Surviving the Death of Wizards - Magic without new cards

  • #1
    What will happen to the game of Magic and to Magic card values if Wizards stops printing new cards?

    During 2011, I've spent a notable amount of money amassing a well-rounded Magic card collection. Now that I have basically every card I could want, I'm concerned about the cash value of my collection over time. I wonder what will happen to its value if the worst happens: Wizards stops printing new cards.

    This leads me to think about the game of Magic in general in a world without new core and expansion sets from Wizards. Would the game continue or would people lose interest? Would everyone quickly jump ship in a gaming apocalypse, or would players come up with new formats to sustain the game?

    It's been said that "Communities which aren't growing are shrinking". Loss of community members is inevitable due to life changes, financial and time constraints, etc. Without new members, a non-growing community will eventually vanish; even one as large as the worldwide network of Magic players.

    I pose the following questions about Magic after Wizards stops printing cards:
    1. What would happen to card values?
    2. What would happen to the game and the community of Magic players?
    3. What could players do to keep the Magic community alive and growing?

    Looking forward to your input.
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  • #2
    Standard would die, obviously. Standard staples would drop in price unless they were eternal/EDH staples as well. Extended will die as well for the same reason as standard, but at a slower rate.

    So would the official forms of limited. No new packs, no limited. You'd have to resort to cube or repacks. But that gets old quick -- part of the appeal of limited is new stuff.

    "Modern", whose existence lies on the hope that certain cards will be reprinted, will also die because no cards will be reprinted. It will be a much slower death than standard; maybe lasting as long as eternal.

    Vintage and legacy would continue to exist, for a time. Vintage, in particular, has survived without official support for years. Obviously, the number of players will still dwindle, but not nearly as fast as the rate as of disappearance of standard players. EDH, pauper, peasant will also exist. The formats that exist will likely develop their own governing body outside the DCI. IT will up to them to keep the foramts from becoming stale, likely with a rotating B&R list.
    Last edited by mondu_the_fat: 7/19/2011 9:00:12 PM

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  • #3
    1. Card values would depend. Cards that are staples/currently have a collector value (like P9, ABU, etc.) would probably take a sharp drop in value, and then over time go back up in value. Non staples would probably slowly rise in value as they got scarcer, and as collector value of a "dead" game went up (this would be slow, and not huge).

    2. The community would probably shrink over time, I expect that for a few years, it would be more or less stagnant, then players would drop more quickly as things got boring and the same.

    3. "normal" draft formats would of course die out. However, I assume that a few things would happen:
    1. some weirder drafts might appear, eternal drafts, similar to cube
    2. EDH would become more funsieser
    3. since all magic would be casual, there would be lots of formats based on different stages of magic (stuff like modern, but plays on everything), so things like only older than X, or singleton "standard" or whatever.
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  • #4
    If wotc folded right now, I can guarantee it wouldn't die there. Some other company would buy the rights and continue the game. Yo could bet their first set would be a cash grab with p9 and more in it. After that, who knows. Som card games have dedicated communities. I think if magic production absolutely stopped with no future production, legacy would live on for some time. Vintage would still be daunting to get into. Even if something is now worth 20$ after being hundreds like moxen, people are reluctant to let it go for that low.
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  • #5
    Even though Star Wars CCG from Decipher stopped production in 2001, there is a following for the game. There is even a group making new "cards" for the game.
    Magic players can do the same thing or at least try nad hopefully someone would pick it up
  • #6
    I'm sure another company would pick up Magic if WOTC decided to stop or if they folded. Heck Dragon Dice got picked up by another company before it bit the dust.

  • #7
    Quote from jclrb
    Even though Star Wars CCG from Decipher stopped production in 2001, there is a following for the game. There is even a group making new "cards" for the game.
    Magic players can do the same thing or at least try nad hopefully someone would pick it up


    Somehow, I can't see Wizards doing what Decipher did with SWCCG and both STCCGs. Magic will never truly die; if Wizards went down Hasbro would either continue it themselves under another brand name or sell it off to another company, who would be faced with the choice to either affirm their commitment to honor their predecessors' promises and keep the Reserved List intact, or piss off the vast majority of their instantly acquired customer base, distributors, and SCG.

