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By: one million words, Pete Jahn
Feb 13 2009 12:52am
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The Problem of High Priced Force of Will and DualLands
If you checked out the recently, you probably saw an article by Dangerlinto called Barred at the Gate.   His point was that the cost of Force of Will was climbing rapidly – and that price rises like could, in years to come, kill Classic as a format. It is really expensive to get into now, and that cost will only rise. He also points out that, if Wizards introduces Legacy (all sets, banned list comparable to the paper version) as a format, the number of players wanting in will rise further, and the cost of both formats will explode. 
The main problem is that there are simply too few Force of Wills in circulation. Some of that is due to the limited number of Masters Edition One packs that were opened (MEDI was available only in the run-up to the v2.5 shutdown, and finding packs was hard.   Part of the problem may be hoarders. Part of the problem may be cards stuck in dead accounts – accounts of players who left the game. 
Who knows? Who cares what the reason is? The point is that the cost of the card is really high now – and it is only a year after the set it was in went off sale. As the years move on, the price should continue to climb. Look at cards like Engineered Explosives and Vedalken Shackles – both are continuing to climb in price as we get further and further from the date the last time a Fifth Dawn pack was sold by Wizards.
A simple rule: as long as a card remains heavily played in a serious format, the card will continue to rise in value. Force of Will is heavily played in a ton of Vintage decks today. It is also one of the most heavily played cards in Classic. That means that it will remain in demand almost indefinitely, and thus the price will continue to climb almost indefinitely.

When it stops being played, the price will drop. Look at cards like Spiritmonger and Cunning Wish – or Burning Wish.   When Burning Wish was a critical part of combo decks like Mind’s Desire, it was upwards of $30.00.   Now, since it is not played in much of anything, it has fallen to under a quarter of that value.   (Note – just looked at the most recent Classic PE Top8 decklists. Burning Wish is back at the top tables. That might mean that you should get yours now.) 

