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triple sulk
Sep 17, 2014





Due to going off topic a few times in the Magic thread along with a general rise in public attention, I think Flesh and Blood probably deserves its own thread at this point, although this will also include other TCG finance scams going on like MetaZoo. I'm going to put in a vague amount of effort for this post to make it seem like I have an idea of what I'm talking about, although I never bothered to actually play the game despite owning some cards because it's barely a blip in my major metropolitan area.

Part One: The Game

What is Flesh and Blood (FAB)?

Flesh and Blood is a trading card game developed by Legend Story Studios (LSS), a small company based in New Zealand and founded by James White. James supposedly has industry experience but cursory Google searches don't turn up anything really obvious about who he actually worked for previously, and I'm too lazy to listen to a long podcast to try and find that out. FAB was developed over a course of seven years as some sort of competitor to Magic, regardless of whether or not what the game has become in its modern state has anything specific to do with it.

The game is hero-centric, and people best describe it as something like starting at end game. You have a hero character and equipment consisting of a head, chest, arms, legs, and some combination of weapon(s) (one or two-handed) or off-hands. There are two primary formats, called "blitz" and "classic constructed" where the most common difference are "young" versions of heroes with 20 health for the former, and then regular ones with 40 health for the latter. Deck sizes go from 40 plus equipment to 60 plus equipment. Cards in your deck are not characters like you'll see with most TCGs, but rather different types of cards, including:

- Actions (Attack, Item, etc.)
- Attack Reactions
- Defense Reactions
- Generic Actions

To put it extremely simply, heroes go back and forth attacking one another with attack actions from their hand or their weapons, and they go on a combat chain where players go back and forth playing reactions until that chain resolves. Many cards also have a defense value in the bottom right hand corner and simply throw away that card at a given attack in order to reduce damage, and the aforementioned equipment often has the ability to mitigate some limited amount of damage over the course of an entire game. By default you get one action point to do something, and cards that say "Go Again" grant you another action but isn't explicitly an action point.

The game ends when one hero's health reaches 0. If a player runs out of cards, the game doesn't end, but they simply don't have anything more to draw. With the exception of the first player's turn, players draw cards at the end of each of their turns up to the "intellect" value depicted on the bottom left of their hero. In most cases this is almost always 4, but can vary. At the end of their turn, before drawing, players can do invoke their inner Yu-Gi-Oh character and set a card face down in their "arsenal" akin to a trap card to be potentially played at some point in the future.

Decks can only consist of cards which include the hero's class name or are explicitly labeled as generic. To pay for card costs, players "pitch" cards. Here's an example card, a staple generic action which is used in virtually every deck due to its power:



The top left shows what the card can be pitched for, and the top right shows the cost. Cards will also have red, yellow, or blue strips on top to show their pitch value of 1, 2, or 3, respectively (but the red orbs are always red). The top right shows how much it costs to play. In this case, Command and Conquer costs 2 and can be pitched for 1 to play other cards. The only time you can "float" your pitch amounts is if some remains from paying for another card, e.g. if a card costs 1 to play and you pitch a card for 3. Many cards in each set will often have variations of the same card, albeit with different stats. For example:





Pitched cards go to the bottom of the deck in a chosen order at the end of the turn.

Each hero has its own sort of gimmick as far as play style goes; Guardians might be defensively oriented, Warriors offensive, or others like Mechanologists might try to cycle rapidly through their deck via specific mechanics. The third main set, Monarch, introduced talents, so rather than a Warrior, you have a Light Warrior with its own playstyle and action cards. Talented heroes can use their base class's cards, but a basic Warrior cannot use Light Warrior cards. If the latest release, Tales of Aria is any indication, sets now mainly just appear to have certain class and talent combinations, so if you like a certain class or hero, they may not get further support for a long time, if ever. There has been one supplemental set, Crucible of War, which is now out of print.

If you want to know more about the actual game, go to the official website, because I don't want to write any more about this part.

Part Two: The Finance

To frame the finance part better, some context on sets and rarities will be provided. FAB sets have had both first editions and unlimited releases; first editions have an average of one "cold foil" per box where specific parts of the card and art have a treatment similar to the foil etching on Magic cards in terms of their appearance. Originally there were six rarities: common, rare, super rare, majestic, legendary, and fabled. Super rares were removed after a couple sets and there are now five, with rares effectively being uncommons. A standard pack will have two rares and one foil, with no guarantee of one card being anything above that rarity, or a cold foil in the case of first edition boxes.

