Regardless of where they come from, it is understood that Magic: the Gathering cards are unfortunately susceptible to sustaining damage. MTG cards are made out of cardboard, after all, which isn’t famed for its durability. Whether pulled from packs or ordered directly from Wizards, shipping mishaps and printing errors can ultimately ruin cards entirely. Disappointingly, this damage doesn’t discriminate, as even a set’s most prized MTG cards are at risk of this damage. For The Brothers’ War, these prized MTG cards are the serialized Retro Artifacts.
Each of these cards is numerically unique, providing an unparalleled level of collectibility, with chase cards selling for over $1000. Despite their rarity, however, these prized cards have still been subject to the same printing and shipping issues as usual. Typically, this isn’t a major problem, as Wizards often steps in to help aggrieved players. For MTG’s serialized Retro Artifacts, however, Wizards of the Coast isn’t being so generous. Unusually, however, this lack of generosity might not actually be a bad thing.
Replacing the Unreplaceable
Typically, Wizards of the Coast is surprisingly good about replacing damaged cards. So long as the product was released recently, Wizards is often happy to replace single cards and even entire decks. This product replacement policy has been exceptionally useful recently as printing errors and shipping faults have seemingly become more common. While this policy applies to most cards, Wizards notes that this benevolent scheme supports not all products. Unfortunately for savvy The Brothers’ War collectors, the serialized Retro Artifacts are one of the unsupported products.
This unfortunate detail was recently discovered by MTG player and Reddit user u/bovadeez. In a recent post, u/bovadeez stated they “pulled a damaged serialized card, and Wizards refuses to replace [it].” Given that serialized retro artifacts can sell for over $1000, you might expect MTG players to be enraged upon hearing this. Surprisingly, however, u/bovadeez claimed that the lack of a like-for-like replacement by Wizards was actually “a good thing.”
In their post, u/bovadeez explained how they followed the usual process of replacing a damaged card. After contacting Wizards support, however, Wizards explained for serialized schematic promos, they will “only be able to replace them with foil non-serialized versions.” Despite asserting that this is a “pretty weak” replacement, u/bovadeez noted this decision gave them a “glimmer of hope.” After all, it seems that Wizards isn’t willing to jeopardize the collectability of their products. Unfortunately for Wizards, it seems this glimmer of hope didn’t last long, as u/bovadeez still remains skeptical. “Granted we all know this gimmick will be destroyed in subsequent releases but for now I’m pleased to see this.”
Value Value Value
Thankfully for MTG players who’re unable to get their serialized Retro Artifacts replaced, damaged cards aren’t inherently worthless. In many cases depending on the damage sustained, misprinted cards can even sell for more than a pristine copy. This is especially true for The Brothers’ War’s serialized Retro Artifacts since a printing error sets a card apart from the other numbers. Unfortunately, while there is tremendous potential for value, these extra rare cards are often sold behind closed doors. This ultimately leaves the true value of these cards unknown outside of a few high-profile sales.
Providing some insight into prices, Reddit user u/rtgeary claimed they recently sold a misprinted serialized card of their own. In the comments of u/bovadeez’s post, u/rtgeary stated, at first, they, too went to Wizards support. After only being offered the regular foil replacement, however, u/rtgeary looked towards another market to sell their unique card. “I was able to sell it on the MTG misprint Facebook group for $1350, which paid for my case,” u/rtgeary explained. While obviously not cheap, this price isn’t a significant markup over the average serialized Platnium Angel price. Looking at TCGplayer, the current market price stands at around $1000 since sales have ranged between $900 and $1,100.
Elsewhere in the market, the prices for serialized Retro Artifacts, especially on eBay, have tumbled somewhat. While there are still a few enterprising sellers trying to get upwards of $4,999, recent sales paint a different picture. Outside of Mishra’s Bauble number 499 remarkably selling for $1,424, prices appear to be down. Cards such as Door to Nothingness and Cloud Key, for instance, are only selling for around $260 to $300 each. When priced more aggressively, other cards, such as Thorn of Amethyst at $736, aren’t getting any bids at all.
While The Brothers’ War’s serialized Retro Artifacts continue to be expensive, the long-term ramifications of the product are still unknown. Player interest in the product indeed started high, however, since then, it appears to have waned quite significantly. Subsequently, it’s currently unclear, for instance, if Wizards will release more serialized products in the future to commemorate more sets. Serialized cards could be an exciting way to celebrate Magic’s 100th set, however, as u/bovadeez pointed out, this could destroy the value of all serialized cards since they’re no longer special. Ultimately, we’ll just have to wait and see what the market and Wizards of the Coast decides.