The next massive episode of MTG spoilers is coming tomorrow! While players are excited about this lore-enriched set, stores seem to have been less impressed with the product’s potential. We haven’t even hit the core of The Brothers’ War spoiler season, and boxes seem to be already selling for a considerable loss from online sellers. This is particularly strange, considering we don’t even know what will be in the set yet. This could, therefore, be a hidden opportunity for interested parties.
Prices are the Best they Can Ever be
The good news for those interested in Brothers’ War products is that these prices may be the best they will ever be. While the reasoning behind the price drops is not a good one, players can relish the fact that there is an opportunity knocking at their virtual doorsteps.
This is not the first time a story like this has taken off. Dominaria United also faced a disturbing pattern when Booster Boxes dropped below what would be considered profitable for a seller on TCGplayer. The only difference is that this time, boxes are already selling at a heavy loss before the set has been spoiled to the community.
A recent Reddit discussion blew up where the creator, claiming they are a store owner, stated that multiple online sellers are selling Brothers’ War products at a loss. While the math was only loosely alluded to throughout the post, if we compare this to the math behind the Dominaria United losses, we may come to a similar conclusion.
Various comments across threads all seem to confirm that unless the average LGS is selling their Draft Booster boxes for $120 or more, they are taking a loss for selling these products. The math ends up shaking out like this:
- The average cost for an LGS to acquire a box varies between $85-95
- TCGplayer fees take about 12-15% from the sale
- Shipping can cost $8-10
- Assuming that the LGS needs to pay for shipping, for the average rates given here ($87, 13.5% and $9), an LGS would have to charge $115ish to make a minimal profit.
If we look at the current price of Draft Booster Boxes on TCGplayer, boxes are currently selling for $107 pretty consistently but still show signs of steady and slight decline over time. Even the best rates shown above would have a tough time making a profit at this price. Do keep in mind, however, that some larger LGS could have better rates than what is written above.
While the math is likely slightly different for this product, it still fails the standards given for Draft Booster Boxes. These sell only for $5 more than their Draft counterparts at $112. This is still below what most LGS would need to profit from these products. While it may be a fantastic opportunity for customers, it isn’t looking suitable for the middleman.
Where do We Go from Here?
While the question “what’s next?” may be a bit difficult to answer, players following this have come to the conclusion that something has to change soon:
“The Wizards –> Distributors –> LGS model is no longer working.
It seems like stores only buy things because they feel pressure from distributors in order to keep getting access to new product. LGSes are the ones stuck footing the bill, while doing all the selling. Distributors add no value to the equation.” – Nothing371
While everyone is sure something is wrong, no one can agree on where to point the finger. Some even think that this is a business decision from Wizards to change the distribution model for MTG product slowly:
“That was always the plan. They want it to be Wizards –> Amazon, and I think they’re doing a pretty good job of it” – HonorTomOfFinland
Whatever the reason is for this current model, it seems clear to the majority of the community with the numbers given that the current model no longer works. While some stores likely have better rates than the ones provided, those owners are also complaining about their rates not cutting either:
“Yep and my costs are probably lower because I have been with the same distributor over 10 years. And even at my cost basis they are losing money.
I am just pointing out that there are some pretty bad business practices going on.
Especially selling at a loss before we even have 10% of the set spoiled.” GSOwner
Let me be clear that we do not know the situation of any particular LGS out there, but with the math given here, the average LGS looks to be having a tough time making ends meet with current business models for sealed MTG products. I would not be surprised if the situation changes once some of the new cards get spoiled. This, therefore, could be a disguised opportunity for customers.