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    posted a message on The Supposed "Death" of Card Single Sales at Local Game Stores (LGSs)?
    Thought I'd share this again from Rudy of Alpha Investments:

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    Quote from Alpha Investments »
    Are mass box openings dead? Obviously there's a couple of ways to address this. We can discuss this in respect to sets like Modern Horizons which are specialty sets or we can address the mass box openings with Standard products. Now in the past, mass box openings were normally done by Local Game Stores (LGSs) by using Standard sets cause that's when customers would come in and want to be able to have inventory on all the new Standard releases especially with the big Secondary Market values and that's where they would recoup a lot of their money with cash transactions at their local store. Mass box openings were not really invented or targeted or supposed to be for specialty sets like Modern Horizons or Masters sets in the past, Conspiracy / Battlebond type sets. Aside from that lets talk about Strixhaven. So because we're on the back of the new Dungeons & Dragons set for Magic: The Gathering I know a lot of the regular player base is very happy that sealed product is very cheap and expected value is very low.


    The player base segment of the game is very happy with it. Now of course everything in life is a teeter totter, the more they're happy with it that means the prices are very cheap. The cheaper you tilt that way that means well unfortunately stores are aware of that and stores are ordering less of it from their local distributors and they're also not cracking boxes at the rate they used to which is also not absorbing as much of the supply. This has been one of my theories for awhile that Wizards of the Coast not only do they notice less stores are cracking the boxes and stocking card singles in their inventory, I feel this is one of the many long list of reasons that they're using Amazon as the future for selling card singles via direct-to-consumer online. It's complicated. The original idea was to keep Standard cheap and insert really high end lottery cards or really high end chase cards that would help dilute the value of the base set and keep the players happy by keeping it cheap.

    That was the original intention of like Expeditions and Masterpieces and Invocations. I was actually very critical of that at first. I looked back at that and got that wrong. I think that was actually the right way to go about it. I wish they would return to that business model because I think that's healthy, it adds more excitement, and it provides an incentive for stores to really go back to cracking lots of boxes to REALLY hunt for those 1 in 1,0001 to 2,000 booster pack type of chase cards. I do think Wizards of the Coast will return to that eventually. Unfortunately again it takes a very long time for them to react because I don't think they're very happy with the overall sales of Draft Boxes. I think as they continue to push all this to Set Boxes because again they charge more wholesale and they put less booster packs in. So they get paid more per box as there's less cardboard in each box so they "win" on both ends of the spectrum. So for them that's a positive financially sound decision.

    I really think the reason as to why the market isn't factoring it in enough is because people aren't cracking boxes and flipping card singles, the economy behind a Standard legal booster box is VERY VERY weird. This could be caused by the Set Boxes and the Collector's Edition Boxes diluting, there's a lot of variables that go into it as I don't have an easy clean answer to how to solve something like this. You can argue in so many different ways I'm just presenting to you all as to what I see going on. One of the ways that Mass Box Opening Stores' Secondary Market has remained very healthy for a long time was the Foil Multiplier. Back in the day getting a foil Rare or a foil Mythic was two or three times the price. If you had a $10 Mythic you could sell the foil version for like $30 which could pay for half a box 10 years ago. It was very different because now not only is there almost a zero foil multiplier or a premium for a foil price of a specific card variant (etched foils, extended arts, showcases, and retro frames).

    It's so much now that even people selling the cards actually have a hard time identifying which type of card they're selling, buyers are upset because they're getting the wrong version or the wrong variants and the wrong types of foiling, it's so extreme now that to me it's just feels and I HATE to use this analogy where it feels like the Sports Card World of the 90's where it's becoming so many versions of the same Baseball card and so many versions of the same player. There's so many special versions that they're all useless. I think Wizards of the Coast will adjust unlike the Sports Card World where 20 different companies were printing the same Baseball card player. The only printing in Magic: The Gathering is by Wizards of the Coast so we're not gonna go in the same direction as the Sports Card World because the dynamics and the number of companies printing is very very different. Still doesn't mean we can't have a different problem with a type of crash as far as that particular example.

