Remember when this game was crazy expensive

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You were lucky if you could get 2 (or was it 4) crappy rares for 1 tix.
Flame Tongue Kavu!!!!!
I need 3 liliana of the Veil for the deck I want to play the most.

There's no point in trying to play the game the way I want to:
Bots have 24 hours per day to trade, I only have 1 at the maximum.
Bots can always go positive in trades.
I must always go negative to get the cards I want.

Bots and traders inflate the prices of the cards so that this becomes a "buying cards game". 
Not to mention the inherent imbalances in the card themselves; Liliana of the Veil being 35 tickets right now, while Vraska the Unseen hovers around 5 -- solely because traders don't want to sell Vraska cheaper in case someone breaks her.

Mythic rares kills the game, because even though I love the game -- I can't justify paying 100$ for 3 pieces of virtual cardboard simply because the makers of the game decided that those pieces of cardboard were going to be the BEST AND THE RAREST pieces of virtual cardboard just to sell more virtual pieces of cardboard for people to acquire those best pieces of virtual cardboard so that they can win games.

I'm off to an alternative source where every piece of virtual cardboard has the same price -- until Liliana of the Veil is down to 10$ per piece of virtual cardboard.

Of course, I will still play other decks on MTGO.

========

Funny thing is, I have not seen Liliana of the Veil in play more than one single time the past year.
Is she sideboard for ONE specific T2 tournament netdeck or something?

I can't count the times I've seen Garruk the Veil-Cursed and Tamyio the Moon Sage.
In drafts, I have seen them both several time in play, each. But not Liliana.
In constructed, I have only seen her one single time.

I remember that game well -- because that is the single and only game I saw her.
Drafted her once, too, at the start of Innistrad -- but sold her to buy the bread and butter of my black deck; Other rares. 
Bots and traders inflate the prices of the cards so that this becomes a "buying cards game". 


That's not the way economics works. Having a defacto currency (tickets) and several large dealers competing leads to a more efficient economy, which lowers prices. Automating the process with bots makes things yet more efficient.

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Bots and traders inflate the prices of the cards so that this becomes a "buying cards game". 


That's not the way economics works. Having a defacto currency (tickets) and several large dealers competing leads to a more efficient economy, which lowers prices. Automating the process with bots makes things yet more efficient.




Players need 0.0% profit.
Bots need 20.0% profit.

The need for profit drives prices for humans buying cards up and humans selling cards down.
Bots and traders inflate the prices of the cards so that this becomes a "buying cards game". 


That's not the way economics works. Having a defacto currency (tickets) and several large dealers competing leads to a more efficient economy, which lowers prices. Automating the process with bots makes things yet more efficient.




Players need 0.0% profit.
Bots need 20.0% profit.

The need for profit drives prices for humans buying cards up and humans selling cards down.




You're wrong. Bots have driven the prices down quite consistently. As the OP suggests, years ago it was difficult to find even jank rares for less than a ticket.

Winter.Wolf

Having a perfect market pushes down prices and bots are one part of that, but the completely unnecessary difficulty an individual player has selling their cards functions as a large regressive tax on the player base in favour of those with the most - generally bots.

And low prices for rares aren't a sign that the game has gotten cheaper, they're a function of mythic rarity and the general decline of constructed on modo relative to limited.
The price of rares had dropped from where it was when i started well before mythics arrived. I remember the for bots being new and later when they where obsoleted. And that was all before Alara block and its new shiny mythics.
On the over hand commons are still virtually the same cost as they have ever been.

I've bought the cards and made a deck Now how do I win at this?

Funny thing is, I have not seen Liliana of the Veil in play more than one single time the past year.
Is she sideboard for ONE specific T2 tournament netdeck or something?

I can't count the times I've seen Garruk the Veil-Cursed and Tamyio the Moon Sage.
In drafts, I have seen them both several time in play, each. But not Liliana.
In constructed, I have only seen her one single time.


In standard she's in around 8% of the decks (jund most notibly)

www.mtgo-stats.com/

In modern she was in about 20% of decks since jund was just that popular. But Jund's number is down to 4% because of the bloodbraid elf ban (jan 28th).

Strangely enough Liliana has gone up since they neutered jund in modern. So my guess is that Jund is getting more popular in standard, the format that most people play.

Vraska the Unseen hovers around 5 -- solely because traders don't want to sell Vraska cheaper in case someone breaks her.


Vraska is seen in some standard sideboards, and she's actually played in block.

Block is played enough that it can effect prices. Tree of redemption was 2 tickets at one point, and at that same point in time it was 75 cents in paper.

Mythic rares kills the game, because even though I love the game -- I can't justify paying 100$ for 3 pieces of virtual cardboard simply because the makers of the game decided that those pieces of cardboard were going to be the BEST AND THE RAREST pieces of virtual cardboard just to sell more virtual pieces of cardboard for people to acquire those best pieces of virtual cardboard so that they can win games.
 



I agree with you.  They do kill the game for those who do not wish to spend an outrageous amount on few pieces of virtual cardboard.  For the price of 1 Liliana we can buy an entire computer game.  I think I bought Civilization 5 for around $25 when it was on sale on Steam.

Sadly however, it doesn't kill the game for others.  People DO and WILL pay these outrageous prices -many because they love competing in Standard and realize that this is the only way to compete at the highest level, and some because they want to be in the running to going infinite.

