Saturday, September 27, 2008

And the results are...

...not quite what I had expected.

The From the Vault: Dragons cards did turn out to be quite popular. The grand total raw sales came to $91 - a good deal more than the $53 I paid for the set. Once fees are taken out, I still should show some profit, which is of course always nice!

One person ended up winning 7 of the 15 cards, another got 5, a third got 2 and a final person won 1. The person with 7 had a total of around $49, so they are clearly the winner of the special spin-down life counter promised to a winner of 5+ cards. Strangely enough, since no single person won 10 or more, no-one won the box, or the free shipping. I really thought that last one would be a big draw - buy your 15 Dragons cards then go crazy buying booster packs or something really heavy, and get it all shipped for free....but I guess not!

Anyway, I certainly can't complain about the results. It was just not quite what I thought I'd see. I felt for sure someone would try to get 10+ so they could get the box. It's really cool. So I guess I get to keep it :-)

On the great relisting project, I am up to the Invasion set, and should finish getting those done tonight. That leaves only 19 full expansion sets and then various piddly boxed sets, plus some non-English stuff (Italian Legends and Chinese 4th Edition being the biggest two problems). And all of this will be put on the back burner soon as the new set, Shards of Alara, is due out this coming Friday. I hope to get the descriptions of the cards typed up and ready before the cards actually arrive, if my usual source is as with-it as he was for Eventide. And maybe I'll get as lucky as I was with Eventide and get the cards a full day before the release date!

Oh, I promised to say a bit more about Shards of Alara in this post. The biggest deal is that Wizards of the Coast has decided to put a new level of Rarity into their cards. Since the beginning of the game there have been three levels of Rarity (4 if you count "Basic Land" as one): Commons, Uncommons, and Rares. These days a typical booster pack will contain 1 Rare, 3 Uncommons, and 11 Commons (or 10 Commons and a Basic Land for a Core Set like 10th Edition).

Starting with Shards of Alara, they are replacing the Rare in roughly 1 out of every 8 packs with a "Mythic Rare" - so this small set will be even more difficult to find than (and consequently, in theory, worth more than) a regular Rare. And a Foil version of such a Mythic Rare should be insanely valuable. Again, in theory.

Also, they plan to replace one of the Commons with a Basic Land in booster packs for all sets, not just the Core Sets. The theory being that since you essentially must have basic Lands to play, then not having them in boosters makes it more difficult for new players to get started.

The final big change being made is that this set (and ones to follow) will be smaller than the sets in recent history. There are simply too many cards in the game to reasonably expect someone to be fluent with all of them, and lowering the number in newer sets will help with that. For me this means it should be easier to get my hands on all (or nearly all) with the 5-6 boxes I plan on opening. That is one thing I appreciate a good deal.

Friday, September 19, 2008

From the Vault: Dragons

There's a new special boxed set in town, and it's name is From the Vault: Dragons.

This set is a reprint (or in one case, pre-print) set, bringing back to life in special Foil format 15 of the best Dragon (or Dragon-related) cards ever printed over Magic's 15 year history. The "pre-print" is a card (Hellkite Overlord) from the new expansion, Shards of Alara, that won't be released until early October.

And this boxed set is DAMNED hard to get your hands on! I pre-ordered my set from my usual seller about two months ago. At the time the pre-order price was about $23 for the 15 cards set, a discount over the MSRP for the product.

Then the set was sold by Wizards of the Coast (before its official release date) at a large sci-fi/comic book convention, limited to 100 copies per day, first come, first served. And then the distributors were shorted on their orders. And suddenly the pre-order price from my usual source went to over $100!

I was glad I had bought when I did.

Too bad my usual source got slighted by their distributor and my order got cancelled and refunded. So much for my great deal!

Anyway, I finally managed to get my hands on a copy from my local comic book shop. $53 with tax - not too bad given that the lowest I'd seen sell on eBay was for $51, with $8 shipping. Still, I feel rather crazy paying $53 for 15 cards!

So, I've decided to run a rather strange little experiment. This week (starting tomorrow, Saturday September 20) I will be auctioning each of the 15 cards individually. I'll start the bidding at a mere $0.99 each, and each bears this special deal text:
  • If a single buyer wins 5 (or more) of the 15 From the Vault: Dragons cards I have available this week, that buyer will also win the special spin-down life counter that came in the box with the cards, at no additional shipping cost. In the event that more than one buyer wins 5+ of the cards, the buyer with the highest over-all $ total for their From the Vault: Dragons cards will win the counter.
  • If a single buyer wins 10 (or more) of the 15 From the Vault: Dragons cards I have available this week, that buyer will also win the special spin-down life counter AND the original box that the cards & counter came in (complete with inner plastic case and paper insert), at no additional shipping cost.
  • If a single buyer wins all 15 From the Vault: Dragons cards I have available this week, that buyer will also win the special spin-down life counter, the original box (with everything in it), and their total order will have FREE SHIPPING! Even if you then go on to buy more cards or booster packs from me. That's free shipping on YOUR ENTIRE ORDER if you win all 15 cards!

My hope, of course, is that this will encourage someone to bid like mad on the cards trying to get all 15 - and then go shopping at my store to maximize on the free shipping deal. We'll see how it goes, and I'll report back afterwards to let you know. If you want to follow the fun yourself, you can watch these items over the next week (this link won't produce any items until I list these cards after 2 p.m. EDT on Saturday 9/20). Hopefully I'll at least be able to recoup my $53!

In other news, the great relisting project (see my last post) continues. As of this writing I have completed all 10 Core Sets (Alpha Edition through 10th Edition), all 5 Starter Sets (Portal through Starter 2000) and 23 expansions (Arabian Nights through Exodus, and Coldsnap through Eventide). This does, however, still leave 24 regular expansions (Urza's Saga through Dissension) as well as the two Un-Sets (Unglued and Unhinged) and several boxed sets and the promo cards. I had hope to have this grand project finished before the next expansion, Shards of Alara, is released on October 3 - but as that is a mere two weeks away, things are looking grim. Therefore I still have over 2000 card listings (likely representing over 6000 cards) that still need to be made at the "branch store" at Oy!

Next time I report in, I'll let you know how the From the Vault: Dragons experiment went, and talk a little about the new set, Shards of Alara, and explain why Rare isn't the rarist kind of card any more.