Dangerlinto is worried that, over time, the cost of some of the critical cards in the Classic format will rise to excessive levels.   At this point, players – especially new players – may not be able to afford to enter the format. The cost of entering the format may prove just too high.
I have to agree with Danger, here. I'm one of those players who cannot afford to play in Classic PEs and 2/4men. I can't afford the lands. I'm trying to get there, but – well, I have 3 Tundras, 2 of each other dual land, and bought my third Force of Will a few weeks ago. 
I also have draft sets of both Tempest and MEDII waiting to go, but in the last two weeks, I have never seen more than 3 players in these draft queues. I’m perfectly willing to draft my way into the missing cards, but I need some help. I need other drafters. The drafts need to fire. 
For that matter, I’m willing to draft or even sealed Mirage, but that format gets no love, either. 
More on that later.
Is the Classic format in trouble? Well, I was playing in Vintage events back when it was called Type I - and still try to play. Sanctioned Vintage is totally dead around here, despite Madison having been a huge Magic town for almost a decade. It's cost. What gets played is proxy-based. 
On the other hand, sanctioned Vintage, without proxies, gets played in Europe a lot. It just depends on getting – and maintaining – a critical mass of players. That is difficult, but not impossible.
Worth mentioned, in his forum response to Dangerlinto and others, that having a format with expensive cards is not a bad thing. It is a collectible card game, he reminds us, so having a really good collectible with a high price – that is good.
On the other hand, when the card is Force of Will.   Force of Will is an uncommon in the paper world.   It is a $25.00 Alliances uncommon. If Crystal (and my math) is right, then Wizards printed about 279,000 copies of Force of Will. At uncommon – and it is out of stock at major dealers like StarCity Games.
Online, it was “promoted” to rare, and its set – MEDI – was pulled off sale early. 
That’s not good.   On the other hand, it may be that Force of Will simply becomes the money card for MTGO. We have to have one.   Maybe that should be it.
Let’s look at all the cards that, as I write this, cost more than 32 TIX, list, at  
Force of Will
(Orim’s Chant)
Vampiric Tutor
Figure of Destiny
Underground Sea
Meddling Mage
Pernicious Deed
Engineered Explosives
Phyrexian Dreadnought
I can understand having a format with expensive cards. FoW, LED, Dreadnought - fine. I hate not being able to afford them (and never having busted even one of any of those cards in all my drafts, but that's another whine.)   
My problem is with making the dual lands money cards. They are not quite as expensive as the others, but close. Underground Sea makes the 32 TIX+ list, while Tundra is close at 31 TIX, and even lowly Savannah costs 18 TIX. That is not cheap.
In the paper world, my wife and I own a double playset of the Power 9, plus lots of the other stuff. On the other hand, we own well over 100 duals. The duals get played everywhere - EDH, 5color, casual decks, Vintage, Legacy, etc. The duals are the basis for so many decks. 
The duals should be available to everyone – for a reasonable investment. I don’t mean that you should get them free in your breakfast cereal, but it would be nice to see a playset of the lesser ones running for around $40.00, and the great ones, like Underground Sea, running closer to $60.00 a playset. (I bought a lot of our paper ones for $4-$5, but getting more at that price would require a time machine.)
I have another problem, beyond the high price of the cards: the blasted things are just not available. 
I use MTGOTraders as my main source of cards, for a lot of reasons. First, because they have always delivered, promptly and without hassles. They – generally – have the best stock. Typically, if I can’t get it an Traders, I am going to have trouble finding it anywhere else. (And, finally, because Heath asked me to write for him. I was buying from him almost exclusively before that, but the writing gig sealed the deal.)
Anyway, MTGOTraders is my bellwether – my touchstone for prices and availability. Let’s look up some of the pricey Classic staples over at MTGO Traders. Note that these are numbers in stock on the online store. I can’t check the traders’ bots at the moment. (Note: I’m writing this during lunch, at work. Not a place to run MODO.) Anyway, the numbers.
Force of Will - 5
Vampiric Tutor - 6
Underground Sea – none at all
Meddling Mage – 10
Phyrexian Dreadnought - zippo
Tundra  - out of stock 
Stifle - 13
Tombstalker – 5
Lion’s Eye Diamond – not here, not today
Pox - 1
Necropotence – 5
Grindstone - none
Null Rod – out of stock
Notice anything strange?   These are all cards that are heavily played in Classic (or are great sideboard options, like Null Rod.)   Some are in stock – some not. Now look at the sets these cards come from.   Vampiric Tutor aside, all of the cards that are in stock are out of print. And vice versa – the cards that can just not be had are the cards that you could draft tonight (if you could find seven other suckers players.)
The problem is that Mirage block cards are in very short supply. Very short supply. DO you know what the most expensive card in the pauper format is? Thunderbolt. It is a $3.50 common from an in-print set. That is a pretty darn good indication that cards from Weatherlight – and all of the Classic only sets – are in very short supply.
Since you can buy them at the store, why is that? Well, the obvious reason is that no one buys them, but that just moves the question back one level further. I see three somewhat interconnected reasons.
            1) The vast majority of these cards have no value. 
            2) They are not redeemable.
            3) Practicing these draft formats lead nowhere.
Let’s look at these in reverse order.
Practicing these draft formats lead nowhere.
One reason people play MTGO drafts is for fun. Another reason is to practice for tournaments, for both online Top 8 drafts and for paper world drafts. The later is not insignificant. If you read about the pros’ preparation from major events, many have done dozens to hundreds of drafts online in preparation for PTs, Worlds, etc. No real world major event will ever again draft Mirage block, or Tempest sealed. Sure, some TO may do a special draft (like the Beta draft at GP Kansas City – which cost something like $1,200 per seat), but those are rare and limited to a handful of players. Large events, like Grand Prix and even PTQs, will all use the current set, now and forevermore. 
Classic sets are not redeemable         
The paper versions of these cards have been out of print for so long that they rotated out of Extended years ago. Wizards is not going to print paper versions of these cards ever again (unless they get reprinted in new sets, of course.) That means that you cannot redeem the sets. This is one cause of the next point. 
The vast majority of these cards have no value. 
Go on over to MTGOTraders and look at the prices of Mirage Rares.   They start at about $0.80, but then they rapidly fall towards the fifteen cent range. The uncommons are as bad, and the commons are useful only as bookmarks and to fold up and wedge under table legs to stop the rocking – wait, these aren’t cards, they are digital objects, so they aren’t even good for that. 
