The numbers are in! After months of waiting and weeks of product delays, Maximum Gold officially launches today, and we're looking at the top sellers from TCGplayer presales.
Yu-Gi-Oh's November and December release schedule is AGGRESSIVE, with product delays in October leading a whopping five releases in a six week period. Phantom Rage dropped last week, Maximum Gold hits today, and Structure Deck: Spirit Charmers arrives next Friday. From there we get a week to breathe, and then it's onto Genesis Impact December 4th and Speed Duel: Battle City Box December 11th. That means no matter how good all these releases are, most players will have to make some tough choices about where to spend their dueling dollars.
But despite that, presales of Maximum Gold cards were really strong. With many of the set's cards unconfirmed until release week, the presale period was only a few days long, but that was enough time to see some clear trends. There were some definitive winners based on the shape of current competition, as well as some big interest in classic cards that didn't have premium printings, plus some surprisingly big hits amongst the alternate arts.
So here they are: the Top 10 best-sellers from Maximum Gold presales.
Maximum Gold includes two versions of Cyber Dragon Infinity: one with the regular art, and Cyber Dragon Infinity (Alternate Art). Oddly, the classic version sold more than twice the copies of the alt art in presales, creating a notable price gap between the two cards.
It's no surprise to see Cyber Dragon Infinity in such demand - it's a highly playable card, for one of the biggest fan-favorite decks of all time.. But the disparity between the two versions is tough to explain; both versions went live on TCGplayer at the same time, but without photos some buyers - and even some sellers - might have been confused about which version was which.
This is the only regular Rare card that made the Top 10, and it's very clear why this is here: all six Barrier Statues were printed 14 years ago in Cyberdark Impact, and apart from the OTS Pack 4 versions of Barrier Statue of the Torrent and Barrier Statue of the Inferno, none of them were ever reprinted. Cyberdark Impact was a pretty big flop at its time of release, the Barrier Statues were allegedly short prints, and lots of players trashed their copies as the years passed. That's always made them tricky to track down.
But Union Carrier arrival in March flipped the script, ushering in combos with Simorgh, Bird of Sovereignty that suddenly made Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds more relevant. That drove Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds to about $3.50, and by June it was firmly in the $5 to $6 range, where it remained until the end of August. With the more attractive gold-stamped Rare now going for less than 50 cents, lots of players are picking up copies now, because they could never bring themselves to pay 5 bucks for battered old commons from CDIP.
Will the combos involving Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds see more play? Ehh, seems unlikely. But if we see some format shifts in December or January that drive those plays back into the spotlight, a lot of competitors will be ready to go.
We saw this with releases like last year's 2019 Gold Sarcophagus Tin: when there's a new, hot looking version of Monster Reborn people buy it. That Prismatic Secret Rare from last summer was on our Market Watch Top 10 lists for weeks, despite very few decks in competition actually running Reborn at the time, and this feels like an echo of that situation.
This time around Monster Reborn seeing play in Dragon Link, still the deck-to-beat in the minds of most, so there's likely demand here from both nostalgists and collectors, as well as actual competitors. The Prismatic version's still under two bucks and this Premium Gold Rare may never spike much on secondary, but it's a fantastic looking card for a bargain basement price.
Herald of the Arc Light similar; it's had a few printings since it first dropped in The New Challengers in 2014, and it's not particularly expensive at 3 to 4 dollars. But it's never had a premium printing: the first three times it appeared it was a Super Rare in NECH, NECH Super Edition, and the 2015 Mega-Tins. It got upgraded to an Ultra Rare a year ago in Battles of Legend: Hero's Revenge, but it's never had anything like a Secret Rare, Ultimate Rare, Prismatic, or Ghost Rare treatment.
Now as a Premium Gold Rare, it's never looked better and it's never been cheaper, either. This was a big card this year, appearing in anything that ran Crystron Halqifibrax - from Adamancipators and Eldlich, to Infernobles, Dragon Link, and even modern Nekroz. With Draitron on the way in Genesis Impact, this card's only going to get bigger in the coming weeks.