Pull rates on above-rare are roughly as follows:

Majestic: 6-8 per box
Legendary: 1 per 1-2 boxes
Fabled: 1 per 35-40 boxes

The most obvious problem is that a fabled rarity card could be devastating if one ends up being critical in a deck, but thus far that doesn't seem to be the case and they're mostly collectible. LSS publishes data on their releases, and first edition print runs have been as follows:

Welcome to Rathe (WTR) - 400000 booster packs (16,666 boxes)
Arcane Rising (ARC) - 400000 booster packs (16,666 boxes)
Crucible of War (CRU) - 900000 booster packs (37,500 boxes)
Monarch (MON) - TBA
Tales of Aria (ELE) - TBA

Aside from first edition, unlimited printings exist, but as of October 12th, CRU unlimited is now out of print. That set included some major staple reprints such as Fyendal's Spring Tunic from WTR, as well as new heroes, such as Shiyana, a legendary rarity hero of the Shapeshifter class with 20 HP geared towards blitz (although explicitly not good). Prices on such cards have spiked as a result. Unlimited printings also come out some indeterminate amount of time after the first edition, and in CRU's case it was about a full year before the unlimited printing was even announced, since it wasn't a sure thing to begin with. First edition cards are fully legal for competitive play on release, which could impact pricing for players needing cards, even if cold foils are intended to be collectibles.

As we all know, Covid has basically hosed up the world for good and 2020 was a useless year, and of course every year after it. Despite coming out in 2019, FAB basically had no footing whatsoever and everything was dirt cheap. First edition WTR boxes were something like $80. When stimulus checks came out in mid-2020, people were looking for some things to invest in, and along with crypto, sports cards, TCGs, and other collectibles in general, FAB was marketed by people like Rudy (AKA Alpha Investments on YouTube) as the next big thing due to the small print runs.

By the time hype for Monarch came out in March, cold foil cards like the original fabled card from WTR, Heart of Fyendal, was going for as much as around $40k. Some notable people in the community were real whales, including both Rudy and another guy named Saint Hung (AKA FaBled Hunters), who's a rich as hell fintech guy and has been in videos with both Rudy and James White. There's another few names but the short of it is that there are maybe half a dozen primary whales who own absolute shitloads of whatever sealed product is left, never mind rare singles.

Just before MON's release, boxes of first edition on the market were going for as much as $650+ on sites like Channel Fireball or Star City Games. The set came out, cards and boxes flooded the market, and reception of the set as a whole was somewhat weak due to two of the heroes being bad, one being completely busted, and another just being okay. Boxes are now about $200-250 depending on where you look. In the interim months over the summer, various Magic content creators like Tolarian Community College have started to make more videos about the game, but the most recent set release, Tales of Aria, is barely at retail for its first edition, and reception appears somewhat lukewarm. Pretty much everything that isn't a cold foil or a major staple, of which there aren't all that many, is near worthless. However, the major staples such as Command and Conquer or legendary equipment can go for anywhere from $60-150+ a pop.

The most recent thing going on involves Rudy selling what amounts to his own Secret Lair. A couple years back, Rudy worked with James White/LSS by backing them early on and they made him his own promo card:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4SXrBR8D4c

The card in question:



In addition to this are some art cards of the fabled cards that were released, both gems, and another unseen one. These would only be available on Patreon and the price was $1000 with a limit of two, only available for 24 hours. with the unsold remainder to be destroyed. Due to apparent investor FOMO, he sold over 1300 of them, and now they're listed on eBay for over two grand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7w1q3y8cFY

At this point, with this being more or less an overt scamming of people's money so he could make a cool million dollars, plus the sudden shutoff of a major supplemental set, the game is in a very weird place. This doesn't even begin to talk about shilling MetaZoo, which I'm not even going to get into here other than Rudy working with some guy to make a Pokemon TCG knockoff about cryptids that no one plays, for which early kickstarter boxes are listed in the thousands, with a bunch of garbage merchandise.

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A big flaming stink
Apr 26, 2010


Isn't one of these major issues that equipment only appears at the second highest rarity?

triple sulk
Sep 17, 2014





A big flaming stink posted:

Isn't one of these major issues that equipment only appears at the second highest rarity?

Generally yes. Every pack has one piece of equipment (I forget if it replaces a slot if it's legendary) but they do appear at other rarities, though generally weapons occupy majestic rarity slots as far as equipment goes. Often the difference is that the higher rarity equipment has passives whereas the common stuff blocks a piece of damage or does some simple one-time use thing before being destroyed.

A good example using the Illusionist class, where the first is the card that comes with the precon deck for the class and then the legendary equipment from Monarch:





The first one isn't horrible or anything if you use the effect at the right time, but it simply isn't going to beat out the passive effect on the second one.

Fyendal's Spring Tunic is the prime example of equipment that can actually be played by any class and is generally at absolute worst the second best option if there's a class-specific chest available which does something better (never mind the cold foil going for obscene amounts):



The WTR version is $220 on TCGPlayer, and CRU (non-foil reprint) is $210, both for the unlimited versions.

Leperflesh
May 17, 2007







Thanks for making this thread, triple sulk. I see a lot of parallels between what Rudy is doing, and the most common types of exploitation we see in the stock trading thread.