Simply put, these old cards are 90% crap. Back in the olden days, creatures were mainly crap. Back then, Jackal Pup and Savannah Lions were insane, super powerful creatures. Juggernaut was banned at one point. Compare those to cards like Tarmogoyf and Figure of Destiny. Creatures today are just a ton better, meaning that the old cards are almost unplayable. A very few of these cards are tournament worthy – Flash, Phyrexian Dreadnought and Lion’s Eye Diamond are the standouts – and they have value. If you open one of the later two, you just paid for your draft, and that of your buddy.   If you open any of the other 108 other rares, you can probably sell it for a quarter, if you are really lucky. 
I haven’t done expected value for these sets for a while, but Hammy did. He puts the average value of a Mirage draft at $11.68, and the average value of a Mirage block rare at about $1.80. However, an average like that is heavily weighted by the couple really expensive rares in the format – the Dreadnought, LED and Vampiric Tutor. If you pull out those big ticket cards (and the three cheapest rares, to balance out), the average value of the rares drops to something like $1.20. 
In short, no matter how you cut it, you cannot make money drafting this set. You can’t practice for anything. As a result, people don’t draft it. They also don’t play Mirage or Tempest block sealed. 
They just don’t. As a result, the number of cards entering the card pool is – comparatively – very low. The rares are extremely hard to find.
My concern with the long-term health of the Classic format is not that the cards will get too expensive. My concern is that they simply will not be available. It is one thing if someone wants to enter a format, but has to pay through the nose for the privilege. It is another if that person cannot, at any price. That’s disaster.
So, what to do? What’s the answer?
It isn’t leagues. Yes, it would be great to get leagues back. League will mean more people busting packs. However, that will not really change the dynamics. Alara block sealed is a format worth practicing – Tempest league is not. Most players playing in Alara block leagues can use their new cards in Standard and block format games.   Player – except a very lucky few – will have little success building a competitive Classic deck out of their league opens. Even at the close of 2.5,   current set leagues (except maybe Coldsnap) fired regularly, while Mirage fired once a week, and never filled. MED was a bit better, mainly because of people (like me) trying to crack a FoW.
It also isn’t NIX TIX drafts. We had NIX TIX drafts over the holidays (and it was wonderful.) It did not result in many classic set (Tempest aside) drafts, however. I did a bunch of Alara drafts, a bunch of Tempest drafts, but I only found one MEDI, a pair of MEDII and zero Mirage block drafts ready to fire. I would have played, had I found any other takers. (I did sit in a couple queues for hours, but nothing fired.)
In short, NIX TIX is not enough.
We need some other changes.
If I ran MTGO, I would make two. I would change the rotation policy, and I would change the prices of the Classic set packs.
Right now, it appears that the store will stop selling MEDII at some point. That happened with MEDI. Worth said that he thinks, with hindsight, that he pulled the set too early. He has not, however, said that pulling the set was a bad idea. I can’t find the forum post, but I believe that he said that the MEDII is going away at some point.
Mirage block, on the other hand, has no scheduled off-sale date thus far. I remember hearing that Wizards was considering selling it indefinitely.  Again, I can’t find the post at the moment, so I could be wrong.
I think this is backwards. At some point, taking Mirage off sale would be acceptable. It might even convince some people – like me – to do some last-time sealed events or drafts. It probably would, but knowing that I can probably keep doing them forever, now, makes that a whole lot less urgent.
If I ran Magic, I would consider taking Mirage block off sale when Urza’s block appeared. It would be akin to the standard rotation – a set stays on sale for two years, then goes. Tempest block would stick around until Masques block appeared.
I don’t know that I would say that these sets would necessarily be gone for good, however. Wizards could set the rotation policy to offer old sets in a never-ending cycle. Mirage would not go off sale forever. Instead, when Masques block had been on sale for a year, Urza’s Saga would rotate out and Mirage reappear. That would make for a parallel cycle of Classic sets being available to draft, but only occasionally. 
Alternatively, Wizards could use one year cycles, maybe tied to the fiscal year. (Fiscal years start July first, which is often a dead time for Magic.) In that case, only one block would be available for draft and it would be available for one year. (Note that this is after the initial phased release – this is for releases of classic blocks.)
Here’s a sample schedule.
April 2009 – Stronghold released.
July 2009 – Exodus released
October 2009 – Urza’s Saga released. Mirage block goes off sale.
January 2010 – Urza’s Legacy released.
April 2010 – Urza’s Destiny released
July 2010 – Mercadian Masques released. Tempest goes off sale.
October 2011 – Nemesis released.
April 2011 – Prophecy released.
July 2011 – Mirage block back, Urza’s Saga and Masques block off sale.
July 2012 – Tempest block back,  Mirage block off sale
July 2013 – Urza’s Saga back, Tempest block gone.
The advantage of this rotation is that it gets the cards into play. It also give future players a chance to get cards, and would allow Wizards to produce Classic sets for a long time, without diluting the market so far that Classic drafts never fire. It also would allow Wizards to meet demand, if the number of players grew by an order of magnitude or so. Worst case scenario – Wizards could rerelease the classic sets with the new frames, if it really wanted to distinguish them and keep the value of the old versions up.
The best part of this plan is that Wizards has never announced a future rotation policy for Classic sets, so they will not be breaking their word or providing mixed signals to customers. For that matter, this is precisely in line with Worth’s statements (as I remember them.) He said that Mirage would never be retired. Under the above plan, it would not – but it might not be available from the store from time to time.
Rotations on Master Edition
When I first thought through this article, I had not thought about recurring availability of Mirage and Tempest. I had, however, thought about rotating availability for MEDII and MEDIII, at least. These sets contain the dual lands. The lands are staples – absolute staples – and anyone should have a chance to get them. That even includes people that do not yet have internet access, even people who are not yet born.  They need to be available into the indefinite future.
In short, moving MEDII and MEDIII onto the never reprint list would be dreadful.
I was going to propose creating a rotation for MEDII and MEDIII (and possibly MEDIV and V, to keep things from recurring too fast) and have them rotate in and out of play every year. With four MED sets, you would get a new stock of dual lands into the card pool every four years. That seems fine. 
All that raises the problem of MEDI, and what to do about that.   Wizards has already stated that it will not come back. However, this is already really long, and I want to go draft. I’ll look at that issue, and at my other “if I ran MTGO” proposal next article.  I'll also address the problem of getting people to actually open Classic packs.  After all, having Mirage come back in a couple years does nothing if no one buys it.
Next time.
“one million words” on MTGO



