Price Spikes & Paper Vintage

@vaughnbros If I ran NYSE Open I prize support, and had NYSE Open VI attendance, entry would be about $650 per player.

@hrishi I had forgotten about that conversation.

It feels like whenever somebody asks when the best time to buy into Vintage is, the answers are “right now, before the next spike”, or “in 1993”. Given that time travel isn’t an option, right now seems best.

Even if right now is positively insane.

I’m really glad you still have your cards, Hrishi.

I wish I had done more to help friends get in, and could do more now to make the format affordable for them.

Is it time to remove limits on proxies, but instead put a proxy price in play- if the card sells for more than $100; you can proxy it?

High quality proxies can be made (not counterfeits) that are distinguishable as the card, but not using wizards IP or art. I’ve seen and played against some and they look cool.

Appreciate the thread but Andy’s point may be the best take away- just find some people and play.

WotC uses the terms "counterfeit," "proxy," and "playtest" and they mean something slightly different. What you're talking about are "Playtest" cards.

And, yes, that's how you play paper Vintage nowadays. No reason paper Vintage has to die as long as there is a will; whether it's an insert, custom alt-art print job, or a sharpied basic land, the format is completely open to anyone, anytime.

What IS dying is SANCTIONED Vintage. I have not been able to play that in person since about 2013. 😞

Hello, I have pitch for addressing some of the issues brought up in this thread.

I think that any solution has to do most or all of the following:

  1. Increase access to vintage-critical cards (this means both increase the supply and reduce the cost)
  2. Incentivize sanctioned tournaments of all sizes and attendance at those tournaments (small LGS to larger events)
  3. Not meaningfully devalue collections
  4. Not meaningfully effect the secondary market
  5. Allow for WotC and event organizers to profit (without this there is no reason for either of those groups embrace a change to the current system)

My idea is inspired by the MTGO god pass that allowed users temporary access to all cards for a single fee.

For the time being I’ll call this thing the [Proxy Pass]. The [PP] would allow purchasers unlimited sanctioned use of proxies of a list of cards* for the duration of an event. WotC would sell these passes en mass to organizers who would then sell them to participants on an individual basis. I imagine that these would be accompanied by proxy-ready blanks (just a formalized version of swamp+sharpie) and the participant who purchased the pass would fill out and register their proxies as they register their deck.

*The list of proxy-able card would include reserved list cards + vintage staples over a certain value/play frequency (a cheaper staple 4-of for an archetype might be included over a more expensive card only played as a singleton). I am not the right person to generate this list, and I invite suggestions around how to best construct it.

I don’t know exactly how the pricing for these passes would look but let’s imagine that the cost to the participant is $40 per day. Of that $40, $30 would go into the the pockets of WotC, guaranteed regardless of participation as organizers have to buy their passes beforehand. The remaining 10$ would go to the organizers who sold the pass for their event at a slight markup, both to profit themselves but also to protect their guess about how many passes to purchase vrs. the demand from players. Obviously the real numbers might look different in either direction but the point of my mentioning this is that it allows for profit for both WotC and organizers, WotC’s is unrelated to actual participation in the events and thus more stable while organizers benefit from both the ability to mark up the price on the passes and the idea that their existence will drive up attendance in their events and that the passes are an addition to registration fees. All of this is to explain how this idea fulfills the 5th requirement.

[PP] also represent a functionally infinite supply scarce staple cards for Vintage at a reasonable price hopefully, to bring the price of playing in a sanctioned event to the levels of a Modern or Standard one. This will ideally not lead to 100% proxied decks as players will be expected to own the cards not found on the proxy list.

My hope is that because these [PP] don’t actually create any product (the proxied ‘cards’ expire at the end of an event) the effect on the value of people’s collections and on the secondary card market will be minimal. Competitive play is, to the best of my understanding, not the driving force behind the price of expensive Vintage staples.

There are also some secondary benefits to this proposal, the first is that even players who own all of the proxy-able cards can also chose to purchase a pass as a means of protecting their valuable cards from things like theft or damage. As many in the thread have mentioned even bringing a fully powered vintage deck to a tournament location represents a huge, huge risk. While I am sure that some will chose to take that risk, offering the ability to play the same cards without risking them would be a welcome option I imagine. This also hopefully would open the door to more lending etc. as having the bones of many different vintage decks built but not redundant sets of Power and other costly cards might let players encourage friends to dip their toes into the format without as great a risk.

