Making money at MTGO?

  • #1
    Since 08' I've been pretty much unemployed and looking for a position in anything (cali/washington) I haven't had much luck with any positions, even fast food places which would be a dream come true about now. I consider myself to be a very good magic player and deck builder (and others say the same). I rarely (if ever) go x-2 or worse and often times a deck that I built/tailored for the tournament wins that night. I am wondering if it's possible to make enouph money on mtgo to substitute a minimum wage job (70-taxes) by playing dailies and premier events.

    After looking the prize info up for dailies I found that 3-1 gets 6 packs x3.7 (to sell to bots)= 22.2 tickets; and 4-0 gets you 11 packs x3.7= 40.7. If that were the case and I could do 3 tournaments a day and sell packs of 50 or 100 for 90% of actual value I could make between 60 and 120 a day playing MTGO.

    I'm wondering is this realistic at all or am I just dreaming. Thx for your info in advance.
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  • #2
    Mana screw would factor into your salary too much. It's unreliable, and as far as your skill level generating a salary playing MTGO... there's always a bigger fish.
  • #3
    First of all, I'll go ahead and say you can definitely make money on MTGO. I haven't spent a dollar on the program for quite a while now, because my winnings manage to keep me going.

    However, that profit is nowhere near something I could live off.

    Of course, from what you say you're probably a better player than me. Still, that would be tremendously risky business. One of my close Magic friends (and ex-teammate) is a great player, pretty well-known in the Brazilian scene, and has played PTs and even gotten one of his matches featured on the official Magic site. He tried his best to make a living off MTGO, but couldn't do it. Your winning percentage just has to be WAY too high for that to work.

    If I were to give you advice, I'd say don't count on it.
    Last edited by RickCorgan: 3/31/2010 7:01:08 PM
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  • #4
    The amount of time and effort that it would take to make a decent living on MTGO would be better spent playing pro poker. You get mana screwed for a few games in Magic and you're out of a tournament, nothing you can do about it. There's just too much variance with too small of a payout for it to be anything more than a fun hobby for the vast majority of people.
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  • #5
    Thank you for the advice, I have to agree with you guys and hope that it will be a good past time instead of a job.
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  • #6
    Let us know how it goes if you do try it. I'm interested to hear how much your able to make per day playing.
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  • #7
    If you're good and play only constructed you should be able to make a fair bit of money. I play strictly limited, where payouts often are <50%, and still break even in my playing (March gave me 55 tix profit from playing). In constructed the payouts are often nearly 100%, so if you're good you WILL make money in the long run. Variance should be less than poker too, as in poker any moron can luck out if they keep calling. In Magic bad players who have no clue can NEVER win pretty much (Probably like less than 1% chance of losing to the really bad players).

    If you like investing magic online provides interesting opportunities as well. Once you start playing and collecting tickets from selling your winnings, if you have a keen sense of card values and trends you should probably invest your winnings in cards rather than keeping them in your account as tickets, doing nothing.

    Smart investing in cards on magic online can make you way more money than playing.
  • #8
    I've had the streak of my life the last 4-5 months (75-80% win, consistent 1900+ rating), and I still only make about 30-40 tickets a day if I play, say 7-8 hours (although I only play limited, so maybe constructed gives you more). I think you have to look at Modo as a hobby, as it's not realistic to make enough money to make a living out of it. If Modo had higher entry fees and higher payouts then it might have been possible, but as it is, I don't think it's feasible.

    You should also consider that you're likely to ruin your social life, and you do your body a really bad favor by making playing computer games into a job.


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  • #9
    Online has streaks. I started from borrowing stuff from friends, then paying them back and being at an advantage for like a year or so. then, about a year ago I had a bad streak of like 2 months and lost all and put like 300-400 dollars in it. after that for a year I have played so that I have about 500-600 tix worth of stuff atm and I have sold stuff to clanmates in the last year for about 1500 tix. So basically if you play good, you can get the minimum wage probably. But you cannot count on it.
    I have the same thing with sene though. I will not touch constructed, because it is just too boring.
  • #10
    Just play Poker, much higher payouts in the end. though you have MUCH more chance of being screwed over in poker then in magic.
  • #11
    I imagine that the only way to make a consistent profit off of Magic the Gathering would be to invest in a Card Bot and spend 24/7 buying low and selling high, then reselling on eBay or the like.

    I don't think it's possible to be good enough to make more than minimum just via playing, and that would be pretty tough.
  • #12
    Quote from Wander
    I imagine that the only way to make a consistent profit off of Magic the Gathering would be to invest in a Card Bot and spend 24/7 buying low and selling high, then reselling on eBay or the like.

    I don't think it's possible to be good enough to make more than minimum just via playing, and that would be pretty tough.


