The Gardener's Gazette
2021 Card Publication of the Year
Welcome to the twenty-fifth edition of the The Gardener's Gazette! We can now proudly say that the Gazette is two years old, and that its purpose of keeping both gardeners and guests informed on the happenings within the Card Gardening Society lives on strongly.
We are still looking for new writers! If you think you can help the Society grow by writing for the Gazette, contact Giovanniland. I would also like to give a shout out to Islands Of Ventro, who has volunteered and already written an article for this edition!
Celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of the Gardener's Gazette! Share your well wishes in #the-greenhouse of our Discord Server, upvote this dispatch, and be sure to participate in this month's contest!
Welcome to our monthly Garden Insight, this time about the month of June 2022! This piece has the purpose of helping both Gardeners and guests to keep themselves informed on what happened here recently. The highlight of the early month was, obviously, the 2nd Collection Bracket, whose voting started in May 30th but extended until June 9th. Seven members submitted collections—Apexiala, Giraffeton, Ioavollr, Islands Of Ventro, Panagouge, Polinasia, and Vylixan—and popular vote decided which collection would win. In the end, the podium was composed by Polinasia, Giraffeton, Ventro, and Apexiala in the first, second, third, and fourth places respectively.
These four nations then received valuable legendary cards and Gardeners celebrated a very successful contest, about which you can read about in detail in the 24th Gazette, published on June 17th. Later in the month, the Card Questions of the Week helped keep activity afloat, with a total of four during June. For the first question, Gardeners talked about their favorite script or tool, with answers as diverse as the Card Queries, GotIssues, hotkeys and containers being mentioned. Afterwards, the second question sought opinions on the Security Council declaration Against Inflationary Practices, sparking once more the hot debate about the advantages and disadvantages of inflation, which has been around for years.
Meanwhile, the third question's theme was other activities Gardeners do when card farming—music, films, books, news were often cited—and the last question of the month touched upon the recent announcement by game creator Max Barry about new technical staff and its possible consequences for cards, with many Gardeners expressing hope that a member of the cards community could bring forward some much-needed updates, for example market fixes and the upcoming Season 3. Channels such as the Garden Displays and the Farmers' Market also continued active, with Ioavollr for example sharing a collection named "The Eyes I Seek: Card Circles of Balance and Interest", which was also their submission to the Collection Bracket.
Finally, the end of this article usually addresses new members. Some of you might remember that no new Gardeners joined last month, and I hoped that next month there would be people I'd be able to give a warm welcome to. I am proud to say that one member has joined our Society during June! Please welcome Manuelian Empire, the newest member of the Gardens.
An Interview with Hustlertwo
by Islands Of Ventro
Hustlertwo has recently been making the scenes in Cards by reaching the top 50 overall ranking for deck value in cards. Though this tasks has been accomplished by tons of people, what make makes Hustlertwo so different. Well, we saw something done that we haven't seen in over 4 years, a nation in the top 50...without puppets. It's been their mission for some time, with peaking goals of top 100, top 75, and finally top 50. I recently got the chance to do a QnA with them, with that below.
How did you get into NationStates?
I played in college during the mid-2000s for a time. Came back to it on a lark last year, was curious to see if any of the games I had done back then like this or Fantasy Empires were still around. Was pleasantly surprised to see my nation, despite being in the graveyard, had not been deleted altogether.
How did you get into cards?
I just did them idly for a while through packs only, then I happened to get a random s2 common, The Prison of Bloody Terror, which someone inflated shortly after I opened it to over 2,000 MV. Suddenly I was in the top 500 in all of NationStates (barely, like #497), even though the rest of my deck value aside from that single card was literally 30 or so and I had never bought a single card before. Shortly after that, I fell back out of the top 500, so I started looking to buy cards to get back in. That's where it all began.
Do you do anything other then cards, for example R/D, RP or WA?
No RP, but I am a WA member, and recently became a delegate too. I do enjoy lending support to measures, particularly in the Security Council. It's not the primary draw but it is something to check in on every day or two.
What is your end goal?
