Welcome to the Pickle and Daweeb Show, where we flip the gaming table in a fit of anime and manga-related rage. This week we’re looking at collectible cards again, a trading card conundrum with cardboard outselling digital, and other significant movements in the hobby space.
Interesting happenings in the world of collectible card games have left speculators speculating about the future plans for Wizards of the Coasts’ Magic: the Gathering collectible card game. While MtG is beyond our focus, except when it touches on Japanese themes, as with the new Kamigawa Neon Dynasty set, MtG’s significance should have Yu Gi Oh! and Pokémon players sitting up and taking notice.
There’s a lot going on, including a look at the upcoming Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game, so let’s dive in.
Covid’s Cardboard Card Conundrum in a Digital Age
Which would do better, in your opinion: the cardboard version of a card game, or its digital incarnation? What about during a worldwide pandemic, when people are forced apart? Surely, people would be flocking to the digital card game, looking to get their fix in a world that’s increasingly digital? In a world where NFTs are a thing, surely this would be the case?
2021 was Magic: the Gathering’s best year ever…
According to The Gamer website, Wizards of the Coast’s CEO Chris Cocks stated that MTG Arena was a huge source of players for them and that they were seeing healthy movement between paper and digital. MTG Arena, their digital version of Magic: the Gathering, isn’t taking players away from paper Magic, it keeping players in the hobby!
The Gamer went on to say that 2021 was Magic: the Gathering’s best year ever, which was confirmed by YouTube channel and frequent MtG commentator, Tolarian Community College. This is an important point, so keep it in mind as we dig even further.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Outpaces MtG in Google Search
Marketing chief at All The Anime, Miles Thomas Atherton, tweeted that Yu-Gi-Oh! had surpassed big boy Magic: the Gathering in Google searches recently. In the world of trading card games, the big three are Magic: the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Pokémon, and I’d have promised to eat my shorts if we’d taken bets that any other game would ever beat out MtG. Now it looks like that’s certainly on the cards.
Thanks to Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG has passed Magic: the Gathering in US search traffic for the first time in nearly a decade. pic.twitter.com/3WqUgaDgNY
— miles (@Real_Kilometers) January 31, 2022
ICv2 noted that Yu-Gi-Oh! outpaced the Pokémon TCG as the second best-selling TCG during Black Friday in 2021, and that it consistently had products in the top 5 best sellers throughout the year.
Atherton attributed the search spike to the launch of Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, Yu-Gi-Oh!’s competitor to the popular MTG Arena, Magic’s digital offering. It certainly looks like digital platforms are driving paper sales, and card gaming is healthier than ever because of it.
The battle between Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: the Gathering will be one to watch, especially with new blood coming into Wizards of the Coast. That’s right, Wizards of the Coast just announced two new hires, both from Microsoft, bringing more experience in the digital gaming space to MtG. The battle will certainly be fought in both meat and cyberspace.
So, how about you? Are you a Yu-Gi-Oh! or an MtG fan? Let us know what you play and which TCG you think will reign supreme this year, in the comments.
Pokémon Has Balls of Steel
Time to grab your balls… your poke balls, that is. The Pokémon Company International, in partnership with The Wand Company, will release four new die-cast replica poke balls — including the Heal Ball, Friend Ball, Quick Ball, and Cherish Ball — this year. This follows their previous release of the Poke Ball, Great Ball, Ultra Ball, Dusk Ball, and Premier Ball replicas.
The die-cast balls will be available through retailers in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. I guess that proves that Japan doesn’t get all the cool toys.
Omicron Stalls Shipping at California Ports
The New York Times reported record levels of congestion in Californian ports this January. This was due to a high number of longshoremen contracting the virus, with 1850 cases in January. There were more cases in a single month than in the whole of 2021, which totaled 1624 cases for the year. About 80% of January’s cases were in Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are important ports connecting the US to China and Japan.
I bet we’re all looking forward to the day when shipping’s back to pre-pandemic speeds.
Dark Souls has a D&D Heart!
We’ve mentioned that Dark Souls is getting a tabletop roleplaying game, and Steam Forged Games recently revealed that the game’s mechanics will be based on the rules for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The mega-popular reincarnation of Dungeons & Dragons has led something of a roleplaying renaissance, but I was just as surprised as many others by the system choice. There’s a veritable smorgasbord of tabletop RPG systems out there, many of which have been doing grimdark for decades, but the systems’ popularity no doubt makes it easily accessible, especially to busy players who don’t want to devote time to learning a whole new game.
Steam Forged Games also mentioned that they’ll be opening pre-orders for their “Grossly incandescent Collector’s Edition of Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game” on February 16th. My wallet’s groaning just thinking about it.