asked) then the moral issue wouldn't be so gray.

July 16, 2015 6:49 a.m.

@TheAlexGnan: It wouldn't personally bother me, provided the discussion that ensued was civil. I may not agree with the opinion, but that doesn't mean that the individual has no right to express it. Now, the matter is a little different when dealing with site management because the site itself is not a soap box for any opinion; it's a community for discussing Magic. But say you met me on the street and wanted to share your profound love for the 20th Century's most hated man. I wouldn't stop you.

I deny you the liberty to tell me what I would and wouldn't find acceptable.

Now stay on topic.

July 16, 2015 6:50 a.m.

GoofyFoot says... #137

Apparently I'm a shark. O.o

As I read through this thing, I noticed more and more similarities to the trades I do. I've never done anything as hardcore as the Jwar Isle trade, but I've certainly made value trades here and there that were $50+ value to me, and it was based on pure ignorance.

I recently traded a MP gatecrash Godless shrine for a NM inkmoth nexus, simply because the guy (~22 Yr old male) needed the shock. He didn't bother to look on his phone and discover that inkmoths were $30, nor did he bother to look and notice that Godless shrines were $8. I mentioned after looking through his things the only thing I was interested in was said land, and he said "Cool, are you good with that?".

As much as I feel no moral obligation to the above, I am normally a moral person, and thus try and keep myself away from trades that I am not a part of. If I set next to two traders, I will almost undoubtedly find myself looking up the trade on my phone to see the value difference. It takes every ounce of my resolve not to get involved and show trade values. There are many different sharks in the ocean, and I have learned it's best not to point out the ones that are eating, lest you get noticed yourself.

Great article.

July 16, 2015 6:58 a.m.

Necrotize says... #138

Comparing someone who scammed you to Hitler is a little heavy-handed don't you think?

Plus if you think about, card shops do almost exactly the same thing. They don't advertise that their cards are usually listed for slightly over the mid value, and they certainly don't advertise that they usually only buy cards from you for 50-60% of the mid value, even less if condition is an issue.

Everyone's acting like sharks are these mean old adults scamming poor defenseless children, but honestly I've seen it both ways. Personally, some kid around the age of like 12 tried to trade a bounce land for one of my shocks. I politely declined but then then he started telling me about how bounce lands are better than shocks and he made up some BS about how if it is the only land you control when you play it, you don't need to bounce anything. At that point I started to suspect what he was up to. I wanted to be sure of it before passing judgment, so I told him I thought that the shop we were in had the same shock up at the counter and he could probably trade for it. He said that he preferred trading only with players. I was fairly certain at that point so I just packed up my stuff and left since I was done anyway.

Kids can be just as deceptive as adults and saying it's only wrong when kids get sharked by adults is very hypocritical. Kids probably scam other kids all the time. No one tells them off because they're kids, and then they grow into adults who shark kids and then suddenly it's bad, right?

July 16, 2015 7 a.m.

ChiefBell says... #139

You know I kind of just felt like this was a 'hey, I'm so cool look at this stuff you guys didn't have the balls to do' kind of article. It's not especially informative, it's just an interesting, but ultimately glamorising, take on one aspect of the game. I feel if this was structured to look at pros and cons and more techniques it might actually be worthwhile but as it is I'd argue it's slightly too biographical. I felt like it's more about the person than the act itself.

I can't be bothered to post a long comment about this and it really doesn't matter anyway because everyone has their own moral viewpoint. I'll do a quick summary below, but not go into every single point.

Whether I'm offered a trade or I'm offering a trade, under any circumstances, I always show the individual I'm trading with the value of the cards in question using SCG or some other medium so they can agree to it with the utmost informed consent. I think the word informed is key there. Consent is worth absolutely nothing if you haven't made it explicitly clear what is happening. Consent is worth absolutely nothing if the individual doesn't have the cognitive capacity to understand what is happening (children, the handicapped etc). This is exactly the same in the world of business if you look at financial services. You get a contract that lays everything out in explicit detail and you choose to go ahead or not. Someone can choose to ignore the prices on SCG in the same way they can ignore the terms of a contract - that's ok. They're still informed. People are allowed to be stupid if they want to be. It's just that in the financial world it'd go to court and the contract would be nullified if key terms weren't discussed, whereas in the magic world it's somehow ok. Like, not all business is used-car-salesmen type business. Overall I kind of think that if you're not good enough to do business on equal footing then you're not very good at business at all. The REAL skill is being able to give and receive informed consent, make all prices clear, and stay completely moral in that respect, and yet STILL be able to shark people. Now that does take tricks and is obviously less in a grey area because you've stayed completely transparent. This is possible. I am therefore not very impressed by someone doing it when the other individual in the trade isn't even aware it's happening.

Note that my view on 'real world business' is based on the fact that both my parents work for banks and are pro at sharking people even when the other person in the deal knows they're being sharked haha. My girlfriend is also in financial services but not banking. Therefore I know for a fact that deals done where the other person isn't completely informed are liable to negation from first hand experience.

Also worth noting that lying by omission is still lying. You can rationalise it and believe that it's ok - and that's fine because it's your belief. But don't deceive yourself into thinking it's not lying haha.

July 16, 2015 7:23 a.m.

"All that is requried for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing".

At my LGS all our regulars have the stance that if ANYone is doing a trade with anyone else, newbies or not, a 3rd party always overlooks it and the prices are always checked.

When we draft, if anyone is unsure of a card's monetary value, we openly invite them to ask and give honest advice before the pick is made.

That anyone would cheat another person (kid, adult, whatever) out of a few bucks just to get a piece of cardboard with some ink on it isn't just awful, but sad, and I have to feel sorry for the person who's self-esteem is clearly so low they have to cheat children to feel good about themselves.

July 16, 2015 7:46 a.m.

ChiefBell says... #141

GeeksterPlays - Opens up a new question which I think is really important actually. When we play the game with others, especially around or with new players, I think one of our key responsibilities is to instil in them knowledge about how to hold themselves. As experienced players should we not be teaching others how to trade effectively, just as much as we should be teaching others how to play effectively? Because one key aspect of the game is community and passing on our knowledge. Deciding not to do so is selfish and negative for the community. It demonstrates a lack of willingness to share with others. I think part of this discussion should be about the extent to which we teach others how to do certain activities and how to foster community.

Honestly, we've had community problems here in the past sometimes and it becomes crystal clear why when you have people that are so focused on personal gain over sharing with others.

July 16, 2015 7:56 a.m.

GoofyFoot says... #142

TheAlexGnan Good Job! Only #137 posts to get to Godwin's law! Have a cookie! enter image description here

July 16, 2015 8:02 a.m.

The only thing I've done close to sharking was trading junk m15 rares for a guys courser when it was 15. He knew the value since I told him, and he still wanted to do the trade since he was trying to get a full m15 set. I've never been sharked, and I don't even have a phone. My mtg community is just full of nice people, and I've never even seen someone get sharked. I always know the value of my cards, and of any cards that I am looking for.

July 16, 2015 8:14 a.m.

Lhurgyof says... #144

This person is just awful.

July 16, 2015 10:50 a.m.

Lhurgyof says... #145

Edit: I always look up the value of both parties' cards when making a trade and show them the prices. If somebody choses to do an uneven trade after informing them that, it's their fault. I don't frequent LGS's much, but if I'm there and an unfair trade is happening I'll step in and let both parties know that the value of the cards are not what they think they are. I haven't witnesses much sharking (though in the past when I was a naive kid I was sharked a bit), as most people around here are pretty fair. There are only a handful of stores and in the area and most people know each other, so assholes get ostracized quick.

July 16, 2015 11:04 a.m.

That was a good read.

There was a time where I could be either side of the little Timmy trade. Hell, I almost got away trading some garbage for a Snapcaster Mage a couple of years ago.

I'm not sure that I'm the same with TheAlexGnan, this guy isn't comparable to Hitler. That would mean he has a reich and doesn't consider Jews as people.

July 16, 2015 11:16 a.m.


To be completely honest, and as civil as I can, if I saw this happening I'd stop it, and if it came to it, I'd deck him in the face.

Not right at all.

July 16, 2015 12:15 p.m.

Oplu45 says... #148

Not a fan. I'm generally pretty ok with looking out for yourself during trades, but the underground sea story was just beyond the pale. Not that I Condemn you, it's just not something I would do, and it's not something I'd ever promote.

