PROTRADER: Not Concerned by RL Buyouts

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For a moment, I saw absolute panic.  Right before me I saw the whites of the buyout monster’s eyes – 28 more reserve list cards jumped by over 15% in the past week.  These all moved after we already saw rampant buying in Moat and Lion’s Eye Diamond.  This was quite possibly the beginning of the end, and America’s most-hated man was pouring fuel on the fire with his unnecessary, trolling tweets.


But over this past weekend I realized a few things that have drastically ameliorated my fears.  Setting emotions aside, I’ve come to the conclusion that the world isn’t ending.  Is it possible that buyouts and a healthy MTG economy can coexist?  This week I’ll share three observations that have calmed my nerves and motivated me to stretch my MTG investments even further despite all the recent turmoil.

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16 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Not Concerned by RL Buyouts”

  1. Slow price increases on rare cards isn’t the big picture concern. The real big-picture issue is this: That fun playing the game of Mtg is less relevant than financial news about cards. I. E. “Did you check out that fun deck in standard” “No because it costs $500” Working adults can continue but kids can’t afford to be investing in cardboard. It seems fine now but if cost to play at all is the most important factor the fiscal cliff is coming.

    1. Your talking about the smallest subset of the community. The people that play standard on a regular basis have the funds to play it. The people that are playing kitchen table magic(the highest percentage of the magic community) don’t care about $500 std decks because they wait until cards rotate then pick up the cards. Those kitchen table players buy the most packs from any store here in town and are what keep us playing magic and investing in magic.

      1. I can attest to this. I was a kitchen table player of Magic on and off between 1997 and 2007. For a few months, I would go to the mall once a week and purchase 3-6 boosters solely to rip them open and pray for a good pull. It took me years to realize buying singles was the best way of building a more competitive deck….years.

        I had no idea card price appreciation was a thing. The rising price of reserve list staples was furthest from my mind, and I suspect the vast majority of Magic players are also in this boat.

        Appreciate the build, diron!

    2. You bring up a tough dichotomy. Fun vs. finance can be a dicey comparison. While of course there’s a MAJOR gaming component to Magic, there’s definitely a financial side as well. Magic’s entire model is based upon rarity and collectibility. MTG is considered a “collectible card game”. To me, this implies the premise that one can collect and store resources in the form of these cards. There will always be the gaming component of course. But the fact of the matter is, many view MTG as an investment medium or a business and this is a reality that cannot be denied. While that doesn’t mean everyone has to embrace this mindset, I think turning a blind eye towards this fact is naive and short-sighted.

  2. Quite literally 99% of the people playing Magic give two craps about these buyouts. A very very small percentage of the community ever plays organized play. Why do you think Wal Mart… think about that… WAL MART sells Magic Cards? Because there’s a gajillion people out there who have some Magic Cards stashed at home, see a new set and say “hey, I should get some of those to play another few games with my friends… maybe I can get some cool new card… ooh look at that I got a MYTHIC rare!!”

    Seriously, have you ever watched Craigslist MTG collection sales? More than half of the people literally list their collections as “I have about 900 commons/uncommons, 21 rares, and 4 mythics… only asking $250”

  3. Any chance u will unlock this Sig cause I’d love to read it. I do have a question for u anyways, what is prompting these buyouts NOW. 5-10 yrs ago people knew these cards weren’t going to be reprinted…so what has changed so much? Is the US economy doing better so people have more money for Magic cards??

    1. Eternal Masters was definitely a recent catalyst. But Craig Berry’s recent video about LED definitely sparked many “me-too” investors AND panic buying. That “fear of missing out” I wrote about a couple weeks ago. Watching prices spike makes people panic and think “If I ever want to get Gaea’s Cradles for less than $200 I better get them now!” and they buy their playset, inevitably creating a self-fulfilling prophecy situation. This is another cause for spikes. But just wait and see what happens as this passes under the bridge. We’re already seeing a significant deceleration in buyouts and this will continue as the market re-equilibrates and people refocus on Standard again. It’s the normal ebb and flow of the market.

  4. Thanks for your response Sig, I appreciate it. I think I saw you comment on the Craig Berry piece on mtgprice, but my overall opinion is some people are completely out of control with their response to buyouts and the interview conducted. It’s actually scary to me how people are reacting, hopefully it’s just anonymous tough guy talk, but saying a guy should die over a card game is insane imo.

    I do believe that if people ever wanted to play certain decks they should have tried to get reserved list cards first. I don’t blame people for not buying them if they had other financial restrictions and responsibilities, but life is about opportunity cost, and I think this will be a value lesson and learning experience for most tho a tough one as most learning experiences are. I don’t blame certain Magic players from walking away from the game if it is too expensive for them. In a way I think about what I could have done or could do if I gave up Magic and all the money it would free up. Maybe Pokemon Go will destroy Magic before any buyouts can lol.

    I hope the buyouts don’t ruin the game, I don’t think they will, and I don’t think they will kill Legacy. I hope the situation lights a fire under WotC’s ass to create a Reserve List free format bridging Legacy and Modern. If someone of great wealth ever tries to buy up all the dual lands then I will be extremely fearful…and likely sell off my Legacy and Reserved list cards at that point. Until then I’ll enjoy the game and try to convince my friends to join me in learning the Legacy format and learn to love “affordable decks” that they can play.

    1. All well put up until the idea of creating a new format. As the game ages, formats will be born and some will die. That’s inescapable. Legacy is going the way of Vintage, Modern will go the way of Legacy, new format will go the way of Modern, etc. No matter what Wizards does, they won’t be able to reprint older cards enough to keep Eternal formats affordable for the masses.

      And this is OK. I try to write articles that guide people in focusing their investments in MTG so they can afford some of their favorite older cards. Other writers share ideas on how to make this game cheaper. This is going to be the best we can do going forward. Magic won’t ever be as cheap as Chess, but with a little discipline and effort, we can at least keep costs in check for each respective player.

      1. I agree that legacy will tend towards vintage but modern will never be like legacy. Modern is fully reprintable therefore wizards can control the upper price of any individual card in the format. Financially it is a game of 2 halves. Almost complete market control in legacy/vintage and part market, part wizards control in standard/modern. Most people prefer the cheaper option and that comes with the understanding that if you spend $100 on a staple, it quite possibly won’t be worth that next week if it is reprinted. This reality affects investor confidence which in turn keeps modern prices superficially lower than they should be.
        Buyouts on the other hand only work if a card is in demand. If a card is not in demand then the price of what people are willing to pay doesn’t change from one day to the next, even if a buyout occurs. (Whoever bought out polar kraken, what were you thinking?)
        Buy outs of reserved staples on the other hand is what it is, a good investment. We all know that and everyone wished they had bought 4 underground seas instead of a couple PlayStation games 20 odd years ago. Now someone else is saying I’d rather buy 4 beta volcanic’s instead of that car. In 10 years it will be instead of that house and so on. .. You snooze you lose. If you want to play with vintage and legacy staples, don’t moan, just buy,… buy right now… Today! You will never regret it. With standard cards wait for rotation and with modern, wait for a reprint. KT (kitchen table) and pauper players aren’t bothered about any of these issues and so they shouldn’t be. The magics player spectrum is like any other activities. Like some who have super yachts, others with speed boats, another group on sail boats and others on the beach playing Pokemon go. Most will do one, very few will do al, even if they want to ….. unless they invest well.

  5. los felicito por star en estemedio tan importante y que con tinuen adelante, todos los parabienes son para ustedes y exitos y muchas pero muchas felices navidades que el seeitnld&;or les regale en el nuevo año mas y mas sabiduria en todos los proyectos que emprendan abrazos.

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