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Old 01-05-2011, 05:49 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Guide to trading unusual hats

So I guess I figured I could be helping some new users who want to make it big in the hat trading business. Anyways, this is an unusual hat trading guide.

Before you start reading, answer this question
"Do you really want to trade for unusual hats?"

It's a very long and daunting process and it's easy to make mistakes and such.

Part 1: The Basics
So if you're reading this far, congrats. Unusual hats are hats with a particle effect and they have about a ~1% chance of being unboxed from a crate. This makes them very sought after, of course. However, while each unusual hat is created equal, not all of them are viewed equally by the community. It's sad but it's the harsh truth we must deal with. The general effect tier list is as follows:

Top Tier:
Burning Flames

Very High Tier:
Scorching Flames

High Tier:
Purple Energy
Green Energy
*Haunted Ghosts

Mid-high Tier:
*Haunted Ghosts
*Circling Hearts
Vivid Plasma
*Searing Plasma

Mid Tier:
*Circling Hearts
*Searing Plasma

Low Tier:
Circling TF Logo
Circling Peace Sign

Bottom Tier:
Green Confetti
Purple Confetti

So there's the effect tier list. Often hats are interchangable via tier and depending on the hat, they can go up or down a tier or two. The most notable examples are starred. For example, a Medic hat with hearts such as say... a Tyrolean is significantly more valuable than most plasmas.

Part 2: Classes and specific
The class the hat is for has a lot of bearing on the general value of an unusual. The list is as follows:

Top tier:
All Class

High Tier:

Mid Tier:

Low Tier:

So basically, the 4 "competitive" classes are the most overvalued, soldier especially, due to the high demand as most people choose to play those classes. All class hats get special mention as they're wearable on all classes (for example, a rather festive tree) and thusly are significantly more valuable than most hats. There are of course, obvious exceptions, such as a hound dog with flames is worth a lot more than say a bonk helm with flames.

Part 3: Obtaining Unusual hats:
There are three main ways to obtain these overpriced gems. The first is to uncrate them which requires a combination of disposable income and excessive luck. Luck to get an unusual in the first place and even more to get a "good" one

The 2nd way is to trade for them. This can be difficult for a beginner for the fact that most traders only want other unusuals/valuable promos (such as the max's severed head). This causes a problem as most owners of the promos are aware of this and as such, only accept other unusuals. Breaking into the unusual business can be hard and requires lots of luck and patience. The best way is to trade normal hats to acquire a mass of lesser promo items such as earbuds and bill hats.

The 3rd way is to purchase them. I don't personally do them myself but it's pretty self explanatory. Some people frown upon this method but it works if you want to skip the hours of often fruitless trading. Generally unusuals rank from about $30 (confetti, ect.) up to $300 (flames, sunbeams on a top tier HAT) . Even moreso for "best of the best" unusuals like a sunbeams modest pile which can go for an insane $500+.
The best places to trade would probably be SourceOP and the Unusual Hat Club.

Step 4: Extra information and tricks
- Synergy can be used for more effective selling.
It always helps to create kind of a "story" behind your hat. For example, most people don't like flies unusuals but a Handyman's Handle with flies or a Blighted Beak with flies can sometimes fetch more than a normal flies unusual would be able to. An example of this in higher tiers would be the Sunbeams Killer's Kabuto. Land of the rising sun, anyone?

-Obtaining and trading away tips
Most people with confetti/flies unusuals are willing to let them go for cheap. The average going price for a very low tier unusual is an earbuds + a bills hat (earbuds is about 3 good hats, bills is about 2 good hats, most people prefer vintage). Use this to your advantage when getting unusuals from more "experienced traders" and try to sell them for slight profits to less experienced traders in regular or trade servers. Avoid trading with very experienced traders (those with several top tier unusuals and loads of high end hats) as those people will generally try to rip you off or be otherwise rude.

-Tips for buying/selling
I can't claim to know a lot about this but I can offer this piece of advice- Use a middleman. Scams (you give the money/hat and the other person keeps it and blocks you without completeing their end of the trade) will often occur and VALVe can do nothing about this. Find a trustworthy middleman and use them to your trading advantage.

Well, I hope some people can find use of this guide, so happy *lolirony* trading!
GreenManaphy is offline  
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:14 PM   #2
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Well, having traded a few (profited $145 and got my out of there, although that wasn't my intention/original plan), I need to say a few things about this guide.

