Yesterday, Scryfall announced that it was entering into a partnership with TCGplayer to “make Scryfall a sustainable resource for everyone to enjoy.”

The partnership will primarily take the form of TCGplayer providing financial support to Scryfall without taking a stake in the company, allowing Scryfall to continue operating as an independent company.

Changes Coming to Scryfall

An influx of funding from TCGplayer will result in a few important changes for Scryfall.

First, it will allow Scryfall’s owner, Corey Csuhta, to start working full-time on the site. Csuhta will use the additional time to speed up the development of Scryfall’s deckbuilding features, which won’t stop at just duplicating existing deckbuilders. “We want to make brews more shareable,” Chuck Harmston, Product Manager at Scryfall, told Hipsters of the Coast. “And we want to include tools for limited players and cubers, as well as enthusiasts of less popular formats.”

Harmston also said that that part of Csuhta’s full-time work will be making Scryfall more accessible to newer players. “We know that Scryfall is not particularly accessible to new players,” Harmston said. “Since Magic is growing with the proliferation of Arena, we want to make Scryfall’s complex search syntax more accessible.” Scryfall will “work on tools for streamers” to help make streamed Magic more accessible, as well.

Second, the partnership with TCGplayer will result in the phasing out of Scryfall’s existing paid memberships. The revenue from the memberships had previously been used “to cover Scryfall’s operational costs like servers, hosting, and bandwidth,” but all of that will be more than covered with the money from TCGplayer. Current members will no longer be charged and members who signed up in the last 15 days will be fully refunded.

Harmston emphasized that, while they are ending the paid membership program, anyone who still wants to personally support Scryfall can do so by using Stripe, PayPal, or Patreon.

Finally, Scryfall will be removing many of the card purchasing links from its site, consolidating to links from just TCGplayer, Cardmarket, and Cardhoarder. That means links to Card Kingdom, CoolStuffInc, Amazon, Ebay, and MTGO Traders will no longer be provided.

The Genesis of a New Kind of Partnership

The idea for TCGplayer and Scryfall to team up came earlier this year when TCGplayer invited Harmston and Csuhta to Syracuse, NY to look for ways that they could work more closely together. Jeff Couto, VP of Marketing for TCGplayer, says that the Scryfall and TCGplayer teams got to know each other over dinner and drinks and started hammering out the details of a partnership.

According to Couto, TCGplayer’s goal in supporting Scryfall is to help empower the Magic community through the use of Scryfall’s features and open APIs. When asked if TCGplayer intended to integrate some of Scryfall’s features into TCGplayer’s website, John McDonald, GM of Buyer Services, confirmed that some of Scryfall’s features would eventually make their way to TCGplayer but wouldn’t detail what those features might be.

Hipsters also asked McDonald if this partnership with Scryfall was an indication that TCGplayer was looking at a new form of affiliate partnerships. He said that this was an experiment with a relationship that goes beyond a normal affiliate and that, should it succeed, it could be a model for future partnerships down the road.

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