    For Standard legal sets I wouldn't recommend anyone doing mass box openings. I just don't see the point in why you would engage in that much risk and labor and time to lose money or break even or to even have less than minimum wage style returns. Not to mention the rising cost and problems associated with online selling like on eBay and TCGPlayer in regards to their fee structure AND the actual shipping costs which continue to go up. I've been starting to hear rumors now that we're going to have a FOURTH price increase from the United States Postal Service in August 2021. A fourth price increase within 12 months. This is the fastest rate of increase for shipping costs in HISTORY! So I also expect Wizards of the Coast is going to continue to raise prices on all their Paper Magic products. I am expecting to see more super high end $100+ booster packs coming. Overall I think mass box openings are dead. As of in the current environment it's dead.

    Now when we have specialty products like this Modern Horizons. Now Modern Horizons 2. I feel like they were so concerned with the high price they were attaching to it with the fear of an Iconic Masters type of erosion or crash that they overdid it. They overdid it so much that If you open 30 or 60 boxes of Modern Horizons 2 Set Boxes or Draft Boxes that people were averaging from $400 to $500 Expected Value (EV) where the box prices are dropping and the singles for the set aren't. I don't know how long it's going to stay this way. So do I think Wizards of the Coast really cares about mass box openings in this new era? I don't. All they're focusing on is the sales numbers and I don't think we're going to see a return to that. The way I see this going is very bearish and a little aggressive. So recently there's been a drop in supply for Strixhaven and Mystical Archive products. Is it out of print or is there a supply problem?

    What's going on with some of the card prices for Strixhaven for certain single cards and Mystical Archive that's holding up good while the supply is going down? Well I think it's a combination of Local Game Stores (LGSs) not cracking booster boxes. Why? Because they're tired of losing money opening new Paper Magic products being diluted so much that stores are not updating their card singles inventory whenever there's a new set release. After this initial release where all the money has been made during and shortly after Pre-Release Weekend, nobody's opening boxes anymore. Therefore Local Game Stores are not ordering as many booster boxes unless it's just to sell sealed to customers and whales but they're not actually cracking and stocking Standard card inventory. This is leading to the slow erosion of the quantity of card singles that are available online because as the Local Game Stores sell them they're not restocking the Card Singles even by refusing to accept Buylist orders for them.

    Wizards of the Coast limits their Standard product releases very tightly to make sure that the set releases for them goes smooth, to make sure that the cards within the Secondary Market don't collapse, and they really bottleneck that to make everyone feel that the set was a success. So don't get the wrong idea right now, just because you see the quantity of a certain card in Standard dropping be aware that it's not because the card is rare or out of print it's probably because the Local Game Stores and the employees who work there just aren't touching the product. Magic: The Gathering isn't dying, it's doing very well, it's just that we don't like the direction in which they're implementing it. But they are doing very well. Final thoughts though? The more things change the more things stay the same. The trend will ALWAYS be our friend.
    I don't know about you all but I've also been noticing this problem in specialty products not just Standard products at my own Local Game Store (LGS) recently. After Zendikar Rising there was this sudden shift of behavior with the employees there where when I tried to pick up the card singles I was wanting to purchase from Modern Horizons 2 I'd assumed they'd crack boxes of it during Pre-Release Weekend but they didn't have the cards available yet apparently. Little did I know that they were only relying on people actually placing Buylist orders to carry the new card singles from these sets instead of doing mass box openings to place them in stock which I found to be very suspicious. I'm guessing it had to do with the EV of Modern Horizons 2 tanking in price to where Local Game Stores didn't think they'd get any money selling card singles for it.

    There is one factor that Rudy forgot to mention for why Local Game Stores aren't as reluctant to do mass box openings for carrying card single inventory nowadays and that's because a lot of competitive players are patiently waiting for the next Standard rotation before these stores feel more "incentivized" to do mass box openings again. As we all know Standard is a mess right now due to all the unchecked power creep from Ikoria onward with no one being able to play In-Person due to the global pandemic which has also caused a lot of Local Game Stores to go belly up and out of business for good. What Local Game Stores don't realize is that while they may be losing more money doing these mass box openings they're still helping out players who play in other formats outside of Standard with EDH / Commander being the most popular format in the game.

