Mind Boggling Technology – Wanting It

I want to address the issue that is on everyone’s mind, but give a less popular viewpoint. Jace is an expensive card because it’s in high demand and the supply is low. Is that good for the game? That question is hard to answer, but Magic has been on the upswing for the past couple of years. Every Friday Night Magic I attend, the numbers have been astonishing. RIW Hobbies gets between thirty and forty players each week. Get Your Game on has Thursday Night Standard with about twenty players a week. Time Travelers gets about twenty five on Saturdays. I play a lot of Magic tournaments in case you didn’t realize it.

The players who have the card usually play it every week while the players who don’t find other viable archetypes. Jace is a difficult card to play so shelling out 400 bucks will not ensure that you will win every match you play.

I chose to talk about the price of Jace because it’s the mascot when it comes to how expensive Magic cards are becoming. There are comments for every Constructed article that involve people asking for cheaper alternatives for decks. This never works out because the expensive card is the best choice for the deck. There aren’t any decks I would consider playing if I had to play a less efficient card due to price. Is it reasonable to play Valakut Ramp if you don’t want to shell out 200 bucks for Primeval Titans? How about playing blue control without Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Boros without the fetch lands? These questions all seem like the answer is obvious, but I keep seeing people make the mistake of playing them anyway.

Some of you sitting at home are probably saying that the cards are just too expensive to get. The inconvenient truth is that you just don’t want them bad enough. You are all sitting at your computer reading an article about Magic: the Gathering. Does that sound like someone who legitimately cannot afford a standard deck? Perhaps if you are homeless and reading this at the public library, but there are bigger issues than what to play in standard at that point.

I am aware this article will come off as elitist, but I made the choice to get the necessary cards to be competitive instead of the latest hot new gadgets. If you don’t want to buy the cards in order to be competitive that’s fine and it’s your choice. It just annoys me when I hear people complaining about how they cannot afford a good deck. I cannot afford to buy everything I want, but that does not mean everything is too expensive. All that it means is that I allocated my resources in such a way that I bought what I wanted the most.

I chose to put myself out there and look like a jerk because I want to give you all something to think about. Most of you will probably just exit this page and think how ignorant I am, but if it changes the mind of one individual, I have done my job.

Have you ever watched a deck tech for a cool new archtype at a Pro Tour? Normally Brian David Marshall or Rich Hagon asks the creator of the deck how they arrived at certain card choices. Have you ever seen one of those interviews go like this?

BDM: This is a very interesting card choice, care to explain how you arrived at that decision?
Conley Woods: Well you see Brian, my car broke down last week so I couldn’t buy the cards I wanted to play.
BDM: So you wanted to play the superior card, but it was just too much money?
Conley Woods: That’s right, the economy is tough these days.

I am pretty sure that has never happened before because there are players who will do anything to get ready for an event. The last tournament where I had to settle on a deck due to card availability issues was at GP: Columbus in 2007. I share cards with many people and everyone wanted to play Flash-Hulk because it was the best deck by far. I only had enough dual lands and Force of Wills for one copy. Instead of playing this dominant deck, I chose to play a basic Affinity deck because it was the only other decent deck that could be built. I even had three byes in that tournament, but my deck was just not good enough to compete. It would have been a better choice to just stay home because didn’t have that killer instinct. I clearly did not want to win badly enough because the Kyle of today would never let that happen. I would be calling everyone I knew in order to get the cards for the event or break down and purchase them.

The cards that you buy will also pay for themselves over time. I bought the power 9 a few months ago because it should be treated as an investment. Not only can I use them in tournaments, but they will appreciate over time. The same can be said for the expensive cards in standard because you can sell them at any point if money is tight. Having the best deck will also help you win more in local events. The difference in performance will earn you more money over time. It’s also way more fun to win than it is to lose.
There are other ways to obtain cards for the deck you want to play. It’s easy to reach out to those in the Magic community. All you have to do is say hi. It took me a while to get all of the cards for standard, so I borrowed cards for every tournament I entered. Luckily, I have been part of the Michigan Magic community for so long that it’s easy to find a friend that has exactly what I need for my deck.

While I was at the World Championships, I was able to see the players that I admire and how important it is for them to win. The reason they are at Worlds is because they want it badly enough. They were willing to travel around the world to compete against the best.

Shuuhei Nakamura

The person who put it all into perspective for me is Shuuhei Nakamura. He needed to top 16 in order to lock up level 8 for next year. After losing round 1 he was not shaken up, there was plenty of winning that could be done. We play in round 2 and he misses his second land drop for three turns, but he is still calm and collected. A second loss means there is still three more rounds that can be lost along the way. There still wasn’t a second loss because I actually lost that game. I come back to watch him play the final match of the tournament. He is able to draw into top 16, but his opponent decides to play for some reason. Shuuhei even loses a close first game and the goal is almost lost. He wins the second game and asks his opponent again to reconsider drawing. The opponent is having none of it and they shuffle up for game 3. Evil mulligans and Shuuhei asks again if they can draw. After some long deliberation, Evil finally decides to draw. The look on his face said it all. I wish I wanted it that badly and it inspired me to really step it up next year. You don’t just accidentally become level 8 since there are only six in the world.

If you are reading a strategy article about Magic, that means you have the drive to succeed. We have the rare opportunity to be the best at something. About a month ago, I was studying for a test with some acquaintances from my class. They asked me why I had to take my exam early and I explained to them about my trip to Japan. Naturally, they asked me why I was going. I told them that I play Magic: the Gathering at tournaments around the world. The concept seemed foreign to them as it would be for most people, but they were interested. They continued to ask about where I travel to and where I am going next.

I used to be pretty embarrassed about telling people that I play Magic, but now everyone thinks it’s pretty awesome. You can go from being a PTQ grinder to traveling around the world and do what everyone dreams of. The only person stopping that from happening is you. I used to wonder if all the time that I put into the game was worth it and was honestly not sure. I was not the most popular guy in high school or the best looking. Those things were not important to me. I was focused on what to play at the next PTQ. I could’ve done other things with my time, but I feel I would have regretted it now.

I have made many friends along the way to becoming decent at this game. Most of them have quit and switched to a completely marginal life. We are all so lucky to have something that makes us above average. I see so many of my friends that used to play Magic that just post Facebook statuses about how they hate their job and go to random parties. There is nothing interesting about these things and they will not help you achieve any worthwhile goals along the way.

I promise you that if you step up your commitment to the game you will not be disappointed. Ask any of the top pros if they regret the hard work they put in to becoming the best. I’m pretty sure that they are all happy with the choices they made. We only have one life and there is only so much time to make your mark. This is your moment to shine.

In case you are interested, here is my latest version of Blue/White Control. Now that a new playset of Jaces have been obtained, you can play it too!

160 thoughts on “Mind Boggling Technology – Wanting It”

  1. Jace may very well not be reprinted in M12, which means he’s out of Standard next year and his value will depreciate significantly. To all those who just ordered a playset on Kyle’s suggestion of investing in cardboard, I wish you great fun and luck trying to recoup the value on those four JTMSes in the closing months of M11 Standard. Jace may be the Greatest Planeswalker Ever Printed, but the time to buy in was around WWK release–not two thirds of the way through the season.

    This is not to say that it isn’t a good idea to invest in cards to beat face with, but I’d advise putting your stock in something like Koth or Masticore, which have yet to peak in value due to lack of synergistic material and will be useful in Standard for quite some time.

  2. Ah, I forgot to mention the even worse scenario: Jace is not reprinted in M12, but IS reprinted in a Duel Deck or other side-product. Then Mindsculptor investors are really boned. Watch out.

  3. Given the choice between a party (non-sausage fest) and MTG, I don’t see choosing the cards. Even if they still play MTG, it doesn’t make their job any better.

    (Yes I own L Cobra, JTMS, Vengevine, Primeval, FOW, Tarmo, etc)

  4. Good article! I played you in a round in GP Columbus in 2007, in which I won. I was playing UG madness and was quite intrigued that someone decided to play affinity.

  5. I think one of the most important things here is the way you speak about the cards as an investment(or in the worst case scenario, a rental). Shelling out 80 dollars for a Jace isn’t like buying a new video game or gadget or whatever. That 80 bucks isn’t lost, you could easily resell it to a dealer like Troll and Toad for 75, or possibly even trade it for more value than you spent, or even better, it could actually go up in price!
    I bought my set of Jaces for 160 on MODO after Chapin and co. debuted the UW Control deck after Worldwake released and now they are worth close to 400.
    This was fairly lucky, but even without a situation like that… I bought into Faeries when I first started playing MODO in 2007ish and ended up selling pretty much every card in the deck back(the Bitterblossoms and Mutavaults for more than I paid for them) and was able to buy into the next season of standard with my return and was able to play the deck for a year and a half.
    People talk about Magic decks like they would any product that depreciates by 80% the second you take it off the lot, and that just isn’t the case.
    Basically, if you want to PLAY magic, it’s really just not that expensive. Sure, if you want a sweet collection and the ability to play every deck in every format, that’s expensive, but acquiring that type of collection should be a challenge, or else, what’s the point?

  6. Robbie Chan: I’d choose magic any time. Then again I have a daughter and fiance so the sausage fest part is meaningless. I’d take the guaranteed fun over the possible fun. Partying is overrated, barring being an imature teen of some age. Getting together with a few friends, and having some drinks is completely different.

  7. “Investing” in Jaces at this point is a terrible idea. That boat sailed a long time a go. There’s very little money to be made out of Jace at the moment and it’s only going to depreciate when it leaves Standard. It’s not about not wanting it enough, it’s basic economics. It doesn’t make sense to get them now if you already haven’t wanted them enough to sit out a year of Standard.

  8. Just remember that having the expensive cards doesn’t necessarily win games. They certainly raise the potential for doing so, but at the end of the day it’s the decisions and, ostensibly, the luck of the player that will win (you know, that stuff that isn’t printed on the cards). I’ve seen way too many guys get so caught up on having the “good” cards that they forget to play the game. They’ll shell out for a playset of Jace, Vengevine, Baneslayer… or whatever, play a few games, lose horribly, and decide that the reason they lost was because they didn’t spend enough; therefore it’s time to dump another paycheck into the deck and see if that works. It gets sad after a while. Money just can’t buy the hours of playtime it takes to truly master the game, or even just a deck.

    That being said, if you want to go pro, then yeah, you will have to suck it up and spend the money for it, and the more open the format the more expensive it will be. It’s just the cost of doing business. Though if your aspirations extend no further than crushing your friend in his own basement then you probably don’t a $10,000 deck to do so.

  9. Seems like some people don’t pay attention to the fact that Jace will be around FOREVER. He’s solidly stationed in EVERY format. If you want them get them, they will always retain some decent amount of value for the rest of the game.

  10. Keep up the u/w and u/b control decks. We must make the mindless masses buy buy buy! Hopefully you guys are making a profit from the sales of Jace. Why don’t you ever go out side of these stupid netdecks and create a new deck. Every article now a days is on how to make u/w, u/b or some other already established netdeck better. If people thought of creating other decks instead of just mindlessly netdecking standard could possibly become fun again. Take the challenge, let’s see you pros come up with something new that all the mindless masses can copy!

  11. what’s your point, Kyle? is it:
    “Us pros haven’t had any issues with card cost, and if *you* have had issues or disagree with me then you are not living to your fullest potential.”

    uh. heh.

    “Wanting it bad enough” is a great cliche to roll out whenever the cost of something goes up 6x in two years….
    Did you just win the Great Desinger Search or something?

  12. I’m happy for your success, but you’ve mutated fairly low-resolution information (people are not buying cards/are requesting alternatives) into some charged psychoanalysis (homelessness? “marginal lives?” Facebook parties?) This doesn’t feel like a robust exploration of the issues.

  13. Brian Weller-Gordon

    I don’t really think this is about encouraging people to invest in Jace’s, I think what he’s trying to say is that if you’re not willing to pay for the best cards yet you complain about not being able to be successful without them, that’s your lack of commitment to the game.
    You might have a lack of resources (I certainly do), but if you want to win enough you’re doing yourself no service paying AT&T $70 a month for your iphone when you could be putting some of that money into a tier 1 deck.

    In terms of partying rather than playing magic (players having the general reputation of being single) might be more interested in partying with girls than sitting in a room of overweight guys. I don’t think anyone would say that it’s bad to be social with “more normal” people but what amartin said is something I’ve run in to multiple times (not single) guaranteed fun + working toward a goal vs. possible fun + possible vomiting. It’s just how people value improving at something (perhaps unimportant) compared to trying to get laid (if that applies).

    In terms of Jace’s price, it ought to not go above it’s current price for a long time, however, I wouldn’t expect such a significant drop in price after it rotates, it still should dominate extended for another 2 years after that and will still be played in every format. If you want to buy them now and can’t get rid of them by the time they rotate out of standard, get rid of them when the next extended season rolls around, for probably about only $10-20 less than what they’re worth now.

  14. “I am aware this article will come off as elitist…”

    That’s the whole point of the article: Showing that you’re a superior Magic player. There is nothing valuable to gain from reading this. Jace is expensive, and a lot of people can not afford to buy it. You’re telling them to play expensive decks, or quit. That’s kinda awkward.

    I take your point: Playing a U/x Control list without Jace, TMS is stupid. Playing Valakut without Primeval does not win you games.

    BUT that does not mean only the elitists and rich kids should be able to play these archetypes. Hasbro created the supply and demand, and that was horrible for the most of us. I understand that the Pros might not care, as most of you certainly do have the “me first”-attitude – you describe it very well in your post while talking about Shuuhei Nakamura. It simply doesn’t matter to you, if people can afford Jace or not. In fact, it is actually GOOD for you if noone else can. Jace can not be expensive enough for channelfireball. Even if people would not buy it from this side: The more expensive it get’s, the less likely you will run into it at tournaments.

    You know, this game was designed for college graduates, univercity students and such. These people tend to have not so much money available. But most of them are quite intelligent and don’t spend a month’s rent on a piece of cardbord.

    Wrong hobby? Maybe. Sadly.

    Somewhere, something went terribly wrong. Maybe designing the card was something that should have never been done. Maybe introducing Mythics.

    But maybe, just maybe this article offends me because you are adressing me, a wanna-be competetive player who may have the wits but not the money to be really good at this with problems that are only true for a handful of people, the Pros.

