Rishadan Pawnshop #35 – Recovery: Moving On From the Aftermath


Wizards sent me a message on Thursday night.

“Dear Jeremy Fuentes,

We’ve decided to take your thousands of dollars in cardboard investments and chuck them out the window. The rest will be thrown out by the end of summer.

Subsequently, we’ve also chosen to throw your credibility out the window as well. Good job telling everyone to invest in Ravnica Duals since ‘they’ll be good for Extended.’

Thank you for playing Magic. We appreciate your continued support.


WoTC and the DCI”

Really? No, not really. But that’s exactly the message I got when I read the new banned/restricted announcement. I’m sure by now you’ve read Luis’s and Zaiem’s articles regarding the subject. LSV’s provides a one-step forward look into the new Extended and Zaiem’s gives a pretty thorough breakdown of what Extended will be losing. If you haven’t already, I definitely suggest you give those a read.

The Announcement

My reaction to the announcement was probably the same as many others. Why? Why did they do it and why did they do it like this? There must have been a better way. In my opinion, they could have done it a better way. Mirrodin was set to rotate out anyway. According to the guidelines they set beforehand, this was given information. What they should have done was announce, in advance, that starting next year they would be changing the Extended rotation and along with Champions block (which would be due to rotate next year), the following other blocks would rotate out as well, x y and z, etc. This way, they give the dealers, the consumers and everyone in between a heads up. Instead, by dropping this bomb that immediately Ninth Edition, Champions and Ravnica would be rotating out and then Tenth Edition and Time Spiral by the end of summer, Wizards is effectively throwing the market into complete chaos.

I mention terms like investments and markets a lot. I can’t help but make correlations to financial markets. I’ve been putting a decent amount of money into Magic as opposed to stocks over the years for several reasons. First of all, I play Magic; you can’t “play” with stocks. They are investments that can actually appreciate while you are getting practical use from them. Secondly, Magic investments work on a system of rules. Certain cards would be legal for certain amounts of time, all of which are predictable based on the rules. This means that your investments are less vulnerable than stocks. You don’t have to worry as much about things you can’t predict. If you follow the tournament scene and keep up to date with articles, you’ll generally be in good shape. I guess not? It turns out that Magic investments are closer in risk to stocks than I thought.

It doesn’t make them bad choices, it just means you need to approach them much differently if you are going to treat them as investments. There are actions I could have taken to prevent such an announcement from affecting my portfolio (or collection) the way it did. The main thing you need to do with any portfolio is diversify. It takes a lot of work, but if you want to protect your investment and see it grow, it is absolutely necessary. What does this mean? In Magic, investing in something like Extended is more of a mid-long term investment. It has long, slow but predictable life cycle. Vintage is more of a long-term investment. Things like Moxes and Power appreciate extremely slowly over time, but they are also very safe. Standard is a short-term investment. It takes a lot of time to keep up with Standard investments, but can be very rewarding if you are diligent. You can protect your portfolio from the DCI hammer if you spread your eggs out between multiple baskets.


Standard is very volatile, but also presents a rapid, short term growth element to the portfolio. Just say for example you invested in two Tarmogoyfs last fall. They are still the same price now, so your investment is definitely safe. However, if you instead decided on one Tarmogoyf and two Jace, the Mind Sculptors, your investment would have grown significantly, largely due to the fact you diversified your portfolio into a format that has potential for rapid growth. Conversely, if you went in on one Tarmogoyf and a bunch of Ravnica dual lands, you’d be kinda screwed. I know it is a pretty narrow example, but the more places you hide your money, the less chance a single burglar has of stealing it all. I realize that managing a portfolio with Eternal, Extended and Standard portions is almost like managing three separate collections. In finance, many people just hire professionals to manage their portfolios, whether it be because they’re lazy or just don’t feel confident enough in themselves. We don’t have those kinds of people in the Magic world so if you want to do it, you’ll have to put in the work. It won’t be easy, but if you care about your money, it will be necessary.

My advice to “diversify yo bonds” isn’t meant to be a woulda, coulda, shoulda, but rather a lesson you can take from my personal mistakes. What else does this announcement mean for us moving forward? Well you obviously have two courses of action: keep your cards or sell your cards. Let’s explore the second option first.

If you choose to sell, it means that you feel that your cards won’t reach the same or higher value within a reasonable amount of time (enough time that would warrant you holding on to them). This is perfectly reasonable if you can get anything close to normal value for them. The problem is that announcements like this tend to induce firesales of the banned or restricted subjects (see: the Arcbound Ravager banning). When the market is flooded, prices drop. I’ve seen some auctions ending recently at reasonable prices, but some also at prices lower than what I would consider good. So there’s a risk if you just decide to throw your cards on eBay. Plus by now, it might be a little too late. The later you are, the more people have heard about it and the less you’ll get. You might be able to find a local store owner or even an online shop without an updated buylist, but again, the longer you wait the less luck you’ll have. Still, if you can salvage anything close to what the cards were worth, I would probably advise you to do that. A dollar in the pocket is worth more than $1.05 two years from now, and it’s not even certain you’ll be able to get that $1.05.

If you decide to keep your cards, I can only think of two reasons why it would be logical. One, you couldn’t sell them for high enough. They say you only lose money if you sell. This is true, but if there is no possible way you will ever recoup any value, you might as well sell right? Well, there is a possibility you might in this case. That brings us to the second reason. Many have speculated that this announcement sets up the new Super Extended format perfectly. Though this is true, several things would also have to happen for the newly rotated cards to return to glory. First of all, the format would need to become a PTQ format or gain some other form of consistent, high level tournament play (e.g., The Legacy $5k series). There needs to be demand for these cards again. The problem is that there are only so many Pro Tours with only so many PTQ seasons. They already bumped off Block PTQ season to make room for the Standard PTQs. Between Standard, Extended and Limited, what else is left? Adding another Pro Tour could solve that problem, but that is already two steps ahead of where we are now. That’s where we’re going anyway though, isn’t it? I would 100% agree except for one problem. Why didn’t they announce the new format at the same time they announced the effective end of the old one? Even if they are going to bring this new format into the fold, I have a huge problem with the timing of it all.

They will probably announce Over-extended soon, but they didn’t yet. By not doing so, they’re leaving everyone in a state of limbo. On the night of the announcement I spoke with several friends about what they thought and what they would be doing in response. My friend Andy said it was ironic that they announced they would preserve the reserve list, but then just turn around and announce this. “The whole thing about the reserve list was that they wanted to protect collectors and dealers by letting them know that when Wizards makes a promise, they keep it. So it’s funny to just drop an announcement that will cost (dealers) a whole ton of money.”

It’s true that there are also many cards that will be leaving the format that are viable in Legacy and Vintage. But will those formats be enough to help those cards maintain their value? It’s really hard to say. And if this new Overextended format comes, what cards will be banned or restricted? Will it take over the current Legacy scene and leave those old decks in the dust? So many unanswered questions that remain unanswerable until we hear more.

Any sort of belief I had that Wizards takes care of its customers is in the same trash where they threw my collection. But I don’t want to use this article to rant or gripe. I want to help the you not make the same mistakes in the future and also help advise you on what to do going forward. If you continue to invest in MTG, be sure that you diversify and keep up with the market. Next thing you know they’ll be reprinting power. They say one thing, but you know how that goes. If you sell or are planning on selling, I don’t doubt that you’ll be able to re-buy your cards once the new format is announced for the same if not better price. If you choose to hold, I wish you good luck and hope that it ends up paying off in the end. If you have any other questions regarding this subject, I’ll happily field them in the comment section.

Thank me for playing Magic? You appreciate my continued support? We’ll see about that.



113 thoughts on “Rishadan Pawnshop #35 – Recovery: Moving On From the Aftermath”

  1. What singles do you think are a good investment more specifically, then? Faeries? Reveillark? Living end?

  2. ted, Planeswalker

    stop FUCKING promoting that cards keep going up in price. This is exactly what everyone who was senseless enough to spend hundreds of dollars on cardboard deserves. No card should EVER be over $20. Magic is NOT about investing; it’s a game.
    This shit happens when people see cards like Jace and go “oh man, i bet that’s gonna be like $60” instead of feeling outrage at the possibility of a $60 card. WoTC is NOT responsible for this. The customers are. WoTC’d be happy to see how far you’ll let them stick their hands in your pocket, and rightfully so since we live in a capitalist society.
    The reserve list can suck on these balls.

