Sorare – breaking down the barriers part 3: high prices

This post was written at the start of 2021 so some things will have changed on Sorare since I wrote this. If you’re looking for an up-to-date guide to getting started on Sorare please see this post instead.

A few weeks ago I asked a question on twitter – ‘if you’ve not made the jump over to Sorare yet, what’s stopping you?’

I got loads of engagement with that tweet so I wanted to take a few minutes to address some of the barriers that people spoke of. I’ve split this up into a series of posts so that I can go into a bit more detail about each one.

PRICES AS A BARRIER TO ENTRY

The third issue that kept coming up was the perception that Sorare is very expensive to get into and really only for high-rollers, rather than something you can enjoy on a budget.

‘I see players I’ve not heard of trading for 3 figure prices which really puts me off’

This is an interesting one to try to break down. I always want to be straight with you, so I’m not going to say that you can get started with £10, but there are ways that you can win on a budget.

There are also reasons why some cards appear ridiculously expensive, which you simply won’t understand if you don’t know the basics of the platform.

What drives the price of a card?

There are various things that drive the price of the card but the most important one is scarcity.

For each player, Sorare issues three types of cards, all as limited editions.

  • Rare cards (red) in a maximum run of 100 per season
  • Super Rare cards (blue) in a maximum run of 10 per season
  • Unique cards (gold) with just one minted per season

Adding Super Rares and Uniques to your collection allows you to compete in the higher divisions, where there are much higher prizes on offer. So, as you would imagine, the more scarce the card, the more they tend to cost. As you can see below:

This article is going to deal with Rare cards only, simply because that’s where most people will start and the price jump up to Super Rare can be considerable. If you can afford it though, getting some Super Rares in your gallery early on is well worth doing.

Back onto scarcity… although Sorare can mint those maximum numbers of cards per season, they often don’t. Sometimes this is because a player moves to a club that isn’t currently covered by a Sorare licence. In this situation, particularly if a player is posting good scores, card values can really rocket because the holders of those cards know that demand will vastly outstrip supply. Look at the price of Bruno Fernandes if you want to see an example of this.

Scarcity isn’t the only driver of course but most of the other factors will be very familiar to anyone who has dabbled in any similar sorts of platforms in the past, such as:

  • Age – younger cards have more time to earn back their initial outlay, older cards present a greater risk of retirement or injury
  • Utility – cards that have more utility (ability to be used) tend to cost more. Players that are nailed on to start are worth more than those who come on from the bench. Under 23s are eligible for their own league, making them particularly valuable. Players prices will decrease when injured and during off-season periods, making this a good time to pick up potential bargains.
  • Current club – players from well known teams (the big five leagues) tend to command much bigger prices than those from obscure leagues, as do those that are expected to dominate games and therefore score well. Transfers can impact positively on price but a transfer to a league not covered by Sorare will cause the price to collapse pretty quickly as the player loses their utility value.
  • Form – if a player hits a purple streak, their price will increase as everyone tries to jump on (especially given the scarcity limitations I mentioned above). If you can predict upcoming form, perhaps by spotting an easy run of fixtures, you can get in early before the price rise.

Then there are a few factors that are pretty unique to Sorare:

  • The position of the player – Goalkeepers are very expensive because there are less of them minted, relative to the rest of the team (a by-product of the 5-a-side structure). Defenders tend to be the cheapest, with higher prices for midfielders and forwards who have more likelihood of goal involvement.
  • Who the seller is – if you’re buying from the secondary (transfer) market rather than buying at auction, the price will be set by another manager. Some managers will set prices higher than others. Some will be happy to negotiate, some will not. It’s important to get a sense of what you want to pay, and what you think the player is worth, rather than simply allowing that to be determined by what’s on the table.
  • Collectable value – Sorare is a collectables platform at its heart. Some players will have little or no utility but will still sell for high prices because they are perceived to have greater collectable value, such as 1/100 mints and the big names of the game.
  • The price of ETH – I covered this in my first article in this series. As ETH rises (which it seems to keep on doing) the price of players across the platform gradually rises with it, albeit not at exactly the same pace.

Understanding all of the above is really important before you dive in as it will help you to make good decisions on what represents value, regardless of what your budget is.

HOW MUCH DOES A WINNING TEAM COST NOW?

Prices has been rising across the platform in the last couple of months so it’s fair to say that most people will need a larger initial investment now than they would’ve done in say October or November. The growth in new users is the main driver for this, alongside an absolutely astronomical rise in the price of Ethereum, the currency used on Sorare.