July 16, 2015 12:48 p.m.

Coopernicus -- Ya know, there is an "unsubscribe" button at the bottom of the page, right there in the comments box I'm typing in now! xD

I'll still get brought back here when someone links me by name, tho.

July 16, 2015 1:33 p.m.

Unsubbing, I've lost hope in the community at this point.

July 16, 2015 1:34 p.m.

Wow rip

July 16, 2015 1:39 p.m.

JakeHarlow says... #152

Really. Overreaction?

Seems everyone is on the same general page here...

July 16, 2015 1:51 p.m.

I skipped over alot of comments, so apologies if I'm repeating a previous comment. But the question I pose is at what age does one's property become their own responsibility. If a mom buys little Timmy a pack of MM and lil Tim cracks a foil goyf,is it the Mother's duty to protect from card sharks? Additionally, at what point does a consenting trade with a large disparity in value become immoral. If lil Timmy trades his foil goyf for a normal Clique, whoa in the wrong? Was the mother ripped off in the end or Timmy?

July 16, 2015 2:12 p.m.

I find it more appropriate to assume that the child owns the cards if he or she was bought or given those cards. They're only the parents' property if the parents acquired the cards for themselves and loaned them to their child. It seems ridiculous to imply that the parent has stewardship of all of the child's personal effects and is therefore the primary stakeholder.

If your child's pencil gets stolen at school, you don't feel primarily disadvantaged or violated, do you?

July 16, 2015 2:23 p.m.

True, but would the parent think differently if they found out the pencil is worth hundreds? Also ik I'm stretching it a lil, but how valid is ones consent when veiled by the ignorance of youth. Should parents be warry when dealing with such expensive cards? Is the Childs ignorance a proxy for the parent? Can the kid even make an informed decision at a young age? Of course they can, but do most? Also what about dealing with ppl with mental illness? I'm sure sharks have preyed on those with learning disabilities. Great article, and it has stirred alot of thought in many of us. Also hindsights rough.

July 16, 2015 2:42 p.m.

The parent can feel something by proxy, but the parent doesn't feel something on behalf of the child. You didn't steal from the parent. You stole from the kid. Protectiveness and surrogacy are two different things. I don't fault anyone for wanting to be protective of their child, but don't push the idea further than is tenable.

July 16, 2015 2:58 p.m.

I disagree. If I bought something valuable for my kid...and you steal that valuable thing from my kid, I am going to feel like you also stole from me. Since at the end of the day, I'm the one that spent the money.

July 16, 2015 3:01 p.m.

Presumably you pay taxes as well. Do you feel the same emotional surrogacy when a welfare recipient is robbed of his or her cashed check?

Again, the owner of the property is being stolen from. You're welcome to feel remorse, anger, or any other number of other emotions sympathetically or empathetically, but you should have the honesty to recognize proxy.

July 16, 2015 3:12 p.m.

weisemanjohn says... #159

This whole argument has the assumption that the parent or child values the cards beyond the price of an individual pack. I know when I was younger, trades were conducted based upon rarity of the card and how much you wanted it as opposed to the other party; willing to trade more than a 1:1 value for a card. I know my parents held no value with regards to the cards beyond the $4 it was to buy the pack regardless of what was inside. This is why you hear the horror stories of parents throwing away old collections of cards that are stored away in boxes or as punishment for misbehavior.

While sharking is generally frowned upon, as long as both parties consent to the deal, it is done. I believe it was impolite to not discuss with the kid that he had a different scheme of value for the cards that deems the trade unbalanced. At the same time, the kid, not knowing the difference, generally would not be affected as his goal was also achieved in that he was able to construct a deck to compete with and only later could he realize his mistake should he even bother to revisit the trade made.

July 16, 2015 3:17 p.m.

Apoptosis says... #160

So that's what the Unsubscribe button does, never felt the need to hit before now. I'm not interested in a philosophical discord about the nature of morality either. The guy behavior and attitude says everything.

Back to the game.

July 16, 2015 3:26 p.m.

HSF117 says... #161

I don't know if these questions have been asked or discussed but I would like to hear answers. Are the actions taken against sharking different if the victim is someone you know? If so, why? Do strangers not also need the same aid? And also, what if it was someone you didn't particularly like? Would you still step in and stop them from being cheated?

July 16, 2015 3:48 p.m. Edited.

Epochalyptik You keep throwing out these analogies, but I don't think they're a very good fit. Yes, I pay taxes. However my individual contribution to that which has been stolen in your example is infinitesimally small. In such a case, no I don't feel the same surrogacy, because I am not anywhere near as vested. Going back to your previous example of stealing my kid's pencil, I am not going to care about that nearly as much as I am something of much greater value.

However, to take your example of welfare recipients; lets look at how certain people react angrily to those that exploit the welfare system in order to gain financially. Those people aren't feeling angry by proxy because these individuals have stolen from the government, to which they have supplied their tax dollars. They are very much feeling anger via surrogacy, as if they have been directly stolen from.

Also, I'm pretty sure folks can feel however they want to feel about whatever they want on the emotional spectrum without being "dishonest" about it. People can disagree about what is or is not a valid emotional response to something, but I have no doubts that people can feel however they want about just about anything.

July 16, 2015 3:49 p.m. Edited.

The degree of investment doesn't change the yes or no answer to the question "has my property been stolen?" It might change your perception, but your perception is not necessarily aligned with reality.

You'll note that I never claimed your feelings were invalid, which would in itself have been dishonest.

Rather, I cautioned you to think about whether sympathy or surrogacy is a more accurate description of what is actually happening. You're welcome to feel anger by surrogacy, and I'm not here to tell you that you don't or can't. But I will tell you that the reality is that you have not been stolen from. Your child's property, not yours, has been taken. Emotional surrogacy of the type you describe is, in my opinion, typically the result of either intellectual/emotional immaturity or a simple misconception of the situation. I don't find it terribly articulate to claim that you're angry because you've been stolen from when none of your possessions have been taken.

Let's look at another example. The "you mess with him, you mess with me" trope exists and is effective precisely because it emphasizes sympathy and empathy as characteristics of strong bonds, not because it's a literal claim that emotional surrogacy is an appropriate explanation.

July 16, 2015 4:03 p.m.

"The degree of investment doesn't change the yes or no answer to the question "has my property been stolen?" It might change your perception, but your perception is not necessarily aligned with reality."

Sure. Though I think you give far credence to the "reality" of property and ownership than I do. Property ownership is a concept. It is a conceptual idea just like money. In many countries, children aren't even allowed to "own" property. Therefore, I think a black and white perception of what is the absolute reality in the proposed example isn't as straightforward as you suggest. Ownership and property, particularly when it comes to minors, or anyone really that may not be considered a "rational actor" is far more complicated.

Value and investment may not change the answer to the question of "Has my property been stolen"? But it absolutely changes the degree to which we consider the nature of the transaction. This is why the transfer of ownership of big ticket items usually requires lawyers and many months to complete.

The reality is no one intelligent should allow property of any exceptional value to be in the custody of a someone who did not appreciate and understand it's value. However, if it happens, its left to the person that does understand the value, and in this example actually exchanged hard earned currency FOR the item of value, to have feeling of having been robbed. Is this feeling misplaced? Perhaps. (Personally I think the person should be most angry at himself for being so foolish in the first place.) But I don't necessarily think its as black and white of an issue.

We are, after all talking about feelings about concepts...none of this is very firm and rooted ground.

July 16, 2015 4:35 p.m. Edited.

BuLLZ3Y3 says... #165

I don't care if you're a 12 year old kid with a shoebox of cards and you want to trade. It's your stuff, you should know what it's worth. If you don't, and I get ahead on a trade, well tough luck. My 3 year old nephew knows how to use google, figure it out.

Almost everyone who is able to hear about Magic cards has heard about Black Lotus, and how unbelievably expensive that card is. Therefore, you should be a responsible owner of things and accurately determine the value of your property. Do we all hate the car salesman?