  3. For real? It is a game first. I know that people and merchants got burned on some (a lot) of their cards, but I bet you won’t go crying about the resurgence in prices that some of your Lorwyn block cards will get. Overall I think most people will take a hit on their cards in between Legacy and (new) Extended but it does seem to leave a lot of space for a new format, maybe it won’t be this year or next, but hopefully with Magic’s growth in popularity a new Pro Tour can come through. It would be cool to have 4 Magic seasons: Limited, Standard, Extended, and ????. To be honest I wish they would not have a Sealed PTQ season.

    Anyway, cards are not so much as an investment as they are pieces to a great game.

  4. "The whole thing about the reserve list was that they wanted to protect collectors and dealers by letting them know that when Wizards makes a promise, they keep it. So it's funny to just drop an announcement that will cost (dealers) a whole ton of money."

    My sentiment exactly.

  5. @ted, Planeswalker

    To live in ignorance is one’s choice. Maybe it’s a fool’s choice, but it yours to make nonetheless. The game is based on collectible cards. If something is a collectible it has value to a group of people, which creates a market based on supply and demand. In some ways it is Wizards fault. They decided to put tourney cards in the mythic rarity slot. This means high prices. Cards such as Jace, Vengevine, and Gideon are the equivalent of the googles and microsofts in the world, So, don’t fight it. Just man up and try to make good trades and you can end up ahead.

  6. Really? An investment? I’d consider Magic a hobby, but it’d be pretty optimistic of me to expect the money I spend on it to actually appreciate over time.
    Deciding to “invest” in MTG when that investment would otherwise be put towards things that matter (kids’ college funds, retirement, etc) seems like a risky proposition at best.

  7. You know that a lot of the expensive cards will become more affordable now, right? Believe it or not there are formats outside of Standard, Extended, Legacy, and Vintage. EDH players and players building Cubes will now be able to acquire Ravnica duals and many other staples from those sets at a reduced cost. A lot of their prices were inflated just because they were played in this one format, which was only played 3-4 months out of the year.

    Why does everyone think we need Overextended? What’s so bad about having just Vintage, Legacy, Extended, Standard, EDH, and Cube?

  8. ted, Planeswalker

    It’s not that everybody thinks we need Over Extended. It’s that everybody knows Wizards is not going to let Rav duals and Jitte just sit around in people’s cubes selling at <$10.

    Shane, it’s not about what is, but what should be. Wizards can come up with Mythics and as many schemes ad they’d like, but little Shanes paying an extra $20 because of rarirty are what makes high prices. If people don’t ever buy $50 cards, then no card will be $50. All right? Cards are a not a necessity, they are a commodity, so the second the consumers think prices have gone to high, they should simply stop buying and prices will go down. THAT is how shit works. You should be able to figure these things out on your own Shane. How do you expect to fulfill yourself and go 3-0 at your local FNM if you don’t get the basics of Supply & Demand.

  9. The only cards that seem to hold their value are legacy staples. Dual lands, FoWs, Wastelands, and Tarmogoyfs will always see play and will never go down in value (excluding pandemics and nuclear fallout.) For me “investing” in standard is buying a box and hoping to pull a Jace. I can’t say that I like that Wizards pulled this on us so suddenly but I can say I like this new format.

    @ted, planeswalker

    Magic cards seem to hold their value better than the dollar, anyway.

  10. @ted, planeswalker

    Oh, and your cursing isn’t helping your argument at all; we CAN be civilized about this.

  11. This Article put any interest of reading another article by you in the trash…

    This is childish bickering at it’s finest. While you complain over a few hundred bucks, hundreds of people can now actually afford more than one format in magic.

    Now standard is no longer a format filled with worthless cards upon rotation. Instead people will be able to enjoy continued use out of their initial investments into standard.

    It is the correct move and I back WotC in this decision 100%. It’s the best thing to happen to Magic in years.

  12. So Many Haters on the comments section

    Magic is a hobby but I like for my hobbies to pay for themselves that’s why I read the financial articles and keep up with card prices. I mean if you are reading what decks are winning than you are already being told what cards to buy/trade for. why not invest in them.
    And by invest I don’t mean plan on making a living off of it but try to plan ahead and get the cards that will appreciate over time.

    I never spend more than 20 a month on magic (unless there is a specialty item like from the vaults or a prerelease) and my collection is always growing and growing cause I love to trade almost more than playing the game.

    Anyways, wizards is messing up with all the announcements but I think that they did it so that way people could prepare for the new extended before the season came. They obviously weren’t really sure if they were going to do this till now.

    Still I love how the rumors of overextended were everywhere but there was no hints dropped at all about this “double standard” or “new extended”

    And my guess as to why they have not released any info on overextended is cause they are not done testing it. I mean that is a lot of work to fully test a whole new format, a lot of card banning and restricting to do. I am sure it is coming thou. But that is no excuse to mess up the secondary market the way they did.

  13. @God: Jeremy never said this was the wrong decision, he said it was executed in the wrong way. Address what he’s actually saying please, rather than simply belittling those of us who question a decision by WotC. Losing money is frustrating. For some of us, it limits our ability to continue playing the game. Challenging the impact of WotC’s decision and its magnitude is not childish, it’s discussion.

  14. The new Extended sounds awful; I have not been a fan of standard over the past year, so 2-3 more years of a Jace/BBE-defined format does not sound appealing. Thankfully, I just traded away all of my Rav duals for some Legacy staples, but it sucks for the people that just bought cards in the Extended “offseason”. If Overextended is announced, and WOTC decides to discontinue Eternal formats and put OE in its place, I will quit Magic. I’m tired of proactive card design, mythic rarity, and planeswalkers. Reprint Rav and Kami blocks, sets with solid design!


  15. At least new players can afford to play something other than limited and standard now, right?

  16. Magic is a game, not an investment. I don’t think it is wise to treat it as such. I don’t really even treat my Power like it is an investment, it is a game piece, nothing more, nothing less. Dealers are living off the successful design efforts of the WotC team, they are owed nothing.

    That being said, WotC is shorting players on getting to play with their cards. Cards need a sanctioned home to make them fun to play with (at least for spikes like me). They need to fit in. This decision makes the shock duals homeless, and that is not right regardless of price.

  17. It’s amazing to me how many people are commenting about how much they seem to hate dealers who make money off Magic in the comments section of an article specifically geared towards the monetary aspect of Magic.

    I work in store, and Magic is my livelihood. It pays my rent, it pays my bills, it allows me to eat. And my store just lost thousands of dollars in card values. Is it the risk of the business? Absolutely. Does that make me any less angry about it, considering the lack of warning and haphazard nature of the timing of these announcements? No, it does not.

    Stores that deal in singles are a huge part of tournament Magic. They provide cards to players who don’t want to open thousands of boosters. Sites like this one and Star City make most of their money on singles, and that allows them to provide content from writers and sponsor teams. In short, they are one of the lifebloods of the tournament aspects of the game, and to simply dismiss their concerns or to seem to be happy about the loss of a large amount of money is callous and shows an incredible lack of maturity from the community.

    Are some cards too expensive? Sure. Are they that way because of the laws of supply and demand? Yes. Is it fair for people outside of Wizards to be upset at the way that WOTC seems to be arbitrary in their decision-making process, and to point out that there are flaws in the system that can sink dealers and stores that play a vital role in the game? YES.

    To call this article, which correctly points out the lack of warning with which these sweeping changes were made, ‘childish’, is insulting and petty.

  18. I agree with this article 100%. Even if you don’t like the author’s “investing” angle, and want to think of cards a game pieces, which that are… I want to know how long my game pieces are good for! When Wizards says oh yea, here’s the policy, and then changes it abruptly, making my cards worth nothing and depriving me of the ability to play them in any reasonable setting, it’s absolutely unfair. For me, this isn’t about investing, it’s about buying cards for a format I enjoy, and then having them… just.. go away.

    I hate this company and the way they do business is quickly causing them to lose my business.

  19. there is complete merit for anyone who is outraged by the changes that have taken effect on extended.. im pretty sure that the people here who play magic and spend money on it worked hard for that money, and for money to dwindle with intense speed as it has, that would bother anyone. sure, some people dont spend as much as some of us do, but that doesnt mean we shouldnt be upset. Jeremy is clearly stating that we should learn from his mistakes, and clearly many of you who would rather troll and complain about how some of us magic players should stop crying about money lost, should actually take a breath and learn what he has to say. im not pointing the finger at anyone, but people need to stop trolling and be respectful magic players…

  20. You simply failed to study your market well enough. As has been pointed out in the articles you mentioned, this has happened before. Nothing was keeping it from happening again. LSV noticed it before it happened (a few hours), and were he so inclined, could have acted on the information.