It was very smart of Wizards to create Mythics, however it is bad for the average player like me.  The day when I quit Standard and play instead a few Drafts and the rest Commander games will come soon for me, if this trend with Mythic prices continues.

This is a matter of perspective. When I started playing pauper you could pick up 32 playables like onslaught cycling lands and affinity pieces from a free bot every month. Now that pauper is a thing you're paying a doolar plus for those same cards. You can say wotc have ruined magic with mythics, but that ignores the reality that price just reflects demand.
Price reflects supply, demand, competing goods, and various other market factors, not 'just' demand. 

Mythic was an intentional tightening of supply per $ in the company's favor, vis a vis the player base. 


It was very smart of Wizards to create Mythics, however it is bad for the average player like me.  The day when I quit Standard and play instead a few Drafts and the rest Commander games will come soon for me, if this trend with Mythic prices continues.




I quit constructed a while back (mainly due to lack of time, rather than lack of money to be fair), and feel it was a great decision.  I only play Momir Basic nowadays and limited with any boosters I win, and find it easily fills my Magic time,  though  few more Momir Basic daily events would be great!

I will occasionally build a block deck and play a bit, if there's a cheap deck and I have EDH decks in paper.
The high price of "chase" mythics of sets prior to Gatecrash is mostly due to redemption.

Each full set taken out of MTGO eats one copy of each mythic, leaving over all "leftover" commons, uncommons and rares. This depresses the prices of commons, uncommons and rares while inflating the price of mythics.

Wizards recently bumped up the redemption fee for GTC and onwards by.. oo.. 500%?

Net effect; look, no Mythic in GTC is worth more than ~13 tickets. Prices are generally going down. Reason? Redemption buyers are buying much less due to the fee hike.

Unintended consequence; value of GTC packs has gone down hard. Not enough pack-eating events, not enough "chase mythic chasing" (cheaper just to buy singles if you want any) through limited play.

If Wizards stick with the new redemption fee, expect average price of highly in-demand mythic to stay considerably lower.

Well.

With a proper trade forum, players would not need to feed bots with tickets and the prices would go down for players using that trade forum.
As seen with every online game in existence where players have a place to trade and message eachother while they're not actually sitting in front of the computer.

If I made the new client, I would've included an auction house where you can put all your cards and your minimum price, and have them sold while you're away -- on top of the regular trade ability.

The classifieds, gone when you are logged off, are just hopeless for trading with other players.
The game NEEDS an equivalent of D2JPS forums; A place where you can make outrageous demands and be laughed at, then moderate yourself and actually sell -- or sell underpriced right there and then, like you currently have to do to all the bots swarming the classifieds like flies on a turd.

Liliana of the Veil would've costed 32 tickets on such a forum right now, because AFK players can trade with other players while not actually sitting and searching the classifieds, and bots would not be able to post there.
Most of the bots are unwilling to pay more than 20 tix for Liliana, even now, and they do get sales from inexperienced players that would've been better served by an auction house or message board, or even an ingame message board.


Well.

With a proper trade forum, players would not need to feed bots with tickets and the prices would go down for players using that trade forum.
As seen with every online game in existence where players have a place to trade and message eachother while they're not actually sitting in front of the computer.

If I made the new client, I would've included an auction house where you can put all your cards and your minimum price, and have them sold while you're away -- on top of the regular trade ability.

The classifieds, gone when you are logged off, are just hopeless for trading with other players.
The game NEEDS an equivalent of D2JPS forums; A place where you can make outrageous demands and be laughed at, then moderate yourself and actually sell -- or sell underpriced right there and then, like you currently have to do to all the bots swarming the classifieds like flies on a turd.

Liliana of the Veil would've costed 32 tickets on such a forum right now, because AFK players can trade with other players while not actually sitting and searching the classifieds, and bots would not be able to post there.

... 
Why is she 38.5 tickets online anyway -- 5$ higher than in paper? 



Because each single copy "unlocks" one full set for redemption and the total cost of a full set online (+redemption costs) is still considerably less than the same cards in paper form. It doesn't matter for the redeemers if this single card sells, in paper form, "at a loss", when they can more than make it up when selling all the other cards in the same set.

The requirement for a full set for redemption is what drives the most in-demand mythic or two to high prices online. Bots can vacuum up the less-in-demand cards at peanuts (commons at 0.01 or less, uncommons at 0.01-0.03, rares mostly at 0.2-0.5 tickets) but a set is a set for redemption only when it has one of each. Mythics that are in demand for constructed play online, especially mythics with "eternal" format (Modern, Legacy) uses, are cards that are rarely parted to bots unless they are outright excess copies or unless the drafter just sells all the cards and doesn't play constructed.

So the price goes up and up until it reaches a point where the price reaches a pain point for the redemption buyers. That is commonly way past the pain point for constructed players (or even paper price).

I'm actually analyzing the prices right now, and Clifftop Retreat, Hinterland Harbor, Snappy and Isolated Chapel seems to be the main culprits.

Which happens to be mandatory in deckbuilding online, as well -- more so than any planeswalker...
Oh my. 

I think I'll be hoarding Clifftop Retreat and Isolated Chapels once I'm done analyzing how close the prices between online and real life are "supposed" to become.
I'm actually analyzing the prices right now, and Clifftop Retreat, Hinterland Harbor, Snappy and Isolated Chapel seems to be the main culprits.

