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Author Topic: Opening of alpha starter  (Read 3515 times)
Chill79
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« on: October 14, 2014, 04:05:43 pm »

Something that all TMD:rs love:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRxCeO2KIS8

-Jyri-
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TheWhiteDragon
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2014, 12:52:46 pm »

Wow...dude went ape shit!

Luckily for viewers, he cut the filming at 9:59....

At 10:05 he opens a celebratory can of Coke with his still-trembling hands that sprays all over the lotus.  Then in shock, he drops the can and it spills out all over all the cards, ruining the lotus and tropical island.  Never fear, though...the "uncommon" plains was unharmed.
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KrauserKrauser
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2014, 01:22:52 pm »

I heard on Reddit that this was staged as the Rare order does not make sense given where they lie on the sheet.

I'm not well versed enough to confirm, especially as consistency in printing and packing was haphazard at best at the time, but it's still very entertaining, staged or no.

If nothing else it has put Magic on the front page of several mainstream locations.
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2014, 01:40:03 pm »

I heard on Reddit that this was staged as the Rare order does not make sense given where they lie on the sheet.

I'm not well versed enough to confirm, especially as consistency in printing and packing was haphazard at best at the time, but it's still very entertaining, staged or no.

If nothing else it has put Magic on the front page of several mainstream locations.

I have heard likewise - the print run is apparently incorrect, so this must be a faaaaaake.

It's nice to see some relatively "neutral" buzz about MtG on the Internet; the last things I recall making waves were arguments over Jon Finkel's online dating kerfuffle and "fat man takes pictures of butts at Magic event". Oh I guess maybe the bit about the movie, but who the hell knows if that will be any good in the end.
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Samoht
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2014, 01:47:46 pm »

Because 0 print errors happened in the early years of Magic, right?
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evouga
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2014, 07:42:06 pm »

Right, I'm skeptical anyone on reddit has perfect knowledge of the Alpha print run.
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Greg
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2014, 10:04:46 pm »

Everybody and their mother sent me this video as soon as it went viral, especially friends of mine that don't play Magic but are fascinated with my interest in the franchise.

Before I even watched the video for myself, simply reading about how a Black Lotus and Tropical Island were opened in the same starter made me raise an eyebrow. I knew that the pairing of the rares did not "make sense" with how the product was packaged back then.

Black Lotus was "always" packaged with Lord of the Pit, and Tropical Island was "always" packaged with Bayou. (The latter is true in Revised starter decks, as well.) Many high end collectors and enthusiasts of Magic's early history are aware of how certain rares were packaged together based on the layout of the original sheets.

Something crossed my mind during all of this: Volcanic Island. Volcanic Island was accidentally omitted from the "Alpha" print run. It was then corrected with the "Beta" printing of the set. If you look at an uncut sheet of Beta, though, you'll see that Volcanic Island is somewhere in the middle of the sheet, which is a bit strange, as it was the only rare that was accidentally left off. (Circle of Protection: Black also didn't see an Alpha printing.) It's extremely likely that the entire rare sheet was reorganized, but there's no way of knowing, as no uncut sheets of Alpha (knowingly) exist. If the sheets were reorganized for Beta's printing, then it would explain how rares could have been packaged together differently in Alpha starters when compared to Beta starters.

Here's a picture of an uncut sheet of Beta:



Let's look at a couple of things.

Cards that I highlighted in one yellow box represent cards that were visually documented as being opened together out of an Alpha, Beta, or Unlimited starter deck that are contiguous on a sheet of Beta.

1. Tropical Island and Bayou (Alpha starter)
2. Deathlace and Fork (Beta starter)
3. Time Walk and Underground Sea (Beta starter)
4. Savannah and Mox Ruby (Unlimited starter)
5. Ankh of Mishra and Howling Mine (Beta starter)
6. Warp Artifact and Granite Gargoyle (Alpha starter)
7. Deathlace and Fork, again (Alpha starter)
8. Black Lotus and Lord of the Pit (See below)

(There is no video documentation of a Black Lotus being opened alongside a Lord of the Pit, but there are stories and forum posts dating years back of people telling about how they opened up a Lord of the Pit and Black Lotus together. These were random people who likely had no reason to lie. It was also before the popularization of filming sealed product being opened. Even if people were lying, it's hard to imagine that people that would stoop to lying would accurately know about the ordering of rares... and if they wanted to make up a great story, wouldn't they have chosen the neighboring Mox Emerald instead of the Lord of the Pit?)

