This is one of the topics I wanted to write about for quite some time, but couldn’t do so on Magic Universe for reasons that should be obvious. Maybe some of you will find my experiences helpful, and maybe you will even have something to add. There are a lot of MTGO trading bots out there, and it is very possible that I have missed a really good chain so far.
I write this mostly from the point of view of someone selling cards for tickets. Great buying bots may be bad selling bots and vice versa, but I wouldn’t know much about it. I will list those bot chains with which I have a trading history, starting with some I no longer use:
It is very long ago that I did business with that chain (and I am actually not even 100% if I ever really traded with them or only looked up their prices). They have a very unassuming website, which is not user-friendly at all, but is allegedly updated every 15 minutes.
I stopped visiting them because I found the way they displayed their offers too confusing – there always seemed to be an additional calculation involved which wasn’t properly explained, and which made, for example, a ticket cost more than one ticket. Since their offers weren’t good anyway, I did not bother to find out what this was all about.
Judging by a quick check of the more expensive Battle for Zendikar cards, their buying prices are still not competitive today, so I see no reason to give them another chance.
2. The MTGO Bazaar
I used to do business with that chain for a while, but I do not anymore, and I do not recommend them.
It has been quite some time that I sold cards to one of their bots, but in my memory their offers were usually not competitive at all. Once in a while, though, they unexpectedly would give you the best deal (this is also true for every bot chain I mention hereafter, and shows that it pays to compare prizes). However, this chain committed one of the cardinal sins of buying bots: They were often not stocked with tickets! You could still trade away your cards for other cards, but I usually would not want to do so (and I’m sceptical about their selection and selling prices, but I cannot say anything definite about that). Of course, you could just sell stuff to them for credit, but I really want to warn you against trusting any bot in that way. Losing up to a ticket is acceptable, but anything more it is an unnecessary risk. Some reputable bots will not even allow you to build up more than 1 ticket credit.
It is really annoying having to remember to check if a bot is actually able to buy your cards each time. I finally gave up on this chain when their bots were online for a few weeks without having ANYTHING in stock, but were still offering to „buy“ your cards. They have restocked on cards in the meantime, but I still didn’t see any tickets, so I decided to spend my leftover credit on a few rares I might be able to resell, and deleted them from my buddy list.
Another thing I remember is that their bots would quite frequently accept your trade offer, then do nothing and also not respond to your commands until you realized you had to give up and close the trade.
They have a website, but that contains practically no information and has not been updated for many years. All in all, everything about them looks really unprofessional to me.
As far as I can tell, this chain is now defunct, since I haven’t seen any of its bots online for months. (It still owes me a little over half a ticket…)
AboshanBot used to claim that they paid the highest buying prices, and in my experience that was almost always true (and in the very few cases where I found a better offer that was just a bit higher, and it was only a single one). The flip side, however, was that they only bought a few select cards currently on their buying list. It definitely paid to check them out, though!
I cannot remember if there used to be a webpage for this chain (I think there was, but I’m not sure). If so, it does not seem to exist anymore. That does not bode well for a possible return of this chain, which is a pity.
One more thing: This info might be completely outdated and/or wrong in the first place, but I once stumbled upon a rumor that there were a number of fake accounts pretending to belong to this chain (with corresponding bot names) which would screw over their customers. I have no idea if those ever really existed or still exist, but I wanted to mention it. The real accounts went by the names AboshanBot, AboshanBot2 and AboshanBot3.
Now about the bots I visit regularly at the moment:
If you do not like to take the time to compare prices, and just want to sell all your cards in one fell swoop as fast as possible, this is the bot chain I would recommend. However, unless your time is really valuable, it is always a better idea to invest a couple of extra minutes and look at the offers of several different chains.
The offers from MTGOTraders‚ buybots are frequently the best I can find, and with most cards they do at least not underbid the competition too spectacularly, but you can get clearly better deals a lot of the time nonetheless. A big plus is that they usually will buy all cards you can reasonably expect any bot to buy. All bots in that family will offer you the same price for the same card.
I am fine with MTGOTraders clearly differentiating between their sellbots and buybots, but it is quite annoying (and a bit greedy) that those two bot groups do not share credit with each other (but bots in each group do). Other than that, their service is good. They immediately take your cards and list their prices, much faster than with any other bot I know. Also, you can have them put back cards you do not wish to sell for that price, so that you do not need to cancel trade, remove those cards from your trade binder, and reenter trade. This should be a standard feature of every buybot, but some do not offer it. A small minus, however, is that their comparably few bots are often busy, and sometimes you have to try ten minutes or more until you can successfully initiate a trade with one of them. Most of the time it doesn’t take that long, though.
