Image via WotC

Outrageous and discouraging: Magic30 $999 boosters fail to impress

Paying a grand for unplayable cards wasn't the hype players were expecting for a 30-year anniversary celebration.

Casual and professional Magic: The Gathering players continue to react negatively toward the sale of proxy cards announced during the launch of the 30-year anniversary celebration. 

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Wizards of the Coast shocked the Magic: The Gathering community during the 30-year anniversary announcements earlier this week, promoting non-tournament legal cards in four booster packs for $999. The cards featured are from Alpha, Magic’s first set which contained a number of extremely powerful cards on the Reserve list that are worth thousands of dollars on the secondary market. 

The Magic 30-year anniversary limited-print product includes four booster packs with 15 cards in each pack—one Rare, three Uncommons, seven Commons, two basic lands, one land in a retro frame, and a token. Priced at $999, WotC highlighted that players could crack cards like Black Lotus or Ancestral Recall. But what wasn’t mentioned is that collectors could spend almost $1,000 on the Magic30 limited-run box and completely whiff.

Many in the MTG community are upset over the price point of the boosters, noting that the gold-bordered cards are not tournament legal and are essentially a proxy. Casual players often use proxy cards for casual games with friends, whether it be in Cube or Commander. Using proxy cards outside of a kitchen table set up with friends can often lead to arguments and legality issues, resulting in the Magic community asking WotC to reprint unobtainable cards as gold-bordered reprints.  

The Magic30 Alpha cards are not only illegal to play in Commander (a casual MTG format) in official settings but can’t guarantee that collectors will obtain the cards they want at the $999 price point.

Proxies are available to any Magic player. Players can print them off a home printer, or use a professional to create an entire Cube deck that looks like the real product for around $200 to $400. The price point announced by WotC is so extreme that even Luis Scott-Vargas, an MTG Hall of Fame professional, memed about it after the news dropped. 

Not every Magic product is for everyone. The Magic30 limited box, however, presents a larger and more disturbing future regarding the card game. It potentially encourages high-stakes gambling and essentially encourages the outrageous prices often found on the secondary market. There’s nothing wrong with high-priced collectible items as long as the price point isn’t borderline price gouging. 

WotC has yet to address the issues presented by the MTG community at the time of writing. It’s possible WotC will drop the price of the Magic 30-year anniversary box slightly before it goes on sale. But the product will essentially remain worthless to anyone who doesn’t plan to resell it at some point on the secondary market.  


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Author
Danny Forster
Lead Magic: The Gathering/Teamfight Tactics scribe and staff writer for Dot Esports. Danny is a gamer beach bum residing in Spacecoast Florida and has been a journalist for seven years, of which five have been at Dot Esports. Prior media outllets Danny wrote for were Screen Rant and TheGamer. You can typically catch Danny playing TCGs and a variety of strategic games. He also hangs out on Twitter @Dannyspacecoast.