PROTRADER: Blind Spot

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Lately, all we’ve been able to talk about is lands. Lands and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Expeditions consumed the collective Magic consciousness ahead of Battle for Zendikar’s release. How rare would they be? How much could they be worth? Would they look cool? Are they ruining Magic? Then the set released, and the questions changed while the topic stayed the same. Are they more common in prerelease boxes? Why are they sometimes damaged? What do I do when I open one? Are they going to rise in price or drop?

For the most part, these have been fair questions. Expeditions lands are attention-grabbing. They’re visually exciting, get the people around you talking, and they’re worth enough to often buy you an entire second box of BFZ. Of course people are thinking and talking about them.

At the same time, Fat Packs have grabbed a lot of attention lately as well. When players realized that fat packs aren’t print-on-demand, but rather only have a single print run, big box store inventory dried up quickly and local stores were raising their prices. Star City Games was charging a whopping $80 for them—nearly the price of a booster box itself.

Quick aside: First of all, “price gouging” only refers to raising prices on essential goods and services, and almost always during an emergency situation where markets are extremely localized. Charging $30 for a $3 gallon of gas in the middle of a blizzard that prohibits travel to other vendors is price gouging. Charging $80 for a Fat Pack with an MSRP of $40 isn’t price gouging, it’s capitalism, for better or worse.

I had written a whole bunch more about this at first, but it was discussed very well on Monday in Sigmund’s article and in the comments. Go read it there.

Alright, where were we. Ah yes, the basic land packs contained within the contentious Fat Packs.

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9 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Blind Spot”

  1. you can throw thousands of theories about gouging on the internet. What you are missing here, the blind spot (wink), is the emotional reaction of people on this. They call it price gouging and even if it’s theoretically incorrect to call it like that, the main message is that people THINK it’s price gouging.

    I have no idea why so many writers on this site try to be the smart guy and tell everyone that it’s not theoretically gouging, and that you think it’s OK. What really matters is what most peole are thinking.
    So next step: are people buying these for that price?
    If yes, why?

    I’m quiet sick of the elite discussion about price gouging. You’ re not winning anything here.

    But about the main article:
    we noticed the same on drafts. some people don’t look at them, others first pick them because they are not included in the rare redraft.
    Drafts are great to gather the foil basics, I think.

    I noticed an average of 3 foil basics / box.
    I wonder if others experienced the same ratio.

    1. I think a lot of people, mostly the players here, are also ignoring their emotional response to this. Panic began to set in and people clamored to get these, but let’s be honest, was it really worth it? What were they getting this time around that really (really?) made them different from previous Fat Packs. Furthermore, no one seemed to know (or were choosing to be willfully ignorant to the fact) that these are printed in the same quantities from one set to the next, and are only released in one wave. I think a lot of the blame can be attributed to the players, where no one did their research, but all the relevant information was already out there. But nothing changes here. Sure it might’ve been hyped a bit on WotC’s end, I think that once that snowball got rolling it was the players doing this to themselves, rather than a shadowy cabal of financiers secretly hoarding these, or asshole store owners artificially inflating prices to meet a new demand that existed (and you can quote me on this) for this one set.

      They’re not special, and they never were. People are salty now because they reacted so emotionally when there were easier and multiple ways to get these basics lands (if that’s truly what they were using to justify their purchases this time around). And the irony of it all is that this will be forgotten when Oath comes around because no seems to ever learn after being burned multiple times. Even if there’s basic land packs again, people will have already gotten their fill, nothing will have been learned (once again) and these will go back to rotting on store shelves and in distribution warehouses.

  2. What’s this” you did digging for price graphs?”
    Jokes aside, great article. Always wanted zen lands for a myriad of deck, and being able to draft them is a fine substitute since no collection has had islands.

  3. One thing I would have liked you to mention was the difference in art.

    If we look back at the original Zendikar, you can see some of the basics are worth more than others. Especially Island, Forest and Mountain, the difference between Veronique Meignaud and the others (especially Mountain and Island) is quite big.

    Of course, everyone has their own favorite art, but being able to hit the most appreciated will certainly not harm the potential gains.

    This time around, it seems like Noah Bradley is the favorite, on all except for Swamp.

  4. “Those $80 Fat Packs don’t sound so dumb now, do they?”

    they do, really, they do.

    tbh it just sounds like you poured money into them at an inflated price and now you’re trying to convince us they’re really worth that much.

    they aren’t, but if people promote the perception that 80 basic lands (which means that these lands are theoretically worth 50¢ apiece, good luck offloading them in large numbers for close to that price) are worth doubling the price of 9 boosters and a dinky box, i guess that’s what people will believe.

  5. One thing i am noticing about the prices of the new lands, is that we seem to have a discrepancy between the behaviour of the set foil vs the expedition for the new battleduals (or whatever we’re calling them)…….vs the behaviour of set foil vs other foils for the shocks and fetches.

    Is this logical, given pure quantity of each? Or is there a correction to either the set or expedition foil to be expected?

    Now that you spoke about my “super secret tech” in this article, i may as well raise this issue too 🙂

  6. Thanks for writing about this, its nice to know that questions on the forum can spark articles. I’m going to try to trade into them and see if I can’t get the in the 3-4 dollar range.

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