Last updated on October 11, 2023
Clown Robot | Illustration by Ralph Horsley
Managing your MTGO inventory is sometimes a bit of a headache thanks to how volatile the card prices are. It's hard to play MTGO without spending money. It's often challenging to find the correct bot to sell cards to at the right price or just to buy them without going bankrupt.
This is why I’m going over my preferred buy bots to highlight their features and show you which one is my all-time favorite!
Shrewd Negotiation | Illustration by Slawomir Maniak
There are multiple bots in MTGO where you can sell cards or even get some for free, but buy bots allow you to purchase cards for your collection. While certain prominent chains have multiple bots capable of both buying and selling, they often provide dedicated bots for each category. This specialization ensures that transactions proceed smoothly, catering to the specific demands of users.
As the name implies, the main role of a buy bot is to provide a place for buying cards on demand, often ordering from a website or contacting the bot directly within the client. These bots give you cards in exchange for tickets or credits, and while you can sell your cards to get tickets, you can’t give cards directly to these bots to complete the transaction.
I rank ManaTraders at the bottom of the list simply because they don’t have any buy bots available to sell you cards.
While they do have an option to apply for their rental services, you first need to get approved and go through some hoops before you’re accepted.
Still, they buy tickets at reasonable prices and can even sell you them a bit cheaper than when buying directly from the store.
To compensate for the fact that they don't sell cards directly, it's worth noting that they run a set of monthly tournament series for multiple formats with special prizes for subscribers.
I like DojoTrade Bots because it offers a wide range of cards, and it's worth looking at it when you know there's scarcity for a particular card you may need. They offer multiple payment options and even a discount if you pay with real money rather than with tix. That said, it’s not my go-to place when buying cards because other chains offer a wide range of cards and have very good tools to make your life easier.
They don't provide rental services either.
MTGOTraders is a good bot chain if you’re looking to both buy and sell tickets or cards. While it's not my first option when it comes to buying, it's often good to compare prices between bots for otherwise scarce cards. Their prices are a bit higher than our other top two choices, but this option is often a suitable one when in need.
Cardhoarder has some great built-in functionality that lets you place orders online and receive them almost instantly. It also has an amazing loan program that gives you free tickets to rent cards for free on the lowest range, and you can customize the ticket range by paying an extra fee to get access to a higher rental limit.
The only downside I find with it is that since it also rents cards, they often run out of stock for popular staples or recent sets. Still, it's the second-best place to get your cards for a fair price.
This is by far the easiest and cheapest bot chain to get your cards from. While it has some useful tools like the “card swap” option, which allows you to exchange your cards for other versions of it for a lesser price, that's not the most exciting thing about them. What I like most is that it gives you the lowest prices compared to other chains when buying cards. There are just a handful of card exceptions that you’ll find a bit pricier than the rest once in a while, but overall, this is my go-to chain when I want to get my hands on cards.
It’s worth mentioning that while other bot chains sell commons at 0.05 each, this chain sells most of them for a tenth of the price, something to consider if you’re looking for cards for your Pauper decks.
They also give you a reasonable price when it comes to selling your cards, but sometimes Cardhoarder bots pay more for Eternal format cards than Goatbots, so it's worth keeping that in mind.
It’s very rare that they’re out of stock of any card, meaning that you’ll most certainly find what you’re looking for when searching for cards in this chain. The drawback is that they don’t offer any rental services.
There are a couple of ways to use buying bots on MTGO. The first is placing an order on an official website, following the steps through their wizard, and waiting until the assigned bot reaches you with your order in the MTGO client.
The second option is to search for the bot chain on MTGO, select some of their buy bots, and look for the card you want.
Magic Online search for Cardhoarder bots
I like the first option better because you don’t have to wait until a bot is available to deliver the cards and the process doesn’t take much time.
In the past, MTGO bots had a timeframe of around 12 hours to adjust to market changes. Nowadays, the timeframe is approximately less than an hour. Also, it's worth noting that they adjust on demand, depending on the availability of certain cards. Sometimes, they may even lock their price if they start skyrocketing. This usually happens around the time when ban announcements are being published.
Bots are usually very fast at delivering your cards, but it can vary if you order them from the webpage or if you contact the bot directly.
As a player, I know how important it is to get your hands on the cards you want, especially if you’re preparing for a certain tournament or simply because you want to run a league or have them in your inventory.
Example of an on-site bot checkout for Magic Online cards
The most common waiting time is around five minutes per transaction via an online checkout, and contacting a bot directly on MTGO can take you from two to five minutes.
Cardhoarder has to be the fastest bot chain on MTGO in terms of velocity.
While trading cards is viable with bots that sell and buy cards, dedicated buy bots only accept tickets or credits as a payment method. Credits are often bought from the webpage and act as tickets for bot chains; however, buying them from the store is significantly cheaper than getting them directly from the MTGO Store.
Submit trade screen with a bot on Magic Online
When it comes to “trading” cards for TIX, dedicated buy bots usually don’t have any tickets under their belt if you contact them directly. They’ll only contain the cards you ordered.
While it's nice to maintain a collection, you need to be aware that market prices are very volatile, with a tendency for cards to devalue over time, unlike their paper counterparts. There are several reasons why this may happen, but the most common one is that MTGO has multiple online-only sets that often include reprinted cards to increase their availability. Another possibility is that they often increase the chances of certain cards appearing in treasure chests.
With that in mind, it's very likely that an investment of $300 in online cards will end up devaluing to only half that price in a period of three to six months. Players often rent those cards instead of buying them with services like Manatraders or Cardhoarder to bypass this.
Here's how it works: You pay a service a weekly or monthly fee, and in return, you receive an amount of tickets that can be used to rent cards from them. The price of the cards is deducted from your loan balance, and even if the actual cards decrease in price when you return them, they'll maintain the same price you initially rented them at.
To give you an idea, for roughly $3.50 a week, you get access to around 300 TIX worth of cards. That's very cheap, especially if you like to play in leagues and switch between decks. There's no need to go and sell your cards, possibly losing some price margin on the transaction; you can just return the cards and get new ones if needed.
You can also put your account on hold for a period where they won't charge you anything, which is ideal for traveling or having a busy week.
My choice for renting is and will always be Cardhoarder because it's the cheapest and most intuitive solution with a huge stock at their disposal.
Watermarket | Illustration by Simon Dominic
There are several bot options in MTGO, but without a doubt, these are the most reliable when protecting your budget and wallet.
Rental services play a massive role in modern-age online gaming, so it's always good to know which are the most reliable ones but also have an overall idea of which others are available in case of scarcity.
What do you think? Do you agree with my options? Do you have some preferred bots I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments!
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Take care, see you next time!
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