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How We Overlooked Dustshoot and Emptiness
Oftentimes we look at things in hindsight and ask ourselves how we could’ve missed it. What were the signs and red flags we ignored and how can we be more aware in the future. We often ignore cards and then they turn out to be really successful.
Many people, like former COTD reviewer, Christian Moss, like to buy a lot of underrated cards in bulk and then sell them at a higher price when people catch onto them. Often times, there is a signal. For example, if a tier 1 Ritual deck like Nekroz is coming out, then it’s smart to buy 100 Manju’s.
In many cases, it’s Power Creep. Royal Oppression and Card of Safe Return weren’t great because Special Summoning wasn’t frequent. Once it became frequent, those cards got abused.
In other cases, it’s Power Sink. Tsukuyomi wasn’t good in 2004 because there were so many powerful spell cards legal, there was no room for Morph/TER/Goats. Time Seal also got revealed as a free chainable +1 once deck space was freed up.
But sometimes, the meta is perfectly ready for a card, but thousands and thousands of people just ignore it. Two cards in particular gave us a Brexit-style shock.
Trap Dustshoot was around since Pharaonic Guardian and people have only realized years later that it was an amazing card. During it time of release, we had Delinquent Duo, Confiscation and The Forceful Sentry, so Dustshoot was redundant. But people who play Goat Format today now realize that it worked amazing in that format, and if only people knew back then, it would’ve been a staple.
Vanity’s Emptiness came out in 2010 and it received little attention until a resurgence in 2014 which caused the $1 common to shoot up to $30. It had it a similar effect to Royal Oppression, which was banned, but the dots weren’t connected. It was dismissed as a -1 because if you lost a monster, you lost Emptiness too. But that was a glib argument. It didn’t play much differently from Trap Stun, but since it didn’t linger, you didn’t feel like you had any card to lose. Maybe it was a bit meta dependant in that we needed Shaddolls/BA’s/Tellars to loom in front of us before considering it, but I’m betting that most people were unfamiliar with Emptiness and many would’ve tried it in 2012 if they had known.
One trait I’ve observed with a lot of these hindsight staples is that they’re released quietly during times of heavy commotion. Everyone’s worried about the current hype bubble, so they neglect the cards which aren’t hyped.
Another trait I observed is rarity. Many of these cards are low rarity, especially commons. There are so many junk commons that lots of people don’t bother examining their cards. Their frowned upon in some circles, by the folks who carry big binders with expensive holos.
Many people have a limited participation in the game. Some don’t buy packs/boxes but only the singles that are hot at the moment, and the ones they need for the deck. Many competitive players want to focus on playing competitively so they’d rather pay extra to get a card at peak rather than sacrifice their time to sort out and examine all the cards in advance.
If Emptiness and Dustshoot were Super Rare, people would at least examine them for a second and ask if they’re worth their rarity. Even if it were a Normal Rare, people would check it in hopes they at least pulled something good. But commons fall through the cracks.
I know that some people have proposed buying a playset of every single common that comes out (via bulk orders), because the ones that do take off subsidize the cost of the others. I’m not sure if the math works out, because Emptiness was an outlier in many regards. But perhaps there’s a way to filter commons in advance to save time and money
To round out this article, I’ll propose a few laws of sorting through commons:
#1 - Avoid low probability cases
Gyakutenno Megami spiked a bit during the Herald of Perfection era, but you can’t collect every crap vanilla in hopes some would spike up.
#2 - Avoid inherently obsolete cards
Curse of Aging will never be good because people can just use Shrink or Rush Recklessly to get a better stat altering effect without the discard.
#3 - Consider the “what if’s”
System Down sucks now, but it might be amazing again if a Machine deck ever becomes tier 1. May as well hold onto it. (Like Manju with Nekroz)
#4 - Consider the inferior alternatives
Summon Limit, for example. Will this card become big? Maybe not. I’ll put the odds at 20%. But if you get lot of plausible cheap commons like this, eventually some of them will become big.
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