Last updated on August 31, 2021
Gift of Estates | Illustration by Alexis Hernandez and Justin Hernandez
When it comes to buying product for MTG, there’s a million places that you can go. Some are a rip-off and charge you just for their brand or carrying inventory when you — as the consumer — only care about getting that one special thing you want.
So today, we’re going to give you the actual good stuff. Depending on what you’re looking for, different sellers may be better than others. I’ll be breaking down the list for the best place to find gifts, booster boxes and packs, singles, decks and precons, Secret Lair drops, and accessories.
I’ll be looking at things on a basic level because the product is mostly the same no matter where you get it at the end of the day. The difference is the shopping experience, level of service provided, and how the products are shipped. My recommendations will be based on the USA, but I’ll also touch on the Canadian side of things a bit at the end.
Let’s get started!
Where to Buy Gifts
Gifting anything can be an easy process or or a big ordeal. The last thing you need making it harder is having to search forever to find what you’re looking for. My recommendations for this are going to depend on what you’re looking for.
If you’re buying booster packs or other physical Magic cards, I suggest hanging on to your hat until we get just a bit further down. I’m mainly talking about aesthetic stuff here.
Marisi, Breaker of the Coil | Illustration by Rudy Siswanto
Any products that Wizards of the Coast has put out that’s no longer being printed or sold can be found on eBay. Especially if you’re looking for the really old stuff like Alpha, Beta, or Revised or even graded cards. You also can find booster boxes and packs that can be almost impossible to find other places.
The biggest problem is that eBay is an auction house. You’re relying on the hope that the seller has accurately represented the item and that everyone else who’s bidding on the item has an idea of its worth. It can be a risk whether or not you’ll get the item for a good or horrible price. You could use the “Buy It Now” option if the seller allows it so you can skip the auction, but it’ll probably be for a higher price than you could have paid if you entered the bidding fray.
There’s no shortage of really creative people making really creative things on Etsy. Sellers making Magic tchotchkes and other cool stuff are no exception.
If your dad drinks coffee and has a soft spot for everyone’s favorite mage to hate on, they’ve got that. If your brother plays Dimir and has a soft spot for aesthetics, they’ve got that. If your friend is having a baby and you want to be that weird friend, they’ve got a couple of things for that. Keep in mind that prices will vary and might be higher due to materials, labor, etc., and these are typically small, single-person operations, so make sure to order ahead of time.
Where to Buy Booster Boxes and Packs
Got the urge to gamble a bit or hoping to beef a collection of a certain set? Booster boxes and packs are the best way to have a fun time with the added benefit of the risk of going bust. Even with that in mind, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t enjoy opening a new pack and that distinctive new card smell that comes with it.
Depending on the set, finding them may be as trivial as tripping over them on the sidewalk or as difficult as having to attend a session at Sotheby’s. Let’s get into it.
Justice Strike | Illustration by Clint Cearley
This might be the cheap-out answer, but it’s true. A pack from a Standard set or one that only just recently rolled out of it isn’t going to be too hard to find. Heck, I still see packs from War of the Spark hanging on the end caps at my local Walgreens.
Wherever you prefer to buy or order products from is probably going to have what you’re looking for. Prices may vary depending on the age and popularity of the set, but very rarely beyond what I’d consider an agreeable margin. Just make sure to buy official packs and check them before you buy if it’s from a big box store.
Card Kingdom has been around for years and is most player’s go-to for a lot of different products. When it comes to the old stuff, they have quite a bit on offer, ranging from Alpha to the most recent set. Their prices are right around the market rate, but you’re limited by their stock of the items.
The main reason I recommend them for older products is that you’re guaranteed a high level of service and incredible shipping. They really know the best way to get your stuff to you. Also, if you happen to be in the Seattle or Portland areas, you could just go into the shop and pick it up directly. You also get a free random custom token, so that’s cool too.
The Best Place to Buy Singles for MTG
Breya, Etherium Shaper | Illustration by Clint Cearley
Here’s where the waters can start to get murky for a lot of players. Pretty much anywhere you can buy Magic things, you can buy singles. The major factors are going to be variety and price.
It’s hard to beat the variety that TCGPlayer offers. Although they sell cards, they’re like the Amazon of trading card games. You’ll see all card shops across the USA that have whatever you search in their inventory along with their price. Bulk shipping is available, and they have a cart optimizer with several options to make sure you’re spending the least amount of money for what you’re ordering, price and shipping included.
The downsides are very similar to eBay. I’ve used TCGPlayer for years and my experience with certain shops have ranged from amazing to meh. The worst I’ve ever had was a single card that was listed as “Near Mint” and arrived looking more in the neighborhood of “Lightly Played.” You take that as a risk, but you get a huge variety of sellers and the prices that come with that level of competition.
Where to Buy Commander Decks and Precons
For this, I’m going to be talking about the more recent decks. For older stuff, go back up to booster boxes and packs.
