If you were playing Magic in the summer of 1995, you were treated to the first time that Wizards of the Coast decided to print too much too soon. In four months, we got 4th Edition, Chronicles, and Ice Age. That was pretty crazy, back then.
Now, that’s almost quaint. Three sets in four months is about what we expect, plus some Secret Lair action and a couple of Commander precons and sprinkle in something like a Commander Collection. We are getting more and more products every year, more and more new cards and reprints, more and more special versions.
It’s a lot to keep up with, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t necessarily need to.
If you have the time to go over everything, and carefully make purchases, that’s fantastic. Consume your content of choice, be it videos, podcasts, or articles, and pick up all the things you want.
If you don’t have the time, there’s no blame. Every couple weeks or months, do a scryfall search for the things you want to add to your Commander decks, and then add those to your Wants list. Update your cube quarterly, instead of after every set. (I can vouch for this, saves me a lot of time and headache!)
There’s a few other tricks I’ve picked up along the way to help manage the Fear of Missing Out, that nagging, gnawing feeling that there is value to be gained and I’m not doing it correctly. This expresses itself in a lot of ways. The easiest way to visualize FOMO is a couple of Magic examples.
Do you find yourself thinking that you need to review each set for purchases to make? You don’t consume content for Commander or Standard, you just want to do it yourself? I call this the ‘too many planeswalkers’ feeling, because it reminds me of a Commander game I played once where I stole six planeswalkers and then had to use them all effectively. I couldn’t bring myself to just end the turn without extracting every bit I could out of those dumb cards.
Do you find yourself obsessing about past decisions you’ve made, and refreshing values frequently to justify purchases you’ve made, or ones you didn’t make? I refer to this as the
Cathars’ Crusade issue, where you’re having to obsessively keep track of every creature with its own d20, else you’re going to miss out on a counter and that would mess it all up.
Letting go helps a lot in these times, and let’s talk a little about what you can do to manage the FOMO.
First of all, recognize that there will be other opportunities. Secret Lairs are a great example of this, as almost all the sealed ones have appreciated in value within a year. Some went up faster than others, but mostly, they have been worth the $40 or $50 from a raw retail perspective. You’d do fine if you bought one of each, but if you miss one, another will come along before too long. Recognize that if you can’t pay attention right now, for any reason, just skip it and save your money for the next thing that comes along. Secret Lairs are notorious for this, as we get a new drop every couple of months. If you miss one, you’ll be fine, go get the singles you need months later and you’ll be fine.
This same philosophy applies to Standard releases as well. I’ve long maintained that the best thing to do is be a seller on everything early on, because it’s hard to pick out the one thing that’ll rise. Sure, I missed out on
Ledger Shredder (so did a lot of people) but anything from SNC that you opened early got you profit before it fell. It’s okay to miss out on things. There will be more.
One clear advantage to waiting longer is that you’re going to get better prices on things. Moving too soon means you’re overpaying, a problem I wrote about a couple of months ago, including my own mistakes doing exactly that. Instead of moving too fast and overpaying, tell yourself that you’re being patient and letting a card find its floor.
If you want a simple rule that you can do without having to fixate on things, I’d suggest keeping your attention on reprint sets. We’re going to get Double Masters 2 previews soon, and there’s two aspects to this set: First, the chase versions of things, with special treatments and super-rare foils, and those cards will mostly be an opportunity for growth.
The second facet is that reprint sets cause staples to drop, and rise again. Classic pattern, repeated frequently, and an easy way to get into Magic finance. Let’s look at a prime example.
Doubling Season is the poster child for recovering after a reprint. It’s an unfair card, giving you an advantage along multiple potential lines: tokens, +1/+1 counters, loyalty on planeswalkers, you name it. Every time it’s gotten printed, I’ve made money by buying the new regular copies, not just the shiny special ones. See what I mean:
Going from $40 to $80 in a year and a half is impressive indeed, and if it’s not in Double Masters 2, it’ll shoot past $100 easily. Save yourself some effort and just buy staples when reprinted.
The other thing that you can do is find people whose voices you trust, and listen to them. Friends, colleagues, bloggers or content creators, it doesn't matter. Allow their thinking to guide yours. There’s no shame in finding someone more up-to-date on a topic than you are. Smart people know how to delegate. Heck, you’re reading this, so clearly, you think my ideas have some merit. (here’s a freebie:
Cabal Coffers, regular nonfoils. Never been cheaper.)
So hopefully this all helps you keep it together as we go through the heart of this wallet-smashing order:
- Streets of New Capenna – April 29
- Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate – June 10
- Double Masters 2022 – July 8
- Universes Beyond Warhammer 40k – August 12
- Dominaria United – September 9
And this doesn’t cover the current Pride Secret Lair, or the one that’s to follow. Just take a breath, remember that there’s always more cards around the corner, and focus your energies where you need to.