What Happened to Grimm?
I was just going to start from the beginning, but alas I came to my senses and figured I should start with the current stuff that you can still get in stores and online. It made more sense since if one were to invest, new stuff is a place to start. Most sites still have it at close to retail, and you won’t have to hunt the far corners of the internet or those scary corners of your LGS to find the older stuff.
This is the first time we got only 2 starters at the start of a cluster. Usually it was 5, if we get any at all. This was true with Alice, Lapis, Reiya, and New Valhalla. What is different is the other 2 we would get with the second set. Something else we have only seen once, in Lapis cluster, is none of the cards were reprinted later. This seems likely due to enough being printed. They came out over a year ago and the prices are still close to MSRP, unlike say New Valhalla. The sets they dropped with only had 1 ruler in it as well. This brough accessibility way up.
The main difference to the first 2 decks released is that they come with 4 copies of each stranger instead of 2. Each card has 1 foil version and 3 basics in it. Because of the extra copies of strangers, their value may not get as high as those in the other decks. The promo card has the potential to go up in value as well.
This is the only way to get these cards and the supply might run out soon. Most distributors are out of them, so the supply is at stores and online. For a new player grab these at retail or lower, $20, for investment I would give it a C+. I see these gaining value over time, but not a lot very fast, but the potential could be there.
The next set of starters were dropped with the second set. These have the correct number of strangers. The Pricia deck is already pulling ahead of the others, even if just by a couple of bucks. Her deck contains a lot of what the competitive version had in it. Most of the others, when played, needed a lot of cards from the actual sets. These are still a good deal for players, and again a C+ for investing.
Alice Origin Cluster
Alice Origin Cluster had a couple of things new. It was the first full cluster under the new owners, Eye Spy. It introduced 20 pack boxes, down from the old 36 pack ones. And it had rulers delivered in a new way. Box toppers. Sets 1 and 2 only had 1 ruler in the set, so every box had that ruler. This makes their value on the low end. Sets 3 and 4 had three rulers each, but if you bought a case you got a pair of them. This consistency makes them likely to stay low on the value scale too.
The 4th set also introduced a new rarity, Marvel Rare (MR). This is higher than Super Rare. This was the 2nd rarity change in the cluster, with common and uncommon being removed for the new Normal rarity. This was barely even noticed by most players, the new MR was the subject of a lot of speculation when it was announced. The pull rates worked out though and it was seen as a good thing by the end.
The reason for this was twofold, first, the secondary market would become healthier. And second it would help sales of sealed product. The former though would also be based on the quality of the cards made. PofA had at least two good MR in Grand Cross Reincarnation (PofA-092) and Yggdrasil, Heroic Spirit of the World Tree (PofA-121), both still higher than average prices. One potential downside for the first 3 sets is all of the reprints. They use the same art as the originals. One saving grace may be that the foils for all the cards are Full Art. The original versions of the cards didn’t have this, though the rares and higher had a gold stamp on them. How these difference play out in the future value depends on player and collector preference.
Alice Origin I set was small and had a lot of reprints. With a rough MSRP of $60, it hasn’t seen much growth, but has a good potential to grow. I chalk this up to some decent cards and even the Memoria cards that reprint all the old promo versions of cards. These are a nice alternative to some of the expensive versions of older cards. This is the weakest of the cluster though, value wise. It gets a C for investment; it will go up over time but more for its value to the rest of the cluster.
Alice Origin II is already off to a good start in regards to scarcity. On all three platforms I couldn’t find a single listing. The only thing I could find was one listed for $140. That is a 250% increase in MSRP. I think this is highly inflated, but in a year or two could be the actual value. Not sure if it was short printed, but there seems to be almost none up for grabs.
The memoria cards were continued in set 2 as well as the single ruler. But there are a lot of support cards for the Pricia starter that dropped with the set. These are up in value, as are the Machina support cards (the ruler in the set). This might have been the reason it sold out most places as both decks were tier 1 for a while.
Not finding any of it right now means I have to give it a B for investing, if you can find it for around $80 a box, grab it.
Alice Origin III is a better set than AO1, and more available than AO2. No starters here and three rulers in the set. Rezzard (AO3-BaB-3) // Rezzard [J-ruler] (AO3-BaB-3J) is the standout here, as he was tier 1 right before rotation and tier 1 still in the new format. The abundance of him keeps his value low, but still higher than the other 2 in the set. In time though, he may go up. The real value cards are Mikage Reiya (AO3-046), A Part of True Power (AO3-055), Awakening of the Winged Lord (AO3-059), Deathscythe (AO3-065), Sigurd, the Covenant King (AO3-082), and The Last Secret Sword (AO3-085). The last two aren’t high dollar right now but are sought after and show potential to go up.
The average price right now is $75, but as low as $60. That price range is good and worth grabbing a couple of boxes to sit on. It gets a B+ for investing.
The last set in the cluster was the introduction of the new card layout and was the largest in the cluster. It also had the fewest reprints, but 100 new cards. It has a lot of good cards to boot. The pack count went back up to 36 as well. The company switched back likely due to production costs and profitability. Based on wholesale prices, the price per pack is slightly when there are 36. Less packaging for a box, means larger margins.
The Dark Alice (AO4-Buy-a-Box-2) // Dark Alice [J-ruler] (AO4-Buy-a-Box-2J) ruler is emerging as a contender too. The Marvel Rares Schrödinger (PofA-105) and Grand Cross Reincarnation (PofA-092) are solid and worth a few dollars. The long-term viability is uncertain, so I’m going to have to give it a B- for investment.
I’m sorry for not going into more detail for each set like normal but being so new there is no real history to go over like with older sets.
The Epic of the Dragon Lord
EDL is another first for the new company, the rulers are back in the packs. The downside is they’ve only put 1 ruler in a box and 6 in the set. In the past the average was 2 in a box. This means that the rulers are scarce. Even the least popular rulers are going for $30. In addition, there are alternate art versions, the differences are subtle but those go for $10 to $20 more than the regular versions.
The higher end rulers are going for $70 and more. It also has the highest percentage or good marvel rares too. Reya, Spawn of the Star // Twinkle of the Star (EDL-011), Kiki, Selesta’s Partner // Kiki’s Exploration (EDL-046), Altesing, Mischievous Boy // A Glimpse of the Prodigy (EDL-058), and Tsuiya, Cursed Spawn of the Star // Curse of Ragnarok (EDL-094) are all proving to be worth a lot.
The introduction of Split cards, oh sorry, I mean Alternative Art cards, is another gimmick that adds value. If it goes beyond the Saga cluster we’ll see, but since most of the split cards are actually good, they should hold value for a while before slowing down.
If the 1 ruler a box holds for the rest of the cluster, the next set has 7 rulers, the whole thing is itching with value. We’ll see. Right now, EDL is a keeper. The average price is just over $95 right now, but some places still have it for $85. It gets an A- grade, and you should feel okay dropping up to $100 a box right now. I predict that once the new set drops (if it hasn’t already) and supply dwindles, that EDL may get as high as $150 by years end, if not more.
That wraps up all the new stuff that can still be bought at around retail and is New Frontiers legal. I will cover Grimm cluster in my next finance article, I promise, but before that I will be going on about public relations and community outreach. Until then, have fun slinging.