Let me be clear: I do not condone lying through your teeth. "This old blue card called Force of Will is only worth 5 dollars." That feels bad to me, personally. But if I say something like, "Hey, I'm interested in a few of these blue cards for a deck I'm trying to finish, want to trade?" And you proceed to pull out cards of significantly lesser value and then say "We're good!" I'm gonna take your cards and feel fantastic. I am under ZERO obligation to inform you that you're holding a $100+ dollar card, and unless you pull out your phone and look it up, or SPECIFICALLY ask me what the price is, I'm not going to tell you. And let's be honest, the people we're talking about here aren't interested in prices. They want the cards they want, and are more than happy to trade blue card for blue card straight across.

Let me pose a different scenario:

You are interested in purchasing a NM Mishra's Workshop from a seller on Ebay. Not a store, a guy selling cards from his collection. You pay him, and negotiate how the card will be shipped (First class with tracking). Everything's fine, and the seller ships off the card.

It arrives late, with no tracking. What do you do? I know what I did. Contacted Ebay, said I never got the card. Got my $750 back (it's up to a grand now). When you're dealing with money or valuable things, just don't be stupid.

July 16, 2015 4:35 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #166

"It arrives late, with no tracking. What do you do? I know what I did. Contacted Ebay, said I never got the card. Got my $750 back (it's up to a grand now). When you're dealing with money or valuable things, just don't be stupid."

....that..... that's just literally fraud.

July 16, 2015 4:37 p.m. Edited.

BuLLZ3Y3 That would actually be fraud.

July 16, 2015 4:41 p.m. Edited.
July 16, 2015 5:24 p.m.

slovakattack says... #169

"Let me be clear, I do not condone lying..."

(paraphrased) "I stole a Mishra's Workshop. You have to be smart with money."

enter image description here

July 16, 2015 5:26 p.m.

SimicPower says... #171

Epochalyptik, do you want to post some more questions to try to get this thread back on track?

July 16, 2015 5:33 p.m.

theClokkwork says... #172

I have mixed feelings on this. Whenever I do a trade I try to get the best value for the other person, because I really just enjoy getting new cards. I'm not in it for the money, but I definitely like knowing my investments are not in vain or that I'm not being cheated. Although it seems cruel to Shark someone, I think that some blame can be put on people who don't look up trade values before agreeing to something like that. It's like signing a contract without reading it. Taking advantage of that is terrible to me personally, but I definitely think these kinds of acts could be prevented by the traders. Whenever I do trades I try to find the lowest price online for the cards as to give people the fairest trade, and I think that makes trading more fun, and also makes the community a safer place for new players. When it all comes down to it, we sometimes forget that this is a game. A lot of people have made it into work or a stock market, but really it should be about having fun building decks and testing your wits against your peers. A more in-depth chess, so to say. Sharks taking advantage of that makes me upset, because I think that Magic should be an accessible way to connect with other people.

July 16, 2015 6:32 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #173

I think its more like presenting someone with a contract in which the terms of the agreement aren't made explicit. Instead of it being a contract that hasn't been read I think of it as a contract that's poorly written.

July 16, 2015 6:35 p.m.

theClokkwork says... #174

That being said, would you sign a contract that doesn't have explicit terms? Or even one that's poorly written? I'd be hesitant at least. But new players haven't yet decided if they like the game, and may just being looking for a new hobby. They don't give a second thought to getting rid of their rarest cards because how would they know the value if they barely know the rules? Its a godsend that people can look up prices so easily now, because it closes the door on crazy unfair trades. It's essentially the lawyer looking over the "contract" first.

July 16, 2015 6:42 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #175

No I wouldn't. But no person is obligated to be intelligent whereas the person writing a contract or proposing an agreement (like a trade) IS obligated for transparency. Even though it seems ridiculous the following situation is actually fraud and a felony:

A: what do you have for trade?

B: just some junk cards (produces a pile of cards, one of which is a Black Lotus).

A: Oh this card here looks nice (knows it's worth a tonne).

B: Cool. Why are you interested in it?

A: Oh no reason it just looks interesting (he knows its super expensive really but is hiding it).

B: Yeah I also thought it was junk though. I'll do it for your (insert a list of cheap cards here).

A: Cool - deal.

A and B trade a Black Lotus for junk.

That is a felony.


Any buyer or individual that enters into an agreement for something doesn't have to specifically tell the other person what the item is worth BUT they may not mislead the other individual about the value of the item in any way. When person A did not notify person B they were interested in the card due to its price they were hiding the true value. They are under no obligation to give exact figures but they ARE under an obligation to properly represent the value of the object. The textbook example (this is literally written in law textbooks) is an art buyer buying a priceless work of art from a woman because 'I was just interested in the frame' instead of saying 'I knew it was worth a lot' when the art buyer in reality IS buying it because they know its worth a tonne. You are not allowed to specifically mislead the seller or other party about the value of an item.

Even if you were to say 'I am not even sure what this card is worth' you are on slightly dodgy ground if you actually do know.

As I said before - in reality financial contracts go to court for less than this. I know it's not a huge deal in magic but this is actually the law.

July 16, 2015 6:56 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #176

Here, this is from a free legal dictionary -

A misrepresentation need not be intentionally false to create liability. A statement made with conscious ignorance or a reckless disregard for the truth can create liability. Nondisclosure of material or important facts by a fiduciary or an expert, such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, can result in liability. If the speaker is engaged in the business of selling products, any statement, no matter how innocent, may create liability if the statement concerns the character or quality of a product and the statement is not true. In such a case, the statement must be one of fact. This does not include so-called puffing, or the glowing opinions of a seller in the course of a sales pitch (such statements as "you'll love this car," or "it's a great deal").

Key points:

conscious ignorance (pretending you don't know the answer to a factual question when you do) is grounds for misrepresentation.

Nondisclosure of important facts is grounds for misrepresentation.

July 16, 2015 7:09 p.m.

theClokkwork says... #177

And I think it should be enforced in the Magic community. Fraud is a criminal offense and these cards do have value, so tricking people into unfairly handing you a $5000 card just because the person didn't research prior to going to, say, their first FNM should be treated as a criminal offense, no? When I was first getting into this game I was more interested in opening packs and looking at the artwork on the cards. That and seeing how they worked in conjunction with other cards. I wasn't interested in getting involved in a different version of the stock market, I was interested in growing a collection, playing with my friends at school and having fun. Starting players shouldn't be worried about losing insanely rare cards by simply trying to learn the game, just to find out later on they were conned. We as the Magic community should be embracing new players, not scamming them out of their cards.

July 16, 2015 7:13 p.m.

Chief - 30

People Vs that - 24

Well played, but I think it is safe to say that Chief gets a perfect score and just ended any further discussion outside of morals.

That being said, morally, that was just plain wrong. I can understand and believe a trade for say, a $1 and a $5, a 30 cent card for a $1, or even a $5 for a $10 card depending on the context. But a card that is worth less than $1 for a card that is worth over $100, yeah, someone needs to work on their morals a little bit.

July 16, 2015 7:34 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #179

Wait what. What are these numbers. Is this an academic exercise now? haha.

July 16, 2015 7:36 p.m.

theClokkwork says... #180

Ah crap, I didn't study.

July 16, 2015 7:43 p.m.

SirFowler says... #181

I feel like the purpose of humanity is to share information and help others so that they may help others and so on and so forth. To willingly know the cards worth and to blatantly lie about it is morally wrong. I have been sharked in the past and it stings. I do get over it, sure, but if the person is willing to do it again and again it makes me angry, especially when it's done to little kids who are just starting. I try to help them when it happens because that way they can grow as a magic player and be able to help others in need. That is how we learn as a community and are able to thrive.

July 16, 2015 8:26 p.m.

theClokkwork says... #182

I completely agree. We should be creating a better community for new players and old ones alike.

July 16, 2015 8:33 p.m.

@ChiefBell, scoring for debate. :P

EDIT- (Highest score you can get is 30, meaning perfect win.)

July 16, 2015 9:34 p.m. Edited.

Femme_Fatale says... #184

I personally think people are forgetting that this is exactly what your everyday on the phone or door to door sales person does on a regular basis. They are pitching a sale to you, no matter how shit the item is or how overly expensive it is, they are trying to get you to buy it. Here, they are just pitching a trade for two items that have a certain value at the time of trade. You know what that also reminds me of? Bartering. Go direct this article and consecutive questions to a place that is well known for its bartering system and has a relative lack of supermarkets and see what the responses are. I certainly believe that everyone's complaints about "morals" are just cultural morals that only apply to a set defined location and aren't seen throughout the world.

