A Magical Huffalump Resides Here: Conspiracy

A Magical Huffalump Resides Here

My name is Ed, I am a programmer. Just another dude with another blog. I like MTG, Open Source (more towards FREE software). I like sports, and eventually I hope to do business and do good for the world in general. This blog is gonna be about Magic The Gathering. Decklists and snippets will be posted here. It may lead somewhere or nowhere, as with all things arcane, that was bloody obvious =)

Friday, June 06, 2014


I make little truthity remarks every once in a while.

And i think I just made one today.

This was in response to the way Conspiracy is being marketed at the moment.

In Singapore at least.

Until a few days ago, practically no retailer is able to give a price or take preorders.

Then now the current going price is 140 SGD a box?

I suspect Conspiracy is going to be a dud in Singapore.

I can't say for overseas markets. But I do know that Modern is a flagellating butt-head of a format and Legacy is pretty non existent (at least competitively)

So the competition in Singapore is mostly standard.

The statement I made was this:

"I suspect the retailers are underestimating how addicted their business is to standard."

Let that soak in for a moment.

Currently there is absolutely little to no market for anything except for standard.

If you are going to sell Eternal material, its going to have to be good.

Now Modern is a little bit harder to decipher, but largely it is still alive because it is artificially driven.

Think about what a dissapointment the Modern Event deck was.

Why was it a disappointment?

- The cards were pretty weak.
- It was mostly Modern casual

So it is currently going below MSRP.

Yet before the contents were known, retailers in Singapore were not taking orders or were charging exorbitant amounts.

Only Dueler's Point took orders at MSRP.

I personally witness a retailer telling a customer that he is unlikely to sell at a low price and told his customer to go else where. And at another LGS the owner was unwilling to take orders.

All were hoarding. I guess karma bit back when it turned out that the contents were duddish.

To be honest the value is there, but it would take time to move the goods and the cards have to be sold at highs.

We saw that (the hoarding mentality) for MM, Commander 2014, Modern Event deck and now Conspiracy.

Conspiracy is a little bit stranger as it seemed to be gunning for Vintage.

I think thats pushing it a bit since... Modern is barely surviving (i.e. doing a little better) since by natural evolution, players drift into Modern when Standard rotates.

Already Modern requires a player to buy into the older cards.

The reason I suspect most players accept modern is that, it still looks attainable.

Thats why nonsense like MM and even the Modern Event deck (yes some people like it! I am actually ambivalent to it =)) and arguably Duel decks move. (Duel decks are debatable, most of the cards are standard legal and the injection is actually Modern).

So thats for Modern.

But Vintage! Thats pretty bold. I would'nt say its a bad move. But where is the audience?

I reckon they are targetting older players who are still around from when Magic was younger. And I do see them, players who left the game but still linger. But mostly these are Legacy or Vintage casuals. I was around before Legacy was a format. I was around when Faerie Stompy was a thing. When Red Death was a thing. Both decks have since been left in the dust since SCG popularised Legacy. My point is. Legacy will survive the abandonment of SCG or WOTC or any organised entity. In fact I preferred it that way. In any case for Vintage casuals. We watch the price rise. We or at least I, don't really care. I will wait for either, the amount saved reaches the price or for the price to fall, to get my cards. So its really a game of attrition and a very slow game between buyers and sellers. (BTW, if you think moxes and like have prices going up and they are sold pretty fast and you are poo pooing what I wrote previously, I am still not wrong, people grow up. We now are able to afford the prices and hence it went up, before the big boom moxes were sitting pretty at 100+ for the longest time...)

Anyways the point is I suspect Vintage material moves pretty slowly. So any product that comes in, if its only value is "old card" injection. Will get price gorged. But... It may or may not move. If it is cheap. Hell yeah, people like me would buy it. (I already stated that if the price for conspiracy is sold like a normal set, I was likely to get 2 cases, however given the way it was released and priced, i think i will give it a pass and just get ... i think 4 cards ;) ) However it is likely to be priced gorged, since the retailer will be going like: OMG i gotta hoard this and sellz it!!! For high high profit margins! I willz be rich! RICH!

Its sad. And pathetic.

If the card were usable in Modern or Standard. I have little doubt that the product will move. (Remember the business is addicted to Standard) However. If the gems are vintage only and the rest is virtually chaff outside of the time you draft it. (and drafting is'nt all that big in Singapore)

That is a shitload of chaff.