MVW drafts have been firing by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 01:41
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MVW drafts have been firing about 1-2 times a day recently. Over nix tix, I drafted MVW something like 8 times in 3 days. The community is small, and the player quality is actually pretty high, but it's currently the cheapest format to draft. I think most people just don't think it's fun. But to be perfectly honest, if there were no money rares, I wouldn't draft it either.

MVW firing... by one million words at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 10:09
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I must hang around at the wrong times. :(

Still, even assuming Mirage drafts fire twice a day, drafters are opening at best one playset of Lion's Eye Diamonds per month. That's not much.

Lowering prices of classic packs? by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 02:24
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What if they lower the prices for sets that people cannot redeem... maybe even price them for the same price they sold for originally in paper...

They just cannot simply price them at the same prices as the current sets.. just does not make economic sense. I remember that MED I had a sale price before it went offline, right? Why not just price it at that price to start with? Or have bulk discounts?

Pack Prices by DRAGONDUNG at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 07:54
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While it would be benificial to the Classic Community, I honestly do not see in these times Hasbro allowing WOTC to cut prices on the non redeemable products. Its a cash cow for them, although I am sure if worth took a look at the sales he would gain, for instance I purchased a draft set of Tempest and MED2 the other day about 24 dollars. Now had the price been a dollar cheaper, I would have 6 in savings and would be more inclined to spend and extra 6 to pick up a draft set of MVW they make out selling an extra six dollars in product and the community makes out cause now there is one extra draft set of MVW in the system. I am not saying this would happen every time, but gennerally I purchase my drafts set for the week at once, sometimes i for go the Tempest and just get MED2 depends on my mood. I would how ever do extra if price was dropped.

Lowering pack prices by dangerlinto at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 09:46
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First off, great article PRJ.

I'm actually LOL here, because you followed the same thread of thinking I did and arrived at the same place, though I think there are a couple of things that I want to point out.

Firstly, that while MED1 was on sale for a short time, don't forget that fully 10,000 packs were sold as part of a sale in the last week. That's 181 Force of Wills - which is not insignificant. What has (I think) actually occured wasn't that there wasn't enough sold, it's that people underestimate the effects of attrition in MTGO. So many people play, consider their posiblities of turning their 600 card collection into any real money and leave without putting their cards back into the marketplace.

And unfortunately, v3 made a LOT of those people leave - and MVW and MED1 were all pre-v3. That's WoTC for not retaining players, or getting them to come back.

As for packs, you are correct that lowering the price would probably help, but all that would really do is shift draft addicts from choosing a standard draft set to a classic draft set - becasue the kind of people who could drastically pump classic cards into the system via draft (Read: People who draft and don't play classic constructed - people like me and Dragondung above are a small minority) are simply going to shift their habits. Which is a loss for WOTC - same number of drafts, less money. I don't think WoTC wants to cannablize sales to help prop up contructed classic.