But all is not lost. If you’re prepared to cast your net a little wider than the usual suspects, there are still plenty of bargains to be found.

The biggest consideration for any new manager should be ‘how can I build a team which will compete for the ETH rewards in every gameweek?‘. If you can achieve the 0.020 ETH reward most weeks, you’ll quickly make a good return on your initial investment and can start to build towards better players.

To win the ETH, you need to hit the threshold of 250 points. Hitting the lower threshold of 205 points will get you the consolation prize of 0.010 ETH. Essentially you’re aiming for around 45 – 50 points per player, given that most cards have a small multiplier and the captain gets an extra 20% on his score. Teams like that don’t have to be super expensive and can sometimes bag you a card reward too, if you’re lucky. Here are a few I’ve picked at random:

The team above returned 0.020 ETH in GW139 and a Rare card reward. To buy those players from the transfer market today would cost 0.417 ETH (approx £512).

The team above returned 0.020 ETH in GW137. To buy those players from the transfer market today would cost 0.340 ETH (approx £418).

The team above returned 0.020 ETH in GW125. To buy those players from the transfer market today would cost 0.243 ETH (approx £299).

The difference with the team above is the use of the Common goalkeeper (Lopes – the white card). You get these cards as freebies when you start. You can’t trade them but you can put them into SO5 teams with four Rare cards and that can save you some serious money, especially as goalkeepers are probably going to be your most expensive purchases early on.

You’re probably looking at this and thinking ‘so I need around £1,000 to really get started?‘. I wouldn’t disagree with that. If you want to get the most out of Sorare, and really enjoy the feeling of putting out some winning teams early on, you’re probably looking at that sort of amount to get started as things stand. To put that into some perspective, you’ll can win that back in 40 gameweeks if you achieve the 0.020 ETH reward (and there are two gameweeks most weeks) and you can hold those cards for the rest of their careers (so if you divide a 0.100 ETH card over a 10 year period, it’s as cheap as chips really).

WORKING ON A TIGHTER BUDGET

Not everyone has a grand lying around that they can stick into Sorare. There are other ways to get started, if you’re prepared to do a bit more research and really grind things out.

The first thing to consider is looking at the cheaper, more obscure leagues. As I said in my last article, there’s some big differences between the average prices of the players across different leagues. £100 might get you a bench warmer in one of the top five leagues but would get you a decent player in the J or K Leagues. Look beyond the obvious if you can.

Think about how you buy your players. The prices I’ve used above are from the transfer market but you can often pay less at auction or by making an offer directly to another manager. For example, Gianluca Mancini has just ended at auction for 0.105 ETH but his best market offer is 0.155 ETH – around 50% more. Patience pays off on Sorare.

When you buy your players is also important – off-season is a great time to pick up bargains. For example, the Russian league is still on a break at the moment so players from that league are selling much cheaper now that they were when the league was in full swing. As soon as those players start posting high SO5 scores again, their prices will increase.

Similarly, it’s well worth hunting out young players who have potential to move into the first team, players who are about to get a big transfer or injured players who aren’t currently on other managers’ radars. Doing your research will save you money. If you need convincing, follow @Leedsarewe on Twitter and look at the sorts of trades he’s doing, like this one below:

The rise in ETH means it’s almost impossible to pick up a player for £3.72 now but these types of flips are still very achievable if you take the time to do your research. Over half of the players currently listed for sale on the transfer market are going for less than 0.050 ETH (about £61)…

If you follow those tips, and use a Common goalkeeper, there’s no reason why you can’t get started with £150 – £200, and soon make back your initial outlay.

Conclusion

  • It’s more expensive to start on Sorare now than it was a few months ago, largely because the platform has grown so quickly, but it’s still probably not as pricey as you think.
  • An initial budget of £1,000 will give you enough to build some good starter teams without too much effort but you can get going with £150 – £200 if you’re prepared to be patient and do some research.
  • Whatever budget you start with, aiming for the ETH threshold rewards is the best way to maximise your returns early on.
  • Thinking beyond the obvious, using the auctions and targeting players that might not be on other managers’ radars are good ways to pick up bargains.

I’ve got one more post like this to do, looking at complexity as the final barrier to people getting involved. If you missed them the first time around, check out my posts on crypto and obscure leagues.

If you want to give Sorare a go, sign up using my referral link and get a free Rare card after you buy your first five cards from the New Signings market: https://sorare.pxf.io/MDJ (and please let me know if you’re doing that so I can walk you through some potential pitfalls at the start!)

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