  21. If you invest in cards that only see play in Extended/Standard, you are an idiot and deserve to be burned.

  22. I know that myself as a college student do not have infinite funds. Me and my local playgroup found we really enjoyed old Extended over the course of this last ptq season. As a result, we made several investments we thought would carry us through several years of playing the format, with staples such as dark depths, goyfs, duals, etc. Now the value of the cards is all gone. What am I supposed to do? My money is gone. I can’t afford to buy into a brand new format, I can’t move on to legacy. I guess Magic doesn’t want me.

  23. @Snark: Your comment does not even make sense. I invested in standard, extended, and legacy. You know, tournament formats. The value of my collection dropped by about a third. What difference does it make what format you prefer? Everyone lost except those that didn’t play a regular ptq format- intelligence had nothing to do with it.

  24. I agree Jeremy, this sucks and was executed poorly. Someone’s head should roll over at Wizards. Too bad its not like the presidency – we players cant vote out whoever was for this idea. Someones got a lot of explainin’ to do… LUCY!

  25. @jared

    It’s called “casual”. If you can’t afford to compete then play for fun, and enjoy the game. As long as the decks you guys play are competively and competent your Magic will improve anyways.

    Or just print up some proxies.

  26. 27 comments. No response. I am not hating but when someone says they will gladly respond (given one’s opinion on direct questions) and encourage it I think that it’s sort of a bunk statement. Unless I missed what you post under. In that case, appologies.

  27. I agree it was executed poorly. Though, players will always be interested in new formats. That said, I think “Overextended” would be a bad idea because I don’t think Magic needs an entirely new format right now. Legacy is growing in popularity; why stunt it’s growth by introducing a new format? Cost? All formats are going to cost money. Don’t complain about the availability and cost of Revised dual lands and then go and buy a play set of Jace for Standard. I can’t think of a justification for the introduction of “Overextended”. Good article, thank you for your insight into how to treat the CCG market.

  28. @ …
    you realize this article went up about three hours ago? maybe he’s asleep, or not glued to his computer or this site.

    wizards just went about this the wrong way, and hopefully they realize their error and announce it reasonably in the future.

  29. the most powerful cards printed recently are overwhelmingly mythics (aside from BBE)ー Elspeth, Jace, Gideon, Vengevine, Baneslayer… deck-defining and format defining cards. Just check their frequency in standard tournaments of late. This change will make those cards much more viable in Extended too. Financially speaking, that favours Wizards massively, since it means selling more of their recently released products. Wizards is a corporation, a subsidiary of Hasbro: as such its bottom-line is turning a profit for the stockholders, not pleasing ancilliary businesses such as sellers. this is sad but probably fact. However, I personally think this change will have a negative effect on the long-term health of the game, For the simple reason that although casting Jace is “fun”, nothing is less fun than being beaten by a card you can`t afford.

  30. Let me just address a common theme i found in a ton of the complaint comments. I know Magic is a game. I said it in the article. But, if you want to play, you have to put money into it right? Now, are you going to consciously put money into cards you know are going to go down in value or are you going to try to put it into cards that will go up in value? By definition, if you are putting your money into something with the hopes it’ll go up in value, you made an investment. Obviously, we know that sometimes we’re going to lose value but we buy the cards out of necessity to the game. That’s fine. The value you are getting is the value of being able to play (not monetary value, but still getting something in return). But other times people try to think ahead and put their money into things that won’t immediately go down in value. I try to discuss such topics in my articles. In the end it’s a game. I know. But that doesn’t mean I (or anyone) should just throw money away to play it.

    @Reynad: Luis’s article would be a decent starting point if you wanted to get a jump into the new Extended. As far as Super Extended, we’ll have to wait until the official announcement comes out before we can smartly speculate.

    @Ben: There are obviously better investments than Magic, but you can’t literally play with a college fund or 401k. I’m pretty sure the judge would DQ that deck check reaaalll quick. But just because Magic is a game doesn’t mean you have to plan on losing money when buying cards.

    @norbert88: I don’t think the sentiment is that we NEED Overextended, but rather that it seems likely that it’s coming. The problem that Wizards was addressing was that Legacy was too expensive and I guess they felt Extended was getting that way too. So they reformatted Extended to kind of bridge the disconnect between current Standard and Extended. The next step, in everyone’s mind, would be to bridge Legacy and new Extended.

    @yoyo: You are 100% on point. Thanks for that post.

    @Andy: That is exactly what I was trying to get at. You’d think that people would at least be able to relate as opposed to bash me for “complaining”.

    @Jack J: Go White Sox!! (jk.. Joe Mauer is the man.)

    @Eddie: That is one extremely solid point that I overlooked in my frustration while writing this article. In the end, if Wizards is trying to get more new people to play, they probably did some sort of breakdown as to how many players they would lose vs. gain by making the format as such. I don’t know if it’s necessarily cheaper (because lots of people will have to go back and buy Ref Pools, Cryptics, etc.) but in the future it will make it easier for people to port their Standard decks over to Extended.

    @RickyP: On point as well. In the end, Wizards must think that because sites like SCG and CFB NEED them, they can do whatever they want and those sites/stores will continue to sell Magic because they have to.

    @Michael: Exactly.

    @Cash: That was the point of the article, i think… Diversify yo bonds, n….

    @Avy: I got yo back.

    @Ray: The point was that they set up “rules” and then they changed them (again). I know that it happened before, but if it happens too many times, we can’t trust the rules anymore. And that is where we are now.

    @jared: I’m in the same boat as you, buddy. You can still recoup some value on ebay or selling stuff to online sites.

    @ …: I usually wait a bit until there gets to be a decent response before I post mine. I don’t like to post responses every 2-3 comments. That being said, my articles don’t usually get this many hits this fast, so I apologize. After the first wave, I usually have to sit back and take a calming breath so I don’t just backlash at everyone who was attempting to rip me. Nice to see smarter readers defending the article for what it was though. I really appreciate that.

    @ Brian: I think Legacy is getting expensive, but you’re right. It’s just the nature of the format. I think WoTC just wants to make everything accessible to everyone, but that’s never going to happen. Whatever cards are competitive in whatever format are going to be expensive. Now they’re just creating more formats for everyone to spend their money on. And you’re welcome. Thanks for reading.

    @Mike: I don’t sleep. =p

    That being said, thanks again to everyone who fielded comments in my stead. It’s nice to see the people who read/ understood the article explaining it to those who may have misunderstood. I really do appreciate it.

  31. I know it probably can’t make up for the loss, but a lot of the Lorwyn stuff will jump up to high levels again, especially if this format becomes really popular. Still its 3 blocks worth of “investment” vs 1 block.

    Im hedging on a couple extra Bitterblossoms myself. I could honestly see that card becoming 30-40 depending on how well the format is supported.

  32. The other choice is, the players, and dealers, could work to combine to keep extended alive. I think it’d be an interesting project.

  33. i agree 100% with the article….

    what about the SHIT about Reserved list from Wizard (for what? a reprinted Phirexian negator?!?!?!) and then THIS to Ravnica/coldsnap/Kamigawa/9TH/Time Spital/Tenth ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    Wizard just LOST his credibility to its customers…

  34. Another stellar article Mr. Fuentes. I find these articles most interesting for me. I’m glad I recently took the decision to sell my Ravnica duals and Gideon Jura for the best price. I also invested recently in a playset of Scrublands instead of Godless Shrines. I know it’s more money, but they’re also better in the game too! If I can play with my investments, it’s all good! I’m fairly small scale when it comes to investing in Magic.
    I think the Ravnica duals are still good cards for people with less money that want to play Legacy or whatever.
    By the way, I think it’s extremely bad-mannered to trash an article that, in essence, is trying to save/make you money on your collection.

  35. No offense to anyone, as I love the game as much as all of you and recently spent some amount of cash to acquire Legacy staples, but CARDBOARD IS NOT INVESTMENT. If you want to invest, go elsewhere (stock market, real state, etc…).
    Magic is a game, and as with all games/entertainments, you have to pay some amount to play it. The amount that you pay is up to you, and to you only. Some people need to pay A LOT to get what they want of the game (Vintage being the extreme), while others can enjoy the game spending just a couple of bucks (casual or pauper).
    Wizards, being the producer of the game, has total rights over the sanctioned (or “official”) sector of playing. So, they can mold the formats as they see fit, because their ultimate interest is the health of the game (and thus, the sales that feed them).
    You should realise that they DON’T (nor SHOULD) CARE about what cards you bought as an “investment”. They don’t owe you nothing because you bought some cards from them…you can always play ANY card in your kitchen table.

  36. Heck I can’t afford to play standard anymore, at least not competitively. Can’t afford to sink money on 4 jaces, gideons, vengevines, etc. Especially the gideons and vengevines, which I’m not sure will break into eternal formats. Maybe in white stax, but that’s about it. Jaces will be useful in older formats, but I don’t have a deck for him in the older formats so it’s not worth it for me. Plus, now that extended is only 4 years, if I were to invest in them I’d get less time with them.

