It’s about to get marginally more expensive to crack open Magic: The Gathering boosters. Publisher Wizards of the Coast announced a planned 11% increase to the cost of all three booster pack types, along with preconstructed Commander decks, despite strong financial reports from parent company Hasbro. These changes will roll out in stages across 2022.
The plans were detailed in a post to Magic: The Gathering’s official website on April 19th. The increase of “around 11%” will affect the delayed Unfinity set, Jumpstart products and premier sets planned to release after September of this year. Wizards of the Coasts point to the general rise in cost across the tabletop industry as the driving factor behind this price increase, saying everything from manufacturing to shipping and the cost of the paper to create cards forced the issue.
“We've worked hard to keep Draft Boosters—and later Set Boosters and Collector Boosters—at a relatively consistent price across our premier sets—the four major yearly releases that affect the Standard format—for as long as we were able,” the post reads. “However, the price to produce Magic: The Gathering has increased significantly, and we've especially seen an uptick in the costs to produce, manufacture, and ship Magic around the world in the past year.
Preconstructed Commander decks will enjoy their heftier price tag a bit earlier - the five Streets of New Capenna decks, each representing one of the five three-Mana colour crime families, will also raise in price by about 11% and remain there for future releases. It was previously reported that the first round of these decks will be in short supply, adding a bit of insult to injury. Wizards of the Coast says that non-premier products, such as Masters, Modern Horizons, Secret Lair, Challenger Decks, and Universes Beyond, will not rise in cost.
While the protracted disruptions to manufacturing and shipping have no doubt affected Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro published their second quarter financials the same day and lauded Wizards of the Coast for leading its revenue growth. According to the report, the Wizards of the Coast segment - which includes Dungeons & Dragons and digital games such as Magic Arena - brought in $106 million in operating profit. Hasbro’s entire gaming revenue totalled $378.8 million for the quarter.
Magic: The Gathering’s own revenue grew by 7%, according to the report, led by a stronger-than-predicted performance of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. The cyberpunk-meets-feudal Japan set sold 28% better than last year’s set, Kaldheim, and has become the “best-selling Winter set of all time”. The accolades don’t stop there, as Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty became the fifth set in MTG’s history to earn over $100 million and has shot into the top three sets ever.
Players might find it difficult to square these two truths - MTG is selling better than ever, but the cost to produce it is being passed on to consumers instead of shareholders and executive salaries, for example. Wizards of the Coast last increased the price of boosters in September 2006, but the company abandoned an MSRP model in February 2019. This has led to ballooning price tags on under-printed sets, such as Modern Horizons 2, and strengthened Amazon’s position as a direct-to-consumer model to the deficit of local game stores.