One of the most iconic spell cards of all time in old school Yu-Gi-Oh, Reinforcement of the Army still sees play today in decks like Infernoble and still represents the gold standard for search spells. Reinforcement of the Army been printed a total of at least 22 times, but it's been a non-foil 16 times, a maligned Gold Rare twice, and even a Platinum Rare. Desirable premium printings are lacking.
Now it looks fantastic as a Premium Gold Rare and demand for it was strong. The only thing holding this printing back is the equally schmexy-looking Secret Rare coming next month as one of the random premiums in Speed Duel: Battle City Box.
Miscellaneousaurus is one of the biggest staples of all time for Dinosaur decks, but for almost four years, it's never been available as more than a common. Dino fans who were heartbroken by its common print in the 2017 Mega-Tins finally get vindication this time around, as Miscellaneousaurus makes it is first ever foil appearance as a Premium Gold Rare.
Played both to support Dogmatika, and to counter Dogmatika - specifically the effect of Dogmatika Maximus - Elder Entity N'tss saw peaks this year where it cost as much as $7.50. That price tag was pretty absurd for a niche tech card, especially one that was a largely ignored pack-in from a widely distributed Mega-Tin. Especially since it was a frankly dumpy-looking Super Rare. But now that it's a dollar for the Premium Gold Rare - which looks particularly sweet with the gold foil offsetting the purple card border - players piled in to snap up their copies.
Speculation made a notable impact here, with the average buy per customer being in the 3 to 4 copy range. That's more than a Dogmatika deck would usually play, let alone the players looking to tech just one copy.
Speaking of speculation, we saw a similar trend with Super Polymerization, a card that's not really seeing play right now but remains a threat from the sidelines. Super Polymerization could always be viable again at the drop of a hat, and while there are plenty of affordable copies to go around - including the Ultra Rare from Duel Devastator, currently about $2.50 - the Secret Rares and especially the Ultimate Rare are WAY up there, making the new Premium Gold Rare look really good at 2 bucks.
Droll & Lock Bird (Alternate Art)
Droll & Lock Bird drifts in and out of competition, but it's seen significant play in periods of 2020, and even the non-foil printings have regularly cost 5 to 8 dollars or more. The new Droll & Lock Bird (Alternate Art) started the week off at about 4 dollars, but it's way up now, pushing 10 dollars. The alt art's a nice redux, and the leap to Premium Gold Rare is a vast improvement over the Starstrike Blast rare and the Structure Deck common.
And finally, despite huge sales of the 2020 Tin reprint for the last couple of months, Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess (Alternate Art) was by far the best-selling card from Maximum Gold presales!
And it wasn't even close. Either a lot of players were holding out for this version, or lots of people just wanted to upgrade from the Ultra Rare to the Premium Gold Rare. Whatever the reason the sales here were surprising.
…If you're thinking it was price, that didn't even seem to be a factor: while the new Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess 6 bucks now, it was more like 8 to 9 dollars for most of the week, comparable to the 2020 Tin Ultra Rare. I think the art's just a really big factor here: I prefer the original myself, but lots of people really like the new illustration, and it's definitely a strong take on a character that's slowly become iconic for competitive players.
What else was big from Maximum Gold? Forbidden Chalice almost made the Top 10 at Number 11. The much-needed reprint of The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche came in at Number 12, while Aleister the Invoker (Alternate Art) came in at Number 13. Blue-Eyes White Dragon clocked the Number 14 spot; it's a pretty big pull right now at 11 bucks, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon always a big seller as collectors try to figure out which printings have investment potential.
Chaos Dragon Levianeer took Number 15, and interestingly enough, Eldlich the Golden Lord put forth a strong showing at Number 16. It saw pretty big orders for such a short presale period, surprising since it's the set's second most valuable card at 20 to 23 dollars. Be ready to see more Eldlich in your playgroups, because players are picking them up now that the price is no longer stuck in the stratosphere.
That's all for now, but join us next week when we see the continued market impact of Maximum Gold! Stick with us through the weekend for an awesome Melffy article from Loukas Peterson, and don't miss Johnny Li's article today, breaking down the new Pot of Disparity and asking, "What makes a Yu-Gi-Oh card good?"