The Year That Was, And What Will Be Coming

Cliff Daigle • December 30, 2022

If you felt overwhelmed this year, you’re not alone. I was going to do the thing where I tell you how many sets there were, and how you’re allowed to miss out on them, but it’s overkill at this point. Wizards knows we can’t all keep up, and I imagine that even the people who work there can’t keep track.

By my estimate, (please reach out to me in the Discord if you think I'm mistaken with these numbers) there were 2,389 new cards printed, including all rarities. This doesn’t include getting multiple frames, and I do not think we’ve gotten a double-printing this year. The Secret Lair printings alone total 272 reprints of cards, many of which have a regular frame and could be foil or nonfoil. In total, there were just under 4,000 assorted reprints this past year.

That is an enormous increase in the amount of cards released, and perhaps you want to discuss only rares and mythics. Sure, we can do that: there were 793 new rares this year, and 235 new mythics. In terms of reprints, there were 1,775 rares that were redone and 413 mythics.

All of this is to point out the futility of staying on top of every single card that comes out. You can’t. You just can’t. There were 389 legendary creatures released this year, and I think what this means is that none of them got the time to fully develop. In years past, creatures got some time to shine, a month or two where nothing else was spoiled/previewed and everyone would focus. As a point of comparison, in 2019 there were 79 new legendary creatures, and only 54 in 2017.

Nowadays, we don’t get that time, we don’t get the full focus of the group mind on one new thing. We get eight new 40k Commanders, and two weeks later, another 15 Transformers taking up brain space. We aren’t ever going to have a slow pace to plan out, to build the new deck. We do see spikes in cards that synergize with new Commanders, but we’ll no longer have the same energy.

As a result, I’m adding a rule for myself: I’m going to stop trying to get ahead of spikes by speculating on individual Legends. This used to be something we could do with total abandon, knowing that even if the hot card wasn’t sold right away, it would still be sold at a higher price, if not THE highest price.

The only way that this could happen now is if they printed something truly uniquely bomby and overpowered. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King is an example of this. It’s really difficult to make a deck with Korvold that isn’t going to be at least decent, because the commander is so powerful.

Korvold caused a whole bunch of cards to be very expensive very quickly. Problem is, Korvold was not only from a time when there were less legends printed, he’s also from a time when Wizards was out of sync and printing ridiculously powerful cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns. Korvold is a little too good, a mistake they don’t make as much these days.

Kibo, Uktabi Prince is an example of a legend that should have caused things to go, well, bananas. I wrote last month about picking up Gargantuan Gorillas in anticipation of Apes and Monkeys going wild, but none of that has materialized. We’re so inundated with legends and cool things vying for our attention that there’s no room for us to all seize on the new neat things. We aren’t going to get six months with the Transformers subset before we get Lord of the Rings cards, and while I would like to think we’ll all make a cool Legolas and Gimli deck, how long can the attention hold? (I don't have any special data, I just know that the Fellowship better have some variant on Partner like Friends Forever!)

I also want to remind you that if you want to just focus on the four new sets per year (unless we get a Horizons set of some flavor) that’s totally valid. Just about everything else is reprints and Commander fodder, and you shouldn’t feel like you need to stay on top of this. I’ve been writing about Magic finance for nearly ten years, produce articles for two sites, occasionally podcast, play in two different Commander groups, and I for sure can’t keep up with everything. It’s super stressful to try and keep up, and you shouldn’t feel an obligation to do so.

Nearly four hundred legendary creatures last year! More than six thousand unique cards, a third of which were new!

Take a moment and appreciate the poor coders here on the site, who have to keep track of everything and keep it organized. Is it something from The List or from a Mystery Booster? Which Booster, the 2019 or the 2022? Secret Lair throw-ins keep appearing as new random things too!

With so many cards coming out, the best financial advice I can give people these days is to be aware that just about everything will have reprints coming. We got a taste of that for the dual lands and the other chase cards in the 30th Anniversary packs, and while those didn’t sell well at $1000, there’s none in stock on TCG right now for less than $1500. Collectors are driving right now, and Wizards is showing no signs of slowing down.

Take a breath, give thoughts to what your current practices are, and be prepared for 450+ legendary creatures this coming year.