    I should just want to be rich bad enough. According to you, this should solve all of my problems.

  15. The simple truth is that competitive Magic is an elitist endeavor. It doesn’t have to do with “wanting” something bad enough. That’s just a bunch of rah-rah pablum that largely misses the point that unless you’re capable of (and yeah- not everyone or even most are) and willing to blow half a paycheck on a four-of then you’re not going to be a success competitively. Period. You’re not going to find some magical combination of affordable cards that is going to outstrip a Jace or any of the Titans or a Wurmcoil. When the designers of the game talk about how they have to design for multiple audiences, this is one of the issues they are addressing. There is a number of Magic players who can blow 400 dollars on four cards, and who want to do so. Those are the people who are able to compete and suceed in the inherently elitist tournament culture of Magic. The rest of us have to find other ways to enjoy the game. And I don’t necessarily think it is bad that tournament culture is inherently elitist. Yes some people get upset because they want to compete in it, but can’t. (And I’d like to say that this crap about “wanting it bad enough” is really rather insulting. Wanting something badly doesn’t make you 400 dollars richer, nor does wanting it erase the need to meet certain basic obligations first. Yes- if someone is out buying a new iPhone and then complaining about not being able to afford JTMS, then please- stfu. But it’s not just people who afford the latest gadgets that play this game, aspire to compete but feel squeezed out because of their inabiity to buy, or have bought for them, the expensive cards.) But- you don’t always get what you want. And the designers of the game can not be constrained by a desire to give so large a number of powerful, format defining card that they are all affordable. So- if you’re in the same boat I’m in and would like to compete but simply are not afforded the opportunity (no matter how badly you want it), then I suggest you reorganize your priorities, find a great casual group or get on MTGO and learn that in this game there is a lot of fun to be had that doesn’t involve cards with Jace or Titan printed on them.

  16. Brian Weller-Gordon

    I’m pretty sure he’s only saying the amount of money you put in to the game will correspond with the level to which you will be able to achieve success, not that you should quit if you can’t pay for jace.
    Honestly on the whole mythic/jace cost argument I’m much happier paying that much money for actual cards rather than 60-70% of the decks cost being the land-base, which very much used to be the case.
    I don’t think it’s really directly beneficial to the pros to have less people playing these cards, I’m sure it might be directly beneficial to some dbag at an FNM who is friendly but never loans out cards because he doesn’t want other people to have a better chance at beating him. While it is indeed helpful to have other people screwed out of the best decks you’re not improving unless you’re playing against those best decks.
    However, in general this isn’t relevant above the PTQ level because at that point pretty much everyone is playing what they think the best deck is, and they’re willing to pay for it.

  17. Brian Weller-Gordon: “I’m pretty sure he’s only saying the amount of money you put in to the game will correspond with the level to which you will be able to achieve success, not that you should quit if you can’t pay for jace.”

    No- I’m pretty sure what he’s saying is that if you have an issue with being priced out of competitive decks, but have any other creature comforts then you should stfu, turn off your phone service, not go out, and dump all of your money into cards that are going to fall dramatically in price once a two year (or, in some cases, four year) window closes.

    Now- that may be the only reasonable reaction, since it is not as if he can singlehandedly lower the prices of these cards. It is also the case that many people who benefit from a particular system have a difficult time recognizing that the issue is not only the origin of critiques by people excluded from that system, but also the system itself.

    There is nothing to be done about the way the Magic economy is set up, unfortunately. Even if WotC started printing 40x the number of Jaces, the price would only drop nominally. If people are unwilling or incapable of purchasing the cards that are necessary for them to achieve the level of success they wish to have, then they really should just let that dream die. Magic is a great game even if you’re not winning tournaments all of the time, or even playing in them. And if you can’t afford to compete, or muster some sufficient quota of “wanting” that will apparently make 400 dollar playsets appear in your collection, then just accept this game was not designed to accomodate your desires and that you should either find a different past time or readjust your priorities regarding Magic.

  18. i think most guys in the comments are missing the point. this is not an investment article. it is not about buying jace 2. what kyle is saying is: if you’re really into professional magic, card availability should not be an issue, manage your budget accordingly

  19. This is clearly a very thought provoking article and a lot of people have voiced some very well expressed opinions. What I am surprised about is that everyone talks about Jace 2.0 as though the only way to get a playset was to shell out $400. I eked out my playset by doing some very careful trading work. The articles on this site (Brian Grewe, Chas Andres) helped teach me how to do that. Learning to maintain your collection is very valuable and with a bit of effort, not that hard. Next time you are playing at your local gamestore, start trading with some more casual gamers instead of going out for that fifth cigarette. The idea that I would spend 2/3 of a rent check on four Jaces all at once is ridiculous, and it is irritating when people get all huffy at my local gamestore when I drop my third P-titty and drop a huge genesis wave on them, or when I used my jaces to give my mythic deck the resilience it needed to succeed. I am not a rich guy, I worked hard to put my collection together because I like playing and trading. Usually my MO is to buy a box for $80 before the new set comes out, figure out which cards I think are going to be good, trade for them, and keep what I want to play with. If you put even a fraction of the thought into maintaining your collection that you do into playing the game, you will see that that playset is not that hard to come up with. Granted, if you just learned to play magic this month, and you really want to Sculpt some minds, you are going to have to shell out. You know what, if you just started playing this month, maybe you need to build up to a tier 1 deck by spending some time building a collection.

    On a related note I am very interested in speculating about the value of Jace 2.0, and I appreciate people’s comments to this fact. I doubt it will be reprinted in m11, but it might be printed toward the end of this season in some duel decks. It seems like this would definitely net Hasbro some extra profit, so they will probably do it. I have been considering trading my Jaces in for an Unlimited Time Vault, thus making the oft lauded (by trading enthusiasts) move of trading standard staples for vintage staples. Although, I definitely hear the argument that Jace may well be a multi-format staple himself. Ultimately my thought right now is this: it would be a good move to ditch the Jaces for the time vault, since I can happily just cast Primeval Titans in standard for the next 10 months. Then, if they get reprinted, I will have protected the investment, and if not, then I can just trade for them again when they rotate out of standard and become a bit less desirable. Any thoughts on this plan? Help would be appreciated.

  20. Brian Weller-Gordon wrote: “I’m pretty sure he’s only saying the amount of money you put in to the game will correspond with the level to which you will be able to achieve success, not that you should quit if you can’t pay for jace.”

    Well, maybe he should simply sais that. Then there would be no need for anyone to clarify his thoughts. While I´m not overly insulted by his opinion, I can understand the others who will be.

    I have recently stopped playing magic for number of reasons, and all this “you need mythics” crap surely was one of them. I just don´t like changes Hasbro is forcing on us throught WotC. Customers usualy want to have some level of satisfaction from buying vendors stuff.

  21. Did anyone actually understand what he’s saying here?

    So many magic players spend money on new DVDs, take out, games and alcohol. He’s saying that if you like magic so much that you want to succeed, then maybe you should sacrifice some of these perishables short term and buy the cards you need to succeed. If you don’t want to do that, then you have no right to complain to those who do sacrifice some luxuries for their hobby.

    Saying that channelfireball wants the cards to be expensive so they don’t have to play against them is ludicrous! Talk to any of these guys, I met lsv at gp Sydney and he was more than happy to talk to me and help me improve my game.

  22. If you have absolutely no disposable income at all, then it’s very unlikely you’re playing Magic at the competitive level. If you have disposable income, then some measure of that can be set towards desirable cards like Jace/Primeval Titan/etc. If you’re unwilling to set money aside for that, then you need to reconsider your financial habits or reconsider your priorities in terms of what you like to spend money on.

  23. Well, I am one of the poor guys who cannot afford to play magic for the moment. I am a student living on borrowed money together with an unemployed wife and we have a son who is one year old. Although things are tough and I can’t afford to buy new cards or travel to play (yes, no magic players in my town) there is always great sites like channelfireball to stimulate my hobby until I graduate, get employed and can afford to play on magic online. Atleast, that’s the plan.

  24. Hey Kyle who pays your rent? I thought about posting a legit reply but you’re just a privileged idiot ranting about how special you are because of magic and being a tard in HS.

    Oh, theres a word for people like that who make irrational sacrifices to support a GAME like magic, degens. Do you have any normal friends between 18-24? $500+ for a standard deck is substantial for the format life, not to mention multiple decks, formats and you’re power purchase advice bullshit.

    I don’t come here for quantity and would rather CF save their money instead of paying this clown with no credibility for his rants.

  25. When Jace came out in WWK, you could acquired it for 40-50$. And when Jund was Tier 1 the price stayed there for quite some time because it couldn’t beat Jund on its own. 4 Mana was always the magical number for a superb planeswalker, like Ajani Vengeant, Garruk or Elspeth. Ignoring that and convincing yourself Jace was only hyped when people started playing it was just plain wrong. And now people are paying for that. Twice the price it was in April 2010, everyone can check that on blacklotusproject.com

    And now please stop crying everyone. I don’t have a rich dad who buys me everything I want but I still own 4 JTMS.

  26. Even if I want it badly enough, and even if I can afford it, Jace TMS is too expensive. Also, you can play U/x control without him and succeed. There is no such thing as a card that guarantees wins.

  27. It’s quite simple. If you wanna be competitive and you can’t build the deck you wanna play because of money (or you can’t borrow, get the cards by any means), then you’re doing it very wrong. You’re not competing seriously, you’re giving an easy advantage to your opponents. So you should either choose a different thing to do… just play magic but don’t compete or play something else.
    I guess it’s all about drawing the line between competing seriously and not doing so. I don’t think there’s anyone really planning on going to a PT and actually considering his deck choice based on budget. I’d be pretty surprised if someone was. If you’re seriously trying to win ptqs and you’re doing it, then you’re doing it wrong, and I guess that’s where the message is trying to go.

    The actual price is irrelevant and is another discussion. I do personally think that jace’s price is out of control and it was a mistake. They probably should reprint it, and I know it’ll likely not happen, but I think it’s causing enough bad feelings in the community so it should.

  28. @fd8s0 I understand your argument, and the article’s, I think everyone does. But it misses one detail: You don’t have to netdeck to win a PTQ or PT, you need a deck that beats the meta. Playing Jace means playing the most powerful card in Standard, but that doesn’t mean you’ll win, and it doesn’t prove you want it badly enough. WW won PT Amsterdam because it beat the meta, despite being an underpowered deck, and not because it had criptic command or jace or whatever the most powerful card was.

    Jace is too expensive, period. Most people agree with that. The article’s author saying that not buying the most expensive cards means you don’t want it badly enough is misleading and offensive, level 7 or not, because expensive cards do not equal winning. Also, I think he needs to buy a playset of Humility.

  29. Kyle: I’m going to write an article about JTMS price being OK.
    CF: Whoa, sounds dangerous.
    Kyle: Don’t worry, I’ll put my coolface on. :kyleface:

  30. im sure no ones going to read this because its at the bottom of a huge page of essentially yelling, but i thought id add my two cents to the fray.
    Saying you dont want it bad enough is the reason you dont have a playset of jace is quite frankly ignorant.
    It seems clear to me that your a rich white boy who had his parents buy him everything.
    Now i dont know you, and you dont know me, but this is what you sound like when you say these stupid things.
    Wanting has nothing to do with how much money i have. I really want a playset of JTMS, but i choose to pay for rent instead. This is ignorant babble on par with Reagans voodoo economics.
    Not to mention writing this article seems so short sided seeing as everyone that spends time on a magic website obviously is loves the game, and you’re just offending everyone that doesnt have one by attacking them. For most people (a good 99 percent) competitive magic is not a job, so buying a set of JTMS of FOW ect is not something they will see a return investment on, so unlike you they feel its impact more.
    Also im not sure if its just me, but it seems like you just wrote this article to either justify you spending so much on cards or possibly just to make yourself feel important cause you “wanted it bad enough”.
    Well im ranting, but thats what comments are for right 🙂

    PS : i hope you understand that you just made infinite people think you’re an asshole, so they wont read your articles. Thought id let you kno

  31. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar

    I think a lot of people are misconstruing what the article was about. If I’m reading it correctly the assertion here is that if you want to play competitive magic (at any level) you should budget for cards that you need for the deck you want to play… Jace is the most extreme example we’ve seen in a while, and I understand why people don’t want to shell out that kind of money for a card. If the next big money rare is the keystone in a deck I want to play, and it rockets to $100 dollars within a month of its release, I’ll trade or buy one of the cards a month over 4 months time and simply not buy video games, or rent movies, or get any other luxury that I’m otherwise accustomed to.

    Every deck has a card or, more likely, cards that will cost a lot of money either together or alone. That’s just the nature of the beast, and there’s nothing we can do about it. The cost of playing Ux is prohibitive right now, but there are other T1 decks that are just as viable (if not more so) that require other money cards.

    Most people’s objection to Jace is, I think, that the secondary market cost of the card is FAR beyond what the actual card, as an object of cardstock, ink and wax is worth. This is true for any card outside of a common but the principle is the same whether you’re paying $2.00 for a Tectonic Edge or $85-100 for a Jace.

    Arguing for the “investment” isn’t valid in my opinion though. If you need to unload cards for an emergency or whatever, this is rarely going to work… you’ll rarely get what the cards are worth, and will most likely be selling the cards for 2/3rds of what they are worth on the secondary market.

  32. I’d rather just play a deck that I like and Lightning Bolt your Jace.
    Nothing better than watching an $85 Brainstorm go to the graveyard for $.05.

    Or, if I really wanted to play blue, i could just play $8 Jace Beleren as JTMS removal.

    etc etc. JTMS is good, yes, but he is beatable.

  33. I’m from a small northern town where the arrival of super expensive mythic rares destroyed the whole MTG community. When cards like Baneslayer Angel, Jace the Mindsculptor and Vengevine started showing up, alot of the newer players quit the game because it was getting too expensive for them. They wanted to have fun while playing the game but they didn’t want to spent their monthly income just to build a competitive deck. I can understand that. Few of us actually wanted these cards bad enough and bought some of them, but playing in tournaments with only 5 people isn’t really all that fun when the sheer price of some of the standard decks had forced most of the players to move on to different formats (such as EDH) or quit the game all together.