I kept redefining that as I went along. First it was getting back in the top 500. Then, after trading a bit, wanting to see if I could get to the top 250. As I learned what puppets were while watching the market, I determined that wasn't my scene, and that's when getting into the top 100 without them coalesced as a goal. After doing that, I thought I might be done, but a few good trade days got me to 88, then 72, and suddenly top 50 seemed feasible. However, this is it. At this point, I feel like I achieved all I could reasonably manage; between the challenge of continually trying to outbid people who can generate their own money effectively at will, and the sandlike foundation my deck full of inflateds is built upon, getting much higher is unlikely. Currently my highest spot achieved is #48, and that might well remain my high-water mark. So my end goal now is to just enjoy being towards the top as long as I can, and not sweat the inevitable decline as I get pushed out by folks coming up behind me or the deflation of my cards. So I think I'm pretty much at my end goal now.
What made you get into this?
I'm contrary is the short answer. When I started back in playing the Star Wars customizable card game a couple years ago on a website that made all cards ever made in the game available from the start, I was the oddball who would only use ones I actually owned in deck construction. I enjoy coming up with harder ways to play some of my favorite video games beyond what the normal paths would be, like randomized jobs in Final Fantasy Tactics or removing all pilots in Into the Breach. As a teenager, I even learned how to knock out Psycho Mantis in MGS without using any tricks (I don't recommend this. It takes a really long time and the game doesn't even have the capacity to recognize you did it without the second controller or statue gimmicks, like they never even considered it possible). I think that sometimes making things harder on yourself is not only more interesting, but forces you to be more creative than you would be otherwise.
How long has it taken you?
Thanks for asking! I had never looked until this gave me a reason to do so. Looks like it was 221 days since I did my first card purchase in the market, which would be where the whole thing really began.
How do you do it in regards to strategies?
Basically buy low, sell high. It's not easy, but it is simple. Pay no more than absolutely necessary for a card. And if you have to sell it, get top dollar. Do that enough times, over and over and over, and you'll eventually get to where you want to go.
Do you have to maintain it, and if so how much?
Yes, but maintenance is only a small thing. Inflated cards are not as volatile as people think. Most keep their value for weeks or even months. I learned the hard way about cards that are about to 'pop', so I started buying ones with low owners or that had a lot of transactions left before crashing so they'd be less trouble. Still, on any given day you knew there'd be a nonzero chance you would log in and see you went down five or six hundred in DV overnight, which meant that many more cards you had to buy just tog et back to where you were the day before. Stuff happens.
Do you EVER plan on using puppets?
Nope. The paradox is that they would help me achieve more in the game, yet make it so dull I'd be more likely to just bail.
Do you use any scripts to help with cards?
I don't; I imagine there are some to help with bidding and the like, but most scripts seemed geared toward puppets and card farming, so they don't really apply to what I'm doing.
You’ve shown that top 50 can be achieved without any puppets, any opinion on that?
That I hope I'm not the last to do it, although I have a sinking suspicion I might be, at least with things as they are currently. Prices are rising, the threshold to make the top 50 keeps ticking up higher, and those longer timeframes can be rough on an inflated-heavy account.
What’s your opinion on card puppets in general? Good? Bad?
Heh, no surprise that I'm not a huge fan. I don't fault people for using them overall; the current system practically requires it, as evidenced by how me getting even this relatively modest level of success without them is seen as such an anomaly. Just a shame to see
What would your tips be for newcomer card traders?
I have discussed this before in my forum threads about this as well as through PM when people asked for help in hitting these ranks. Here's a few of the tips I mentioned at those times:
[I did it through] buying low, selling high, and doing my level best to never spend more than 1/100th of a card's value on it. So no more than 1.50 on a card worth 150, 11 on 1,100, so on and so forth. There are exceptions, but it's in your best interest to make them occasional at most. I also bought a good many cards that were worth 2-5 bank for around .02-.04 apiece; by keeping those around, I could occasionally jump in to someone selling them for way, way more bank than I paid and make a tidy profit. Some of them never worked and were sold or junked at a minor loss, but the ones that did made more than enough to cover the busts.
I would add two more to this: never bid more than you are willing to pay since you always run the risk of someone listing another copy of a card and making you cough up the full amount, and don't be afraid to put high but not crazy high asks on some of your high value cards once you get them. Every now and then you get a bite that makes it well worth the effort. I had a card worth 189 or so go for 9 this morning that I had listed some time ago. We have not because we ask not, as the saying goes.