I've mentioned this to Worth ("mentioned" is a bit of tame word), but the best thing I can see happening is something akin to lowering the price - but temproraily. They should tell everyone MVW was going off sale in two weeks and just sell MVW draft packs for $10 (so like a $4) discount. Not only would they a) sell 10x more MVW in that time than they EVER will leaving them at the store for all time, but that kind of sale is going to get INCREMENTAL business over simply lowering the price of packs. The off-sale part is important - the addition reason to draft will get people who otherwise WOULDN'T BE DRAFTING AT ALL to go out and do it, for fear of missing out. This will put a final injection of product into the system (much like the MED1 sale did) and hopefully we won't lose all those cards through attrition.

I think rotating the on-sale by Jimb0v (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 09:52
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I think rotating the on-sale date of the prodcuts is a good long-term solution. The only issue I see is that these formats are not fun to draft.

One solution would be to make some BYO formats available. I think diversity in formats would really help to keep interest in the different sets.

The problem is there isn't enough lifeforce in MTG. A few thousand people cannot support any more formats. They need a marketing effort to get more people playing. All they need to do is introduce the paper players to the online world and I bet they would capture a huge audience.

Pithing Needle Solution by Rutger J. Bloomsicle (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 10:53
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Remember Pithing Needle? It wasn't really that good in a draft, right? It seemed like it was printed for the classic community. Sure you'd rare draft it, thinking (correctly) that it would be money, but you wouldn't really play it. Or, at least I didn't. Wizards could easily print a zero mana artifact cantrip that said that people couldn't play blue instants that require pitching a card unless they sac a land. They could even print that at common. They won't, that would actually be too good, but a classic player would stock four of these, and freely counter all FOW's forever. People would still play FOW's, but things would change pretty drastically.

Also, I think that it's a good idea to lower the prices of the older sets. Most of the people who play mtgo are casual players. So someone, like me, who comes in and out of the game depending on life and work and banal stuff, but still has some skills, and still likes to draft, would have options, instead of just automatically going to the current set. I don't have a FOW (online) nor a Figure of Destiny. Mirages griffins are less interesting to me than exalted though, so if I'm dropping $15 to draft once a month, I'm going for AAA, not Mirage. If Mirage was $10 instead? Then I think lots of people would consider that.

Interesting idea; I like it.

not ot be nitpicky, but the by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 10:53
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not ot be nitpicky, but the highest priced pauper card is terminate, which just went to 4.41. The price bugs me because i want a playset, but its hard to justify 17.50 for a common that In the paper world I could pick up a playset of for 1.00. Now on to classic and card prices. I've played paper since just before the release of unlimited.(yes i'm old) and in those days I had a full set of p9 and a whole bunch of dualies.(18 tropical islands at one point.) I sold them all for a huge profit because the tourney scene hit and they were in demand and out of print.(I either cracked them all out of packs, won them in ante, or traded my Mahamotis, shivans and force of natures for them.) I decided at those prices I would be happy with standard and draft. Now if they had rotated them back in.(think chronicles at a much smaller scale) I would of never had that opportunity to sell at a huge profit. Now I'm kinda new to the online scene as I started in planar chaos, and if I want to play classic I have to shell out some serious cash, but you know in paper if I were new I would have to shell out a heck of a lot more cash to get into vintage, but ya know what? I'm perfectly happy with standard, draft and pauper. My point is old cards should hold their value and not be reprinted, and should be rotated out just like the real world. Why build a collection if it just gets reprinted? Why buy a playset before it gets too high priced if it will just keep coming out again? If ya wanna play, you gotta play and thats the way it should be!

I missed Terminate. by one million words at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 11:18
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I missed Terminate. doh.

I'll disagree with your second point, though. You may be happy with playing Standard and draft. Others are not. For that matter, a few people are happy playing base set precons. The problem is that other people want to play other formats - and the card in those other formats are, or are becoming, unavailable at any price. Expensive dards - okay. Not enough - really, really bad.

my only point is this. Lets by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 11:38
Anonymous's picture

my only point is this. Lets just reprint moxes and dualies in paper to make vintage more accessible for new people that wnat to get into the format. (yeah right)

while were at it lets give by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 12:58
Anonymous's picture

while were at it lets give everyone who plays and signs up for mtgo 4x of every card ever made for mtgo. when a new set comes out just go ahead and give everyone 4x of the new set too. That way every format is available to every player. Drafts? pointless for other than fun. Values of collections? nonexistent. We wouldn't need redemption. But hey everyone could access every format!