With stocks, what you see is: a niche, thinly-traded stock with a low price. Someone with some money (say, a million dollars or so) buys in big. This action causes the price to spike. Then, they encourage other people to buy in, predicting a big increase in the price: this is the pump part. Then, because their own actual transactions are essentially secret, the initial buyer sells while the public is buying, divesting themselves of the junk while the hype is peaking. This is the dump part. Once all the marks have put in their money, there's nobody left buying, and they're all looking for the "peak" to sell at: their shares go up for sale, the initial buyer has already bilked them of their money, there's nobody buying at these inflated prices, and the price crashes again.

Pump-and-dump happens daily to dozens of unlisted ("pink sheets") over the counter stocks, and fairly frequently with low-price exchange listed stocks ("penny stocks").

What we have here is a niche game most people haven't heard of; a limited availability of playing pieces; a single investor who has the finances and access to take huge stakes nobody else can take, at prices lower than anyone else can get; and then a direct sales pitch from that guy, encouraging other "investors" to take advantage; and all within the context of a marketplace of collectors-items where other more "legit" long-term game pieces have shown sustained increases in value over the course of decades (most notably Magic, but also to a lesser but still significant degree, Pokemon and perhaps a few others).

It's understandable why some people think this is the Next Big Thing. FOMO reigns. Just like with pump-and-dump stocks, grifts like this exploit the greed (and desperation) of people who already missed out before, and have a strong sense that the "smart people" are becoming wealthy by engaging in "smart" trading of "investments" with very limited publicity, while all the normal people who aren't in the know spend their lives as wage-slaves.

I think we can be sympathetic to the mindset of folks who missed out on owning a few packs of Alpha/Beta/etc. of Magic, missed out on owning a few thousand Bitcoins when they were pennies each, missed out on buying a bunch of Gamestop stock when it was a few dollars each, but now, this time, finally, they've got a shot at getting in on the ground floor. There are powerful incentives and a stark lack of regulatory oversight, plus charismatic sales pitches and all the trappings of exclusivity and the exciting feeling of sharing in an exclusive opportunity with other very smart people who are in-the-know.

But it's a grift. It has all the hallmarks. The guy who is selling thousands of packs of cardboard for a thousand dollars each is not your friend and he is not offering you an exclusive opportunity to get rich quick. He is not a Good Guy. He is not generously sharing his great fortune with his friends. Please don't fall for this sort of thing.

triple sulk
Sep 17, 2014





The only argument that the game is doing "well" is that their pro tournament called The Calling had one event in Vegas with about a thousand people and another one about to happen in Dallas, and everyone who wasn't there basically says "well if not for Covid, I'd have been there too!" although we'll never know if that's the actual truth in the end. The meta there was horrific and one hero was like 40% of it, with two heroes taking up over half. I didn't even mention it, but it was so bad that they banned all three pitch versions of one of the key cards in the deck, and preemptively banned a Runeblade weapon in the newest set (because they've put some form of a Runeblade in three main sets in a row for some reason), as it wasn't talent-specific and they basically said they didn't playtest it at all but rather shoved it in late for flavor purposes or something.

That said, I think people's impressions are just going off the local community without considering that a thousand people doesn't really mean anything if a lot of big metros don't have much going on. Stores in my area finally sell it now but the product mostly just sits. Fundamentally it isn't a horrible game but I don't think the game is objectively good enough to even sit at #4 right now in the market (which most likely goes to Digimon at the moment from what I can tell) since it doesn't do anything particularly exciting and suffers from a problem similar to Vanguard regarding how support works, which also greatly inhibits innovative deckbuilding. Any TCG not based on a popular existing IP also has an even harder road, to boot.

The decline has been dragging on but the gap in how explosive Monarch was leading up to release with how abysmal Tales of Aria sales are right now is really something. If you want to go full conspiracy theory economist, the promo and cutting off production of CRU was almost timed for something like this to create the dead cat bounce before everything finally goes to poo poo.

plainswalker75
Feb 22, 2003

Pigs are smarter than Bears, but they can't ride motorcycles


Hair Elf

Is pump-and-dump mentality why TCG content creators are constantly putting out content to insist that FaB is a real game and definitely popular? Maybe it's just confirmation bias, but I feel like the only information I ever see is purchasing/finance related or yet another "look how many people are playing this game now, I swear it's a big deal" video.

Fuzzy Mammal
Aug 15, 2001



Lipstick Apathy

Yeah, even if the game turned out to be super deep and super fun, which sounds iffy according to this thread, I wouldn't be playing it frankly.

1) Covid, duh. I don't do FNM either and I know I enjoy that, compared to this unknown quantity.
2) If the game were fun, there wouldn't be all this sideshow about the finance and ginning up justification for itself. People would be talking about the decks, strategy, games, metagame, etc. It's very telling.