    I liked the old extended because I could tweak my deck every year with new additions and cutting rotated/obsoleted cards so long as the core didn’t rotate out. My core was good through Ravnica block. This cut down on the cost to play.

    I can afford legacy as I have my deck, and never need to change it unless something better comes out for it. It’s not tier 1, but it’s a boatload of fun to play and a puzzle to solve each time. Has 5 duals in it, some survivals, but I only had to make that investment once and I can enjoy it in a tournament setting forever so long as they don’t ban one of the core cards.

  37. SpoonSpoonSpoon

    I agree with the general “investing in magic isn’t strictly wise” feeling, but it is a bit of a kick for those of us who were trading/buying our way towards an extended deck. I’ve been gradually assembling a Doran deck for the last year or so, and now it’s suddenly not playable in any format. I guess I could attempt to trade away all of my shocks for filters or something, but that doesn’t feel right..

    I’m not that bothered that my cards have lost value, but i suddenly have a deck with no format to play it in..

    Doran’s probably relatively easily ported to new extended too, compared to some of the other decks.

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  39. Magic is a game for players not collectors. If you wanted to “invest” look into stocks, bonds, etc. Also, please stop crying.

  40. “The problem that Wizards was addressing was that Legacy was too expensive and I guess they felt Extended was getting that way too.”

    Didn’t you read BDM’s article Friday? Extended wasn’t getting ‘too expensive’. Extended was just the red-headed stepchild of formats. People only played Extended when it was the PTQ season. Even then, attendance was lowest of the PTQ formats.

    There’s a fundamental flaw with a constructed format if more expensive formats (see Legacy) are played over it in non-PTQ environments.

  41. It’s sad to see that many are losing money over short/mismanaged announcements like this. I can understand from the dealers point of view about losing money as I have also “invested” in a Magic over the years and now to know that…for this time that my cards are going down in value…that is frustrating to say the least. For those of us that are concerned that formats are going to be gone, die off, be restructured…well I wouldn’t worry about that. We as consumers put “trust” into WotC and allow them to decide what formats to make or break….they print the cards and we buy them (for whatever reason we have) thinking that we will use the cards. If WotC should up and dissappear from this planet…will you continue to use the cards? I for one will and maybe the COMMUNITY will be the ones that decide what formats to create/design/legitimize because isn’t that how we came up with EDH and Cube in the first place? Let’s see where this takes us and either get out of the game or adapt to the decisions we “entrust” WotC and see if we like it better. Just my $.02

  42. urzassedatives

    When Ravnica duals were legal in standard…they were $15+.
    And then they rotated out of standard.
    Dark Depths’ value could have been killed just as easily with a banning, and that card was a ‘hot potato’ in that some got it for almost nothing, and some got it for probably too much.
    If this format was played and loved by more people, this would not have happened. I have yet to meet a person who ‘loves’ extended. I have met people who love legacy, vintage, limited, and standard though.
    Is this WoTC’s fault? I don’t see how. They support it as much as legacy, perhaps moreso, yet legacy is booming. (despite price concerns)
    This change will generate more interest in Extended than any other action WoTC could have taken could. And as others have said, the value of cards that previously had tanked in value is going up. Give and take.

  43. Why is nobody complaining about the cards that will be going up? I don’t see you guys complaining about your Bitterblossoms, Cryptic Commands, Thoughtseizes, and Mutavaults about to gain a substantial amount of money. Not to mention Jace will be going up EVEN MORE since he will single-handedly dominate extended now, moreso than before. Additionally, your current standard cards like Elspeth and Maelstrom Pulse will hold higher value than they would have after this fall’s rotation. Some cards gained value, some lost value. Welcome to the true world of economics.

  44. I've been reading a lot of comments on articles and on forums over the past week about the New Extended/Double Standard about how Magic is not an investment. The truth is that it is a game that we love to play, but we'd love to have it pay for some of the bills as well. That is one of the reasons why I write my articles for TCGPlayer.com. Magic is a game but also an investment in my humble opinion. Anything is an investment if you want it to be. Many people cited things like real estate or stocks as "real" investments, yet they have primary functions that don't include just making/losing you money. Land is good for living on, growing crops, constructing buildings, or just playing ultimate Frisbee. Stocks have turned into almost the definition of "investment" but they function as a tool for the company to determine what its consumers demand and a way to determine the controlling interest in the company. Heck, buying a slice of bread is an investment towards your continued livelihood.

    For those that lost a lot of cash and can no longer play, it's sad. I've actually been keeping a tab of my total Magic cost over the past semester and as hard as I tried to break even, I went down a hundred fifty by the end, mostly from building Legacy ANT (lol). A lack of funds is a sad reason to be kept out of competitive Magic (which is really the best kind in my opinion), but that's part of any competitive setting. Because there's something on the line/to be gained, people are going to try to get a leg up on you by buying expensive cards and such. I like the idea of the format a lot and I'm pretty certain that Wizards is going to give a home to the Ravnica duals soon. I think the decision will benefit the majority of players when we look back in hindsight (but I realize that not everyone is going to come out on top).

  45. I love that people are saying that Magic isn’t an investment. Are you serious?

    I’ve been playing for 12 years, picking a dual here, an Academy there, knowing that those cards would hold value and go up. I’ve bought booster boxes and have sat on them waiting for them to go up in price.

    Anyone ever look at a price for a booster box of Tempest or Urza’s Saga? Worth about 4 and 6 times the price you could get them in 1998. I’m just wishing I had the money to get them in 2002 when they were half what they are now. Would have been a very safe investment for a college student who didn’t trust the stock market after the .com crash…

    If you know what cards will be good and hold value, you can make a lot of money WHILE playing the game. I’m a player first, which is why I’ve lost a lot of value over the years because I didn’t act like an investor and dump cards I should have. I liked having 4 of everything from Invasion through Onslaught because I could play with them (and still have them). But there is that investing aspect to Magic and to deny it just makes you look ignorant.

    Jeremy, good article. Wizards really dropped the ball on this and people with a significant collection are feeling it. The best thing we can do now is try and get the new Extended cards before they jump for the PTQ season.

  46. @Lorgalis wrote, “CARDBOARD IS NOT INVESTMENT”

    I heartily disagree. Is painted canvas an investment? Carved wood? Tin soldiers? China cups? What might or might not be an investment is what a large enough group of people agrees on. Take a look at a dollar bill. It doesn’t have any intrinsic value at all. It’s just a piece of cotton with print on it. Its value might rise or fall in comparison to stocks, teddy bears, Magic cards, food. Have you ever deferred purchase of something because you thought it might get cheaper over time? Have you ever held on to a Magic card past rotation because you thought it might be playable in an older format? Did you ever invest time to study for an exam? Everybody is an investor, even if most aren’t aware of it.

  47. WOTC is sending mixed messages here: on the one hand, their Reserve List policy is designed to reduce risk for collectors/dealers; on the other hand, their Banned/Restricted List policy is designed to get more people playing by shaking up the formats, increasing risk for collectors/dealers.

    I wouldn’t invest in Legacy either, as I expect Wizards to drop it for Overextended as soon as it becomes unpopular / so expensive it can’t support a PTQ format. Standard or Vintage is the way to go.

    Actually, if you want to treat Magic as an investment instead of a game, just buy Jace and Tarmogoyf futures.

  48. Collectibles are not a great long term investment. They never have been. The game dies, you’re stuff drops. Formerly 50-100 dollar D&D Minis can be had for 20-30 dollars now. Comic books are not a good investment. They are great for quick short turn investment, but it can’t be your retirement plan. Comparing them to stocks is faulty, no one on Wall Street invests in comics for a reason. Game companies are fickle and volatile, no matter how much Magic makes and how popular it is, it is a niche market.

  49. Any link between the change in the extended format and the reserve list is false. Wotc printed the reserve list with the promise that these cards would not be reprinted, specifically to quiet fears generated by the release of chronicles. WOTC never, ever, even hinted that the extended format was writ in stone. Even in its initial inception exceptions to the “rotation” policy were given to the original duals,

    The rotation policy has been changed several times during the formats lifetime, claiming to be supprised that it has changed yet again and somehow compareing it with the promise made in writing by wotc known as the reserve list boggles the mind.

    I consider my card purchases as investments, with the returns being both emotional (enjoyment of the game with decks i like to play) and financial. I knew that by keeping my cryptic commands after they rotated out of standard i was taking a financial loss, but the emotional value of having them to play with was ample compensation to me. Having my set of ravnica duals drop in value is also compensated by the emotional value i have knowing i can build decks with them.

