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Potion Peddling: An Overview of the Magic Shop

by tsiegred


      I. Introduction

      It is no secret that Kauvara is one of the best potion-makers in Neopia. Have you ever used a morphing potion on one of your pets? Have you ever bought a potion to heal it after a tough fight in the Battledome? Have you ever used a potion to boost your pet’s stats? Chances are that you’ve used a potion that Kauvara's created at one point or another during your time in Neopia. Her potions, in fact, are so popular that many people visit her shop to snag some of the valuable potions she sells—namely her morphing potions. Kauvara's Magic Shop (often shortened to “Magic”, and, in this article, will henceforth be referred to as either “Magic” or “Kauvara's”) is a notoriously difficult shop. It’s one of the most lucrative ones in Neopia, and restocking morphing potions can earn you hundreds of thousands of NP in a very short time. I'm here to give an overview of the shop and explain what you should be looking for when you restock, so hopefully I can help you figure out if Kauvara's is for you! Many people I've met have said it's a really tough shop and they don't think they can get anything good from it. Sometimes they're also very confused about what's good there. It's a very intimidating shop, but with a little practice, I think a lot of people can restock there successfully.

      I will assume the reader has at least a basic familiarity with the practice of restocking before I begin. This overview is not intended to be a detailed guide on restocking; such guides can be found elsewhere (ask around the trading boards for a restocking guide) and they will likely give more detailed and useful information about restocking than I could. Additionally, I would strongly counsel against starting your restocking journey in Magic; not only is it extremely fast, but there are myriad morphing potions that sell for a loss, so restocking there can often be risky, discouraging, and unsuccessful. If you are a complete Neophyte to restocking, I would advise another shop, like Neopian Fresh Foods or Kayla’s Potion Shop, which are fast but much more beginner-friendly.

      That being said, I suppose it would be useful to explain some of the terminology I may use in this article, especially since some of it may be unfamiliar and it’s fairly common if you want to begin trading:

      MP: An acronym for “morphing potion(s)”—items that will morph your pet into a certain species/color combination. These are mostly what you’re going to be looking for in Kauvara’s.

      Unbuyable (UB): An unbuyable is an item worth over 100k (or 100,000 NP) that cannot be found on the Shop Wizard.

      Pure: Basically, a way of saying Neopoints. You will typically trade items for pure, but occasionally you may want to sell them for items. More on this below.

      Easy-to-sell (ETS): These are items that will sell fairly quickly in your shop or trades. For example, a codestone is a good example of an ETS item. A Baby Paint Brush is fairly ETS, as well.

      Hard-to-sell (HTS): Sort of similarly, an item that may take a long time to sell is HTS. A piece of furniture that costs 500k may be HTS, for instance. An unbuyable collectable card may be HTS, too.

      R99: An item with a rarity of 99. These are very rare items and can hold a lot of value for collectors, especially since they are necessary for completing later levels of Illusen/Jhudora’s quests, which give very valuable rewards. Kauvara’s has a wealth of r99s, so if you’re looking to pawn your wares off on a collector, it shouldn’t be that difficult—though expect to give some form of discount.

      Reseller, reseller buying, reseller prices: A reseller is typically a person who will buy your items at low prices (usually 30-50% off, occasionally lower) and attempt to sell them off later. While it may not seem like a good idea, this isn’t always a bad thing for you—if you’re desperate for more pure, really want a quick sale, or are tired of sitting on an expensive item, it’s not a bad idea to message a reseller. You’ll likely profit, and if you sell them your item, they’ll probably profit too (eventually), so it’s kind of a win-win situation. Reseller buying is the practice of buying items at low prices, of course, and reseller prices are the low prices at which they’ll buy your items—again, usually 30-50% off.

      Without further ado, let’s begin talking about Kauvara's. We can start with, well, what you should be looking for—mostly morphing potions. I’ll explain what I think about when I look for morphing potions, since it can be kind of tricky to find the right ones.

