Magic: the Gathering and Hasbro have had a surprising track record of going viral recently. Between some tough quarters for MTG’s owner and a very controversial product, more than just the MTG community has been tuning into the world’s most popular card game. The 30th Anniversary Edition, perhaps the most rejected MTG product in the game’s history, was a product containing four randomized packs of cards reprinted from Beta, MTG’s second oldest set. As these cards are well known to be worth tens of thousands of dollars, the amount of value to be had here could, theoretically, be astronomical. The downside, unfortunately, is that this product costed around $1000 upon release for a set of cards that could have absolutely no value, and these cards are not legal for tournament play.
The Freebie Thousand-Dollar Product
It’s no secret that the 30th Anniversary Edition was one of the most controversial products in the game’s history. While Wizards of the Coast wanted to deliver something ‘special’ to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary, one enormous promise made years ago stopped the company from reprinting its most valuable cards in a more meaningful way.
We’ve talked about The Reserved List multiple times, but to summarize it quickly once again, this promise basically means that any card listed on the Reserved List cannot be reprinted in a competitively viable version. Additionally, stronger versions of the cards that appear on The Reserved List cannot be printed. You’ll find many of the game’s most powerful and most expensive cards on The Reserved List. Many of these cards are currently going for auction for tens of thousands of dollars.
As such, the only way to reprint these cards without breaking the promise made years ago was to reprint a version of these cards that cannot be used in sanctioned play. As such, the cards offered in the 30th Anniversary Edition are strictly collectibles. This is not something that many players in the MTG community was thrilled to hear.
While the overall product was received very negatively, that doesn’t mean that everything involving the 30th Anniversary Edition was bad. In an effort to support the local game stores that have allowed Magic to thrive throughout the years, Wizards of the Coast gifted a free box to many stores completely free of charge.
Wizards of the Coast’s efforts to support local games stores is, undeniably, a good one. What people didn’t know at the time of making this decision was how different the overall sale of this product would go from expectations.
While no one outside of Wizards of the Coast truly knows what happened with the 30th Anniversary Edition’s sale many believe that the 30th Anniversary Edition product, despite, according to Wizards of the Coast, the sale successfully concluded only 45 minutes after it went live, did not sell out as intended. This would be elaborated upon during a Fireside Chat hosted by Hasbro, where Wizards of the Coast President Cynthia Williams stated that “sometimes we step back and listen to customer feedback, like we did on our recent 30th Anniversary Edition, where we scaled back the expected supply to ensure a great collector experience.”
As a result, the amount of 30th Anniversary Edition product is far different from what was expected. This also means that the free product given to local game stores represents a much more significant percentage of the 30th Anniversary Edition marketplace than expected.
Only six days after free product has hit the secondary market, the 30th Anniversary product has taken a massive hit. According to MTG personality Alpha Investments, who also reported on this incident, these boxes were valued at $1800 to $2000 just a month ago. On TCGplayer, $1700 was the highest recorded price that the product sold for.
Suddenly, boxes of 30th Anniversary Edition are selling for $1000 on TCGplayer, just half of the controversial product’s price just a month ago. Obviously, we are very early into the fresh injection into the marketplace, so there’s no guarantee that these boxes are going to keep crashing. That said, the early impact of the free 30th Anniversary Edition product has been much stronger than many expected.
Even though the product is currently dropping hard, many financial personalities in the MTG space still believe that, in the long term, this may still be a significant investment. This is, ironically, partially because of how poorly the community received the product. This could give the 30th Anniversary Edition an unintended historical impact that collectors could consider valuable.