    The older and “more serious” players in my area have nowadays pretty much abandoned competitive formats. We still draft now and then and gather from time to time to play highlander games, but I’m not aware of anyone who still has a legal standard deck together. I think people have the right to complain about cards getting too expensive when stuff like this happens. Maybe our town was too small to have stable MTG community to begin with but we had been doing just fine before the arrival of super expensive Mythic Rares :/

  34. I don’t agree with a lot of what’s in this article, but it’s still extremely awkward how far off the point most of the comments have become…I have a lot of money, I have 4x Extended and 4x foil and regular JTMS. No, I certainly do not advocate many people having a similar collection.

    However, if you really care about winning at MTG and you think that the blue control deck will give YOU the best chance at succeeding, then yes, you absolutely need to get some Jaces. You don’t have to buy them, but you do have to borrow or trade for them. If you wanna be on the Pro Tour, that’s what you have to do.

    If blue control decks do not give you the best chance of winning or you don’t feel are the best decks, of course you don’t need to obtain Jaces. If winning at a high level isn’t your goal, then it doesn’t matter at all which cards you own. I assume/hope this article is only targeted at the people who are both frustrated with card prices and have winning big tournaments as their main objective.

  35. Unfortunately, when you follow pro’s who put in hours of testing you end up with decks that are competive but may be expensive. I am not upset with KB for that analysis, because he is correct, if you want to create the superior meta game it may cost you. I had a discussion once with a young player ( as you can see by my name I am mature by magic standards) about why he netdecks and his response was “I want to make sure that my record is not based on my deck building skills but my ability, so I copy the best deck available and play”. This is what makes a card very expensive (supply and demand). I didn’t understand his logic at first, but now I do. I asked him, why not come up with your own deck, sometimes you can surprise people because they have no metagame for soemthing they have never seen? If you want prices to come down don’t play the card. DO you just play the game to win or do you play the game to have fun?

  36. @Russ
    What crazy world do you live in? First of all where did you find lightning bolts for 5 cents, I really want to shop there. Moving on, how does your opponent brainstorming and then you both losing a card seem even to you? And if he was a smart player he would +2 first so you couldn’t even lightning bolt it, then use his other abilities like normal. But ok, lets say I brainstormed then you bolt. Hey look I found another jace off my brainstorm, too bad your bolt didnt let you brainstorm too.

    Oh and I’m not saying JTMS is unbeatable but its better to try and beat it with a primeval titan rather than thinking you can just bolt it and move on.

    I invested in my set of JTMS because I like to have the best deck, if they go down half price after standard roatates that is fine with me. I had fun playing with them, and while I can still afford it, I will continue to have fun playing the expensive magic cards, because thats what i enjoy spending my money on.

  37. When people complain that Magic is too expensive, it has to do with a change in costs. It is not the specific dollar value today, it is the difference in the cost today as in the past.

    I used to be able to be competitive on a certain amount of money. Now it takes a lot more. Wizards is trying to squeeze more out of me than they have in the past. I works on you, but not on me. I am not happy about it, and I quit trying to be competitive. If they adjust their system so an interesting deck can be played at the cost of Affinity, I’ll play competitively again.

    You are being ignorant, not elitist, in this article for not understanding what you are writing about. You are also being a little underhanded in using local turnout at a few stores to claim the game is doing so well. If I am not mistaken, Mirrodin was their best selling set so they are are still trying to catch back up to that point-where being competitive was deemed affordable no less.

  38. If everyone “sucked it up” and bought Jaces then the price would continue to spiral upwards making it even more difficult to purchase. This article does nothing other than try to make people who want to have fun with a sub-optimal chance of winning feel like crap. Wizards identified the player profiles for a reason, and not everyone is a Spike. Spikes will buy whatever it takes, and telling non-spikes that they’re stupid for not being a spike isn’t helping anyone. The real question is, does having a card this expensive discourage other types from starting to play or make them stop playing? I don’t have the answer to this but I’d be interested to find out. Has anyone here decided not go to FNM because you knew your opponents had Jaces and you didn’t think you could compete? That’s any easy survey to start with and assesses tangible damage to the game.

  39. To get that out of the way, I don’t own JTMS. I do however own a lot of legacy staples. What I dislike however about JTMS is that it costs 350 dollars a playset while rotating within less than two years. It will drop probably to about 50 dollars a card once it rotates in extended because its played more in standard than in all other formats combined. Why should I have to invest 500 dollars every two years to be competitive in the most played format? Most people can set aside money for this, but why would you? It should not cost 250 dollars a year to be able to play competitive standard or have the choice out of one deck.

    Aside from that I dislike that hey print Combust- 2 mana answer for baneslayer angel but no answer for jace. Why don’t they print 1G – destroy target blue non-creature permanent? Would that be too much to ask?

  40. Ironically they do print one, Jace Beleren for BB1 to legend out JTMS. I get a good chuckle seeing decks with 7 Jaces across both versions because its the best answer to an opponent’s JTMS.

  41. derek jeter doesnt use a bat bought from wal-mart.

    andre agassi doesnt use a tennis racket bought from wal-mart.

    tiger woods doesnt use golf clubs bought from wal-mart.

    bill gates most likely doesnt use a store pre-made computer.

    the point of the article is simply if you want to be the most competitive you can, time and money are needed. he isnt saying if you cant afford a JTMS gtfo. he is saying, if you dont have the top cards needed to win, you wont be top 8ing in a pro tour. you can still have fun at your FNM, but dont expect to be the best in pro level settings. the same is true in any activity you do.

    i think his other point is equally simple. if you arent willing to sacrifice other goods/services, you have no right to complain you arent winning pro tours. if you cant afford to buy a JTMS because you will fall behind on rent, its safe to say you arent aspiring atm to be on the pro tour and pay you travel costs to the PTQs anytime soon anyways. he isnt downing the fact you struggle to pay rent.

    his point is if you arent playing the best, you arent going pro anytime soon. i dont get why all you nerds are pissed off at this point. i play pool (8 ball and 9 ball) in a league. the league is similar to FNM. i can be the best in my league if i try hard, just as i can be the best at FNM. however, i cannot afford a $100,000 pool cuer (yes i talked to some pros and that is their custom made cue values). i am not bitching about the cost of the equipment keeping me out of the espn specials. if i want to be a pro, id have to hire countless aids, coaches, buy new equipment etc. the same is true of magic.

    everyone can still have fun playing casual tourneys, but if you cannot afford the cards, chances are you will not be going magic pro.

  42. I think it’s funny that everyone seems so dead set on roasting the pro for sounding elitist. Of course he’s elitist, he’s a member of an elite set of players. That is how that works.

    As for the value of Jace, he will retain some value, but that isn’t the point. The point is that you can’t afford the Jaces because you don’t think you can. I’m typing this on my iPhone via Wifi because I couldn’t afford to pay AT&T for the cell service. I have 3 Jaces, and access to playsets of every other major Mythic in Standard. The most money I’ve dropped on a single was a Doran for my EDH general.

    If you want to be successful, you have to work around your limitations. I work around mine by being a member of a small clique of players who have similar collections to mine. If I uave a brilliant Primeval idea, I borrow a friend’s playset, just as they do with my Jaces. I trade phenominally well and don’t give up opportunities. My third Jace came from me trading a complete Boros deck for it. To many of you, that’s insane, to me, it’s the price of wanting to play with the best cards. I had a shot at a third Jace, and I took it. I lost value, true, but I did what I had to do to get him.

    Whining about the value of cards doesn’t help. You can either find a way to buy them (I hear you can get a couple of grand for your little toe. They’ll even sew it back on), or you find a way to work around them. One of the local FNM players gives me fits with his UB Control, and he doesn’t even play Beleren. What he does is, instead of lamenting the value of his cards, he makes what he has work.

    Both solutions are a matter of will. The fact is that all formats have always had power cards that cost a lot of money. In Standard, it’s Jace, an he’s a hundred. In others, the cards get up to four digits.

    Regardless of whether or not you spend the money, know that someone will. You have to beat Jace, whether you have him or not. You should spend your time beating him (I hear there’s this vampire that just flat kills him, and it’s not even a rare), and not complaining about him.

  43. The article is first rate – it is all a matter of making choices. If you cannot afford something on your budget, then you will not buy it. I imagine a lot of people would like a fancy 300K car but settle for much less for just that reason. The key point to take here – though he does not specifically make it – is that whining about it and expecting WOTC to somehow make your life easier is not a good use of your energy. Either buy them or don’t but don’t blame someone else for your choice.

    As far as investing in magical cards goes, I must defend Kyle here a bit – he didn’t actually say Jace was a good investment (though he may well have been intending it); he said the power 9 was a good investment. Since they have been around a long time, still used, always expensive and still retain their value, his position on them is at least reasonable. Jace not so much – buy them if you want to be the best at this game or don’t; it isn’t purely an investment in the card’s value. Well not a good one anyway.

    Any card can see its value collapse if a better model is printed or if it does indeed get included in some new promotional set. This can and has happened quite frequently. So don’t invest in a card for its future value but DO invest in a card for it’s magic value and don’t whine about it in any case.

    Oh and Steven, they do print cheap cards that are an answer to Jace – a certain first striking vampire for example or for that matter any 2/2 1G creature that can come down before counters are online, or even Jace’s cheaper legendary self 🙂

  44. It’s funny cause some people just assume that Jaces costing 80 bucks is something wizards can’t control.
    Jace is THE most overpowered card in standard right now.

    Its power level is a joke.Sure you can try to make a sweet synergestic deck, but whenever Jace is played it WILL be 5 times better than most other cards.That’s why 6 out of 8 top decks in worlds have full playset of jace in it.
    For what jace is, it should probably cost AT LEAST 2UUU.

    Mythic rarity is cool for drafts, but the way it affects constructed whenever mythic rare is incredibly overpowered (No, not “powerful” as a lot of MTG players like to say.It’s called overpowered) is horrible.
    I mean, opening any specific mythic rare from a booster requires someone to open ~ONE HUNDRED TWENTY packs.
    But hey, look, that fact doesn’t make NOVABLAST WURM cost 80 bucks, even though opening novablast wurm is just as likely as opening jace.

    Why?Because even though it’s just as rare, it’s power level is up there with gray ogre for constructed.
    So when wizards fuck up and print an incredibly OP card, they should do something about it.
    There’s a problem with bannings as it is a trading card game and people start complaining that they invested so much money and then get ‘robbed’, but that shouldn’t happen in the first place.
    If a card is so overpowered that you mostly HAVE to play it to be competitive, it should be accessible to everyone.

    /rant over

  45. I think it’s worth considering using the jankier answers first before investing in cards. Think about it, if you are good enough to beat people that have top tier cards with sub- par answers consistently then maybe you are at the skill level where you can invest in cards as opposed to buying necessities.

  46. @Kevin, originally yes, because I no longer had access to O’rings, but not anymore. I play the game because I enjoy it. Really, decks with blue is tough right now. In World’s I was happy to see Vampire’s make an appearance. I believe Vamps are the best aggro deck in standards today. People have to make there own choice’s. Like I said I play the meta game, so I look for answers with the cards I have, and I understand that may not be good enough. However I enjoy playing and for me that’s all that matters.

  47. All you guys are just complaining about the prices of Jaces and how Kyle sounds like a jerk. The two exact things he said would happen in his article.

    If you read into the article however you would see that it isn’t about such things. All he is saying is “I made it, here’s how” because obviously if you are a random casual magic player the chances that you care about articles about standard are slim. If you are a PTQ grinder however you will be reading these articles and that is the exact point.
    All he is saying is that people will complain and be upset that they don’t have the 400$ Jaces and won’t play standard or that deck, but if you want to make it you need to play the best deck that suits your strengths. Obviously if you can play a control deck you SHOULD be investing in 3-4 Jaces, because they are arguably the best card in a control deck. But again if you just play on kitchen counters who cares why do you need Jaces?
    Pllus he also mentions several times that barrowing is a viable way to obtain cards until you win enough to buy them yourself.
    Everyone plays for a different reason but if you are playing to win, to make it, then your going to want to invest. That is all he is saying.

    You guys (gals) need to stop complaining and realize this.

  48. “Some of you sitting at home are probably saying that the cards are just too expensive to get. The inconvenient truth is that you just don’t want them bad enough. You are all sitting at your computer reading an article about Magic: the Gathering. Does that sound like someone who legitimately cannot afford a standard deck? Perhaps if you are homeless and reading this at the public library, but there are bigger issues than what to play in standard at that point.”

    apparently owning a computer and having a place to live makes me have 400 spare dollars to tie up in jaces? here let me pawn my computer the one thing of value then i can buy jaces and not have to read this tripe anymore. and its not like those 4 cards make the deck so ill also have to get probably another 300 dollars in cards to flesh out the rest of that u/b deck.

    And theres also plenty of youth players who dont have that kind of disposable income either.
    IN the end hes right though, i dont want the jaces that bad where i wouldnt have things other than jaces. id rather order pizzas everyweekend than have a set of jaces for fnms.

  49. also for most magic players who complain about the prices of jaces dont care that its a super competitive sport now. I remember playing when the chasiest rares were under 20. imagine if decks like MWC from onslaught existed today and all the cards were mythic. instead of costing roughly 200 dollars it would cost roughly 2000. Its anFNM not the pro tour. I shell out my 8 dollars get my 2 packs have some fun and possibly top 8 anyways. Standard cards dont matter for pros or pro tour aspirants since its not standard season for ptqs and pros can always bum cards for the day of the event. you needed to own jaces for worlds for 3 days and after that they are pretty much worthless to you.

  50. Hey, I agree with this article whole heartedly. Even if you don’t have the cash to pay for a deck that you want to play. I’m sure that most of you have the means to pay for it with the cards you have had for years. Trading in cards you don’t ever use is a great strategy to getting the cards you need. Although Getting store credit wont always pay for the whole thing it will always help out by lowering how much Cash you have to put down for that deck.

  51. @Thomas: Your final point about ordering Pizzas is exactly Kyle’s point. He’s not begrudging people for not buying Jaces if they want something else instead, he’s just saying that people should acknowledge that, rather than complaining about not being able to afford high value cards like Jace, when the case is actually that they’d just rather spend money on other stuff, which is completely reasonable. Personally, I do want to be competitive so I spend a lot of time trading with my paper cards to make bits of value here and there and cut back in other areas of disposable income so that my MODO account has 4x pretty much anything I’d need to make any deck I want. He’s not saying that everyone needs to do that, just that if you want to be a competitive Magic player, you have to genuinely be committed to it.

