The interwebs are ablaze with Monarch spoilers and 1st Edition pricing, but let’s talk Unlimited and put some math behind the most economical way to get your desired playsets. Should you buy singles, boxes, or dare I say - cases?
There are a few ways to buy into a set:
Buy Cases or Boxes: The idea is to buy enough sealed product and open enough cards to complete the playset. With Fabled and Legendary not guaranteed, I will focus on the number of Majestics per box, and there the common thinking among the community is we will continue to see 6 per box. LSS had previously shared there will be 31 Majestics in the set.
Buy by Class: A lot of players only want to play a specific hero or group of heroes, and for them buying sealed product involves lots of trades and/or reselling.
Buy Singles: Since the Flesh and Blood market hasn't taken up 'Saga Sets' (full playsets built by resellers) yet, the majority of this analysis will be centered around the cost to buy singles to complete your set.
Before we get into it, a quick note for the new players who wandered in here. This is a completionist's discussion! Don’t let the high dollars here dissuade you from jumping in. As you can see, the Commons and Rares are cheap and you can build fun decks to play at home for under $20. Upgrading from there to a decent tournament deck can be done for under $150. So jump in at whatever price point fits your budget!
Fair warning: we're about to get fairly statistical here...
For any analytical exercise, the audience must first align on the assumptions of the study.
Prices: All were pulled from tcgplayer.com on April 11th, and used the lowest 3 card prices. Shipping does not need to be factored in because if you are making a large order, which this would be, orders would ship for free.
Majestic and Rare Pricing Averages: This assumption will have the largest impact on the analysis; if there's debate regarding this article, here is where I expect it.
The average price of Majestics (WTR: $16.63, ARC: $17.61) far exceeds that of Super Rares (WTR: $1.93, ARC: $2.19). A simple average would take the 10 Majestics and the 20 Super Rares from each set and average them to $8.16 each. Or we could hope for a killer set and assume all Monarch Majestics will carry a value equal to the other two set’s average of $17.11 apiece. I don’t think either are right, so I have factored in 30% ($10.61) and 60% ($13.06) bump to the $8.16 average price of Majestics for this discussion.
Rare and Common Playsets: If someone is looking to buy cases, rares and commons will be covered easily in the quantities we are discussing. If they are looking to buy into rares and commons, WTR and ARC have sets going from $45 - $75 online. Monarch will have 37% more Rares, Commons, Equipment, and Tokens than the previous sets, so the assumption is you should be able to find Common/Rare sets for Monarch between $62 and $103. For today we will use $103 to buy a complete playset of Rare and lower.
Trades: When I get into the quantity of sealed product needed to complete your playset of 3 each, I will share out the number of boxes or cases you would need to get to the magical 93 Majestics. The assumption is you will open enough Majestics to trade or resell into the Majestics you are short. Now we can agree that not all Majestics are created equal, so use your best judgment along the sliding scale of Majestic pricing.
Price per Box and Case: With Unlimited being easier to acquire, we will use the going rate of $95 a box and $340 a case after taxes.
1 Legendary per Case: For every story of a double Legendary case, there's another case without any. For this analysis, we will assume 1 Legendary per case.
Welcome to Rathe Legendaries are currently selling for more than Arcane Rising, but the Majestics and Super Rares are commanding higher prices in the latter set. Take a look at the cost breakdowns as we focus on the averages to build out the Monarch costing.
Monarch Set and Cost Predictions
LSS previously shared the Set Composition and Rarity Distribution here.
307 Card Set: 1 Fabled, 6 Legendary, 31 Majestic, 79 Rares, 13 Equipment, 159 Commons, 18 Tokens
- Premium Foil - 1 per pack (Rainbow Foil)
- Rare or higher - 1 + 1 per pack (1 Rare + 1 Rare/Majestic)
- Equipment - 1 per pack
- Common - 11 per pack
- Token - 1 per pack
Buying a Set via Singles
Taking the agreed upon assumptions, the average costs of WTR and ARC, and Monarch’s Set Composition and Rarity Distribution, the model below shows the cost to buy a playset will be $1,010 based on Super Rare and Majestic costs today.
Now factoring into the additional costs/value of the increased number of Majestics, and if each commands a value closer to the current Majestic cost versus the Super Rare cost, the price to buy into a single set could range from $1,237 - $1,843.
I personally don’t think the Majestics will all hold the $17.11 average cost of WTR and CRU Majestics, but neither do I think it would be an average of Majestic and Super Rare. I think it will be closer to the 30% bump at $10.61 a Majestic. Keep in mind, this is without the possibility of getting the Fabled card from Monarch.
Building a Set by Buying Sealed Product
I don’t think the average player is ready to drop $1,237 today because that number seems high and couldn’t they do better by cracking packs?
With the rarity distribution known and, again, IF the assumption holds true that there will be 6 Majestics per box, then you would need to perfectly open 16 boxes to get 96 Majestics. You would then have to open $1,360 worth of cases to get the magical number of Majestics. And if you buy by the box without a case discount, you are talking $1,520 worth of boxes that will need to be cracked.
A drawback of stopping at 16 boxes is, if you pull 1 Legendary per case, you will still need to go into the market for 2 more- and the average is about $150 per Legendary. So add $300 dollars to the case total and you are looking at about $1,660 to get the playset.
There are 2 critical advantages to opening 4 cases. You have a 40% chance of getting a Fabled, and the potential to get 2 Legendaries in a case. But keep in mind you can also get 0.
Combination of Cases and Singles
As I pondered my Monarch Unlimited buying quantities, I thought this would be the most economical approach. (This is probably the most common way a lot of us build our collections.)
I was WRONG.
This is the most uneconomical approach out there. If you buy 1 case with our agreed upon approach and hit the market for the singles it is going to cost you over $1,800 to build your complete set. See below.
And with one case you won’t be able to complete a Rare play set!
Now if you scale this to 2 cases, the cost gets a little better at $1,750 and at 3 cases it will cost you $1,680. You see the diminishing returns due to the high cost of Legendaries.
Buying a Hero Set and Singles
Now that we have discussed the most uneconomical approach, lets look at the most economical approach to playing the game but not completing sets: buying individual heroes.
If the average cost per hero is similar to WTR and ARC, you will be looking at $176 - $321 per Hero. In WTR and ARC, that buys you the 1 Legendary, 2 Majestics, 3 Super Rares, and a Rare/Common Playset.
The big variable by buying this way is the generics. They can swing – think Command and Conquer and Enlightened Strike. There are too many variables to take into account here, so I gave a $25 swag per hero to account for staples.
What is the cheapest option? If you want the whole collection (ignoring Fabled for this), the math doesn’t lie. Buy everything in the secondary market for $1,237 and leverage bulk discounts from folks who didn’t read this and cracked packs. End stop.
What is the sweet spot? Cracking packs is one of the most enjoyable moments for me when thinking about a TCG, and I know I won’t wait for the secondary market to calm down to buy a complete set. The 2nd most economical option is to buy 4 cases and hope to luck into two boxes with double Legendary pulls- but if you don’t and you have to buy them, you are $1,660 all in.
Third most economical is 3 cases and buying singles and that only cost you about $30 more. I think cracking the additional case outweighs the 3 case argument.
Brandon Flores is an avid gamer and an active member in the Dallas-Fort Worth Flesh and Blood scene. Though he is early in his FAB career, he can still win a local. His main draw to FAB is the unique pitch mechanic that forces a player to play both turns in the cycle simultaneously.
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