It feels like every other week Magic: The Gathering is revealing a wild new crossover set or promotional release. And that’s because it kinda is. Fans began stewing over the onslaught earlier this year, and now even Wall Street is starting to balk. Bank of America downgraded toy company owner Hasbro’s stock earlier today after accusing it of “killing its golden goose” with greed.
“The primary concern is that Hasbro has been overproducing Magic cards which has propped up Hasbro’s recent results but is destroying the long-term value of the brand,” Bank of America analyst Jason Haas told clients today, as reported by CNBC. He specifically took aim at the upcoming 30th Anniversary set containing booster packs, some of which will include reprints of valuable out-of-print cards from the collectible card game’s early years. “This set has devalued many high-value cards, and collectors are concerned that Wizards will reprint more,” Haas wrote.
A similar message has been plastered across MTG fan message boards since the set was revealed in early October. Collectors were upset that publisher Wizards of the Coast was potentially sabotaging the value of their most sought-after cards like the infamous Black Lotus worth hundreds of thousands, while fans were frustrated that the 30th Anniversary set includes just four booster packs for $US1,000 ($AU1,490), essentially turning the beloved card game’s storied history into 2022’s worst real-life loot box.
When those sentiments are echoed by a Wall Street analyst, however, the market takes note. Hasbro, which has owned Wizards of the Coast since 1999, saw its stock price slide over 5 per cent in pre-market trading Monday morning on top of an already terrible year (trading at $US102 ($AU151.97) at the start of 2022, Hasbro shares are now down below $US60 ($AU89.39)).
MTG has traditionally released only three new sets of cards per year. More recently, however, the series has been branching out with new regular sets, branded “Universes Beyond” crossover sets, Secret Lair re-issues, and other pricey products. Since the start of 2022, Wizards has flooded the zone with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Streets of New Capenna, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, Double Masters 2022, Dominaria United, and Warhammer 40,000. A new set called The Brothers’ War comes out later this week, and with it special new cards based on Transformers.
“That’s at least seven products in seven months, which is absurd,” Joe Parlock wrote at The Gamer in May. “The release schedule has constrained that sense of discovery into just a month until the hot new thing rolls around, burning people out. What’s the point in looking at these new cards when something new is just around the corner anyway?”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the MTG onslaught is likely to abate anytime soon. 2023 is set to be stacked as well. That’s when the Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who cards drop, followed by Final Fantasy VII and Assassin’s Creed mini-sets in 2024. The McDonald’s collaboration can’t be far behind.