The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring

Switching topics a bit, back to specifically the Reserve List, this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but I just never bothered to write it down or anything.

First, I want to comment on the legality issue, which I believe is actually a non-issue, but not because I think there are ways around it. I think it’s a non-issue, because even if there were guaranteed ways around it, it wouldn’t matter.

Basically, the reserved list (RL) represents a promise to not devalue specific cards via re-printing them. Collectors and investors rely on this promise. If WOTC were to just reprint the RL, even if there were absolutely no legal ramifications, the collectors and investors could pull all of their money and boycott WOTC, which would cause massive damages to WOTC. So, regardless of the legalities of reprinting the RL or violating the spirit of the promise, if they get too close to the line, the result will be the same.

So, I’m assuming that the RL is here to stay. Fortunately, I think the issue of card availability is separate from the issue of maintain the RL. The collectors and investors care about the value of the cards, not the cards themselves, which is the key. They simply don’t want to lose a bunch of money.

I believe both issues can be handled via something akin to a stock split, which increase the card availability without actually reducing the value of the cards still available.

Basically, WOTC reprints* RL cards, like Black Lotus, but they don’t sell or distribute the reprints normally. Then, they make a standing offer trade. Anyone who sends in an original RL card that can be validated for legitimacy will be sent 10 new versions of the same RL card.

By not distributing the new cards any other way and making this offer to anyone, the value of the new cards will always be exactly 1/10th of the old cards, and the total value of all the cards in circulation will always remain what it is. As one fluctuates up or down, the other will as well.

So, if a Black Lotus costs $5K, I can sell it for that, or trade it for 10 New Black Lotuses that are all valued at $500 each. Selling all of them would still get me the same $5k in value.

In fact, this method is likely to actually increase the overall value of RL cards from a collector’s standpoint. More people are likely to buy these RL cards, because they are more affordable, increasing the overall demand, which would increase the price of both new and old versions (because they are actually pinned to one another). Furthermore, as the new ones get bought up, the old ones will start becoming rarer, and some people would still prefer the old version, increasing the demand for only that version, but because the two are pinned, the value of the new version would increase as well.

Furthermore, because the total value is a net 0, you can actually customize the exchange rate for specific cards. For example, maybe the P9 and a select few other cards are exchanged at a rate of 10 for 1, but the duals are exchanged at a rate of only 5 for 1, depending on what the ideal exchange rate is.

So, the collector’s and investors can stand to actually make more money, while the players can get significantly cheaper versions of the cards to actually play with.

Am I missing anything, or could this actually work?

@takaryx I just see that idea as more reasoning that starts from the premise that the only solution to the problem of limited availability of Reserved cards is to reprint those exact cards again. I disagree with that premise, and I think WotC has shown unequivocally that they will not agree with any conclusion that results in printing Reserved cards again.

Hence why I suggest people focus efforts on ways to cure the EFFECT of the Reserve List - bottlenecks into eternal formats - not the List itself.

@maximumcdawg Not the ONLY solution, just A solution, which could be done in conjunction with new cards, like you've been discussing.

The big difference with my proposed solution, and other proposed solutions that I've seen, is that it's not a true reprinting. This method should allow the overall value to be retained (which is the entire purpose of the RL) while simultaneously increasing card availability and reducing the bottleneck of entering into eternal formats.

Additional new printings would further help that, but this is the only why I see that the card availability, specifically for the RL cards could be increased without abolishing the RL, which as you've said, WOTC is not going to do, and I agree with that.

Lastly, even if this solution did work, I still think they should continue to look into new printings, like your suggesting, and I believe they have been (which is where things like Treasure Cruise, Spirit of the Labyrinth, the Maguses, the new transforming lands, etc. have all come from), but it's just really hard to do, because make it too good, and it breaks stuff or makes other cards obsolete, but make it not good enough, and it doesn't see play. The best example of this difficulty, that I can think of, is Ancrestral Recall v Ancestral Visions v Treasure Cruise.

@takaryx said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

The big difference with my proposed solution, and other proposed solutions that I've seen, is that it's not a true reprinting. This method should allow the overall value to be retained (which is the entire purpose of the RL) while simultaneously increasing card availability and reducing the bottleneck of entering into eternal formats.

But, it's a non-starter because it involves printing Reserved cards in a tournament playable way. That is precisely what is prohibited by the Reserve List.