  52. Interesting. This article applies universally (you could easily write the exact same article with regard to picking up Arcbound Ravagers after Skullclamp was banned), and that makes this article meaningless.

    Every time someone steps up to defend, even marginally, the Mythic system, they end up going to “Magic is expensive, get over it!” Unfortunately, that is a mis-characterization of the opposing viewpoint. No one is claiming Magic isn’t expensive. People are claiming that Magic has become *vastly* more expensive over the span of about two years. The price a playset of Jaces, today, is close to the price of the average Standard deck from the pre-Mythic days. (There are exceptions, but I don’t think anyone actually believes that the price of a deck has remained stagnant.)

    That is the fundamental argument against Mythics, and it’s the argument no one on the other side is willing to address, because there is no remotely valid counter-argument. Magic is more expensive today than it was 3-5 years ago. The increase in cost FAR exceeds inflation. As the price of the game rises, players are priced out, and stop playing. WotC/Hasbro has managed to mitigate these losses with an extremely good marketing program that’s pulled in numerous new players, but unless those new players are appreciably wealthier than the lost ones, we’re going to lose them, too.

    Think about this for a minute. How many Jace-equivalent cards can be printed in a year? How many are you, as a player, willing to buy? If the first number is larger than the second number, how many years of being unable to build competitive decks will you sit through before dropping out of the game?

  53. Its funny how some pros say that its cool to invest thousands on cardboard because they travel around the world and people thinks thats quite awesome, truth is that FNM level players won’t be travelling anywhere free thanks to magic and that spending 400$ on 3 mm of blue cardboard isn’t exactly fun.

    It may be an investment for you or to people that actually is gifted and has the time to dedicate into magic, but all that Average Joe wants is to have fun without having to spend money that he doesn’t have.

    You article couldn’t counterargument the fact that standard has become more expensive. All you say is that if you don’t have any other hobby and you are mid-upper class with lots of free time you could afford jace if you wanted to. Truth is a lot of people have social life or some other interest beyond magic, yet that shouldn’t mean that they won’t be able to play the good decks of the format.

    You can argue all you want about having contacts or sharing cards but standard has become more expensive than ever with a peak of 900$ per constructed deck during ZEN block with Mythic, UW and Superfriends. Maybe you should try and not to make it so obvious that you are trying ot get people into buying more cardboard by blatantly lying to them by giving unrealistic expectations of world travel and such. Truth be told there are only a handful of players that live from being professional magic players and anyone that thinks they will ever be at that level is just being delusional, it just takes more than skill to begin with.

  54. You Guys just didn’t get the point. Magic IS expensive…Pay for it if you can, if you can’t just play limited(where you can make an non-ending streak of championships from out of max 50$)or quit the game. Thos who can’t afford to play this shouldn’t play it, and i’m not being elitist, it’s just reality. If i said that some people can’t buy 42″ lcd tvs for their house, it would be accepted. Why can’t i say some people can’t buy 4x Jace, TMS?

  55. “Magic is more expensive today than it was 3-5 years ago. The increase in cost FAR exceeds inflation. ”

    This is true for the secondary market only. Prices are driven by our greed and speculation. The price per pack is not much different now then it was 15 years ago. Compared to a can of pop or a chocolate bar the price of cards has gone down. Mythic prices are increasing because competitive magic is becoming more popular – which is awesome. It’s hard to say if magic would be more popular if prices were lower, or if the same people would still play regardless.

  56. I’ve got to agree. MTG operates like any market.
    I love avocados, but for 3-4 months out of the year they cost $3+ each. Do I whine about the farmers not planting enough? No, you either choice to pay the money or you eat your chips with salsa. Me, I love guacamole so I pay the cash because thats what they are worth. Because its a free market and if they weren’t worth that then people wouldn’t be paying that.

    And quit with the “just cardboard” already. Shoot, the graphite in your pencil shavings and the diamond in your wife’s $2k ring are just carbon. Heck, the money in you wallet is just paper (well cotton, but whatever).

  57. Article seemed like it was written by my 5 year old niece, no real intelligence in it, and it is based around you should focus on “get rich schemes” rather then working for a living like I did. Don’t listen to him people, just work hard in life ENJOY magic and you will be rewarded. Because in one year when I graduate with my masters I will be laughing at his yearly pro winnings. Won’t you all come join in with me.

    One last thought the guy who posted on if you can’t afford competitive FNM just do limited I give you two thumbs up. If budget magic is a problem for you then you should really look into limited as your normal format.

  58. I’ll give you the appropriate counterargument to the existence of Mythics from a former insider’s perspective.

    Do you know how much money Wizards makes when you buy a single? Zero. The secondary market is something Wizards neither controls or cares about. The existence of Mythics was created in response to that. They make desirable cards rarer in order to make some money off the game, so they can keep making it. Mythics are there so that they (as in Wizards) get value out of chase cards.

    Before bashing Wizards as being greedy in that regard, I offer two points: First, that this 100 dollar Mythic that everyone screams is overpowered gets obviated by a Hexmage. Or to some extent a manland. Or it can be countered by a ton of cards you already own. Or you can play baby Jace. Most money grubbing companies will print chase cards that are better than any card out there, and effectively uncounterable by any card not in their own rarity. You can counter my Jace with a 50 cent common. That point being: It could be worse.

    And before someone says it, yes, you have to play around good cards.

    The second point is that Mythics are not a new invention. Someone in all caps mentioned that it takes 120 packs to get one. Hmm.

    Most card sheets are 11×11 cards before being cut. The Power 9 all appeared on that sheet once. When accounting for the blank card, that meant you had to crack 120 packs to get a Black Lotus. So don’t blame Mythics as though this “innovation” in card distribution is the death knell for the game. They’re just Ultra Rares, which have been around in some form since the inception of CCG’s.

    People who complain about Mythics and then complain about the secondary value of a card like Jace make me laugh. If you crack enough packs to average a Jace, you’re spending almost $500. Don’t complain when you can just go get a playset and have 100 bucks left to fill out your deck. If you don’t want to save your 10 bucks a week or whatever, then don’t. But realize that is your decision. You knew coming into the hobby that some cards were better than others, and many of those cards are harder to get. No sign at your local store said “buy a starter deck and win Worlds!” There is no bait and switch here, and no betrayal. You were not deceived. And if you don’t like it, then proxy the Worlds decks and play your heart out.

    The final point to make is that you don’t want a flat rarity system. Do you seriously want an environment where everyone has 4 Jaces, Primevals, Frosts, and Cobras? Where everyone plays identical decks because they have access to everything? The first C in CCG is part of the fun of the game. If you don’t like hunting chase cards, then I suggest Uno.

  59. So, from what I gathered, this article advocates picking a room that likely smells (lets face it, magic and hygene don’t seem to go together often) over going to a party with people that may have more things to talk about then how someone topdecked a lightning bolt to beat you, and making sure you spend a small fortune for cards or you are just wasting your time playing.

    If I were your employer at Channel Fireball, who sells these cards and makes money off the events you are advocating over living life with the rest of the world, I would give you two thumbs up. Of course, I’m just a person who still plays limited from time to time and reads these articles to keep up with the current metagame since so many of my friends still ask me for advice when it comes to playing cards that no one will expect ( a bi product skill of so much limited game time).

    I get what you are saying, and I do appreciate the effort you put into writting this, but I think that you need to focus more on things that are actually useful. Yes, Jace is a good card that is good for a bunch of decks in a bunch of formats. It’s also has dominated the format for going on a year now. Whats new?

  60. Zur, The Enchanter

    You are correct. I don’t want it badly enough. I play magic very often but I have never played a standard tournament because I don’t want to give up other things that I buy with money.

    I can certainly afford a play set of Mind sculpters, I just have better things to buy.

  61. @Slade Weston: Quite possibly responsible for my shift in opinion on this matter,well done. and a big +1 on the its just cardboard argument needing to end.

    Truth be told, I hate the fact that price of the “Nut High” standard deck in terms of power has seemingly skyrocketed. $15-$20 per card used to get you Masticore, MoMatter, Yawgmoth’s Will, Cursed Scroll, Tangle Wire, Rishadan Port, Kamigawa Dragons, Cranial Extraction in any given “era” or format. I understand that this isn’t WOTC’s fault directly…but to tout excellent growth in the game and then introduce something as simple as “rarer than rare” seems a little shady…granted what does wizards care about secondary market prices right…but it certainly functions to sell more packs to distributors -> Card Stores-> Customers

    Perhaps a more personal beef I have, is recently reviewing the 2cc slot in red. Ember Hauler is great, but I was shocked at how situational everything else was with the exception of the Mythic Kargan Dragon Lord. It is what it is… maybe its just bad timing for vanilla guys in that slot…

    Its unfortunate that the edge that used to exist just in terms of understanding a concept as simple as “damage on the stack, , resolve. rinse, wash, repeat. and that same minimal edge now comes from your bankroll. I think that simply is my issue with tournament playable mythics in general.

    Ultimately I hoped they’d have made a cycle of Teferi’s Responses for planeswalkers, but who knows what rarity theyd have chosen for something like that anyways.

    /Wall of Text buried.

  62. I realy like your article
    i read almost all CF articles in the last months and i can say that this is one of the best ones

    Great concepts and nice deck list


  63. What I find funny is that almost nobody addresses the fact that you can get cards for free through trading. Johnathan Medina’s ‘Pack to Power’ proved that with a little bit of work, you can turn anything into anything. In his case, it was a bear umbra for a mox.

    How did he do it? Well for those of you who don’t know, its all about incremental growth. You find somebody who is willing to trade you $2 for a $1 rare, then find someone who’ll trade you $3 for your $2 worth, and so on. There’s an entire sect of magic players who do this, and there have been many “Pack to Power” spawns as a result.

    I started playing back in April, right before Rise of Eldrazi hit. I had $100 worth of rares to start with, which were back from when I played for a month or two in middle school. The only money I’ve spent is on 3 booster boxes – one RoE, one M11, one SoM. My collection is currently worth around $2.5k ebay sell-value, and those are only my trading binders, which contain zero jank that lead to inflated prices.

    I’ve got a set of Jaces, a set of Forces, a decent amount of dual lands, and more than a few other high-end staples of every format. This is all due to intelligent trading – NOT how much money I dropped. If I’d wanted to work even harder, I could’ve gotten here in the same amount of time without buying the boxes if I’d worked a little harder.

    And this is if you must OWN the cards you need – magic is in large about making friends and networking. Guess what that gets you: access to your friend’s cards which they’ll loan you. Those of you who view high-end staples as impossible to get right now are uninformed or lazy. The “Mythic” argument has no place here, as its beside the point. We’re not talking about beta lotuses here, we’re still talking about standard cards, and there’s very viable ways to get them without spending much money and only a few hours a week.

  64. It’s amazing how many people do not understand what balance means.
    Saying that jace can be “countered” by a cheap costing hexmage or a manland doesn’t make it any less powerful.
    Why aren’t people specifically ‘countering’ U/B jace decks then?

    Countering something makes it a 1 for 1.When OP card DOESN’T get countered however, it can just win the game.

    It’s like saying that this card isn’t overpowered.

    “Legendary artifact creature

    If this card is untapped during your upkeep, you win the game”

    Let’s see.You can counter it in so many ways!
    You can manaleak it!
    You can use any sort of creature removal to kill it before it untaps!
    You can tap it with tumble magnet!
    You can bounce it with jace!
    And it’s legendary, so it won’t actually win nearly as much!

    However, everyone with any bit of brain realises that this card is still incredibly broken.
    It FORCES people to have answers or else, well, they just lose.

    Also, saying that wizards are not responsible for secondary market is absolutely dumb.They do realise that to open jace specifically *someone* has to open ~120 worldwake packs.If that mythic are isn’t OP, then yea, it doesn’t cost ridiculous amounts.But when it is, it inflates the price so much.

    If they fuck up and make a card ridiculously OP, they *should* do something about it, like make it available for everyone.
    They just conditioned players to these ‘rules’ and everyone just passivelly accepts them.
    Oh well

  65. I don’t want to be on the pro tour. I want to play competitive control in standard, and without Jace, I can’t.

    Go over to Steam and check how much gaming you can get in for $400. If you’re dead set on extremely high levels of competition, consider the far greater longevity, lower entry price and larger gaming community of Starcraft II. The relative trade-offs of investing that money in standard is far too high.

    Playing competitive magic at a semi-casual level used to make sense. It doesn’t any longer, and Mythics are why. Competitive 100 card singleton and to a lesser extent Legacy are the only things that keep me with the game.

  66. @Felix thank you for bringing that up that cards can be free, although you took the extreme side of it saying you can trade a forest all the way up to a black lotus, well if it is a foil forest perhaps you could but irrelevant, however the fact of trading is relevant. I did this a while ago starting with a goblin guide and I now have a mint condition alpha DT, in which I could probably take up however that is unrealistic because that took me nine months to trade up that much, however trading a lotus cobra you don’t need for a kargan dragonlord you do is perfectly logical. Magic should never cost 100% for players who play magic already, new players should never buy competitive decks because by the time they get good enough to play it, it will most likely have half cycled out. It cost me $5 for a JTMS 2 weeks ago after giving a foil primeval for it as well.

    And if you are good enough you should at least win a few packs a week at FNM meaning every now and then you should have a free koth or what not to trade. Don’t worry about being pro, just be better then everyone else at your shop and you get value!

  67. hey kyle, sorry not everyones mommy and daddy can buy them all their cards. your so stuck in your own ass you forgot the most important part of playing magic. FOR FUN. come bring your $10,000 deck and let me show you a $50 that would spank its ass. channelfireball why do you let this little jackass write articles on your site. he sux and needs to keep his richy bitch comments to his self.

