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Coming back to tf2 since 2016, what do I need to know to get into trading?


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Back when I played tf2 I really never got why people traded. I thought if all hats are cosmetics and stock loadouts are so good then what's the point of cosmetics if they don't affect the game? But then killstreaks came out and I became interested in trading because ks kits do have an impact on gameplay insofar you wanna keep the streak up, and to me that made the game more fun. I got a key to became premium and I unboxed and got a random hat I sold after a bit of hustling.


So for a while my goal was to get a pro killstreak ham. I traded my way up to it and I really liked the whole trading thing. So I continued trading, my new goal was to get regular ks kits for my fav weapons like the rocket launcher and scattergun. I ended up with a full ks set for all my fav classes. Then real life got more and more serious so I slowly left the game, last time I played tf2 was around mid 2016.


Back on my last month playing tf2 I decided to put some money into the game. Most of my friends who play games all got expensive consoles and upgraded each cycle, every month or two they would buy $60 games, I used to go to a friend's house and see piles on top of piles of $60 games and there I was still playing a free to play game I spend 5 ish dollars on. I thought to myself spending big money on tf2 was really worth it because I got so much playtime out of it. So I bought off the community market a few australiums (because gotta flex). So the new australiums I got ended up replacing the killstreak weapons I traded up to, but I decided not to trade away the killstreak weapons because they had sentimental value, they were the weapons I traded up from a hat to multiple strange killstreak weapons. So they just sat there and a few days later I stopped playing because work and school ate all my time.


A week ago I re-installed tf2 and I have been loving playing it again, I finally decided to sell off all the unused weapons (that got replaced by pro ks australiums) on the steam community market. Yesterday my last weapon got sold and I have enough steam credits to buy ~23 keys off the community market.


But I am very nervous by the whole situation, I want to get back into the economy but I have never bought and sold items worth this many keys. I just don't now how to manage 23 keys properly, like If back then I lost a few ref on a bad trade and that was a big deal for me I would really hate to loose whole keys on a bad trade. I also have never traded "hi tier" items. I always stayed within hats and stranges, now with a budget of ~23 keys I guess I have to buy and sell unusuals, but that seems so daunting to a unusual beginner like myself.


How can I get into the unusual hat economy? What should I learn and from whom? Are there any trading forums where I can discuss and ask questions (other than here xd)? What about spells and taunts? Are there other items (like spells) with good markets out there? Now that keys are so inflated how can I make profits? Are there any new trade techniques out there? and what trading websites are popular now?


I am just supper confused and hungry for learning about hi tier trades.


Thanks in advance :)

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First correction is that it's "high tier" not "hi tier" lol.


Secondly, if you do plan on getting into the unusual scene insofar as to try and make some money my first word of advice would be to avoid "shit tier" unusuals.


Unusuals in that category usually consist of undesirable hats with less than desirable effects such as the Mann-o-war. If you were to say buy an unusual Mann-o-war with steaming then you might get stuck trying to sell that bad boy for a large chunk of time.


I usually aim for a middle ground of hats that people like (or at the very least aren't hot garbage) with decent effects or atleast something that kind of looks appealing (taking G. Fetti over N & B for example) though my advice might not be the greatest for starting as when I started the unusual scene was significantly different compared to today, and I personally don't dabble in the lower ends of this scene except for when someone offers one alongside other items for something I own.


I would highly recommend joining a few discord servers where you can actively ask individuals with market experience abt whether or not they feel as though a trade you're about to do is a good one.


I recommend TVE's (The virtual economists) discord server as opposed to the one hosted by Backpack, primarily due to toxicity that gets pushed at newer traders and the overall feel. From my experience you'll run into users who are actually attempting to give good advice on TVE's server as opposed to intentionally giving bad advice in hopes of losing money (which has happened to some of my friends).


Either way the question you're asking of where to start is something that's rather difficult to answer as there is no "100% profit" way to begin trading unless you want to be unscrupulous and shark people by overvaluing spelled items and hoping to come across someone incompetent enough to take you at your word. 


Hope this helps.



Make sure to always check the stats page of unusuals people offer you, as the item may be getting repriced and what may seem to be a good deal may just be them using the old overvalued price to try and recuperate some losses.


Always take into consideration Bot buy orders aswell.

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3 hours ago, alexesc said:

Now that keys are so inflated


Keys did not inflate in value, it was metal that deflated (as nobody wants it combined with more and more keep being made). It's a notable difference.


As for advice, bad trades and losses are inevitable. the important thing is realizing when to take the loss and move on rather than keeping your capital tied up in an albatross around your neck. You need inertia and fluidity to make gains, and keeping an item because you don't want to lose keys or want more profit means that that much of your capital is no longer moving, which is critical when your investment equates to at least half of your funds. Think about it, what's better: Taking a 10 key item and selling it for 13 keys after 2 weeks or selling it for 11 after a day? Or conversely, what's better: Taking a 10 key item and selling for 11 after a month, or selling it for 9.5 after a week?

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First off I don't blame you for feeling like you're in a chokehold when you've got a fair amount of keys to start with and don't want to lose them. A lot of people go through it when that's all they've got. 


Where should I look?

I typically check classifieds, quicksell.store and scrap.tf auctions to see if I can find something that looks interesting, though there's a wide variety of sites available beyond that. If you have pure quicksell.store sometimes has some damn good deals you can flip in a week or less.


How do I make profit? 

I often see people on the forums saying to check past sales in comparison to current sellers on items to get a good idea of the suggested value of a hat and 95% of the time it's a good indicator of where a profit margin can or cannot be found. Also looking through the pricing of a single effect throughout many hats or vice versa can give you an idea on market trends. Keeping up on current news and updates is good too. 


Should I give up after a hat has gone too long without selling?

It depends. If there are other sellers at a price below yours for a long time you should lower your price a bit but never below what you bought it for (unless you're extremely desperate). If your hat is 1/1 you essentially control the market, therefore your pricing can swing variably. I myself have found that if I am more hands off with the items I purchase they sell more and I stress less. It's common for 1/1 hats to go months without a good offer or even an offer at all.


I don't want to put all of my keys in on one item, what should I do?

Dividing your investments into small pieces is a good idea at a low level though margins are a lot smaller. Small investments are more secure because 99% of the time you won't lose much at all if you take a loss but adversely you make less of a profit IF you profit. If you do decide to go all in, listen to what Saylen said and don't get pushed into a situation where you buy a mediocre hat with a bad effect, it's never worth it.


Hope that helps 😁

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People will random add you after seeing this post and try and scam you for your newly acquired keys.  Do not ever trade items first / accept paypal or cash from any non-reputable person (if they are unknown randoms and don't have loads of cash rep offering you full cash price, its obvious, don't trade cash with them) and be sure to know how to price check using backpack.tf / SCM. This is a video that may be useful! 

The principals of trading will always remain the same, buy low and sell high, just be cautious on what you invest in, this is where game/trading knowledge comes in handy. A good way to learn the economy is to keep tabs on all recent price suggestions, after awhile you will get a feel for what an item might realistically sell for based on past sales on similar items. 



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