As a physical trading card game, unfortunately, MTG cards aren’t immune from sustaining damage for one reason or another. The most obvious culprit for this damage is improper storage or play, however, production defects are not entirely unheard of. Throughout recent months, for instance, we’ve seen misprints, miscuts, and shipping damage ruin products before they’re in a player’s hands. For the most part, this unfortunate and unavoidable damage is simply part of playing a physical trading card game. Thankfully, in most cases, Wizards of the Coast is at least willing to replace these errors when they’re at fault. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t the case for some of the most expensive and collectible MTG cards. Understandably, this has left many MTG players concerned that their priced cards may be too fragile!
Thanks to Wizards steadily increasing the collectibility of MTG, concerns about cards being too fragile have been growing louder. This was especially true for The Brothers’ War, which featured serialized MTG cards. While these one-in-five-hundred cards were poised to be incredibly valuable, there were consistent concerns about printing quality. After all, what would happen if your theoretically $25,000 MTG card was damaged when you opened the pack? For better or worse, players would soon find out the answer to this burning question as this very situation happened. After pulling a misprinted serialized card, Reddit user u/bovadeez was told Wizards won’t be replacing these collectible MTG cards.
“Thank you for contacting Wizards of the Coast Customer Support! I am sorry to hear about the issue with your serialized card. As a quick note, because of the very limited nature of the serialized schematic promos, we will only be able to replace them with foil non-serialized versions. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.”Wizards of the Coast Customer Support
At the time, this decision was surprisingly lauded as a good decision. By refusing to replace damaged serialized cards, the sanctity of the product line was being protected. While this decision was initially celebrated, more recently, MTG players have been sharing their concerns with this reprint-embracing approach. This follows the reveal of the rarest MTG card ever printed; The One Ring. Launching within The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set, this card has a unique serialized one-of-one printing. Since this card will be the rarest MTG card in existence, obviously, players are expecting it to sell for a lot. Some have even suggested The One Ring could sell for upwards of six or even seven figures.
As enticing as this price tag may sound, there are some concerns this card could be too rare. After all, with one-in-three-million odds of being in a Collector Booster, just finding this card will be a challenge. Beyond this, however, there are additional concerns The One Ring may be too valuable to be found in a pack.
Highlighting the problem of The One Ring’s expected value, Reddit user u/SnooLemons7493 recently suggested the card shouldn’t be within a pack. Instead, it was suggested that Wizards follow in the footsteps of sports trading cards to ensure the card’s safety. “From a collector standpoint, I wouldn’t want to possibly open a pack and have the card with white edges. I think the WotC should put a ‘voucher card’ or in sports collecting, they have Redemption cards. With this redemption card, you could log into an online account and punch in the redemption code. Then WOTC will ship the 1/1 in a nice sealed protected case to have.”
While MTG players were quick to joke about this suggestion, it seemed many genuinely believed The One Ring could be misprinted. “Imagine the serialized One Ring gets crimped in the package,” u/Redshift2k5 commented. Similarly, u/kabigon2k mused they “can’t wait for someone to open this and find it’s bent, scratched, or scuffed right out of the pack (you already know it’s going to be curled).” In theory, as u/CheatMan suggests, for one-of-one prints, “condition doesn’t matter,” as it’ll always be the only copy. In reality, however, there’s no telling how a misprint could affect the card’s value, making the possibility immensely concerning.
Due to this worrying potential, a redemption card may be the most sensible option for Wizards to utilize. As u/21Maestro8 points out, however, finding a redemption card within a pack isn’t ideal. “Nah. I get it from a collector’s point of view, but opening something you have to redeem is way less exciting than opening the actual card.” Since excitement seems to be what Wizards is going for, unfortunately, the risk of shipping damage may have to be part of The One Ring’s story.
Currently, while it’s expected that the serialized The One Ring will be seriously expensive, there’s no telling its actual value. Not until the card is actually found, at least, and offers can start rolling in. Months before that happens, however, one keen MTG player is already setting a prospective price with a lucrative standing offer. Coming from Facebook user Dan Bock, the price for The One Ring has been set at a staggering $100,000. This immense price is seemingly the floor of what Bock is willing to offer. As, within their post, Bock states they’ll “[beat] the highest reputable public offer.” While this is obviously quite a lucrative deal, it does come with a rather unusual catch. Namely that “you can’t tell anyone you opened it, or post about [it] before selling it to me.”
Obviously, $100,000 is no small amount of money, however, technically, it’s a pittance compared to what the card is theoretically worth. After all, according to Wizards of the Coast, players have a <.00003% chance of finding the serialized One Ring. This means the card only appears in one out of over three million collector boosters. Currently, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Collector Boosters cost around $36.66 each (when purchasing Booster Boxes). This means the price of the serialized The One Ring should be around $110,000,000. For some strange reason, however, we doubt someone is going to drop over one hundred million dollars on a single MTG card.