      II. What am I looking for?

      Well, you’re looking for morphing potions most of the time! As a general rule, if you don’t know what to restock, you should try for fancy colors and limited edition species (except for most Tonu ones and some Kois). Maractite, Faerie, Island, Wraith, Maraquan and Plushie are almost always safe bets. Additionally, it’s usually worth it to get morphing potions of regular pets that are pretty popular, like Lupes, Gelerts, Kacheeks, etc. Chia MPs are also always unbuyable.

      However, that’s about where you stop being certain, most of the time. Note that Kauvara's is a shop of exceptions—note that I never said certain groups of morphing potions are always safe bets; they aren’t, actually. Even the popular colors can be kind of tricky. A Plushie Tonu Morphing Potion may seem good in theory, but maybe it only sells for 105k (it does). Additionally, Halloween morphing potions are usually good, except for the Halloween Tonu Morphing Potion, which sells for a loss. Plushie morphing potions are also always unbuyable, but a few sell for around 110-150k and will stock for 70-90k sometimes. If you’re not prepared to wait a while before you see small profits, it may be good to pass on those.

      It’s even more difficult to determine whether you should buy certain less-popular colors. Colors like Camouflage, Fire, Split, Skunk, Speckled, Zombie, and Strawberry are tricky because they usually have some unbuyables, but others will sell for little profit or even losses. I generally play it safe and avoid that morphing potion unless it’s one for a species that I know is worth buying. I'll then look it up afterward to see what it sells for so I know whether I should try to buy it the next time I see it. Often it’s either a small profit or a loss, but I have kicked myself over not trying for a few—including one that sold for over a million Neopoints! But ultimately, it’s up to you whether you want to be safer or take more risks when you’re trying to restock in Magic. If you don’t have a big budget, I'd recommend being a little safer; Kauvara's can deplete your savings very quickly if you’re buying things that sell for losses.

      There are a few items in the shop that aren’t morphing potions but are still worth your time, though. The Kauvara's potion can stock for around 200k, for instance, and sells for about 1m! There are other potions that may sell well, too, including the Strange Potion, which goes for around 2m. If you see a strange item in the shop that you’ve never seen before, look it up! Or, if you’d like, go for it, but be prepared for the possibility of losing some Neopoints if you succeed in buying something that turns out not to be very good.

      I guess now I can talk about some good things and some… more unsavory things about the shop.

      III. Pros and Cons

      The good things:

      * Kauvara's is incredibly lucrative if you’re fast enough to restock profitable morphing potions. I began charting my profits earlier this month and I ended up making a ton of NP, and I am by no means a great restocker. Even buyable morphing potions have the potential to net you over 30k in profit, and the unbuyables can range from 100k to over a million Neopoints!

      * Kauvara's is about being fast. If you’re able to restock there, you can probably try virtually any shop with some success. Of all of the shops I've tried, only the Neopian Post Office (“Stamp”) is more difficult.

      * This is silly, but it’s actually kind of fun! Watching the different morphing potions go by is pretty exciting, and it’s a huge rush when you get something good.

      * For me, big shops can be a bit overwhelming, since I'm not really sure where I should be looking. If this is also an issue for you, don’t worry—Kauvara's usually only has two or three rows of items. Occasionally it has four or even five rows, but it’s a lot easier to know what to look for there. You’ll be looking for morphing potions 99% of the time, and morphing potions look very different from every other item that stocks in Kauvara's, so the issue isn’t as pronounced.

      The less fun aspects:

      * Kauvara's is fast. Very fast. You’re going to click on an item, get to the haggle page, type in your haggle, and confirm in 1-3 seconds. Any longer than that and you’re almost guaranteed not to get the item you want.

      * Morphing potions sometimes won’t sell very quickly. Certain MPs are fairly HTS. If you’re desperate to sell, there’s no shortage of people on the Trading/Auctions boards willing to buy at reseller prices or at a discount.

      * Even though you’re going to be selling them for tons of profit later, morphing potions don’t come cheap. The cheaper profitable ones usually sell from around 20k in the shop, and some of the more expensive ones can cost over 70k. I've spent over three hundred thousand Neopoints in one day in the shop. Even though those items eventually sold for about 1.5m, that was a lot of money to spend in one night. If you really want to go try restocking at Magic, I'd really recommend that you set aside a decent amount of money that you dedicate to restocking. I typically have around 800k out when I attempt to restock in the shop, and I'd recommend most people set out at least 400-500k before restocking if they’re planning on spending a lot of time there.