    The answer is a combination of this, and playing as many daily and premier events as possible. If you are as good as you say then you can def make a profit. Put your winnings on the bot and you will get better prices for them from players looking to draft then you would from other ppl's bots. You wont ever get rich, but if you goal is to make more than you would flipping burgers, I am certain you can accomplish that and more.
  • #13
    If you do three 4-round tournaments a day, and go 3-1 or 4-0 in each one, that means you're playing 12 rounds of sanctioned Magic a day. That's approaching 12 hours of game time. Factor in time waiting in queues, building decks, and then selling your winnings and you're probably looking at 13-14 hour days with a maximum earning approaching $100-$110 (because no one will buy tickets from you for $1).

    So even on your best day, you're making about $8/hr, maybe a bit more.

    That's California minimum wage.

    You're not going to go 4-0 every time, so you'll earn much less than minimum wage on average. In other words, you're better off financially with ANY OTHER JOB. Including flipping burgers.

    I don't mean this to be offensive, but if you're smart enough to 4-0 a Magic tournament, you can hold down a job even if you have a significant physical disability. Considering you must also have a fairly analytical mind to be good at Magic, I'm sure you can earn more than minimum wage if you actually try.
  • #14
    Quote from Sene
    I've had the streak of my life the last 4-5 months (75-80% win, consistent 1900+ rating), and I still only make about 30-40 tickets a day if I play, say 7-8 hours (although I only play limited, so maybe constructed gives you more). I think you have to look at Modo as a hobby, as it's not realistic to make enough money to make a living out of it. If Modo had higher entry fees and higher payouts then it might have been possible, but as it is, I don't think it's feasible.

    You should also consider that you're likely to ruin your social life, and you do your body a really bad favor by making playing computer games into a job.


    I don't see how this would ruin your social life. Play all day while your buddies are at work/school, the go out at night. I also don't see how trying to make a living on MTGO would be harder on your body than sitting at a desk in an office all day. You'd probably have more energy for going to the gym because you wouldn't have to waste time driving to and from work.
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  • #15
    Quote from Kid Icarus
    I don't see how this would ruin your social life. Play all day while your buddies are at work/school, the go out at night. I also don't see how trying to make a living on MTGO would be harder on your body than sitting at a desk in an office all day. You'd probably have more energy for going to the gym because you wouldn't have to waste time driving to and from work.

    The reason why I think it will is that I think you'd have to play way more each day than you have to work each day with an average job. So you'd probably have to play 12 hours a day or more, which doesn't leave much room for social or physical exercise.


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  • #16
    Not really, but close.
    I am in the plus side in online and I play about 30-35 hours a week(to think about it, I play way too much). It is Just that almost every single second I am in online I am in 2 events.
    I guess if you are slower, this is not for you. I am usually ahead of time from my opp in both matches I play.
  • #17
    When you look at your "earnings" on MTGO you also have to factor in the overhead of actually converting the tickets/cards to real world money. This usually involves a third-party eating up your profit margin (it could be an online dealer or just service fees on ebay for example). So I would tend to think that even if you were a really good player, there would be a significant difference between spending 40 hours a week on MTGO and earning money at a min. wage job.
  • #18
    in the events count you have to double-triple queue. At that point there's 4 constructed DE's every 7 hrs. You're actually looking at 10 hrs for 5 events a day. Assuming 3-1 all 5 at an average of 19 tix for 6 packs as ZW=about 6.4 although UUU atm is 12.5 you're actually looking at 65 tix profit per 10 hours. That's at double-triple queuing and having decks for every cons format including legacy. Also assume .92 for tix conversion to $. I mean obv if you can live the dream and can actually 4-0 every one you're doubling that, but I know if I can't put myself at those odds I can honestly doubt any other modo player can either. For every event you 4-0 you will X-2 drop. GL with that, however looking at it as something to do and make money off it is a great way to supplement a job. Personally I double queue and sometimes run cheap poker games on the side. Although I have a new laptop finally so once I get up to speed I may be back to triple + poker.

    edit forgot about the free 20 tix every month for MOCS since you will have DI points. Also promo
    Last edited by sneakattackid: 4/3/2010 7:39:38 PM
  • #19
    play and win some daily events, premier, or draft, get the tickets and buy cards from bot that you're 90% sure will go up due to demand for online ptq season or whatever, then you can make some profits.

    don't fully devoted into it unless you're seriously thinking about becoming a pro player. you can find a job to do while still playing magic.