July 16, 2015 10:15 p.m.

You are completely right Femme_Fatale, which is why we shouldn't talk morals.

Instead, we should discuss the action itself, but Chief has neatly wrapped up that matter with post #181.

Really, since morals shouldn't be used when viewing material from an outside point of view, we should only look at the facts. The fact is, misrepresentation. At this point, the discussion seems to be running low on gas. I think most people gave up... XD

July 16, 2015 10:23 p.m.

With this sort of thing though it just eventually turns into "well that's not right" "well I think it is" and there's no real way to see who's the "morally correct" and whether that even matters.

July 16, 2015 10:32 p.m.

Very interesting read. I would like to point out a few things. Firstly, the "they should check the card prices themselves" thing. While hopefully adults should be sensible enough to do this, I am of the opinion that nobody should expect a child to check card prices. While it is perfectly possible for a child to search up sites that have current card prices on them, it isn't reasonable to expect a young new player to know about these sites, or even care that the cards are worth money. And the shark definitely isn't going to explain these things to him.

Secondly, my main point. This entire argument is mainly based on happiness of the shark's "victim". If they think they are cheated then they are unhappy, and the shark is a bad person. If they don't care/don't know about money value, or they didn't mind losing some money to get the cards they wanted, then they are happy, and the shark's actions were acceptable.The important thing to understand here is it depends on what kind of person the "victim" is.

They might or might not be happy about their trade once they find out. They could react in any possible way. But likely enough it will be negative. Their impression of the game certainly won't have gotten any better - they have just definitely lost money. For although they might not mind trading Tarmogoyf for Shivan Dragon, they almost certainly will mind trading 50c for $200. The value of the cards might be subjective, but the fact remains the "victim" has lost money in a very real way.

July 16, 2015 11:32 p.m.

Didgeridooda says... #188

I will come back, and read other comments later.

I just see a story of a person growing up. As someone gets older many times they settle into their place, and stop trying to take advantage of others.

July 17, 2015 12:05 a.m.

One: I think ppl should check the card prices, not because its a "If you didn't check the prices, to bad, your a dumb scrub kind of thing and you ough't to read up next time- but rather a safe guard kind of thing." You should always theoretically prepare, study, and be vigilant. That being said hindsight is a bitch. Someone is always willing to pay money for something, and that creates value. That is how capitalism works. When 'Collectible' or 'Trading' is in description of the game, their is bound to be value somewhere.

That being said. It is fraud, and intending to mislead someone is at the very least being malicious. If someone mislead you to trade a 5 dollar card for a 1 dollar card, versus a 100 dollar card for a 1 dollar card, would we feel equally defrauded? Perhaps we need to look at this based on the financial situation, social situation, and cultural situation. Yes, magic is a mini stock market, and it can be played as such. Yes, magic can become a game of investing an selling- a game of numbers. We must also take into account that some ppl have more disposable income than others. If I had a disposable income of 1000 dollars a month set aside for magic, perhaps loses would be less impact-ful? What if another person, however, can only spend 10 dollars a month on magic? Would the person who could afford the full retail foil goyf or liliana as pocket change have a different perception than the guy who could only afford 1 or 2 packs a month when it comes spending money. I hope I don't sound rambley here.

That being said, should one have to consider the social and financial situation of each individual when making a consensual trade? If in the present both parties are satisfied is that ok? Must we take into account future feelings or animosities towards a past event, something that almost 100 percent of the time cannot be ratified? Is it immoral to take advantage of the present, only to have one or more parties wallow in the future, contemplating what ifs, what thens, buts, and hows?

I think it comes down to try not to be a dick. The golden rule kinder garden bs is a pretty nice utopian ideal, one that will never be fully possible. Still, try not to ruin someone's future I suppose, but if you do, I can't say it was necessarily immoral, but rather slightly reprehensible. The world will keep spinning. Existentialism, blah blah.

July 17, 2015 4:21 a.m.

zandl says... #190

Ripping off noobs for your own gain in an effing trading card game? Get over your justifications; you're a dick - and that's all it boils down to.

Sure; go ahead and rip off someone who, say, is trying to apply for the same job you are. That's real-life. But Magic? That's a hobby. Shame on you.


July 17, 2015 12:45 p.m. Edited.

Lhurgyof says... #191

It's also worth noting that often times people don't shark but simply don't know card prices. I've seen trades going on where people are using old numbers when a card may have spiked/dropped within a week and they just don't know. They often don't mind somebody correcting them and welcoming it.

That happens way more often around here and can lead to "accidental" sharking I guess? I have never seen a shark go down since I was a kid and got some of my cards sharked off of me (although it could have been the same ignorance of card prices).

July 17, 2015 1:05 p.m.

The one thing I have yet to discover is how this is "for the benefit of the community."

It isn't really beneficial at all. It is merely an outlet for discussion on the topic, but no benefits are being gained here.

July 17, 2015 1:20 p.m.

zandl says... #193

Whoever it was just wanted to try and justify it and make everybody else more okay with it by letting us see it from his perspective. In truth, I now dislike sharks even more than I previously did just because this person is trying to make it sound like it's a fair and respectable thing to do.

July 17, 2015 1:41 p.m.

Skimm3r says... #194

This is very interesting...

Almost every magic player has tried to negotiate trading or buying collections so that it is more favorable for their wallet. But, I think that there is a glaring line between being thrifty and flat out lying by saying "your Underground Sea is the equivalent of my trash uncommon land."

For example, I have a friend that has made hundreds or thousands of dollars off of scanning Craigslist for old collections and reselling them for true value. Then, once upon a time, he meets an old player at a LGS with the potential to "flood the market" with his amalgamation of Force of Wills; instead of trying to scam him, he enlightens the guy about the value he has in his cardboard box, and gets handed a free Force of Will for "being a pal." You don't have to be a bad person to be rewarded.

July 17, 2015 4:33 p.m.

thehat says... #195

First off, I don't trade with strangers.

I feel that the purpose of swap between friends is to exchange equivalent value as there is interest to maintain the friendship over a long period of time. Trade between strangers has no such qualifying quality and therefore is a purely selfish endeavor; an exercise in attempting to maximize profit and minimize loss. The morality of an event like an intentionally unfair trade is set by the perception of the individuals involved in the trade. A malicious intent by one or both of the individuals in the trade makes the trade net negative on the morality spectrum.

The person speaking in the piece is exhibiting classic narcissistic behavior. They define themselves as a person that has the necessary moral flexibility to take advantage of situations available to everyone, but only they are capable of exploiting.

"My mentors were your typical sharks: cunning, manipulative, and seasoned. But they weren't personable enough. You could tell, if you were a reasonably attentive person, that these guys were used car salesmen in their other lives. They missed the opportunities available to someone who came across as just another FNM-level player. If you can make your mark comfortable, whether it's through the way you carry yourself, the types of conversations you initiate, or the way you handle trades (all three, really), then you stand a much greater chance of successfully manipulating them."

Many alpha males have exhibit narcissistic behavior but are capable of moral reasoning. The MTG community is a subset of a much larger group but the moral code that we all exist in is based on the larger moral standards set by our societies, as defined by social contract theory.


As with other members of a society that go against the social contract there are established or implied punishments. Our inherent implied punishment in the MTG community for a cheater/shark is extreme distrust and possible exclusion from the community.

"Have you ever seen a shark get called out or banned from a local shop? I have. I was almost that person myself, and I suspect people started spreading rumors about me at various stores after I left them. Once people catch on that you're a shark, either through your failed sharking attempt on them or through them hearing how you robbed their best friend in a trade, you don't have long left. The news will spread, and it'll be impossible for you to find an unfair trade after that. If you have a selection of stores in your area, you have a little more room, but it's still possible that news will travel around town. If word starts to get out between players at an event, then your whole day could be shot."

In my opinion the behavior of this individual is not unlike a conman attempting to convince you to buy stolen or imaginary property, but at a much lower physical value. In many cases confidence tricksters were shown to enjoy the con more than the profit. They derived pleasure from swindling people and not from the perceived value of the scheme.

In my own experience I have some examples of bad trades where I lost a significant value, and trades where I gained a significant value. In one situation I was suffering from a lack of relative information but did I possess a malicious intent. I want to present three short stories where a similar situation occurred.