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  • #8
    What i have to say is pretty much what everyone else has already said, but I'll try to give it my own spin. Wink

    Standard/Extended/Modern:
    These formats will most likely die out fairly soon after magic folds. Standard being the quickest and modern being the slowest, but Modern's death will be dependent on when magic dies. If it's soon, before more cards are available to stabilize the format, then it won't last as long as it would have if those cards had been printed/reprinted.

    Legacy/Vintage:
    Of the major formats supported by wotc these will be the ones to last the longest after magic death. Major tournaments will most likely be a thing of the past since most magic retailers, such as SCG, will most likely die with magic, but the formats are stable and fairly balanced.

    Cube/EDH/Causal:
    All of these will be around long after magic has died and it's bones have turned to dust. EDH was started independent of Wotc, gaining so much popularity that wotc finally acknowledged it as an official format, Cube was started in much the same way, independent of wotc. Since Cube is to EDH what limited is to constructed I really can't see one surviving without the other.

    Problem of No New Cards:
    As has already been said other games have died and thier players have continued to produce cards for them and expand the game. If magic were to suddenly die then I have no doubt something similar would happen with it. Just go check out the "Card Creation Forum" on this site alone, it's constantly buzzing with activity and people creating new cards and sets.

    Finally, I REALLY don't think Magic is going anywhere anytime soon, it's entirely possible for Magic to outlive everyone reading this post, it's simply a matter of having a good person leading the game and making sure everything is moving in the right direction. I don't know about the rest of you but I'd happily play Magic for the rest of my life.
    Last edited by Raptor1210: 7/20/2011 12:08:48 AM

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  • #9
    I think magic is a sure bet to being produced for the next 7-10 years. The good news is, I think the death of Magic will be slow and predictable. You should know when to sell off your cards well before the game actually belly ups. Safe investment, after all there is an entire business building up around Magic.

    But screw investments, you'll be playing this game for decades, and you got all the awesome cards. If I spent 10,000 dollars for all the cards I want, and that value is worth 500 bucks 25 years from now, I wouldn't care in the least bit. Well, outside of when I need 10,000 dollars.

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  • #10
    It largely depends on whether or not the Apocalypse has happened and everything has degenerated to a lawless land where people are wearing tank tops and fighting over precious little resources. Savagery, pillaging, murder abundant, and the vile act of playing with cards without proper sleeves.
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  • #11
    Quote from RCarlysle
    It largely depends on whether or not the Apocalypse has happened and everything has degenerated to a lawless land where people are wearing tank tops and fighting over precious little resources. Savagery, pillaging, murder abundant, and the vile act of playing with cards without proper sleeves.


    Then, magic cards will become a new form of currency. Bottle caps be damned.
  • #12
    MLB Showdown was a tabletop baseball game made by Wizards of the Coast. They stopped making those some years ago, when MLBPA decided that Topps would be only company to produce cards with the likeness of baseball players on it.

    I know a few people that tried to keep MLB Showdown alive. I still have literally six binders worth of MLB Showdown cards. However, nobody plays the game anymore and the cards aren't worth anything.

    I know that Magic is more popular than MLB Showdown, so it may be able to sustain without any new cards or sanctioned tournaments for a bit longer, but I suspect Magic would similarly crash and burn if Wizards abandoned it.
  • #13
    Assuming a full on death meaning no new official cards from WoTC or from any other company that has the license then as others have pointed out, official formats would slowly die off. Standard and Extended for obvious reasons of no new sets to make up the format. Legacy is popular now because it constantly shifts with the influx of new cards (Mental Misstep, Coralhelm Commander, Emrakul, Progenitus, Knight of the Reliquary, Goyf, etc). No new cards would mean that the format could eventually become stagnant.

    I think the ideal situation to arise would be some form of Bring Your Own Standard. It would be a nightmare for judges and deck legality but with the already massive number of blocks released the permutations are crazy.

    Not having any idea on how to handle earlier non-block sets like Legends and Arabian Nights and starting with Ice Age block (including Coldsnap here) and counting Lorwyn/Shadowmoor as one block you get about 190 different Block pairings. That goes from Ice Age block right on through Innistrad block and includes the unreleased but presumably worked on and soon to be released Hook/Line/Sinker block, Friends/Romans/Countrymen block and Huey/Dewey/Louie block.