Indeed, it gets worse. Back at the time of Phyrexia vs. The Coalition, they did meddle with the concept that special printings or "premium" versions of cards were still allowed. They did this with Mox Diamond and Phyrexian Negator. As I recall, they specifically said they were closing this loophole and never doing it again. So, this strategy is directly contrary to the Reserve List.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/official-reprint-policy-2010-03-10

A previous version of this policy allowed premium versions of cards on the reserved list to be printed. Starting in 2011, no cards on the reserved list will be printed in either premium or non-premium form.

Nor could you reasonably think about trying to backpeddle by offering an "incentive." There's an underlying idea here, that the "players" and WotC both can act as two unified people and make agreements or incentives that work for each. That's not reality, though. The players are a diverse group, and different people want different things (hence the old yarn that you could put a hundred dollar bill in packs and people would complain about how it was folded). All it takes is one lawyer willing to bring a class action and boom, you're losing money. Given that WotC can make money WITHOUT risking this, there's zero chance they do it.

Hence my suggestion to focus elsewhere.

last edited by MaximumCDawg

@maximumcdawg I think you're still missing the point very slightly. All of the previous attempts to do special reprintings involved increase the overall supply relative to the value thereby reducing the total value held by any one individual. If there's $100K worth of Black Lotuses in the world right now, adding one would reduce the value of each individual ones slightly.

What I'm suggesting is add 10 new black lotuses worth exactly 1/10th (which is possible because you can't these anywhere except for WOTC, and they'll always trade 10 new for 1 old) of a normal black lotus and remove 1 black lotus (via the trade directly with WOTC and only with WOTC).

It's basically a stock split, which is used in the stock market quite often to reduce the value of individual shares without reducing the overall value of the stock as a whole, which is basically the goal here as well. The collectors don't want to lose any value (overall value of all RL cards in circulation), but the players want the cost of individual shares (cards) to be reduced.

Without the above, everything you said makes absolute perfect sense. However, I believe that the RL policy is nothing more than a promise not to do X, which would result in devaluing the collectors' collections and that the devaluing of collectors' collections is the real promise. But this solution should have no impact on any one collector's value, which would maintain the intent of the RL.

Print silver boarded versions with alternate card backs and you're closer to something that works. As it stands...

@takaryx said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

@maximumcdawg I think you're still missing the point very slightly.
...
But this solution should have no impact on any one collector's value, which would maintain the intent of the RL.

No, I understand your point: no one should complain about a technical violation of the Reserve List Policy if overall value is going to remain the same. My point is that this doesn't really enter into it. The Reserve List says what it says, and nothing in the policy gives you a technical loophole based on a guarantee that the overall value won't drop. It's just not there.

The instant you're violating the black and white language of the policy, there be dragons. You're having an argument over whether the violation causes damage. WotC will never do this.

@maximumcdawg

If you really want to be a stickler about exact language, it says they will never "print" a card that matches all those characteristics, but what if they manufactured a Braille version of the card with injection molding instead of printing?

🙂

last edited by walking.dude

I think this whole debate basically comes down to dual lands, right? I don't think too many of us expect them to re-release Moxes or P9, so duals are about the only thing that would make most people in favor of RL-disruption, happy. So what about taking this discussion in an opposite direction? I'm sure this has been said countless times somewhere else, but what about making cards that are better than the RL cards??

You could easily print a new dual land that says:

Deserted Continent
Land Type Continent: Plains Mountain

T: Add 1C to your mana pool
T: Add R to your mana pool
T: Add W to your mana pool

If you control any non-Continent land that can product multiple colors of mana, that land produces C instead. (or produces zero, or taps, or whatever)

The biggest problem with trying to fix dual lands, is the fear that if you make them equal to or better than the original dual lands, people will play them WITH dual lands. That doesn't fix the problem. I'm not an expert on templating by any means, but this is more elegant way of stating "cannot be in play with a dual land." Or at least working in that direction.

There really isn't any other way to reprint duals, without crashing the dual market.
1.) If you make an equal dual, you break the RL.
2.) If you make a sub-optimal dual, you haven't fixed the quality gap problem.

The only solution (IF they want a solution) is to make a better dual or a dual that needs to operate independently from other duals (like Gates, or viable tri-lands). Any other option or concession, once again introduces the have/have nots. You need to make a dual that people will play with equally or differently.

Previous to "colorless mana", [a Continent] wouldn't even function differently than an original dual land. It's almost strictly better, and yet doesn't really unbalance the game that much. It obviously makes playing certain eldrazi decks way easier, but that's not necessary a bad thing, is it? It's also great for cube and casual in that it opens up a lot more colorless space.

