Be the Change You Wish to See


How's it going guys? Some of you know me as Disciple112—you may have noticed me around the Discord chat, if you hang out in those parts. Today, I wanted to take the time to talk about my Puca experience, and point out something that I think can help improve everyone's experience. Let's start with a little backstory.

I joined PucaTrade back in January of this year, and I was hesitant. My only exposure had been a swath of YouTubers after the Future Site fallout, and my father-in-law who had been finding great success PucaTrade. I decided to give it a shot. I built a deck via TappedOut, and set out trying to figure out how I'd afford to actually build it. I'm a relatively conscientious spender, so buying it outright was not going to happen. Kambal, Consul of Allocation was the first deck I built for Commander on my own, and I did it entirely with points with the exception of Demonic Tutor and Enlightened Tutor. Now, that's quite a feat for one big reason: I don't have an extensive collection.

How does one build a deck without spending money, or accrue points if you have nothing of value to trade? Well, you scrounge around and find what you can from your prereleases, your bundle leftovers, and piles of card that didn't make it into decks. I spent months sending out hundreds of cards—mostly bulk commons and uncommons with the few lucky finds from an old collection I was given—to Brazil, Europe, Japan, Australia, all over the world.

When I finally hit a couple thousand points, I was excited. I thought trades would start coming in, but they didn't—that's when I was turned on to the Discord community. I joined up, and slowly but surely, the commons and uncommons I wanted started coming in. Over the course of my journey I noticed something: I'd been getting DMs asking to do card for card trades (instead of using points). This would happen from time to time via Puca messaging, but it really ramped up on the Discord chat. As previously stated I don't have an extensive collection, so I can't really accommodate these kinds of trades. I get lucky with a random pack here and there, but largely I'm reliant on the consideration of others to commit the more expensive cards on my list.

The problem with this kind of trading is that it comes from the mindset of "I'm not going to send, because I'm not getting anything for it," and this mindset starts a cycle of anti-trading that people get stuck in. It's like we're playing trade chicken: "You send first." "No, you send first!" This lack of faith in the system—and belief that things won't improve—only degrades our beloved site. Let me elaborate a little.

As a community, we feed off each other and each other's perception of the system: The good, and the bad. If you don't send cards because someone won't send you something—or more likely because they can't—then that person is going to have a bad taste in their mouth and further perpetuate the cycle. On the flip side, if we use the system as it was intented to be used—that is, send cards—then you start a chain of good vibes and trading!

Let's say I send Vedalken Orrery to someone for their promotion, just randomly. I receive their points and give them that bit of happiness on mail day. Then they have both the necessity (because they are now low on points) and the desire to send cards out to others. It's true, this is a small step, but it's a small step made many times that gets the wheels going. It's a collection of these small steps that gets the trades flowing, and raises confidence. Things don't change overnight, but if you become the embodiment of what PucaTrade is supposed to be, then you become the change. You become the fix. This is what we should be striving for as an entire community.

I get it, times can be hard for some, but I've made many good friends through our community. Most of my trading can only be done at the release of a new set when I have new cards, so I actually spend most of the time between sets just chatting and brewing with the community. I've built one full deck, and just shy of another (six more cards!) all with PucaTrade, and I've got two more just sitting and waiting now. I'd like to encourage you to send a few cards out each day, try your best to be kind to others, and for the love of Oketra, stop requesting card-for-card trades, especially on cards that people have promoted.

I titled this "Be the Change You Wish to See" for a reason: It takes conscientious effort, determination, and discipline to help make PucaTrade the place we want it to be, and sometimes that means saying no when asked to do card-for-card trades. It means being patient when your promotions aren't filled for days or even weeks (maybe you should bump those up). It also means being willing to work with people on the more expensive and sought-after cards you want, things like Bitterblossom, Ancient Tomb, Beta Black Knight, etc. 

I would never ask someone to do something they were uncomfortable with; if you don't want to trade in this climate, you don't have to. Send your cards out while promotions are high, store up your points for when you're more comfortable with the economy, and be active in the community. Invite your friends into the community, and motivate them to do the same. Be someone who brings others closer together within our community. Breed the positivity you so desire. It can be rough around here, especially for those of us that have very little to trade in the first place, but if I can stay positive, you can too. It's better for you, it's better for me, and it's better for the community.

Puca's slogan is "Give and let Give," so let's do that and bring things back to how they should be. Below I'll include the links to the two decks I've built thanks to ALL OF YOU, and keep in mind, most of them were done purely with points. There were some promotions involved, but I am the proof that the trades are happening. I am the proof that even with nothing, you can acquire something.

Sincerely and with appreciation, 

Rex Lawhorn is 23, married, and has one child. He started playing Magic in 2012, and has spent the last five years primarily playing limited, averaging top 8 in most prereleases. Recently Rex has found his passion in the Commander Format (Who doesn't like infinite combos?). He has also played in a PPTQ, and is looking forward to attending GP Houston to try his luck again. Outside the world of Magic he also enjoys PC gaming, with a dab of Xbox.

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