    Each of those could then be paired with any of the 13 core sets to date (12 really since A/B/U are all the same, and 11 if you wanted to just ban A/B/U from the beginning for power and accessibility reasons).

    And again, that's without considering Legends, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, The Dark, Fallen Empires, or Homelands.

    Do you use Revised as your core set for the duals or would you be better off with M11 with the Titans and Baneslayer? Ice Age with Dark Ritual and Necropotence paired with Odyssey block and Torment's black focus? etc, etc.
  • #14
    MTG is practically printing money at this point. Printing a pack of cards that costs less than a penny to produce and selling them for $4.

    Any IP THAT profitable isn't going to die for a LOOONG time.
  • #15
    If Magic became unprofitable as as a collectable game, you'd probably see it get folded in to the games portfolio with other lines, sold as a couple hundred card boxed "basic" game, with a hundred or so more cards released every so often as "expansion" games.

    It wouldn't be so highly profitable, as the base game probably couldn't be sold for more than $29.99-$39.99, and expansions for less.

    Though, they'd probably need a good decade or more before wanting to try it, so that the old cards, which would gradually be degrading to worthless were lost/destroyed etc.


    Beyond that, the game system itself is really cool, and if Hasbro dropped it, someone would at least scavenge the game mechanics for use elsewhere. It wouldn't be Magic, though.
  • #16
    Quote from Valarin
    MTG is practically printing money at this point. Printing a pack of cards that costs less than a penny to produce and selling them for $4.

    Any IP THAT profitable isn't going to die for a LOOONG time.
    I was going to post something like this

    MTG Online is the best thing ever for Wizards. Also I see the game becoming more like a MMO, were you pay for having all cards available and a month fee to access the lobby. Who wont pay 100 bucks to have access to all cards from an expansion?

    insane profit
  • #17
    Wizards is just a company, Magic is a game independent of that. The most likely thing is that if for some reason Wizards went out of business but the Magic community was still strong Wizards would just sell the rights to publish the game to some other company and that would be that, almost nothing would change.

    More realistically though Wizards existence is linked to the continued existence of the Magic game community. Its only if people all over the world stop playing Magic that Wizards could go out of business. But then, why would people stop playing Magic? The game is fun and will continue to be, probably forever.
  • #18
    The thing with magic is, that a lot of players are like lemmings, following somebody, usually the pros.

    Withour wizzards there are no Grand Prix, without grand Prixs and so on, there are no pros, they will go to other games or stop playing.

    In contrast to other card games, the theory that everybody could become a pro, or at least knows that there are some who make money of it, using the same cards one has in its own deck, has a lot of influence.

    The big problem, games without a distributor have, is getting new players.
    Shure people will try getting their friends to play, but after 1 year or so, it won´t be possible to get some cheap boosters for him and to draft with some friends to get him into the game.
    They would have to buy all cars as singles, which most new players don´t like to do, especially with a game thats already gone.
  • #19
    Quote from tgodzor
    I was going to post something like this

    MTG Online is the best thing ever for Wizards. Also I see the game becoming more like a MMO, were you pay for having all cards available and a month fee to access the lobby. Who wont pay 100 bucks to have access to all cards from an expansion?

    insane profit


    I don't think that will happen for a long time. Magic online is incredibly profitable. It's a market where all the income from primary AND secondary profits leads to wotc. Going to a monthly fee of 14.95(mmo baseline) is the cost of one draft. Would people pay it? Yes. Would wotc lose money? Undoubtedly. If people are just given all their cards, drafting would drop off drastically, even if you could still redeem drafted cards for sets. I wouldn't pay them above 29.95 a month AND entry fees for events. No thanks. MODO as it stands is a better cash cow than any other product they have. When/if the web based client launches, it'll take off even further, especially if it's playable on portable devices. If I could log in and play magic from an iPhone, or droid device, I'd be divorced just due to the sheer amount of money I'd waste in a day, I think.
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  • #20
    Quote from RCarlysle
    It largely depends on whether or not the Apocalypse has happened and everything has degenerated to a lawless land where people are wearing tank tops and fighting over precious little resources. Savagery, pillaging, murder abundant, and the vile act of playing with cards without proper sleeves.