Which happens to be mandatory in deckbuilding online, as well -- more so than any planeswalker...
Oh my. 

I think I'll be hoarding Clifftop Retreat and Isolated Chapels once I'm done analyzing how close the prices between online and real life are "supposed" to become.



...and the reason is simple; Each constructed player requires only four copies of each card. But there are far more copies of each rare than mythic available online. Excess beyond 4 copies is almost universally dumped to bots for tix. So they are far cheaper online than in paper form.

...yet redemption requires cards at a flat ratio (1 of each, regardless of rarities). That's not the ratio they arrive to the online system.

Only real way to do a long-term fix would be to do redemptions at rarity ratios. One redeemable "set" would be

- 1 of each mythic
- 2 or 3 of each rare (not sure what the exact ratio is, I know it is 1 per 8 packs but there are less mythics than rares)
- 3 of each uncommon
- 10 of each common

...adjusted to size of each rarity, I guess. I don't have exact figures here but you get the idea - main point would be that for each full set of mythics that leaves MTGO, the corresponding amount of lesser rarities leaves so the "chaff" ratio stays the same (right now mythics are "more rare" than other rarities online because larger percentage of them leaves the system than cards of other rarities)

This would obviously be a very hard sell to those who collect playsets to transfer to paper form for their own play use... and it might be messy for mass redeemers as well - they would get tons more chaff with each sellable single card. I've actually worked in a store that sold MTG singles, long ago, and one of the "secrets" is that even with lot of stock coming from players selling singles, somewhere behind every paper singles seller is a massive stock of effectively unsellable trash in the form of commons and uncommons, filed away in massive boxes, sorted and filtered by underpaid part-time staffers from time to time... Yes, paper sellers do offer them for sale (and each copy they sell, at almost any price, would be pretty much pure profit if it weren't for the costs of handling physical goods...)

But ultimately this is the only way to keep around redemption which wouldn't distort the singles prices of commons, uncommons and rares down (and mythics up). Not expecting this to occur, just saying what the root cause is.

Well, okay, either that or just closing the redemption window for good. Naturaly that could have far more drastic unintended consequences.

In any case, I fully understand why Wizards bumped up the redemption fee - it is a (weak) attempt at tacking this very issue. Unfortunately I don't think they realized the knock-on effect it would have on pack values online - and packs being the only prizes, the end result is what it is.

But hey, at least GTC singles are far cheaper to buy for constructed play. So you can play for far lower value prizes (in packs) and get far less value out of liquidating any rare/mythic picks in limited

I dunno about Mythics as far as competitive play goes (where things have always been expensive). The cheapest ones are just over a ticket, the only value seems to be because of redemption. I actually pulled Gideon from draft and couldn't really get much out of it by selling it. I was actually surprised. Oh well.

As for mythics affecting prices of other rares.. nah. Back in 03 while I played some casual stuff, each and every rare had value. The difference is crazy compared to today. The prices seemed to drop around when bots came around, though. Maybe sometime earlier. Years ago I was happy when I got a playset of something crappy for 1 ticket, now I can get 10 crappy rares for the same price. Sucks when I'm trying to sell my stuff, though (like even the newest boosters!).

One thing hasn't changed though, there's always been expensive stuff. But if you just wanna fool around playing budget or casual decks, there's a major difference there. Compared to v2 days. That was kind of the point of the topic. Or at least my very casual viewpoint to the subject, lol!

Edit: Agree with the above poster that there should be an auction house of some sorts built into the game. Would make selling things easier and more fair for everyone.
Before bots you could buy for 5 and sell for 10.  Now you can buy for 9 and sell for 10.  Sure players do have a harder time competing against bots but it seems overall very positive to me.  Would you rather go back to 50% margins like before or keep the 15%ish that we have now?

Just sayin..
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I would prefer if Wizards actually made trading realistically possible for humans, instead of having an extreme prejudice against players who wants to trade cards in their "buying card game".

I start a watch right now and list all the suggestions I can come up with in 60 seconds that makes trading better for humans:

1: Auction house (Drop the cards you don't need here; 5 slots per account.)
2: Supported trade channel with it's own tab
3: Official trade forums
4: 0.1 tickets (Trading card for card is close to impossible)
5: Better balance between cards and tiers
6: More environmental friendly production (150 commons, 90 uncommons, 40 rares and 15 mythics per set (Less rares and mythics per set; Uncommons will be better on average to make up for the reduction)
7: More reprinting
8: Have good cards in pre-made decks
9: Have a planeswalker in each premade-deck.
10: Playable manafixing at uncommon (rather than rare)

Boom.
(I took some time writing a description of what the idea actually means)
I would prefer if Wizards actually made trading realistically possible for humans, instead of having an extreme prejudice against players who wants to trade cards in their "buying card game".

I start a watch right now and list all the suggestions I can come up with in 60 seconds that makes trading better for humans:

1: Auction house (Drop the cards you don't need here; 5 slots per account.)
2: Supported trade channel with it's own tab
3: Official trade forums
4: 0.1 tickets (Trading card for card is close to impossible)
5: Better balance between cards and tiers
6: More environmental friendly production (150 commons, 90 uncommons, 40 rares and 15 mythics per set (Less rares and mythics per set; Uncommons will be better on average to make up for the reduction)
7: More reprinting
8: Have good cards in pre-made decks
9: Have a planeswalker in each premade-deck.
10: Playable manafixing at uncommon (rather than rare)

Boom.
(I took some time writing a description of what the idea actually means)




First what is this "extreme prejudice" agaisnt human trading you are referring too?  Open the classifieds, and search for "human" or "casual" then pm the person.  From that point, it's no different than it was 10 years ago before bots.