    Im also firmly of the opinion that the shocklands should have been reprinted in m10, becuase they are the best and most fair dual land printed ever, and i am holding out hope that they will eventually be reprinted in a core set.

  50. urzassedatives

    There is nothing keeping the RAV duals from being reprinted in Scars.
    In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they printed half of them in there. (Ally/Enemy, and do the other half next year)

  51. Finally, someone who is actually angry at this.

    I’m angry because Standard didn’t need another format. Extended was different, had it’s own metagame and such. Sure, you could spend a lot of money on Goyfs and shocks, but you didn’t need to as decks like Scapeshift and Hypergenesis were realtively cheap. I’m currently not really into Standard because of the super-expensive cards like Jace barring entry, and I want to play Legacy but the same applies but on a much larger scale with duals and Forces. I played Extended because you could build several winning decks for under $400.

    Now, they basically just gave the Standard players another format. They have Standard, why do they need more? Why rip out a distinct metagame because Wizards doesn’t have enough foresight to print combos like cascading into Hypergenesis or Hexmaging a Dark Depths? /sigh….

  52. Sorry man, but I think you “jumped the shark” with this article. It’s one thing to take into consideration shifts in the format, rotations, etc when buying and selling cards to lower your overall cost of playing this game. It’s another to suggest MtG as an alternative to real investments. It might even be fair to label that assertion as “irresponsible.”

  53. ‘over-extended’?
    don’t hold your breath

    and as a collector i can say that i think this is a great move
    extended was broke and as LSV has recognized if you’re in the game for the long haul, any losses are balanced out
    if you’re in the game as an ‘investment’, you’re a moron
    get the cards to play or to collect and enjoy these experiences
    don’t get the cards as a retirement fund, unless you enjoy chowing down on cardboard

  54. It’s also rather upsetting that StarCity knew well in advance of everyone else. They took their extended buy list down about a month ago. If this was stocks we’d have ironclad evidence of insider trading, and a few years in prison for Pete and Ben.

  55. Major hypocrisy going on in these comments.

    Lots of people are arguing that since Magic is an investment, that Wizards shouldn’t be making these sweeping changes without advance notice. But we deserve advance notice! This is so unfair! And in the same breath, these same people compare their MTG ‘investment’ to the stock market or bonds.

    You all realize that there isn’t advance notice for stock market crashes, right? Or governments collapsing or natural disasters? Since when do you all think that you deserve an investment with zero risk?

    If you are going to compare this to an investment:


    If you can’t deal with this fact, then stop investing. Stop complaining. Accept that there is risk involved with just about ANYTHING in life. In case you couldn’t tell after 15+ years, Magic will always be changing.

  56. @Jeremy, your quote” @Ben: There are obviously better investments than Magic, but you can't literally play with a college fund or 401k. I'm pretty sure the judge would DQ that deck check reaaalll quick. But just because Magic is a game doesn't mean you have to plan on losing money when buying cards.”

    I agree with this statement, but you actually have it backwards. Any investment in a physical product (especially in the collectibles market, as pointed out by Hagan) requires that you PROTECT that physical object. If you play the game with these cards, you are not protecting your investment, you are playing a game, and you don’t have an argument that you are losing value. You lose value every time you sleeve up that card. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “You wouldn’t play baseball with a ball signed by Babe Ruth.”

    The only people who have a legitimate gripe in this instance are stores and bulk dealers who specifically buy cards to flip them, and I have less sympathy for them because 1) they made a choice to do this professionally, knowing the risks and 2) part of the business involves shaving percentages on your buy and sell values so that you always profit, so in time they will be able to recover. However, WotC has put a lot of effort into helping the FLGS and this is a big step in the wrong direction for that.

  57. I don’t think the issue is hard to grasp.

    Our issue is with the MANNER in which WotC made the announcement, not the content of the announcement itself.

    If you are going to address our argument, please establish that the TIMING of the announcement was correct, and why announcing it prior to last season would have been wrong/bad.

    Again, those who are upset with the change are NOT complaining that extended is changing, or that the value of our cards dropped- these things happen. We are upset because we feel blindsided by the announcement and powerless to have mitigated the loss when it was perfectly reasonable for Wizards to make that possible.

  58. Coming from a person living in a country where the average wage revolves around 300$, I can tell you that losing ‘a few hundred’ (as someone mentioned above) really sucks. It will be a while before I can get back on track. Selling my ex-T2 Faeries for a UGr Scapeshift in January was the bomb

  59. @Andy: I agree that when WotC makes a format change announcement, if more tournaments take place between now and when that change takes effect then there is a greater opportunity to cut your losses from the affected cards. That being said, WotC is pretty clearly not in a position where it needs to take these things into consideration.

    The reason why this is irrelevant from a financial perspective is that many posters here seem to think that owning a playset of expensive cards represents an investment. This isn’t true, as anything that depreciates is a liability and not an investment. This is personal finance 101, and it’s a shame it isn’t required to graduate from high school. True, I don’t want my car to be worthless tomorrow, and I’d take steps to prevent it if I could, but I didn’t buy the car thinking it would be worth more at a later date. Cards, like cars, depreciate when you mess with them, and it’s a bad idea to consider them an investment. Plain and simple, as a player, don’t put more money into Magic then you can afford to lose overnight. That money is already gone.

    Only people who don’t play with their cards (like dealers, and collectors to some extent) have a legitimate argument, and they should understand the market well enough to know that things like this happen and minimize their risks ahead of time by keeping inventory low.

  60. theorigionalzombiekilla

    Magic is a game first and foremost. At the same time anyone may choose to invest in cards, or anything else for that manner. Just because you can invest in these things does not make it smart or responsable to do so. These articles have always walked a thin line between treating card investment as a side hobby and actually holding it up as a legimitate use of ones resources. It is not. There are real ways to invest money. Buying magic cards is not one. Anybody who complains about this new format excluding a large part of their collection from being used in a sanctioned game of magic has a legimitate complaint. Anyone who whines about their investment taking a hit does not and seriously shows their ignorance.

  61. The way I see it, in regards to the timing of the announcement is this:
    Wotc was concerned that people saw Extended as unexciting, and attendance was dwindling.
    How does it help attendance to say ‘next fall the following extra sets are rotating out’?
    People would be dissauded from starting to play Extended, people would feel less interested in figuring out the metagame and making new decks, the format would be a lame duck of a format until the changes went into effect.
    Some of the cards would probably start their dip in prices because people would begin selling them early, etc. Everyone would be waiting for the format to change already, preparing far far in advance for it, rather than playing Extended ‘in the now’.

    Yes, I agree, it came like a bolt in the blue, but there isn’t much to be done about it. What is done is done, they announced something before the extended PT, about 4 months before non-pro players are going to be playing any major extended events. (And about 3 before PT Amsterdam)
    If they announced this at the end of August, it would be poorly timed.

    I never said I didn’t think anyone loved Extended, I just think that, as far as EVERY format is concerned, Extended had the least people who love it to death. I don’t really think that is a point of contention either.

    Have any of the prices even dropped yet? I know the prices on new extended staples are going up, but I haven’t noticed much change in prices of old extended staples.

  62. I love the people that think that investing in a card is any different from any other medium with an arbitrary EV placed on it. You buy stocks because you expect them to appreciate. You pick a bad stock, the company collapses, oh shit your money is gone. Picassos are expensive because people pay money for them. If one day people suddenly hated Picasso paintings, you have a worthless piece of canvas on your wall (or if you’re actually investing in it, on your wall behind glass, or in storage.) If you buy a house, you expect its value to go up, but sometimes there are gigantic housing bubbles that burst and suddenly your house is worth half what you pay for it. Seriously, there are better arguments than ‘HUR CARDBOARD HUR’. Just stop.

    The main point that nobody has really focused on is that the rotation policy that the put into effect LAST YEAR wasn’t even given the chance to rotate ONCE. I don’t even care about the money I may or may not have lost (note I’m not disparaging the people that do), but I’m pissed off because I don’t know if the cards that they’re telling me this time around will be legal next time around. That’s just bad policy. If they’re seriously going to change formats willy-nilly, why have formats at all? It’s WotC’s game, they can do what they want, but I’m not going to keep up with it when I can’t trust them to keep they’re word from one year to the next.

  63. Meh… It all evens out, you can’t get mad because you lost money and you especially can’t get mad if you aren’t given notice (man I wish I had time to dump off these $10 cards to some schmuck and let him lose $5 each on them instead of me…)

    Player A has 3 playsets of each Ravnica Dual worth “roughly” $1200.