This was an odd one as everywhere I’ve mentioned so far is just as good as everywhere else, but I’ve had greater success finding the decks available for Commander products on Amazon. Especially the decks that are of great value or just really in demand. The pricing tends to be very close to if not a little better than purchasing it in a store. The other nice thing is that some sellers will even pack the set precons together at a discount.
Where to Buy Secret Lairs
Lightning Greaves | Illustration by Rudy Siswanto
This is a hard category to really give a recommendation for since, by their nature, Secret Lairs are meant to be in limited supply. If you can get them directly from Wizards of the Coast when they come out, do that. If you can’t, try and get them through your LGS.
Depending on the Secret Lair in question, this has to be a split recommendation. TCGPlayer is currently your best bet since you can look at a ton of card stores. After that, eBay has the best prices as sellers still try to be around the market rate if they want to actually sell their stuff. And you could get it for less if it’s an actual auction.
Where to Buy Accessories
From deck boxes to dice, every Magic player has at least a shelf full of cardboard paraphernalia. Wherever you can get cards, you can get stuff to hold and protect them. The main issue I’ve found is that what you love to use may not be available where you like to shop. Variety is going to be king here.
I’ve had great success ordering accessories from Card Kingdom. They’re all accessible from their website and they regularly have items on sale, especially anything with the custom Card Kingdom logo on it. Great all around, but you’re limited by their in-store stock.
Amazon is a double-edged recommendation. While the variety of items is fantastic, and that really is the main criteria here, there are a couple caveats which keep it from my top slot:
- The prices may not be fantastic. Especially if you’re looking for something that’s not technically made for MTG or trading card games in general. For example, the Stanley 10 Removable Compartment Deep Professional Organizer. This is an item that’s listed on Amazon at around $35. You could also get it at Home Depot for about $15. While Amazon is convenient and great for what it is, you should probably shop around to make sure you aren’t getting gouged.
- The reviews aren’t the most reliable. I’ve found that for things are pretty good the main accessory items like deck boxes, sleeves, and playmats. Once you get into the wider use items like dice, bags, though, you should start looking at the 2- and 4-star reviews instead of the 1- or 5-star ones, as they tend to be from actual users.
Exquisite Archangel | Illustration by Brad Rigney
Options for MTG Arena
MTG Arena is a funny one. For a game with microtransactions they don’t make or even sell cards you can buy to load up your in-game wallet. So, if your loved one (or just yourself) plays digitally instead, finding something for that outside the game can be difficult.
That’s where Gray Viking Games comes in. While you can’t directly give someone gems from outside Arena, codes for the different items in the game’s store do exist. GVG allows you to buy the packs, decks, cosmetics, etc. that you want to have or gift, and they’ll send a code to redeem to your inbox. If you aren’t sure what to get, you can get a GVG gift card instead to let your giftee pick for themselves. This is a great substitute for directly buying cards on MTG Arena.
Not In the USA? No Problem!
I can understand how frustrating this can be. There have been times that I wanted things that I couldn’t easily get in the US and have to shop abroad. It’s expensive. Since Wizards doesn’t have a foothold in every country, sometimes shopping internationally is your only option. For Canadian players, especially those who live out in the more rural or wilderness areas, getting physical Magic merch can be hard.
I know that some sellers on TCGPlayer and Card Kingdom will ship to Canada, but the shipping costs increase significantly. I’m not Canadian-based and I’ve never had to buy Magic cards in Canada, so it’s difficult for me to recommend a specific place to buy from. However, what I can provide is a list of Canadian-based stores (in no particular order) that ship across the country:
- Wizard’s Tower
- 401 Games
- L.A. Mood Comics & Games
- Face to Face Games
- Card Shop Tolaria
- Game Shack
- Kessel Run Games
- Fusion Gaming
- Magic Stronghold
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Specials
If you’re patient, or if it’s just the right time of the year, you can get some serious discounts on MTG cardboard and accessories during a Black Friday sale. Retailers often give 10-15% discounts in either store credit or immediate markdowns on your purchases. This is a great time to load up on stuff if you want to give gifts or restock your war chest of MTG supplies.
We’ve got a whole article running down the best deals (which we keep updated each year) right here.
Confront the Past | Illustration by Kieran Yanner
Any kind of Magic card is a good Magic card. Except Tobias Andrion. He knows what he did. The only thing better is a great one for a great price. Buying these treasured pieces of play and lore can be a challenge at times and it’s really easy to lose the shirt off your back if you don’t know where to look.
No matter what my recommendation, I strongly urge you to support your LGS whenever possible. Don’t let them take you for a ride on any specific card, but the increased cost would be put to good use if the margin is reasonable. Your LGS might also have an online store where they can ship or do curbside pickup. Look into it.
As always, if you enjoy stuff like this, please continue to watch the blog for more and maybe even consider becoming a Patron. If you’re Arena player and looking for help in draft, you could also give Arena Tutor a try.
Do you have a favorite place to get your sealed or loose Magic products? Do you live outside the USA and have recommendations of places to buy or avoid? We welcome them in our Discord or in the comments below!
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