If you've ordered Magic or Pokémon from TCGplayer before, you might be familiar with the Direct by TCGplayer program. But if you're like me and Yu-Gi-Oh's your main thing, you've probably never heard of it before.
Yu-Gi-Oh won't officially launch in Direct until January, but a soft preview begins today. So, I wanted to get the word out, before you start seeing a little blue Direct badge in your cart and wonder…
In a nutshell, Direct by TCGplayer is a shopper and seller program that changes the way your order gets to you. When you shop Direct, every package is authenticated by TCGplayer's team of experts. This means that real humans verify each product in your order for rarity, edition and condition: you get exactly what you ordered, in the condition listed on the marketplace, all in one package.
Direct lets TCGplayer deliver a better experience to you and to sellers but the sequence of events is slightly different than what you're used to.
When you shop through Direct:
If you were ordering from TCGplayer before Direct, you'd place your order, check out, and receive your cards in multiple packages, directly from each individual seller. This occurs because you're buying from thousands of different sellers. Remember, TCGplayer isn't a seller itself: it's a marketplace that connects you with thousands of independent sellers around the world.
TCGplayer's working with lots of big trusted sellers and buying up millions of dollars of Yu-Gi-Oh cards to get this thing going.
So how does Direct improve on that?
There are other great benefits when you order with Direct, too. For instance, when demand for a particular card is extremely high, Direct protects you from inventory errors.
If you've experienced an error like this before, on TCGplayer or anywhere else, it's usually because a seller listed one card for sale in multiple places: they might have that card in the case at their shop, but then also list it on their website, and eBay, and TCGplayer, and… well, you get it, right? The problem is that if a card sells on one platform, and you try to buy that same card from the same seller on a different platform, the seller can't honor the sale.
This happens most frequently during preorder season, or when news spikes demand and suddenly everybody wants the same card. But it doesn't happen with TCGplayer Direct.
Because the cards in Direct are shipped straight from TCGplayer, you'll always get your order, with no room for conflicting listings. Your order comes with a TCGplayer guarantee because the card is already sitting in their headquarters in Syracuse. If you've ever bought a card right before a big spike, and then had your order canceled because the listing wasn't updated in time, you probably had to buy it somewhere else at a higher price. And well, you know how frustrating that is. If you want to avoid it, TCGplayer's Direct program is the solution.
Fair question. Right now, the catch is that Yu-Gi-Oh in Direct is a work in progress. As of today you might see the Direct logo start to appear in your cart, or in the Optimizer tool. But bringing Yu-Gi-Oh to the Direct program is a huge endeavor. Our game has over 10,000 unique cards, many of them with 10 or more printings in different rarities. TCGplayer's adapted its Direct program like this before with Magic and Pokémon, so it's nothing new for them, but it takes time to build up the inventory and get Direct running at full power.
Rest assured, TCGplayer's working with lots of big trusted sellers and buying up millions of dollars of Yu-Gi-Oh cards to get this thing going. They're also introducing vendors to the program, making sure a strong group of sellers are on board before the full launch in January 2022.
Direct is about giving you more choice and more protection as a buyer
If you try to shop with Direct in 2021, you may have a great experience. TCGplayer may have all the cards you're looking for, and the sellers pricing those cards may be listing them at great prices. That could happen! But for the first few months you may hit one of these snags:
If you run into those situations, you'll probably just ignore the Direct option for now and shop on TCGplayer like normal. But TCGplayer's growing their inventory of Yu-Gi-Oh, and adding new sellers to Direct, literally every day, so it's going to get better and better.
By January the program should be in full swing, and from there, the Direct experience for Yu-Gi-Oh will only get stronger. TCGplayer will continue to build up inventory of the most-wanted Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and they'll keep welcoming more and more sellers into the Direct program.
More inventory and more sellers, means more cards available at better prices.
So yeah! If you see that little blue badge under a seller's name in your cart, now you know what it means. It's really exciting that Yu-Gi-Oh's moving into Direct, but it's a process, and it's just getting started. At the end of the day, Direct is about giving you more choice and more protection as a buyer, while giving sellers an easier way to sell their cards.
It's going to change the way we buy and sell cards, and it's a massive win-win for the Yu-Gi-Oh community. I hope you're as excited as I am!