The hobby of collecting Magic: The Gathering cards includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining items that are of interest to an individual collector.
Collecting as part of the game design
Magic: The Gathering was the first a trading card game (TCG) or collectible card game (CCG), played with specially designed sets of cards. While trading cards have been around for longer, TCGs have especially been designed to combine the appeal of strategic gameplay with collecting.
Mark Rosewater distinguishes two kinds of Magic collectors: the Completists (active collectors) and the Gatherers (passive collectors). The latter category, which includes almost every Magic player, does not expect to collect all the items in their chosen category. The former see collecting as an active hobby.
A wide variety of collections
Collecting is a childhood hobby for some people, but for others a lifelong pursuit or something started in adulthood. Collectors who begin early in life often modify their aims when they get older. Some novice collectors start purchasing items that appeal to them and then slowly work at learning how to build a collection, while others prefer to develop some background in the field before starting to buy items.
Collections differ in a wide variety of respects, most obviously in the nature and scope of the cards contained, but also in purpose, presentation, and so forth. The range of possible cards for a collection is practically unlimited, and collectors have realized a vast number of these possibilities in practice, although some are much more popular than others. Valuable cards are often double sleeved and presented in binders.
Some collectors aim to collect complete sets, others limit themselves to playsets of cards that are hot in the favored format. Some collect foils, others misprints. Some see collecting as an investment in the future, others collect just for the sake of it. Some confine their collections to certain artists, others to certain creature types (Dragons, Angels etc.), all iterations of one particular card, a certain character a certain plane. or only to Un-cards. The possibilities are endless.
Influence of collectors
Early on, for the Unlimited Edition, Wizards of the Coast instructed Carta Mundi to change the black border on the card frame to white, in order to maintain the collecting value of the initial Limited print run.
As the challenge is an important part of the collecting process, Wizards of the Coast has made great effort to create challenges for its collectors. During Urza's Legacy, for instance, they introduced premium (foil) cards. From Friday Night Magic to prereleases to Player Rewards, Wizards tries to create lots of opportunities for promotional cards.
Products aimed at collectors
- Collectors' Edition and International Edition
- Collector Boosters / Booster Fun
- From the Vault series.
- The Signature Spellbook series.
- The Masterpiece Series
- All Mythic Editions
- The Secret Lair Drop Series
- Double Masters VIP Edition
- Art cards
- Mirrored cards
"Whale" is the nickname for collectors who are willing to spend large amounts of money on products. In the early days of Magic they were known as Mr. Suitcase.
- Mark Rosewater (June 05, 2006). "As Good As It Gets". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (April 26, 2004). "Collecting My Thoughts". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (May 27, 2020). "I’m just trying to be honest that in addition to a game, Magic is a collectible.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Collecting complete sets.. Reddit.
- New to MTG - want to start collecting cards for value, artwork and lore. What should I look out for?. Reddit.
- Question About Card Collecting. Reddit.
- What MTG cards do you COLLECT?. Reddit.
- After four years, it is finally over. Behold: One of Every Printing of Lightning Bolt.. Reddit.
- I'm collecting Jace!. Reddit.
- Collecting cards from Innistrad. Reddit.
- I like collecting the joke cards. What are the most interesting ones?. Reddit.
- Wizards of the Coast (May 4, 2016). "Official Reprint Policy". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ted Knutson (October 21, 2006). "Anatomy of a Magic Card". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.