I'm not sure what an auction house will do for you that a respectable bot chain with fair margins doesn't.  These prices are regulated by competition with other bots and human trading.  The bot chain I often use currently has Liliana of the Veila at buy = 35.75, and sell = 39.25.  That's a very fair margin given the risk of price fluctuations. With an auction hous what would you expect to pay?  The same supply and demand will regulate the prices there and you will be paying around the same.


Human to human trading is so tedious, and more often than not the other guy is looking to get the better deal and it takes hours to get something done. With a bot, you open trade, an in 20 seconds you have the card you want.  Granted it takes an initial investment in time to ask around and poke around to find a bot chain you can trust to not be ripping you off.  But contrast that with having to go through that process with humans for every trade you make.


What is a supported trade channel exacly?  A chat room with streaming spam?

I have the opposite experience with human trading.
I can buy liliana of the veil for 35 tickets from humans, and then when I sell it I will sell it to a human for the bot's buy-price.
However -- I won't be able to sell it to a human because normal playing humans have to be extremely lucky to see my add the two hours I'm online every other day.
On a forum or auction house, my card would've been available 24/7 for humans who wants to trade. 

Are all of you bot-owners?
I mean, I feel pretty stupid for NOT owning a bot right now, actually spending tickets on MTGO to build decks on MTGO.
Owning a bot is pretty much exactly like having an auction house.

A trade channel would be a channel where players can talk about trades and prices.
Currently you get muted if you try to discuss prices or trade in every official chat area. 
Topic seems to be veering into territory of another current thread, so let me try to pull it back to the issue of Mythic prices.

A lot of people seem to fail to realize that whether Wizards decided they wanted mythics to be super expensive or not, the prices were not set by them.  Even if someone in R&D (or Brand) said "we want Liliana of the Veil to be super expensive - almost JtMS levels" (and I don't think this happened, but whatever), there was no meeting where they picked the number 30 or 35 or whatever for her price.

Comparing the price of expensive mythics to the price of other games or to dinner and a movie or whatever misses the point.  For some people, the value of Liliana of the Veil is equal to that of dinner and a movie.  If people put that value on her, Wizards only part in the situation is that they created a great game and subsequently printed a very good card.  Tournament level magic has always had cards which were "dinner and a movie" value.  There's no time in the past nearly 20 years of Magic that this hasn't been true - and Mythics have only been around for 5 years or so.  Mythics aren't really the problem though.  A look through the prices of mythic rares from any expension will tell you that most are very cheap - just like most Magic cards period.  The most useful and hardest to find cards become valuable, but the specific value placed on them is determined by the market, not by Wizards. 

Have you ever wondered why the rarest and most widely powerful cards in standard always seem to be worth $30 or so?  It's always been that way.  Sword of War and Peace, Primeval Titan, etc.  This goes all the way back to early Magic tournaments in the mid-90s.  It's because (with respect to inflation) the price people want to pay for a Magic Standard tournament deck has remained fairly steady.  Price setters know this.  Even in the days of Jace the Mind Sculptor, this was still true.  Jace may have been off the hook expensive, but the rest of the deck he was in was relatively cheap.  There's a balance here because the overall price that tournament players want to pay is constant.
The rarest and most powerful cards are worth 50+ now - primeval titan, baneslayer, JTMS at their peaks. That's the effect of mythic. 
How do they NOT set the prices?!?!??!!?

Really.
I want to know.

They set the power level.
They set the availability.
They set the rates between commons : uncommons : rares : mythics

120 commons : 60 uncommons : 40 rares : 16 mythics means that you have 10 of each common -- 1200 commons -- before you have all the mythics.
It also means that you have to buy 100 packs to get all the mythics.
That means that a full set cost 400$ to accumulate.
However, you get an excess of 2* of each rare, 200* excess uncommons and 1100* commons.

The power level of a set compared to other sets can reduce the value of that set, by having the best cards in that set be less useful than cards in other sets.

They print the cards and have no obligation to not reprint modern cards to increase availability, and could print mythic boosters if they wanted, with 1 mythic, 3 rares and 11 uncommons and one random land of any rarity-- If they wanted.
(Those could be used as top-position prices in tournaments.)

The irony is that the print and handling cost for that pack would be the exact same as for a regular pack -- but the value of that pack would be 5-7 times that of a regular booster -- for players.
Well. Irony is not the word; It's not irony. It's just a cold, hard, fact.

It's how magic generates money: Reduced availability of cards --> Greater demand for single powerful single cards --> More booster packs sold because people "need" the powerful cards to compete.

If Wizards were more concerned about the environment, they could've sold Mythic boosters for 16.99$ just to avoid printing so much excess of the fillers and chaff, and they would still not have lost money.
Except through people realizing that regular boosters are worthless compared to Mythic boosters, possibly realizing that Wizards set the prices of playing magic all along.

Are you, in all seriousness, suggesting that Wizards are incapable of controlling and predicting the price levels of playing, for instance, standard?

The rarest and most powerful cards are worth 50+ now - primeval titan, baneslayer, JTMS at their peaks. That's the effect of mythic. 



