Dogecoin? Bitcoin? Ethereum? Never heard of ‘em. Talk to me about a Jeweled Lotus or a foil Brazen Borrower though, and you might just be speaking my investment language.
The stock market and cryptocurrencies fall into a “Scary Math” category in my brain that makes it almost impossible for me to digest their basic concepts. Whenever I catch a stock market or crypto graph online, I soon go cross-eyed trying to decipher it all, resulting in me losing interest pretty quickly. One investment strategy I do get excited about lies in Magic: the Gathering, and finding those rare, elusive investment cards hidden in Booster Boxes.
Booster Boxes are one of the best ways to build an awesome Magic collection, find new cards to play with, build decks around, and start to grow your prized rare binder. It happens gradually too—most of us start with a few colourful Bundles to organise our decks and card colours. This soon grows into dedicating an entire bookshelf to your Magic collection, followed swiftly by ordering a binder to perfectly organise all your shiny rares.
Take a moment to calculate the value of all those cards in your rare binder, and you might just be sitting on a chunky Zodiac Piggy Bank.
Your Paper Magic Portfolio
Casual players like myself don’t often find themselves buried too deep in forums dedicated to deck building meta, and what cards are currently overpowered this season, so we can feel a little in the dark when it comes to what cards are the flavour of the month, so to speak. This is where the Good Games singles page is a true lifesaver for finding out the value of a card, and why I recommend anyone who takes a Booster Box home to keep the site on hand for when you crack open those uncommons, rare, and scarce mythics.
Deciding what to do with a valuable card can also be tricky—do you pop it into a deck to dominate your opponents? Maybe you take it straight back to your local Good Games to trade it in? Or perhaps the card gets double-sleeved and placed in a climate-controlled safe? It’s entirely up to you, although immediately sleeving the card is always the best first step.
Choosing when to trade the card in is a bit tougher, as you may get more value down the line if you keep the card in good nick. Then again, you may get more value trading the card in sooner rather than later.
When I discovered a cheeky Brazen Borrower in a Booster Box a few years ago, I decided it would be a perfect addition to my Fae Control deck. In reality, this card proved itself to not be my deck’s cuppa, and as a result, we decided to trade it in when it was worth around $80. That turned out to be a smart move, as now the card is worth around $50 to $60. Wall Street, here I come!
Me on my way to Wall Street.
Finding Treasure 500 Cards Deep
We all remember the first time we discovered a rare, expensive card while opening piles of Booster Packs. If Lady Lucky hasn’t been on your side and you haven’t found one of these beauties yet, let me paint you a picture…
Firstly, opening a Booster Box is one of those subjective hobbies we all approach differently. If you’re an avid Magic investor, you’ll likely skip straight through to the rare cards to see how much money you’ve made back on your purchase. If you're a casual player and Magic prospector like me, you’ll probably arrange your cards into colours and rarities so you can easily organise everything and research any mythics or rares you uncover.
No matter which way you prefer to dig through your Booster Box, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed with card-fatigue after opening pack number 10 or so. If you’re cracking open Booster Boxes with friends or loved ones, this is an awesome opportunity to try a game or two of Pack Wars, where each player gets a Booster Pack each along with three of each basic lands to play with. Simply shuffle your pack and lands and off you go! Who knows what kinds of cards you’ll discover while playing?
Booster-cracking-fatigue is also where opening a rare, expensive card becomes so special, as it shakes you out of that spell, awakens all senses, and provides the lucky card hunter with BFM levels of heart-pounding adrenaline.
99/99 adrenaline unlocked.
The Jeweled Lotus and I
One of these fly-off-your-seat moments happened earlier this year when my partner and I decided to treat ourselves to a Commander Legends Draft Booster Box. ‘Twas a barmy, autumn afternoon when we sat down in the dining room to see what kinds of decks we could create with these new cards, and whether or not we’d find a Jeweled Lotus—a new lotus card that may one day grow in value to become as precious as the fabled Black Lotus, which yes, is really now worth a reasonable one million Aussie dollarydoos.
Now you can see why we were so pumped to find this card. Did someone say retirement fund?
Our goal wasn’t necessarily to find this beautiful investment card however, but we figured it would be a welcome bonus to discovering new cards and building fresh decks out of the box. I’ve also developed what can only be described as a magical, lucky streak when opening Booster Packs over the years, with a good chunk of our rare binder coming from my randomly picked packs, so I felt a little cosmic pressure to open up this elusive, expensive card.