For one, it's a great guide and I compliment you for the work and time put into this small guide (+repped you for it), but there is so much put into unusual trading that it really can't be put into a "guide".
For example, the tiers you labelled are quite basic. If you trade real in-depth, it's not so much the class as it is the actual HAT that labels its tier. I once had an Unusual Engineer Cap w/ Searing Plasma. That doesn't make it a mid-high or mid-tier, and rather it was quite low because the Engineer Cap is quite ugly, despite it's superior effect (I traded a Robin w/ Peace for it, which in reality is a great upgrade in effect but a great downgrade in hat quality.)

The main point of my post would be to point out to any potential traders in unusuals that it's much more than reading a guide and buying earbuds.
You need to realize that watching the actual economy is much more effective, and also that the forum price is NOT the price you want to buy it at.

As for the observations, I recommend watching these forums (SourceOP):
They have unusuals for $$$, but the main point is watching how the actual trading goes.
Robin w/ Peace is worth much more than a Spy w/ Peace obviously, so think about how you can try to benefit the most from your trades (It's not to say that you should only trade for profit, but if there's a dream hat you want, take the deal. There's so few of that "one" unusual, that it might be worth it to you.)

Great point at the end. Middleman's are your friend. Whether you are a trusted seller/buyer, ALWAYS use a middleman or ask that they trade you their half first.
If they're willing to do it (and you aren't a scammer in this example obviously), then you both gain a "vouch" which can help you to get good deals and easier trades in the future.

Also notice that trading with experienced traders isn't necessarily bad. They know what their hat is worth, they know what they're looking for, and rather, if they overprice it they look bad.
Some prefer to downgrade because they have a certain hat in mind (such as flies, there are a few people I've seen collecting flies for their higher-up effects/unusuals). Observe how THEY trade, and learn from them. Most of them will have great deals, while most they benefit from it.

Other than that, I would recommend reading this guide. It CAN help you, but to a basic level. The only way to know how to trade unusuals is to gain experience in the actual trading. Don't be afraid to upgrade effects, it will almost always benefit you, and don't be afraid to spend a few hats doing it. Just don't overdo it.
(Obviously flies + 8 v. hats for a confetti is a bad deal. Don't do it for your own sake.)
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:21 PM   #3
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The easiest way to make it big in unusual trading is DEFINITELY via monetary trades
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mustardoverlord View Post
The easiest way to make it big in unusual trading is DEFINITELY via monetary trades
Quoted for Half-truth.
1) Buying cheap and selling high has always been a trading strategy, but I can guarantee you it doesn't necessarily work with unusuals. You can't just "spend money to make money", as you could try with hats. (And I've done the whole buy cheap/sell high multiple times with hats, it works well.)

2) However, the truth in this is that you have to START with an unusual to actually trade up. To be honest, I never did (I started off with a Hard Counter w/ Confetti for ~2 buds in hats worth), but none-the-less it depends how OFTEN you can trade. Most of the time, it depends on how much effort and time you actually dedicate to this, and I spent most of my day checking it and waiting for TF2 people to add me/trade offer me.

Another point I'd like to bring up is this (although it might become more common and effectively ruin the strategy):
-Sell all hats/metals for buds.
-Buy Confetti/Flies Unusuals for 1-2 Buds each (Try to negotiate the cheapest price possible, whilst not angering the seller).
-Trade 2-3 confetti/flies for upgrades in effects. Logos aren't worth 2 confetti's UNLESS it's a sniper, soldier, or all-class. If they offer you a Logo, try to counter-offer to upgrade your own confetti. Let them have a pick at which they like more, and offer them good hats/promos for it.
If possible, trade the 2 confetti's for a hearts/plasma unusual.

Now, assuming you did most of it right, you can stop there. Sell the unusual for ~$65-75 (or more), and then BUY buds with real life money. Assuming you buy at its cheapest of $15 per buds (which they normally go $17, but you can find some that sell for $15), you can easily start the chain again.
Whenever possible, buy buds at $15 if you're really dedicated. Buds are your friends, and if the Max Head/Set for 5-6 Buds comes up, take it. Buds/Max Set's are the items you want for negotiating. EVERYONE wants one.

I've used this strategy a couple of times, and it works well up to a point. You need to know which hats are good and which aren't though, and that's the trick to trading.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:36 PM   #5
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well I came from it from the point of view of someone who traded up for unusuals a LONG time ago

still, I'm of the opinion that you can just go out and buy an unusual right away, as long as you have a plan for long-term or even short-term profit
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:18 PM   #6
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Wow, very helpful, thanks!
stealth650 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2012, 02:22 AM   #7
It's Not Me
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Great guide, +1
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:21 AM   #8
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Holy necrobump...

That guide is completely out of date and will not help much in the current unusual market.

Quit grave digging.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:08 AM   #9
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dont forget this rule which applies in most cases :

Soilder unusual 2:1

a soilder unusal is most ofeten worth 2 other class unusuals
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