They do have a very user-friendly and large website allowing you to filter and sort cards according to several criteria, and their prices also seem to be mostly up-to-date, although they do not always make perfect sense (for example, I often wonder how prices for items they do not have in stock can continously go down). There is also a non-bot MTGO Traders account which is online frequently, and where you can talk to real persons. This might be the most professional MTGO bot chain.
On average, they pay less than MTGOTraders, but their offers are still comparable, and frequently they outbid the competition. This is the chain I have been using for the shortest time, so I may be a little off in my evaluation, but it seems to me that they are willing to buy a bit fewer cards than MTGOTraders, although they always make an offer for rares from a newer set. All their bots offer the same prices.
It takes a few seconds for their bots to grab your cards, but not excessively long, and you can have them put cards back. While their bots are rather busy, they have such a large number of them that you should always be able to enter trade successfully with one in a few seconds. All their bots share credit.
Their website looks very nice and user-friendly and seems to get updated frequently. However, their filtering/sorting options are a bit poor, and you can not look at the cards like you can at MTGOTraders. Still, everything looks quite professional, and I consider them the number two among buy bot chains.
This chain is a valuable asset if you are careful. For cards in great demand, their offers are usually at least okay, and sometimes they pay best by a considerable margin. I also found that they tend to pay premium on foil uncommons for some reason. On the other hand, for cards in less demand their offers are often so bad that it feels like a scam, and you should never unload cards blindly here. Sometimes they will make you a stepped offer – a better price for the first 2 copies of a card, for example, and a slightly worse for the rest. All bots offer the same prices. They claim they buy absolutely everything, which I find more of a minus than a plus, since it means they will spam your chat window with tons of ridiculously low offers.
These are bots you have to explicitly tell that you intend to sell cards, and it takes a moment until they are ready for that command, and then again some time while they pick your cards. Especially if you offer them a lot of cards, this can take so long that you will be tempted to do stuff in other windows on your computer while you wait – and then, you suddenly get the message that the trade was cancelled because the bot had finally been done and not detected activity by you for a minute! That is mildly annoying. Also, these bots do not enable you to make them put cards back, which is even more annoying. Lastly, they sometimes make you wait and nothing happens, forcing you to cancel trade, or cancelling it themselves after several minutes. This happens rarely, though.
Their website gives a semi-professional impression, with limited sorting options and no card pictures. I am not sure how often it gets updated; they say nothing about it, but since they trace stock per bot it SHOULD be rather frequently.
This is a rather large family, and I do business with them for just a few weeks so far. I only use those whose name start with TheCardNexusBooster. In theory, everything I say should apply to all their buying bots, but I have no experience with the other members.
The offers from this chain are distinctly lower than that of the competition all over the spectrum, but most noticeably with older cards. When I sold my collection a couple days ago, I found that MTGOTraders offered the best price for ca. 40% on the cards, and GoatBots and ClanTeamBooster for ca. 30% each, while TheCardNexus did it for every 40th card or so. Furthermore, their offers were most of the time the lowest among all bots I checked for newer cards (for older cards in less demand, ClanTeamBooster would often take last place instead) and would even regularly cross over into „feels like a scam“ territory. Finally, those bots often were not interested at all in cards every other bot would buy (for example, Shambling Vent a week ago). But at least all their bots make the same offers.
These bots take extraordinarily long before they take your cards, citing Magic Online lag as the source of the issue (which somehow seems to only affect them). Also, I already had a few cases where I waited several minutes and nothing happened. You do have the option to have them put cards back, though. While there are quite many bots in this family, they seem to go offline rather frequently and erratically, which means it may take a little longer to enter a trade with them than you would suspect with so many bots. They all share credit.
The bot owner has a twitter account where he is online and active quite often, which is how I found this chain. He also has a website, which (by his own admission) is quite the mess, with Khans of Tarkir the newest set which can be filtered and sorted, a woefully incomplete list of their bots, links which do not work, and generally an unintuitive and impracticable outline. I have a bit of a hard time to believe that the info shown there is actually correct and up-to-date, but this is just due to the generally bad impression it makes.
The only reason why I still use this bot chain is that I haven’t found anything better so far, and that I want to have at least four chains to compare offers. Overall, however, the (very) occasional better deal does not seem worth the hassle, and I will gladly replace this chain with anything reasonable. Does anyone have a good suggestion?