Cards that I highlighted in a color besides yellow are pairs of rares that were visually documented as being opened together out of an Alpha or Beta starter deck that are not contiguous on the sheet.

1. Winter Orb and Mind Twist (Beta starter)
2. Braingeyser and Tundra (Alpha starter)
3. Black Lotus and Tropical Island (Alpha starter)
4. Dingus Egg and Living Artifact (Alpha starter)
5. Taiga and Fastbond (Alpha starter)

For argument's sake, let's just assume the videos are real. I have an incredibly hard time imagining that the video in question (or any of them, for that matter) are faked, as the cards are all ridiculously crisp and consistent with one another in condition and printing similarities. This would be rather tricky to fake, especially since there's really no fantastic "gain" in fabricating something like this.

All of the rares that were opened together that weren't contiguous with each other are from Alpha starters, with the exception of Winter Orb and Mind Twist, which is noteworthy, as they are both conveniently on the corners of the sheet. I am of the assumption that Alpha's rare sheet was organized in a different fashion and then re-organized for Beta as misprinted cards were corrected (Cyclopean Tomb) and missing cards were added (Volcanic Island).

It's still incredibly interesting that two Tropical Islands have been opened out of Alpha starters featuring different companion cards (Black Lotus and Bayou). Also, Deathlace and Fork have been opened together in both Alpha and Beta starter decks. I think it's somewhat safe to assume that the Alpha rare sheet was different than the Beta rare sheet, but not completely different. I'd really like to learn more about this, if anybody else has some thoughts or information on the matter.
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tito del monte
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2014, 09:49:21 am »

Wow Greg - thanks for taking the time to make such a fascinating post! I'll forward this link to someone who might know about the make-up of the Alpha rare sheet and see what he has to say...
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evouga
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2014, 11:02:23 am »

Is there any chance that Tropical Island appeared on the Alpha sheet twice (in the place of the Volcanic Island)? Or would the disparity in rarity have been noticed by now?
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bactgudz
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2014, 11:31:01 am »

The alpha sheet also wouldn't have had 3 basic islands on it if it had any at all...there were only 2 arts in alpha.
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Chill79
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2014, 11:48:11 am »

if you look at sheet and make one to right and 3 up it goes close if there were some variation on sheet like volcanic missing and basic landcount was different..??

-Jyri-
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Greg
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2014, 12:13:44 pm »

Wow Greg - thanks for taking the time to make such a fascinating post! I'll forward this link to someone who might know about the make-up of the Alpha rare sheet and see what he has to say...

You're welcome, Tito Del Monte. This video had been on my mind all week, so I wanted to sit down and take some time to gather information while trying to connect some dots. I figured others would enjoy the information, too. I'm curious to see what somebody more knowledgeable of this would have to say on the matter. Smile

The alpha sheet also wouldn't have had 3 basic islands on it if it had any at all...there were only 2 arts in alpha.

You're right, Bactgudz, each basic land only had two illustrations for the Alpha printing. The third illustration for each variety was added in the corrected Beta print run.

There are some fun facts regarding the Islands on that rare sheet:

Notice that there are only two different illustrations that appear a total of four times. Those two illustrations are from the Alpha printing. The third Island illustration that was added in Beta actually isn't an original piece of art. It's a digital manipulation of one of the original Islands from Alpha. Check it out. The image was flipped, cropped, and color corrected by the art director from 1993, Jesper Myrfors. The signature was added in afterwards and doesn't match Mark Poole's usual aesthetic placement of his signature.

There was a "real" third Island that Mark Poole created for Alpha, but either he never sent it in or it was accidentally not used. He told me about this last month at IlluXCon, because he recently found that third painting for the first time in 20 years! What blew my mind was how much it looks like the Tropical Island that Jesper Myrfors created at the same time. Mark Poole noticed this, too. It's really, really strange. Conspiracy, perhaps? Either way, it's a really nice classic image that would've fit in wonderfully with Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Revised, Fourth Edition, etc. It's a shame that it never saw print.