That said, this is often a fruitless debate because we're not even sure Wizards wants quality dual lands in Magic, or wants to disrupt the RL list. There are far better design minds tackling this problem than us. It's just one of those early mistakes they probably wish they could make go away. It would be great for Vintage/Legacy/Casual though!!

last edited by joshuabrooks
This post is deleted!

When it comes to dual lands in particular there are two issues at play. One is the reserve list itself - the other is design philosophy. They have mentioned several times that in modern design philosophy no multi land ought to be strictly better than it's basic land equivalents. Personally, I think that modern design philosophy is more of a barrier to seeing "replacements" or "supplements" to these types of cards than even the reserve list does. It's easy to imagine replacements to dual lands that are not really the same but still in the same vein, such as the land giving all players a life when tapped but still providing the same benefits of an ABU dual land. But getting them to put that past design under the current climate seems very unlikely...

@themonadnomad said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

Personally, I think that modern design philosophy is more of a barrier to seeing "replacements" or "supplements" to these types of cards than even the reserve list does.

I agree wholeheartedly and completely. Thing is, design philosophy is more flexible than the Reserve List. If Wizards believed they could improve the game and make more money if they changed this philosophy, I think they would. Which is kind of what I want to put into people's minds in the hopes that they agree and start crowds muttering about it.

Printing playable, fetchable replacements for ABUR Duals is totally feasible and not really dangerous as very few decks would benefit from playing more than four of the "same" dual land. If painlands had basic land types they'd probably be playable too. OR even better, if they made Grove of the Burnwillows into a fetchable land and completed the series. Those changes would be best for Legacy though because the real expensive stuff like power simply cannot have the same treatment otherwise we get another Treasure Cruise incident.

@islandswamp If thats true, and it might be, then only Legacy can be saved. Is there no way to help Vintage in the same way?

@sovarius said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

Cost is hugely key to differences. Sometimes paying 1 more mana is totally worth it 100% of the time, the way Hooting Mandrills sees less play in green decks than Gurmag Angler sees play in black decks, or how about the way that Gurmag is often better than Tasigur, who has an an incredible ability and cheaper to cast but simply has 1 less power.

Off-topic, but Gurmag is more played than Tasigur in Legacy because it's not a legend - and doesn't get owned by the very present Karakas. That's the reason, not the +1 power. Legacy Delver decks would probably play a lot more Tasi if he wasn't legendary.

@maximumcdawg not without some ridiculously clunky wording that disallows Black Lotus and BAD Lotus to be in the same deck, and BAD Lotus has to be restricted upon printing or via game text. Otherwise players with only BAD Lotus loses to guy with 4 Bad Lotus plus one real one. I don't see why that doesn't make sense to you.

Plus you all have to remember that Stadard is their bread and butter. They only care about us just enough to give confidence to new players. If new players thought that their cards would all eventually become obsolete (which they actually do, if you think about t) then why the hell would people care to buy they?

They "care" about Commander more, and even that doesn't get the support that Standard does. Commander is their way of recognizing and catering to the casual base without having to hurt their main focus.

*** I almost kept writing about this but then I realized I don't care anymore. This is something that's out of my hands and there are too many real world problems to worry about. Sorry. Good luck with everything,

@maximumcdawg said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

So, I tease out two things from your argument:

  1. When Maro talks about the "Spirit" of the RL, he means they won't print cards that are the same or better than RL cards even if they technically differ in one of the fields; and

  2. This rule only applies to cards that see competitive play. (Farmstead need not apply.)

Is that fair? I'm unconvinced this is correct, but I want to be sure I get what you're saying before responding.

From Maro's statements, i believe this to be true. Although i am not 100% on the competitive part, i mostly just think there is no reason whatsoever to print a White Lotus just because it's poor design.

@takaryx said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

Basically, the reserved list (RL) represents a promise to not devalue specific cards via re-printing them. Collectors and investors rely on this promise. If WOTC were to just reprint the RL, even if there were absolutely no legal ramifications, the collectors and investors could pull all of their money and boycott WOTC, which would cause massive damages to WOTC.

I don't think this is really true, collectors are the minority of WOTC's sales and investors are destroying the game for many people and partly responsible for poor health of formats like legacy. Like what's the size of this group? And what does their boycott entail?

@takaryx said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

I believe both issues can be handled via something akin to a stock split, which increase the card availability without actually reducing the value of the cards still available.
Basically, WOTC reprints* RL cards, like Black Lotus, but they don’t sell or distribute the reprints normally. Then, they make a standing offer trade. Anyone who sends in an original RL card that can be validated for legitimacy will be sent 10 new versions of the same RL card.
By not distributing the new cards any other way and making this offer to anyone, the value of the new cards will always be exactly 1/10th of the old cards, and the total value of all the cards in circulation will always remain what it is. As one fluctuates up or down, the other will as well.
So, if a Black Lotus costs $5K, I can sell it for that, or trade it for 10 New Black Lotuses that are all valued at $500 each. Selling all of them would still get me the same $5k in value.