I'm sure a players have similar stories from when they started, much like the kid in the story. When I was first starting Magic in 1994 I took my cards with me everywhere and I loved big creatures, I was traded a Leviathan for an artifact and a land I never played with. As I primarily played Blue and Black, I gladly traded my Beta Mox Ruby and my Beta Tiaga. At the time, I felt like I got the better deal. I was young and stupid and couldn't predict the future.



In about 2009 I was asked to evaluate and help to sell off a collection of an associate in exchange for the remnants of the collection after the sale + $100. I went through every card presented and produced a price sheet for every card, highlighting all of the top sellers. At the top were 2 Libraries, a Revised Mox Emerald, a Beta TimeWalk, and a host of several $50ish cards. I explained that as he was asking for a short sale, I would likely have to settle for approx 2/3 market value unless someone really wanted it. I arranged a buyer and managed to get almost full market value for the Walk and the Mox, settled for 3/4s on the Libraries. He was so satisfied with the sale that I was told me I could keep the rest of the higher value cards and ignore the $100 for the remainder of the collection. He then presented me with 4 more boxes I hadn't gone through when he asked me to evaluate the collection. I took it home to sort out and was very happy, pulled several Revised and Unlimited Duals. Approx value at the time $400-500 (now considerably more). Weeks later, hidden behind a fold in one of the cardboard boxes was a Revised Lotus with a slight ding on the back. I recently sold that card for $4500 to SCG to put a down payment on a car and to pay for my wedding.



In 2007 I visited a GameStop and noticed that they had some MTG packs for sale in the front with lots of dust. Mostly 8th and 9th Edition. I inquired about the cards and was informed that none of their customers ever bought them and they regretted ordering them. I offered to by them off of them for a reduced price and they agreed. The manager went to the back and brought out a cardboard box and we settled on $1 a pack as a price. They threw the display items in the box and counted the packs in the box and I handed them something like $60 and walked out the store thinking I'd at least make my money back.In the box I found an open booster box of Unhinged. I was aware that the lands from the joke sets were highly sought after and decided to have a free boosterdraft with some friends with the caveat that I get to keep the lands. During the draft I found a foil unhinged Island (Still about a $60-100 value) and almost a playset of every other basic fullart.


In these stories I present myself as an example player who is neither a thief nor a saint. I am a person and have faults, but don't enjoy defrauding others just for monetary gain.

I present the following questions to further the discussion:

  • Do you feel that defrauding a business is different than a defrauding a person? Why?
  • Is a person in violation of MTG player ethics for cheating in a game? Is this different than cheating a person out of a card of significant value?
  • Have you ever caught a shark? What happened?
  • Is sharking the same as selling proxied cards as though they were real? Why?
July 17, 2015 5:12 p.m.

"Trade between strangers has no such qualifying quality and therefore is a purely selfish endeavor; an exercise in attempting to maximize profit and minimize loss."

Just wanted to point out that this is flatly wrong. A trade or interaction isn't selfish because it involves a stranger. Some of the most pleasant trades I've ever done were with strangers because you get to see a new binder and hear another player's story. Indeed, many of the most impactful and enduring interactions occur between strangers brought together by a common cause or interest. You aren't forced to rip someone off simply because you don't know them. And if you think that there's no lasting satisfaction from trading with strangers, it's probably for lack of trying.

July 17, 2015 5:33 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #197

Yeah I often have lovely trades with strangers! I like to encourage repeat interest even with those i don't know at all.

July 17, 2015 5:36 p.m.

thehat says... #198

Taken out of context. The qualifying statement comes after that:

"The morality of an event like an intentionally unfair trade is set by the perception of the individuals involved in the trade."

If both people involved in the trade have no intention of it being unfair, then it is not. That doesn't mean that either person wants to give each other things for free. I was simply pointing out that you have no reason other than your own morality or social conscience to treat strangers fairly. The fact that you are trading indicates that you believe that value exists, there for you are attempting to barter for profit. If you feel it is fair then you don't feel cheated.

I do trade, just not with strangers. If someone really wants a card from me and it is relatively inexpensive I will simply give it to them.

I was speaking in generalities as they related to social contract, by "selfish" I was referring to Thomas Hobbes 'natural selfishness' that is indicative in all purely impersonal business transactions, like you have with a coke machine. If you get to know them, they are no longer a stranger.

July 17, 2015 5:44 p.m.

Your additional sentence does nothing to qualify the one I quoted. It doesn't explain that only some trades with strangers are unfair; it just describes how individual perceptions shape morality.

"The fact that you are trading indicates that you believe that value exists, there for you are attempting to barter for profit."

And again, it is NOT necessitated that you're trying to trade for profit. At least, not in the sense likeliest to be associated with that wording.

"I was speaking in generalities as they related to social contract, by "selfish" I was referring to Thomas Hobbes 'natural selfishness' that is indicative in all purely impersonal business transactions, like you have with a coke machine. If you get to know them, they are no longer a stranger."

Even if I don't get to know the other person (a waste of an opportunity, in my opinion), it's still not a guarantee or even a likelihood that either you or that person will try to gain value advantage in the trade. Sure, you can apply Hobbes's cynicism here, but that only alters your initial perception of the trade; once you're actually conducting the trade, the other person's behavior is your best indicator of the nature of the trade.

July 17, 2015 5:56 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #200

Yeah I was going to call out the application of Hobbes here.

July 17, 2015 6:02 p.m.

thehat says... #201

I wasn't trying to be obtuse. I feel it does qualify the previous statement as the selfishness is implied if there is no further interaction on a personal level. If say for instance I changed the phrase to something like:

"Trading with people you don't know means you have to be wary that they make take advantage of you, you should make sure that you are not ripped off."

The meaning is essentially the same, but the context means that I am not speaking about social contract.

I love meeting strangers and turning them into friends (or at least acquaintances) I was speaking in pure conjecture and not abdicating that people should interact. I wasn't trying to convince others not to trade. I am sorry if you took offense to my musings on the fundamental reasons for interactions between players.

Socialization is one of the only reasons I still play and I love meeting new players with interesting ideas and seeing new interactions. I love long EDH games, intense Legacy matches with 10 min counterspell and stack battles, overly complicated combo decks, and the rouge deck that wins at FNM.

I am sorry my point wasn't clear and would like to clear up if there was a misinterpretation of my intention about how trading is viewed by me. This is only my opinion and not one I attempt to force on others.

July 17, 2015 6:18 p.m.

I feel that as long as your not lieing about value your fine.

July 17, 2015 6:37 p.m.

mattskones says... #203

read the article, skimmed the comments, this might have been mentioned before.
The writer really likes to go into how awesome he is at sharking people like its a point of pride. The article reads as bragging more than anything else. to quote the parlance of our time:

"cool story bro"

July 17, 2015 6:44 p.m.

@thehat: I'll offer an analogous example.

Statement 1: Trade between strangers has no such qualifying quality and therefore is a purely selfish endeavor; an exercise in attempting to maximize profit and minimize loss. The morality of an event like an intentionally unfair trade is set by the perception of the individuals involved in the trade.

Statement 2: The knuckleball has little to no rotation in flight, making it the most difficult baseball pitch to anticipate and hit; the lack of rotation makes the ball flutter and curve. The rotation of a pitch like the knuckleball is set by the way the pitcher holds and delivers the ball.

So we begin with a blanket statement that characterizes a subset of things, T1, with a specific characteristic, C1. We follow that with a statement that explains broadly how characteristics {C} of things {T} are determined.

You aren't saying that C1 does not apply to all elements of subset T1. You're just saying that the particular C affecting a particular T is determined by the actor in some way. You're addressing the reason for C1, not identifying the objects for which C1 holds.

Now you offer another statement:

"Trading with people you don't know means you have to be wary that they make take advantage of you, you should make sure that you are not ripped off."

The meaning of this statement is completely different. You're no longer defining a C1 for all elements of T1. You're saying broadly that for elements of {T} with characteristic C1, you should take a certain course of action.

"Batting against an unknown pitch means you have to be wary of sudden changes in trajectory; you should make sure that you follow the path of the ball carefully."

Now, with the basic logic out of the way, let's look at the actual substance. I don't think anyone took offense at anything here; how you trade is ultimately up to you. However, you shouldn't be so quick to make generalizations where they needn't be made and where they don't actually hold. And a healthy dose of skepticism is a good thing for an astute trader. You should be wary of how others handle trades. But that doesn't mean that you can identify for certain the other trader's motives solely on the basis of whether you know them.