Gumdrop Larry
Jul 30, 2006



plainswalker75 posted:

Is pump-and-dump mentality why TCG content creators are constantly putting out content to insist that FaB is a real game and definitely popular? Maybe it's just confirmation bias, but I feel like the only information I ever see is purchasing/finance related or yet another "look how many people are playing this game now, I swear it's a big deal" video.

For full disclosure I like Flesh and Blood a lot as a game so far and despise the MTG Finance and Rudys of the world, and from my perspective it's because a sort of feedback loop has been established. The game is inseparable from the financial element and subsequently it is impossible, completely understandably, to discuss it on it's own merits. As evidenced by the initial discussion that prompted this thread it has a bunch of bad people clamoring around it, and I think people more about playing the game feel like they need to jump in and defend it. I personally wouldn't throw my hat into that ring in any meaningful way because again, skepticism is totally justified and more than anything I personally don't want to come across as a true believer investor-type that I hate. I do not know what the right move is for anyone involved, be it the players or LSS or whoever but I do know one element of that in a broad sense is to get the gently caress away from stupid assholes like Rudy.

Jcam
Jan 4, 2009

Yourhead


I recently started playing Flesh & Blood just as something new to do as I lost a large collection of MTG, Warmachine/Hordes, and WH 40K last year in a house fire. I just wanted to try something new and slowly start to get my butt out to local stores as things get safer and vaccinations are more wide spread. I know the *~*but my local community bloo bloo*~* stuff is just anecdotal, but I'm always surprised when I see the crap YouTubers like Rudy are putting out there as the local community amongst the four or five stores here that carry the game has been great so far. I don't know if the game will have any kind of lasting presence, but I know content creators like him and other "investors" certainly aren't helping the general impressions of the game.

I'm legitimately not very well tapped in to the money side of card games, so this is a sincere question: When you say the newest set hasn't been selling well, what do you mean? Referring to booster boxes, singles, or what? To be completely transparent, I've spent probably $40 on the game at this point, just on a pre-made deck, some card sleeves, and a couple of fun singles that looked good, so I'm probably the last person this game is now being (maliciously?) marketed to, so I'm not running in here out of breath to defend anything, I don't have any irons in the fire or whatever.

A big flaming stink
Apr 26, 2010


Jcam posted:

I recently started playing Flesh & Blood just as something new to do as I lost a large collection of MTG, Warmachine/Hordes, and WH 40K last year in a house fire. I just wanted to try something new and slowly start to get my butt out to local stores as things get safer and vaccinations are more wide spread. I know the *~*but my local community bloo bloo*~* stuff is just anecdotal, but I'm always surprised when I see the crap YouTubers like Rudy are putting out there as the local community amongst the four or five stores here that carry the game has been great so far. I don't know if the game will have any kind of lasting presence, but I know content creators like him and other "investors" certainly aren't helping the general impressions of the game.

I'm legitimately not very well tapped in to the money side of card games, so this is a sincere question: When you say the newest set hasn't been selling well, what do you mean? Referring to booster boxes, singles, or what? To be completely transparent, I've spent probably $40 on the game at this point, just on a pre-made deck, some card sleeves, and a couple of fun singles that looked good, so I'm probably the last person this game is now being (maliciously?) marketed to, so I'm not running in here out of breath to defend anything, I don't have any irons in the fire or whatever.

as in people buying boxes to immediately flip for egregious sums are not able to do so

Leperflesh
May 17, 2007







In the world of stocks and finance, a very common practice is for analysts to disclose positions they have - or clearly state they have no position and will not be opening one - in any stock or investment vehicle they discuss. "I have 1000 shares of this stock" adds a critical context to a buy, hold, or sell recommendation, or a prediction of future price action, etc.

Anyone taking an interest in the buying/selling/investment/etc. side of this or any other TCG should demand the same level of disclosure from the talking heads on their social media platforms. Not that they can't just nakedly lie about it of course, but it's hard to participate in a marketplace like this one totally anonymously at scale, so it's unlikely a prominent commentator could be trading tens of thousands of dollars of product without someone figuring out that hey, this is someone who said on their podcast that they're not doing that!

triple sulk
Sep 17, 2014





A big flaming stink posted:

as in people buying boxes to immediately flip for egregious sums are not able to do so

If you had any idea about the market and bought as many boxes as you could from Team Covenant for $76 each before Monarch released, you could have instantly sold them at release for a minimum of $300-350 a piece, and by that I mean posted on a Facebook marketplace group to sold in under 15 minutes. The set was arguably a dud because two of the heroes (Boltyn and Levia) sucked at a competitive level, and Chane dominated half the meta as a busted hero. A Prism player won the Vegas tournament but the hero didn't totally dominate the meta in the same way.