Another interesting point of note is... why the heck are there basic lands on the rare sheet in the first place?! Richard Garfield, when designing Magic: The Gathering, didn't assume that information would spread so easily regarding the game, its production, and so forth. He wanted there to be a bit of "mystery" in the packs regarding which slots contained the rare and uncommon cards. By putting basic lands on the rare sheet, he thought he might throw people off. If players back then thought they were finally figuring out which slot in the pack contained a rare, they would eventually open up a basic land in that slot and think to themselves, "Oh, I guess I was wrong..." That didn't quite work out in the long run. While it's a fun anecdote nowadays, it's still scary to think that somebody opening up some old product in 2014 has a decent chance of opening up basic Islands instead of "legitimate" rares. Whoops.
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Chill79
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2014, 01:48:17 pm »

That would have been sic art for VMA Tropical... Wink

-Jyri-
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Smmenen
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2014, 05:21:45 pm »

Something that all TMD:rs love:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRxCeO2KIS8

-Jyri-

Actually, I don't.  I think it's a travesty to open these historical treasures.  It's like defacing great art, imo. 
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2014, 09:17:31 pm »

Something that all TMD:rs love:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRxCeO2KIS8

-Jyri-

Actually, I don't.  I think it's a travesty to open these historical treasures.  It's like defacing great art, imo. 


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Samoht
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2014, 06:25:32 am »

Something that all TMD:rs love:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRxCeO2KIS8

-Jyri-

Actually, I don't.  I think it's a travesty to open these historical treasures.  It's like defacing great art, imo. 




Echoes my response but with Indiana Jones! Love it!
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A1phaMale
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2014, 11:52:30 am »

I call fake; he is doing this for a very clever marketing strategy. Would I ever stand up a mint black lotus so it can be in perfect view of the camera and risk it falling or being bent especially after I carefully opened the wrap with a razor blade and while wearing gloves?  No.  His reaction was fake too; not to mention his shaking hands deviate more than typical "nervousness". 

Also, all of those cards can easily be faked and look genuine from a distance.  It does take some effort to wrap a bunch of fake alpha cards or cut CE cards with plastic (perhaps some cards are indeed real) but even if he spent $1,000 on making the fakes and repackaging, it was well worth it.  He got just what he wanted... a whole lot of publicity and a front page story on Yahoo.  No telling how many emails are flooding his inbox from folks who want to buy that lotus, and this all happened just in time for his new website!

Even if you got all of the cards graded for free, the odds of someone making money on opening an old starter deck is so low (basically, you have to open one of the top 10 rares) and that you would be pretty stupid for even thinking about it.

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Methuselahn
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2014, 09:24:20 am »

Totally fake.  There is no way magic nerds are that lucky.
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vaughnbros
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« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2014, 09:41:10 am »

I have no problem with this whether it was faked or done for real.  For once, some good publicity for the game.
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2014, 11:13:51 pm »

I call fake; he is doing this for a very clever marketing strategy. Would I ever stand up a mint black lotus so it can be in perfect view of the camera and risk it falling or being bent especially after I carefully opened the wrap with a razor blade and while wearing gloves?  No.  His reaction was fake too; not to mention his shaking hands deviate more than typical "nervousness". 

Also, all of those cards can easily be faked and look genuine from a distance.  It does take some effort to wrap a bunch of fake alpha cards or cut CE cards with plastic (perhaps some cards are indeed real) but even if he spent $1,000 on making the fakes and repackaging, it was well worth it.  He got just what he wanted... a whole lot of publicity and a front page story on Yahoo.  No telling how many emails are flooding his inbox from folks who want to buy that lotus, and this all happened just in time for his new website!

Even if you got all of the cards graded for free, the odds of someone making money on opening an old starter deck is so low (basically, you have to open one of the top 10 rares) and that you would be pretty stupid for even thinking about it.



Not true at all.  I had a friend who opened Alpha starters and graded/sold off all the mint graded cards that he didn't already have.  Long story short, he started with 0 cards and ended with a complete set of PSA 9-10 Alpha for FREE after selling the other cards graded as 9s on ebay.  I have no idea how many starters he opened, but it was BOXES worth for sure.  I remember him doing the whole qtips thing to handle the cards (he didnt use gloves).  Selling off graded mint 59 cards will pay for the unopened box of 60 mint cards.  I've seen it done to the tune of a free Alpha PSA 9 playset...just saying.
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