Not that I mind. If it were priced normally, I would so cube it. Eveything is a cube potential to me. I am pretty casual about play. Hence I do not really mind when my standard cards crash in price when they ermm become modern chaff =P

However that is not the case (i.e. it is not priced like the normal sets).

Right now its in the, "Do I gorge you?" "Do I not gorge you?" mode.

Its pathetic and tiring.

I no longer trust the local retailers at all to give a fair price. Everyone is just a price gorging, profittering ass these days.

Hence I am likely to just buy 4 cards if the situation does not change. (nah I'll probably buy the new cards on a low... its still a huge savings I would think since I can afford to wait... since I really only want 4 particular cards)

Hmmm I realised I did'nt really explain why the business is addicted to Standard.

In a nutshell, if something is to be sold here, it needs to be standard legal, else you are really counting on the hard core and very long time playing players to buy the product. There is some leeway for Modern.HOWEVER if Modern is not handled properly, players will likely get disillusioned and leave. Nobody want to wait two years or a decade to accumulate enough cards to play their decks. (Really i have always argued that standard should have more modern playable cards.. however right now its all pokemon-esque cards... magic is so stupid now. Thragtusk. Really. My first reaction when I first saw it was: How is this shit playable. And lo and behold it was KING in Standard!! ... that is sad. cos it means Standard was mostly shit. And I stand vindicated by the lack of Thragtusks in Modern. Well at least now, I would be happy if Thragtusk are viable in Modern - I actually suspect they are... marginally... possibly.. viable...)

Let me try to organise those thoughts.

They have marketed Standard VERY strongly. In particular, they want to promote limit play, thus weakening most cards for "balance".

They have made Standard so far removed from Eternal magic, such that few if any Standard cards are playabe in modern. To be fair. Maybe Theros just sucks. RTR I suspect sucks (but theres Blitz!!). Innistrad had playables. But power levels have been going downhill from there.

By trying to sell some Vintage now, there is a very odd situation. Most of it is not Standard legal. Is it modern legal? (Things like exploration and brainstorm are not...) .... so... why would a standard player buy it? And if those players are not the target... then we are really talking about the vibrancy of the Modern and Legacy and Vintage crowd.... for COnspiracy I am under the impression that it is targetting the Legacy and Vintage crowd.... however i suspect... there are'nt very many. There are many wannabes for sure. but actual already playing Legacy or Vintage players? and non casual? Those are few and far between.

In a strange way, due to the negligence of the Eternal formats... it may now bite back the success of products like Conspiracy, as now ppl only care about Standard and possibly Modern.

Now I think this only applies to Singapore and other similar smaller/newer communities where Standard is the main game. In places where Vintage and Legacy is vibrant, sure the product should move. In fact I am counting on it ;) I just feel that the product is less liquid in SG and retailers might regret hoarding it.

Oh and.

Legacy was a labour of love. Modern is an artificially incubated thingy.

I just had to say that =)

[Edit 20140606 01:31]

It suddenly occured to me that perhaps they ARE targetting the wannabe crowd (So you want to play vintage/legacy? Punk?).

I'm not sure how that works out. Its no use getting Dack (assuming he really crushes MUD), if you are missing .. you know. The rest of the deck.

I 'll leave you to ponder dear reader... if you have actually read so far

[Edit 20140606 01:55]

I was just thinkng about Commander 2014 in the context of this post.

It was heavily bought I guess because of the EDH crowd (EDH for orginalspeak, Commander for WOTCspeak)

And the one vintage\legacy viable card drove one set up.

I am not sure how to decipher that. Oh wait now i remember. Because there was the limited INITIAL release. Plus the fact that retailers can only order in sets of five (meaning they have to sell set by set before they order more).

So it was .... questionable distribution \scheduling \marketing that screwed us. Oh and many sellers were price gorging.

WOTC later tried to mitigate by selling in sets of 3 or 4 where one set was the one with TNN and the other two were randoms, something like that. The good thing is, they tried to do something, the bad thing is... the damage is already done. Limited release is stupid. period. If it is not limited, make it EXTREMELY clear, else it will end up looking limited and will be subjected to .... hoarding/price gorging hey! maybe even set on a pedestal and worshipped!

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