Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Magic the Gathering fat pack

Here's an attempt at chronicling the only Magic product that I've bought religiously.

I started buying fat packs during Champions of Kamigawa. I had recently returned to playing Magic (actually, returned during Fifth Dawn) and I was aching to get my hands on several cards in one sitting. One of the attractions was the novel and the Kamigawa block had a beautiful story going with it. Even the previews provided intriguing stories.

The local store had not even heard of a fat pack before. The contents were as follows: 6 booster packs, a novel, 20-sided die, 40 basic lands, a random foil card, and the player's guide (printed on letter-sized glossy magazine-like paper).

The Kamigawa block fat pack was packaged elaborately: wrapped in cheap plastic and with a prominent display-like appearance to attract buyers.

The fat pack stayed this way for the whole block.

Aside from the interest in the novel, I enjoyed the player's guide tremendously as it helped in deckbuilding. It was only one block but it helped a lot.

Things changed with the release of 9th Edition Core Set. Wizards maintained the 6 booster packs, 20-sided die, and the 40 basic lands. They improved the player's guide by printing it on a smaller sized but thicker paper. Since Core Set releases are not connected to any story, there was no novel. Changes included the 2 card boxes that featured new artwork and the card dividers. All these were wrapped around a packaging that featured artwork from the set.

The card boxes are uber-necessary. With no proper container for my cards, I was able to finally stock the cards that I needed and not place them in 4-sleeved albums.

The new expansion block Ravnica: City of Guilds continued to apply the changes from the Core Set. The novel continued. The 20-sided die got replaced with a different life counter (card-like with rotating numbers to keep track of the life). Well, there's not much to say about the novels because they've always been poorly written. The huge miss was the life counter. To this date, I've never used the Ravnica block life counters and they're just somewhere with the cards in the card boxes.

Right in the middle of Ravnica and the next expansion, Wizards released Coldsnap - said to be the long lost 3rd set of the Ice Age block. Thankfully, the 20-sided die returned. The novel that was included was just the story from Ice Age and I must say that I have never opened the book.

Time Spiral block ushered in the old school feel of Magic and the fat pack continued without any change. The 10th Edition Core Set lost the novel once more (as expected) but maintained everything else.

The fat packs of Lorwyn and Morningtide continued to have the same contents but a huge change came with Shadowmoor. To offset the loss of 1 card box, the fat pack now got "fatter" with 2 more booster packs. The fat pack also lost the card dividers. I might have to say that 1 card box has the same price as 2 booster packs then. The loss of the card box doesn't hurt much because there's still one left. Which now leads us to the most recent change of them all.

Shards of Alara fat pack loses the novel and replaces it with a preview "booklet" of the Planeswalker's Guide to Alara. Coupled with the 1 basic land per booster pack arrangement, it seems that Wizards is doing quite a lot to stay profitable and I'm not amused at all over their cost-cutting measures.

The fat pack has now become unworthy for its money. And oh yeah, suggested retail price even increased! The pain!

Just to add more pain: How about getting Ooze Garden in one of your packs? Or not getting a mythic rare at all. Sheesh.

Sorry I have to be grouchy.


MrTwigX said...

I completely agree with you, and am extremely disappointed with wizards. I liked reading the books, but since I live in New Zealand have no way of getting hold of them unless I buy them off some American site and pay shipping costs tat are about as much as the book itself (not to mention tat hte combine cost of the book and shipping comes to about as much as the cost of a fat pack at my local store). And I got not one but TWO ooze gardens in my boosters :(

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