Monday, August 30, 2010

Grim Tidings #22 - Bling Heirarchy

Magic players are ridiculous when it comes wasting money. Myself included, I am totally addicted to getting the most pimped out version of each card I can, especially for my 5C First Reminder deck. It gets so expensive in some cases, I’m embarrassed to admit what I’m spending my money on.

I’ve been working on foils for this particular deck for over two years now, and of the 300 cards, I am just over 75% complete. Of the remaining 25%, about half of those cards are not available in premium form. This leaves me with about 40 cards (or so) to upgrade. I have no idea what I will do next when I reach this milestone, but it will likely be retirement.

As I continue to bling it up, I consider a rating classification of which version is better than the previous. There are so many options out there, it helps to develop a hierarchy criteria of which version may or may not be better than another. Caution: You’re probably about to read one of the nerdiest columns you may ever seen on the internet. Seriously, who would ever take the time to write something as trvial like this?

Level 0: Regular Edition
Ho-hum. This is the regular version you pull out of an every-day booster pack. Sure, a paper-version of Jace, the Mind Sculptor is still a great card to play with, but I usually treat cards like this as temporary place holders in my deck until I can get a premium version to replace it later on.

Sadly, premium versions of cards did not exist prior to the Urza’s Legacy expansion, so in these cases the regular Level 0 version will have to suffice. Unless…

Level 1: Regular Edition Foreign
…the card appears in a foreign language printing! This is a very minor upgrade for sure, as many people do not like the potential confusion with a foreign printing. Nonetheless, it is a slight variation from the norm, so if I have a foreign edition, I normally play it (unless card is so extremely complicated/obscure that I would have to explain every times to my opponent. Sometimes its easier to just avoid the hassle than trying to use a foreign card like this!)

Level 2: Foil
Foil is the standard upgrade for me. Most of the premium cards in First Reminder fall into this category. I prefer the first edition printing of foil if possible, but typically any foil version is good enough for me. I do occasionally like the alternate arts versions from FNMs, MPRs, Judge Foils, or FtV (Etc.) so I will choose them based on artistic value rather than printing edition.

Level 3: Foil Foreign Language
The next natural step I rank is getting that same foil in a foreign language. I suppose I travel abroad more frequently than others, so I make sure when I’m in a different country I hit the card shops to find foreign versions of my foils for upgrade. Its one thing to have a Foil Spanish Mystic gate; its quite another to say you have a Foil Spanish Mystic Gate actually from Spain!

Level 4: Foil Chinese/Japanese/Korean
This is a completely personal preference for me, because I find the Asian writing characters are so unique! The completely capture the eye as something out of the ordinary. Some people hate them, I love them. When I get a chance to travel to the Far East, I intend to buy absolutely every foil I can get my hands on!

Level 5: Signed Foil
Level 6: Signed Foil Foreign Language
Level 7: Signed Foil Chinese/Japanese

The next ranking I classify is signatures. In the same order as before, I’ve found a signature really enhances the bling. I didn’t really explore this as an option until this year’s Gencon, but after my good friend Jed Humphries came home with a big stack of sigs for my deck, all I can do now is attempt to get more. I’ve begun reaching out to artists via their websites requesting their signatures via mail, Hopefully I will be adding more signatures this way soon!

By the way, It’s my preference to NOT get my non-foils signed by the artists. I treat signatures as the pinnacle of my collection, so I only want it on a premium version if possible. If I haven’t obtained the premium version yet, I will wait until i do rather than sully the front of a regular paper version that could eventually be traded away once the upgrade is complete.

Level 8: Signed Foil Altered Art (by original Artist)
In most cases, I prefer a simple, neat signature rather than an altered art version, as I find altered arts can be somewhat distracting. However, they are normally one-of-a-kind items, and truly special. I own none, but if I had one prepared especially for me, I would certainly treasure it and play with it.

Level 9: Beta
Obviously, the original dual lands and Power 9 is not available in foil, nor will the ever be printed this way again. Although they are still quite rare in any printing, the percentage of white-bordered versions in circulation is far larger than the original black-bordered alphas and betas. For these cards, the only premium would be to get the original printing. I prefer Beta versions over the rounded corners of Alpha, but both are equally cool.

Level 10: Signed Beta
I’m kicking myself I didn’t have Mark Tedin sign my Beta Sol Ring while Jed was at Gencon this year. What an opportunity I didn’t even consider! For the same reason I don’t get signatures on non-foils, I normally don’t want my white-bordered Unlimited cards to get signed. One day, a long time from now, I will upgrade them all to Beta. But I already have the Beta Sol Ring! Argh. Signed Beta is about as good as it gets.

So there you go. This is my hierarchy ranking system. What is yours?


The_Magi said...

Okay I'm a nerd too. My basic ranking is as follows.

-1 White (some you just can't help!)
0 Black Bordered (base line)
+.5 Foreign (but only languages, I can reasonably read. For example, I hate Asian cards.)
+1 Signed
+2 Foil
+3 Textless, promo

GrimJack said...

I forgot about those full art textless promos. I guess I would slide them in between Regular and Foreign Language. They are reprints all (obv.), but if I could upgrade them to foil somehow, I would.

I agree, WB is -1 for me too.

Asian cards rule!