Agree totally by Rasparthe at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 14:09
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I think most people are forgetting this is a collectable trading card game. Ruining value of cards by reprinting or adding old cards to collection sets (MED) just to keep the price down is tossing out the reason that many people play and keep collections. Why does every person who every plays MTGO need access to every format? Is it some God given right? I would assume that those arguing for reprints are also plaguing Wizards to get rid of the entire Common/Uncommon/Rare printing runs. Why have rares or cards of value at all? If only they would print every booster with 15 random cards from the set. Think about it. A Shards booster could have 3 Planeswalkers. Everyone could have as many Planeswalker cards as they have Tortoise Formation. Everyone would be happy, we could all have a group hug.

I am glad to see that Wizards isn't working towards this as indicated by the newest Rare cycle of Mythics. I hope they pull MED2 sooner than later. I have been drafting it whenever I get a chance just for the duals. I am counting that it will be pulled from stores and never returns or I wouldn't even bother with it since I'm much more interested in Block.

To be fair though I don't play Classic at all and have no interest in it so any reduction in prices for my Classic legal cards I would heavily frown upon.

I understand what you're by spg at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 16:19
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I understand what you're saying, but as a fan of Classic it's a bummer that more people aren't able to play it. From my point of view it's not a zero sum game. The more people playing Classic, the better.

I understand that there are lots of players with different viewpoints, and it's hard to keep everyone happy, but there's mine.

I'll see your nitpick and by hamtastic at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 11:20
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I'll see your nitpick and raise you a nitpickle...

the highest priced pauper 'common' is Daze, at 9.50, but that's not really driving any packs sales. :D

Good article, good things to think about...

Since the original dualies by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 11:54
Anonymous's picture

Since the original dualies have been released, I have long thought it would be in the best interest of the entire classic community that these rares be available in pre-constructed decks that are for sale by WOTC, not unlike the guarantee of buying 4 sets of Jace vs Chandra will get you 4X Daze, there should be a pre-constructed set similar that gets you the dualies. The reasoning, these cards are an absolute necessity to playing competitive classic formats. Cards like FOW are not absolute necessities, they are definitely important, but many decks do not play FOW. Any classic deck that is 2 colors plus should be playing the appropriate dualies, or the deck is not built optimally. You could view buying the 4X set of cards that has the duals available in it as a sort of investment that is necessary to play competitive classic.

Duals in PrecCons by dangerlinto at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 13:09
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That idea was pitched to Worth.

Look no further than the Tempest PreCon project as proof that he believes (rightly or wrongly) that putting the chase cards in a precon will kill tha draft rate for that set. It's hard to argue against that, especially for classic sets and even MORE especially (never mind, grammar police) for MED sets, since they generally aren't nearly enticing enough in limited play to get people drafting without the promise of hitting a chase card with pick #1.

Too boot, if you don't cover all the bases, because the draft rate would be so low you might cause other problems. For example, if there were 5 precons for MED2, one each with a dual in it, what do you think the price of Necropotence would be?

Finally, the sad fact is that that while duals are very important, this is eternal we are talking about, and no amount of wishing that blue wasn't the best color will make it so. The facts don't lie - Force of Will is used more than any card in classic, and that includes even the duals.

MED Boxed Sets? by Katastrophe at Sun, 02/15/2009 - 03:32
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For Mirage that's a valid argument. Putting Dreadnaught in a precon would accomplish exactly what putting Jitte in a precon did. (Kill the value of the card and set in question. Though Jitte was an accident.)

Master's Editions I would argue are completely different. The MED series is like what paper did with both Chronicles and Renaissance. I think of the MEDs as being more like JvC or From the Vault: Dragons - mere excuses to provide the players with specific single cards that they demand. Basically, Wizards is selling single cards like foil Chandra and Kokusho directly to the consumer. (And then denying it, whatever.)

Underground Sea in a ME2 precon probably would hurt he value of the card and cause less drafts. But the problem is not with the "boxed set", it's with the boosters. MED boosters are as horrible as Chronicles boosters were. The limited experience is crap, and value of the cards is a total lottery ticket. Everyone rare drafts duals, and they only draft because of the duals. Horse shit. And one of the old print runs involved cracking a series of Taiga + Necro + Mana Crypt.

In my opinion, if the boosters suck, but are hurt more by the presence of good boxed sets, then the solution is to abolish the boosters and let the boxed sets do their thing. For reference: Daze and Gush. I do not want to see MED3 boosters.

