It was certainly a crazy year for just about everyone in the world and the CCG (TCG) market was no different.
There were tons of stories that shaped how things went in 2022 and I wanted to look back on a few of those as they’ll set the stage for 2023 for sure. Magic The Gathering, MetaZoo, Flesh and Blood and a few other big names made news throughout 2022 and here are some of the bigger stories from the past year.
- 1 Wizards/Hasbro Releases (10) New Magic: The Gathering Products in 2022
- 2 MetaZoo Releases (3) New Major Sets in 2022….Plus a Boatload of Other Stuff!
- 3 Pokémon Swims Upstream With Strong 2022
- 4 Flesh and Blood Popular in 2022….But Values Declined On Older Overprinted Sets
- 5 Weiss Schwarz Takes A Big Step Forward in 2022….Popularity Grows
- 6 Force of Will Drops in the US but Grows Overseas
- 7 Disney LORCANA is Announced
- 8 SORCERY Announced – Could Be a Big Player in 2023
- 9 Magic The Gathering Reserved List – The 2022 Rollercoaster
- 10 Earthbind Makes Run at Most Expensive COMMON Card in Magic!
- 11 Sealed Product Investors – Where Did You Go?
- 12 MOST IMPACTFUL STORIES OF 2022
Wizards/Hasbro Releases (10) New Magic: The Gathering Products in 2022
Hasbro was ‘all gas and no brakes’ in 2022 pushing out (4) major expansion sets and (5) special sets (including supplemental and compilation sets.) There were some home runs in the list but there were certainly a few forgettable sets. Which of these do you think weren’t so great?
|Innistrad: Double Feature
|Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
|Streets of New Capenna
|Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate
|Double Masters 2022
|Universes Beyond: Warhammer 40K (Commander Decks)
|The Brothers’ War
I know the number of “sets” is debateable to a degree if you start including Arena related items, Secret Lair releases and 30th Anniverary. If you add all of those up, Wizards released well more than ten products. However, for our purposes we’re just talking major sets that include booster box products or sealed decks.
I think 2022 definitely started slowly and Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty and Streets of New Capenna were nothing special. Most collectors and players were expecting these to be way more popular but so far they’re just ‘meh’, nothing special.
The set I believe will be the surprise of 2022 will be Innistrad: Double Feature. If you were not in tune with Magic early in 2022, this set would have totally been missed as everyone was looking forward to the much anticipated Kamigawa.
Innistrad: Double Feature has a really cool horror theme to it and was only distributed through local game stores (LGS.) Although it combines cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow, I still think the set came out super nice.
Box prices are holding steady in the $150-170 range at the end of 2022 and I’ll bet this eventually becomes a sought after booster box for both players and collectors.
Overall I’m not sure how the 2022 Magic lineup of sets will do in the long run. I think it was a lot of products to throw at the market and honestly I wish these companies would just push the brakes a bit and limit the sets.
I know Hasbro is all about profits so there’s no way to convince them to slow things down. But I think 2022 is a great example of a year with too much product forced into the market. Time will tell.
MetaZoo Releases (3) New Major Sets in 2022….Plus a Boatload of Other Stuff!
While Hasbro was ‘all gas and no brakes’ I would say MetaZoo was ‘all RACING FUEL and no brakes!’
MetaZoo has been go-go-go since they hit the market back in 2021 and they are certainly on a mission to keep their name in clear sight.
There’s no doubt that the MetaZoo marketing team is pushing to ensure they’re considered a top three CCG behind Magic and Pokemon and they’re certainly doing well at it.
2022 was a big year for MetaZoo as they pushed out (3) new major sets into the market including Wilderness, UFO and Seance. But they definitely had some challenges to overcome this past year too.
One major issue was the perception of too much product on the market. MetaZoo overestimated demand and had the printers running 24/7 on both Wilderness and UFO. Estimates are they released 100,000 of each product SKU for both sets and this obviously flooded the market.
Prices for both booster boxes (and all of their other products including Spellbooks, Release Event Decks, Theme decks, etc) all tanked because of the glut of supply. Prices have still not recovered as of the end of 2022 and you can find booster boxes for Wilderness and UFO easily in the $50-60 range.
After seeing the issues with prices not being maintained at a suggested retail level because of overproduction, MetaZoo switched gears on the release of Seance and printed only 50,000 of each SKU. However, another major issue popped up that would be a big story for 2022.
Reports started popping up almost immediately after the release of Seance that there were pack mapping and clumping issues. Basically you were able to track holos and reverse holos in booster boxes and quickly determine which packs had the more expensive full holos. It was a big problem in 2022 for MetaZoo for sure and one I’ll bet they hope is soon forgotten.
Along with the normal set product line, MetaZoo made 2022 the year of getting their name out on every other different product they could think of. MetaZoo released NFTs, Skateboards, Collectible Pins, T-shirts, Backpacks, eBay Branded items, Lunchboxes, Topps sets, promo cards galore, Holiday themed packs, Christmas wrapping paper, and probably more I can’t even think of right now.
To many, it was too much. But in hindsight, it was genius marketing as MetaZoo was able to get their name out there at so many different levels. The company had become more popular in a 12-month span than any other new TCG and laid the groundwork on how to build a brand and a following in a short period of time.
How popular has MetaZoo become? The proof is in the revenue. In early December, Mike Waddell (MetaZoo Founder and CEO) released a post on their Discord that “MetaZoo’s revenue since our first Kickstarter started to ship in March 2021 will be roughly $50 million.” I guess 2022 ended up being a darn good year for MetaZoo. Well played Mike!
Pokémon Swims Upstream With Strong 2022
It’s hard to come up with anything bad to say about how 2022 went for The Pokémon company. This company and brand has proven to be just as strong in down times as it is in good times.
Even during the bleakest of times in the CCG market in 2022, Pokémon continued to hold strong. Booster boxes and most other Pokémon products not only stayed stable when it came to pricing, some Sword & Shield boxes actually increased!
Just look at Pokémon Sword & Shield Brilliant Stars booster boxes. Brilliant Stars started off close to $100/box and quickly rose and remained strong at $125-135 throughout the entire year. By the end of the year in late December, box prices surged to $150-160 and continue to be strong sellers during the holiday season.
I don’t see the millions of worldwide Pokémon players and collectors letting up anytime soon. I expect the positive 2022 trends to continue into next year as well so hang on for another year of the King of CCGs!
|Pokemon TCG: Sword & Shield - Brilliant Stars
|Pokemon TCG: Stacking Tins
|Pokemon TCG: Collector Bundle Spring 2022
|Pokemon TCG: Mini Tins
|Morpeko V-Union Special Collection
|Pokemon TCG: Lucario VSTAR Premium Collection
|Pokemon TCG: V Heroes Tins
|Pokemon TCG: Poke Ball Tins
|Pokemon TCG: Arceus V Figure Collection
|Pokemon TCG: Sword & Shield - Astral Radiance
|Divergent Powers Tins
|Calyrex VMAX League Battle Decks
|Pokemon TCG: Pokemon GO Expansion
|Pokemon TCG: Trainer's Toolkit 2022
|Pokemon TCG: Sword & Shield - Lost Origin
|Pokemon TCG: Premium Collections
|Pokemon TCG: Hidden Potentials Tins
|Pokemon TCG: Stacking Tins
|Pokemon TCG: Hisuian Electrode V Box
|Pokemon TCG: Sword & Shield - Silver Tempest
|Pokemon TCG: Collector Chest
Flesh and Blood Popular in 2022….But Values Declined On Older Overprinted Sets
Flesh and Blood is not something I’ve talked a lot about in 2022, but it doesn’t mean I won’t be talking more about it going forward.
FaB definitely had a good year in 2022 and is showing steady growth worldwide. Legend Story Studios, the company behind FaB, put out a couple of very successful products last year including Everfest, History Pack 1, Uprising and Dynasty and all are doing well on the secondary market.
Dynasty, which was released in early November 2022, was considered the smoothest launch by local game stores and distributors. That tells me Legends is getting better with every set that comes out. The product arrived in good condition (which wasn’t the case in previous releases that had damaged boxes due to shipping issues) and the print run looked to match supply quite well. It was definitely a big win for Legends to end the year on a strong note.
Popularity continued to grow for FaB overall, but values of some of the older sets and their booster boxes did erode a bit due to overprinting back in 2021. Values for Crucible of War Unlimited, Tales of Aria and Monarch tanked last year as they were unfortunately printed to oblivion in a hot 2021 economy. This is good to some degree as many collectors got and continue to get bargain deals on booster boxes for these sets. The bad news is that it will take at least another year for inventories to dry up and values to bounce back.
Overall a pretty darn good year for Flesh and Blood and it sets the stage for continued success for Legends going forward.
Weiss Schwarz Takes A Big Step Forward in 2022….Popularity Grows
Weiss Schwarz did fairly well throughout 2022 and had a steady stream of releases throughout the year. In total, there were (14) products released in 2022 and I expect the company to build off the momentum from this past year as we move into 2023.
Sealed boxes of Weiss Schwarz were fairly low early in the year but did rebound as we approached the end of 2022. It looks like the supply issues from the previous 12-months are finally recovering and the market for Weiss is finally stabilizing.
The newest set The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of The Commandments, released mid-December, is doing well with box prices in the $50-$60 range. Collectors are raving about this set (and other recent sets) indicating the design, printing and holographic quality are top notch and possibly best in the TCG world. That’s saying a LOT.
My expectations are that the upwards bounce in prices of booster boxes will continue in 2023 and probably surprise a lot of people. Weiss Schwarz is here to stay!
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Force of Will Drops in the US but Grows Overseas
The Force of Will TCG USA market was pretty tough in 2022. but overseas in Japan it did well. And when I say tough, I mean getting booster boxes was extremely hard due to lack of supply here in the US.
Box prices spiked this past year because of a lack of product and limited print runs and that is a big issue for the very loyal collectors and players that follow the game. Force of Will continues to be a small niche card game with very slow growth and I think that perception that lingered throughout 2022 will not change in 2023.
The big question will be can Force of Will continue to compete with Flesh and Blood and MetaZoo, both of which took a lot of their market share in 2022. I think Force of Will will continue to be a player, but this flat player base will definitely not drive massive growth in 2023.
HOWEVER, the future does look good for Force of Will. Watch for box prices to spike over time as the product is still very limited with extremely small print runs. Once sealed box collectors start to get back into things after this awful ‘recession’ ends (hopefully in later 2023), I think we’ll see Force of Will Booster Box prices make a comeback.
Disney LORCANA is Announced
In September of 2022 at the D23 Expo, Disney made the huge announcement that they will be diving into the TCG/CCG world with their new game LORCANA. Set to be released in Fall of 2023, the much anticipated game could be a game changer for the gaming market for sure.
Although there was not a lot of information released this past year, we continue to get little hints from Disney on the cards and gameplay and that is certainly driving interest.
Time will tell how Lorcana does in this very competitive TCG market. If Disney is able to draw interest from their existing fan base and bring in players and collectors who are into Pokemon, MetaZoo and other similar collectible card games, they could be a huge player in the market.
If the insane prices of the Disney Lorcana promo cards released at the D23 Expo are any indication of how the set will do, it will blow the doors off the market in Fall 2023. I just saw a set of the original (6) promo cards which also included the original Mickey Mouse promo and pin go for close to $6,000!
Prices continue to be insane and I’m anxious to see how Lorcana builds on the momentum from the 2022 annoucement.
SORCERY Announced – Could Be a Big Player in 2023
I have been quietly waiting for SORCERY to hit the market as I think it could possibly be the next greatest collectible card game. I know that’s saying a lot, but everything I’ve seen so far tells me it will be huge.
Sorcery TCG was fully funded in March 2022 and at this point it has 6,456 backers and well over $3.5M (US) in total funding. This is well more than 10-times the original goal!
Booster boxes are already pre-selling on eBay for $350-400 and once this finally hits the market in 2023, the sky’s the limit. The last update from the New Zealand based company was earlier in December 2022 confirming the printing of the normal cards in the set had completed. This is big news and it means we’re closer to release!
Keep an eye on this TCG. Sorcery will be extremely limited so keep checking back here for more updates.
Magic The Gathering Reserved List – The 2022 Rollercoaster
The MTG Reserved List was a tale of two halves of the year. The first part of 2022 was great and prices were high and then by end of year things were tanking hard.
Early in 2022, the Reserved List was riding the highs from the surge that happened late in 2021. Demand was super high on anything in the Golden Era of Magic and even common cards of those early sets were riding high.
Whether it was Arabian Nights, Legends or The Dark, it looked like anyone who invested in these cards back in 2020 were about to cash in big time. Common cards were in the highest demand and even The Dark collection that I purchased back in late October 2020 (which was a full NRMT set plus 365 other singles) for around $750 was at or close to $1000 just for the set alone. Things were going great….but then summer 2022 hit.
By May of 2022 things had gone the other way and prices were on a steady decline. The wheels fell off the rollercoaster and the Revised List was in a freefall.
Vintage Magic cards were either flat or going down in value and there was simply not a lot of positive activity going on late in 2022. And that collection of The Dark cards I purchased? Everything went down and all of those early 2022 gains were lost.
Fast forward to the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023. Prices are low and this appears to be a great buying opportunity for Vintage Magic Reserved List cards. Prices are well off their highs and it could take another 6-12 months for the market to recover.
What a great time to invest in the old stuff if you ask me. The declines of 2022 might be a blessing in disguise!
Earthbind Makes Run at Most Expensive COMMON Card in Magic!
What a great yet very odd story to make the 2022 look back list. A long forgotten iconic common card from A/B/U makes a comeback? And it’s Earthbind?
Had the folks over at Wizards of the Coast chosen to include Earthbind in their 30th Anniversary Set in 2022 (see more about that below), Earthbind would have continued to be a cheap common card. However, that snub by Wizards created a lot of craziness that pushed Earthbind to hundreds and thousands of dollars, depending on the version.
Prices for Earthbind have settled back over the last month as the 30th Anniversary debacle has subsided. However, a nicely graded Alpha single is still bringing close to $200 in lightly played condition so the mania is still hanging around.
Should I sell my PSA-7 NRMT version above for a few hundred dollars? I’m not so sure yet. I still think the vintage cards are where your money should be (that and sealed booster boxes.) I may just hang on for a while and see where 2023 brings us.
But it’s certainly a great story and one that made 2022 really interesting!
Sealed Product Investors – Where Did You Go?
There’s talk online from a few go-to Magic people that all of the sealed product investors left town in 2022. There are a number of reasons why, but the general consensus is that no one is investing in or collecting sealed boxes anymore.
I think there are a number of people who aren’t buying up hoards of cases and booster boxes, but the reasons vary. In general I don’t think the bus loaded up all the investors and they left for greener pastures because there is nothing else green in the entire world at this point.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the world economy is in shambles. I won’t go into why because we all know why (war, recession, inflation and all of those other big words.) But that is definitely a reason why we’re not seeing sealed product investors buying heavily into booster boxes and cases lately.
It’s the same reason we’re all not dumping truckloads of money into stocks or crypto or gold and silver. We all just don’t know how the markets will react in 2023 so there’s a crap-ton of cash sitting on the sidelines right now. That includes all of the cash that normally goes into sealed booster boxes.
I think another reason sealed product investors are not as plentiful lately has to do with Hasbro/Wizards and how they’ve been releasing products the last few years. You can’t buy a few boxes of anything “new” these days without the local game store dumping them a few weeks later to make room for the next set release.
Look at this end of 2022 Magic: The Gathering release schedule below and tell me what you see:
- Double Masters 2022 – Released 7/8/2022
- Dominaria: United – Released 9/9/2022
- Unfinity – Released 10/7/2022
- Universes Beyond: Warhammer 40K (Commander Decks) – Released 10/7/2022
- The Brothers’ War – Released 11/18/2022
- Jumpstart 2022 – Released 12/2/2022
You basically had two months of time in between Double Masters 2022 and Dominaria United and then…..
WHAM!! Unfinity AND Warhammer 40K both came out 4-weeks later and then
WHAM!! The Brother’s War came out 6-weeks later…..and then
WHAM!! Jumpstart 2022 came out 2-weeks later.
How is that sustainable for an investor’s wallet?
How can you expect yourself to keep tossing sealed boxes and cases into the basement holding tank when you have to shell out THOUSANDS of dollars every few weeks?
How do you tell your daughter it’s time to move in with her boyfriend’s parents because you need her bedroom to store the 10-cases of sealed Double Masters 2022 you just bought for $17,000?
It’s insane. And, if you’re looking for a huge reason why a lot of the sealed product investors left, there’s just too much product on the market and it’s costing a small fortune to invest in it.
Going forward things have to change and 2022 was the start of this change. This is a topic for another post and I plan to get into the topic of sealed product investing heavily over the next few months. Maybe it’ll turn around…..but maybe there’s a way to do things better too.
MOST IMPACTFUL STORIES OF 2022
There are so many stories to choose from, but these are the ones I thought took the cake for having the most impact on the CCG world in 2022.
#1: THE MAGIC 30TH ANNIVERSARY DEBACLE
I would say one of the most impactful stories of 2022 is the Magic 30th Anniversary Debacle and how it nearly ruined the collector/player relationship with Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast. It’s debatable that it DID actually ruin the relationship as some think it’s beyond repair.
Initially I wrote about the 30th Anniversary set thinking that, although the price was severely out of whack, we would still see this as a huge success to Hasbro’s bottom line. The end result was I’m not sure if it benefited anyone.
I don’t know what the long term outlook is for the Magic 30th Anniversary edition set but it’s here, people are buying it and I just saw a Black Lotus 30th Anniversary Edition sell for over $7,000. So if you bought the $1000 box and pulled the Black Lotus, you did awesome. If you spent a grand and pulled this box below that NumotTheNummy opened, it really sucks bad.
#2: THE WORLDWIDE ECONOMIC ISSUES TAKES THEIR TOLL ON THE CCG WORLD
This one is sort of a no-brainer. We live in a time where investments in just about anything are falling from 20% to 90%. There’s still money to be made, but it’s hard to find out where.
Investing in trading card games like Magic, MetaZoo and Pokemon certainly didn’t shield your assets like gold or silver does when stocks tank. If anything, those cards lost value just as much as your 401K did in 2022 which is not good.
In a word, 2022 just ‘SUCKED’ and I think 2023 will probably ‘SUCK’ too. But, although prices for the Magic Reserved List and sealed product declined this past year, I still think there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I just don’t know how long the tunnel is. Right now, it’s a very small dot of light and it seems like it’s a million miles away.
But here’s the deal. I have little doubt these markets will come back. And for those that stay the course and buy at these depressed prices, I think you’ll make out in the end. It takes a lot of guts to ride out a bad economy and to know when and where to put your money. But if you study the CCG world I think you will still do extremely well long term.
You’ll just have to wait.
#2: OVERPRINTING AND MARKET MISCALCULATIONS BY ALL MAJOR CCG COMPANIES
We could complain about this issue every day of every year. Sometimes I wonder if these companies have people who actually care about the longevity of the game or just care about padding their wallets with the green stuff (dollars that is.)
My biggest gripe about the US economy since I was a teenager is that corporations and manufacturers only care about the bottom line and pleasing their shareholders. Screw the Magic players and collectors. Screw the kids who like to play games. Screw ALL of you! Just give the big companies your money and shut up!
Well, I’m sick of it especially when they nearly ruin the game itself. Just refer back to the November report by Bank of America analyst Jason Haas that indicated “Hasbro is overproducing Magic cards which has propped up recent results but is destroying the long-term value of the brand.”
Jason Haas went on to say in that report that “players are getting increasingly turned off by a slew of new releases that flooded the market and decreased the secondary market values of cards.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that overprinting or even misjudging print runs can affect your fan base in a seriously negative way. You’ll pad the executive’s pockets for a little while and they’ll retire with the millions, but the long term health of the brand itself is jeopardized and that’s the real point here.
2022 was a wake up call for Wizards, MetaZoo, Pokemon, Legends (Flesh and Blood), and so many others to start paying attention to the BRAND, the longevity of that brand and what players and collectors mean to the sustainability of that brand.
I hope they get it.