Darkmoon card day-trading

One of the more interesting hobbies I’ve developed the past month is the making and selling of Darkmoon Cards. Besides offering very nice trinkets for my alts, they also provide a steady income as others seek to purchase the cards that I personally don’t want. In turn, the trinkets and the unturned decks also make quite some AH-appearances.

The cards

Making the cards themselves is a very straightforward matter. Once a Scribe reaches skill level 525, they are able to turn a Resilient Parchment, 10 Inferno Ink and 30 Volatile Life into a single Darkmoon Card of Destruction. The exact card created is random between Ace and 2-8. The four suits are Winds, Stones, Waves and Embers.

Eight cards of a single suit can be combined into a deck.

The decks

Once you have combined eight cards, you will have one of the four decks: Tsunami, Hurricane, Volcano and Earthquake. Once a deck is made, it can no longer be separated into separate cards.These are items which start a quest – to turn them in at the Darkmoon Faire once it comes into town.

Turning it in awards you with 350 Darkmoon Faire reputation and a trinket, based on which deck you turned in.

The Darkmoon Card trinkets

The Hurricane deck provides you with Darkmoon Card: Hurricane (Str) or Darkmoon Card: Hurricane (Agi), which depending on your choice can be an Agility or Strength trinket with a proc for Nature damage on your target with Melee or Ranged attacks.

The Tsunami deck provides you with Darkmoon Card: Tsunami.This healer trinket offers Intellect, and a proc for Spirit when healing targets, which can stack up. Before you say anything, this is not much good for Shadowpriests even with the Intellect. Spirit functions as Hit for us, and you don’t want your Hit Cap to depend on a proc.

The Volcano deck awards you with Darkmoon Card: Volcano, a Mastery trinket which can proc Fire damage on opponents and an Intellect boost on casting hostile spells. This deck is designed with DPS casters in mind (preferably those who also have use for Mastery as a stat).

The Earthquake deck awards you with Darkmoon Card: Earthquake, a Dodge trinket which can be used to grant over 11K health (sharing a cooldown with the Battlemaster trinkets). This is obviously designed for tanks of any kind.

The economic lifecycles

The entire price fluctuation of the Darkmoon Cards, Decks and Trinkets used to depend on availability. There simply weren’t many scribes at that skill level to provide the goods. However, now that a sizeable scribing population is on the market, you see that there (as always) are incredibly interesting patterns in their pricing patterns.

From what I have seen, the following rules govern cards:

  • When the Darkmoon Faire is near, their prices are highest
  • When the Darkmoon Faire is just gone, their prices are lowest
  • At all other times, prices are stable

I have observed the following on decks:

  • When the Darkmoon Faire is active, their prices are highest
  • When the Darkmoon Faire is two weeks away (about) their prices are lowest

And the following for the Trinkets:

  • When the Darkmoon Faire is near or has just passed, their prices are mid-range
  • When the Darkmoon Fair is active, their prices are lowest
  • Stable price at most other times, dropping as the Fair comes closer and closer

My theory on the pricing

Obviously, the cards become expensive near the Faire, as people hope to snatch up some last card or two to complete their decks. The price is slightly mitigated by hopeful Scribes who produce many cards to complete their own decks and put their leftovers on the AH. However, most Scribes are smart enough to get the most out of the deal.

When the Darkmoon Faire comes, people turn the Decks into Trinkets. Most of these will now vanish from the market, as they are equipped by players. Some speculants and most Scribes will put these Trinkets on the AH, and their prices are fairly high. However, their prices are somewhat kept down by sheer supply.

As time goes on, these Trinkets will devaluate comparitively, because people start weighing off collecting cards (which are then going cheaper) rather than buying the trinket. Just before the Darkmoon Faire prices drop quite a bit, as sellers don’t want their Trinket drowned out by the new Trinkets from the coming Faire.

The prices of the Decks themselves are a balancing factor between Cards and Trinkets. They are a complete set, so functionally the same investment as the Trinket. You just have to wait for the Faire to arrive, so the price advantage is held by players who buy a deck during mid-season. This is because the impatient people rather buy the Trinket, and the patient collect cards on the cheap and at a slow pace.

Buying the Deck itself is also an investment in one other way: reputation.

Some people still go for the Insane achievement, which requires the Darkmoon Faire at Exalted. Since 350 Rep is quite a big deal in such an expensive grind, they sometimes hand in Decks for Trinkets and then sell it on the AH. While not as numerous as speculants, I think these rep-grinders provide quite some of the Trinkets on the AH, recouping their investment in the Cards or Decks.

What should I buy?

In my personal opinion, if you are not in a hurry, buy the cards when they are cheap. Whether it’s in off-season or beause someone is massively undercutting the competition. You will get all of the advantages, but not the uncertainty of RNG when making the cards yourself.

Best of both worlds is buying the Deck, but only if you have a week or two to spare so you can buy them at a good price and turn them in at the Faire yourself. This also presents you with the option of buying the Agi or Str version of the Hurricane Trinket – once the Trinket is made, there’s no choice.

The Trinkets themselves are expensive, and you gain no Reputation because you didn’t turn in the Deck yourself. So you are simply paying for the value of the Trinket itself. If you have money to burn and cannot afford to wait, this is your option – but there’s no way of knowing if your Trinket’s on the AH at any time.

Rolling in the gold

In theory, to make a sizeable chunk of money on this, one would be buying cards just after the Faire, picking up the leftovers. Complete Decks during the mid-range and sell them a day before or during the Darkmoon Faire. Leftover cards are best sold in the week before the Faire, when people try to complete their Decks. If your Decks go unsold, turn them into Trinkets at the last day of the Faire and then sell them a week later once the hubbub has died down.

So, now it’s just a matter of putting this theory to the test, and seeing how close these “rules” and “theories” align with reality.

Mind you, I’m no AH expert, so my knowledge is limited in this field – but it sure is exciting to speculate during off-hours for some fun and profit.

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3 Responses to “Darkmoon card day-trading”

  1. Hello, this isnt a comment but Im looking for some advice and I thought this might be a good place for it.
    I play a Spriest and have a chance to purchase the BOE epic staff. My question is this, in view of the impending nerf on the OH +100 intellect enchant for OH, is chelley’s staff of dark mending a good purchase or will a i346 MH/OH combo beat it? (If it helps, I am not a regular raider so my chances of picking up items from a raid are quite narrow)

    thank you.

    • Chelley’s Staff of Dark Mending has the following stats:

      +341 Intellect, +228 Spirit, +1955 Spellpower, +228 Mastery.

      A main-hand/offhand combo such as Biting Wind (Ertain in Vortex Pinnacle Heroic) paired with the Apple-bent Bough (950 Justice Points) has the following combined stats, including 40 Intellect enchant on offhand (mainhand enchant is irrelevant, consider it to be the same on both):

      +338 Intellect, +112 Spirit, +1729 Spellpower, +98 Crit.

      Total you gain 3 Intellect, 116 Spirit and 226 Spellpower, but lose 98 Crit by going for the staff instead. Is this an upgrade? Definitely. Is it worth it? Your call really, but spending a lot of thousands of gold on it when you don’t really raid much might not be a wise investment.

      If in doubt, check what you can do with your existing gear with the same amount of money. Upgrade enchants perhaps? Or better gems? Maybe there are craftable items that cost less to make (such as the legs and belt) which may represent a similar increase in stats?

      You can only spend your cash once, so check what gives you the biggest upgrade.

  2. thanks so much, you’re very kind for taking the time to help out a felllow player. ;0)

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