  68. i think whats missing from this forum is not truly about Jace being 100 dollars, but about how if you dont have JTMS you just dont want it enough.
    Whether or not Mythics is a good thing (which personally i think are, but format staples i feel shouldnt be mythic) what we should all agree on is JUST WANTING JTMS DOES NOT MAKE YOU GET IT, AND TO SAY THAT YOU COULD HAVE IT IF YOU JUST CARED AS MUCH AS ME IS ASSININE!. i feel that people have forgotten that the purpose of this article is for some rich kid to say he wanted it bad, so he’s clearly more comitted. come on man, you sound like such an asshole. An asshole, but a pretty good magic player. Now i dont mean to be hating (which yes i kno i just called you an asshole like infinite times) but i mean comeon, you know that this is stupid. prove your comittment by top 8ing another PT, not by flashing your JTMS 🙂

  69. adam mcconnaughey

    i think there are two statements that are being conflated.

    the first, which this article makes, is a factual one: if you wish to compete in competitive constructed magic, you have to allocate the appropriate resources.

    the second, which this article does not make, is a value statement: it is okay that this is the case.

    this article makes no claim that it is good for wizards or good for magic or good for anything in general that a playset of jaces costs $400 and is necessary. but that doesn’t make it any less necessary.

  70. The sad thing is that what this article is trying to say is basically right. It was just written very poorly. The point is not that the price of Big Jace is ok. The point is that, for aspiring pros, the price should be irrelevant. If (when?) I ever get around to attempting to PTQ grind, I would shell out the money for chase rares. Where the price of cards really comes into play is for the casual gamers. I know some EDH (Commander) groups have been hurt by the prices that have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Casual gamers don’t want to worry about getting money on an investment, they just want to have some fun once or twice a week.

    Of course, all of that is outside the scope of general CFB writing.

  71. adam mcconnaughey

    and, a corollary of the first statement is its contrapositive: if you can’t allocate the appropriate resources ($400 on jaces), then you can’t compete in competitive magic.

  72. This article seems to only explore the perspective of a very serious / semi-pro player. Just because you’re not playing Magic professionally doesn’t mean you don’t want to be competitive. In fact, everyone wants to be competitive which is the precise reason that Jace TMS and Primeval Titan are some of the most expensive cards in standard. They are the best, and, quite honestly, they are broken.

    I would actually still agree that the “Mythic” agenda and the prices of these cards is acceptable if the nature of magic wasn’t so fickle. Formats can change at the drop of a hat and they generally change, to some extent, three times a year. Mirrodin Besieged could release and some sort of Infect deck could become unstoppable for blue for a while. All of the sudden your $400 “investment” is worth a whole lot less, both for enjoying the hobby of Magic and for resale value.

  73. I love laughing at poor people, it’s hysterical. People who think spending a couple grand on magic cards is a lot I find very funny.

    Go out an get a real job.

  74. Semi in order:

    Jace is not an auto win. I don’t win every game I play him, and I don’t lose every game I face him. In fact, the only times he has a major impact on a game is preventing comebacks and in control mirrors. Against aggro decks, he’s usually too slow and dies too quickly. Either I have the control, or they have the gas. Jace doesn’t often change that equation.

    And if said instawin card existed, then I would play around it, because that’s what I do instead of complaining about the power level of cards.

    Jace does not run standard, nor does blue. Chances are, you see as much or more black, green, and red. That isn’t the kind of card Wizards has to do something about.

    As for the secondary market, Wizards makes approximately a nickel on every card printed, from Forest to Foil Jace. That’s it. If some store cracks 120 packs to get a Jace, then they make the same amount as if you bought 120 packs looking for an Eternity Vessel. The secondary value doesn’t impact them at all.

    What you’re arguing is when you buy 120 packs to get a Jace. In that case, you’re in control, not Wizards. You can drop 10-15 bucks here or there on Worldwake, and after 12 iterations, average one Jace. Congratulations, you just spent 500 bucks for a single 100 dollar card. Or you can save and buy the singles. That’s up to you.

    I would argue that commons are more commonly directly linked to wins. Lightning Bolt and Mana Leak are far more important than Jace or Koth. Yet no one complains about the power level of Lightning Bolt. If we talk Mythics, Cobra generates far more blowouts than Jace does.

    So don’t make your claim based on power level. The best red cards in Standard aren’t Mythic. There’s even a top tier deck in Standard that has no Mythics. If you want to win your FNM’s, you have budget options. If you want to win PT’s? Yeah, you’re going to need what is functionally a playset of every card, 100 dollar cards and all.

    The point of the article is that, ultimately, these decisions are yours. You chose to play Magic. You chose to enter tournaments. You chose to play Standard. In all of these choices, you pay some price. If you choose to do well, you have another price to pay. If you choose to (try to) be the best in the world, then there’s a price there as well. Kyle, LSV, and the other CFB regulars spend way more money to do what they love than you’re willing to spend to do the same thing. That’s fine. You just don’t love it like they do. You don’t have to. You have made different choices.

    Make those choices and be happy. Lamenting the existence of cards you don’t have will do absolutely nothing to win you games. Beat them or join them, it’s your decision.

  75. High-priced Mythics have caused our Magic scene in the town where I live to dissolve. We used to have a solid 20-25 people every week for FNM. Now we have 6. Since we need 8 players to sanction anything, FNMs don’t fire.

    The scene started dying shortly after M11 was released. We lost a few new players, then a couple of semi-regulars. The big blow to our group came when our local L1 judge, the other PTQ competitive player, his girlfriend, and a couple of their friends all decided to sell their collections at the same time to play WOW TCG. Apparently this group can play WOW for something like $30 and trade all of the staples between each other.

    These were not small collections: One of the players had over 200 Unglued basic lands, multiple Jaces, etc. None of them were happy about the prospect of buying yet another $50+ card (Primeval Titan,) so they decided to play a game where the singles were apparently much cheaper.

    So now we have about 4 people who only play casual/EDH decks, and maybe 6 people who have Standard decks built. I wonder if anyone else’s Magic scene is fragmented like this? When everyone in your area is not a dedicated PTQ grinder, it is hard for them to justify buying into a format full of cards that they don’t want to buy, especially when they are having just as much fun playing with 100-card decks.

    BTW I own 3 JTMS. I got the first in a pack, and paid $60-65 for each of the other two. I also own a playset of FOW, playsets of most of the dual lands, a foil Primeval Titan, Tarmogoyfs, Guru lands, and plenty of staple rares… If I don’t have anyone to play with then my investments become worthless!

    Not everyone has the attitude that the author is advocating. Not everyone is a die-hard grinder…If something doesn’t change, then us PTQ grinders may run out of opponents 🙁

  76. The people who cry about card prices need to get better jobs. He’s right, if you really wanted something you couldn’t afford you would find some way to acquire it. But we all know it’s way cheaper to complain.

  77. Felix you are clearly stupid, trading doesn’t create new cards, it just rotates them between hands, in the end a playset of JTMS is still a playset of JTMS unless you start riping off people. And that ‘pack to power’ crap was totally biased even the guy that made it admitted so that he would be getting free cards and one sided trades from friends that want him to succeed. If you have rode that story you should know already that he was trading tokens for rares and the like.

    Also LOL at WOTC not controlling the secondary market. WOTC decides rarity and thus scarcity of cards. Guess what happens when you have control over that. The fact that constructed is a lot more expensive should prove that in fact mythic rarity has made magic way more expensive. Wizards does control the scarcity of cards in the secondary market and the chance you have to open specific cards in a given box, despite the number of packs needed to crack a full playset of every card in a given set haven’t changed what has changed is the relative scarcity of certain cards that have become completely necessary in order to play entire colors.

  78. So what I took from the article is that you should be willing to pay whatever is asked if you care enough. What’s the limit? Will we all care enough when a card hits 150? How about 200? 500? At what point is not paying an exorbitant price for a card the right choice? For me it happened at about 20 bucks but from reading these comments its a shame to see that some people are glad to justify it however high hasbro goes. For that reason they will continue to foster an environment that hikes up prices, because who wouldn’t if you can continue to rake in the money. Players like me who used to enjoy tourneys will not be “dedicated” enough to play this card game. And the club will become more elitist. More garbage like this will continue to be written. Enjoy the healthy state of the game.

  79. Wow Kyle, you’re a total douche. My respect for you just dropped like 100 points (and since you made, what, 1 Pro Tour appearance ever, you didn’t have much to begin with).

    Let me preface with a few comments:

    1) I own 3 Jaces. I paid cash money for all of them. My average price per card was roughly $63 (the exact prices were $50, $63, and $68, plus shipping).

    2) I play regularly in any tournaments I can reasonably access. This usually amounts to just FNM, since there is no SCG Open up in Canada, and we simply don’t have the support you guys have down south.

    3) I am a University student. I pay rent, food, tuition, and Magic. That’s basically all my expenses. Almost all my money goes towards one of those 4 things.

    Now, as I mentioned, I play a lot of FNM. My FNM group is basically split into 2 groups: There’s a group who goes to one of the Universities in my town, and there’s a group of younger kids (middle-high-school age). The University-age players play U/X Control, Valakut, Eldrazi Green, etc. The smaller kids play monoblack Vampires, Soul Sisters (without the Wardens), Runeflare Trap, etc.

    There’s really no competition between the 2 groups. If someone in the older group plays against someone in the younger group, the older player is probably 70-80% to win, based on the cards in his deck. The fact of the matter is that University students have eBay accounts, credit cards, jobs, etc., while small children basically have to go to their parents for anything they want, and most parents are not too thrilled with the idea of spending $20 on a piece of cardboard, nevermind $70-80 (at least mine wouldn’t be).

    To me, therefore, your article read as “Children under the age of 18 shouldn’t be allowed to do well at Magic”. This is simply ridiculous. I started playing this game at the age of 6, and I enjoyed it for almost 20 years. Games back then were, by and large, fair. Everyone had roughly the same cardpool, and if you didn’t own Tundra you could play Adarkar Wastes.

    Today, on the other hand, if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to sink into the game, you simply can’t win. You’re just a huge ridiculous underdog based solely on factors outside of your control, such as your age or your income, and there’s no reason for that.

  80. @Brian- Your college econ prof want’s to speak to you, if you’re done lecturing the rest of us.
    It goes something like this: Supply and Demand.
    Wotc controls the supply of Jaces, Primevals, Vengevines, and everything, because they print them. They made them high-powered to the point they also pump the demand. Then they made them mythic in order to sell lots of packs. Now we’re supposed to believe you when you say they’re not responsible for secondary market value and the cost of constructed play?

    Are we also supposed to believe that this is fine?

    Talking about Jace not being an “auto-win” is a lame bit of debate tripe. We can all come up with board positions where the Staple Tournament Mythics don’t automatically win. Doing this is just an exercise. However, the reality of what wins over the long haul in the format is clear to us all. You do yourself a discredit by making those arguments.

    I suppose this forum has degenerated now that folks are calling each other f*(&ers. But your argument is not convincing, so much so that I’m not sure you believe it yourself.

  81. It’s nice you went out and bought Power 9 because you care so much about Magic, but when those cards cost a whole lot less, Wizards made Type 1 and Type 2 because they realized having to have those cards in order to compete was bad for the game. Now we have cards that are just as expensive as those cards were back then and should just suck it up? I’m not buying it.

  82. No one here seems to comprehend or wish to tackle the concept of borrowing.

    Do you think every player on the Pro Tour actually has every card they could ever possibly need when deciding on a deck to play? Of course not, but they have friends who do. I could go to a PTQ in my area and borrow the entirety of a U/B deck, you want to know why? Because I am a good player, and by being a good player I have gained the respect of other good players, who are then willing to let me borrow what I need to win. This becomes even more relevant when you are sponsored, which happens because you are (surprise) good, and you are then able to own virtually nothing and borrow everything.

    This article discusses about how good players do not let themselves get stranded, and anyone complaining about value and at the same time calling themselves competitive or serious in the game of Magic is kidding themselves and only fronting excuses.

  83. There’s one sore point that many people here aren’t getting.


    That means they hold value and can be resold.

    It’s not like you’re spending the money and then it disappears after the fact. The card is still worth something. Now cards can depreciate and appreciate, but if you have any brains you can avoid the biggest swings which is right before rotation. It’s not like you’re buying something disposable. Magic cards hold value in and of themselves.

    If you want to play a cheap competitive deck, you can always play one of the aggro archetypes. If you want to play some other archetype you will have to spend some money. I got Jaces from winning drafts and not even ZZW drafts.

    I rejoined during the end of m11 and the beginning of scars. The cards I get from Drafts I just trade or sell to get Jace’s because I wanted to play control type decks in standard. When I get tired of standard or Jace is about to rotate, I’ll sell him (he’ll still be worth a lot as he is still great in legacy and vintage even).

    The biggest downside to the higher cost of the game is not necessarily the cost in and of itself (since if you have any brains you can easily profit from trading and selling cards as they rotate in and out) but the fact that a lot of income can be locked into magic cards. I am not a big fan of the mythic rare as it made almost all the other rares and uncommons worthless and a lot of mythics are must-haves for a lot of decks. It was basically a money grab by Hasbro who was bleeding money at the time and wanted Wizards to make more money (and what better way to make more money then by selling more packs as people chase mythics).

    However, Magic is not really as expensive as people say if you have some skill, at least not compared to most hobbies. The cards themselves can retain a lot of value unlike other activities where money can be thrown into a hole.

  84. Why do people think WotC is someone completely uninfluenced and unbiased to the secondary market value of cards? They don’t call them chase rares for nothing.

    Here’s the kicker, though: Magic Online. There are large amounts of competitive players on MTGO buying the same expensive cards for their digital collections. WotC makes direct profit from the inflated prices of these cards. Every ticket spent on MTGO exists because it was purchased from WotC and every DE, PE, and 8-man / 2-man queue takes them back our of circulation to combat the only negative influence on WotC’s profit gain, which is the secondary market of Event Tickets themselves. As it stands, you can buy tickets for 1.00 each from WotC an pay them for every single you buy for your online collection or risk $100 to save $10 and ebay the tickets at $0.90 each.

  85. My problem with Jace TMS is that the power level and versatility of the card is so far above that of its mana cost as to be ridiculous.

    The people advocating bolting jace after brainstorming as a good solution may need to reexamine their theory on card advantage… Whatever happened to balanced cards (emphasis on cards) that rewarded people for making good plays instead of handing it all on the plate?

    For its abilities it would not have been too much of a stretch to make the casting cost three blue two colorless. Otherwise at 4 cmc we could have a jace with the following attributes:

    starting loyalty 3
    fateseal +2
    brainstorm -2
    unsummon -1
    ulti -12

    This would still be playable, though not unbroken. Here the player actually has to consider his options instead of spamming brainstorm every turn.
    Granted this wouldn’t fit into every deck that plays blue, it would still be powerful in a deck that wants it and perfectly fine in a control mu.