July 17, 2015 6:45 p.m.

ljs54321 says... #205

thehat: So, you're saying you came across a REVISED Mox Emerald and a REVISED Black Lotus? How is that even possible?

July 17, 2015 6:54 p.m.

EatyouNOW says... #206

You can't consciously rip some one off like that, that's highway robbery. It's people like you that MAKE everyone pull their phones out to check prices.

July 17, 2015 7:09 p.m.

thehat says... #207

As we are now literally arguing semantics, I will breakdown my statement for clarity.


"I feel that the purpose of swap between friends is to exchange equivalent value as there is interest to maintain the friendship over a long period of time."

Establishes the quality of wanting to be fair to your friend. As a byproduct of this quality, you most likely have reason to trust them as well.

"Trade between strangers has no such qualifying quality" or "Trading with people you don't know"

Attempts to use the quality previously stated to indicate that you do not have a reason to trust this person.

"and therefore is a purely selfish endeavor;" or "means you have to be wary that they make take advantage of you,"

Uses the lack of implied trust to label the situation as one that means the lack of trust may be mutual. The 2nd statement is similar but is geared to mean that you may not be the aggressor.

"an exercise in attempting to maximize profit and minimize loss." or "you should make sure that you are not ripped off.""

Uses the possible mutual lack of trust to indicate that it is possible that they may attempt to benefit at your expense, but also allows for the opposite to exist. The 2nd statement again is similar but once again implies that you may not be the aggressor.

"The morality of an event like an intentionally unfair trade is set by the perception of the individuals involved in the trade."

Qualifies the statement by implying that only in an an 'intentionally unfair' trade is where you will find a person that wants to trade unfairly. If it is was not unfair, then there is no loss and likely the participants are no longer strangers after the trade.


@ljs54321: I misspoke, they were Unlimited. Lol Always get those backwards.

July 17, 2015 7:10 p.m.

I understand what you're trying to say. The issue is that you're simply not saying it.

"Trade between strangers has no such qualifying quality and therefore is a purely selfish endeavor; an exercise in attempting to maximize profit and minimize loss."

The literal meaning of this quote is that all trades with strangers are selfish and are profit driven. There is no hedging. There is no caveat. Your other statements do not add caveats. This is the danger of definitive generalizations.

July 17, 2015 7:24 p.m.

thehat says... #209


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Still one of the happiest and saddest days of my life.

July 17, 2015 7:35 p.m.

thehat says... #210

enter image description here

Weird, it worked in the preview. Reposting.

July 17, 2015 8:33 p.m.

Femme_Fatale says... #212

I like how people completely ignored the fact that this happens regularly in numerous other jobs and cultures and it isn't considered a bad thing in those parts.

July 17, 2015 9:34 p.m.

hamiam says... #213

July 18, 2015 12:56 a.m.

Schuesseled says... #214

I wish people wouldn't compare sharking and finding expensive cards in thrift shops, carboot sales, etc.

The two things are completely separate.

If you walk into a Walmart or Tesco's and purchase a Marsbar discovering it's actually been priced and 50% the normal value you would not walk up to the manager and ask to pay full price.

Shopping and trading cards are completely different.

July 18, 2015 9:56 a.m.

thehat says... #215

@ Schuesseled

I think your point is about potential or unknown value over actual known or real-world value. I agree that they are different, but how do you feel about it if the prices were more equivalent? Or moreover if you were the owner of the business?

In example:

A person finds a piece of electronics with a mislabeled price tag, where a decimal place is mistyped. Instead of 350.00 it is labeled as 35.00. One of your employees sells one or even several of these at this price.

How would you feel as the owner of the business?

How would you feel as a customer who witnessed the event?

July 18, 2015 1:23 p.m.

Kingofsouls says... #216

Personally I would have told Timmy that Underground Sea was an amazing land, explain why, and helped him make a better deck without scamming him out of $250.

But that's just me.

July 18, 2015 2 p.m.

thehat a fine analogy if it actually worked that way. Unless the barcode or what not is mislabeled then when the electronics would still come up at the true price. A misplaced decimal on a sign doesn't do anything.

July 18, 2015 2:52 p.m.

thehat says... #218

I'm admittedly anti-Walmart, but there is this:

Wal-Mart Website Glitch Lists $500 Items For As Low As $9

And Macy's Too:

Macy's mistakenly marks down necklace from $1,500 to $47

Not saying it is common, not even implying it is realistic, just really meant it as a thought experiment.

IRL, the owner of the business would usually do everything they could to minimize the loss. But not usually as extreme as Walmart does like in the case of WalMart not honoring the $10 giftcards their issued as a refund for the bad purchase of the items on their website.

July 18, 2015 7:13 p.m.

ChiefBell says... #219

Making a mistake is different to complete ignorance.

July 18, 2015 7:36 p.m.

Argy says... #220

The questions asked at the end of the story are very heavily skewed in favour of sharks.

I can't see any difference between sharking someone out of good cards and duping someone out of good money.

I feel the same way about it as I do about people who prey on the elderly and take their life savings. I don't admire it or think it's OK.

Sharks will always find a way to justify it to themselves. Just like drug dealers.

July 19, 2015 9:50 a.m.

thegigibeast says... #221

I think it is normal for someone to try to get a little bit more out of the cards they want to trade. I, myself, have a box of bulk rares that I like to leave onb the table, checking it sometimes. On it, it is written "Take 1 put 2". I know it is not sharking, but it is an easy way to get some money out of my crap rares!

I would just say that if someone new shows me an Underground Sea and say he does not know the game, I will try to get it from him, just in case he damages the card... What a mess it would be...

July 19, 2015 4:52 p.m.

Schuesseled says... #222


It's the cost of doing business. If you misprice an item you need to honor that price, feeling shmeelings. It's the onus on the business to correctly price their commodities.

My point is that in a trade the onus is not on anyone, a trade by default should be equal, or determined to be equal and fair by both parties. If you believe you are getting the better deal then it is an unfair trade, and you know it.

July 19, 2015 5 p.m.

First off with over 200 responses I will let everyone know that I didn't read any of them lol.

Now when I got back into magic around innistrad I was sharked by a guy at a friend's business. I traded a Sword of War and Peace and a Mox Opal I pulled from the m12 deck builder's toolkit for a Form of the Squirrel and a release Rampaging Baloths. Looking back I think man that guy was a dick and I know better because of it.

On the flip side I have sharked myself on 3 occasions. The first occurred between myself and a high school friend. It was gatecrash and zegana was money (~$20) still so I traded him 10ish bulk dimir cards for Prime Speaker Zegana Breeding Pool and Cavern of Souls. The second time was at a store shortly after gatecrash I traded stuff in for credit and was a dollar short so I was handed a binder pulled a Khalni Hydra out and they called it even. I thought at the time "man that was a great deal for the card why don't I own more?" Well at $15 I had my answer. The third time was within the past few months I went to a new store and was looking through bulk rares I found a Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary in the box and ended with it for 75 cents. On this occasion I alerted the person running the shop that this card shouldn't be in the bulk box and was waved off.

Now I try to make trades as even as possible. I don't want to be some kids story of being sharked.

July 20, 2015 4:30 a.m.

here's my two cents. Sharking pisses me off, but I can't call it immoral. I can call it unfair, mean, or even uncivil to do, but never immoral. I disdain it, but I also disdain people being unfair. It's a personal value I hold close for no particular reason, and I realize that. I don't shark because of my values, I have given away many cards on multiple occasions, because at the end of the day they are pieces of cardboard with ink. The part that gets me is the principal. People who do this most times simply want something and don't care about how they get it. I can't call sharking immoral however, for this reason. I have not met all sharks, and I can not speak on all of their behalf. I realize there are probably other reasons and that many sharks may be good peopled who can't control their impulses. I also realize their can be mistakes and it isn't always on purpose. I do remember being sharked once, and only once. Ever since I have been careful during trades and checked prices. I traded a stomping ground for a couple junk cards, can't remember what. I hope I have been civil and no one was offended by what I said.

July 20, 2015 11:24 a.m.

pahamaki says... #225

Sharking kids seems wrong to me (and is there ever really a better moral compass than your own gut?), just because they really can't be expected to know any better. It's also bad for the future of the community. But sharking adults, I think that's just about fine. They should be able to handle their own trades.

