Throughout the Shadowlands, the same scenes play out: Hundreds of thousands of mortals rampaging through the afterlife, destroying anything that hasn't warped into the Maw by the count of three - and even there, the harvest is bloody! The populace of Azeroth once again proves what your slain creature statistics have proven for sixteen years: We are the very gods of death.

Secluded from all the commotion, clashing weapons, and screams, an orc and a blood elf work their way through the rubble of Revendreth. By now, the mouthcloths of the two are soaking wet with sweat and their breathing is in quick, shallow gasps. The taller of the two adventurers drops onto a stone and groans. Two seconds later, the orc topples backwards like a capsizing battleship, hitting the rubble with a soft crash and a small cloud of dust. His partner pauses, eyeing the two legs sticking up behind the rock, and then sits down as well with a long drawn out sigh.

Lord and master among mounts: The Brutosaurus will cause bidding wars when it appears, but is hugely rewarding for mount collectors! Source: buffed "Okay," resounds from behind the rock. "Okay, okay, okay. I'm officially done with this dump. No damn auction house is worth me breathing in this much dust. I'm sweating like a spiked liver and I feel like I could cough up a quarter of Tiefenheim." The blood elf pulls the mouth cloth from his face and takes a deep breath. "I'll admit that this whole thing isn't exactly going the best way." With fluid movements, the elf settles into a cross-legged seat and studies a map that lands in his hands out of nowhere. "Our contact said it should be here any minute. I don't know why we've been wandering around this light-forsaken wasteland for so long when the entrance is just over the next hill-" "Hey!" the blood elf's gaze lifts slightly in indignation. The broad-shouldered orc stands atop a hill, staring down into the valley below. "Put the map away and come here. I think we're in luck for once."

As the elf reaches the hilltop, a bizarre scene spreads out below him: Venthyr and Graves stand in a long line before one of Oribos' flaming coordinators, who calmly ticks off a list and hands out glittering weapons. Adventurers of all kinds loiter outside a mansion that seems to cling dangerously askew to a cliff; excited laughter rings through the air and numbers on auction trays are compared. Slowly, the orc turns to his companion and blinks slowly. "It doesn't seem like the market is that black in the afterlife, huh?" After a jovial pat on the back, the blood elf strides down the scree path into the valley, whistling, and waves to his friend. "Come on, my gold's been burning a hole in my pocket since the last few raids, and I've always wanted a brutosaurus of my own!" The orc looks around the hilltop one last time. Then he trots off the knoll, grumbling softly as he goes. "Still, a dump."

Ladies and gentlemen - bids may be made!

Having made ourselves quite comfortable in our pact headquarters, our eyes involuntarily wander to our bank deposit box. After almost two months in Shadowlands, you've got a solid bankroll and don't know what to do with it? No problem, that's what the good old Black Market Auction House is for. First, a quick explanation for the uninitiated: the Black Market was introduced in Mists of Pandaria and contains the most coveted items across all expansions: armor that would otherwise be unobtainable, pets that were previously lost forever, and mounts that are not only extremely expensive but also incredibly rare. The whole thing works just like the standard auction house, except there's no buy-it-now button here - you'll have to engage in competitive bidding with your fellow players, willy-nilly. However, those who set the auction are not players. Names like "Gamon" and "Thaumaturg Vashreen" should sound familiar to most players. It seems that some of the NPCs have had enough of the whole damn transmog farming business and are unceremoniously selling their loot for a small fortune.

The Matron of the Market is your purveyor in the afterlife. Watch the auction time and don't bid too early to keep the price down! Source: buffed Now let's get to the interesting part: You probably opened this item because you want the mighty Caravan Brutosaurus. The thundering dinosaur has been removed from the merchant inventory in Shadowlands, and must now be obtained through furious bidding at the Black Market Auction House. To make your hunt for the fragrant dinosaur easier, we'll quickly summarize the most important facts about the Shadowlands Black Market for you. We'll start by explaining how the market is set up, where you can find it, and how you can access it on the go. Next, we'll list the most interesting items that found their way into the hands of fences at the end of Battle for Azeroth, because the Brutosaurus is far from the only gem that's asking for your life savings. Below, we'll reveal a few tricks for winning at auctions, including timing and avoiding the "wrong friends". So get out your auction signs, loosen your purse strings and follow us underground. Don't even pay attention to the big thugs, they're here for your protection alone, of course.