There also should be some oblique benefit to collectors as use of these cards in competitive play devalues them and removing them from circulation should help maintain high quality cards in the system.

I think that those are the main strengths of this idea, but I also want to recognize weaknesses as well.

  1. First off, I could be wrong in my assessment of the effects secondary market and collections and making these [PP] a viable alternative to owning expensive cards cause them to lose value in such a way that it damaged those institutions. Furthermore, it also introduces a means for WotC to indirectly effect the secondary market by choosing which cards they add to the proxy list as adding or removing cards could have an effect on their price.

  2. This idea also adds some logistical issues to tournaments surrounding the proxies and would take extra effort on behalf of organizers to ensure that no cheating or other advantaged play was generated from these cards.

  3. It is also important to recognize that since Vintage is not a popular format, the incentives for adding this system are not very great for WotC, while in the ideal case more accessibility would drive up participation and thus make it a worthwhile change that is speculative. The other piece of this is that if WotC chooses to do as I’ve suggested they will calculate the value of the [PP] at a high enough price that it becomes restrictive for both organizers and participants to purchase, sure it will always be cheaper than buying a lotus but if it is an extra $200 on top of a registration fee it may keep almost the exact same number of players out.

  4. Another weakness is that flooding tournament play with proxies taking the place of all of the most iconic cards will have a real effect on how it feels to play Vintage and may even turn some of the long time proponents of the format away from playing.

Obviously there are so many unknowns in a proposal like this, and I have definitely missed what will be glaring problems to others, so please, in the interest in arriving at a truly viable solution share your insight.

Finally a disclaimer, I have never played in a paper tournament, never owned a magic card and likely never will. I speak from a deep well of ignorance about the tournament process, the Vintage community and Magic as a whole. If I have made a bad assumption, missed someone else's espousing of the same idea or anything of the sort it was done out of ignorance not malice and I hope you will forgive the pretension.

@nofuture said in Price Spikes & Paper Vintage:

I don’t know exactly how the pricing for these passes would look but let’s imagine that the cost to the participant is $40 per day. Of that $40, $30 would go into the the pockets of WotC, guaranteed regardless of participation as organizers have to buy their passes beforehand. The remaining 10$ would go to the organizers who sold the pass for their event at a slight markup, both to profit themselves but also to protect their guess about how many passes to purchase vrs. the demand from players. Obviously the real numbers might look different in either direction but the point of my mentioning this is that it allows for profit for both WotC and organizers, WotC’s is unrelated to actual participation in the events and thus more stable while organizers benefit from both the ability to mark up the price on the passes and the idea that their existence will drive up attendance in their events and that the passes are an addition to registration fees. All of this is to explain how this idea fulfills the 5th requirement.

I cannot be the only person who thinks proxies are an ugly and inelegant solution. Let's put aside all the conversation about what constitutes a workable "proxy" in tournament play vs a counterfeit vs a playtest card, etc because that is probably something that could at least be legislated.

Name me any other game where this is allowed? Can I show up to a sanctioned football game with a helmet I made myself, that kinda looks like my teams helmet but not totally?

Name me any other game where the game pieces that are required to play are so rare and so expensive that the games owner would not make more of them? This situations is not that far removed from if Island was a reserve list card. I say that and we all recognize it as stupid, but then so is this.

Name me another company that would tell players, hey we know our stuff costs a lot of money so you may as well not spend your cash with us and just make your own?

There is a point where playing with proxies in a real event means you are playing a different game as far as I am concerned. If we are going to go that far why not try to wrestle the game rules away from WOTC and do like EDH? Why not make a no RL eternal format. Why not play Old school? Why not play another game? It is very obvious that to WOTC vintage is a mostly vestigial format that they just keep around as to not tank the value on some cards and not upset a very vocal player base.

Personally I think there is a RL loophole WOTC has not tried yet that would work well if they gave a crap.