    I’ll go on to say that i do not own a copy of jace tms (i could never justify the cost). if i did own copies my opinion would remain the same, that the card is too good for its CMC.

    I’m of the mind that someone at wizards screwed up when the design of jace was up in the air. Wizards does have a profound influence on the secondary market. By creating overly powerful cards and limiting production, this has an adverse effect on availability and thus pricing as many have realized.

    Printing overpowered cards and limiting availability is not healthy from a financial perspective or gameplay perspective.

    For the short term it may have been a success to help sell a set, but if wizards keeps creating overpowered format warping anomalies, i wonder if people won’t simply turn off from competitive magic due to magic fatigue?

  86. I’ll go on by saying that i am not a competitive magic player embittered because i do not own a playset of JTMS. I’m a casual magic player with an interest in the competitive side of magic.
    I just don’t like the idea of a standard metagame being warped by powerhouse cards that distort the format and push the cost of competitive magic to astronomical levels.

    The analogy i find is kind of like a mouse chasing the cheese inside a hamster wheel but never ever obtaining it.

  87. With the way that the game now makes poeple into greedy cheating swine, you could probably get away with a 200$ card right now and have some pro that gets it for free writing another article justifying why you need to buy it. When does it end?

  88. I’d like to address a few arguments people have put forwards in the comments, here.

    i. You should just spend less on other luxuries.

    Not all of us enjoy positions of privilege such that our luxury budget is in the hundreds of dollars a month. Magic players tend to be white males from middle-class backgrounds, so I can see how you can forget that, but you should strongly consider the position of someone whose luxury budget is spent almost completely on Magic, yet is at max around forty or fifty dollars a month. Laugh it up, assholes, but many of your fellow players are in that situation. There are no xbox games to not purchase, no high-bandwidth 3g plans to cut, no restaurant food to avoid buying, no drinking to not do – because these players already do not have the money to do those things.

    ii. You should be prepared to spend money on the necessary equipment to play this game.

    This is a card game, not college football. You’re buying pieces of cardboard. How much do you think a person should have to spend, again? And as other posters have mentioned above, where’s the reasonable cutoff point? Your Standard deck already cost $400. What if it cost $800? $1600? Should you be prepared to spend more money on your deck than on your computer, or your car, or your kid?

    iii. Mythics being expensive is not all bad, because all the rare lands are effectively cheaper.

    Point granted, although once you have the lands you’re going to need something to play off of them. If the lands you got make blue mana, you’re back in no-Jace-ville.

    iv. You should have traded for or bought Jaces much earlier.

    Point granted as well; however, if at this point you don’t have your Jaces, you should probably not plan on picking them up. Most of their Standard lifespan has already played out, and if you bought them for Standard you’re going to have to fork out even more to get an Extended or Legacy deck which works around them.

    v. “If some store cracks 120 packs to get a Jace, then they make the same amount as if you bought 120 packs looking for an Eternity Vessel.”

    I felt the need to pull this quote out specifically because poster Brian is possibly the only person in this discussion to be saying things even more stupid than Kyle Boggemes himself. Brian, you apologist douche, no store on the planet is cracking 120 packs to pull an Eternity Vessel. People DID buy boxes to try and open Jaces. You’re comparing apples to assholes.

    vi. The point of this article is that you should commit the resources necessary to this game if you want to win.

    If this is the point of this article, then this is not really the draft that should have made it to CF. Still, even this intended premise is a gross oversimplification. Yes, I want to win. I also want to eat. I also want to pay rent. I also want to take my girlfriend out once in a while. I also want to have some minor semblance of a life outside of Magic. These things exist in a balance, and when you’re considering pouring money into a game because you want to win, you have to consider the value of each item in this balance. The increasing price of Magic affects less privileged players unfairly, as they have to sacrifice proportionally much more to keep up. Should I really have to sacrifice every other pleasure in my life to play? Even when my opponent over there, who has more money, hasn’t had to do any such thing? To some extent this will always be unavoidable; Magic is a collectible card game and a sort of low-ante gambling, really, so it will always be tied in some way to money. It’s becoming increasingly true, however, that the way in which it is tied to money is not the same way it was tied to money back in the days of Ice Age block, or even Urza block.

    If you are a player who, like myself, has to make due with very limited financial resources, then for the love of god do not take Boggemes’ worthless “just make the sacrifice and get the best cards” advice. The EV there is extremely low, and by using what resources you do have inefficiently you’re hurting your ability to play in the long run. Instead, do the research, find a less expensive Tier 1 deck (at the moment, anything other than Valakut/Eldrazi Ramp and UB/UW control) and get to playing. Figure out what you’re going to need after Mirrodin Besieged and acquire it in the most financially efficient means possible. And do not let brats like Boggemes or his apologists get you down; the most important investment for any Magic player is always going to be the time you invest in developing your skill. Let them gloat about their Mindsculptors and Primevals; with skill, you can take them apart with BR Vampires, or GW Quest, or RDW, etc. It won’t be too hard – Princess Boggemes up there hasn’t even figured out that Squadron Hawks go in the Jace deck yet.

  89. Econ 101 article…great. What’s your motivation with the game? To have fun or occasionally win an FNM, or go pro? There are associated costs with either path in the game. He is not being a jerk, just stating the truth.

    To become an F1 driver, it costs over $1 million dollars in training and go kart laps and races, beginning just after you learn to walk. You don’t get a social life, you may go to school (tutors and home school outside of the track), and the only friends you might have are other kids who drive too. There is no drinking, or partying – only sacrifice and no fun, to achieve the goal of being the best.
    Every few months i might drop $50 to drive a few laps with friends, because I find it fun. I didn’t dump money on a suit, helmet gloves, boots, car, crew or go on sporadic sponsorship fundraisers, because I don’t want to be a tier 1 driver.

    I didn’t and won’t drop $350 on a set of JTMS’s, because I do not have my heart set on being a high level MTG Pro – just a fun level, limited and occasional constructed FNM player. I’ll drop a few bucks and tix online for a draft, or go spend a smelly Friday with some real people.

    Proxies do play just as well as the genuine article.


  90. “I have made many friends along the way to becoming decent at this game. Most of them have quit and switched to a completely marginal life. We are all so lucky to have something that makes us above average. I see so many of my friends that used to play Magic that just post Facebook statuses about how they hate their job and go to random parties. There is nothing interesting about these things and they will not help you achieve any worthwhile goals along the way.”

    Kyle, this makes you a giant douche. Magic makes very few people above average – the ones that it does separates them from the pack in a crazy Bobby Fischer kind of manner. I doubt playing magic professionally will leave you with a decent pension plan, or any body of work to fondly display to loved ones – you might as well be selling advertising space for a living – oh wait, you are. The people that keep going to jobs they hate are doing that for various worthwhile reasons, and the parties are there as a stress valve. Your friends don’t share the interesting parts of their lives with you because they aren’t interested in what you think, or in magic. They’re too busy paying off a mortgage and building an education savings plan for their children.

  91. I don’t see JTMS as dominant as people states. Obviously powerful and played in multiple formats, but not completely broken.

    You can play standard, extended and legacy without it, there are competitive alternatives. It’s an important part of the meta, so every playtest group shoudve a couple of playsets, but it doesnt mean that if you cant afford it, youre out of the game.

    It’s price is really high, but I don’t see this as a trend. The best card from the previous standard meta was uncommon, so who knows whats gonna be from nos on?

  92. A useless article that makes you sound like an ass climaxed by a u/w list that’s 2 cards different from any other list. Building a real career and having a social life involving different kinds of people sounds a lot more productive to me than playing cards with neckbeards every day.

    Also, spewing a stream of wrongness then having at least one person be unfortunately swayed by your crap does not mean you’ve “done your job.” Lol. Thanks a bunch Kyle.

  93. I read these articles because they are interesting. not beacuse I want to PWN some 14 year old at a PTQ., Why would someone write an article about spending money on Jaces…oh wait. riiight.

  94. I can’t help but wonder how this kid gets published, and make no mistake about it with “insight” like this, you’re a child.

  95. People in the US shouldn’t complain. In Sweden we have to buy packs from secondary dealers, increasing the costs by a lot. Unfortunately, this is true for Magic Online as well, since the VAT in Sweden is the highest in the world. However, the thing that aggrivates me the most is that the secondary dealers increased the costs of Magic products in Sweden by 25 % due to the Swedish Krona losing value to the US Dollar, and now, when the Swedish Krona is worth more then before they increased the prices, they don’t lower the prices again.

    So, if you think you cannot afford Jaces in the US, think of how lucky you are you aren’t Swedish. Hopefully, that is some comfort.

  96. All in all, this article talks about commitment and what people are willing to give up in order to be successful, either by paying $400 for cards or by sacrificing their personal/social life and how he managed to do it in order to achieve it.

    What I really don’t like in Mr. Kyle article is his fanaticism, and this subliminar thought of “doing it at all costs”. One thing is commitment in terms of practice and dedication. This depends on you. Other is this financial overcommitment in order to be successful; the game has relished so far, but these political/mythical maneuvres are putting it at risk.

    Don’t forget that pro magic players only exist because there are thousands of casual/non-competitive players that fuel the machine, allowing Wizards to pay such high prizes at Pro Tours. If you choke them, you choke yourself.

  97. seems like kyle just finished reading the first chapter of mankiw and is currently enrolled in finance 101. nice read though 😛

  98. Weird. I have been an adamant CFB supporter ever since Modosharks went down a few years ago. This article was the first one that ever made me consider leaving the site. It all begins and ends with this statement:

    “I have made many friends along the way to becoming decent at this game. Most of them have quit and switched to a completely marginal life.”

    Wow. Just wow. I doubt your friends consider their lives marginal just because they no longer play Magic. Something tells me wives, children, providing is just as, if not more satisfying then taking home a PTQ. To argue otherwise is to show both your ignorance and your douchieness.

    Thank you CFB for providing great content over the years. This, not only is it not useful, it takes away from an otherwise great site. /spurned

  99. Well if your goal was to get replies in the comments section; bravo!

    In terms of the nature of modern Magic I’ll be honest; except for Jace afaict it’s actually CHEAPER to play now than it was in Tempest, Saga or Invasion/Oddy (I can’t speak for other formats because I didn’t get serious about Type 2 until then and I skipped all of Champions-Time Spiral doing “not Magic” things).

    The fact is cards like Fauna Shaman and Goblin Guide would have been HORRIBLY over-valued under the old system, like 15-20 dollars because basically anything that was rare and in a deck that could win PTQ type events was jacked up to pay for opening boxes worth of crap.

    Now as a retailer I get better “bad” rares that I can sell for $1-3, lose out on good “just rares” because I have to sell them for $6-8 even though their demand is higher than that (think about it, that’s 2 packs. Would you open more than 2 packs to find a GG? Yes.) and then basically all the Mythics are jacked up to cover the cost of opening boxes.

    At the end of the day however for the customer the cost is basically the same, between 200 and 500 for a Standard Deck. I dunno who told you otherwise but it’s not like Tinker/Colussus decks with 25 rare artifacts were cheaper.

    That having been said; while I genuinely enjoy the articles written here at CFB, Kyle you did come off kinda snotty. Again if the goal was to make people comment, you win. Not sure you made yourself any fans though.

    just my 2 cents as someone who plays and manages a Magic store.

  100. Oh and as a further side point: The store I manage has been out of Jace the Mind Sculptors at $90+ for about a month and a half now. It’s not like we don’t offer to buy them either but I certainly can’t be giving up the same value we’ll be selling it for. So; at least for players who shop at my store “wanting it” most certainly is not enough; I had about 50 people call for Christmas and I just don’t have the cards to sell them.

    I suppose you can say that *I* wanted it enough however because I never offered to sell the store my playset even though they had customers waiting to pay full value for them.

    Not sure how relevant any of that is, but it’s something I had wanted to mention in the previous post.

  101. Honest, this reads like a TCGplayer article.
    Let me start out by saying I have a full set of Jace, both online and in paper. I play any deck I want regardless of cards.
    Jace is too expensive. We get it, I also get that if I expect to play at the PT level, I need the best. Everyone knows these things, you are not cool, smart, or informative.
    What you are is ignorant. You start off by talking about FNM level play, that isn’t PT level play. That is most peoples first tournaments, you are not going to get a casual college kid to drop 350+ on four cards to be competitive at a FRIDAY NIGHT MAGIC.
    Secondly, I doubt you could afford four Jaces if every single person bought four of them that played at your FNM. If there are 35 people there and you can expect approx 1 Jace per two boxes of WWK, then you need 280 boxes of WWK just for that store. You bought them because their demand was low enough that their price was in your range.
    Thirdly, most pro’s don’t buy their decks. Conley most likely got loaned his cards from CFB to play in that tournament.
    Finally, not everyone is a pro or pro wanna be, plenty of people would just like to play at FNM with a decent shot of winning. Those people buy cards, they buy packs, they spend money on this site. An article like this can ONLY turn them away without. The people that buy and can afford Jaces don’t care to read it. So who exactly was your intended audiance with this article? Maybe you should sell your Jaces and spend some money on a community college writing class?

  102. I don’t own a playset of Jace. If I enjoyed playing control decks and cared a lot about standard then I’d probably buy a set, I wouldn’t be happy about it but I’d probably do it, I think it’s getting to the point where if you play Blue in standard and you aren’t playing Jace you probably aren’t playing the best version of your deck, which to me is kind of ridiculous.

    Earlier this year I bought into Legacy for the first time I traded some of my standard collection for some of the cards but by and large I purchased the vast majority. For, ~$220 (less then a playset of Jtms) I have an enitre legacy deck (Goblins), until survival basically broke legacy it was a pretty competitive deck as well.

    When 4 standard cards cost as much as an entire deck in another format that’s when you need to standard wondering how long magic can continue to be viable. What happens when the next jace gets printed.

  103. Kyle’s so cool because he bought a set of power 9 because he has no girl to spend money on. Why is a tool who hasn’t done anything noteworthy except play jund well once (big accomplishment) contributing to this site? I mean it would be one thing if the quality of his articles spoke for itself but all I see from this guy are tournament reports and crap like this. Also, I’ve never seen so many comments on an article without the author providing any responses. That’s pretty chickenshit, Kyle. Come try to defend your ideas. We’ve been looking forward to it for two days.