Black Market Search: A Real Fence Stays Mobile

Before you can spend your gold earned through heroic deeds on absolutely super-duper-illegal luxury items, you'll need to find the auction house first. Fortunately, Madame Goya, the owner of the black market auction house, is very enterprising. The lady has unceremoniously turned her business into a franchise, creating a black market in practically every major city or plane of existence. However, this does not mean that the stores are open without exception. On the contrary. As a true felon, er, heavy entrepreneur, Madame Goya naturally has to move on every year or two. Accordingly, her hideout at the Tavern in the Mists in Pandaria is deserted. Even the stone fortress in the Ring of Blood in Draenor is now deserted ... Except, of course, for Mr. Matom, their bling ogre branch manager.

Old branches are handed over to underlings, who unfortunately have no black market authority. Only rogues, radio operators, and the dead are allowed to shop in the Black Market. Source: buffed Amusingly enough, there is also a "version" of the Master Pusher in the sewers of Dalaran - but this must be a body double, as she has permanently lost her function as an auctioneer. Madame Goya's current location is the Tortollan Refuge in Dazar'alor. However, so that the Alliance doesn't have to keep burning down Horde cities to buy a quick dinosaur, the black market liaison Madame Gosu is waiting for you in the Hakenkap in Boralus.

Your new favorite criminal? Ta'xera, Matron of the Market!

The question remains, which of these two must die in the new expansion in order for you to have access to the Black Market Auction House in the afterlife? The answer: none! Shadowlands marks the first time Madame Goya has left her shop in place. Good thing, too, because it would be a real shame if the Madame or her employees had to bite the dust for our convenience. Instead, "Ta'xera Matron of the Market" takes care of the illegal items. Ta'xera is a member of the so-called midwayers you see all over Oribos - except that these guys aren't actually part of the town's "inventory" at all but, just like us, are from another reality. The candleheads are members of various cartels, all of whom trade in rarities and sometimes go over dead bodies in the process. The criminal of your trust is this time in the so-called "night market" in Revendreth. Head for the coordinates 52/84 and have a look around.

If you're attentive, you'll spot a weapons dealer, for example, along with a queue of customers and a hogged grave helper. If you cheat your way past the queue you'll discover that the midwife sells weapons from all four realms! So you have indeed found a black market. This time it's not just for art and trinkets - you're dealing with hardcore interdimensional arms dealers.

Regular customers and preferred clientele: Market access on demand

The Madame Goya's Lootboxes
No, calm down, you can't buy the frowned upon L-word with real money in Shadowlands either. However, if you want to play a little poker with your gold stash, head to the nearest black market auction house and bid on a "Black Market Item Left Behind." These are chests of items that previous bidders have purchased but not picked up. You can't see inside, but the trunks contain one of the items from the entire Black Market repertoire - yes, that includes the "Reins of the Mighty Caravan Rutosaurus"! Think of it like one of those suitcase auctions at the airport. Maybe you'll hit the jackpot, or maybe you'll be left with a pair of cheap sandals and a smaller purse.

To make it worth your while, keep a close eye on the time remaining and the bids made. Madame Goya always offers one of the black market items, but at peak times the wonder bags reach prices of 9,000,000 gold and more. If you are playing in the middle of the night (for example during the Christmas holidays), you can often buy a lot with a short auction duration for small change.As it often happens in life, we are not all the same: Madame Goya also has preferred customers. Should you be fortunate enough to be a member of the "uncrowned", you will be moving in the inner circle of black market professionals. For the uninitiated, you'll need a rogue who has access to his Legion Order Hall. You'll still find Madame Goya here, despite Shadowlands, along with the fully functional Black Market. Handy, as it means you're always just one rest stone away from a Black Market visit. If you don't have a rogue, you can also unlock a Black Market contact in your Draenor garrison by completing the Shipyard quest "Black Market Diary" and all subsequent quests in your port. The contact will only show you the current auction list without allowing you to place bids, but at least you can still check it out through the garrison rest stone practically at the touch of a button.

The absolute best method, however, is the so-called "Encrypted Black Market Radio", which you can get hold of in Mechagon. You can create the blueprint through scrapyard fiddling and soul ciphering. You will receive one of the consumable radios per use, but we strongly recommend that you always carry a full stack of 20. With the press of a button, you'll summon your old pal Blingtron (complete with fancy straw hat), who will not only give you insight into the auction house wherever you go, but will also take your bids! Note, note: Shadowlands currently requires you to be level 60 to access the Black Market, although the radio's tooltip doesn't tell you this fact. Unfortunately, if you use your radio before then, you will waste the item. Still, the "Encrypted Black Market Radio" remains the best way to get rid of your hard-earned gold in no time so far. On a side note, we're really impressed with the performance of the radio. Apparently ghost hunters don't use radios and walkie-talkies to contact people in the afterlife for nothing. Well, you live and learn.