The card showed itself around booster number 20—right about the time when we were just feeling a pinch of card exhaustion, and were ready for another tea break. By then I was already in rare-hunting mode, quickly organising the commons and focussing all my attention on those shiny uncommons and rares at the back.
I uncovered the card and my partner simply said, “I knew it.” Want to know the really weird part? I knew it too—we both had a sixth sense this card would show up in this pack, but neither of us said anything lest we jinx ourselves.
I can hear angels singing
Single Card Investments Vs Booster Box Investments
You may be thinking—if you both wanted a Jeweled Lotus so badly, why didn’t you just buy a single from Good Games? Wouldn’t that have saved you the trouble of opening a mountain of booster packs?
Well, living in Value Town means keeping your eye on the prize and aiming to get the most bang out of your buck. A Commander Legends Draft Booster Box set us back only a few more dollars than a single Jeweled Lotus, so it made a lot more sense to take a chance on the Booster Box to see if we’d strike gold, while enjoying a whole heap of other new cards. Buying a single Jeweled Lotus gets us… A single Jeweled Lotus, and that’s not as fun!
When it comes to these super rare investment cards, you really are taking a gamble on finding one, as the chances of one of them actually ending up in the box you’ve purchased are exceptionally low. But if you’re already a keen Magic player and card connoisseur, your focus will be less on finding the investment rare, and more on the new cards you’re discovering.
And if your focus is on finding the investment rare and you don’t strike gold, you can still trade a good amount of cards back to your local Good Games to reinvest in more Booster Boxes, or simply buy the card you've been dreaming about.
What I’ll one day buy with my Jeweled Lotus.
Deck Building For Days
One thing you’re guaranteed to get out of a booster box is the almost-endless amount of deck building ideas that will spark, especially if you’ve invested in a set you’ve never played with before. Deck building within a Booster Box for me is an opportunity to play with new themes and build a solid deck, without me actually having to worry too much about sourcing synergy.
While I focus on finding key elements to whatever theme I’m excited by—whether I’m building a mighty squirrel deck or creating a new emo band—I’m also able to find handy cards that synergise with my deck perfectly, and make it something to contend with. Of course while I’m doing this, I usually end up finding other cards that lead to all-new deck ideas, and soon the dining table ends up scattered with small card piles.
Booster boxes will also present new cards to juice up your trusty casual decks, which is especially handy when you’re working on a deck that isn’t playing the way you’d like it to. For example, my Eldrazi deck spent a long time being pretty ordinary until I bought a War of the Spark Booster Box. That was the day I met Ashiok, Dream Render, who unlocked the exile mechanics on a few key commons, thereby unlocking an Eldrazi Hell upon my opponents.
The planeswalker I never knew I needed.
Getting the Most Out of Your Booster Boxes
A Booster Box isn’t just a way to test your luck on finding a rare investment card—it’s also a fantastic opportunity to build a draft cube with your friends, and encourage newcomers to the game to expand their Magic horizons. Grab a few mates and chip in together to pick up any kind of Booster Box that entices you: from something fun and wacky like Jumpstart, to something retro for a throw-back draft night, like Time Spiral Remastered.
This is a great way to spend quality time with your buds while growing your Magic circle, as cracking open Booster Packs is one of those titillating tasks that can unlock a new-found hobby for a newcomer.
If you have a mate in mind who’s shown an interest in learning Magic, invite them along to a draft night and have them open a few boosters. The tactile fun of cracking open the packs while digesting the new, exciting information could be an intoxicating potion leading to another strong opponent for you to dance with.
Organising a Booster Box draft session means you’ll get to enjoy all the fun of opening and discovering new cards with mates, with the added bonus of popping off together if you find a doozy. And if you don’t find a rare investment piece, that’s perfectly fine! Everyone knows the most value in life is spending time with the ones you love, so if it’s a Booster Box that brings your gang together, you’ve already won the value game.
Cassie Rees is a casual MTG player who loves nothing more than playing a friendly game of Magic with a big cuppa tea while streaming “Miscellaneous Battle Music”. You’ll catch Cassie pouring over the $1 Rare Box at her local Good Games, hunting for unique beauties to slot in her heavily theme-based decks. When she’s not playing Magic, you’ll find her hunting monsters and planting watermelons over at twitch.tv/cassiusaway