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16, Jun, 23

MTG Players Warn Serialized Cards May Tank in Value!

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Serialized MTG cards might just be too good to be true!
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Following an initial text in 2021, recently, Wizards of the Coast has been pushing the collectible limits of MTG. This is thanks to the reintroduction of serialized MTG cards in The Brothers’ War. Offering phenomenal value to any player lucky enough to find one, so far, these collectible cards have been a great success. In fact, they’ve only been getting better over time!

For The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, Wizards is done again, releasing a plethora of serialized cards. Out of these cards, the one-of-one serialized The One Ring is undeniably the most enticing. Currently valued at over $2,000,000, this card is obviously getting many players seriously excited about the upcoming set. 

While much of this excitement is warranted since 2 million dollars is a life-changing sum of money, not every player is so enthusiastic. Between The One Ring already looking curled, and the difficulty finding it, there are plenty of reasons to temper expectations. As if these weren’t damning enough, however, recently, many MTG players have been pointing out that serialized cards may not be actually worth anything.

Suspect Serialization

Serialized Atraxa, Praetor's Voice

At the moment, serialized MTG cards are some of the most expensive in all MTG. This is true even when you discount the $2,000,000 The One Ring. Recently, for instance, one of the new serialized Sol Rings sold for $13,000! Currently, this appears to be the highest-recorded sale for a serialized card by quite some margin. 

Thankfully for MTG players looking to own a serialized card, they’re not all as expensive as this 001 Sol Ring. Instead, most serialized cards only cost around a few hundred dollars. While this still isn’t a small amount of money, there are some serialized cards that are remarkably affordable. Radha, Coalition Warlord, for instance, only costs around $70 on average! 

While the serialized copy of Radha is cheap, thanks to their rarity, it may not be long before all serialized cards end up this way. That’s the theory, at least, according to users such as u/-Invalid-user-name. Within a recent post, Invalid-user-name highlighted how, while exciting now, the appeal of serialized cards may not last. This is thanks to them potentially being overdone into oblivion. 

Since serialized cards first reappeared in The Brothers’ War, this aspect has been a lingering concern among many fans. So far, however, the value of serialized cards has remained relatively consistent, somewhat allaying those fears. To bring them right back, however, Invalid-user-name pointed out that Magic is hardly the only game with serialized cards. 

Providing an anecdote, Invalid-user-name told other users how, as a child, they found a sports card of a famous player with a 1/75 printing. At the time, this was reportedly worth around $150, although they were unable to tell it. Now, however, the card has plummeted in value and is now worth “just over $1.”

“1/300 sounds incredibly rare until 1/300 starts showing up in every set. Yes, LOTR is special in its fan base. But the hype will wear down/away. These Sol Rings are not playable cards, they are collectibles only.”

u/-Invalid-user-name

Perplexing Potential Prices

Sol Ring | Kaladesh Inventions
Sol Ring | Kaladesh Inventions

While this experience is anecdotal, it nevertheless stresses how card pricing can change through overprinting. Typically, this is a good thing in MTG, as players want cards to be affordable. For collectibles, however, part of the allure is that they’re expensive, illusive, and ultimately worth owning. Should Wizards overprint these collectibles cards, that allure may totally disappear. 

As many Reddit users were quick to note, like Invalid-user-name, this was precisely what happened to many sports trading cards. This has happened so much, in fact, that according to u/Opposite-Occasion881, these numbers trading cards can be bought in bulk. This has allowed Opposite-Occasion881 to use these seemingly valuable cards as worthless tokens, showing their actual value to players.

“I’ve been using bulk numbered sports cards as tokens and it’s finally getting the point across to the people of my LGS ‘What do you mean that’s numbered to /5 and is worth $0.50?’” 

u/Opposite-Occasion881

If, or rather once, serialized MTG cards stop being special, it’s possible that prices may plummet to new lows. For better or worse, however, it’s likely this won’t happen to every single serialized MTG card. Playable and beloved cards, such as Sol Ring, for instance, are likely to retain much of their value. This has already been proven by the ultra-rare Kaladesh Invention Sol Ring. 

Despite releasing almost seven years ago, the Kaladesh Invention Sol Ring is still worth almost $850! This is in spite of the card being consistently reprinted, with new and enticing art. Should this trend continue, Commander favorite cards which get a serialized treatment will likely stay expensive. Cards like Radha, however, may end up being worth next to nothing once being serialized isn’t so exclusive. 

Only Time Will Tell

Timeless Lotus | Dominaria United
Timeless Lotus | Dominaria United

At the end of the day, we don’t know what Wizards’ plans are with serialized cards going forward. Right now, serialized cards are absolutely everywhere, however, they may just be a temporary fad. It’s possible, for instance, that their current overabundance is just due to the development cycle. 

Thanks to all that goes into making an MTG set, development reportedly takes around two years from start to finish. While elements like Bonus Sheets can be incorporated into a set at a later date, there’s nevertheless a huge lead time. As you might expect, this makes changing based on player opinion incredibly difficult. Subsequently, if more serialized cards are in the pipeline, Wizards can’t exactly stop it. 

Thankfully, it’s ultimately pretty unlikely that most MTG sets over the next year will have serialized cards. Instead, it’s much more likely that Wizards will reserve this collectible printing for Bonus Sheets and special occasions. While we have had a few of these recently, that doesn’t mean they’ll be the norm going forward. That’s the hope, at least, as if they are overprinted, collectors could be left severely disappointed.

Read More: MTG Designer Reveals Future MTG Sets Could Be Made with AI!

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