Market etiquette and how best to bid

Let's get to the preparation and the actual bidding process. Before you pull out your wallet, hover your mouse over the item and look at the description very, very carefully. Of course, not all items can be worn by every class - so far, so well known. More importantly, however, are the side conditions, which are not lifted even in the auction house versions of the items. A famous example of this is Bo He Me's Death Cloak, a pair of cloth shoulders that (as it also says in the tooltip) are normally dropped by Ordos. Note: What comes next is important - for the Death Cloak and other Ordos armor pieces, you need the Furorion Cloak from Pandaria! If you didn't complete the task then, you'll never be able to put on the armor, even if you bought it at auction. Listing all the items with side conditions is beyond the scope of this article; just make sure you check before you bid to make sure you don't end up with an expensive paperweight. And yes, this also means that the Black Market Auction House is unfortunately not a way for new players to grab items from old challenge dungeons. Simply because heroes can't use them.

Feel free to take a look around the night market in Revendreth, there's a lot to discover here. The customers are piling up in front of the weapon dealer. Source: buffed Once you've found the item you want and you're facing Madame Goya with sweaty palms, stop! First, look at the time remaining. To prevent auction bots and the dreaded auction snipers, only an approximate time is given. It is not possible to place a bid shortly before the end of the auction. What is possible, however, is a patient approach: If you hover your mouse over the item, you can see how long the "short", "long" or "very long" indications will be approximately. For example, if you see that the auction will end in "two to twelve hours", wait an hour and a half before bidding to avoid inflating the price unnecessarily. Then place your bids (on time!) and get ready for the bidding war.

If you are outbid (definitely not "if", but "when"), you will get your bid back in the mail. Now, grab your gold and put more dough in the madam's hand. If you really want the item, you'll have to actively work to be the highest bidder at all times from this point on. Don't rely on your experience with previous auctions - if the tooltip shows you two to twelve hours, then the auction may actually end within two hours. Good luck!

New items, coveted items, get your items here!

With Shadowlands, a number of new items have found their way into Madame Goya's treasure trove. We probably don't need to tell you about the "Reins of the Mighty Caravan Rutosaurus", because there's a good chance that you're currently just checking out the Black Market because you want the giant dinosaur. Other new items include the "Obsidian Worldbreaker" and "Little Nefarian," which could be obtained back during WoW's 15th birthday. Also, the jellyfish-like mount "Deep Dweller" and the enchantments "Illusion: Nightmare" and "Illusion: Chronos" have been waiting for adventurers with more gold than time since the new expansion. The Worldbreaker and Little Nefarian, by the way, are the items that you can actually only purchase through the Auction House. This brings us right to the next item on our list: The Super Duper Ultra Items.

The Alliance gets a fun allusion with the substitution of Madame Gosu in Boralus. Look up the Korean meaning of the term "Gosu"! Source: buffed If you're not too bothered to run down old raid bosses week after week, there are only a few items you'll be targeting in the Black Market. On the one hand, this includes all mounts of the WoW trading card game: The "Riding Turtle", the "White Wool Rhinoceros" and the "X-51 Nether Missile" are so rare that you are guaranteed to cause a stir with them. Second, be on the lookout for mounts that have been permanently removed from the game. These include the Fast Razashiraptor, the Fast Zulian Tiger, the Reins of the Infested Protodragon, and the Core Dog Chain - the latter of which is a birthday item that was available for the 10th anniversary of WoW.

Other ultra rare items include "Sawbone Shirt" and the coveted "Epic Purple Shirt," as well as the tabard skirts from the trading card game. If you see skirts labeled "Tabard of the Defender," "of Brilliance," or something similar, try them on sometime. If there's a skull on it, it's worth buying for collectors. Toy lovers look especially for the "fishing chair", the "picnic basket" and the "wishing weather machine". Finally, Transmog fanatics save up for the Tier 3 set armor pieces from old Naxxramas, as well as the cool instrument weapons from the elite Tauren Chieftains, all of which are only available here.

The best time to spend gold

Shortly after the launch of an expansion, it's always the best time for newcomers to take a look at the Black Market Auction House, as the BfA Auction Moguls are currently riding their Brute Dinosaurs through the new zones to farm Anima. If you've always wanted a pair of leather shoulders from Naxxramas or a riding turtle, here's one last piece of advice: be patient and exercise your frustration. The Black Market isn't a boutique you can stroll out of with an armful of wish items, it's always fiercely competitive. Think of it more as an interesting side hustle that yields a great item every now and then. And who knows? Maybe you'll actually manage to snag a rare item for the price of a lunch. Good luck with your bidding. And remember the old Goblin adage: It's only illegal if you're poor. Have fun!