Lorcana the Disney TCG: What you don't know #1
Lorcana: What you don’t know
The hype is real for the game, the prices for the D23 promos are real, kind of. But there is a lot you don’t know, and it can likely hurt you.
I know right out of the gates that nay sayers will just ignore me, that is the way of the world. And to be fair, the slabbed promos are likely going to stay high in value, and I hope they do. But what we don’t know is, are those cards going to be in the first set? And if so will they be different art? If the question to either of those is no, then the promos value it legit. And worst case, the card designation will be different, so there is value there, how much is the question.
But this article isn’t about the value of Promos. It’s about the overall value of the first set going forward. Because stores are already starting to presell online at the MSRP of $144, and others as high as $280. This is where we start to diverge from even assessing the value of the product(s).
We need to establish some base lines though, so we can make some informed decisions.
Trading Card Games (TCGs) in general, never make it. Most TCGs fail. Lorcana has an amazing Intellectual Property (IP) going in. By fail, I mean they die within 2-3 years. Since August of 1993, when Magic appeared, there have been over 1,000 TCGs. You name it, it’s likely had one. The Simpsons, Star Wars (5 so far), Star Gate, 24, X-Files, Scooby-Doo, WWE, MLB, Dune, and so many more that were completely original. To establish a better picture, only 1 has made it 30 years (obviously) with Pokemon about to become the second. Less than 10 have made it past 20 years, and one of them ended at 21 years. Most of the others past 20 aside from the big 3 are essentially niche games at this point. And less than 15 have made it past 10 years, with Force of Will being the newest addition to that list.
These time frames are based on the American market, there are some in other countries that have passed it, but we are looking at the potential for Lorcana to be a good investment and have a large player base, so I am using US markets, as it is also my wheelhouse. I have played MTG since 1995, have owned 5 Hobby stores, and have played more of these games than I can remember. I have seen the booms and busts, games die for all the reasons, under printed, bad play programs, loss of licensing, or just being bad games and many other reasons. I currently run 3 stores that I started by selling singles online from a tier 3 game. The only difference Lorcana has is that for once the IP and the company making it are both solid. Most TCGs in the past have had one or the other, and most failed. There are still a lot of factors to account for, but we will start with the basics.
Pricing. A box of Magic the Gathering (Draft) (MTG) is around $100 wholesale but has 36 packs. Pokemon is similar, Yu-Gi-Oh and Flesh and Blood (FAB) are also 24 packs a box, but are much lower ranging from $65-$80 a box, depending on if it a special product or not. Lorcana, however, has its pricing for a 24-pack box on par with the 36 pack boxes of other games. We will call this the Disney Tax.
The increased price for a booster box, compared to its competitors, shouldn’t affect the overall value too much, one has to be aware that it is higher out of the gate. For investors the price difference is of no real concern as they want it to go up in value. Collectors will likely only buy a small amount and finish collections from buying single cards after, but players might see it as a possible issue. Especially for those that just want to try it out before committing fully. Though the starter decks look to be a great way to try before you buy (fully). Now on to the potential for card themselves.
Pull Rates. Lorcana: First Chapter is a 204-card set with five levels of rarity, Common, Uncommon, Rare, Super Rare and Legendary. We can likely ignore the common and uncommon. Each pack will have 2 slots for rare and higher as well as a Foil card, which could be any rarity. So, one could get 3 rares or higher in a pack. This is a good thing for collectors and players, as there are the cards likely to be worth the most, especially the foil rares and up. The unknown though is COULD you get say 3 Legendarys in a pack? Is the pack 1 rare, then an additional and higher? Do you have a chance at 2 Super rares? These are things we don’t know. If there is a chance on get 2 Legendarys in the pack AND a foil Legendary, and depending on how often this occurs, it could make them not as scarce as in other games with a high end rare. This could lead to potential lower value.
Most games only have one rare or higher in a pack, with the additional chance of a foil. So, Lorcana is ahead in that regard. This will make collectors and players happy, but investors maybe not as much. But this brings us to an important thing we don’t know, the pull rates. Take MTG for example, they have Mythic Rares, the equal to Legenday. We know you will get one about every 8 or 9 packs. So, in their box you can get at least 4, not counting any foil versions. This helps to establish their value even before a set releases. With Lorcana we don’t know how many there even are, how many we might get in a box, or even how often we might get a pack with 2 or more. This can skew the value a lot.
Another huge thing we don’t know, will there be chase cards? At what rarities? An Alternate Art Legendary would go for a ton more than the base version. If a card is worth say $5, the foil could be worth $7-$12 and the Alt Art could be worth $25+. Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh are good examples of that. These are just conservative estimates as well.
Market Influence: One factor I think will also drive pricing (especially in singles) is an added market, or more like the size of it. Most TCGs have players and investors, of course there are collectors too, but Lorcana will likely have more collectors (compared to players) than any other TCG. We have no idea how this will impact the value or even the pricing of the sealed product as people who will never play and just want the cards to put in binders start snapping up cards.
Just be aware of a lot of these factors going in. If you plan to just play or collect, don’t overpay. And if you want to invest, be aware that without the other two groups you will likely lose money in the long run.