      * Kauvara's is a really tricky shop to learn. There are many items that look good but aren’t actually good. You might lose a lot of money on morphing potions that turn out to be complete junk, but that’s all part of the process. It can even be difficult for experienced restockers to figure out! For example, I restocked a Desert Buzz Morphing Potion once and didn’t realize that it actually sold for a loss. It takes a lot of time to figure out what’s good and what isn’t. As said before, popular or expensive colors are usually good to buy. Morphing potions of certain species, like Lupes, Zafaras, Cybunnies, Draiks, and Krawks, are generally all worth the money (though please avoid the Pirate versions of the Draik/Krawk MPs; the Draik won’t sell for much profit, and the Krawk stocks for about 1m and is only worth 100k).

      Don’t let any of this deter you, though! Honestly, these issues aren’t endemic to Kauvara’s. They’re problems that you’ll probably run into in almost every shop you try (though, admittedly, they might be more obvious when you restock in Kauvara’s). They’re not necessarily cons, but they’re annoying aspects of the shops. They’ll gradually become less annoying, though. Moreover, the downsides of restocking at Kauvara's are outweighed by the enormous perks of the shop, which speak for themselves. You learn from your mistakes with time, and you’ll get better with experience.

      IV. What to do once you’ve restocked an unbuyable:

      First of all: congrats! You’re likely going to want to sell it immediately. Or, if it’s a morphing potion that you really like, maybe you’ll want to use it. That’s fine, too, and you likely got a much better deal in Kauvara's than you would at the Trading Post. If you want to sell it, just check the post and price it around the lowest TP price or maybe a bit lower.

      I wouldn’t recommend cutting the price of your item every time someone prices theirs below yours. I don’t like playing the deflation war with other people. It’s something that I used to do, but I don’t think it’s a good idea anymore. Unless you’re selling at a pretty steep discount, it can take some time before your items sell anyways, so you’re probably just better off keeping your price or adjusting it once every few days or so. If I see someone undercut my price on the trading post and I'm in no particular hurry to sell my morphing potions, I may say something like, “Willing to beat the lowest on the post—Neomail me to negotiate price.” Sometimes, I’ll auction it for a sizable discount. I find that either way usually works fine.

      Sometimes, if you’re looking for a quick sale, you can place cheaper unbuyable morphing potions in your shop and advertise them on the Shop Ads boards. This is usually a pretty quick way to make money. For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t recommend doing this with an item that sells over, say, 150k.

      V. Tips:

      1. Refresh often! This is probably the thing that will most improve your success rate in Kauvara's. Since profitable items go so quickly, it is wise to refresh fairly often. I usually refresh once every 3-4 seconds. This will probably get you banned from shops much quicker than one refresh every 6-8 seconds, but it's usually well worth it. Restocking is often a game of luck—sometimes a slightly slower haggler might get the item if they got a better refresh than the faster one. You want to maximize your chances of getting a good refresh.

      2. Do your research! I've given you a few leads, but I can’t inform you of everything that’s good (at least, not in the space of this article). Use your intuition sometimes when buying, but also be sure to check out prices for items as often as you can. Be aware of popular pets when buying MPs. Stay away from most Mynci, Elephante, Tonu, and Techo Morphing Potions, for instance. If a pet has a morphing potion that you know sells for a loss, be wary of buying any other morphing potions of that species unless you know they’re good.

      3. Speed is essential. So much so that if you click on an item and get to the confirmation window (“are you sure you want to buy (item) for (number) NP?”), you should commit to getting that item, even if you see a cooler or more valuable one afterward. There’s usually no way you’re going to get the other item because cancelling out of the confirmation takes time, and getting to the haggle page on the other item takes time too. While that may be viable in other shops, it’s not really a good idea in Magic.

      I hope this helps demystify Kauvara’s at least a bit! Hopefully you’re interested in restocking there now. It’s a pretty fun, profitable shop, and although it can be intimidating, it gets easier with practice. Thank you for your time, and good luck restocking!

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