So we're talking about 2 years ago, then?  The story is a lot different currently.  Here's a breakdown of how many of each mythic were played in the top 8 of PT Gatecrash, and the price for that card (using MtGO prices here because this is still a MtGO forum after all):

Sphinx's Revelation 14 $39.65
Angel of Serenity 2 $11.70
Jace, Memory Adept 6 $16.15
Huntmaster of the Fells 8 $23.84
Olivia Voldaren 6 $14.23
Bonfire of the Damned 4 $30.00
Garruk, Primal Hunter 5 $15.00
Liliana of the Veil 6 $43.22
Rakdos's Return 3 $10.61
Geist of Saint Traft 4 $29.40
Thundermaw Hellkite 5 $25.20
Falkenrath Aristocrat 4 $26.44
Obzedat, Ghost Council 2 $12.18
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad 2 $20.48
Garruk Relentless 5 $16.31
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight 1 $3.79
Domri Rade 4 $12.10
Aurelia, the Warleader 1 $3.95

Not one single card worth $50.  The highest is Liliana at $43.22. 

The winning deck had 4 Falkenrath Aristocrats, 2 Obzedats and 2 Sorins.  Nothing there over $30.

Jace, Primeval Titan and Baneslayer Angel were format dominating mythics and were mistakes.  That's why Jace got banned in Standard.  Baneslayer and Primeval Titan plummeted in value because they fell out of favor. 

PT Gatecrash's Top 8 had 18 different Mythics with only Sphinx's Revelation (not even the most expensive mythic) breaking double digit numbers at 14.  The next highest was 8 copies of a $23 mythic.  Compare this to PT Paris (at the height of Jace-fueled Cawblade domination) in 2011 - 16 different mythics appeared in the top 8 there.  Among them were 17 copies of Jace (the most expensive mythic).  There were also more 1-off mythics (Mindlsaver, Venser, Wurmcoil Engine, Linvala), meaning that Jace made up a higher percentage of the total mythics played than even his increased number of appearances would suggest. 

Or you could look at the top 8 Standard decks from the 2010 World Championships, where there were 24 Jaces.  Six out of the eight players played a full four copies of Jace. 

Jace was also a cross-format all-star (as was Primeval Titan, to a degree) in a way that the cards from PT Gatecrash can only dream of.  The point here is that the days of Jace are (hopefully) over.  Mythics are no longer worth 50+ in the Standard format.  Compare the value of Tom Martell's deck from PT Paris (where he top 8'd) with 4 Jace, 2 Elspeth, 3 Gideon, two Swords and a Baneslayer to the value of his deck from PT Gatecrash (where he won) with 4 Aristocrats, 2 Obzedats and 2 Sorins.  The cost to play Standard is going down.  Sharply.


How do they NOT set the prices?!?!??!!?



Because how much people are willing to spend on Magic is out of Wizards' control.  They do everything in their power to make tournament play enticing, and the result is an environment where spending $120 for a playset of a powerful card (plus all the other stuff you need for the deck) is reasonable.  But the actual numbers themselves are not their doing.  Falkenwrath Aristocrats cost $27 a pop because enough people feel that is a reasonable price to pay to compete in Standard tournaments.  That number could be $5 or it could be $100.  But you have to realize that the numbers are chosen by singles dealers and adjusted based on trends.  All of this is outside of Wizards' control.  Looking at the prices of sets that have been spoiled but not yet released will give you a clear picture of how it really works.  Wizards may printed the cards and choose the rarity and decide what cards are powerful (to a point), but when it comes time to picking a number, that's all on the dealers.  How much were dealers charging for a pre-order of Boros Reckoner?  Somewhere along the line, a dealer had to decide that this was a $9 rare.  They could have sold them for $5 or they could have tried to sell them for $12.  Those are both well within the range for a powerful new non-mythic rare.  Wizards can print cards that fall within a range, but the peaks and valleys of that range are the domain of dealers and players.

Great post Ith. One thing to keep in mind is that booster pack prizes effectively limit how much a full set (or rather 1x each mythic, 2x each rare) can be worth. In that sense, the price of (in-print) sealed product affects card prizes, but that's about it.
Ith, the first part your post doesn't address his point. He said that cards nowadays are 50+ at their peaks. This is what you have to adress, not what the current prices are, since not every card is currently at its peak.

For example, for the three he explicitly mentioned that peak is in the past, and verifiable. For liliana it is, arguably, still in the future. And for those cards that you name that aren't 50+, we just don't know, since we can't be sure if their current price is their peak price.

I would be interested to know what you think they will peak at (or maybe they already peaked at), and why.

I agree completely with the second part, btw.
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Ith, the first part your post doesn't address his point. He said that cards nowadays are 50+ at their peaks. This is what you have to adress, not what the current prices are, since not every card is currently at its peak.

For example, for the three he explicitly mentioned that peak is in the past, and verifiable. For liliana it is, arguably, still in the future. And for those cards that you name that aren't 50+, we just don't know, since we can't be sure if their current price is their peak price.

I would be interested to know what you think they will peak at (or maybe they already peaked at), and why.

I agree completely with the second part, btw.



I did address his first point.  Standard cards are not 50+ at their peaks and haven't been for a couple years. 

