Staples Support Your Wallet

Highly valued staple cards are the best solution for players from a financial standpoint. It is a common misconception that the game would be cheaper overall if all staple cards were printed into oblivion. Let's look at examples from recent products to make the case in favor of expensive staples.


Recently, my co-author Sherif published the interesting article "Staples Versus Your Wallet" in which he argued that Konami should make staple cards more accessible for the community. As a university student with a limited budget and an unlimited passion to take part in tournaments all around Europe, I can emotionally relate to that argument. But here's a hot take: making staples cheaper would in the long run create a greater financial barrier for the largest parts of this community.

Cheap Staples Means Expensive Archetypes

In my first article, I introduced the concept of expected value and how the value of sealed product relates to the value of the individual card in the average box. When a new product first hits the market, the prices of the cards and the sealed product are in balance. Right now, Triple Tactics Talent, Forbidden Droplet, and Ice Dragon's Prison are some of the most sought-after staples in the game, and they're all in the same booster box—Rise of the Duelist. They have another thing in common: If you bought them at release, you actually made a profit while having them available for eight full months of gameplay.


Let's just imagine an alternate reality in which these three cards were printed at more accessible rarities. They would still see the same amount of play, they would still be as good in your favorite deck but simply easier to pull. An increase in supply with no changes to the demand results in lower prices for our staple cards—as seen in the diagram above. Isn't that good? Yes, but actually no. The value of the cards in Rise of the Duelist would simply shift to other cards in the box.

Some fan favorite decks such as Fluffal and Melffy received very accessible support in the same booster box, and the rarity distribution has also been very favorable to Infernoble Knights given their impact on the competitive scene during the last summer. Both casual and competitive players would get the short end of the stick if the best support cards of their archetypes had been printed in secret rare instead. Deck building packs such as Mystic Fighters Booster Box do not introduce new staples to the game and their value is carried by essential archetypal cards such as Primathmech Alembertian. That's exactly what would happen to other archetypes if staples were printed in more accessible rarities.

Key cards of archetypes cannot be replaced. If they are expensive, you have to bite the bullet as there is no way around it. However, even the trendiest new meta staple can be replaced by more accessible alternatives. Playing Pot of Extravagance instead of Pot of Prosperity is more budget friendly but will still give you the full Dragonmaid experience. A Dragonmaid deck without Chamber Dragonmaid, however, is simply not the same.

Longevity and Diversity

Some of the distinctive features of Yu-Gi-Oh! compared to other card games include the longevity of cards and the diversity of archetypes. Torrential Tribute is arguably still one of the strongest trap cards in the game and the "Other" category almost always overweighs the most played decks in all tiers of tournaments play. Most players switch their decks on a regular basis or keep a collection of multiple decks. These habits would become more expensive, if Konami were to switch their product design from expensive staples to expensive archetypes. Right now, competitive players are able to switch between multiple meta decks without breaking the bank. Once you own a full Eldlich Zoodiac deck, it's easy to build a Virtual World deck as well: a Virtual World deck consists of mostly the same staple cards and very accessible archetypal cards.

In terms of longevity, expensive staples come up on top yet again. The original print of Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, released in Maximum Crisis back in 2017, is still maintaining its value. Even staples in the lower price segment such as Nibiru, the Primal Being and Called by the Grave exhibit a very stable price development. There is very little risk involved for players who invest early. In contrast, archetypal cards risk falling out of fashion. The price of Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage! is at 20% of its peak. Konami tends to address archetypes instead of staples on their Forbidden and Limited List. More generic cards like Emergency Teleport, Allure of Darkness, and Machine Duplication bounce in and out of competitive play every few formats and should be part of everyone's personal collection.

ash blossom nibiru
Evergreens keep their value for years

Closing Thoughts

We have to consider the wish for more accessible staples from a holistic perspective and take the economic realities of sealed product into account. Simple adjustments to the rarities could easily result in higher entry barriers for players. I want to close this article by proposing a compromise in which cards are available in multiple rarities and artworks within the same product line. This model is successfully run in the OCG and other card games such as Pokémon. Konami has already taken steps into this direction by introducing new rarities such as collector's and starlight rare. There have been various changes to the rarity design in recent years, which shows that Konami is willing to experiment with new ideas.

Take care of your staple collection!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.

8 Kommentare

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TeeMouse(31.03.2021 18:46)

I liked the brief touch on economic theory, but you have neglected to address the effects of different demand curves for staple and non-staple cards.

Tobi has correctly noted that the EV of a case will generally stay close to its price, but you can still affect what proportion of that value is in staple cards vs archetype specific.

