The Elegant Solution to the Pack Value Crisis

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For a while now, Wizards has been moving towards more tix in, pax out formats.  This has put serious downward pressure on the price of most boosters.

This deflation is a Bad Thing.

When the value of the boosters on the secondary market falls, prize payouts across the board fall with them.  Even the few formats that still take in boosters don't stand to gain much from this - lower entry, lower prizes is mostly a wash.

There are many ways to correct this trend, but most require either Wizards to lose revenue (a non-starter) or shift the deflationary pressure from unopened packs to the cards contained within (also a negative effect).  There is, however, one pretty solid solution to this that pulls out a win for everyone.


"Meta-Sealed Deck"


 (Name may need work!)
This is a sealed deck format, designed for bigger tournaments where you can bring any six packs - as long as no more than three are from the same set.

There are three main advantages to this format over any other solution so far:  

The first is that it increases the incentive to hold packs.  Devout players would want to have a wide arsenal to choose from, and you never know when a new set that comes out would interact positively with some random old set.

The second is that it would increase the value of all packs, regardless of payout skews (like the ones that appear in mixed-set drafting).  For example, packs from Legions can currently be had for less than 1 ticket each.  Maybe the creature count of Legions would work well with the equipments from the original Mirrodin set (which costs about 2.5 tix, at the moment)?  You could play for half price!

The third is that it would be fun!  One of the biggest reasons to play limited is the "different experience every time" factor.  Meta-Sealed would make it that much more different.



Mechanically speaking, I think this would probably be best implemented via saving a decklist of packs, then using that to enter the tournament (similar to how constructed does it). 

This is a great idea Emoticon! And sounds like a lot of fun. I know I would play this a lot.  What would the payout be though? Packs of the current set? 
Three major problems. First your suggestion is counter-productive. The prices of older boosters do not influence to current prize support. Like any other format yours would make the current boosters for prize payout making the value of the latest set even lower thus making the prize payout for other formats worse.

The second is that while it could be a fun format sooner or later competitive players would bring superior packs to play. History of magic is full of bonkers/broken cards and in your format they can be easily abused.

Third. I highly doubt Wotc would take their time and resources to make another format if it would not benefite them directly. Probably the payout of a fun format would be less then desirably (compare cube payouts for example). 
I always thought this was a much better solution than universal boosters. I think it'd be a fun format (I think I might prefer draft over sealed for this) and a good way to use up boosters that have fallen in value. It would probably bring the price of all the low valued boosters back up to 3tix or so.

If they wanted to fix std booster prices, just give us 4-booster sealed back. It ate boosters. Lots of them.     
Three major problems. First your suggestion is counter-productive. The prices of older boosters do not influence to current prize support. Like any other format yours would make the current boosters for prize payout making the value of the latest set even lower thus making the prize payout for other formats worse.



Ah, but that's the beauty of it.  Currently, how many boosters of the current sets do you "need" for the future?  Depending on how much you like drafting and sealed deck, that number ranges from 0-6.  With phantom sealed, it's dropped even lower.

If a format like this was hanging around though, you might want quite a few packs in reserve.  RtR would pair really well with the original Ravnica, for example, and once it is no longer the primary pack payout the value will only go up - increasing the speculative value (the value of holding it to sell later) of it as well.

In addition, this format more than any other could have crazy pack payouts (like 1 of each in-print booster), because it would feel more exciting to give people a mix, decreasing the imbalance of the various queues.  

The second is that while it could be a fun format sooner or later competitive players would bring superior packs to play. History of magic is full of bonkers/broken cards and in your format they can be easily abused.



Can you name an older pack that would unfairly tilt the playing field?  In my experience, the new sets tend to be the strongest overall, but older sets may have different balances of particular kinds of cards (equips, removal, low-cost creatures, finishers, etc.) that would keep things interesting.
Three major problems. First your suggestion is counter-productive. The prices of older boosters do not influence to current prize support. Like any other format yours would make the current boosters for prize payout making the value of the latest set even lower thus making the prize payout for other formats worse.



Ah, but that's the beauty of it.  Currently, how many boosters of the current sets do you "need" for the future?  Depending on how much you like drafting and sealed deck, that number ranges from 0-6.  With phantom sealed, it's dropped even lower.

If a format like this was hanging around though, you might want quite a few packs in reserve.  RtR would pair really well with the original Ravnica, for example, and once it is no longer the primary pack payout the value will only go up - increasing the speculative value (the value of holding it to sell later) of it as well.

In addition, this format more than any other could have crazy pack payouts (like 1 of each in-print booster), because it would feel more exciting to give people a mix, decreasing the imbalance of the various queues.  

The second is that while it could be a fun format sooner or later competitive players would bring superior packs to play. History of magic is full of bonkers/broken cards and in your format they can be easily abused.



Can you name an older pack that would unfairly tilt the playing field?  In my experience, the new sets tend to be the strongest overall, but older sets may have different balances of particular kinds of cards (equips, removal, low-cost creatures, finishers, etc.) that would keep things interesting.

I mean, just the fact that it's sealed would help.  Sure, one set may seem the most busted, but...it's sealed, so you can always open garbage and you can always open the nuts.

I don't think one set being "the best" would get out of hand.  In any case, it's almost self correcting.  Mirrodin proves to be the strongest?  People start using Mirrodin packs...the price of packs go up.  All of a sudden, you have to choose between paying a higher entry fee and having a better chance of winning or....using cheaper packs and having less chance winning.  Technically, if there were a large disparity between strength of certain sets, then the EV would balance out.

On top of that, there is the solvability of the format.  Now, if you read any MTG articles, you'll find that there are still new things being discovered about draft and sealed formats months after their release.  If you change the card pool to be drastically larger, then it would take even longer to 'solve'.  Additionally, I believe the largest part of solving a format is understanding the limitations.  A good example is how people are finding auras to be very powerful in RtR because the removal is relatively bad.  With a format such as this, that pretty much becomes impossible.  There isn't such a limited 'format' to have quirks and holes such as I just described with RtR.  Also, if it looks like a format would begin to get solved, then such quirks would develop due to more of a homogenization of the cardpool....which would then lead to people being able to metagame and attack any quirks that they discovered.  This would likely cause a upheaval in the established pack strength hierarchy....effectively resetting it to zero.




So, in my opinion, I don't think that there would be a problem with a certain pack being overrepresented due to strength.  I see two methods which would selfcorrect for such a thing. 

I support the idea of this format, but only because it's awesome, I'm not so sure it'll accomplish emoticon's goal of helping pack prices (probably the only thing that would is moving away from all the tix-only entrys, especially in release queues)

My forever unfinished blog of the 2010 MTGO Community Cup: if you're ever bored...
I don't think this would ever happen officially.  It's not so much a "format" as "90 random cards."  You get so little of each set that it could never have any more of a metagame than the casual room has.  People like knowing which cards and decks are good and there would be no way to know with this.  It would be hard for Wizards to promote and doesn't seem like their style.

I support it as a PRE though and I'm sure it would be fun.  Somebody start organizing! 
At first I thought your idea was that you could use any packs as an entrance fee but you would still open that event's boosters. Like you could use Legions boosters to join a Return to Ravinica sealed and you would open, use, and keep RTR cards. The event would just translate Legions boosters into RTR.

I kinda like this idea. You basically pay two tickets to turn your Legions boosters into RTR boosters except you have to open them right away. And as a bonus you get to play in a sealed event. They could even make these different events with different (worse) prize support if needed.
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