Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Great Depression of Magic Online

Hi Everyone!
A couple weeks ago I mentioned that Magic 2015 was doing really badly. None of the cards are worth much and at the time the expected value of a Magic 2015 sealed tournament was a greater than $10 loss based on 50% match wins. I have asked why. I’m always interesting in what everyone else thinks about the cause for this phenomenon. I have narrowed the cause of this down to two major causes and several minor causes. It seems like everything is doing really badly now (there exceptions like Liliana of the Veil and Wasteland).

The first major cause driving the prices of cards on MTGO down is the switch to version 4. I don’t argue that it’s terrible software, and Wizards is awful at everything except making fun games, but seriously, people are quitting over this? I think most people are stepping away because they need time to accept the change. If everyone were really quitting, there would be hundreds of collections for sale on eBay, and I’ve only seen a few lately. I think this a temporary change in price, and will be back to normal within 2 months.

The second major cause of the depressed MTGO economy is this is the uncertainty period after RTR/THS Standard but before THS/KTK. It’s an uncertain time and people have a tendency to hang on to their money in uncertain times, even in the stock markets. Additionally, it seems like a lot of people have sold their Vintage Masters cards to recoup tickets to but Khans of Tarkir when it comes out next month. Now that that’s happened, everyone else left holding Vintage cards is either someone who plays, or someone who is speculating the cards will go up. These two elements of uncertainty are major drivers of a sluggish economy. Look at surveys of the level of uncertainty of Americans during the Great Recession, it was at the highest point since the Depression, coincidence? I doubt it. Uncertainty causes people to hold on to their money.

There’s also one minor cause that I have seen quite a lot that I think is interesting, but never the less is still a minor contributor to the sluggish MTGO economy. This is people who played in paper and wanted to play Vintage for “cheap” so they signed up for an MTGO account. They got all the cards, and played, then it seems like many of them lost interest and decided to sell their collection. It was identify these kinds of collections because the collection had all Vintage/Legacy legal cards and the seller claimed they “tried MTGO” but are going back to paper.

While it’s important to understand the condition of the market and be able to effectively identify what stage of the cycle is currently occurring always remember that it’s unlikely that the economy won’t recover.
Mtg Confidant


  1. its v4. its terrible everyone i know quit

  2. You are not wrong in that version changes don't happen often and it is the prime suspect for the lower than normal prices in the MTGO market.