I think the overall price of yugioh would be lover if staple cards were low rarity because fewer boxes would need to be opened to satisfy the requirements for everyone's decks.

The world simply needs more copies of Pot of Prosperity than it does of Chamber Dragonmaid. The only winners from a system with high rarity staples and low rarity archetypes are people who want to simultaneously own *all* of the available decks (but only one set of staple cards)

Low rarity staple cards just mean more decks can get built per box of product opened. Unfortunately, this would mean fewer boxes getting opened, so I don't think Konami is likely to approve.

Skystriker(05.04.2021 05:07)

TeeMouse ocg had like 4 prints of Ash blossom in MACR and they do same with other staples. Its just konami's greed. The easier access to staples, the more players play the game, the more boxes they open because of larger playerbase. Now you have smaller playerbase because of staples cost like 50 euro per card and not many people can afford it. I would gladly play common lightning storms over secret ones. If you like high rarity stuff, then go for it just like they do in pokemon TCG. Konami doesnt want business model because they can give us players a whole 9'inch in our backs and they know we will come back for more.

Pharaoh7(31.03.2021 15:47)(Edited: 31.03.2021 15:48)

(Sherif here) Battle of the staples :D

Just kidding. This is a nice article and I actually agree with what you are saying to some extent. On one hand, yes if they are printed in a more affordable manner since the beginning, something else will go up in price instead. But if we get faster reprints or reprints that are not ultimate rare/hard-to-get reprints (ex: how we got the first reprint of Pot of Desires in the mega tin was great vs the couple of reprints for Extravagance and Impermanence which are still relatively expensive for reprinted cards).

You do get playability out of them and maybe you get them at a reasonable price, especially the earlier you get them (such as Ice Dragon's Prison), however my main point is sadly that not everyone will be willing to drop their money on these cards if they are expensive right off the gate.

Konami is slowly improving when it comes to reprints but as you said, it would be fantastic to get the OCG treatment of multiple rarities.

Vincent597(31.03.2021 11:06)

The problem is that while you almost HAVE to play the staples, nobody forces you to play a certain archetype. Locking away key cards for any deck behind a 50€ price tag isn’t fair, but it would really not matter to me if some archetype specific cards would go for that much, as long as there’s that many good budget core decks out there.

ILoveMadolche(31.03.2021 09:56)

What I understand from this article is that staples must be expensive higher rarity cards, because otherwise Konami will make other cards in that set higher rarity instead? I think the root of the problem is that Konami has combined the collectible aspect and gameplay aspect together. Exclusive rarities should have no place in such a gameplay-focused game. In an ideal game, every card in a set would be common, as frequently printed as commons, and higher rarities with prettier card aspects would only exist for any of those previously mentioned commons, purely for collectors.

TobiHenke(31.03.2021 11:10)(Edited: 31.03.2021 11:13)

It goes beyond that. Ultimately every card comes from sealed product. So the price of sealed product directly determines the price of the cards one can expect to pull from it. It can't be any other way. If the value of expected pulls were far lower than the price one has to pay to open sealed product, no one would crack any packs/boxes/cases; this would mean falling prices for sealed product (if no one wants to buy that) and/or rising prices for the expected pulls (if demand for singles outstrips supply) until the price for sealed product and the value of expected pulls begin to match again after all. It's simple market forces at work. Price of sealed product and expected value of pulls will always reach a state of close equilibrium. (Close but not perfect because it's still a game that offers non-financial benefits to its players.) On the flip side, the price of expected pulls can't ever outgrow the price of sealed product with an unlimited print run by far either, because then people would simply open more product until, again, close quilibrium is achieved.

Once you accept that, it's just a matter of distributing the monetary value across rarities and across cards of various power levels. If Konami released an all-common set, the most powerful of them would simply have to command higher prices to make up for lack of rarer items.

ILoveMadolche(31.03.2021 11:31)

TobiHenke I'm not really sure what you're on about, I never talked about an all-common set, just all cards start at common. These hypothetical sets would still have rarity bumps of those same cards for collectors and to keep people buying, like how Konami does it with Starlight and Collector's rares right now. This would keep people opening sets just as normal, but would also please both collectors and people who just play the game a lot more.

However, this probably clashes with some law somewhere. I think that instead of what I said, in an ideal world all sets would be structure decks and reprint sets like Duel Devastator, with stuff like OTS packs filling in the rarity bump sets., if we really must please the collectors. Speaking of laws, I really hope Konami gets more pressure when it comes to gambling laws, so they would have no choice but to remove any random aspects from sealed sets currently.

Iliaster(31.03.2021 00:33)

Great article, i absolutely agree, though i have to admit - it is controversial.