The MTG secondary market is experiencing many changes. While players are more often playing on paper, the secondary market is slowly coming to life. Dominaria United’s preview season has also joined, spoiling some amazing new cards that are driving the market crazy with predictions. Commander players appear to be the big winners here, with recent market trends pointing to it as the biggest driver. While all of this is going on, some MTG financial experts fear a particular trend. We may be seeing the end of one of MTG’s oldest product lines.
Boxes of draft boosters sold at a loss
What seems like an average price for a Booster Box is actually much more than that. As pointed out by Redditor u/GSOwner and some Youtube financial personalities, some stores selling Dominaria United Booster Boxes on TCGplayer are currently doing so at a net loss. This means that these stores are losing money on every box they sell.
The calculations aren’t available to those on the front end, and while no one has given exact percentages, everyone is sure some sellers are taking a loss. Whereas TCGplayer’s fee is around 15% and the new cost per Draft Booster Box for local game stores (or LGS for short) is $85-95, it is not difficult to interpret that the original seller may suffer a loss, especially when the shipping cost is included. For an LGS to earn money, Dominaria United Draft boosters may need to be sold at $120 or more.
MTG products are getting more and more expensive
For those wondering why some LGS can lose money on boxes, worldwide manufacturing prices may be the culprit. For those who may have forgotten, a few months ago Wizards of the Coast announced that all of their products would experience an 11% increase in price. Indeed, “the costs of goods, transportation and manufacturing have risen significantly and steadily for just about everyone in almost every industry.” As mentioned in the image above, this price increase mostly goes live when Dominaria United releases. Even though the Dominaria United Draft Boosters match the price of older sets for Buyers, they are more expensive for Sellers to purchase from their Distributors.
Wizards of the Coast is pulling out all the stops for its 30th anniversary. Collector Booster Boxes will gain access to MTG’s original legends cards, multiple Commander legal toppers, a once-thought-exclusive foiling technique, and stunning new stained glass art. These boxes look amazing and it’s easy for MTG players to get excited about them! What about plain old draft reminder boxes? None of those shiny new promotions go into these. It’s just what we’re used to for a higher price.
We have already started to see price increases appear in the market in the form of New Capenna’s Commander decks. Wizards compensated for this price hike by giving players a special Collector Booster Pack that provides a few cards as a teaser for players to consider Collector Boosters in the future. It shouldn’t cost Wizards very much to produce, and it helps players digest the price increases. No additional such products have been announced for Draft Booster Boxes.
Dominaria draft boxes are seeing an increase in price
The reveal listed in the title likely means one of three things for the future of the Draft Booster Box line. As the article hopefully described at this point, LGS is not going to settle for this business model. Several stores that don’t have an intense draft scene are already choosing not to sell this product, with MTG guru Alpha Investments, who arguably spearheaded this thread, stating that he will not sell this product under any circumstances. A possible end to this story is that Draft Boosters will disappear from the online market. They can only be carried by LGS, expecting to host drafts, as these stores may be the only ones making money from MTG’s core product. Take it a step further and Wizards of the Coast can discontinue Draft Booster Boxes altogether, leaving the Limited to online players to enjoy.
Another possible ending to this story is that these boxes will see a price increase simply because they have to for sellers to make a profit. This seems like the most likely candidate at the moment as the Dominaria United Draft Boxes see their price increase on TCGplayer. That being said, sellers are unlikely to make much, if any, profit from these boxes. The $85-95 The dollar distribution price is incredibly important here, because that price difference can be all the money an LGS makes per box. For a while these Dominaria United boxes were selling for $106. This is undeniably a loss for sellers.
At the current price of $115shops have to do $5-15 depending on the distribution price of these boxes. If they have to pay the shipping costs in any way, that profit may disappear. Because of this, players who want Draft Booster Boxes for themselves can consider picking them up ASAP. If this solution is the right one, the Booster Box price increases probably won’t stop there.
The last possible line can be a combination of Draft and Set Booster Boxes. This one is a bit more speculative, but as long as Set Boosters follow the Common and Uncommon slots for Draft Boosters, we could see a merger of these products; following the discontinuation of the Draft Booster Boxes. This can result in limited formats containing more rare cards. As long as there aren’t too many rare cards that have heavy impacts on the game, like dreadful demon from Crimson Vow, that might not be a bad thing.
What will be the fate of Limited?
Limited is my favorite format. I love meeting the regular LGS crowd, pitching a deck together, and battling with something different every week. For the sake of those who also enjoy the occasional draft amongst the diehard fans that make up MTG, the Draft Booster Boxes should find a home. If that means these boxes will go up in price, so be it. It’s still a better ending than the demise of one of MTG’s oldest product lines. That’s how they’ve been doing things from the start. That’s all the older players have left. Much like the symbolic representation of the completion of one of MTG’s oldest icons, we may soon be bringing the story of MTG to an end.