I have been hearing a lot from customers and other players about other online sources discussing the value of Modern Masters 2015. It appears a lot of people have had the same idea ~ super valuable set, lets have fun figuring out its TRUE value. This has generated a lot of different perspectives. If you read my last blog, I discussed that at that time, the mean (average) value of the pack was around $13.77. This means that if you were to open 10,000 booster packs and valued your openings based on the current value of those cards (using low value of TCG player) at that time, you would average a return of $13.77 per pack.
This is a very good thing. But many online have been saying it is a terrible set to open, and I even heard someone quoting the average value of a pack being about $3. The math is very complex when it comes to this sort of thing, so I want to try to go into more details about where my math is coming from. If you are not a numbers person, please do not bother reading this because this is going to get crazy; however, if you like seeing the end result, scroll down to the end.
First, I re-ran the numbers this week, so lets play with the data as of 5/16/2015.
Today the mean value is $13.36, so you can already tell the value is changing but still very high above (I believe) common retail prices. In addition, this number, does not count the foil you are guaranteed in every pack.
But keep in mind the minimum value of a pack you can pull is $1.61. That is why many people are skeptical of this set, but on the flip side you could pull a pack worth $173.90 (*cough* Tarmogoyf *cough*). This does make it a big gamble.
So lets look at it another way. What are the odds that if you bought a pack at let's say $11.00 a pack, will you get your money back?
Well considering you get 10 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare OR 1/8 chance a mythic rare, you will succeed 31.8% of the time. To be fair, this is far better chances than getting your money back compared to buying a pack of Fallen Empires ~ I'm just sayin'.
Now how is it possible to have an average value of the pack be so high, but chances of breaking even is about 1/3? It is because there are SUCH valuable cards that it pulls the average value of the packs above the MSRP. These are called outliers. They are numbers that are so far above or below the average that they skew the numbers. Normally they are ignored, which chances are is what some online reviewers have done. I think this is wrong, the chances of pulling say a Tarmogoyf is just as good as pulling a Comet Storm (or commonly called "Crap" Storm). Because of that, the values should be considered regardless.
For a final analysts, many people have said to me, "You can't count the commons and uncommons, they just aren't worth anything this set." And for the most part, they have a point. If you have played Magic The Gathering throughout the last 5 years, the commons probably are meaningless to you. So lets say we leave out the commons and uncommons in the mean value of the packs ~ except~ leave in the ones that are worth more than $1. Sound fair?
Then you are looking at a mean value of around $11.57. Obviously less than that sweet $13.36 but still better than MSRP. It also goes to show that ignoring the commons and uncommons it still isn't terrible to buy and open. And granted the odds of making your money back does drop to 29.6%, but that is still not too much of a difference from the 31.8% from before.
On a side note, if you buy it at a box at a time for $239.99 which makes the packs about $10, you are looking at a 30.9% chance of making your money back per pack, which puts you back in that nice 30% category.
In short, as where the set stands right now, if you are going to open the packs yourself, it is better to get at least 3 packs at a time. A box would be your best bet, but remember, nothing in life is guaranteed. Wizards of the Coast does a good job at randomizing its boxes these days, so really it is purely a game of chance.
This article is to help put your mind at ease so you don't feel like buying and opening a pack is a stupid idea. The other people who make reviews saying it is a horrible idea may not be doing all their math the same way as I am. I am not saying they are fear mongering, they are just trying to warn people from something they think is a bad idea, and I'm glad to see the Magic community has people doing that, kudos to them for putting in the effort to do so!
The best thing to do if you are afraid of the high price is remember to just buy packs to have fun, and because you want the cards. You will be much happier than just buying 1 random pack in the hopes of paying off a bill next month. (Seriously, don't do that)