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  • #20
    What about the easiest way to construct standard decks for little to no money? I just started MTGO last month and have only put like 20$ into it. Starting out I placed 2nd on the first draft I ever did and kept a decent bit of momentum(basically only having to buy a couple tix when I wanted to draft because I would generally win at least 2 packs and trade some bot for a third, so it hardly cost me anything to draft). After a couple weeks I managed to somewhat rare draft and pulled 3 fetchlands which I traded for some tix and had enough to make that unearth deck that was going around several months ago for about 9 tix(minus sedraxis spectres *sadface*). I play with it in the casual room but haven't taken it to a constructed event yet because I doubt I'll get anywhere with it.

    Anyway, that aside, I'm curious how I can build a semi-competitive standard deck for little to no cash using the limited selection of cards I've pulled from draft. Any ideas?
  • #21
    Quote from Kable
    What about the easiest way to construct standard decks for little to no money? I just started MTGO last month and have only put like 20$ into it. Starting out I placed 2nd on the first draft I ever did and kept a decent bit of momentum(basically only having to buy a couple tix when I wanted to draft because I would generally win at least 2 packs and trade some bot for a third, so it hardly cost me anything to draft). After a couple weeks I managed to somewhat rare draft and pulled 3 fetchlands which I traded for some tix and had enough to make that unearth deck that was going around several months ago for about 9 tix(minus sedraxis spectres *sadface*). I play with it in the casual room but haven't taken it to a constructed event yet because I doubt I'll get anywhere with it.

    Anyway, that aside, I'm curious how I can build a semi-competitive standard deck for little to no cash using the limited selection of cards I've pulled from draft. Any ideas?


    You pretty much can't do it usng just the cards you pulled. What you can do is sell those cards (or dump a few more bucks into the game) and build yourself a Block Constructed deck. Vamps and Valakut are both pretty cheap to build, the only expensive cards are the fetches (you'll want the fetches when you start playing standard anyway, they see use in extended as well so they'll hold their value). U/W Allies is cheap too, although not as competitive.

    Pick one, play it until you know exactly how to play it best in the matchups you're likely to face, and once you feel like you've mastered it, start entering the daily block tournaments. You need a win percentage over 50% to break even, probably closer to 60-65% to turn any sort of profit and have tickets to build a standard deck, if that's what you're aiming for.

    Summary: Build Block, it's cheaper and a bit more balanced than standard, get consistent wins there, then build yourself a competitive standard deck (preferably after shards block rotates since 1) Jund will be gone and 2) cards from that block are going to plummet in price so now is definitely not the time to be stocking up)
  • #22
    Quote from stray201
    You pretty much can't do it usng just the cards you pulled. What you can do is sell those cards (or dump a few more bucks into the game) and build yourself a Block Constructed deck. Vamps and Valakut are both pretty cheap to build, the only expensive cards are the fetches (you'll want the fetches when you start playing standard anyway, they see use in extended as well so they'll hold their value). U/W Allies is cheap too, although not as competitive.

    Pick one, play it until you know exactly how to play it best in the matchups you're likely to face, and once you feel like you've mastered it, start entering the daily block tournaments. You need a win percentage over 50% to break even, probably closer to 60-65% to turn any sort of profit and have tickets to build a standard deck, if that's what you're aiming for.

    Summary: Build Block, it's cheaper and a bit more balanced than standard, get consistent wins there, then build yourself a competitive standard deck (preferably after shards block rotates since 1) Jund will be gone and 2) cards from that block are going to plummet in price so now is definitely not the time to be stocking up)


    Do you know where I can find good block deck lists to figure out how I want to approach this?
  • #23
    i used to make money flipping cards in the auction rooms. buy low sell high.
    not enough money to call it a job, but enough to not have to spend any more out of pocket. after a couple of years i got in a pinch and had to cash out (sold cards for tickets and tickets for cash) but i turned my original $200 investment into a little more than $1000.
    food for thought.
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  • #24
    The only thing that you have to worry about is that magic stops being a game. Turning magic into a job will cause you to get angry everytime you lose because that's less money you are making. Just watch out, it's easy to fall into this trap. It also may kill the game for you.
  • #25
    Quote from Kable
    Do you know where I can find good block deck lists to figure out how I want to approach this?


    You can start out with FFfreak's most recent article on block constructed here. From there, I'd recommend periodically seeing what's been winning the daily events on the official site, here (Right sidebar, Event Coverage). It gets updated regularly, so it's a good way to tell what your opposition is going to look like, giving you the opportunity to tune your sideboard to suit the meta.

    Remember that if you're planning on competing, you want to be playing in the Tournament Practice room and not Casual Decks. Play best 2 out of 3 matches rather than single games so you can build up some experience with what to side in and out against the top decks. I'd highly recommend never jumping into a tournament without playing a few practice matchups first. Better to get the cobwebs out before your money is on the line, right?
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