As to where the peaks are for the current crop of mythics, I feel like Liliana could still go up a little ways due to reduced opening of Innistrad packs, but she'll crash in October.  I don't think she's going to cross $50 before then.  Keep in mind that the winning deck of PT Gatecrash played black and did not use Liliana.  Clearly there is deck design space that wins without her.  Compare this to Jace.  Two years ago, if you were playing blue, you were running 4 Jaces.  There was no way around that.  Any deck list that played Islands and didn't have 4 Jaces was doing it wrong.

Sphinx's Revelation may increase slightly over the next few months, but will go back down again when Dragon's Maze comes out (which will cause Return to Ravnica to be drafted again, albeit at 1/3 the rate as with RRR drafting). 

Part of the reason that Liliana is as expensive as she is is that Innistrad was not opened as much as a typical large set.  Like Zendikar before it, Innistrad was part of a Big-Small-Big block.  If you look at the prices of Mythics from Alara Block, Zendikar Block, Scars Block and RtR Block, there's a clear pattern that the most expensive mythics come from sets which are drafted less (and thus opened less frequently).  Jace was from Worldwake, and thus received less drafting than any set since Eventide (which had no mythics).  This is combined with Jace just being an overpowered card to produce a perfect storm of prices.  The only card of the current crop which approaches those same factors is Huntmaster of the Fells.  However, it is far from being as dominant as Jace was. 

The only other card I forsee any sharp increase of price on is Bonfire of the Damned, but again that will crash in October.  It will definitely not go up in price by $20 in the next 7 months.
Thanks for writing an excellent and clear explanation, Ith. I often want to write this out for those who just don't understand that its the secondary market that is to blame for magic being expensive and not wizards themselves. The game is expensive due to the high demand which is itself due to its popularity. If Magic wasn't as good and as popular as it is, it would be really cheap, just like many other card games that exist.

Its also funny how there is always some kind of complaint: magic is too expensive or the value of magic cards and boosters is too low, and its even crazier that you sometimes have both complaints at the same time (like these days for example)... and its always Wizard's fault of course.

Alas, this is what a company has to deal with when it has a hit on its hand. You guys should see how people complain about Mobage and its mobile collectible card games (Rage of Bahamut, Blood Brothers, etc...). Its incredible: If they come up with a powerful card people complain about the prices of the other cards going down, if they come up with a balanced or worse card, people say that they are lame and in both cases its always because they are "milking them for their money"... sound familiar?
For a great source of information on the Pauper format check out Pauper's Cage!
Since your list includes several $40 cards, I guess we're in agreement that mythics have fundamentally shifted prices up from the pre-mythic era, where $30 was the roof. 

Your suggestion that design mistakes a la Primeval/Jace are in the past is self-evidently questionable. Throughout its history Magic has always seen excessively powerful cards printed that design/development have regretted - and due to Mythic's status as the only consciously pushed rarity, most of them in the future will be Mythic.

Further, I think many people would argue that Geist, Sphinx's Revelation and Thragtusk were all design mistakes - held back in price below $50 by being multi-colour and rare, respectively. 

The fact that Gatecrash and to a lesser extent RtR happen to have come out in a relatively low point in magic power curve cycling is irrelevant to the long-term printing of further JTMS/Titan-esque show-stoppers.

Lastly, it is pretty disingenuous to compare the price of a fundamentally aggressive deck running Falkenwrath to a control deck. There are exceptions when mono-colour control is good or an aberration like Mythic Bant comes up, but the general trend of control decks being more expensive than aggro is well established and distorts your comparison.

How do they NOT set the prices?!?!??!!?



Because how much people are willing to spend on Magic is out of Wizards' control. 

They do everything in their power to make tournament play enticing, and the result is an environment where spending $120 for a playset of a powerful card (plus all the other stuff you need for the deck) is reasonable.  But the actual numbers themselves are not their doing.  Falkenrath Aristocrats cost $27 a pop because enough people feel that is a reasonable price to pay to compete in Standard tournaments.  That number could be $5 or it could be $100. 

But you have to realize that the numbers are chosen by singles dealers and adjusted based on trends.  All of this is outside of Wizards' control.  Looking at the prices of sets that have been spoiled but not yet released will give you a clear picture of how it really works.  Wizards may printed the cards and choose the rarity and decide what cards are powerful (to a point), but when it comes time to picking a number, that's all on the dealers. 

How much were dealers charging for a pre-order of Boros Reckoner?  Somewhere along the line, a dealer had to decide that this was a $9 rare.  They could have sold them for $5 or they could have tried to sell them for $12.  Those are both well within the range for a powerful new non-mythic rare.  Wizards can print cards that fall within a range, but the peaks and valleys of that range are the domain of dealers and players.



Did wizards not know Boros Reckoner was bonkers?
Yes they did.

Did they not know Thragtusk was bonkers?
Restoration Angel?
Snapcaster mage?
Liliana of the Veil?
Falkenrath Aristocrat?
Huntmaster of the Fells? 

Did they not know that the power level of other mythics and rares were much lower in standard? They did.
Did they not know that standard is the most popular competetive format?
They did.
Did they not know that people win more real money using the best cards?
They do.
Did they not know that there is literally no upper limit to the price of cards that are used to win tournaments?
They do.


Wizards set the price for competetive gaming at 500$ on average, by lack of balance.
The lack of balance is mostly wizards simply not caring about casual players.

Everyone wants to play with the most powerful cards.
Wizards knowingly deny people who are not willing to pay extreme amounts of money to play the opportunity to play the best cards by making cards too good and by making them too rare.