Each set now is just a few new heroes with some combination of [Talent] [Class] that may or may not suck, and you're more likely to not see new toys for your favorite hero than anything else. You could say the same kind of thing happens in a popular game like Yu-Gi-Oh because of all the archetypes, but occasionally you get some cool new archetype or support for an existing one that works with your favorite when mashed together, so you find innovative strategies. Magic is another beast because of the color system unless you're explicitly trying to build a mill deck or something.

To add, despite being an eternal format, the way FAB rotates so to speak is through hero bans based on how much they're winning over time, and one of the legendary cards in Monarch, was a card that while not-so-great required to be in a Chane deck, so when the hero's inevitably banned the card is completely useless and making it worth less than it already was.

Leperflesh posted:

In the world of stocks and finance, a very common practice is for analysts to disclose positions they have - or clearly state they have no position and will not be opening one - in any stock or investment vehicle they discuss. "I have 1000 shares of this stock" adds a critical context to a buy, hold, or sell recommendation, or a prediction of future price action, etc.

Anyone taking an interest in the buying/selling/investment/etc. side of this or any other TCG should demand the same level of disclosure from the talking heads on their social media platforms. Not that they can't just nakedly lie about it of course, but it's hard to participate in a marketplace like this one totally anonymously at scale, so it's unlikely a prominent commentator could be trading tens of thousands of dollars of product without someone figuring out that hey, this is someone who said on their podcast that they're not doing that!

This pertains somewhat, but some of FAB whales out there own absolutely obscene numbers of sealed product. At least one or two of the people closely tied to Rudy probably own thousands of various first edition boxes. Incredibly normal and healthy market.

Leperflesh
May 17, 2007







Yeah a corollary to the disclosure part is that you ignore the advice of anyone who has a significant position because it's obviously a conflict of interest for them.

little munchkin
Aug 15, 2010



plainswalker75 posted:

Is pump-and-dump mentality why TCG content creators are constantly putting out content to insist that FaB is a real game and definitely popular? Maybe it's just confirmation bias, but I feel like the only information I ever see is purchasing/finance related or yet another "look how many people are playing this game now, I swear it's a big deal" video.

content creators in general have an incentive to be hyped about whatever the hot new product/topic is. it's a ready-made topic for your video/article/whatever, gives you good seo, and you'll have a better time time building an audience with positivity. plus saying nice things about companies can lead to freebies and special access to stuff (like how wotc gives out card spoilers to people). it's hard to get an honest opinion from someone in the content creation business

also writers for tcgplayer/cfb/scg are often told to write about a new card/set/whatever by the editor, not a conspiracy or anything but the point of an article is to move product, so you don't see many articles recommending that you not buy product

not everyone is a con artist but everyone needs to eat

pseudanonymous
Aug 30, 2008

When you make the second entry and the debits and credits balance, and you blow them to hell.

Leperflesh posted:

In the world of stocks and finance, a very common practice is for analysts to disclose positions they have - or clearly state they have no position and will not be opening one - in any stock or investment vehicle they discuss. "I have 1000 shares of this stock" adds a critical context to a buy, hold, or sell recommendation, or a prediction of future price action, etc.

Anyone taking an interest in the buying/selling/investment/etc. side of this or any other TCG should demand the same level of disclosure from the talking heads on their social media platforms. Not that they can't just nakedly lie about it of course, but it's hard to participate in a marketplace like this one totally anonymously at scale, so it's unlikely a prominent commentator could be trading tens of thousands of dollars of product without someone figuring out that hey, this is someone who said on their podcast that they're not doing that!

This would be neat but if at all required would open things like Magic up to regulatory hurdles that nobody wants.

It would be pretty hilarious if the IRS started requiring people to disclose their unrealized gains in collectibles or something like that.

Also I feel like we're rapidly approaching an ethics in games journalism discussion. Like obviously these "content creators" are out there to make a buck.

Leperflesh
May 17, 2007







I'm not really calling for government regulation: more just making a comparison, and suggesting strategies for collectors/players/speculators to protect themselves from exploitation.

To me, the dividing line for "cool" vs. "not cool" when it comes to a youtuber (or whatever) promoting something is disclosure. I'm more suspicious of people who apparently have a financial stake but aren't disclosing what it is when they promote a product or service; and I'm especially suspicious when the product or service being promoted is for (or being presented as) an investment opportunity, because the risks are so much higher.

I think we can draw a distinction between the promotion of speculative investment opportunities, and the promotion of less risky products and services. If my favorite woodworker youtuber gets me to buy a fancy saw I wind up not liking, I can probably return it and even if I can't, I'm only out fifty bucks or something. That's jut not the same as if a youtuber promoting a game gets me to "invest" a thousand dollars in a speculative product, especially if he's also got a huge investment in that same product that directly benefits from me buying and holding it while he has the opportunity to divest at inflated prices.

Toshimo
Aug 23, 2012

Patron Fae
of
Broken Software


Why is Crucible OoP? I thought they were keeping Unlimited runs going in perpetuity (of course they aren't).

shimmy shimmy
Nov 13, 2020


pseudanonymous posted:

This would be neat but if at all required would open things like Magic up to regulatory hurdles that nobody wants.

