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Initial Investments: Value Planning

Howdy Hexers. Today we are going to talk a little Hexonomics! I can envision the comments now of “where have these been over the course of the last set?” I am always on the lookout for interesting topics and Hexonomics is more than just the rise and fall of card assets. Hexonomics is about understanding the whys and knowing the logistics of our crazy digital market. This is why we have a great subject straight from the Hex forums. A new hexer is asking great questions on how they should spend their first couple hundred of dollars in Hex. Let’s pull out the big themes and questions from this thread by the original poster.

The Post

They are looking to spend around $200 initially. They want to play Limited, Constructed and “eternal” when we have it.

Will Hex Flashback draft “out of cycle” formats?

What are the “eternal” cards worth picking up which have already been released?

This is the jumping off point not a static investment.

Firstly, this is awesome to have new serious players in limited and constructed formats to help elevate the competitive scene. Our new hexer is experienced in TCGs and asking great direct questions to gather the forum’s opinions. We are going to focus on this post because as Hex continues to define itself as a premier digital TCG more folks will be looking to answer these same questions themselves. Let’s start with the speculative bits first.

Flashback to Future Value

Will Hex flashback have limited formats? Yes but we do not know the degree they will call back to yet. Hex Entertainment has already brought back 1-1-1 and 2-2-1 formats for holiday events but Shards of Fate and Shattered Destiny are both in “retail” circulation. My opinion is that we will see flash backs on old formats out of circulation based on how the company reads the community and backend data. Expect these flash backs to be very conservative when a set is no longer constructed legal because the Hex crew has stated regularly they hold our collection values as a point of merit for the game.

Why is this important? When you are investing in high valued cards you want to make sure that you are buying value and not speculation. If powerful cards cost around 200 to 300 plat this would be a moot point but our powerful chase cards are currently commanding 2000 to 3500 platinum which is significant when the budget is at 20,000 platinum. If we boil away the numbers this question is about the confidence we should have about HXE on flashbacks, reprints and functional reprints with how those event card values.

All about that Value Pick

A quick aside, card value can be broken down categorically into numismatic, functional, and aesthetic values.  

  • Numismatic value is based on the perceived rarity and difficulty to obtain a specific card. Card rarity and when a card cycles out of retail boosters greatly effect this form of value.
  • Functional value is how useful a card is in any given meta game. Set rotation and player tastes greatly effect this form of value.
  • Aesthetic value is the most constant but highly subjective form of value as a card maybe just beautiful from an artistic perspective.

Digital art is constant in that it can never change due to the effects of time but it’s subjective nature means aesthetics often become lumped in with numismatic valuation. Alternate art cards are a good example of when a card is beautiful to own but the price demanded is due to the rarity of the card.

Reprints and functional reprints impact existing card values from the numismatic and functional perspectives. While reprints help meet the demand for a particular game asset, the price paid will drop because of the new supply. For instance, if Vampire King was rereleased in hypothetical set X new Vampire Kings would come into circulation lowering the price of Shard of Fate Vampire Kings. The effect of the reprint would be defined by how potent Vampire King would be in Set X meta minus the new influx of the card. In addition, changing the rarity of the card in the rerelease could swing the value of all Vampire Kings up or down.

The relates to flash back drafts in that if done often over time the fundamental value of a card is eroded by the increased supply. So our new hexer could be punished by investing early by the loss of value if Hex Entertainment was too liberal with flashbacks, reprints and functional reprints. Hex understands this and also knows that we know they know.

Planning Platinum

When planning out how to spend that initial investment, what cards fit into the value calculation of eternal format potentials? “Eternal” cards will capitalize on three broad qualities:

  • Combo enabling
  • Extreme versatility
  • High power to cost ratio

Cards like Archmage Wrenlock, Windsinger, Master of the Hunt and Hideous Conversion are all combo enabling cards. The legendary cards are obvious choices but cards like Hideous Conversion are waiting for their perfect combo deck. Would you pay 31 platinum now to earn 300 later?  Speculation works well on combo enablers but we caution that speculation always has the risk on never coming to fruition.

Compared to potential combos some cards have grossly awesome versatility such as Arborean Rootfather and Living Totem. Much can be done with these cards in many ways at different points of the game. They give mid-range and control decks flexibility in securing advantage. Most amazing action cards provide versatility as well. Actions often get the most flexibility and the fewest reprints over the life of a game securing significant value. Keep those points in mind when looking for flexible cards.

High power to cost ratio cards include Vampire king, Eternal Sage and Extinction. These cards sit high on the power curve and generally define formats. Sometimes these do so because of how flexible they are like Arborean Rootfather and others like Vampire King with its relevant keywords. These cards are a good place to start but often are terrible to speculate on. Everyone knows these cards are good. The place for speculation in high powered cards is if the next meta game will still be impacted by these same cards. The risk lies in if new cards are released that can counter or replace the current meta game all stars.

Once you have spotted the cards you want, how do you select which to buy first? A new hexer should first look at building a constructed deck with a good portion of their initial investment. Knowing your favorite deck type and play style will help you select the cards you will enjoy playing with. The remaining portion can be spread among other deck building staples guided by what you find most fun. Setting ten to twenty percent of your initial investment for speculation is a good place to start learning the auction house while limiting the risk of picking the wrong cards. Adjust this amount to your confidence level.

Specific picks will change from day to day but if you know where a card gets its value from and what to look for in game defining cards a new hexer and new players a like can spend their first shiny platinum bits wisely. If you have your own picks to share let everyone know in the comments below!

Mokog can often be found streaming limited and constructed play on Twitch. Known for his Hexonomics videos Mokog helps new and experienced players make the most of their Hex investments. Find him on twitter as @HexHunterMokog, on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/hexhuntermokog, or on YouTube www.youtube.com/user/HexHunterMokog

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