Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Yu-Gi-Oh Online Card Stores
Looking for stores that sell Yu-Gi-Oh cards online can be intimidating for inexperienced users; no one wants to make a purchase only to realize they bought a monster for an inflated price. Luckily, the online trading card business is a surprisingly fair and accessible market that can easily get you the cards you need.
That said, my years of electronically getting my gamer's fix has given me some insights about the perils, pitfalls, and potential of online stores that I'm happy to share. To help you get the most bang for your duel monsters buck, here are several essential tips to buying trading cards online!
Advantages of Buying Online
- Choice: You can buy booster packs or box sets as you would in retail stores, but you can also simply find and purchase the individual cards you seek.
- Convenience: Online, you don't have to find a "card shop near me", drive out to a retail or gaming store, and hope they have what you need. It's also much easier to find older cards electronically.
- Price: Most cards have multiple sellers, letting you riffle through and find the lowest prices.
- Shipping Speed: Yu-Gi-Oh cards are small, easily bundled, and typically arrive before their expected date.
Watch for Amazon Deals
One reason why I recommend Amazon is their occasional deals, not only on Yu-Gi-Oh cards, but across the site. For instance, not too long ago I went on a card-buying rampage and spent over $100 (hey, it was for a Magician/Odd-Eyes pendulum deck). Luckily, Amazon was running a special promotion where you could buy a $100 online Amazon gift card and get an extra $5 free. This nice touch made a big purchase slightly more affordable, so keep your eyes peeled for special deals!
Usefulness (Not Rarity) Determines Prices
Seems a lot of casual fans naturally assume that rare, super-rare, and ultra-rare cards will burn a big hole in their wallet, but this is usually far from true. With millions of cards circulating through the world, you can often find even uncommon entities at cheap bargains; the units that will actually cost an arm and a leg are the competitive (but legal) cards like Raigeki or Twin Twisters.
Fortunately for competitive duelists, even these can usually be bought under $20, far from unattainable, and remember, this is the extreme high end. The vast majority of the 50+ cards I recently purchased were under $2, even the "rare" units. Also, because of their versatility and constant access without needing to be drawn, expect to shell out a bit more dough for extra deck cards (fusion, synchro, xyz, and link monsters).
Pay Attention to Shipping Costs
Here's another tip that's Amazon-wide, not just for Yu-Gi-Oh selling sites. Let's say a card costs about $1. Many vendors will list the card as $1 with free shipping, but some sneaky sellers might list it as 20 cents but with 80 cents shipping errata.
Luckily, you can sort Amazon results by overall price (including shipping costs) to easily find the best bundles, and sometimes even cards with small shipping costs are actually the better deals. Although most sites offer fair prices, on occasion I've met a wannabe scammer hoping to slip a 20-cent card by with an under-emphasized eight-dollar shipping fee. Thankfully, these are few and far between, and Amazon provides several reviews during the buying process for you to double-check the total prices of your orders.
For the unfamiliar, Honey is a free program for your browser that essentially performs two useful functions when buying any online product. First, it'll compare your Amazon result to other vendors and let you know if it finds a better deal. Second, it'll automatically try to apply coupon codes during checkout, often shaving off a few extra dollars with promotional deals.
I've used Honey for years and strongly recommend it; after all, it's free! You can even have it monitor a product's price and inform you if it drops to a specified amount, letting you pass on expensive deals and nab them if their cost ever sufficiently decreases.
Buy Card Sleeves
When trading cards arrive, they'll typically come with a paper receipt detailing which cards you purchased, helpfully giving you a list to check just in case something's missing. Whether you intend to play or collect and store your new cards, I highly recommend putting them in card sleeves to defend against wear and tear.
