Even though this blog is dedicated to Magic, I write here about my Yugioh collection.
I came the conclusion back in 2015 or so that Yugioh was ten years behind in collecting when compared to Magic: that the same price increases would happen in Yugioh, but delayed roughly by a decade. BUT, the two TCGs are not comparable in many ways, and these comparisons are not labeled as positive or negative, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder:
- Yugioh is the quintessential casual player's paradise. You like JTMS? OK, we issued it at Mythic first, then a year later we issue it as a common in a precon, and it will get another twenty reprints. Dante is exhibit A here. You want it, wou got it. The reprinting is very aggressive, which means that collecting Yugioh is nothing like collecting Magic. Not only is everything up for a reprint, everything is up for a dizzying rarity change. The downside is that prices tank a lot. The upside is that if you want to collect Yugioh, you will fill many slots at bargain prices; they just won't be cards anyone will pay you any money for, at least for the next decade.
- There are many treasures in the 1st edition printings, many many. This is where your mention of the LOB (first Yugioh English set, 2002) 1st Edition cards go. Of course, the whole set in a whole booster box has been faked! You need to know your Yugioh if you are going to buy LOB 1st Edition. Same as with ABU Duals, you need lots of comparison cards, you need to know the colors, the feel of the cardboard, the ridges in the cardboard (the early cardboard has a unique look and feel)... you need to know what you are doing.
- The iconic cards are always in demand, always increasing in value, even the ones that have been reprinted a zillion times. Black Rose Dragon: bought unlimited from original set-crossroads of chaos, a playset, at like $5 each card a few years back, it's $10 per card today.
- The pandemic has hit the big three in a similar way. A lot of Yugioh is getting cracked... a lot. Packs I used to get for a song are now $10 packs, packs like unlimited 2002 and 2003 packs. Even packs from the Zexal era (which at the time seemed like they were printed into oblivion) are getting expensive. Everything in the big three TCGs is getting cracked at like ten times the rate it was being cracked before this awful pandemic. I mean, look at Theros... ridiculous, those boxes sat in storage for almost a decade.
- Yugioh collectors will have a lot more money to spend ten years out when many of them are five years into their professional careers. This is a no-brainer. Right now, most of them are broke high school and college kids.
- Yugioh hits you from many angles, Japan-style: manga, anime, cards, movies. If you want to get into the lore, it's panoramic, even if quality varies across the various formats. Magic needs to improve a ton in this department. Magic needs a movie every two years, a really well done comic series, a cartoon series.... it's a content gap the size of the Grand Canyon.
I was very lucky to build my sample collection of Yugioh 2015 to right up to the beginning of the pandemic. I will never get that opportunity again. I seized the moment. I cracked unlimited packs of every set except for Invasion of Chaos and Magician's Force. I cracked several Ghost Rares for 5Ds and Zexal, most unlimited, but a Ghost Rare is a Ghost Rare (these are equivalent to the lottery cards in Magic). I even got some on video.
If you cracked a lot of Magic, Pokemon and Yugioh before the pandemic, consider yourself lucky. We probably still have 6 to 9 months of being holed up in the pandemic, and there will be a lot more packs getting cracked while we all wait to resume our normal lives. Prices of sealed product for the big three for everything produced before the pandemic will increase. Simple supply and demand.