    Player B has 7 Reflecting Pools, 3 Bitterblossoms, 5 Thoughtsiezes, 8 Swans, 2 Cryptic Command sitting in his old Type 2 binder…

    Wizards announcement hits …

    Player A can immediately dump his duals on Ebay to people who WANT them, whether it be for casual or EDH or CHeap alternatives to A,B,U,R duals for $800. Did he lose $400? Probably not.. I’m pretty sure Player A didn’t just shell out $1200 in cash a week ago for Shocklands, they were acquired by trade / collecting and some were bought..

    Player B’s collection has now found new life and he is excited and might play the new Extended. He gains $100 in value but it isnt like he was going to sell anything anyway. There is 1 person who got a boost, might now play extended, inc reasing prize pools, buying more Standard Packs etc…

    Without rambling more I just think you have to take yourself out of the picture when looking at this. Who gives a flying $%^& if you lost $40 in value in cards you were hoarding, it is a risk.. Someone else out there just made $40 and might add to your player pool with the knew knowledge.

    This was a good change and announcing anything ahead of time would be a mistake : “Hey Shocklands will be useless in 6 months…”

    Let me dump off my extras on some idiot who didn’t hear the announcement and let him lose money!!

    That’s rude… no good can come out of announcing ANYTHING ahead of time when people only have their own best interest in mind.

  64. Thanks for the article. I don’t play extended, and I don’t buy Magic cards as investments. The changes to extended were poorly executed, yes, but I’m hoping that the drop in prices for Ravinica cards will help me to build more decks in Legacy. When Dark Confidant drops below $10….


  65. Did Wizards ever “promise” that the tournament formats would stay the same from one year (or month) to the next? I don’t recall that.

    If you get into Magic thinking “investment,” you’re investing in the wrong thing. That’s what stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CD’s, futures, etc. are for. Magic is for playing. Besides, nobody is entitled to their cards holding their value any more than any stockholder is entitled to their stock holding value. Just like a company can go under at any time, rendering the stock worthless, anything can happen in the Magic metagame to make any given card worthless.

    I’m not necessarily saying that Wizards did “the right thing” or not. I’m just saying that it seems (to me) kinda silly and pointless to whine about “oh, my Ravnica duals, my [fill in the blank] …”

    The only thing that remains constant in Magic (or anything else in life) is change. Accept that, and you’ll be much happier for it. There’s an excellent passage in the AA “big book” about “acceptance” (hint: it’s not just for alcoholics).

    Also, “I don't want to use this article to rant or gripe,” but you did just that. Just saying.

    BTW I’m looking forward to the new Extended format. Yes, even if I have to go back to losing to Kitchen Finks, Boggart Ram-Gangs, and Cryptic Commands again.

  66. @urzassedatives: While I agree there may have been a minor dropoff in attendance from an already poorly attended format, advance notice would not have turned Extended into a “lame duck” format. Just like limited formats, competitive players play in those PTQs to QUALIFY, not to build decks that will be viable in a future format… in fact, no one does that.

    @Brian C: I think you are looking at this in the wrong way. You say I’m just trying to dump my cards off on some fool. I’m saying I’d like people to be able to make decisions about their spending with complete information. It’s not about “dumping them on some idiot”, it’s about a transaction between two parties that is mutually beneficial, which obviously is at its fairest when the market is PREDICTABLE.

    Whether the cards were rotating or not is irrelevant, what matters is the predictability of the change. No one called people who bought up Engineered Explosives or Chrome Moxes an idiot… Both parties were fully aware that those cards would rotate. Make sense?

  67. The minor dropoff in attendance is what I was talking about…
    Why would WoTC want to announce it earlier if it resulted in the poorly attended Extended to have even less attendance in their events?
    That undermines the entire point of the announcement, to cause more people to play the format in the future.

  68. “Did Wizards ever ‘promise’ that the tournament formats would stay the same from one year (or month) to the next? I don't recall that.”

    That’s the implication that having a policy makes. It’s saying “Here’s what we’re going to be doing from here on, so you can make your decisions on that.” By having “Oh, by the way, we’ll just chance this policy anyway” tacked on, it’s as binding as having no policy at all. It also gives Wizards a great loophole to do whatever they want without regard to their customers, and follow it up with “Well, we never said that this was a permanent policy. Sorry you took us at our word. Sucks to be you.”

  69. Also, I’d like to address those that argue any loss is mitigated by the now increased price of other staples like Bitterblossom, Cryptic Command, etc. While this is true in the short run, it should be quite plain to see that those cards would spike again eventually, so in the long run we lose either way.

    And regarding the minor semantical derail of whether Magic cards represent an ‘investment’- it doesn’t really matter how you look at it, they are an investment. Look at it this way if you didn’t like Jeremy’s stock analogy.

    When I spent the money I did on Ravnica duals, I was making an investment in my future enjoyment of those cards-a ‘Fun-ness’ investment- I knew I could play with them for X time, so it justified X price. Now I don’t get to enjoy playing with those cards- I lose in that respect.

    Lastly, I’d like to expand on market predictability. Returning to the unfortunate stock analogy The most damaging element to any investor is volatility in the market, whereas security is the most encouraging element for trade. If players don’t trust that the cards they are acquiring will hold their value- monetary or ‘fun-ness’- they will be less willing to trade for them, purchase singles, etc. Volatility hurts trade, which hurts everyone- including Wizards.

    Given all this information, this was a ham-fisted way for Wizards to make what I agree were positive changes. And I think the damage caused by their chosen direction was unnecessary. Perhaps they don’t care, as someone suggested, but it was nonetheless unnecessary.

  70. Ummm, in the ‘long’ run, RAV duals will probably go up in price.
    They will be reprinted at some point, after all.

  71. @AC – If “you” complain about cards losing value, then you planned to sell them or get equal merchandise in exchange for their value. If you are holding on to them forever then they are worth .01 cent or $1,000, pick one.

    So, whether or not there is some warning and a grace period on when stuff will rotate, and whether or not both parties will have full knowledge, instead of dropping a bomb, “you” are still upset that you are losing money.

    So, if “you” don’t want to lose the money, then someone else has to.. i.e. Dumping the cards off to some idiot to lose money on them.

    You might not be saying that “you” don’t want to intentionally screw someone out of money instead of yourself, but then what are you saying? You are inadvertently being selfish and want information ahead of time so Y O U don’t lose out (which means someone else has to).

    Like I said, take yourself out of the picture and look at it with an open mind or even a bird’s eye view. It had to be done this way and for every loss there will be a gain somewhere else.

  72. @urzassedatives: I would argue that if you weigh the costs outlined in my post you addresses and the accrued benefits implied by my latter post, the benefits (greater security in the market) of our proposed alternative route would outweigh the costs (possible decreased attendance for one PTQ season).

    You can, of course, argue the opposite is true- which would be the first legitimate criticism of Jeremy’s article thus far. Though, I would of course, still disagree.

  73. @Brian C: As I already stated, we have full knowledge of when sets normally rotate out of a format. Transactions based on this knowledge are good for the game, and part of the cyclical nature of cards’ value. This sudden announcement introduces volatility that is bad for everyone.

  74. @urzassedatives: Given the information we have now, Rav duals are essentially worthless to competitive players. Picking them up on the cheap now may be good speculation, it also may be folly. That is separate from this discussion, since we have no idea what the future holds for Rav duals at this time. Ceteris paribus, however, they are assumed to be at a minimum value that will not change.

  75. Unfortunately, WoTC knows the future further than we do. Some cards that just rotated (*cough*manaleak*cough*) could be in M11. Some cards could be in Scars. That new format might actually exist, WoTC could be holding off on announcing it for some strange reason.

    Even without that advance knowledge, as a company, what would you value more?
    Measurable loss on you end
    Measurable loss on your customer’s end (which we have yet to see any catastrophic events happen)

    WoTC doesn’t care about the secondary market. (See: Jitte as a free handout promo) They are somehow bound to the reserve list, so much so that when they decided to ‘break’ it, they were pushed back further than where they started out. (I remain convinced that some third party threatened WoTC with legal repercussions for breaking the list)

    For now, I am going to be excited for M11. 9 hours and counting for another spoiler dump that might dull the pain extended players are feeling.

  76. It’s my understanding that only the TO’s stand to lose from decreased PTQ attendance, not WotC- they would only lose on any extended Grand Prix I believe, right?

  77. If the TOs lose money on events, it can easily affect other events, etc. (But then again, WoTC isn’t exactly bffs with most TOs these days)
    By and large, I feel that the timing makes sense once you peel away all the layers involved in pulling the trigger on this. (Why was the decision made, When is the next big extended event, etc)

    WoTC would directly lose money in regards to MTGO events, which were part of the decision to change the format, as MTGO events were poorly attended as well.