    Not only are they making it hard for EDH / Commander players to get the card singles they need but they're making acquiring these singles less convenient by forcing their customers to purchase most of their card singles online via eBay or TCGPlayer where they have to wait weeks on end to get the cards they need instead of having instant access toward it. They're under the assumption that the majority of EDH / Commander players play at home more than at their Local Game Store (LGS) where it's much easier to meet up with playgroups without having to rely on Social Media without getting associated with the everyday toxicity we see on Facebook and Twitter. Local Game Stores don't want to live with the reality that EDH / Commander is the new lifeblood of their business more so than Standard nowadays and that's what frustrates them the most.

    Only problem is that without Standard you won't have as many new players entering into Paper Magic with less interest of them getting into other formats like EDH / Commander, Modern, and Pioneer to a lesser extent. Arena is already causing an exodus of players not wanting to have anything to do with other formats outside of Standard for In-Person play at Local Game Stores probably because the sound of a digital card game not being tied to a Secondary Market appeals to them more which is understandable I get it. If Richard Garfield had designed Paper Magic what that future aspect in mind 30 years ago knowing that his game would stand the test of time then we could've seen an alternate version of Magic: The Gathering that's more consumer friendly that doesn't cater solely to those who only want to play the stock market or treat the collectibility of the game as a 401k retirement plan.
    Posted in: Magic General
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    posted a message on [MH2] Lorenautas - Timeless Witness
    Really like how they honored the original artwork by Terese Nielsen, well done Deruchenko Alexander If I'm pronouncing that correctly!
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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    posted a message on Read this announcement at your own risk (it involves mtg)
    Remote Play in general costs way too much money to setup compared to sitting next to a group of people wearing face masks at a Local Game Store (LGS) playing EDH / Commander for hours on end. It's unfortunate that it's too dependent on the size of an LGSs overhead cause If it's too small then the risk to allow In-Store Play that's separate from Organized Play isn't really worth the reward in the middle of a pandemic. There was a small comic book shop I used to go to for getting my EDH / Commander fix on Friday nights but when COVID-19 hit me and the local community we've built for almost 20 years were forced to go our own separate ways. Luckily there's a Local Game Store with bigger overhead that I'm able to attend on Saturdays to get my EDH / Commander fix.

    Most of my friends that I used to hang out with on Friday evenings have to work during the weekends which is why I don't see them as much as I used to. They don't ever bother to show up at the other LGS I go to due to lack of trust, competitive pricing, and lack of events but that's to be expected. I did manage to collect their phone numbers in case I need to contact them since I refuse to use Facebook and Twitter from getting addicted to Social Media though I only use YouTube so it's not too bad. I do use Twitch but that's mainly for logging into the MTG Salvation forums. If you really want to play Paper Magic online via EDH / Commander then Spelltable is also an option but the experience itself isn't the same as In-Person IMO. Reminds me of how much of a pain in the butt Wi-Fi Battles for Pokémon were back in Gen 4 (ugh!).
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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    posted a message on Read this announcement at your own risk (it involves mtg)
    Quote from Dontrike »
    I figured the potential would be in what IP Crossovers would be a home run (like Godzilla in Ikoria for example) compared to those that aren't which is what worries some people. No sense bringing in an IP that only a small percentage of people care about as opposed to an IP that most people can get themselves behind.
    To be fair the Godzilla cards were more of a home run as they were just alternate art version of cards that someone could get cheaper elsewhere. These on the other hand will be mechanically special and harder to reprint in the future, unless a slew of functional reprints are made. While some didn't like that Godzilla cards, and that's okay, I was fine with them for what they were, promos.

    The Professor talks about this, if these were Godzilla esque cards no one would have had a problem with these, comparatively, and these could have been easily skipped to find the real cards. By making these mechanically special you can't ignore these if they happen to improve your competitive deck(s) and that's part of where the problem lies. Many don't want to play with Gandalf in Magic, they want to play with Magic characters or creatures.
    If the cards are mechanically special then why not design regular MTG cards based on them so that there's two versions, one that's the actual IP Crossover card and the other being a regular MTG card? Mark Rosewater actually hinted about this on his Blogatog awhile back though apparently Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro never bothered to release regular MTG versions of The Walking Dead Secret Lair cards or maybe they're actually coming down the pipeline like how they teased the first printings of cards in Future Sight that eventually got reprints such as Aven Mindcensor and Horizon Canopy which is still the most expensive card based on it's land cycle alone compared to how expensive Fetches are like Misty Rainforest and Scalding Tarn.