    Hmm... considering the state of Libya / Syria and the fact that my Jace 2, Foil Garruk 2, Sword of mind and body (2, one foil), foil Sword of War and Peace, Chrome Mox and Doubling Season have never seen sleeves, this may have already occurred.

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  • #21
    I think that, even if Wizards goes belly up and people stop playing the game entirely, the history and rarity of some cards (like the Power 9) will ensure that they keep at least some value, for collectors/nostalgics (if nothing else).

    And EDH can be played for the rest of time, without adding a single new card to our current card pool.
  • #22
    Let's compare this to the Beatles. Although some of their members died, many people listen to them, and almost everyone has heard of them. While they were popular in the days, people still know about them. Therefore, I expect the game to go on for quite some time.


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  • #23
    @fluffynoob

    Serious?
    Music can be heard and heard again, and can be discovered again and again by all people. Also the music is reprinted again and again and is easily available.
    For the cost of one Standard Deck, you could easily buy nearly all, if not all music, the Beatles ever released on CD.

    To compare it to music, one would have to look at some of the old Artists, that were available on vinyl, but were never released on CD. (just saw a documentation about a guy with a huge vinyl collection and he showed Vinyls nobody ever heard off or knew about)

    Those guys who had them back then, knew them.
    Year after year, some got destroyed, some others threw them away, people stopüed listening it, and those who would have liked to own it, couldn´t buy it because it was no longer available.

    The same would be with magic. Those who have it, play with it. But we all know, that people tend to store things, instead of selling things. So if there are 1000 people quitting per time X, there won´t be 1000 new collections on ebay, and even if there would be 1000 new players who wanted to play, there wouldn´t be enough decent product/cards.
    The numbers would go down and down and down. And when the value starts dropping really fast, there will be a push on ebay to sell stuff, which usually is the final headshot for any cardgame.

    Just think about it
    Last edited by Eberbacher: 7/20/2011 5:39:57 PM
  • #24
    Quote from Annorax
    Magic will never truly die; if Wizards went down Hasbro would either continue it themselves under another brand name or sell it off to another company, who would be faced with the choice to either affirm their commitment to honor their predecessors' promises and keep the Reserved List intact, or piss off the vast majority of their instantly acquired customer base, distributors, and SCG.


    I think the "Vast Majority" is smaller than you think it is. For one, I don't think distributors would care. SCG would care, but the focus should be pleasing players not pleasing SCG.
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  • #25
    Quote from FireFox31

    I pose the following questions about Magic after Wizards stops printing cards:
    1. What would happen to card values?
    2. What would happen to the game and the community of Magic players?
    3. What could players do to keep the Magic community alive and growing?

    Looking forward to your input.


    1. Same thing that's happened to every other CCG, the prices would go down very rapidly.

    2. You're assuming the Player's are a constant, it's the other way around, WOTC will print cards as long as there's enough players, when there aren't, that's why WOTC will quit printing cards. So this question is kind of impossible, there's not a situation where WOTC quits printing cards and there's alot of players.

    3. Nothing. The game lives and dies by Competitive, it's what drives the majority of sales. Without competitive, and without a ruling body to establish formats, bans, etc, it devolves into a conflicting morass of incompatible house rules. When WOTC, and the DCI, cut Magic loose, it's over.

    @MTGO topic

    I doubt it'll ever go much further, it's hit it's peak.

    1. The system is no longer about varied and enjoyable play, it's about funneling people into the largest cash-maker now.

    2. The terms still say you don't own your cards, which is a major impediment to widespread adoption.

    3. All the money you spent will one day disappear without a trace, another major impediment.

    It's only for the hardcore, it's overly expensive, overly restrictive, and you don't own anything. Not many people are willing to spend comparitively large amounts of money to not own anything, and one day have it disappear.

    Or to put it another way, ask some random person on the street what they think about paying $75 for to use a computer image of a card for an unknown period of time.

    Right there you just eliminated almost everyone under the age of 18 without a job of their own, and a good number of people over the age of 18.
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