  78. @AC: It’s not semantics, it’s finance. You chose to think that you were making a “fun-ness investment”. Guess what? Money doesn’t work that way! You are choosing to think of this as an investment, when it is in fact a liability. You are now disappointed that you lost out on value, when if you understood the truth of your initial financial transaction you would either have a) made a more informed decision or b) would understand when to accept a sunk cost. My argument isn’t that people are somehow not losing money (they are), but that if losing money was important to them then they should not have spent that money on magic cards! Articles like this do the community a disservice when they talk about “investing” in cards. It is incredibly inefficient to retrieve value out of your cards–they need to be in excellent condition, and even on Ebay you can’t get list price for them, in addition to auction percentages/fees. Wear and tear is not an imaginary concern, as are loss, theft, and damage that can occur when transporting cards for play. At best, you should be looking to recover value to reduce cost (i.e. sell cards for a % of what you bought them for), which is a different can of worms than investing.

    Long story short, if you play with your cards, they are NOT an investment, and you will continue to be disappointed by your financial outcomes if you choose to categorize them that way.

  79. Regarding WotC and secondary markets: WotC is incredibly wise to completely ignore the secondary market. Imagine that WotC had a bunch of Mindsculptors sitting around, and they started selling them now for $100 a pop. Given that these cards are otherwise only available to players through a lottery (i.e. opening packs), they could potentially end up in a world of trouble for doing things like that.

    Changing the format the way they did is annoying, but I don’t think anyone would say they were intentionally manipulating the secondary market by doing so. It’s far more likely they were ignoring it, as they should.

  80. theorigionalzombiekilla

    Something we tend to overlook as players of this game is the lack of emotional maturity by a large portion of the magic community. I love this game and enjoy playing it with anyone, but those who style their lives around it or use it as a substitute for actual life acclomplishments are selling themselves short. I truly believe that most players who talk about their cards as an investment are simply trying to justify an irresponsable level of spending based on their personal income.

  81. @Josh G: You didn’t address what I said at all. The ‘Value’ I am referring to IS playing with the cards. That’s the value we are losing.

  82. And my point is that by buying into entertainment value, you do yourself a disservice by referring to that as investment. Even as entertainment, it’s not investment, it’s liability.

  83. @ theorigionalzombiekilla: It’s very possible that’s the case. It’s why I’m so motivated to try and get people to stop =).

  84. theorigionalzombiekilla

    @Josh G: Right. If more players could keep their spending in perspective in terms of entertainment and stop using other excuses for it then not only would they probably enjoy the game a lot more but also whenever announcments like this one pop up they could just take it in stride. To everyone complaining about the loss on your magic portfolio or whatever, why don’t you instead use that energy to decide on what decks you might want to play in this new format. You know, actually play magic with your cards?

  85. A lot of us play video games and have collections of varying sizes. I mean if you buy 1 console like a PS3 and 2 games and some peripherals, you would probably be into that hobby for 500 bucks. Most people own tens of games for a system maybe 15-30. If you bought them all new that would cost you something like 750-1500 for just the games on ONE system. But we all know most video games depreciate although there are some exceptions for sure. And when PS4 comes out the demand for your older games goes even lower, especially if backwards compatibility is not offered. Anyway, the point I want to make is: We should expect the enjoyment we get from the game first, anything else is an ancillary benefit, a bonus.

    In my lifetime I have owned a NES, SNES, Sega, N64, GCN, PS, PS2, and Xbox360. I got them all fairly new lets say that’s roughly 2,000.00 in systems. Then I owned roughly 25, 15, 5, 10, 5, 5, 10, and 5 games respectively. Averaging 50 bucks a game that’s 3,750.00. So I am into video games for like 5.7K and that doesn’t include PC games, Handheld games/systems, or money spent in Arcades or Subscription services. And I don’t hold any of that stuff at much value, I gave a lot of the older stuff away and what I currently have would probably sell for maybe 500.00. I would not say that I am an avid video game player.

    My Magic “investment” is harder to calculate but I would say I am probably into this game for approx. 5K not including travel (I don’t know how that stacks up against other players) and I could still sell my collection for 2K+ but I probably never will so what is the point of these values? I still love the game, and when I am done if I can cash in, great. But I don’t really care beyond possible trading.

  86. I’m not trying to put MTG in the same basket as stocks. I’m simply trying to make a correlation between them in terms of how to manage your collection.

    @ Josh G: It’s not the same as playing with a signed baseball. You put your cards in sleeves and a deck box (as opposed to just holding them w. a rubberband and ziploc bag) because you’re protecting your cards. You tell people “Don’t riffle shuffle my deck too hard please” so that your cards don’t get messed up. They will go through wear and tear over time through heavy heavy use, but for the most part, with normal play, your cards shouldn’t get damaged much if at all. I don’t playtest with my foils and i double sleeve my more expensive Legacy cards so that my investments stay protected.

    @ Andy: Thanks for clearing things up. I really wish people would read your posts before they decided to comment. =)

    @ Jack: They didn’t explicitly say “I promise… ” BUT when they establish rotational policies, people take these as the rule. We know that these policies change from time to time, but like someone else said above, this new rotation wasn’t even given a year. I don’t think that’s fair to anyone -player, dealer, collector, whoever.

    @AC: EXACTLY!! thanks for fielding those for me.

    @ Josh G (Again): I’ve said since the beginning that my goal is to help reduce everyone’s cost of playing by smart collection management. I’m sorry that i used “investing” as a blanket term, but I figure putting money into something in hopes that it will appreciate in value constitutes investment. You DO get value in return by being able to play with the cards, but if you can manage it so that financial value is returned as well, why not?

    I don’t want to argue whether Magic is a GOOD investment or not. There are obvious better and more “responsible” investments out there (though they may not be the same). I feel like I addressed this in the article…….

    ” I can't help but make correlations to financial markets. …First of all, I play Magic; you can't "play" with stocks. They are investments that can actually appreciate while you are getting practical use from them. Secondly, Magic investments work on a system of rules. Certain cards would be legal for certain amounts of time, all of which are predictable based on the rules. This means that your investments are less vulnerable than stocks. You don't have to worry as much about things you can't predict. If you follow the tournament scene and keep up to date with articles, you'll generally be in good shape. I guess not? It turns out that Magic investments are closer in risk to stocks than I thought. …It doesn't make them bad choices, it just means you need to approach them much differently if you are going to treat them as investments.”

  87. theorigionalzombiekilla

    So if you think there are better and more responsible investments out there, why are you sinking so much time and effort into this one?

  88. @ zombie: From the article (and the post above):

    “First of all, I play Magic; you can't "play" with stocks. They are investments that can actually appreciate while you are getting practical use from them. Secondly, Magic investments work on a system of rules. Certain cards would be legal for certain amounts of time, all of which are predictable based on the rules. This means that your investments are less vulnerable than stocks.”

  89. This move by WoTC seems counterproductive to me. With sets becoming continually more powerful, it seems that buying a pack is like playing the lottery. With the change in the format, the obvious increase in power of cards, and the obsurd rarity of cards this move should really hurt pack sales which is how WoTC makes there money. They have no hand in the secondary market. It makes little sense to collect cards now because if you play vintage or legacy you have the cards already, and shortening extended makes it less important to keep ur cards, so why would you buy packs and not just buy singles?

  90. @Jeremy: First, thanks for seeing this through and taking the time to reply. There are a lot of comments and a lot going on, and it’s awesome to see you take an interest. Regarding this comment:
    …but I figure putting money into something in hopes that it will appreciate in value constitutes investment.”

    If your goal in any way is to try to increase the value of a held object, you need to understand all the risks associated with doing so. The car analogy works particularly well here. If I buy a classic car with less than a thousand miles on it, the value goes up if I keep the mileage down and if I never get in a wreck. I’m taking a calculated risk every time I take the dust cover off that car and start the engine. If I drive that car every day, I’m not mitigating risk, I’m losing tons of sunk cost (gas, insurance, wear and tear), and I’m not preserving the resale value of the car (in addition to functioning less well as a car, it is also less desirable to other collectors).

    For cars, it should be easy to see that it is not an investment. This is in fact the classic example used in personal finance. With cards, for some reason, people choose to not get this. Sure, there is less wear and tear on a card than a car or a baseball, but categorically you should not be spending your “investment money” on things you are using for entertainment. Doing so is simply bad financial practice. You should take the mindset that if you DO make money, great, it’s a bonus, but it’s a bad idea to set out with that goal in mind. It’s much better to look for ways to offset sunk cost, but be aware that it is a sunk cost.

    Essentially, say you want to have a toy that also can earn you money. It’s just not a sound investment strategy, think of all the other collectibles that need to be mint-in-box to have value.