I mean, I think that would own. They should definitely do that.

Toshimo
Aug 23, 2012

Patron Fae
of
Broken Software


shimmy shimmy posted:

I mean, I think that would own. They should definitely do that.

This is a good stance if your intent is to kill the game.

triple sulk
Sep 17, 2014





Toshimo posted:

Why is Crucible OoP? I thought they were keeping Unlimited runs going in perpetuity (of course they aren't).

I don't even think the issue is about whether or not it runs forever, but that the unlimited printing only first came out three months ago after a year of not existing at all while containing a fair number of actively used staples and cards not in other sets.

At this point it feels like LSS is either directly trying to manipulate the market by creating more FOMO hype or completely clueless.

Codeacious
Oct 22, 2017

Radical coding, yo!



Hah, I was in the middle of writing my own OP for this yesterday and glad I checked before writing the second half of it tonight.

triple sulk posted:

I don't even think the issue is about whether or not it runs forever, but that the unlimited printing only first came out three months ago after a year of not existing at all while containing a fair number of actively used staples and cards not in other sets.

At this point it feels like LSS is either directly trying to manipulate the market by creating more FOMO hype or completely clueless.

Crucible Unlimited was originally announced to be only three print runs, so this was known ahead of time. The announcement was a tad abrupt, but it wasn't out of the blue.

It sounds like it simply came at a bad time due to more people playing the game, reducing stock availability, and then it hit alongside a set release when the meta hasn't been established yet so everyone's freaking out.

It's a shame because I think the game is very enjoyable to play. If LSS is serious about the future of this game and all the new players, they'll probably announce reprints of the problem Majestic (Mythic) cards in the next supplemental set (which should be Q1 2022).

Codeacious fucked around with this message at 05:20 on Oct 14, 2021

triple sulk
Sep 17, 2014





Codeacious posted:

Hah, I was in the middle of writing my own OP for this yesterday and glad I checked before writing the second half of it tonight.

Crucible Unlimited was originally announced to be only three print runs, so this was known ahead of time. The announcement was a tad abrupt, but it wasn't out of the blue.

It sounds like it simply came at a bad time due to more people playing the game, reducing stock availability, and then it hit alongside a set release when the meta hasn't been established yet so everyone's freaking out.

It's a shame because I think the game is very enjoyable to play. If LSS is serious about the future of this game and all the new players, they'll probably announce reprints of the problem Majestic (Mythic) cards in the next supplemental set (which should be Q1 2022).

They announced those print runs and the implication was at the very least that it was not going to be in major supply to begin with, not that the unlimited printing would be cut short after three weeks. I want to iterate that personally I'd never expect a set labeled as unlimited to be literally that in terms of time, but short of a game shutting down I can't think of a good, recent example where a set release only lasted this long before going out of print, especially when it wasn't strictly composed of reprints and a number of the cards were staples.

They've also now established a precedent for whenever the next supplemental set comes out, if ever, and people will assume that the print runs won't be either large or long, thus leading to the same exact hype bubble that Monarch had. Meanwhile Monarch is collecting dust.

Jcam posted:

I'm legitimately not very well tapped in to the money side of card games, so this is a sincere question: When you say the newest set hasn't been selling well, what do you mean? Referring to booster boxes, singles, or what? To be completely transparent, I've spent probably $40 on the game at this point, just on a pre-made deck, some card sleeves, and a couple of fun singles that looked good, so I'm probably the last person this game is now being (maliciously?) marketed to, so I'm not running in here out of breath to defend anything, I don't have any irons in the fire or whatever.

I'm sorry I didn't address this earlier! By not selling well, to my last point, Monarch unlimited is collecting dust and Tales of Aria's first edition is basically at retail price. Because LSS has a minimum advertised pricing (MAP) that drops after a period of time, after Monarch unlimited came out there were a lot of deals going on where retailers would bundle unlimited boxes of WTR/ARC so that the price of all of them averaged out to maybe $60 just so that they could clear Monarch from their inventory. The EV of the box was probably about $20-30 unless you pulled one of 2-4 cards that had any value.

Because the structure of the game is very much an exaggerated version of Vanguard with its clan system, without supplemental sets you might now go another 3-4 years without ever seeing a card that fits in a Light Warrior deck, since every set is going to end up introducing whatever talents they have coming out, e.g.:

Monarch: Light/Shadow
Tales of Aria: Elemental (Earth/Ice/Lighting)
???: Something Else

WTR and ARC were basically just intro sets with talentless heroes in order to simplify learning the game for people. IIRC there's supposed to be something like eight talents and we've now seen three of them, so a bunch still have to be filled out and there's nothing stopping them from adding more. However, with the more that are added, the less likely you are to see support moving forward unless the supplemental sets are pretty huge, which could mean more room for something poorly tested to get through. If a set comes out and has unpopular class/talent combinations or a lackluster draft experience, perhaps like Tales of Aria (never mind the banned card), it's one more thing sitting on shelves.