But cards are not stocks. I don't know if they can split like that. Only people with Black Lotuses can get more Black Lotuses, and it possible in this world of buyouts and investors and hoarders that those $500 black lotuses (this is not realistic either, but for different reasons) don't get put out on the market with a speed to drastically reduce their price.

@takaryx said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

What I'm suggesting is add 10 new black lotuses worth exactly 1/10th (which is possible because you can't these anywhere except for WOTC, and they'll always trade 10 new for 1 old) of a normal black lotus and remove 1 black lotus (via the trade directly with WOTC and only with WOTC).

But neither you nor WOTC could control the proportion of values. You can't realistically say it's just going to be a lotus 1/10th the price.

@joshuabrooks said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

I'm sure this has been said countless times somewhere else, but what about making cards that are better than the RL cards??

Not just elsewhere, but on this thread too.

My point i raised previously regarding this is that it is poor game design to deliberately print broken cards.

More likely to print something that is "usually just as good" like a Plains Island that comes in untapped only if you control 3 or fewer lands for example. This example would not ever be better than Tundra, but you could always reasonably rely on it and you could probably play any deck and replace Tundras with it and do just as well.

@joshuabrooks said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

The biggest problem with trying to fix dual lands, is the fear that if you make them equal to or better than the original dual lands, people will play them WITH dual lands. That doesn't fix the problem. I'm not an expert on templating by any means, but this is more elegant way of stating "cannot be in play with a dual land."

Even in 2-color decks, you don't need 5 Tundra. The problem is not people playing 8 copies of Tundra.

@joshuabrooks said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

Previous to "colorless mana", [a Continent] wouldn't even function differently than an original dual land. It's almost strictly better, and yet doesn't really unbalance the game that much. It obviously makes playing certain eldrazi decks way easier, but that's not necessary a bad thing, is it? It's also great for cube and casual in that it opens up a lot more colorless space.

There was no "previously to colorless mana" as it has existed since 1994 (unless you mean colorless requirements, which is different), and Eldrazi decks aren't typically decks with fetchlands. These would sure be a lot better than the painlands though.

@themonadnomad said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

It's easy to imagine replacements to dual lands that are not really the same but still in the same vein, such as the land giving all players a life when tapped but still providing the same benefits of an ABU dual land.

This is still hard to play around with. Control decks and certain (most really i imagine) combo decks don't mind, but anything midrange or aggro does not want Grove your opponent some life. These would also be really super busted (sweet) with Punishing Fires.

@fsecco said in The Reserve List - The Reddest Red Herring:

Off-topic, but Gurmag is more played than Tasigur in Legacy because it's not a legend - and doesn't get owned by the very present Karakas. That's the reason, not the +1 power. Legacy Delver decks would probably play a lot more Tasi if he wasn't legendary.

This is true, i forgot about that really. But the 5 is still significant for clock, trading with some Reality Smasher, killing Goyf most of the time (although less relevant lately), and Tasigur's ability also being costly and not normally an achievable goal for decks that play Angler (tempo).

@maximumcdawg Regarding the Moxen, I suggest artifact lands (one for each color) which include a text restriction that you may only have one copy in your deck, and you may play them in addition to any other lands you have played this turn. This isn't exactly equal to moxen, but allows for a similar mana ramp, and the cards are still considered artifacts (so they can be destroyed or manipulated, or searched for, etc just as artifacts are).

@maximumcdawg I'm honestly not sure how to take that... at first it felt so sarcastic... that I feel like it might be next level sarcastic? Like you actually think this is a good idea?...

In any case, a Mox Emerald that was also a 2/2 creature seems like a pretty good idea. At least for the purposes of this conversation, the reserve list would be significantly diminished as a problem, at least as far as the ranking of problems goes...

@cajunofficer you don't need that wording, just restrict/ban them.
These cards you describe might actually be better than normal moxen, as they get through spheres, trigger landfall, can be played through standstill. they're worse because you can't outcome them, they don't trigger mentor/storm and are wastelandable.
It also lets people play 5 more moxen, which is the problem with doing this for vintage cards. letting people play 7 volcanic island isn't a problem, letting them have 5 extra moxen is.

@cajunofficer artifact lands? Like the ones from Mirrodin?

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