The cheapest card sleeves are thin, transparent plastic wraps, but these offer almost no structure support, and I strongly suggest shelling out the extra buck or two for harder materials. Wal-Mart, Target, and other retailers often carry sleeves, but I typically find the best deals online, like this 100 pack of double matte teal sleeves I bought for $7, an excellent blend of affordability and protection. If you're playing with sleeved cards, make sure all sleeves match in color so you're not accused of cheating by predicting cards based on their sleeve back.
Yu-Gi-Oh Online Card FAQs
Where should I buy Yu-Gi-Oh cards online?
I recommend Amazon, where you'll find varied and reputable sellers such as Duelist Academy, MultiMonster deals, and Core TCG. Troll and Toad is a good alternative website.
I'm nervous about buying cards online. What if they rip me off?
No worries, if you're using Amazon, simply pay attention to the user review "star ratings" of each seller and you should have a good idea of their reputation. Four stars and up is the norm and should be more than safe.
What are the best deals?
Buying "card lots" lets you acquire bulk bundles of cards (usually between 50 and 200) at once. While you're often receiving a big discount with lot gift sets, these are the packages where you're most likely to encounter duplicate, used, or foreign-language cards. Still, most lots guarantee at least a few rare, super-rare, or ultra-rare cards, and they can be a fun way to test your luck. Otherwise, I'd simply search for and buy the singles you need.
Who is the best seller?
I've made multiple purchases with the vendors listed above and was always delivered the correct (and well-maintained) card(s), usually with a free hard plastic or matte sleeve to prevent damage during shipping. I'd recommend all of these companies, but my favorite has to be 888TCG, who has always included a random bonus card for free. Here's a link to one of the spells I purchased, Machine Angel Ritual. Not only did I get my needed magic for only 60 cents with free shipping, but they also gave me a "Dinoster Power, the Mighty Dracoslayer" as an unexpected present! Try your luck and see if you can find something even rarer as a bonus.
Where can I sell my old Yu-Gi-Oh cards?
Amazon and eBay are good choices, and your cards will be worth a lot more if they've been properly maintained. That said, selling locally to friends or game stores prevents you from having to deal with shipping hassles.
Playtesting your Deck Before You Buy
With this knowledge, you should be well-equipped to start obtaining your ultimate Blue-Eyes White Dragon, Dark Magician, and other deck lists online. A final tip: before making your purchases, it's often smart to playtest your deck with free online Yu-Gi-Oh game sites. Some will simply let you battle against online opponents; others quickly draw a sample hand to give you an idea of what your deck's opening options will look like, letting you know if something needs to be switched out before you've already spent your cash.
Fortunately, Yu-Gi-Oh cards are comparatively cheap (next to Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering), letting dueling fans of all backgrounds afford their hobby if they're savvy shoppers. Hopefully, you've learned some money-saving information today, and now that you're ready to find your cards, Yugi Moto would tell you "it's time to duel!"
Questions & Answers
Question: I have over two hundred Yu-Gi-Oh cards, what's the best way to organize them?
Answer: Depends on what you're doing with them. If you play them frequently, you can protect them with matte card sleeves and store them in deck boxes. But if you're collecting them, you can also keep them in card binders.
In case you ever decide to take them out for inclusion in a deck, you could sort them by monster/spell/trap and further divide them by monster type, spell type, and trap type. This also helps your collection look professional, useful if you ever sell it.
Question: Should I buy Yu-Gi-Oh cards at Walmart?
Answer: Depends on what you want. I often see discounts on sets a few years old, a nice option for casual players, though you'll only find packs or boxes rather than individual cards. You can also get similar deals from a local GameStop, which adds the advantage of amassing pro points you can spend towards other goods.
For competitive players or ones seeking individual cards, I recommend online shopping.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on June 30, 2018:
Thanks Poppy; if you don't mind my asking, are you a Yu-Gi-Oh player (even just casually)? I hope any nonfans among my followers don't get too annoyed with the frequent YGO hubs in their feed.
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on June 30, 2018:
Jeremy, you’re truly an expert when it comes to Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards. Excellent job!