On Monday afternoon io9 had the early scoop on the 2015 San Diego Comic Con exclusive planeswalker cards. In case you’re unfamiliar, this is a box set that is only available for purchase at SDCC for the high price of $120. These debuted in 2013, continued in 2014, and are apparently here again for Magic Origins. So what exactly is going on here?

In short, you get five unique black-on-black planeswalker cards, one for each of the double-faced core-set planeswalkers. These also feature alternate art which has been provided by Wayne Reynolds. Additionally this year’s set comes with a fancy hard-cover book featuring the origin stories of all five characters. You may recall that last year’s set came with a Nerf version of Garruk’s Axe.

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The community is often torn on these sets. They’re undeniably gorgeous and visually stunning. Most players would love to have them featured in their Commander decks or in their Cubes. But the cost is astonishing as well. Players who want to get their hands on these in San Diego will need to wait in line for hours just to get a ticket to wait in another line for hours and then hopefully snag these.

A few of the writers on the staff here briefly debated whether or not this set was a boom or a bust for Wizards. On the side of boom were Rich Stein and Zach Barash while on the side of Bust were Jess Stirba and Zac Clark. Check out what they had to say below. Afterwards take to the comments to share your thoughts on whether or not this boxed set is a Boom or a Bust!

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Zac Clark (Bust)

One of the great things about this game is that it’s collectible. Exclusive items are not only impossible to get a hold of, they are immediately marked up once they come out. I realize that Wizards doesn’t mind doing this (mostly because they say they don’t like to set the price on the secondary market so it’s out of their hands) but honestly these cards are only worth something because of their extreme rarity. Chances are three of the five planeswalkers won’t even see play and will still be worth 70-140 a piece in their foil black versions. If these were available at more than one event that takes place in the same place every year then it might be neat (not to mention more fair) but instead people at the same Con each year that grind the same line each year get to have these items and they set the price insanely high on otherwise worthless cards. And this is coming from a guy that foils out his Legacy deck!

Rich Stein (Boom)

From a purely aesthetic point of view I’d give the whole set a Boom. I haven’t seen these in person but the art looks gorgeous. Also the book of origins would look fantastic on my shelf behind my Funko POP planeswalker toys. That said, from a collector’s point of view there’s obviously a lot of contention. This set definitely accomplishes the goal of providing a rare high-end collectible, and it does so in gorgeous fashion. It’s unfortunate though that Wizards does this in a way that ostracizes so many people in the community. As Zac said, offering these outside of SDCC would be a good start. Ultimately though, the impact is virtually nonexistent. No one suffers from not having these, and plenty of wealthy collectors get to add something nice to their cubes. Wizards could handle it better, but this is a great collector product.

Jess Stirba (Bust)

Economic justice for premium foils! I think it would be seriously less odious if this set were widely available and priced high, as opposed to priced relatively low, but with super limited availability. I mean, the cards are gorgeous, and this double-faced set is likely to be better than most. I’d want to buy it, if doing so didn’t feed into the cycle.

Also! It’s kinda a dick move on Wizards’s part. I mean, SDCC is a big event, and as I understand it not inexpensive to go to. To create a system that makes a large number of people forgo all the other experiences for the opportunity to get some super limited ware… it just seems cruel! At the very least, it’s inconsiderate to the people who are champing at the bit for these things.

Zach Barash (Boom)

To echo Rich’s sentiments, this is a premium product. No one needs to own this version of these cards (and I say this as an unabashed lover of premium cards for cube). The Comic Con promos increase the available supply of these planeswalkers (albeit by a small amount). Ideally this would decrease the cost of foil versions of these planeswalker by increasing the supply and options of premium cards, but with such a small print run, that’s unlikely. As long as convention promos are additive to the supply of cards, I think I’m fine with them.

I’m also fine with Comic Con as the venue for their procurement. Any physical venue is going to arbitrarily reward a subset of players—some players will be lucky enough not to have to travel, while others will have the money and time to burn traveling to, waiting for, and buying these cards. If you make the venue the Pro Tour or a Grand Prix, you’re just giving tournament players special access. They could do something like the Helvault from Dark Ascension’s prerelease, where availability is random. This again rewards a specific subset of players (though without caring about disposable income or time) and went over quite poorly the only time they did it.

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