One more thing I have not mentioned before: decide early on if your goal is getting lots of Legendary cards or other ones with high rarity levels, or achieving a high deck value. It's usually going to be one or the other that takes precedence eventually, and the sooner you choose your path, the better.
Do you have any inspiration from other traders in the community?
I've encountered a lot of people whose success egged me on, but I enjoy interacting with Fatski land quite well, as they seem like someone who has achieved major success in the game while still avoiding the trap of taking it all too seriously. Otter Archipelago has also been a great presence on the cards forum time and again. I'm sure there are others, but my telegram inbox only holds the last 20 so some names may have faded away.
Anything else you would like to share?
Some people will try to tell you certain transactions are 'bad', like selling a card you own that is being bought for an absurdly high price as part of a puppet transfer, or dropping in to make someone pay their full bid for a card. If you want to succeed, ignore them. Those transactions aren't bad; it's playing the game the way it was designed to be played, far more than using dozens, hundreds or even thousands of puppets linked together by various automated scripts could ever be. Also, be sure to check periodically and make sure the whole cards game is still fun for you. If not, if it slowly went from an enjoyable little pastime to something more compulsive or insidiously overwhelming, you may want to either step back for a time or try to determine what changes you could make to break out of the grind. In short, enjoy yourselves!
Winners of the Month
Just like in May, there were 12 giveaways throughout the month of June. These included special themes in celebration of Pride Month, such as the giveaway of the Season 2 Galway-Dublin legendary card, and an Epic Package with several colorful flags: Valentine Z x2, Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States, Bananaistan and Hippies.
There was one similarity in relation to May, which is that exactly one person won more than one giveaway! Congratulations to Grea Kriopia, who won the Season 2 legendary cards of Audioslavia and Ransium fourteen days apart. The other ten giveaways, whether they were a Legendary card or an Epic package, were shared by ten different Gardeners as you can see below:
Number of Wins
Monthly Contest Results and Update
It is a tradition in the Society to have monthly contests, which are one of our main activities besides giveaways. The month of June featured a Collection Contest on the theme News, with the reason that the Gazette has now turned two years old. Three collections were submitted, as seen in the following table:
All of them certainly have interesting interpretations to the theme—the first to submit was Ventro, who explained that their collection was a play on the fact that it’s been 4 years since Season 1, using the popular phrase "news flash", while the collection is made up of Season 1 cards. Apexiala's collection, meanwhile, focused on real life news from recent times; whereas Aerilia collected cards representing news publishers both in real life and in NationStates.
After the extended deadline at 23:59 UTC of Saturday, July 16th, the submissions were then judged by myself as the Gardens' current administrator. In the end, the winner was decided to be... *drumroll*
Apexiala, with a collection composed of cards representing events such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and political happenings in the United States and United Kingdom.
Congratulations! The winner earned the Season 2 legendary card Testlandia.
As usual, we also announce the next monthly contest in this Gazette edition. Like in previous months, we continue to alternate between older contest types with newer ones such as brackets decided by popular votes. This means we are having the 2nd Card Bracket this month, again thanks to an idea by Marxmeans last December! If you ask how it works, Gardeners will have a two-week submission period to link me two cards, one for Season 1 and one for Season 2, that they own either in their main nation or a puppet. They should then submit its link to Giovanniland by Discord DM or NationStates telegram until 23:59 UTC of August 1st. Although not mandatory, Gardeners can also submit a short explanation of the card choices if they so desire.
An important note for the second edition of this bracket, for those that participated in the first one, is that cards submitted in the first bracket may not be submitted again. After that, pairs of cards will compete through popular vote, the number of rounds of course depending on how many submissions there are. There will also be separate brackets for each season, so there may be different winners for each. The winner will receive a legendary card, though additional rewards may be sent out depending on the number of entrants. So think about what cards you have that could potentially win this tournament, and let me know once you've decided. Choose your cards wisely, and have fun!
See you all next month for another Gardener's Gazette edition. Credits to Giovanniland for leading the newspaper publication and writing some articles, and Islands Of Ventro for contributing the other articles! If you'd like to write, please contact our Administration to apply for the Gazette Writer position.