    I guess this also begs the question, will we receive regular MTG cards based on mechanically special designed cards for Warhammer 40k, Lord of the Rings, and other IP Crossovers in Universes Beyond? That at least should be something that Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro needs to look into at least for those who still want the classic aesthetic of the game left intact, after all the game is called "Magic: The Gathering" not "Magic: The Licensing". They might not owe us anything but it's something that we can both agree on that benefits both sides of the aisle. Wizards of the Coast has already done enough for Hasbro so why not support the MTG community more for a change? The ongoing pandemic was probably the wake up call they needed.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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    posted a message on Read this announcement at your own risk (it involves mtg)
    Quote from Dontrike »
    There's definitely a lot of potential with this but Universes Beyond pretty much confirms that the MTG lore itself is in uncharted territory.
    What would be the potential here? I'm not seeing any that's not just even more product. Even if they picked an IP to do a crossover of this doesn't make me want to spend more, it only makes me want to spend less by buying a few singles of the ones I enjoy, if that.
    I figured the potential would be in what IP Crossovers would be a home run (like Godzilla in Ikoria for example) compared to those that aren't which is what worries some people. No sense bringing in an IP that only a small percentage of people care about as opposed to an IP that most people can get themselves behind.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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    posted a message on Read this announcement at your own risk (it involves mtg)
    And before you idiots start a witch hunt about "well those cards arent mechanically unique or breaking the IP that is Magic" I will have tou know that I currently have several EDH decks that I have commissioned custom arts for the Commanders because I LIKE the idea of a crossover in Magic! I dont sweat over FNM or local tournaments. I play the game to mostly have fun and to EXPRESS MYSELF. If these IP crossovers make it easier for me or anyone else to do that while bringing more lifeblood into the game with more casual kitchen table players, I am okay with that.
    Don't get the wrong idea I like the idea of IP Crossovers in MTG when the big concern is what specific IP's Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro chooses that could either make or break the game. A Poll to determine what kinds of IP Crossovers we wanted has already been tossed aside because by the time the votes are officially cast Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro would've already finished designing an MTG product that's either superior or inferior towards it where the results of that poll would already be on the back burner. There's definitely a lot of potential with this but Universes Beyond pretty much confirms that the MTG lore itself is in uncharted territory.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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    posted a message on Old Remastered Sets New Norm for Reprints Going Forward?
    When I first heard about Time Spiral Remastered I automatically assumed that it was just going to be another online / digital exclusive to Arena and MTGO when later I found out that it was getting a Paper release which made me think that Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro may have finally solved the problem with Masters sets by re-releasing old expansions in a way that presents the best cards within these blocks. This was back when we used to have 2-3 sets per block in Standard before they changed it in Amonkhet to where now every Standard legal set is a stand-alone set including Core Sets. The big arguments I've been hearing about this distribution method is that it could end up devaluing the original sets' Expected Value (EV) quite a bit which is okay IMO because you were only going to invest in Reserve List.

    I can already imagine Odyssey Remastered with the pre-Mirrodin card templates with reprints of the most popular cards in that block such as Cabal Coffers, Tainted Pact which has now become a staple card in cEDH, as well as Worldgorger Dragon and Mirari's Wake which have spiked in price recently on the Secondary Market. We could even get Lorwyn Remastered with new reprints of Bitterblossom, Thorn of Amethyst, Maralen of the Mornsong, Stigma Lasher, Polluted Bonds, and Greater Auramancy. So what do you guys think? It's definitely a nice change of pace from having reprints in different product releases like the Planeswalker Spellbooks and the Color Collection series starting with Green. We'll still get reprints in Commander Pre-Cons though they'll mostly just be new Pre-Con exclusives anyway.
    Posted in: Magic General
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    posted a message on KALDHEIM FINANCIALS ARE THE WORST
    Quote from SpeedGrapher »
    Yes, the value is not there for buying a booster box of Kaldheim. One of my friends I was talking to said that you're paying $95 for the box and maybe getting $50 of value out of it. That's bad. I'm sure in a year from now the set value will go up. But if no ones buying the boxes. No ones playing standard then it might take longer than that.
    Wizards of the Coast is dedicating so much of their design philosophy toward EDH / Commander that it's becoming a major detriment toward Standard and other competitive formats at least from a power creep perspective. Why do you think they just now decided to ban Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath in Pioneer, Modern, and hopefully Tibalt's Trickery in Modern? They could've banned one of these cards a long time ago but waited until they've made enough money off of them via sealed product sales.

