It’s been a really trying couple of months to be Wizards of the Coast PR. Off the top of my head I think I can count about 4-5 “Gates”. There was OathGate which saw the Spoiling of Oath of the Gatewatch cards by the Judge Community. That led to JudgeGate when like 1/3 of the East Coast Judge Community was banned and then unbanned.

Then just inside of a month ago there was ProxyGate where WotCs PR team gave like 4 different versions of how a store could let players use proxies while playing in a shop. That outraged the vintage community and (likely more importantly) the casual community. WotC came out with a public apology and a clarification of what they meant to say. (You can’t use Proxies at a DCI sanctioned event.)

Hold on to your tin foil hats because now it’s time for VendorGate.

What’s VendorGate? 

I don’t have the entire genesis of where VendorGate started, but it boils down to the simple fact that someone at WotC is leaking spoilers to vendors. This allowed these vendors to buy and sell cards based on reprints and synergies they had access to weeks in advance of the community.

Had trouble selling your Onslaught fetches before Khans came out? You can thank VendorGate. Wondering why Wastelands were selling for $70 on some sites and at some vendors GP booths when others were at $85-$115? (These are not personal anecdotes so don’t quote me on them).

Basically, the gist of the situation is that Vendors (some not all) were getting info weeks before we were and using that information to their advantage. That’s pretty messed up when you think about it. That means someone at WotC (knowingly or not) slipped information that made it harder for players to acquire cards at a fair price.

At least, it’s disruptive to the secondary market and created spikes and dips in cards before the public knew about them. At worst, someone over there is double dipping, collecting their salary from WotC and then a sweet kickback from their vendor buddies for some insider trading tips (insider trading in its most perfect version).

Why do you care?

You care because Magic is a hobby. We as players (especially the competitive ones) spread around too much dough on the secondary market as it is. If we had access to that sort of info weeks in advance you could bet that the vendors would be upset! Imagine if you knew Brainstorm was going to be printed for Modern. What could you do to ensure you made money from that knowledge. I’m sure you’re creative enough to make some wild (low risk) investments. Me? I’d buy as many Manamorphose/Pyromancer’s Ascension/Past in Flames/Delver of Secrets I could afford. Legacy in Modern! Woot!

Cool right? Now imagine if you knew that Wasteland/Force of Will was about to see a reprint? FIRESALE! I’d get rid of my extras before it was announced. I don’t have that much buying power. So it might not matter too much. As a grinder I hear murmurs of “I know a guy who said he knows for sure about…” So much so that I can’t ever be sure who’s for real and who’s blowing smoke up my ass.

Now imagine I’m a vendor, my business is buying and selling Magic cards, and I have 100% legit info. See the problem? I have a couple of weeks to scour every website and buy the prospects and then I have a couple of weeks to firesale my soon to be reprinted staples via my shop/eBay/trades. Once the rest of the community find out and some of them have already purchased my reprints/sold me their prospects. I’m rolling in it, so to speak.

Those people that lost out are nameless victims. They are your friends, your crew, your future opponents, and your teammates. This sort of thing hurts the community because we spend our budget on singles then we watch our cards fluctuate in price and lose money on our investment. It’s disheartening to say the least. Players eventually see this as an uphill battle. Some quit, others abandon formats. The community weakens.

TL;DR: It’s bad.

Who are the major players in this Gate?

@Vendorleak began tweeting yesterday that he had info and that he was giving WotC 24 hours to reach out to him so they could both nail the mole.

What happens after 24 hours? No Idea. Maybe he spoils all of Eternal Masters? I really have no idea. It seems that WotC has at least reached out but he’s being very cautious thanks to probably the fallout of JudgeGate when even the whistleblower was punished the same as the perpetrators.

Temp_acct_leak on Reddit has so far “predicted” the reprint of several cards for Eternal Masters as well as leaked some info about the Modern Banned List.

WotC has released a statement saying that they will try their hardest to plug the leaks. And that they are not knowingly giving vendors early info.

That’s all the info I have. Now Let me ask a 3 questions. 

How Long as this been going on? Months, Years, Decades?

Does this have anything to do with the fact that no matter how many times they reprint Tarmogoyf, it never drops in value? (I have my set so I’m not whining about owning my own set.)

What happens when they figure this out? Or is this like a dog chasing a car kinda thing?

Zac Clark


Zac Clark is the Founder of Hipsters of the Coast. An avid gamer since his early teens, Zac can often be found in Brooklyn either playing games or taking photos. When he’s not drawing extra cards, wrathing boards and countering spells, he’s taking pictures of other peoples good times and listening to 90’s Music.

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