I think its almost necessary by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 14:26
Anonymous's picture

I think its almost necessary to get the duals out to people at a reasonable price. They allow you to make competitive decks that do not necessarily contain FOW or Necropotence. Also, classic formats are played by very few and the only real way to get more players involved is to allow them to build a competitive deck that are reasonable to purchase. Either that or the format remains a fringe format, and calling it fringe is being generous. If that doesn't happen I would assume the exact same thing that happened with FOW happens to the duals, and eventually necropotence and every other playable rare from a set that is unplayable as a limited format. I wouldn't even mind a reprint of FOW and some of the other chase rares, and I own a full playset of all of them.


I like the idea but another by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 14:56
Anonymous's picture

I like the idea but another one would be to do PE that offer Duals a price. Ex a Playset of duals or a playset of FoW, Any cards that are in demand. It would not affect the main prices because not enought would be brought into the system but It would give a boost to the sales of Mirage sets and Med 2 sets..

FOW by DRAGONDUNG at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 15:03
DRAGONDUNG's picture

I am sure you would not mind but what about those of us who have them and payed well for them. Ok so im not fully part of that group but someone had to say it. As a promo sure, cause i know i would trade up for promos and toss mine into the system. But to take away the aspect of collectablity would destroy the credibility of it being a collectable game.

I am sure hammy has some numbers to back this up but med2 draft seems pretty healthy well as healty as it can be for a classic set. Any idea how many duals are entering the system a week.

Can't play classic? by Orgion (not verified) at Fri, 02/13/2009 - 15:19
Orgion's picture

Surely the problem here isn't that people can't get cards to play competitively in a classic tournie but instead that the cards they can get aren't good enough. Perhaps the answer is for wizards to print more accessible and competitive cards for online classic in the newer sets?

one million words's picture

The important point is that the cards are just barely available now. Go a couple years down the line, have some people leave the game without selling their collections, grow the overall player base by 20% - and we will have too few cards to let everyone play.

Expensive cards are not the problem. Not having enough cards available to let everyone play.

In the paper world, Wizards will never have a Vintage Grand Prix or a Legacy PTQ season, simply because there are not enough cards in the market to meet that demand. That's sad.

The same thing can happen with MTGO. Wizards needs to make an effort to make sure that the cards are available. Having cards that are really expensive is not fun, not if you can't afford it, but that's life. I would love to have a Formula 1 car. However, if *no one* can afford Fromula 1 cars, and the sport folds, that's worse. That's what I'm trying to avoid.

The biggest problem will be the duals. Those are the cards that anyone opening one will keep, even to play in casual decks. They are also the Classic cards most likely to be stranded in abandoned accounts.

WOtC should break into by chucklezdaccc (not verified) at Sat, 02/14/2009 - 12:23
chucklezdaccc's picture

WOtC should break into peoples accounts who havent played for a year, and take all their cards back. lol Just kidding, but Im pretty sure the Code of Conduct says they can take your cards back at anytime so....

I agree that the cards should by Katastrophe at Sun, 02/15/2009 - 02:58
Katastrophe's picture

I agree that the cards should be collectible and expensive, but not like this. And not on the digital server. Pretty soon Legacy is going to go on the "unsanctioned" list that Vintage is unofficially on. Legacy gets what, one event per year? This March might be the last one, ever. (Sell your Forces before then!) This is not about making the digital duals into Cracker Jack prizes. Mr. Anonymous is being facetious. It's about how in print cards like Dreadnaught and Sea are impossible to find. If something costs $100 + 3 hours of shopping then people won't do it.

It's always the same people I see in every Classic and Pauper event. The economy is so small that hoarding is possible. We're really more like the local scene in one large city. Classic and Pauper obviously have fewer than 1000 players. I think there was a 50% turnout rate for the first Pauper PE. In other words, I think there are fewer than 300 people on the whole planet who are interested in a pauper PE.

Something that is seriously wrong with digital cards is that Wizards burns unsold cards. Right now on EBay there are booster boxes of Time Spiral and Fifth Dawn for under $60 buy-it-now. That such prices are common for non-Standard boosters puts an upper-bound on singles prices. You know the Aether Vials are out there, and you don't have to pay $10 for an Aether Vial from anyone. You don't even have to pay $5 if you don't want to. But online, you just have to pay whatever the price is. There are not enough vendors, and not enough cards. Also, digital cards are surprisingly easier to "destroy" than paper ones.

