Last week I wrote about how changes to the redemption policy on MTGO would most likely adversely affect the market. I touched upon the issue of 4 packed sealed but didn’t really think about its implications. It is far more innocuous in its effects but they are already being seen and could be far more problematic, far sooner.
4 packed sealed was exactly what it sounds like: sealed but with 4 packs, people liked it cause it was a decent price and if you were good it was a good way to approach going infinite. Even if it was more luck dependent and milling was really good, it wasn’t inherently evil. One of the biggest points about Magic is that it is many games under one umbrella so more formats isn’t a bad thing. It was discontinued last December cause of the aforementioned play issues; most people actually saw it is a matter of WotC trying to make more money. In its place they were replaced by Phantom Sealed events. To their credit they quickly fixed the payout of these events to actually be a fairly good deal. The problem is what they take in, specifically only tickets.
The problem arises in that they pay out in packs, but there aren’t as many limited events firing now that require packs. Meaning that supply is steadily increasing while demand is at best staying the same. The problem being that all events pay out in packs; tickets are gold and packs are individual currency tied to it. The problem being that since all prizes are in the form of packs it means that the value of constructed events is decreasing. Which in turn means that the cost of cards will decrease. Adding this to what I outlined last week creates an additional layer to consider. It could help in creating a new market that is sustainable and avoids the pitfall that I outlined last week or it could have no effect on the larger trends happening here.
This could be fixed by allowing packs to be used as entry fee, but that’s unlikely to happen since Wizards isn’t actually gaining anything from that.
Regardless it is something to keep an eye on as it will have an effect going forward.