Dr. Clockwork
Sep 9, 2011

I'LL PUT MY SCIENCE IN ALL OF YOU!

I’m surprised it took this long for people to realize that Rudy is manipulating an unregulated market. He’s been doing this since the beginning. Hell he compared himself to the Wolf of Wall Street and clearly quit his own Wall Street job because of regulations. I’m constantly baffled when I see discussions from other FLGS owners thinking Rudy is helping them in any way.

The biggest giveaway for his manipulation for me was MTG Iconic Masters a few years ago. It came out in December and content creators put a ton of effort into talking the set down and devaluing it. Suddenly a bunch of game stores are panicking because they’re on the hook for some big bills for an unpopular Magic set.

Well don’t worry because uncle Rudy to the rescue. He puts out a video offering to buy an unlimited number of Iconic Masters boxes for $5 over cost to bail out these poor game stores. Wow what a buddy! He saved Christmas!

A year later iconic masters spiked like crazy and it turns out it was a great set with plenty of value the whole time.

He did something similar with Kaladesh inventions cards, called them trash for a year and whoops lol they’re actually super valuable who knew? His scams are so obvious but people eat it up anyway.

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


Dr. Clockwork posted:

I’m surprised it took this long for people to realize that Rudy is manipulating an unregulated market. He’s been doing this since the beginning. Hell he compared himself to the Wolf of Wall Street and clearly quit his own Wall Street job because of regulations. I’m constantly baffled when I see discussions from other FLGS owners thinking Rudy is helping them in any way.

The biggest giveaway for his manipulation for me was MTG Iconic Masters a few years ago. It came out in December and content creators put a ton of effort into talking the set down and devaluing it. Suddenly a bunch of game stores are panicking because they’re on the hook for some big bills for an unpopular Magic set.

Well don’t worry because uncle Rudy to the rescue. He puts out a video offering to buy an unlimited number of Iconic Masters boxes for $5 over cost to bail out these poor game stores. Wow what a buddy! He saved Christmas!

A year later iconic masters spiked like crazy and it turns out it was a great set with plenty of value the whole time.

He did something similar with Kaladesh inventions cards, called them trash for a year and whoops lol they’re actually super valuable who knew? His scams are so obvious but people eat it up anyway.
lol did that actually happen

it's a shame mt gox died they should just have switched their scams back to magic

triple sulk
Sep 17, 2014





Dr. Clockwork posted:

I’m surprised it took this long for people to realize that Rudy is manipulating an unregulated market. He’s been doing this since the beginning. Hell he compared himself to the Wolf of Wall Street and clearly quit his own Wall Street job because of regulations. I’m constantly baffled when I see discussions from other FLGS owners thinking Rudy is helping them in any way.

The biggest giveaway for his manipulation for me was MTG Iconic Masters a few years ago. It came out in December and content creators put a ton of effort into talking the set down and devaluing it. Suddenly a bunch of game stores are panicking because they’re on the hook for some big bills for an unpopular Magic set.

Well don’t worry because uncle Rudy to the rescue. He puts out a video offering to buy an unlimited number of Iconic Masters boxes for $5 over cost to bail out these poor game stores. Wow what a buddy! He saved Christmas!

A year later iconic masters spiked like crazy and it turns out it was a great set with plenty of value the whole time.

He did something similar with Kaladesh inventions cards, called them trash for a year and whoops lol they’re actually super valuable who knew? His scams are so obvious but people eat it up anyway.

He did the same thing with Monarch. The Patreon bundle was $1000 and had two first edition boxes which were then valued based on the market at around $500 a pop, along with an included playmat and promo. The boxes tanked after release; the week of they were around $375-400, two weeks after maybe $325-350, and as far as I know without going to look it up, they're still all the way down in the $200-250 range depending on what kind of deal you find because the value just isn't there. Rudy had been offering to buy cases (four boxes) for $800 since. I don't think they'll go up very much, especially if the game dies, but he's rich enough where it doesn't really matter even if it all went to zero.

There's another major issue with the community and secondary market having to do with cold foils and the grading boom. Because FAB card quality is pretty bad and collectors/investors are just sleeving from the outset to eventually grade them, every CF that someone lists will be judged even worse than you'd see with Magic.

Edit: I should add that this adds another dynamic because then all that's left if you take away CFs are just the regular rainbow foils, with some minor exceptions where certain cards can have variants such as full/full-ish art in the first edition printings. At that point nothing is really special so there's essentially zero point in owning first edition cards unless the price difference is basically nothing or you really want that printing.

triple sulk fucked around with this message at 15:42 on Oct 14, 2021

DalaranJ
Apr 15, 2008

Yosuke will now die for you.