I don't trade outside of my friend group really, so there's that. We don't really care a lot about monetary value (apart for obviously high value stuff), and rather think about the utility value: would you use it more than I do?

I suppose I do a similar thing while buying off collections from people. I often just haggle the price down, usually without really going through the collection even, and most of the time I'm happily surprised by the result. But then again, I buy people's old collections like I'd be buying a really big, absolutely random booster pack. Ahh, the smell of stale cardboard is so intoxicating...

July 21, 2015 3:47 a.m.

There are far better moral compasses than your gut, but that's not an issue I'll explore here.

July 21, 2015 8:02 a.m.

pahamaki says... #227

Haha, yeah, maybe that is a discussion for another time and another place!

July 21, 2015 9:22 a.m.

CkajLanoa says... #228

If I can say nothing else good about you, I can say that I understand you, from some dark corner of my own brain. I myself have been the subject of many shark attacks, some of the worst include a Destructive Force for an Avacyn, Angel of Hope, and Temporal Mastery, when it just came out, for Thornling. The truth is, however, that I used the two cards that I got so much in my first FNM decks, that they really worked for their value. I can say with confidence that I would not have knowingly made those trades from the other side of the bargain; without first pointing out that the other trader was getting ripped off, at least. If nothing else, I feel that I am on the moral high-ground in both of these trades, and above most sharks. I feel that you can not be perfectly neutral, unless the other trader knows exactly what you do, for otherwise you are either a positive, or negative trader.

July 21, 2015 11:12 a.m.

CkajLanoa says... #229

That was my good comment. Please don't read this one before you read the last one. In this comment I would like to say that you are a sociopath who has no scruples; I feel no empathy for worthless scumbags like you, and I really truly mean that from the bottom of my heart. This comment should probably be deleted, but the last one is allright.

July 21, 2015 11:20 a.m.

CkajLanoa says... #230

That was my good comment. Please don't read this one before you read the last one. In this comment I would like to say that you are a sociopath who has no scruples; I feel no empathy for worthless scumbags like you, and I really truly mean that from the bottom of my heart. This comment should probably be deleted, but the last one is alright.

July 21, 2015 11:20 a.m.

CkajLanoa says... #231

Whoops, sorry, I really didn't mean to post that twice.

July 21, 2015 11:22 a.m.

SniperFrog says... #232

Very Interesting.

I traded A Force of Will for half of my commander deck(Close to 70 bucks worth), but I did not feel ripped off. In fact I felt like I had done the swindling.

I guess I just think that if you don't know what you have, Don't Trade It.

It's easy now to just look up prices on your fancy phone so you never make a bad trade. I don't have that luxury. I just have to write down what my cards are worth before I go to the shop.

And I would like to add: Ignorance does not absolve you of your mistakes.

July 21, 2015 11:30 a.m. Edited.

Minelia5 says... #233

my viewing on trading is that as long as they actually want the cards your trading, and they're getting ripped off for a maximum of 10 dollars, it's ok. Of course, I'm pretty sure the most I've ripped on a person is $15. And this was a high priced trade, so I didn't feel bad about it at all. if it was a $0.50 for a $15, I'd feel differently. Also, I almost never take a trade unless I really want a card or I'm gaining value because I'm happy with what I have right now. By gaining value I mean minor values like a couple of dollars. I personally think that the Jwar Isle Refuge for Underground Sea is disgusting, but I won't judge them. That's my stand.

August 9, 2015 10:51 a.m.

Nixin72 says... #234

This is a friend's response who wanted to post through somebody else. They wanted to remain anonymous and therefore are simply posting through me. This does not reflect my views on the matter.

To me it's a matter of wether or not you outright lie or simply omit information. If you say "your Force of Will is worth 10$, I'll trade my Vapor Snag for it, it's also 10$", that's one thing.

If you say "I'll trade your Force of Will for my Vapor Snag", that's something totally different".

I have very little problem with omition on prices because some people simply don't care about monetary value. I've traded Butcher of the Horde for a Windswept Heath and Polluted Delta before with one of my friends because he simply didn't care. There's the kind of people who trade on monetary value and there's people who trade based on what the cards mean to them. Taking advantage of how people trade is fine. It's just that how they do things is advantageous to you in that scenario. So yea, I've taken advantage of those who didn't care. I don't feel bad about it, because they were just as happy about the trade as I was. Happy for very different reasons, but happy none the less.

I would not however manipulate others into benefiting me, because there's a big difference between omition and lying. I wouldn't mind omitting something, but acting like a scrub and trying to get people to trade in my favour isn't something I'd do.

It's also different if the person with the Force of Will said that they'd trade it for a Vapor Snag. I'd say yes. I'd offer them a bit more out of my binder, but if they don't know the value, that's okay with me. But I wouldn't say "I dont know, the Vapor Snag is worth 10$ and the Force of Will is only worth 5$".

It's a matter of how the situation is approached. Don't lie or manipulate. But if you omit and the other person isn't willing to go look it up themselves and just assume you've proposed a fair trade, that's fine.

again, this is a friend's response who wanted to remain anonymous. This does not reflect my views on the article, they are simply posting through my profile

August 15, 2015 9:23 p.m.

"I don't feel bad about it,"

Doesn't have the courage to post himself.


August 15, 2015 9:36 p.m.

guessling says... #236

It has been sharks who have kept me in this game for cheap. I have given up fetches for junk edh rates, willingly and knowingly, but I also have 2 modern, 1 legacy, 1 vintage (proxied), 13 commander, 1 tiny leaders, and 2 pauper decks - all for under 2k.

I think this willingness to be the mark gets mistaken for being "one of those targets", but I know what it is and I do it so that I can have tons of decks for cheap and if I am not going to use something good, I am letting it go. If I am using it, nothing will work to get it out of me.

Right, you probably are sitting there like, nah let's get her. Haha.

August 15, 2015 9:44 p.m.

Nixin72 says... #237

NoviceMagician- I understand why you'd be frustrated for them not wanting to post under their own profile, but they are a respected member of the community and don't want to ruin their reputation when they don't even trade online. Their history of sharking is purely IRL and I agreed with them that their reputation need not be ruined when their history doesn't apply to tapped out.

This is purely a moral controversy- one that can get many people worked up and he didn't want others to be frustrated with him for having other morals. So posting anonymously is perfectly reasonable.

August 15, 2015 9:57 p.m.

True, but now that invites people with very strong beliefs to interrogate your tapped out friends and see if they can find the person. I am not saying what he did was wrong, simply that even having someone post anonymously for you can invite trouble. Personally, I disagree with him, but I don't mind he has different morals. I understand not all people feel the same way but I like to think the TO community is more mature then that. For example, I can say some of my moral and philosophical standings, even more controversial ones, and I hope people would not be hysterical. Now I do realize that that is slightly different however, as the sharking morals relate to the thing that binds us, magic. But that aside, I would like to think that tapped out is a safe community for your friend to voice his opinion, but also agree with NoviceMagician. I think that it is important to have courage to voice your opinions for yourself, especially because it proves you have confidence in your beliefs. That's four cents in the pot from me

August 15, 2015 11:50 p.m.

One other thing. I want to make sure this is concise and clear, so as not to cause any problems.

  1. I would not card shark.
  2. I disagree with people who DO card sharkbut I do not think it is morally WRONG. I can only say it feels wrong and I would not do it, but I have no legitimate reason to back up saying it is actually wrong
August 15, 2015 11:53 p.m.

@Nixin72, I mean, I don't know about everyone else, but even if I don't agree with card sharking, I wouldn't try to belittle him/her, if anything I'd help defend from the worked up ones. I was just pointing out that little contradiction :P

I could take a guess as to who it is, but that'd be mean.

Anywho, I definitely agree with: "they were just as happy about the trade as I was. Happy for very different reasons, but happy none the less." Both people being happy is someing I definitely think is valuable in any trade for anything.


That is all. XD

August 16, 2015 2:11 p.m.

trollslayer says... #241

And hi.I have shared and been sharked. I did not know what was shaking at the time, so I was susceptible. The worst trade I have ever made is a Sliver Hivelord for a Jace, Architect of Thought. It stung for alittle bit, but it doesn't matter in the end. I only have sharked some couple of bucks off people, and I dorm feel bad about it, because,You know what? Peoples property is there own. There responsibility to take care of it, and if they don't know the price, then they are fair game. But. There are limits. No I woudnlt shark an underground sea for a crap card. It's inly a couple of bucks that is fine. And for the "morality" of it, there is none. It is neither good not bad.

