Ziiro wrote:So Mongrel what's the drama surrounding these MTG Counterfeits I'm hearing about now? I was linked to a youtube video offhand, but I couldn't stand to listen to some guy go on for literally 20-30 minutes about POSTED PICTURES and WIZARDS LEGAL OMG. (MTG Lion was the guy.)
Any extended discussion should probably be in our shiny new MTG thread
, but the short version is that a Chinese seller was openly selling mass-printings (thousands of cards) of excellent-quality counterfeits on a major Chinese online retailer (alibaba). This was a print-on-demand system where customers request a group of 50 cards of their choosing and they print as many copies as you like (minimum 50 per card). The sales were removed, but it's possibly only a matter of time before they return.
The cards themselves are still identifiable as fakes because of a few key errors: over-round corners, bad text kerning, etc. But they pass a number of crucial tests people rely on to identify counterfeits - blue layer, light opacity, bend test, etc. The remaining issues are actually very fixable.
One guy who claimed he was one of counterfeiters even put up a video saying how they were following the online discussion to identify and fix their mistakes.
For years I've said that the high price of MTG singles was begging for a resourceful counterfeiter, possibly even linked to organized crime, to swoop in and make money. It's extremely low-risk (you're breaking copyright and trademark law, not counterfeiting laws), it's very easy to move product, you have a ready international market, and it has the potential to be extremely lucrative. But I never imagined it would be on such a massive scale or so blatant.
For now there's a lull, but the worst-case scenario involves a total collapse in the MTG singles market. Wizards is introducing foil stamps for rares and mythics starting in M15, but that may not slow anyone down. The next year should be very interesting.
My own views are that Wizards have brought this on themselves by being so stingy with their ridiculously tight-fisted reprint policies, which have resulted in all-time highs for average singles prices. I understand that there are decent reasons for it, such as to support retailers and drive new product sales when they do offer drips and drabs, but that's essentially short-term thinking. If undetectable counterfeiting ever takes off, there's no going back. They will be flat-out screwed with no real defence. They needed to disincentivize counterfeiting in as many ways as possible and removing or reducing the financial incentive is the single biggest tool they have to do so.