Price of a card = Power level / availability

Power level: Rating of power within a standard season + power level in extended.
Availability: Number of instances of this card per 1000 cards sold.
 
9 out of 1000 cards in Innistrad boosters are Liliana of the Veil.
That means you have to open 112 boosters on average to pull one Liliana of the Veil.
66 to pull Liliana of the Veil or Geist of Saint Traft.

IF all the other cards in Innistrad were worthless (as in; actually without any value what so ever) -- Liliana of the Veil and Geist of Saint Traft would have costed 198$ each -- or rather, one 250 and the other 150.
Snapcaster helps keep her price down.
Olivia Voldaren helps keep the price of Liliana of the Veil down.
Isolated Chapel helps keep her price down.
Clifftop retreat.

The sole reason Liliana of the Veil doesn't cost 198$ is that people open other boosters that aren't worthless and that the average player is willing to trade at a loss and accept sub-pro card.

In fact...
Let's just set up the price for Liliana of the Veil right now shall we?

For liliana of the veil to cost 45$ -- assuming she is one of the best cards in standard right now and necessary for competetive play in an archetype -- the value of the rest of her pool needs to cost a minimum of : 198 - 45$ = 143$

Geist of Saint Traft reduces the remaining pool's necessary value to 143 - 30 = 113$

Garruk Relentless; X-17 = 96

Olivia Voldaren; X-16 = 80

Snapcaster mage: X-16 = 74 (he appears more than twice for each instance of the mythics -- and thus his price is 8 when he would've been 25 at mythic)

...
The prices are predictable for good sets.
Had Innistrad been a low-power set -- the prices for standard-warping cards (Snapcaster, Liliana, Geist) would have been absolutely IMMENSE because nobody bought it EXCEPT for these cards.

Predicting whether or not a card will cost 25 or 40 is probably hard.
But knowing if a card will cost 1, 10 or 25+ is easy.

===============

Ideally, Wizards would offer to sell ANY (modern) CARD for 10$ + shipping.
 That would limit the price of cards to 15$ at the maximum -- while causing a minimum impact on the market, because this only applies to one out of a hundred cards.
While the value of cards in a set does have some baring on the cost of other cards, I don't think its as direct as you make it sound.  You can certainly have prices where cards you expect to open are worth more than the price of the box, and then also cards you can expect to open are worth less than the price of the box.

There will always be an upper limit.  If there was no upper limit, and wizards could figure out the price of any card they make, then they would make a billion dollar card, and sell it directly and be done with it.  Tell me in your rantings, do you think they could make a billion dollar card?

Wizards does have some influence over secondary market, but not total control.  Its the demand of the players.

Why is it that people feel entitled to cards?  I'm a casual player and yes I would like to have all these expensive cards, but at the same time I am not entitled to them unless I am willing to do what it takes to get them.  I mostly draft so I can get the cards.  Its a way to open packs, play, and hopefully get better and come out slightly ahead if possible.

Once you get over yourself needing to be entitled to cards, and also realize that its the demand for cards that is forcing the value you will have a much better life.
I'm sure Wizards could control the price of cards if they wanted to. They could sell singles themselves and set a low price. Heck, they could sell Boros Reckoner for $5 from their website. But why would they? Why would anyone water down their own market? I wish I could own a playset of Liliana and Reckoner and all that junk but I can't. Just gotta make do with what's availiable and play it like you mean it

EDH decks I play:

 

Prossh: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4101381

 

Derevi: http://community.wizards.com/forum/commander-edh/threads/4115936

 

Kaalia (the beats)

 

Zur (disgusting combo)

 

Damia (Bug Elf deck)

 

Numot (Stax)

 

Norin (Mono Red Suicide)

 

Ghave (Uber combo)

 

Muzzio (Oops, Blightsteel)

The absurdity of the claim that wizards sets the prices is only matched by the idea that Boros Reckoner, Restoration Angel, Thragtusk and a couple DOZEN other rares are all unbalanced. They do not all go in the same decks right? You don't need ALL of them right? They do balance each other.

Oh you wish the game only had one rarity and you could access all the cards at once? Poker might be for you then. No deck building skills involved there, you just need to learn math. Math sucks? Then you won't want to be playing serious m:tg either. On the other hand there is old maid.

Now if we want to discuss the fairness or unfairness of a set pattern of rarity designed to create a collectable product, sure let's do that. It IS inherently unfair that people are born into this world without a dime to their names and they have to fight for scraps of food to eat. It is really unfair that money isn't spent by the richest nations in the world to feed everyone.

If we want to discuss class war issues lets take it out of the overprivileged game section and get into real life stuff. There are plenty of those to go around. That's my 2.5 cents on this joke/meme/rant.

Winter.Wolf

It is not an absurd claim at all.

90% of all rares are nearly useless --> 10% of the rares are bonkers --> Everyone needs one of the 10% rares that are bonkers to reduce the luck factor in winning --> Wizards sell 10 times as many boosters.

Chess is the game for me if I want to win using strategy.
Magic is the game for me if I want to win using money.

That is why I only play drafts right now -- until we can play the game at reasonable prices.
I may play more if my bot gets a good sales the next couple of weeks, too, and I can play standard without actually throwing away money.

