Counterfeiters Getting Aggressive
The topic of counterfeit cards is one that seems to work its way into the Magic news cycle time and time again for one reason or another. It returned this week when a tweet revealed a local game store owner received a mail solicitation from someone advertising their counterfeit business, including a sample of their wares.
— Not you average The Gallagher (@NotTheGallagher) February 7, 2019
This counterfeiter presumably wants to prey on the greedy store owner, or one who might be struggling with their business, and give them an easy way to make a massive margin on the unsophisticated buyer. It seems especially malicious that these counterfeits are being advertised directly to the LGS, which are in a position to get them into the hands of the most susceptible people, especially children.
The reality is that any store could obtain proxies to sell through other means, as proxies have been readily available for years. But the point is that counterfeiters will only continue to grow more aggressive as the market continues to grow and as their fakes improve in quality over time. It’s important to be alert now in 2019 more than ever, because it seems to be only a matter of time before proxies like these will filter through the Magic ecosystem like a toxin through the food chain.
Another Special Release
Wizards has moved to fully embrace printing supplemental products and other special releases. These days there are special releases of all sorts, headlined by the Mythic Edition releases we’ve seen for the last two sets, which David Schumann went into great detail about.
This week it was revealed that a new Modern-oriented product would be released at the end of February.
— Tolarian Community College (@TolarianCollege) February 3, 2019
What the product is exactly remains to be seen. It could be just about anything, because Mark Rosewater said it is this year's “innovation product." Rest assured that whatever it is, it will be full of big reprints.
Since last year I’ve taken the strategy of aggressively moving away from holding Modern cards. At this point anyone holding them needs to be aware that reprints could be imminent for any non-Reserved List card.
One possibility for this upcoming release are the Zendikar fetchlands, with Scalding Tarn creeping towards the $100 price it held before reprint in Modern Masters 2017. MaRo said “If you guys don’t love it, I’ll be floored,” and history shows there’s no more surefire way to make Magic players love a product than to reprint fetchlands.
Wizards of the Coast and Magic is a big moneymaker for Hasbro, and they are going to milk it for all it is worth—supplemental products are a great way to do this. It’s becoming increasingly important to be a discerning consumer and properly evaluate each release. Mythic Edition: Ravnica Allegiance showed us that not all may be as good of opportunities as they initially seem.
Even if you aren’t interested in buying them, new releases like the upcoming Modern product have the potential to impact the market with reprints. So becoming aware of these as early as possible and reacting accordingly is important for anyone holding cards at risk of reprint.
The Wizards Coming Soon page is one place to keep bookmarked. But that doesn’t even show the upcoming Modern release—a more definitive source is the community and the places it gathers like Twitter and Reddit.
Looking Ahead: Pauper Pops Off!
When Pauper began to explode in popularity at the end of 2017, Channel Fireball stoked the flames by supporting the format with side events at their Grand Prix in 2018. These initial Pauper events proved very popular, drawing crowds into the hundreds.
— ChannelFireball (@ChannelFireball) January 28, 2018
They continued to support the format with special side events like Pauper Championships at multiple Grand Prix, but now in 2019 have taken the format a monumental step ahead. Last month CFB announced they would hold the first ever Pauper Pro Tour Qualifier, now technically called a Mythic Championship Qualifier, at Grand Prix Los Angeles in March.
— ChannelFireball (@ChannelFireball) January 15, 2019
Pauper to the Pro Tour already became a reality in November when Wizards announced they would be adding the Pauper format, along with Legacy and Vintage, to their Magic Online Championship Series.
I’ve already expressed my bullish outlook on Pauper in 2019, and I see the CFB announcement as a major sign that there will be further Pauper support to come. The occasional Pauper MCQs at Grand Prix is likely not enough to majorly increase demand for cards, but very early on Channel Fireball teased that a Pauper Grand Prix was a real possibility.
— ChannelFireball (@ChannelFireball) December 12, 2017
I see the upcoming Pauper PTQ as a test run, and potentially a stepping stone to a Pauper Grand Prix. GP formats for the second half of the year have not yet been announced, so we could see the event as early as this year. If we do, then the prices of many Pauper staples would be set to explode, whether from player demand or the speculators the announcement would be sure to attract.