When it comes to talking about Magic to people that don’t play magic the first thing I go to is talking about the kind of money you can make. For example, at the DC Open last weekend, first place took home $2,400. Taking a look at the overall profit to be made when playing the game in a competitive setting it’s easy to see why we put ourselves through so much. But there are different degrees of money you’re willing to put into the game when taking into consideration the amount of money you expect to get out.
Looking at the most played deck in Standard, the land base for Naya will run you around $374 depending. That is unarguably a large sum of money to be dropping on cardboard. But the thing that’s not often considered when seeing those kinds of numbers being thrown around is that you’re looking at the immediate price of cards that you, inevitably, intend to make money using. At Friday Night Magic, at my local card shop they give $34 store credit to first place ($30 to 1st and 2nd if they split it). If you win eleven weeks you’ve payed for your land base.
“But Justin, I can’t play that often because of reasons.”
Then you have to take other financial routes into consideration. Thus creating what’s known as a “budget deck”. The land base for Red Deck Wins is actually just mountains. Much cheaper and still completely viable. But this does affect the likelihood of you going first with frequency. It’s not that it’s a bad deck it just doesn’t have the diversity and flexibility as the more high end decks do. That’s what makes them high end decks.
It boils down to what you expect to do with your cards. If you only really play with friends and just do it as a hobby not dropping a whole lot of money on your casual decks or EDH decks is fine. There are even much cheaper versions of more expensive cards tailored for the less interested or more financially restricted. Cards like Magus of the Coffers instead of Cabal Coffers or Temporal Cascade instead of Time Spiral. I’m not going to go into the explicit reasons as to why cards that seem nearly the same are worth much more money in this article, but trust me when I say expensive cards are expensive for a reason.
Wizards even has their own articles for building on a budget, you should go check it out if you feel like stepping your game up without hurting your wallet to bad.
Next week, we’ll go into much more detail about the prices of cards and the overall money that goes in and potentially comes out of magic.