Tolarian Winds: Card Stock Quality and Consumer Confidence – A Magic: The Gathering VLOG

Tolarian Winds: Card Stock Quality and Consumer Confidence – A Magic: The Gathering VLOG


On Friday October 20th 2017 Wizards of the coast released a statement letting customers know that quote-unquote a number of non foil double-sided ixalan cards in English Portuguese Spanish Chinese traditional Chinese simplified and Korean were mistakenly printed on the incorrect card stock. Communication and transparency between company and customer in a situation like this is key, but unfortunately, this is not the statement on card stock we are looking for. Much of what I am going to present in this video can be called anecdotal evidence. However, I am also going to try and demonstrate that these issues with card stock, not the ones Wizards released a statement on, but the real issues with card stock: the ones that result in the curling, and the warping of non-foil cards from new sets, that these issues are consistent enough that I can reliably recreate them Just by opening brand-new booster packs. And yet, the point of this video isn’t to prove the card stock problem is real. It’s real. The point is to say that, in the interest of consumer confidence, Wizards of the Coast needs to acknowledge the problem, and tell their customers what they know about it. We, as those customers, need to change from trying to demonstrate the issue is real, to asking for an official statement on it. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the cardstock quality began to decline, however, we do know when it was likely at its worst: Amonkhet block. Now these are cards from my personal collection. They are unplayed. They were opened by me a few months ago and placed in storage. I selected them here at random. Just grabbing some cards from my storage box. Now, there are indeed multiple issues with card stock in our newer Magic sets, but the worst of which is the curling of cards that you see here. Now, this is probably due to card thickness cards, appear to be different than in the past. They feel less thick, more malleable. Many report that the bend test is not as reliable as it once was. Inking issues seem highly prevalent as well, many cards having poor or faded inking, Gray borders and other coloring problems. More than anything else is that curling of these non-foil cards compared to these cards from Kamigawa: These were sent to me a few months ago when I made a purchase on Amazon and the seller Decided to throw in a fat stack of old worthless bulk cards. These have likely never been sleeved; if they have been sleeved then they were played with, and unsleeved quickly before being relegated to the bulk box. They were sent to me loose, and they sat unprotected on my countertop. This is at my house, where sunlight hit them through an open window and where temperature fluctuated much more dramatically than in my temperature controlled office. Here for further comparison is a stack of played cards from The Dark. These have spent the majority of their lives out of sleeves, trading owners and probably all manner of temperature and humidity issues. These Magic cards are from 1994 is there some curl to these? Was there some curl to the Kamigawa cards? Faintly, a little. But, compared to cards open just a few months ago, they are noticeably flatter. Noticeably thicker, and all-around higher-quality now. I feel very confident that the vast majority of you already know about this issue. If you have been on Reddit, if you have been on the MTG Salvation forums, if you have been on Twitter, if you have been on Facebook, or if nothing else, if none of those things, if you have simply bought Magic cards in this last year, then you likely already know that something has gone wrong. Now for those of you watching, who through great fortune, may be saying “Wait a second, wait a second. I’ve had zero noticeable problems with the quality of my cards, and I’ve bought Amonkhet, Kaladesh cards. I bought the Commander 2017 pre-cons and everything was fine!” Then I would say to you, that you are one of the lucky few. These issues are rampant, not just a few poor souls who have gotten a bad batch or problematic printing. And I feel that, well of course all of these posts are, as I said, essentially anecdotal, that this is prevalent enough that I can repeat it and demonstrate it to you. So never mind the fact that I can pull out numerous cards from mere months ago from my personal collection that are warped and curled: ranging from anywhere from a lot, to a little bit. But rather, here I have taken cards that I opened from my previous video: “Is It Worth It to Buy a Bundle,” and left them on my Office table overnight. What you are seeing are cards that I opened 12 hours ago. Not even 24, but 12. And my office, by the way, is perfectly climate-controlled, and does not have any issues with humidity. What will these look like in twelve months? How about two years? This a collectible card game and the quality of the cards is now Unacceptably Poor. Wizards of the Coast, your product is cardboard. You should be putting out the best: the absolute best quality. And once, you did this. I do not know what the problem is. I can make educated guesses, but in the end, that’s all they are, guesses. Lower quality of cardstock being used, obviously, is one guess. Or perhaps, complications with quality control issues with the printers themselves. Maybe. Testing seems to indicate that cards printed outside of the United States, in the Belgium Factories, that these cards: which are meant for Japan and Germany, have the original, or near to it quality of cardstock. But, who can say for certain? In this situation, as I said at the start of the video, so much of this comes down to personal experience, essentially anecdotal evidence, and we the customer are attempting to piece it all together. But, I do not feel that we the customer should have to figure this out. Wizards of the Coast fully understands the cause of this problem, and they know it exists. What is needed is a statement from them. Why is a statement so critical? Let’s say that behind the scenes they are working frantically to fix this problem. Correct it, and see to it that it never happens again. Well, a statement is still needed because, since this issue began, people have been screaming for Wizards to see this problem because they fear that they don’t know about it, or even worse, they fear that they knew about it and do not care. And while I don’t believe either of these things are true, I do believe that consumer confidence is being hit hard by this silence and the fact that Ixalan has come out and, apparently… and again: we are all just trying to figure this out relatively blind, just from what we see in front of us. But, from what I see in front of me, Ixalan certainly is not fixed. So, what’s going on? We need a statement. Without one, cynicism will simply run rampant as confidence drops. And as for us, the Customer, what we must be asking for, and please listen carefully because so far I feel that the dialogue on Reddit and MTG salvation forums and all of social media has been trying to get Wizard’s attention, but they probably knew about this before we did. I mean, sets are printed well in advance, business arrangements, and printing deals, and all of that stuff is done far before it hits the shelves. And so, they possibly knew about it before even the first post started to occur. But what we need from them now, is for them to acknowledge it. Acknowledge it! Even if you have nothing to report about the cause. Even if you are still in the middle of an ongoing Investigation, and you cannot say much about what is going on, it is better than saying nothing. It is better than continuing in silence. Tweet it out if you have to, but at the very least say, “We know there is a problem.” To you, the viewers, when you communicate with Wizards, this is what you should be asking for. We want to hear Wizards acknowledge the problem exists. But, that’s not all. That’s not enough. Even if they do not have much to comment on, there’s more important things that can be added to this statement, such as, “We believe this issue is very important, and we are working to not only fix it but to ensure it never happens again.” I cannot stress the direness of a trading-card-game-maker making poor quality trading cards. A statement regarding this should have been issued a while ago. And I, like many others, may have näively assumed that the only reason it has not was that these issues would be 100% resolved with Ixalan. They do not appear to be. They have not been, and thus it is time for Wizards of the Coast to comment on this This program was made possible Thanks to a sponsorship from Card Kingdom, as well as the Patreon support of viewers such as you so Thank you