Step 1) Form a secondary, non affiliated company called "Magic Vintage League, LLC" or some such thing. Sell them the rights to the Vintage format on paper. They would become the stewards of the format, Restricted list, tourneys, etc. Make it owned by players maybe?

Step 2) Change the card legality policy from only WOTC official cards are legal to only cards from WOTC or printed by select partners are legal. This is not forbidden by the RL (basically is not mentioned). Regulate it like you would the use of any 3rd party product in the game like sleeves.

Step 3) Sell the rights to Magic Vintage League to make their own alternate art reprints with the same card formulation as the rest of the game. Think of them like having the ability to make their own Secret Lairs.

Step 4) The company, which is a fully independent company who is just licencing, goes ahead and prints RL cards with new art and borders. They can either sell them in limited numbers, or maybe even better just offer them up as exclusive prizes for tourney participation in vintage events so the only financial component to this is the event entry fee, not a card purchace.

It's been a while since I logged in, and this is the exact conversation I was hoping to find to get some answers. The last time I looked at Vintage staples a year or so ago, they looked like they were all dropping. Did something happen that I missed?

I haven't played paper Vintage in years and sold off all my power but my Lotus and Walk due to sentimental reasons. It's all been sitting in boxes as I moved on to other formats and then games. I still lurked here as I enjoyed keeping tabs on the format, but the last couple of years were kinda rough financially after getting laid off from my VFX studio, so I checked out of the game entirely. Yesterday I happened to randomly check out some prices and I couldn't believe what some of the staples were going for.

I started playing tail end of Unlimited buying packs at Microplay (Video game chain mainly based in Ontario Canada), played up until Combo winter, and joined TMD when I got back into it as Mirrodin dropped. I've seen usernames come and go over the years, and there are still quite a few from back then. I've been blessed because I've got playsets of random relatively expensive cards like transmute artifacts, replenish etc that were considered janky until someone broke it. Unfortunately I've also broken up sets over the years as I've needed cash, so I have 3 bazaars and 3 Alliances FoW because the 4th FoW is in my complete set. I'm not sure what to do any longer. On one hand, I've amassed a large collection with quite a lot of staples and I'm in a lot better position than many other players, but on the other hand it would still cost a lot to get back in.

in the mid 90's, we used to laugh at the miniwargamers because their hobby was so expensive compared to ours, but I could buy out most of a GW store with what I would need to buy in again. On a strict cost benefit analysis, looking at what high end board games cost and the amount of time you get out of them vs how much time I can get Vintage to the table, it doesn't look very good, and that's super depressing.

Again - the ONLY answer you all will ever get is when you leave WotC out of the equation. They are not do anything for Vintage - not proxies, not proxy passes [though that really seems like a great option if WotC did give a sh!t, which again, they don't], not abolishing the reserve list, not printing functional replacements, and not printing superior cards. WotC will NEVER DO ANYTHING TO LOWER THE PRICE OF VINTAGE. Further, they DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR COMPLAINING ABOUT IT. They have no interest in doing anything that could possibly mess with the secondary market or cause any litigation, and the .005% of their profits that Vintage represents is not worth any effort AT ALL to them. I wish people could just accept that point and move on.

If you want to play Vintage in person with cardboard, it will have to be unsanctioned and allow proxies...and that's all there is to it. There are NO other options, so looking for them is a moot point if any option you hope for involves any kind of action or blessing by WotC. WILL.NEVER.HAPPEN. Accept it, deal with it, move on...and just play with your friends and local tourneys or travel to bigger unsanctioned tournaments like ELD used to have.

@juggernaut-go said in Price Spikes & Paper Vintage:

When a handful of dealers and collectors control the majority of the card pool, they can dictate what things are bought and sold for.

This right here is the problem. Example: 3 dealers singlehandedly raised the price of a CE set by ~$8000 a few weeks ago on Facebook. 1 of them posted a set for $18,000 which "sold within minutes", dealer #2 comes along and says "dang, I need a CE set", DEALER #3 THEN COMES ALONG! and says "I'll sell you one, but not so underpriced like he did, $22,000". That set also "sold within minutes" and I would be super amazed if a single card changed hands.

@nofuture

I would be as shocked as wizards did it but that seems like a fantastic idea.

  • 57
    Posts
  • 4428
    Views