  104. @FadingThought i completely agree to what he posted. I don´t see the point of this article… really
    @Shame, so if you have a girl you need to spend your money on her instead of something else you like? that´s sad if you really think that.

  105. Indeed, maybe the other writers of this site (which is, by far, the best that discusses magic at the moment) should give some advices about how to write an informative and interesting article (like lsv’s articles) to Kyle. Very poor article overall, served only to flame its’ author.

  106. I got an idea, its called a job. They are a little hard to come by right now I know but maybe if you try really hard and graduate HS and then get your shit together long enough to get a degree, hell even an AS, you can find one. At this point its all about WANTING IT BAD ENOUGH. Do you want to play MTG at the highest level you can or do you want to ski, hunt, party, watch your 47″ TV?

    Whats that? You cant afford to do any of that stuff already? Well do you live by yourself? Roomate? With your parents?

    Yes I am suggesting you may have to move into your parents basement in order to afford to play magic at the level you desire. Are you willing to do that? I’m not, not for magic.

    You are not entitled to a playset of every card in Standard just because you feel like you are good enough to compete.

  107. -Why does everyone assume i only meant buying cards?? In my article, I clearly mentioned that you can make friends and borrow cards. Maybe the posters that remain nameless are not that good at making friends. I would appreciate it if the flamers would actually post their real names because you are cowards. I put my name next to my opinions which is more than i can say for most of you. I have not spent money on cards in several years beyond investment purposes. I wonder why most of you waste your time on my articles because you clearly do not want to be great at this game. I do also have a girlfriend, she was at GP Nashville and will be at GP Atlanta. If you want to read articles by authors that are afraid to tell it how they think it is, then please do.

  108. Out of all the mature comments on this article, it’s sad that the author himself would not demonstrate any reflection and instead engage in an immature flame war. You already hit the homelessness/”marginal lives”/Facebook trifecta of vitriol in your original article, should you really follow it up with no friends/anonymous cowards/MY GIRLFRIEND?

  109. Luis Scott-Vargas

    @ everyone

    Bear in mind that people have different goals, different motivations, and different budgets. While I have expressed my displeasure about Jace’s price tag many times, I also agree with Kyle’s viewpoint. Like Efro said, if you are putting in the time and effort to play in big tournaments, you shouldn’t cripple your chances by trying to play a Jace substitute.

    Whether the investment is worth it to you is something you have to figure out yourself, but I don’t think Kyle is too far off-base in assuming that anyone who has the time and inclination to play at PTQs seriously could probably swing Jaces, even though it might be tough.

    I think Jace being this expensive IS bad for the game, but we can’t really change that now, and everyone has to deal with it their own way, whether that is by buying them, not buying them, or playing a different deck.

  110. “If you want to play competitively, get Jace.

    If you think that the only thing holding you back from your breakout Pro Tour victory is your lack of playset of Jaces, you don’t have what it takes. If you’re dedicated enough, you would have the cards that you need through whatever means you can manage.

    If you’re a casual FNM player, don’t complain about not having Jace, or whatever expensive card you want. You’re only playing to have fun, and you should be able to do that with your budget homebrew. In my personal opinion, it’s more fun to play and win with a homebrew, than to play and win with a netdeck, anyways. ”

    I believe that this is what Kyle is trying to say, and I agree.

  111. @GQ: Problem is: In the past, budget casual decks could win FNM. If you didn’t have the most expensive cards (by and large lands) you could make do. Play more basics instead of Shocklands. Play Atog instead of Arcbound Ravager. Things like that. Unfortunately you can’t do this with Jace (or any expensive Mythics). They’re the core of whatever deck they’re in, there is no substitute, and taking them out drastically decreases the power level of the deck, much more than dual lands and so on.

    These days, budget casual decks don’t win FNM unless everyone is playing a budget casual deck, and while it would be nice if people boxed those Jaces and Primevals away until a PTQ rolled around, where someone actually cared about the prize, that’s not the way the world works. People who want to win will play to win, and that includes playing Jace. I know that I personally will continue to play my Jaces, because I know that if I don’t, I’m just going to get smashed by the people who do, and I know that those people won’t put away their Jaces.

    That said, if I’m playing in a metagame where I know I’m the only one with Jaces, I’m more than willing (and, to be honest, happy) to put my Jaces away and play something less powerful. However, that’s not the way it works in general.

    @LSV: That’s not what Kyle said. Kyle said nothing about being competitive at a PTQ level. He simply said “if you want to be competitive”, and that includes FNMs and other smaller tournaments. The simple fact of the matter is that some people want to be competitive at FNM, and will play cards that other players might simply not have access to due to other concerns, and it’s unfair that a particular group gets an advantage over another group due to something aside from in-game factors.

  112. @Lyle

    I don’t think you understand my point.

    If your entire metagame is serious PTQ grinders with all the top tier decks, with you being the only one with a casual budget deck, I think you’re better off finding another shop to play at. My point was that if you want to be casual and budget, you should just find fun in playing the game, and winning a match here and there. There’s no point in going into a tournament, or FNM handicapped and expecting to win. You’ll only be disappointed.

    I don’t even play Standard, I just draft, so I don’t know if I’m right, but from what it seems, at each average sized store, there’s probably only a couple of people who actually have the playset of Jace, Titan, etc. There’s a lot more budget, casual players than there are ones with tournament winning decks.

    My (kyle’s) point still stands. If you want to win, buy the expensive cards needed. Don’t handicap yourself, then complain when you lose.

    If you’re fine with just enjoying the game, you can do whatever, play GB Infect, play Esper Aggro, whatever your budget can afford.

  113. Is this for real?

    I shop from this site and spend my time with advertisements in front of my face for constructive articles.

    If I want to get lectured by someone who thinks everyone needs to hobby as seriously as they do, I can hit up any of 10 Forums. The Jace argument does not warrant an article.

    God help me if I complain about a game that was casually inexpensive for 15 years and suddenly took an upswing. Get a job, Kyle, because this whole article writing thing is not going to last very long, and you need to pour money into your game.

  114. @ the people posting all the negative comments here:

    When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away my White Weenie deck.

    Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

  115. This is a business, Channelfireball.com.

    At least the 2nd and 3rd articles on “U/W Control, the best deck in Standard” were passable as strategy, inspiration, guidance, and conversation. This is an ego-trip.

    Every time I read this article, I’m sick to my stomach. 98% of the people who play this game do other things. You can’t tell a 12 year old to put everything he has into buying $400 in Jace’s because..

    And this is a real quote:

    “We only have one life and there is only so much time to make your mark. This is your moment to shine.”

    You cannot have 10 million Pro Tour players. Get off your pedestal and take a look at the world you write for. Some of us spend money on the game, most of us use articles to improve our casual decks. I don’t own Jace’s, but I do own Venser’s and Baneslayers and I make it work. This article is completely useless.

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that LSV is on board. I can understand completely with the opinion that you need to go big to see results, and the price and economics of the game are facts of life that reward the dedicated. That doesn’t make this article, or any of your broken opinions, even remotely more viable.

    Not to mention, your writing prose still leaves a lot to be desired. I can’t find anything to like. At least keep the opinions to a minimum and take the path of advice giver.

    Like every other writer on the site. Be a professional.

  116. I feel it’s pertinent to add that there’s a massive difference between teachers, doctors, chemists, musicians, and police officers and Pro Tour Winners. I think it’s correct to assume you can make a fulfilling living off the game, but I think it’s completely backwards to think that the game equates to the promise of:

    A. A ticket to a better life.
    B. A fulfillment of a sense of Destiny.
    C. Being a better human being.

    At least my Computer helps me study for writing and science majors. Jace only helps me study my top 3 cards.

    Man, Kyle, you have got me heated this time.

  117. so? what is the point of this article? if you want to win games buy the expensive cards, build a expensive deck and you shall be victorious……….. *roll eyes*
    even a 4th grader know that, or maybe you have the intelligence of a 4th grader?
    a 13 year old could win a tournament if their parents are willing to bitch slap a couple thousand of dollars to build a deck.

    well i dont like planeswalker. currently there is no card that can effectively kill a planeswalker, its sucks. and because their mythic rare status (why the hell should wizard add additional rarities in the first place) the price is high and only a handful of people can buy them. well jace in particular are a card that shouldn’t been print on the first place. ridiculous card advantage make the hood like a eyesore that littering every top 8 decklist. and as i mention above, there is no effective way to kill a planeswalker (at least you can doomblade a tarmogoyf. or naturalize a bitterblossom).

    this article suggest that if you cant buy tier one card, give up on competitive magic which is silly –a remember the great blue green madness? that deck almost have no rares and still it beat the crap out of any gauntlet deck and cement its position as one of the best deck ever made.affinity? well the ravager is a monster and quite expensive but the rest of the deck? commons and uncommons that you can salvage out of draft game that days.
    that was old time magic where you dont have to swing your parents credit card balance to be competitive and one of the barrier that prevent magic communities in my region from growing.

    (even if i had the money i wouldn’t buy a playset of jace, i would rather buy a couple of tundra or something. because jace is worth next to shit after extended.)

  118. @Max

    You don’t get it bro. That’s exactly what this article is saying. If you’re not willing to shell out money for the best cards, don’t complain that you AREN’T a Pro Tour player.

    If you’re fine being casual and having fun, that’s great. This article isn’t for you. It’s for the people who THINK they have what it takes to win Pro Tours, “if only Jace wasn’t 100 bucks a pop”, “if only Baneslayer Angel wasn’t 50 bucks a pop last season”, etc etc. It’s for the people who think that, and use that as their excuse for not being out there competing.

    I didn’t follow competitive magic costs back in UG Madness and RAffinity times, so I wouldn’t know about prices of those specific decks. But I do know competitive magic has always cost big bucks. Back then, Ravnica duals were 20 bucks a pop, or so I heard. Ravager could be compared to Jace, etc.

    Your entire post is so ridiculous I don’t exactly know how to respond.. Just bathe in your own self-righteousness, I guess.

  119. but i looked on ebay and theres not enough jaces for my deck
    i need 60 jace and 4 island for my deck
    so i cant build my game winning deck because theres not enough supply and too much demand so ill never be able to win even though i have money to buy them

  120. A lot of people are missing the point on what’s wrong with this article. Putting aside what people have said the price of Magic has done to their local FNM, which is ridiculously bad for the game by the way, it’s not that we don’t know Jace 2.0 is expensive, or that to be competitive you need to have them, its the way the author says it. Read the article again and tell me he doesn’t offend 94.2% of the Magic community.

    Heck, even his response in the comments confirms his arse-in-nine-ness.

    “I chose to put myself out there and look like a jerk…” Congratulations, Sir, you’re successful.

  121. I mean, people are acting as if WotC don’t know what they’re doing.
    It costs them EXACTLY the same amount to print a Jace or any common.

    They COULD make overpowered mythic rares available to everyone.They just want people to believe that the current situation when a single card is worth 20 times the amount of a PACK with FIFTEEN cards in it, is okay.
    And a lot of people believe it.So I don’t know

  122. That’s a seductive article, Mr. Boggs!

    You gotta be a trickster and find an easy-breezy way to win. When i epically play a game of Magic ( be it FNM or Worlds) I like to win. Because winning is like cumming. It feels good. And though it takes time and money and stuff you wil do it to get the tickly feeling in the end. Cum=win=invest.

  123. There, I’m putting my name up.
    @LSV, what are you doing in here. Keep your head above this muck. While I respect your desire to defend a fellow site-author, to be honest you’d earn a lot more respect by calling this article out for what it is. I find it hard to believe that you sincerely read the whole article and found what was written to truly resonate with you, or felt that it was an inspired piece of writing. It’s arrogant, ignorant, elitist,foolish, and an excellent example of what’s wrong with this game.

    @Kyle What made you think that this was a good article? I’m truly curious how you managed to write and proofread this article without realizing that you had a firebomb of ignorance on your hands here. You’re basically condoning the current secondary market of cards costing 300+$ for a playset, claiming that if one truly wants it they’ll make the necessary sacrifices. While this is true, what about that makes it OK? What about MTG necessitates the existence of a single, nearly format defining card to cost so much? Do you not find anything at all wrong with it?

    Anyway, this article kinda peeved me off to be honest, which I suppose is obvious. It certainly makes it seem as if the author was born with a silver spoon, and the most difficult choices he’s been faced with is “gee new iphone, new 42′ plasma tv, or playset of Jace… Curse these sacrifices that I must make, why must my parents put me on an allowance!?”

    One of the most talented players I know isn’t financially well off. He’s spent the last 2 years caring for his ill sister, who is dying of cancer. He had to sell his P9 plus god knows what else . May you be spared choices like that, Kyle.

  124. I find myself in the weird position of wanting to defend the argument, if not the way it was phrased. I agree with the core sentiment that your collection is not what’s in your binder, it’s what’s shared among your playgroup. My cryptics and reflecting pools helped take someone to a top 8 slot last week and I’m happy to have contributed in that.

    I guess I can contribute one thing that never really gets brought up here – There’s a lot to be said for playing with proxies before you actually buy them, thus gaining proficiency in the card and seeing if it’s truly the card for you. Walk around Superstars, look over the pros shoulders, and you’ll see fists full of them.

    Learn the deck first before you complain about how much it costs. You’ll know if it’s worth it before you buy.