(I have already paid 100$ this year -- and that is also the limit I set for individual games.) 
Basic economics guys. Players set demand (roughly, wizard affects this by their format support as well), and Wizards sets supply. Over the short-run, the rarity choices and printing runs they standardize around sets limits on their ability to control price, but over the long run, they can print as they want, particularly given the plethora of promotional/event deck/commander deck etc offerings they now have.

In their defence, they've exercised this in player favour to a degree by throwing Thragtusk into event decks - but it is absolutely incorrect to say they don't have very substantial responsibility for what final market prices end up being.
Basic economics guys. Players set demand (roughly, wizard affects this by their format support as well), and Wizards sets supply. Over the short-run, the rarity choices and printing runs they standardize around sets limits on their ability to control price, but over the long run, they can print as they want, particularly given the plethora of promotional/event deck/commander deck etc offerings they now have.

In their defence, they've exercised this in player favour to a degree by throwing Thragtusk into event decks - but it is absolutely incorrect to say they don't have very substantial responsibility for what final market prices end up being.



Right, but the way in which this is accomplished on Wizards' part - by choosing rarities and making things powerful or not powerful - are not something they can stop doing.  Magic cards have rarities, and some will be more powerful than others.  There's no way around that.  If we're talking about a rare/mythic which is the best card in Standard, but which is virtually unplayed in older formats, then the power level doesn't actually matter at all.  Let's say Sphinx's Revelation costed XWWUU instead of XWUU.  That would reduce it's power level.  But would it change the price of the card?  Not really.  The amount of money that consumers are willing to spend on the game remains fairly static.  The total amount spent increases as the game gets more players, but the average amount spent by a tournament player (since that's who we're talking about here) remains fairly static.  Dealers know this and prices are adjusted with this in mind.  If there was a dominant Standard deck, but it required spending $1500 to buy the deck, it would not get played very often.  Pros with dealers backing them could afford it, but nobody's bringing that to FNM.  The static spending limit of the average tournament player puts a cap on what dealers can charge for cards. 

So there's an upper limit.  What about a lower limit?  Well that's easy.  Dealers need to make back their investments.  Shops that open dozens and dozens of boxes of a new expansion need to sell the cards for enough to make a profit.  And their profit margins are pretty thin. 

So this creates a range in which prices for rares fall.  Power level and rarity (mythic vs. non-mythic) affect where specific cards will fall in this range, but the range is set and has very little to do with Wizards.  Whether the most expensive card was Liliana of the Veil or a much less powerful card doesn't matter.  The prices would change to reflect the range.  The most powerful cards in Standard these days typically fall in the $25-40 range.  How powerful those cards are individually only determines whether they're one of the lucky ones to be considered chase rares or whether they're Realmwright and Search the City

When the Standard format has been significantly less powerful (say during Masques/Invasion Standard), the price to build a Standard deck didn't change much.  Cards like Rising Waters, Lin Sivvi, Rishadan Port and Saproling Burst were very expensive.  These cards are by no means as powerful as the stuff we had in Urza's Block just prior to it.  That's because the amount of money people were willing to spend on the format stayed the same. 

What people are willing to spend for a Standard deck has far, far more to do with global economic factors and Wizards' tournament support than it does with power level and rarity.  Wizards knows this and it's one of the main reasons they strive for a wide open Standard format.  A wide open format where there are 20 mythics that are playable is far preferable to them than one where only a dozen mythics are playable.  They want mythic prices to be on the low side.  If there's a cheap Standard deck, it brings more people into the tournament scene.  Creating more tournament players is their goal because in the long run it sells more packs than chase rares.  24 Jaces in 8 decks at the World Championship is the opposite of what they want.  That kind of degenerate card drives down tournament participation. 

So yes, Wizards has an effect on the price of singles.  But it's in their best interest to keep prices in the middle range, not the peaks.
$1500 standard decks is a straw man argument. Of course the game collapses at that price point, but in between $100-400 they have considerably more wiggle room - and the game in introducing mythic was to maximize returns without breaking it. Jace TMS broke it, as does having a deck like Mythic Conscription as a best deck, and they do actively want to avoid that.

Pre-mythic we had expensive decks in many formats, but we also had a broad range of decks across the spectrum that were relatively affordable. Around the time of original Mirrodin block, for example, affinity and shackles blue were both powerful, unique and affordable decks with relatively few rares in them.

These days each standard format supports one to two cheap aggro decks as throwaways for budget players, and little to nothing else sub $300.

It isn't the power level alone of mythics that has this effect, it is the concentration of power at mythic rarity, and the lack of acceptable substitutes. The upgrading of creature power in recent years is profoundly sloped, so that beyond purely vanilla creatures you get far more for your mana at uncommon than common, at rare than uncommon, and at mythic than rare. If you're building UW aggro-control, there's no absolutely no similar substitutable creature to a geist of st. traft. Similar issue with planeswalkers. When standard was defined by simpler removal, counter, draw and vanilla-ish creatures you could substitute away from the urza's rages and call of the herds and be worse off, but not out of a deck.
If you're building UW aggro-control, there's no absolutely no similar substitutable creature to a geist of st. traft. Similar issue with planeswalkers.



This. In a way, very much like JtMS. Except that this time around, we have alternative decks.

So, what would happen to the price of a Standard deck if the boosters were to change price? Like 3$/tix a booster? Or 5? Would this affect deck price at all? Ith made some excellent points below which make me think it would be irrelevant for Standard. But again, this seems illogical.

Go draft, young man, go draft!