Where exactly do you get by blandestk at Mon, 02/16/2009 - 04:36
blandestk's picture

Where exactly do you get these numbers for your middle paragraph?

Worth "Forced" his hand by bigalw1414 at Sun, 02/15/2009 - 04:59
bigalw1414's picture

Unfortunately, Worth promised not to reprint Force of Will, so their hands are tied with that card. The only way for them to add more to the system is as a promo, which I think they will need to do eventually. However, while Force of Will is practically a prerequisite for any classic deck running blue, the dual lands are going to be a prerequisite for any deck running more than one color, which is most of them. In paper, Wizards did print the dual lands in four different sets - Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, and Revised. I think they should continue to release the duals in any future MED sets and as promos periodically to keep a steady supply in the system for new comers. If the supply is regulated, I don't see the price of duals dropping all that much. Anywhere from $15-$35 in the long run seems fair to me, anything less and there are just too many in the system.

I agree with your points by FLepore at Sun, 02/15/2009 - 06:45
FLepore's picture

I agree with your points about the price of classic, just as I agreed with dangerlinto. The thing I don't get is how you personally can say you have two sets of P9 and 100+ dual lands and not be able to afford classic cards on MODO. I'm not by any means implying you're rolling in cash, just that you could easily sell any one piece of power, or even twenty duals in order to finish your duals on MODO. No one needs 100+ duals.

Two playsets of P9: both my by one million words at Mon, 02/16/2009 - 07:54
one million words's picture

Two playsets of P9: both my wife and I play. If we both play in the same event - and we do - we need two sets.

Lots of duals: heck, yes, we need lots of copies. I have some in my 5color deck, some in EDH decks, plus some in various legacy and multiplayer decks. Nearly every copy of every land is in a deck. Remember, unlike online, a single card cannot exist in several decks at once.

Besidees, it's a choice - online or paper. Frankly, an EDH session with other judges at a Pro tour is just a lot more fun than playing 100 card singleton online. My budget stretches to cover travel expenses, but not travel and a complete online set. Another issue - I got the duals back when you could still buy revised boosters in most stores, but I could not get online until Mirrodin. I'm still getting caught up online, which also males online cost more. (And before anyone asks - we could not get online until our telephone company upgraded the phone lines. Prior to the upgrade, the best speed we could get was 14-18kbps - meaning that downloading MODO at that time would have taken, literally, weeks of connect time.)

Hope I'm not out of line here... by bigalw1414 at Mon, 02/16/2009 - 00:48
bigalw1414's picture

I've never seen your wife and I don't care what she looks like - if she likes to buy dual lands and Power Nine, she's smokin' hot!

Are you basing your argument by Anonymous (not verified) at Tue, 02/17/2009 - 01:27
Anonymous's picture

Are you basing your argument of a low availability solely on a snapshot of MTGOTraders stock? That seems like a bad idea to me, especially for the top Classic cards. These types of cards with a high demand value don't usually sit in bots, but that doesn't mean they aren't for sale. The players who own them, if they decide to sell them, are usually less willing to accept under-top-price for them then they are for other cards like standard draft rares. I think you're underestimating your ability to get a card if you're willing to pay a handsome price for it. This shifts your argument back from availability to price. There are few cards that I have never seen for sale in auction. I see lots of the cards you're saying are scarce listed with minimum prices compared to bot prices or even lower go unsold.

I wonder if Wizards has tried by Anonymous (not verified) at Fri, 02/20/2009 - 10:27
Anonymous's picture

I wonder if Wizards has tried any price studies with the older sets by trying to find the optimal spot on the supply and demand curve to maximize profits? I'm betting their current price is no where near optimal. I won't buy any classic packs at the current price but I would buy a ton of them if they were $2 per pack to get all the fun old cards to play with. I'd imagine there are a lot of people like me. Plus, what the heck, its not like they cost them anything to print them. Why not sell as many as possible. It has to be good for business?

Want to know a great way to by Anonymous (not verified) at Sun, 03/14/2010 - 18:49
Anonymous's picture

Want to know a great way to not have to spend 40 bucks for an underground sea? DON'T PLAY MTG!!!! lool

There are number of online by megamillions (not verified) at Tue, 03/16/2010 - 01:40
megamillions's picture

There are number of online lotteries but my hot favorite is mega millions. I know winning a lottery is not guaranteed and is a matter of luck, but the chances of within with this lottery are comparatively better.

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