  125. @ gq or whatever your name is, i dont care
    ravager compared to jace? you must be kidding me. as expensive as it were ravager is max out at $15 and even if you are some financial column dude its net present value is less than $30 which i can understand (since you only pay for ravager for a deck and got everything else for almost free).and ravager is a creature not some cheesy supertype that turn magic into a joke.
    well as for ravnican dual land, it is always understandable why a dual land is expensive and let me tell you something, in ravnica you dont need dual lands to win a tournament. at least it is a mana source and doesn’t give a tremendous card advantage (umezawa’s jitte is one example of extreme card advantage, but still you can afford one in a precon deck and it’s power level didn’t give inevitability like jace does).
    i am just a old days magic player that enjoy playing magic. and you are right on something…….. i am right

    real example: why didn’t conley play jace or cryptic command in his ooze deck?. cryptic command is the best card in extended (and you can get one for free if you participate in wizards reward program) yet conley didn’t play it. i bet his car didn’t break down when he created the ooze deck. this deck is a modest deck that pack tremendous punch to the stomach (and fairly inexpensive compared to standard decks). this proves that you didn’t need the best card to build a great deck. jace existence in standard stick out like a sore thumb (and he didn’t prove to be strong enough in extended).

    you should read this boggemes. having a playset of jace doesn’t justifies you to say people who cant buy it shouldn’t be competitive. and for the part wanting it, i want to be a better magic player and i want to make friends with others who share the same hobby. most magic player are not “competitive” as you describe it (even as it is now magic community in my town didn’t grow, tournament is scarce. as competitive as you can, you mostly compete in national. why the hell should i bother spending $400 dollars just to be competitive?
    after all a lot of people would lend me their deck for national, off course a deck without jace or titan , and i am still thinking how to build a sub par deck that can win the disgusting “jace vs titan” war)

  126. he’s not saying you have to buy jaces to be competitive… he’s saying if you wanna play jace and you don’t you’re not competitive, and it’s true

  127. @LSV
    I highly doubt you will see too many people at a PTQ that are missing powerful cards in their deck. Everyone that is trying to play this game competitivly knows that they must have a competitive deck to have a chance to win.
    This article isn’t telling those people anything.
    For the people that play at FNMs, like Kyle started his article talking about, where you don’t need a set of Jaces to win. Those people that may not be able to swing a set of Jaces, but can spend some money on this game. Those people may want Jace, but they have a family and obligations, all Kyle is doing is making them mad.

    This site provides free content, which is designed to get people to visit here, so when they buy cards they come here. It works, because of your articles I shop here. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    When you sit down to write an article, you have to think of who you are writing the article to. Is it for the PTQ grinders? The drafters? The FNMers? Kyle wrote an article stating an obvious fact to everyone at the PTQ or higher level. To those that are not, all he accomplished was making them mad.
    So your writer infuriated half the readers while not informing the other half. How is that good for business?

  128. When I made this article, i made the assumption that if you read online articles about Magic, you want to step up your game. I’m aware that not everyone has the drive to be good, but i guess i underestimated the amount of my readers that had no intention of playing at the professional level. rest assured next article will be about something different.

  129. @ Kyle Boggemes (assuming this is the actual article author)

    You sound a little, ah, condescending, although I have to say after about a hundred and thirty comments of flame war I can’t blame anyone for being put out. Bear in mind, though, that it’s partly that quality that ticked people off in the first place.

    Okay. Number One, Even though I try to respect other people’s opinion, I have to say I can’t imagine what you were thinking defending JTMS’ price point.

    Moving on, and still in response to your original article: What you are basically saying is that if you want it bad enough, you’ll get the playset, no matter the cost. Regardless of the fact that the card itself is now more expensive than full playsets of blocks once were. If you take your mindset to its ultimate and absurd conclusion, then we’d have to say someone who really wanted it would get the cards even if each one cost as much as a Toyota Corolla. It is this price jump that bothers people; you saying “Yeah it’s a lot but if you REALLY WANT IT you’ll get it” is something that people find not only unhelpful but somewhat insulting. Of course, this has probably been made clear to you after three days of reading the comments on your article.

    Last, and in response to your comment just posted: I can’t speak for anyone else, but, I visit these sites regularly and have no hope of playing at a professional level myself. I understand that I may be in the minority here, but I enjoy the articles on their own, and also look to them for interesting ideas and discussion. I WOULD like to improve my game, yes, but I have no professional aspirations. I suspect a lot of CF readers are the same. The reason there is so much discussion on JTMS being too expensive is that we casual players won’t spend the money on it — not THAT much money. I am always looking for other alternatives to The Money Cards. I spend what I can but I can’t spend that.

    I don’t think this means that I have no drive to be good. Please, recognize that that is the kind of tone that helped people pile on the flame comments for your original article.

  130. @ Kyle Boggemes

    i’ve been observing this article for the last 3 days in a row, and i must say that Mr Kyle, the brickbats far outweigh the bouquets. and when the majority of the public thinks you’re wrong, you gotta listen. i’m sure LSV, TSG and certain members already had a word or two with you on this matter – your style of writing.

    first up, i don’t think that many of us would have problems have elites around; they’re the source of inspiration and motivation. when people like PV and LSV speaks, many would care to listen because they hold weight, but also because they resonate with the audience’s feelings.

    if you’ve taken statistics you should know that no matter where you go, no matter the topic, the population would almost everytime break into a bell curve. to say that you underestimated your amount of readers not wanting to play professionally is a case of bad framing. the ratio of pros to the rest of magic players could be anywhere 1 : 500 or even a 1000. that said, it is obvious that YOU, as a writer, should be writing for the general public in mind. your comments can’t be elitist, they can’t even sound or look elitist.

    last but not least: firing back at your readers show a complete lack of responsibility and level-headedness. sometimes it’s better not to respond. calling some of your readers cowards, and underestimating will not make the situation better.

    like one of the readers mentioned, proofread your article. (The public is watching you)

  131. Damn kyle, you sure have stirred up some interesting responses! Didnt you win a 5k with rdw? Anyway, jace is pretty hard to get, i dunno how some ppl are trading for them at this point? I dont think jtms will be seen in m11 cuz wotc wants him gone, but the duel deck is srill a possibility, i think he fought chandra on zendikar, jace vs chandra 2.0 would be nice.

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  133. I thoroughly enjoyed this article, and I was pleasantly surprised with the balls-y tone. I’m normally not one to post replies, because I read tons of Magic articles every day and don’t reply to those, but I felt the need to take your side here.

    The Jace price and money issues have already been discussed here to the point of a flame war, so I’m not worried about that.

    I want to respond to your points about living a marginal life, random parties, etc.
    I know exactly what you’re saying, and I completely agree. This feels like a very Randian topic, and from prior experience with topics like this, I wouldn’t expect those people who are on the other side of the perspective to have any idea of what’s going on. You could philosophically analyze why those people eschew something like M:tG, a highly-competitive intellectual sport, for things like parties, getting wasted, and zombie-ing through their marginal lifestyle. The mind would be involved with this analyzation. But this is not the time to go into something like that.
    I want to say that I completely follow your underlying point, about life and marginality, and I want to thank you for discussing it and bringing it to my attention, especially in regards to Magic. It’s something to think about.
    I do, however, want to warn you about trying to discuss this particular topic with the masses. It’s generally pretty futile. But if you got Patrick Chapin over here to back you up, that couldn’t hurt, lol. This topic seems right up his alley.

  134. I would also like to add to the discussion on Magic and finances.

    I attend Hendrix College in Arkansas, where the tuition is about 38,000$ per year. My family is not wealthy, and I pay for my schooling through scholarships and student loans. I am a Junior in college, and I haven’t been able to find even a McDonald’s-level job since starting college (the economy is really trashed in Arkansas), and I’ve had barely more than 0$ for spending money since 2007, when I got into Magic.
    When I got into Magic, I bought 2 Cryptic Commands with cash, and traded my old Yugioh cards for two more. I opened a Tarmogoyf and a Mutavault in the packs that I bought when I started playing. Since buying some packs and a couple of Cryptic Commands, I have spent very very little on Magic, mostly just tournament entry fees, since 2007.
    I currently own 4x Jace the Mind Sculptor, 8x Cryptic Command, 4x Koth of the Hammer, 4x Bitterblossom and 4x Mutavault, playset of all fetchlands and dual lands, etc. This happened through smart trading, winning a lot of store credit from FNMs, and a little luck.
    Because of my collection at the moment, it’s hard to argue with Kyle’s points about “wanting it.” I really really like playing Magic, I enjoy finding the right plays/deck, and I love playing with blue cards (it’s a financial curse).

    It annoys me that Kyle is getting so much unreasonable hate for his points in this article, so hopefully I can be a testament of a little bit of validity.

  135. This is such a great article. love the part about borrowing cards. ill try to make friends who have 2 sets of jaces so i could borrow a set for fnms. also the trading angle worked out well. traded for a set of jaces the other day. was real easy too since everyone has jaces to trade and was willing too. one guy even gave me a jace because i said i wanted it. wanting it is what this is about right. and the trades werent even good cards like i traded a pallid mycoderm for one,. i think i got ripped off though now my thallid deck is lacking

  136. Took me a while, but thanks to everyone as this was one of the most entertaining and interesting article threads I have read in a while.

  137. It’s not that I’m defending the price of Jace, it is what it is. There are a smaller amount of them in print and its the hottest card. It will naturally be at a high price and the only way to stop that is to ban it in a format or print more of them. Wizards does care about the secondary market because I’m sure they sell more than average amounts of worldwake packs due to his rarity and value. I.m sorry if i sounded condescending in my article, but its just how i feel about the subject. The only people i was calling out were the ones who put a fake name and call me an idiot. I was aware this article would get a lot of hate because not everyone thinks the way i do due to being in different financial situations and different levels of dedication to the game. it’s easy for me to say that you should have the best deck and be pro because i went through the ranks to get to this position. What I am saying is that everyone out there who plays has the same chance as I did. I did make a point about trading and borrowing because it’s very important. A majority of my cards came from trading and absorbing collections from my friends. No matter how much money you have, all it takes is being a savvy trader and things will fall into your lap.

  138. The price of Jace was also not what I was defending. I wanted to point out that Magic has been doing great in the past few years since the printing of mythic rares that exceed the values we are used to. These two things probably have nothing to do with eachother, but it is not dragging down the game either.

  139. Part of not spending the money on Jaces is that it is a lot of money. But also, who wants to be a chump? The only reason they cost so much is the artificially created rarity. It is not like they are carved out of ivory and hand-painted, it is just as easy to print a lot as a few. What is that for? Apparently to maximize the amount of money that can be wrested from magic players. Wizards of the coast has created a system that benefits them. And if a bunch of us, “stepped-up to the plate and found a way to buy them”, which I could do, they would then cost more because of the increased demand.

    Why do we put up with mythic rares?

  140. @Jessica:

    You’ve crystallized the opinions of a lot of players who feel that not only is Jace too expensive, but it’s a deliberate choice on the part of Wizards/Hasbro, and that it’s wrecking the game. a lot– a LOT — of people argue that mythics and Jace in particular are something we shouldn’t put up with.

    Much as I am also in agreement, I have to say the answer is this: we put up with it because it’s not up to us to change it. It’s the decision of the company that makes the cards. The mythic strategy is obviously making the company a lot of money. Yes, they make no money on singles, but people will go through a lot more boxes to get those singles, so money is being made, obviously.

    We can clamor, we can voice our thoughts, but ultimately once we have made our group opinion known (and I’m sure, by now, that WOTC has heard us) then the only thing to do is vote with our wallets. Either stop playing… or keep playing.

    I keep playing, but I am forced, whether by principle or by personal economics, to play on the cheaper side of the game. I mean, that in itself is a ridiculous statement, that me buying a set of Grave Titans at $ 20 per is the cheaper side of the game. But there you are. I can go so far, but no farther.

    If you figure out a way otherwise, believe me, the world will beat a path to your doorstep.

  141. As a player with a relatively low dispensable income, I don’t know or really care whether $100 Jaces are “good for the game,” but I know they likely hurt the level of competition at the PTQ level. Some players will try inferior alternatives (those losers!) and some people will stay home, and that sucks. Why shit on those people, who likely make up a significant portion of the audience that reads strategy articles? Those people certainly want to play and compete, and they probably have done so for years, but wanting Jace badly enough doesn’t make the card any cheaper to buy.

    Of course, some people care more about Magic than others do. Serious players will call every spell-slinger they know who might lend them one, or they’ll drop the dough if they’ve got it. They would have done this whether or not Boggemes told them to, and I doubt anyone is inspired by condescending talk from a pro who now likely has a relatively easy time getting cards.

    Players such as myself with shakier financial situations might sit this one out instead, and that’s OK. Nowhere is it written that Standard must be affordable to all; this game owes me nothing. Simply spare me your rant on how I must not want to win badly enough. Please don’t disrespect players with bogus arguments such as “if sponsored professional players can put decks together, why can’t you?” or “Magic cards are an investment in your future.”

    Thank you.

  142. there are a whole lot of people commenting here whose reading and logic skills are seriously subpar.

    Kyle did not say you have to buy anything. He did say if you think you are a pro you must want it bad enough to get the cards you need to compete as a pro. Big difference between that and saying you have to buy X.

    As for logic, I’ve seen comments that say WOTC profits from Jace sales because of the laws of supply and demand. Well no they don’t – they may set the supply available with their print choices but the price is set by the people who want the cards and how much they are willing to pay. Other mythics have a wide range of value.

    Now WoTC can be said to profit if it can be shown that mythics generate more pack sales but I haven’t seen any evidence that such is the case.

    Most times blunt honesty like Kyle displayed in this article will offend people but at least have the decency to understand his point before exploding in offense as so many have done commenting here.

    As for comparing friends who have to choose to spend their time and dollars on a dying relative, I must admit I suspect you are making that up. But even if you are not, NO ONE should have to face things like that and such a life and death comparison has no real place on a magical cards site.


  143. @mikkyld

    The price is set by the POWER LEVEL of the card and the RARITY.Both of these are directly controled by Wizards.
    Power level is observed by players, which then set the price depending on how rare the card is (if Jace was a common, eg., it would cost less)
    Sure, sometimes the price changes because a card previously thought unplayable, finds a home (frost titan).
    It’s mostly power level which sets the demand.

    We don’t see novablast wurm costing 80 bucks, even though it’s just as rare as jace, because novablast wurm’s power level is really really low for constructed.
    Jace is ridiculously imbalanced for what it does as card which costs just 2UU.Anyone who understands balance will admit that.This is the inherent flaw of TCGs, but that’s another topic altogether.

    Mythic rares are more interesting than lower rarity cards, but they are also intentionally made more powerful by wizards.
    Compare Yavimaya Wurm to Primeval Titan, for example.
    As long as power level is not ridiculously over the top, mythic rares are ok, but when cards like Jace or Primeval Titan are printed, it all gets fucked up.

    It’s not like wizard’s R&D department doesn’t understand how powerful mythic rare is when they design it.I think it’s partially an honest mistake, partially a bussiness plan to make sure someone HAS to buyy a bunch of packs to open Jace/Primeval titan for the constructed competitive scene.

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