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Said on Reprints...


Hi folks! This is less a thread and more me replying to a (post) on twitter, which is hard to answer there because of character limit. Feel free to discuss anyway, but I don't even know if that person has an account here, and I might not get back to this post myself.

So here we go - just to spoil it for the curious, the OP suggest reprints are bad.

Without paraphrasing the OP's full argument again they actually do have somewhat of a point when concluding 'cards should have $ value or else the whole game is in trouble (example FoW TCG) - reprints lower prices - so reprints are bad'. However, imho, the OP fails to see a bigger picture at play that somewhat dilutes the 'conclusion' portion of that argument.

Money is a big issue at play, especially in MTG, we all love it when the cards we own rise in value, at the same time it kinda stings when cards we don't own but would like to own do the same thing.

We pay $ to open packs and obviously, whenever we pull a chase rare that gives us our money back that's great! The secondary market is responsible for that effect. Since supply is at the mercy of WotC, and they mostly sell randomized packs, GAMEPLAY and RARITY filter the cards and a supply/demand (SD) function (SDF) regulates prices on the secondary market. So far so good.

Now I'm gonna take a step back. Why do those cards have a non-neglectible $ value anyway? Because of the supply-demand function of early magic! There was a time before the internet when ppl had no idea what was in the pack, what rarities are, heck we didn't even know how to properly play the game. Eventually, the game SOLD OUT.

Whenever something sells out, it means that the supply portion of the SDF goes to 0. Now that our original supplier (card packs) has run out, we're in need of a substitute in the case that demand is non-zero. So we can now either trade our cards for other cards, and already face situations where rarity and power forces us to trade not 1-for-1 but 'pay up' in cards to get what we need... or we just spend actual $ - the secondary market is born.

Why am I writing all of this? MTG sold out because it was a great game with desired game pieces, NOT BECAUSE OF EV OPENING PACKS!

Card prices first and foremost are a derivative of game design primarily, availability second.

Obviously the game and its economy have evolved from there. Market participants now include players, collectors, traders, and speculators. However, while many things may rely on card prices (for example collector attraction, willingness to start an MTG related business), card prices themselves mostly weigh in gameplay factors (and rarity).

OK, so now we know why cards have $ value. But let's get back to that SDF. Over time, more players enter the scene, because MTG is a great game - cool! But at some point, those new players face an increasing opportunity cost. Buying into a format whose supply is close to zero (sold out, many old cards needed) forces them to substitute and buy from the secondary market. However, that market has its own supply function.

$ value is relative. Period. While buying into Modern by investing, say 500$, will probably sound like a good investment for your hobby, your opinion might change if the pricetag was 2000$ for the same deck. You only make so much money, hence the relation might be off at this point.

The secondary market can't fix that problem by itself since it can only sell you what WotC produced.

So why not flood the market with everything and call it a day? Yeah that's a bad idea as well. And here is where I actually agree in portion with the OP is that 'infinite' supply will drive 3/4 of people involved in MTG out of it (players, collectors, traders, and speculators) and leave maybe the players. Their commitment will likely also be low, because of the low opportunity cost.

That being said, if Hasbro as a company wants to max their profits, they need to max out the # of ppl involved in their game, preferably spending $ on a regular basis. Printing too many cards will hurt that incentive. However, not keeping prices in check by increasing supply in precise doses will do the same, because you'll still lose customers.

Having already written too much, I want to defend reprints in a controlled manner to keep the opportunity cost of playing the game MANAGEABLE for the retail consumer, the player, because without players you don't have a game, and the whole ecosystem attached to it dies with it anyway.

Peace Out

May 14, 2022 12:18 p.m.


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