    They can't expect to always make a home run with new land cycles selling Standard sets when they've backed themselves into a corner with one or two Mythics being the overall Expected Value (EV) of the sets themselves. Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath was the ONLY reason why sealed product for Theros Beyond Death was able to be sold. It only proves that Wizards of the Coast only thinks short-term rather than long-term as the ongoing pandemic has given them a free pass to sacrifice competitive formats for EDH / Commander with little to no consequence involved.
    Posted in: Magic General
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    posted a message on KALDHEIM FINANCIALS ARE THE WORST
    Probably explains why most of the "value" has already gone toward Pokémon TCG mostly due to the fact that Standard is only being played on Arena or in ill-advised, non-sanctioned underground Paper Magic tournaments. If the only place a player can compete is online (aside from playing In-Person Casual EDH / Commander at their LGS) then there's really little to no incentive to collect playsets of cards for the Standard format. In return it limits the Paper Magic Sealed product customer base solely to collectors, investors, and Casual EDH / Commander players, thus impacting sales.

    As you pointed out earlier, another issue is the Kaldheim product itself in that it boasts only four cards with different titles that can be pulled from a Draft Booster Box which are worth more than $10 on the Singles Market (excluding foil versions of these cards). The Expected Value (EV) of Kaldheim is lacking but that's only because players are buying less booster boxes as a result. One issue I do have with "The List" when it comes to Collectors Edition boosters is that the pull rates for valuable reprints are atrocious. Why not add the reprints as If you were guaranteed two rares a booster pack like in Double Masters?

    What Wizards of the Coast is doing instead is creating artificial scarcity to increase the price of these reprints for when they design a new Secret Lair for them in order to make money directly off the Secondary Market. At least Mystery Booster was a home run because you were guaranteed reprints in every pack but in Collectors Edition boosters for new Standard sets? Not so much I'm afraid especially when the reprints are sometimes foil by default. I'm not sure If Tolarian Community College has already gone over this or not but It'd make for good discussion IMO.
    Posted in: Magic General
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    posted a message on How does your play group feel about/use proxies?
    So beyond just being careful with MTG cards a lot of players have EDH / Commander decks. If you're five color and you have one of each ABU Dual Land, one of each Fetch Land, and you know Gaea's Cradle and a few other cards particularly those that are highly played in Legacy and Modern, it isn't hard for the monetary value of your EDH / Commander deck to go over $10,000+. So that's crazy, imagine carrying a briefcase with $10,000+ in physical cash with you to a shady Local Game Store (LGS) and you wonder why the need for running proxies in EDH / Commander is now more important than ever to reduce the high risk of theft. Now it might seem unethical at first on the aspect of the principle of "Pay to Win" or "Pay to Play" (no pun intended) but you sort of get the idea of what I'm getting at here. I don't have a problem with players within my playgroup running proxies of expensive cards they actually own in their personal card collections and for those who fully proxy their decks due to the barrier of entry for the format being extraordinarily high right now due to the ongoing pandemic, I honestly don't blame them for it.

    One of my friends runs alters of ABU Dual Lands including a lot of the fast mana rocks like Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, and Mox Diamond because the overall power creep of the format is demanding it now more than ever. There's simply not enough supply to meet the demand of much needed reprints in the format to help circumvent the cost to play If you're being pressured to keep up with cEDH decks where it seems as though the format is morphing into something that's no longer what we would perceive to be as "kitchen table casual". If your deck isn't able to stop one of your opponents from winning on turn 5 or earlier especially since you'll be tapped out on lands most of the time then that cuts you off from being able to actually play the game and this is why proxies can make the difference between needing the cards necessary to stop those scenarios from occurring instead of creating a massive paywall to actually get there. It's got less to do with the EDH Rules Committee fixing this problem when the design team at Wizards of the Coast are purposely increasing the speed of the format just to sell more product.
    Posted in: Commander (EDH)
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