    If you have the money to spend on cards, great. If you manage to recoup some of that cost later, great. But if you have the money to buy 5 extra playsets of a card so that you can resell them for more later, you’re better off putting that money into a more reliable investment. If you have the luxury to play the magic value speculation game AND make other investments, well, then I’m jealous =).

  91. @ Jeremy: I reread your most recent comment, and I think you and I are on the same page about just about all this stuff. I realize I’m being rather pedantic, but as I said earlier, we need to do a better job of teaching people about personal finance.

    I’m willing to agree to disagree that protecting cards with sleeves may be significant risk mitigation to you, while taking them out in public at all is not sufficient risk mitigation for me if I’m trying to increase value, but that I’m fine with playing with cards with sleeves and still trying to recover value later, if I’m lucky.

  92. Ok, obviously MTG is technically an “investment”- but like buying golf clubs, a gaming computer, or a bunch of console games for example, people are primarily interested in “investing” in MTG for functionality, not making money.

    Sure, people always say “oh man, I wish I bought card X at price Y…”, and it’s cool when you actually turn $50 into $200, $300, or more; but if you decided to bet the farm and sink a couple thousand dollars or more into Jace playsets I’d suggest you get your head checked. In reality, noone’s going to be sleeping on the street because their Rav-dual equity just tanked, and noone is going to go buy a new benz off their cryptic command profits. Is the dramatization really necessary?

    Sure it may suck for dealers… but I guess that “career” comes with an amount of instability. (wish I could make those quotes bigger)

  93. Good article with some excellent points. Your friend was right on contrasting Wizards’ treating the reserved list like it’s this sacred, immutable thing and then not long after that nonchalantly pulling the rug out from under everyone with the change to extended. While both of these things suck for Wizards’ customers, players and collectors alike, they both make perfect sense for Wizards. WIth all the new customers from Duels of the Planeswalkers, the last thing in the world Wizards wants to do is give them incentive to play an eternal format such as Legacy, so they make it as inaccessible as possible by reaffirming the archaic reserved list, while making the rotating formats more accessible by cutting extended in half.

    Overall, I think Magic cards are a horrible investment since metagames shift so quickly, and Wizards has a tendency to print overpowered cards that quickly skyrocket in value, only to print answers to them in one of the next sets which crashes their value. Although if you want excitement and big swings, rather than safety and slow and steady, that could surely be a wild ride that sometimes pays off. The only good long term investment is eternal staples like power and duals. The only way that investing in Magic seriously that makes sense to me is probably buying or shorting Hasbro stock. And short term, I think that Magic is headed for a crash when all the Duels of the Planeswalkers people quit, in part to the normal cycle of interest moving on to other things, but also in large part to the ridiculous price of keeping up with standard and all the insanely expensive mythic rares needed for the optimal version of so many of the Tier 1 decks. With a playset of Jace, the Mind Sculptors now equaling the price for a new PS3, there’s no way that’s sustainable.

    I’m sure that eventually they’ll break the reserved list and reprint legacy staples and even power, but since doing that would kill new card sales of the same blocks Wizards prints over and over and new $10 rare lands that are all inferior to the original duals, they’ll only do that once Magic is in its death throes, as one last blaze of glory.

  94. @Josh G: Good points. I think we are on the same page… Recovering value is probably the ideal scenario. “Protecting your investment” looks like it could be a decent article on its own.

    I make correlations to financial markets because it is easier for me (being a Finance major). The markets aren’t exactly the same though, and the analogies aren’t completely mirrored, so it gets difficult at times (especially when people well versed in Finance start to pick it apart).

    @CEA: You are actually right. I was talking more in terms of being able to physically use it. I know you can use money, but you know what i mean…

  95. Firstly, magic is Collectible, then it’s a card game. People shouldn’t argue against collecting it, when the collecting is a big part of how it was designed. There are many many people who do buy and sell cards professionaly…like this website we are on. If a player spends his money on a set of rav duals, and they become banned more or less, then he can’t play with his purchase. That hurts players, and retailers as well, as I don’t really want to buy cards for my decks when they might tank in value. If this happens too often, online retailers won’t be able to make the money they need to, and you lose them. Wizards, players, and retailers are all symbiotic. Maybe they could lose singles retailers, but they would probably lose the tournament scene…

  96. I can understand that dealers would be mad at this, considering it’s a business that they run and they have expenses to run that business (physical location, upkeep costs, utilities, etc). I don’t have sympathy for them though, because that’s a risk in running a business. It is probably wrong that Wizards didn’t announce it before, but people didn’t know about Black Friday either. The difference between stocks and Magic cards is that there is a company (Wizards -> Hasbro) that has a LOT of influence on those prices.

    When people play Magic, everybody invests in something. I’ve invested lots of money since when I was a child into Magic. When you’re a child, you don’t think about why you’re investing. I realize now that I was investing in fun (the same reason I spent money on a video game, or time into playing a sport). Guess what? I get good return on my investment no matter what formats Wizards chops or which cards go on the reserved list.

    The ones I REALLY don’t like are the people who just hoard cards who are also not dealers. People that hoard dozens of a very hot card just to see whether it will go up or not. I mean, yes, it’s everyone’s choice of what to do with their money… but really: when the market is so easily influenced by a company who produces all of the commodity produced, is that really smart? If Magic cards were such a great investment, then big banks would invest in them. Average Joes would buy cards instead of CDs or bonds. Why would we have a bank account? Just put your money into ‘5 year duals’ that have a guaranteed 10% return.

    The reason that I don’t like these people is because I think they forgot the reason Magic became popular – because it’s fun.

  97. Hagan wrote: “Collectibles are not a great long term investment. They never have been. The game dies, you're stuff drops. Formerly 50-100 dollar D&D Minis can be had for 20-30 dollars now. Comic books are not a good investment. They are great for quick short turn investment, but it can't be your retirement plan. Comparing them to stocks is faulty, no one on Wall Street invests in comics for a reason. Game companies are fickle and volatile, no matter how much Magic makes and how popular it is, it is a niche market.”

    Not much more to add. What do you think that a guy on Wall Street (or any other real investor) would do/say if you told them that you “invested” in cardboard? We all know the reason.

    I say: Enjoy and support the game, while it lasts…you’ll never get rich out of it (unless you’re the owner of a very big shop, that sells toher things)

  98. I was totally expecting a mature respounce instead of a rebout of those retards that run the forums…. Um thanks for a completely emo article over ripe with petty emotions. It’s not wizards job to keep you pocket book happy, it’s there job to make sure the formats are balanced and players are having fun. you seriously just lost all respect i had for you.

  99. dowjonzechemical

    I still have my fae deck. And they are reprinting Mana Leak…


    Agree with you Mr. Fuentes. This announcement was too all of a sudden.

    As people have said here, ad infinitum/nauseam, it is not Wizards’ job to keep players “rich”. They are doing what they think is in the best interest of the game, which I think includes occasionally trimming the fat of players who are on the edge of quitting anyway. I am a tightwad, but if I quit magic everytime they made big changes like this, I would have at least quit 3 times over the past couple of years.

    Remember the new M10 rules announcement? It had almost as big an impact on extant players as this recent announcement. People saying the game was being dumbed down, they were quitting, and OMFG Mogg Fanatic sux now :(.

    The amount of players they will gain/maintain will far supercede the amount of whiners that will quit…

    Any sweeping change like this is bound to piss someone off…I just roll with it…in other words, if you aren’t a fan of changes to corporate policy you are playing the wrong game. Try Dominion. Its awesome.

  100. All this article does is whine.

    Its like a stockbroker who lost money and writes and cries about how no one warned them 1 year in advance that the market would crash.

    Basic 101 investing:it carries this important concept called risk. You want a growing investment with no risk? That doesn’t exist. Wizards is not obligated to give out any information out about changes just to help dealers or investors. They’re just there to create the supply. The secondary market is its own independent free market.

    And the people who think that the sudden change hurts the game more than it helps the game? Well thats just a combination of ignorance and self-centered bias.

  101. For those who keep saying don’t invest in Magic cards: to a large extent, of course, you’re right. In the long run, almost all Magic cards will decline in value. However, the real way to make money investing is to invest in a commodity in which you have personal expertise. For many Magic players, Magic cards may be the only such choice. Therefore, even if Magic cards aren’t ideal, it could make financial sense (in general) for those people to choose Magic cards as their preferred type of investment… at least as long as Wizards can be expected not to do things like this out of the blue (which they mostly do not).

    I don’t sell my cards, I rarely buy or trade cards, and I don’t play much competitive Constructed (too expensive!). This change doesn’t affect me directly. However, the manner in which Wizards handled it, the lack of warning, strikes me as very scary behavior. Wizards has lost a bit of my trust.

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