Sorry for reopening this thread. Just needed to post what I needed to.

August 21, 2015 5:09 p.m.

Ok, a couple things trollslayer. First off, what is with the grammar here? You usually have good grammar on the site so this makes it seem like you do not really care about the subject matter. A mistake here or there is fine, but it was rampant in your comment. I realize that does not really take anything away from the argument, or at least not much, but it needed to be pointed out. Second, you can not simply say this is not an issue involving morality, especially without backing that claim up. True, people's property is their own, but that does not give you the right to abuse their naivety. Anyways, why would it be ok to shark a couple of dollars but not a hundred? Where do you draw the line? And furthermore, if it is not good or bad, then why do you draw a line? If something is not wrong or bad, why have you drawn a line of what you think is ok? Your argument is confused and jumbled, and because of that it is harder to understand your point.

August 21, 2015 8:30 p.m.

trollslayer says... #243

sorry, I was typing that on a phone while walking. lets go again. I do care about the issue, because people lose hundreds of dolors in value, and that hundred of dollars can make a big difference. The reason why I say sharking has no morality is because the people should care enough about the prices their property to not get sharked. the reason why I'm ok with sharking a couple of dollars is because unless they are literal hobos, then 1-2 dollars won't make that much of a difference. and if people are naive then they need to smarten up. I am a firm believer of learning through tough love. i draw a line on sharking new kids or kids around my age 10 11 12 13. i draw the line in around the 3 dollars range. 4 is a bit excessive, heck even 3. but thats because I'm 12. i draw a line because even though its not good nor bad, i want to help them grow to be a better trader and a player. ok, I think that i got the grammar right, mostly at least.

August 21, 2015 9:23 p.m.

guessling says... #244

I found this great article.

I think I am a statistician/Jeff (casual). The casual Jeff in me sometimes seems to have a "shark bait" sign, and even though the statistician in me knows that trading a shock for tcg value on event night for a bunch of eternal edh staples is not a "good investment", the cheapskate in me knows that this is almost the cheapest most likely, and easiezt way to get those edh staples with a little luck.

Maybe it only seems like a shark situation from a statistician viewpoint lol! It didn't feel " bad" or "exploitative". I came in that night hoping for that exact scenario, fully knowing that the " other guy" would be getting a deal on the long term.

August 21, 2015 9:28 p.m.

Ok, trollslayer. You are looking at this much too black and white. First off, you assume if someone does not know the price then they don't care about the card and it is their fault if they get gipped. Did you know in the early days of magic there were people who traded dual lands for shivan dragons? The meta in the early days was one where creatures were stronger and dual lands back then were not as powerful as they are now. Someone who started in the beginning could have dropped out, and gotten back in recently. They might not know how much the game has changed and how much their cards are worth. I have done trades where I forfitted a couple dollars, but that was on ME. It was either because it was a HUGE trade, like one I did for 135 dollars two weeks ago, or because I am a nice guy. I give cards away, because most of them do not have special value to me. I have some I would not give away but I like giving cards to others. I can tell that you are young, because you look at this very black and white, this situation is good and this is bad. We are here to discuss the morality of sharking, yes, but we have to look at it with nuance. The reason this is an issue of morality is because we use our own morals to decide whether we would want to shark. There is no universal or objective morality, so it is our individual judgement on if this is good or bad. The place where morality comes in is in the choice. You CHOOSE to mislead someone for your own gain, or I CHOOSE to give my cards away. I know that might seem contradictory but I can assure you it is not. Just because there is not OBJECTIVE morality does not mean there is no morality. Personally, I draw my morals from this. Will my actions harm someone or something or prove detrimental to the world I live in. You probably have a different guideline, which is fine. However you can not claim this has nothing to do with morality

August 22, 2015 4:03 p.m.

Also, logician, I agree with you. I picked up an Alhammarret's Archive for 6 bucks, and I knew it would not retain value. Some EDH staples are not worth a ton of money but since they are playable I am willing to trade over sometimes.

August 22, 2015 4:05 p.m.

trollslayer says... #247

tact, i am young, but not foolish. business is business and your right on the point of we have out own morals. iv also giving away free cards, stuff that I didn't need. and sure, if they just started back up, i cut them a little slack, but if they are senior players, then trading is business and her cards there property. were only here in this world for so long, so we should make the most of it. this is the darker side of my train and it only peeks out occasionally, but it is true to some degree. i don't see the world as black and white, for I have asked many ethical question i asked myself, such as "if a good person does a bad thing for a good reason, is that bad good or in-between?" or the inverse. people have cut me some slack and i cut some people some slack. heck, a guy gave me a varaska for a RtR golgari deck, when it was my first time at fn., and ever since we been friends and iv always cut some slack for people. its only rarely that i shark people, and i do it because I'm doing other trades, where I'm down a couple dollars and i need the cards. and tact, if morality is objective, how do we know it exists? and if were here to "argue" for the lack of a better word, morality, some people see sharking as good and some people see sharking as bad, but if i say sharking is good, and you say sharking is bad, then whose morality compass do we follow? and how about the people that say it is either way? your sentence isn't contradictory, it makes sense. I don't look at the world as black and white, I look at it as a thing of beauty. and i would continue on this but that would be going off topic. But to answer another of the threads question, if I see someone sharking another person, I step in and tell them. this may seem contradictory to you, but it makes sense to me, sometimes I can't explain it though. But if both people know, and are happy with it, then i step back and i let the trade happen. their cards, their trade, and their happiness. i sometimes fell the need to monitor people so that why i do it i think. i can't explain it, it may be because of my mind set, my mental crap, or just my personality. the morality is in the choice, you are right on that point, but the choice, the choice to do it, is int he mind of a person. in the mind of the person, there may be moralities, or not, but thats besides the point. the point is that in the mind of people, there is no thought. there are just neurons sending messages to each other. so is it moral for the neurons? well, neurons can't think. so is there morality in there? I think the main reason why I sometimes shark, is because i love a good challenge. it is a challenge to shark some one for me. and i love the thrill of a challenge. i feel no thrill of sharking someone, but i also don't feel guilt. its just a challenge.

I hope to continue this debate, your making me pull from my bag on this one. and that rarely ever happens. well, till next time.

August 22, 2015 8:05 p.m.

Your argument is jumbled and confused, and I suggest re reading it. As weird as the whole thing is the oddest point you made is the neuron argument. I suggest doing some more research. While we do not know where in the brain thought originates we know it is in the brain. By your logic then emotions wouldn't exist, as they too originate in the brain. Memory too. As for some of your other points, the other odd one is this. " if morality is objective, how do we know it exists? and if were here to "argue" for the lack of a better word, morality, some people see sharking as good and some people see sharking as bad, but if i say sharking is good, and you say sharking is bad, then whose morality compass do we follow".1. I never said morality is objective. That is the OPPOSITE of what I believe. I am buddhist and draw my morality as such. I have said in MULTIPLE comments that I do not believe sharking to be ethically or morally wrong, simply a choice I disagree with and find strange. 2. I think you misunderstand something. We are not here to force anyone not to shark. We are here to discuss the ethical principals of sharking, and what we personally think about it. This is about sharing thoughts, not forcing beliefs. I would never want to force someone to change anything about themselves. If I am to change anyone, I want to do it passively. I want them to think about a point or belief and decide over time whether they agree.3. "if morality is objective, how do we know it exists". Do you mean if morality is SUBJECTIVE? Were it objective everyone would have the same moral scope and we would know it exists. Either way the point is invalid, as we know there is morality. We know that not all people have the same beliefs on morality, and some people draw morality from different places, but we can confirm it exists none the less.Also, I would like to say, when you use phrases like "your making me pull from my bag on this one. ", it makes you look egotistical, which I can not say whether you are or are not. It implies that you are much smarter then most of us and I am on YOUR level, when this is not the case. Granted, you are 12, and most 12 year olds think the same way. However I suggest you tone this down, as some people will be much more aggressive about it and even take it offensively.

August 24, 2015 9:52 p.m.

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