Yu-Gi-Oh! | Deckbuilding + Selling


When it comes to selling Yu-Gi-Oh! online, selling decks is more complicated than selling singles and playsets. This is because an eBay listing for a deck can mean at least three different things:

  1. A high-end competitive deck for tournament play.  These decks will have every card needed for advanced combos and strategies used in the archetype and may include “tournament-staple” expensive cards such as Pot of Desires (currently $60 for one). Many are advertised as OTK- (one-turn-kill) decks.
  2. A low-end beginner deck for those just starting the game. These range in quality and utility- some may be made solely from cards in the archetype, regardless of how useful those cards are or what other cards could improve it. Some may contain only the archetype’s most common monsters, alongside other generic monsters and spells/traps. As a result, a poor beginner’s deck can lack playability because it may not have the cards necessary to understand the archetype’s key mechanic or it may have only parts of important combos.
  3. An awkward middle ground which may sometimes be called “budget competitive”. Decks here can occupy any potential point between 1 and 2. Lower-end ones will be playable, just nowhere near competitive standard. Higher-end ones may have all the commonly-used monsters of an archetype, and one or two copies of higher-priced monsters, without having the Pot of Desires-style overkill cards. They should contain the key mechanic and combo of the deck, but they will probably lack advanced-level setups.

Beginner-level decks commonly start at £7 and max out at £20.  Competitive decks vary depending on how well they match the current metagame scene, and on how many individually expensive cards they include. A deck which was popular a few years ago might be £45, while a deck which replicated a recent tournament-winning setup could exceed £150.

My decks are mostly in the third category (although my early attempts were in the second!). This is partly by choice, and partly due to card-buying limits. I buy cards through a mixture of sources; eBay bundles, specific single cards on ChaosCards, the occasional booster pack, and a booster box of each new set as it’s released. The most efficient approach would be to buy large bundles of 500-1000 cards to create the foundation of various decks, then to fill in important gaps with single cards. However, I don’t have enough space to do that without covering at least one room of my house in cards. Also, I’m wary about buying in that much, in case my eBay luck runs out and I never sell them.

A downside of this piece-by-piece approach is having difficulty setting a finish line- it’s hard to decide when a deck is complete enough to sell, as there’s always something I could swap out or add. Some listings have been changed multiple times after I’ve added last-minute cards.

For example, my Kozmo deck core (it’s a core rather than a full deck because it lacks  traps and spells) went from £22 to £24 after I added a few monsters, then jumped up to £34 after I added a desirable card worth £10. This price jump puts the deck core in an awkward place, so I’m expecting it not to sell the first time around- for this deck, I’ll probably have to either break up the deck core or figure out the cost of building a full deck.

However, sometimes decks can sell in much less complete states than I expect, so I need to weigh up the risk of waiting for the right cards vs the risk of waiting too long and losing any potentially interested buyers. For example, I recently sold a Spyral deck core which didn’t contain the main monster of the archetype, as I wasn’t sure if the extra £20 I’d spend to obtain three copies would be worth it. The deck is very weak without that monster so I wasn’t expecting a sale,  yet I still gained a happy buyer.

As a result, my final eBay lesson is that waiting too long to make the perfect listing may backfire, and it’s not always obvious what will sell.


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