I’ve come to believe that basically all new TCGs are being manipulated as pump and dump schemes, and even more established TCGs (here I mean Pokémon, as I haven’t heard anything regarding YuGiOh, and I assume we’re all generally familiar with the MTG secondary market) have been in chaos because of market manipulation. Is this all being done by Rudy-likes or are there other groups involved as well. For instance, I know that last year there were a bunch of cases of video creators cracking packs of Pokémon as video content. Is that sort of distinction even meaningful?

And, if there’s anyone who can weigh in on this, what parallels and differences do we see to the current market manipulation in retro video games?

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


DalaranJ posted:

I’ve come to believe that basically all new TCGs are being manipulated as pump and dump schemes, and even more established TCGs (here I mean Pokémon, as I haven’t heard anything regarding YuGiOh,
The official printer was running off counterfeits.

Fantastic Foreskin
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



Years ago. Idk anything about the ygo market though.

90s Cringe Rock
Nov 29, 2006
:gay:


Fantastic Foreskin posted:

Years ago. Idk anything about the ygo market though.

Oh yeah that all ended in 200...8? I just find all these scams pale in comparison to literally just printing more rare cards than you're meant to.

It's like the mcdonald's monopoly thing where the hardass top security lockdown bloke they got in to stop employees from stealing the winning tickets just stole the winning tickets. Who needs market manipulation when you own the presses?

Toshimo
Aug 23, 2012

Patron Fae
of
Broken Software


DalaranJ posted:

Is this all being done by Rudy-likes or are there other groups involved as well.

#mtgfinance is a combination of Rudy-likes and the reddit dudes who went all-in on "the next Gamestop stock". It's also backed by certain business owners/content creators (notably SaffronOlive, who for some idiot poo poo reason is a pet darling in the MtG community, despite being both scummy and insufferable).

The big bubble to burst them all was when SaffronOlive put out a cash bounty on a fake up-and-coming deck, all the idiots went all-in and spiked a garbage rare like 10,000%, it turned out to be a nothingburger, and people were all crying for months about how "it could have been a thing" and were left holding the bag. Did SaffronOlive get slapped down for generating fake hype so his buddies could cash in on a fake deck? Nope. Will all this happen again and again? Yep.

It's largely down to the American mentality that we're all just temporarily impoverished millionaires and that we're also smarter than the rest of the dummies, so we just need to call our shot and hit it big on one of these spikes and we can finally retire pay off the credit card debt from all our other failed schemes.


DalaranJ posted:

For instance, I know that last year there were a bunch of cases of video creators cracking packs of Pokémon as video content. Is that sort of distinction even meaningful?

Pack cracking is just people at home living vicariously through the content creators without dumping money on packs. Same endorphin rush, no out-of-pocket cost. It generates a MASSIVE amount of views so a lot of content creators spend time doing it. It's basically win-win. Viewers are happy, content creators get paid, nobody gets hurt.

Fantastic Foreskin
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



Toshimo posted:

The big bubble to burst them all was when SaffronOlive put out a cash bounty on a fake up-and-coming deck

When did that happen?

Toshimo
Aug 23, 2012

Patron Fae
of
Broken Software


Fantastic Foreskin posted:

When did that happen?

October 2017. https://www.hipstersofthecoast.com/2017/10/pirate-stompy-controversy/

Fantastic Foreskin
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.




Ah. Pirate Stompy was hilarious (if ethically dubious), didn't know about the bounty.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





I thought pirate stompy was a joke.

Fantastic Foreskin
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.



It was, but people bought up terrible Masques pirates before they came clean. If someone had bought up the cards beforehand then it would be scummy, though I haven't heard that particular allegation before.

long-ass nips Diane
Dec 13, 2010

Breathe.


I actually think FAB is a pretty decent game, especially with the bans, but everything around it being so embarrassing got me to sell my collection

Balon
May 23, 2010

...my greatest work yet.


My friends at The Spike Feeders have a channel doing well produced FAB gameplay. Plus today you get to see my ugly mug!

https://youtu.be/fCF_UvdTUdo

Toshimo
Aug 23, 2012

Patron Fae
of
Broken Software


Balon posted:

My friends at The Spike Feeders have a channel doing well produced FAB gameplay. Plus today you get to see my ugly mug!

https://youtu.be/fCF_UvdTUdo

That's unfortunate. I used to like their content.

HootTheOwl
May 13, 2012

Hootin and shootin


Toshimo posted:

(notably SaffronOlive, who for some idiot poo poo reason is a pet darling in the MtG community, despite being both scummy and insufferable).

Then why is he your avatar?

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HootTheOwl
May 13, 2012

Hootin and shootin


Balon posted:

My friends at The Spike Feeders have a channel doing well produced FAB gameplay. Plus today you get to see my ugly mug!

https://youtu.be/fCF_UvdTUdo

Aspiring spike should have named his chat sooner

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