Anniversaries: A Time for Celebration or Greed?

Magic: The Gathering is one of the biggest trading card games in the world. The game has a dedicated following of players worldwide since 1993 and has inspired a rich lore and community of fans. With its mix of strategy, luck, and creativity, Magic: The Gathering remains a beloved game for players of all ages and skill levels. Magic is also closely tied to art. Each card in the game has a unique piece of art relating to the contents of the card itself. Some cards even get new artwork throughout the years to keep the game fresh. The artwork is an essential part of the game’s design, helping to bring the game’s creatures, spells, and artifacts to life. The artists who create these artworks are an integral part of the Magic community and are celebrated for their contributions to the game’s aesthetics. The cards themselves are often sought after by collectors and enthusiasts for their beautiful artwork and unique designs. Magic has also inspired numerous artists and illustrators, many of whom have gone on to create their own successful careers in the art world.

The beginning of this year, 2023, marked the game’s 30th Anniversary. To celebrate this, Wizards of the Coast (the creators of Magic: The Gathering) released a special anniversary edition set. The set totaled 60 collectible cards that included some of the game’s most iconic and oldest cards. In theory, this seemed like a good idea for Wizards of the Coast to release, but it ended up flopping and enraging most of their fanbase. The price for these 60 cards was $1000, which was priced way higher than anything they’ve ever released. The price was outrageous, and the cards aren’t even legal in tournament play. That’s $1000 for essentially 60 collector’s items. The set was only available for purchase online for a few hours until Wizards of the Coast took down the listing and said “The sale has now concluded.” Many fans have speculated that Wizards took the listing off themselves without truly selling out because of all the harsh criticism they received.

For comparison, one of the other big trading card games, Yu-Gi-Oh!, just celebrated its 25th anniversary. For their celebration, they released a set of card packs for just over $30, which went over very well with their fans. This is so much more realistic, as it allows all of their fanbase to take part in buying the set and celebrating. The Yu-Gi-Oh! set was also made tournament legal, so fans could actually use the cards after opening.

The Magic: The Gathering collector’s box situation just doesn’t seem right. It feels like a crime to expect their fans to pay $1000 (when historically nothing has ever touched this price) to enjoy the game’s history. Wizards of the Coast is relying on the nostalgic art of the old cards to reel in their fans. Hopefully next time Wizards of the Coast has a big milestone to celebrate, they can make up for their 30th anniversary mistake and give their fans what they want.

(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)
Tim Sweeters

5 thoughts on “Anniversaries: A Time for Celebration or Greed?

  1. Wizards of the Coast has more recently gained the reputation of being a greedy company. Not only with Magic but also with Dungeons and Dragons, so them pulling something like this wasn’t that surprising to many. What was surprising was the outrageous price people were expected to pay. And not mentioned in this article, but very important to contextualize the backlash, is that the cards you get are random. There is a pool of cards you can get randomly inserted into these packs that cost $1000. Some of them are incredibly sought after, some are almost literally trash.

    Wizards of the Coast knew that die-hard fans and collectors would salivate at the mouth to have these. The price reflects that. They knew that they would get some backlash, but ultimately, they would sell a few thousand of these and make a couple million.

    Unfortunately for them, the outrage spread past the Magic community into the greater TCG community and was picked up by more mainstream sources. Which is good, but this controversy has not stopped them whatsoever. They will be releasing a collaboration with Lord of the Rings that has a 1 of 1 (1 made for the entire world randomly inserted into 1 pack) version of The One Ring from the series. Although kinda cool, this is no doubt a huge cash grab that will 100% increase sales dramatically. Again, WotC know their audience. And they won’t stop anytime soon. I guarantee you that.

  2. $1000 is an insane amount to ask for trading cards, but this is coming from me, someone who has no experience with trading cards at all. Although insane, I don’t think it’s a crime. If people really wanted something, they’d pay the price. I know a couple of people who would pay $30 for a single Pokemon card with Japanese art, so I get why this company would even considering putting these expensive trading cards on the market. To be honest, if I had the money, I’d spend thousands on a handbag, so I guess it just depends on people’s preferences and price range.

  3. I don’t necessarily think this is a crime (Magic’s sale of an incredibly expensive anniversary card set). Yes, it is outrageous and I certainly wouldn’t buy these cards or support them, but no one is forcing people to buy these items from them. Really a poor move on them for doing this though.

  4. While I would also agree that the price of a thousand dollars for a set of 60 cards is outrageous, I would not consider it an actual crime. I would consider it more of an overpriced item. When you think about it, these are classic cards that are returning in order to celebrate the anniversary of one of the iconic trading card games. So the company responsible for making Magic: The Gathering expects to profit off of the rare cards that they are re-releasing again. However, those high prices are set by collectors who have sold them on websites like eBay. Reselling them in a whole collection not at a reasonable retail price is what sets the company with a negative image. Not to mention that those cards are also only being used as display and not used for regular playing. It’s restrictive As stated in the article, Yu-Gi-Oh celebrated its anniversary at a reasonable amount of $30 and all their cards can be used for regular play. Yu-Gi-Oh had the right plan and execution while Magic: The Gathering had the right plan but bad execution

  5. I feel like this was a bad move on the company’s part. This traditional game has been enjoyed for decades by many at a specific price point, so I can understand the shock their fans were in when this was released. Although it may be special edition, the sudden skyrocketed price alienates a lot of people that could have wanted to buy it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *