MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation Review

by Magic Card Investor | Last Updated: April 9, 2021

MetaZoo BigfootMetaZoo: Cryptid Nation is the latest Trading Card Game to hit the scene and early signs show it has the potential to become one of the big boys.  After opening some packs and buying a bunch of cards myself, I really think this game could end up becoming something VERY special. Yes, you heard it right…..there’s a new TCG in town and this one might be here to stay!

MetaZoo just recently came onto the scene via a Kickstarter fundraiser set up by creator Mike Waddell and his MetaZoo team. The idea was to raise enough money to get an initial supply of the game out to their Kickstarter supporters to get the game off and running. Through a month-long campaign, they were able to raise over $18,000 to get production going on the initial run of 1st Edition Kickstarter Booster Boxes, Spellbooks, Tribal Theme Decks (much like Starter Decks in MTG), Blister Packs and promotional singles. This initial Kickstarter supply would be marked with a green letter “K” on the singles, boxes and packaging to separate it from the main 1st Edition cards that will be released starting later in 2021. As of the time of this post being written, the Kickstarter products are the only MetaZoo cards on the market outside of the many different promotional cards the company has released.

Without going into great detail about how to play the game, I’ll say that the mechanics are very similar to Magic: The Gathering with a few twists to make the game unique to MetaZoo. If you want to learn more about gameplay, I suggest going to they MetaZoo YouTube channel to see a breakdown of how to play.  My goal here is to talk about the potential of the game, the prices we’re all seeing in the market and what I think this could turn into going forward. It’s exciting to say the least!

FACTS and FIGURES

Game Name: MetaZoo

Set Name: Cryptid Nation

Creator: Michael Waddell (MetaZoo Games LLC)

Release Date: 3/1/2021 (1st Edition Kickstarter Version)

Cards in Set: 159 cards

Set Notes: The set is broken down by rarity much like other TCG’s like Magic and Pokemon. Gold, Silver and Bronze represent Rare, Uncommon and Common. In MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation, the first 39 cards are Regular Gold (Rare) Holo cards and are part of the set. There are also 54 Reverse Holo cards where the foiling is reversed, but these are separate cards from the main 159 card set.

MetaZoo Print Run

MetaZoo Kickstarter Booster BoxAs of early April 2021, the Kickstarter supply is the ONLY supply on the market. According to MetaZoo, the 1st Edition Kickstarter print run consisted of the following:

The regular 1st Edition will be shipping in a few waves starting Summer 2021 and will consist of 10X the Kickstarter print run, per MetaZoo. Those numbers are as follows::

MetaZoo ChessieIt was mentioned in the MetaZoo Discord that “all other print runs” for MetaZoo would look similar to this 1st Edition Print Run. I’m guessing that future expansion sets may be similar in numbers, but we will not know for sure until those sets hit the market many months from now.

Because this game is in its infancy right now, it is tough to pinpoint which cards will end up being the ones that everyone will scramble to own. I think over time as the 1st Edition waves are released and more of the product is ripped open and more people begin to actually play the game, we’ll find out more about which cards are the heavy hitters.

In the MetaZoo Discord, conversations are ongoing about which cards are tough to pull and that has created what is being called the OBNOXIOUS 9. These are nine cards that appear to be the hardest to pull and were only printed as Rare Holo’s (not Reverse Holo’s.) Because of this, the cards were coined ‘obnoxious’ since they can be frustrating to find. They are no more rare than any other rare holo, except for the fact that you cannot find them in any other form (non foil or reverse holo) which makes them pop up less often. Most booster boxes may have only a few of these if you’re lucky!

Could these be the next Magic: The Gathering Power 9? Is it possible a MetaZoo Kickstarter card like the Chaos Crystal could be the next “Black Lotus of MetaZoo”? Is the Mothman the next Pokémon Charizard? Only time will tell for sure!

The Obnoxious 9 MetaZoo cards include: Chessie, Death Beam, Ghost Train, Growth, Phoenix Rain, Power Up Red, Sam Sinclair, Silver Bullet, and Uncle Sam.

MetaZoo Rare Gold Holo & Reverse Holo Print Runs

MetaZoo Sam Sinclair

As I often mention, print runs of very popular sets (whether that be Magic or Pokémon or whatever) tend to play a huge part in values of not only the singles but the unopened booster boxes, packs and decks. Knowing the print run of the Kickstarter 1st Edition definitely helps us determine how many of each card were printed and that ultimately affects values.

For the Kickstarter 1st Edition, it has been widely accepted that there are approximately 872 copies of each Rare (Gold) Holo and approximately 1,259 copies of each Reverse Holo (regardless of rarity.) Knowing the potential that this game has in the marketplace, there is a possibility that these very low print run original cards could be the Magic Alpha of the MetaZoo world. Again, only time will tell.

CURRENT PRICES

As of now, most of the buying and selling of MetaZoo cards is purely secondary market until the company releases the first few waves of the 1st Edition (non-Kickstarter) product. MetaZoo did have their Bazaar marketplace intact for a while, but they decided to shut that down so not most buying and selling is done via eBay or privately in forums and the Discord.

Prices for the Kickstarter 1st Edition boxes and singles are pretty much all we’re seeing right now and the market is STRONG. Prices for booster boxes made a rapid climb at the end of March and within days had doubled and tripled. Currently, as of April 8th, Kickstarter Booster Boxes are going for well over $2,000 and many singles are bringing hundreds of dollars each. Although prices of the booster boxes have plateaued a bit, we expect they’ll continue to rise as more 1st Edition products are released to the market, more players enter the game and more packs are ripped open.

Check out these sold prices from recent eBay sales!!

MetaZoo Sold Prices (as of 4/9/2021)

CardTypeSold Price
MothmanGold Holo$1,150.00
MothmanReverse Holo$650.00
Black Hole ShardGold Holo$100.00
Ghost TrainGold Holo$150.00
Loveland FrogmanGold Holo$300.00
Sam SinclairGold Holo$250.00
GrowthGold Holo$210.00
Babe the Blue OxGold Holo$150.00
Jersey DevilGold Holo$250.00
Jersey DevilReverse Holo$250.00
HodagGold Holo$150.00
HodagReverse Holo$130.00
Blood RubyReverse Holo$80.00
BigfootGold Holo$200.00
Kentucky HellhoundReverse Holo$75.00
Death BeamGold Holo$250.00
Powerup RedGold Holo$215.00
Chaos CrystalGold Holo$350.00
ChessieGold Holo$225.00
Tripodero (short print)Reverse Holo$375.00
ChupacabraGold Holo$100.00

MetaZoo: THE GOOD

MetaZoo Death BeamLet’s start off with the basics. I think the idea behind the game is really good. MetaZoo has taken many of the popular game mechanics from popular games (like Magic) and worked them into a very unique world they created around Cryptids. Many like me have been fascinated with the world of Cryptids and Cryptozoology for a long time and the idea of these mythical beasts that we grew up learning and reading about (and even believing in) being a huge part of the game is awesome.

This first edition called “Cryptid Nation” explores these mythical beasts from North America and those are the ones many of us have heard about. Who hasn’t heard of Bigfoot, Mothman, Chessie and the Jersey Devil and wondered whether they really exist? This MetaZoo set not only taps into the TCG market (which is growing exponentially every year) but it will tap into that Cryptid market as well which is HUGE.

The cards themselves are also getting rave reviews from those like me that grew up in that 1990’s era when Nintendo and video games were in their prime. The artwork is so simple and that I believe is another part of the draw to MetaZoo. There’s something to be said about simplicity and the artwork for the beasts, artifacts and spells take me back to that time when I was a kid playing video games with my buddies. Not everything has to be on the level of Seb McKinnon (Magic Artist) and sometimes simple is good like with MetaZoo.

MetaZoo Uncle Sam

When it comes to gameplay, initial thoughts by many is that it is good. Again the mechanics are very Magic-ish with the tapping of cards (or fatiguing as MetaZoo has coined) and it appears it will be simple and fun to play. The ‘4th Wall’ aspect (where your physical surroundings or the things you do and say when a card enters the game) can and will affect the game and could separate MetaZoo from all other TCG’s. Again, as more product is released into the market and more players are able to put decks together, we’ll find out how good of a game this potentially could become. As it stands, the potential is there for this game to explode.

One last thing I’ll mention is the foiling on the Holo cards and the backs of the cards as well. We’re all used to the foils from Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon and I would say the MetaZoo foiling is very good and unique. I would say they’re not as nice as Pokémon foil cards, but the MetaZoo foils do stand out and I’m glad they took a different approach from other games. The flashy stars on the foil make the cards pop and I think they will be highly sought after as time goes on. And for the card backs, I just really like the MetaZoo logo and they design on the back. Not much to say other than I just really like the simplicity of the logo and funky design on the back.

MetaZoo: THE BAD

Ok, I could say something bad about just about anything so MetaZoo won’t get off that easy!

MetaZoo Ghost Train

My biggest issue with this MetaZoo set is the font size on the cards. For me, a 40-something year old guy with pretty good eyesight, these cards are darn hard to read. I think the MetaZoo people need to find a way to make the fonts larger, and if that means they reduce the amount they wrote then so be it. Check out Ghost Train and tell me if you can read that one very easily. Less is more my friends…..gotta find a way to reduce that text and increase the font so players can read it.

My other issue right now has to do with timelines on the production of the 1st Edition and how that could potentially negatively affect the game. The Kickstarter 1st Edition put MetaZoo on this wave of success and MetaZoo needs to find a way to amp up the production so the wave continues. You cannot afford to have a new game like this go stale and I think the only thing that could halt this runaway Ghost Train is if the 1st Edition product is too slow to market. Now I’m probably jumping the gun a bit as this is the early stages of MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation. It was just released in the last few weeks for crying out loud….but the amount of Kickstarter product out there right now is minimal AND expensive and the company cannot afford to lose players due to a negative perception of any kind. They need to keep the foot on the pedal and get a majority of that 1st Edition production run to the market and I’m hopeful they will do that over the next few months.

One last thing to mention…….I said the ‘4th Wall’ effects are a positive because it’s unique to MetaZoo, but I could also see this potentially being a negative. For example, I’m not sure how many people out there would know if they’re 5-miles from a forest to activate Bigfoot’s ability to gain invisibility. Plus, if I knew I was playing someone who had Bigfoot in their deck, I might be hesitant to even play against those people if I’m near an actual forest if I knew it could affect the game. And it’s not just being close to a forest as there are so many other 4th Wall’s out there that could upset players. Time will tell how this ability affects gameplay, especially in competitive play. If you host a tournament and a player has Metal Man of Alabama in his/her deck, are they allowed to bring in tin foil to activate the card’s ability to contract it using one less aura? Abilities and the rules related to them will also play a huge part in whether this game succeeds.

INVESTMENT POTENTIAL

MetaZoo Black Hole ShardYou’re at Magic Card Investor so everything eventually comes back down to INVESTMENT POTENTIAL. Does MetaZoo: Cryptid Nation and possibly future expansion sets have the potential to become a good investment?

The short answer is I don’t know yet. Everything you’re seeing in the market right now is purely speculation. Many people (and I’ll include myself in this) have become enamored with the game and really think it could become a TOP FIVE TCG in time if it’s developed correctly. All of the buying and selling going on is fluid and people are trying to find out what cards are worth because there’s no price guide or history.

Are we potentially in the early stages of something like Magic: The Gathering like when they came out with their Alpha and Beta cards in 1993? I think there are similarities and there are big differences. I think the beginning story is very similar. You have these guys Mike Waddell (MetaZoo) and Richard Garfield (Magic) who both came up with this great idea for a card game and Mike is bootstrapping it the best way he can to get it off the ground, much like Richard did back in the early 90’s. MetaZoo didn’t pop out of Hasbro’s corporate imagination or some gaming titan. So the early part of the history of both games is similar, but there are big differences.

The main difference between early Magic and early MetaZoo is that people back in 1993 played the game and most disregarded the collectability aspect. Tons of games were played in the early Magic days and cards got beat up and tossed in the trash with few investment quality examples of Alpha surviving. That is why those original Magic cards are so expensive today. My guess is most MetaZoo 1st Edition Kickstarter cards will find themselves into toploaders and stashed away, with speculators hoping they’ll grow in value until one day they’re worth millions (not likely of course.) In that respect, the two are different and that could affect values over time depending on how popular this game becomes.

Here are my current recommendations regarding investing in MetaZoo:

  1. Be careful when buying the Kickstarter 1st Edition singles and sealed products. Prices are swinging in bothMetaZoo Jersey Devil directions wildly right now so values are still being determined. I’ve seen cards sell for $100 one day and over $400 the next. Be careful with your money and, if you can, wait for prices to settle over the next few months. Make sure if you do buy Kickstarter cards or unopened items that you’re comfortable you’re getting a good price. I almost invested in a Mothman the other day at around $1,000 and decided to hold back as I wasn’t comfortable at that price level. This is another ‘time will tell’ thing to see if I made a good decision or not.
  2. I think some of the lesser popular Kickstarter 1st Edition Gold Rare Holos are very affordable right now and might be worth a look. If you can find one that is <$100, it might be worth adding it to your collection or portfolio. Remember, there are less than 900 of these puppies so they are very rare. If MetaZoo gets even a small fraction of the popularity of Pokémon and it catches on across the globe, the cards from the 1st Edition Kickstarter could climb dramatically. Those Rare Gold Holos will be the cream of the crop!
  3. In Magic: The Gathering I’ve always been a fan of rare lands and cards that produce loads of mana for nearly no cost. In MetaZoo, the gems and crystals are equivalent to those rare Magic cards and I think there’s a very good possibility they could be highly sought after cards down the road. Obviously the Rare Holo versions will be the ones people go after so if you find them for a good price (right now less than $100 is good), it couldn’t hurt to pick a few up. These cards include Blood Ruby, Forest God’s Amber, Chaos Crystal, Black Hole Shard, Earth’s Core, Unending Fire Crystal, Eternal Snowflake, Holy Gem, Lightning Glass, Medium’s Third Eye and Mermaid Scales.
  4. Understand that once the regular 1st Edition hits the market, prices will continue to fluctuate. Over the next few months and into the summer of 2021 we’re expecting to see LOTS of MetaZoo boosters and singles on eBay. If prices on cards you want are too high right now, be patient and wait for the regular 1st Edition later this summer.

MetaZoo Lizard Man of Scape Ore

Final Thoughts and My Bold Prediction

I think MetaZoo has the potential to become BIG. The game itself looks like it will be loads of fun, the mechanics are interesting, the artwork is simplistic and appealing to many and I think the people at MetaZoo are doing a good job promoting it.

I’m putting my own money where my mouth is and I’ve been buying singles and unopened booster boxes to put away. I was lucky to have purchased two of the Kickstarter booster boxes prior to the price explosion for less than $1,000 each and I plan on stashing them away for now. They are calling me every day to rip them open, but I packaged them up in a box and taped it shut so I don’t get tempted. I have purchased a few packs that we opened, but I guess I’ll have to wait until the regular 1st Edition hits this summer before buying any more. BOOO!!! 🙁

My bold prediction is that MetaZoo becomes one of the top 5 TCG’s in 1-2 years time. As I learn more about the game and future expansions that MetaZoo has planned, I get more and more excited. So far I’ve heard about a UFO expansion set, a Halloween themed expansion called “Nightfall” coming in October 2021 and other ideas surrounding folklore and Cryptids across the world. I think the recipe is in place to grab a huge share of the TCG market and I think the prices we’re seeing now on Kickstarter singles will eventually look like a steal. I don’t believe they’ll explode like Magic Alpha in the near term, but over time we’ll all wish we had more of the originals in our collections.

As time goes on we’ll continue to monitor the MetaZoo market and follow up with additional content. So stay tuned, have fun collecting and investing and take a hard look at MetaZoo……it’s a rare opportunity to be on the ground floor of something special. Enjoy the ride!

Brian is the founder of Magic Card Investor and has been collecting and playing Magic since 1994. Since that Golden Era of Magic, he's accumulated a nice collection from Revised on through today's newest sets and cries nightly about that massive collection (including ALL Beta Moxes) that he sold back in the late 90's for peanuts! Brian continues to try and build that collection back up to this day and writes about his adventures in investing in and collecting Magic: The Gathering cards and other Trading Card Games here on Magic Card Investor.