Promos – Part 4: The Most Volatile Market

NOTE: This article was written as part of a series that I prepared prior to launching the site. As such, some of the information became obsolete before release. I’ve preserved the original text to give an authentic representation of where I was on these things at the time, but I’ve added italics text with my current thoughts to any time-sensitive information, and tweaked a couple facts about release quantities with more up-to-date information.

As I mentioned in the first article in this series, I started writing these promo overviews up as part of the backlog I was/am attempting to create for the site prior to launch. I figured I’d take two to three weeks of writing to bank some articles on longer reaching topics and then intersperse those with current content that I was writing as the site was live. However, fool that I am, I didn’t adequately respect how absurdly fast all things FAB-related change. Brazenly, I thought it was a pretty safe time to do something like this. The big tournaments had calmed down for a bit, Unlimited sets and wave two of Crucible of War were about to release, and Monarch spoilers seemed like they’d be quite a ways off.

I thought we were finally entering a period of momentary calm in the FAB market, and then today, after a long drive I check my phone to see that my Discord directs had blown up during my time in the car. At first I assumed it was election-related, since, at this time, the outcome of the US presidential election was still undecided. But no, they were all from FAB people. I started opening them to discover that the sky was either falling or at least looking kind of unsteady on its feet. Turns out, more Arcane Rising Adult heroes were about to hit the market.

“Wait a second,” you say, “what’s this business about ARC hero promos? You talked about Rainbow Young Heroes way back in Part 1, but I don’t remember anything about any ARC hero promos.”

“Ah yes, that’s certainly a bit awkward,” I respond, likely trying not to look you in the eye, “I kind of forgot to put those in?” it’s half statement half question.

“Well,” you start, then pause, noting that I’ve drawn you into a fictionalized narrative without your consent and made you sound kind of demanding on top of it. You pivot attempting to preserve your good name by offering a reasonable solution, “you haven’t even released Part 1 yet; you just said it up there. Couldn’t you just, you know, go back and re-write the earlier articles to include them and then we wouldn’t need to be having this discussion?”

I do my best impression of the cringing emoji. Quietly, I take a sip of my beer (Prarie’s Bomb! for the curious beer snobs and/or lovers of parentheticals). I open up documents and look at word counts. It’s grim. I start to have flashbacks of restructuring twenty page academic papers in grad school. My eyes glaze over; this sounds a lot like editing. Tentatively, I produce a counter offer, “How about I stop this weird narrative aside and just talk about them now, and then we’ll call it even?”

I take your silence as acceptance of the proposed bargain.

Buy-a-Box Promos (and a special guest!)

Be patient, we’ll get to the ARC promos in good time. We’ll ease into this topic by touching on the less impactful buy a box promos. You might recall from previous entries in this series that the armory Cold Foil weapons were given out as rewards for pretty much everything from playing in armory events, to giving Rudy your money, to doing your chores. Hell, they might have given them out in lieu of “I voted” stickers this year, I can’t even remember where I got all of these things from at this point. In any case, the reliable old armory promos were issued once again as Buy-a-Box promos or Unlimited ARC and WTR (they must have either printed an absolutely absurd number of these, or else there were multiple printings and only the first one is noted in the Collector’s Centre so I lean towards the “printing a ton” scenario). We’ve touched on these before, so we’ll move onto the CRU Buy-a-Box promos.

Way back in the halcyon days of August when we were eagerly awaiting the release of CRU and using $65 boxes of WTR as coasters, the important thing to do was figuring out which retailer was going to have Rainbow Foil promos of the adult WTR heroes. These were a very cool add on, and for the bulk of the US player base were our first realization that FAB promos had value. These started out at $80 for a set of 4 before spiking around $120 then going down to the present price of $60 or so. Still, by Buy-a-Box standards these were a pretty solid freebie (I mean, they’re no Team Covenant Scar for a Scar, but then again, what is?). This was part of the news I referred to above, these promos were going to be distributed alongside the second wave of CRU but only in certain markets that hadn’t gotten them the first time (see the release news). That was all well and good, but there was something noteworthy about the image LSS used to advertise these


Alright, so they get some more heroes what’s the big deal? Well, two weeks prior to this announcement, the market was valuing these at around $200-300 apiece. The price spike had raised some eyebrows, and suddenly more were showing up as people decided to cash out as these had been more in the $30-40 range a few weeks prior. How did this all come about? Well, this is awkward, but I think it might be my fault. I’m not trying to sound overly important here, I genuinely feel pretty awkward about it – much like the Team Covenant Scar for a Scar situation, I feel like this started when I tried to be open and share the best information I had from what I deemed an authoritative source (in the case of Scar, my info comes from public Discord conversations with Zach Bunn, CEO of Team Covenant, and as we’re about to see, my ARC promo info was straight from LSS’ site).

Our story begins when one of the #wall-street regulars on Discord PM’ed me to ask how I valued the RF adult heroes. I had bought my adult and young hero ARC promos weeks prior for what I considered a fairly good price of $10-25 apiece, but with rising prices and increased interest in the game, I felt like they were more in the $30-40 range. Because I’m an obsessive who can only engage with things at effort levels of 10% or 100%, I decided to do a bit of quick double checking before I gave my answer, and in doing so, I stumbled upon this page on the LSS site. There are a couple key pieces of information here that you can review –for starters you can see how these promos were distributed, which saves me the trouble of writing it up– but we’re not looking at this page just because I’m too lazy to write up another summary of card distribution methods, we’re here to do some math. You see, something stood out to me on this page. It was one of the first sentences “Pre-release events are limited to the first 250 stores globally who schedule a pre-release event” as you look down on the page you’ll see that “Locations running an ARC pre-release will have the following on offer:” and then we see that among the items to be distributed are 4 of each young hero and 2 of each adult hero card. Some quick second grade math told me that this meant a total of 500 of each adult hero and 1000 of each young hero were potentially distributed (the 250 was a maximum and I had no clue if it had been hit).

This seemed like kind of a big deal. If I was reading the page correctly, RF adult heroes were rarer than Alpha Hearts. I sent my interlocutor the link and told him that I was going to go bring this up in Discord to sanity check myself. I posted the article there and asked something like “am I crazy, or are these rarer than hearts?” From that conversation I saw the article begin to circulate, listings went up, and sales started to climb.

And that brings us back to this announcement. First, to clarify, we have no clue how plentiful these will be, so I don’t have any meaningful projections of future prices. But, this highlights a thread that runs through this whole series of articles: We have no guarantee that LSS won’t reprint any promo at any time in any number or that they aren’t sitting on a massive pile of any given promo just waiting to hand them out. The next month is going to be interesting. **As a follow up as, I go to post his article weeks after writing it, the adult foil heroes have been distributed one again via ChannelFireball’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday bundles alongside the extended art cards from the season 1 and 2 Armory kits)

Closing Thoughts

When asked about promos. I always give the same advice: If you want them for your collection or to play, buy them at a price that you’re OK paying with the idea that they could lose the majority of their value instantly if a new injection is shot into the market. If you want to use them to make money, only buy promos if someone is selling under market price and your intention is to flip them immediately – don’t assume that you’ll get more out of them in three months, because, for all you know, in two months LSS might hand out another thousand copies to Alpha Investments. The only exception to this rule are promos that come with some guarantee of limited printings or exclusivity. Team Covenant’s promos, fall in this category with the caveats that I discussed in Part 3.

Given all the promos we’ve discussed, what would I advise you do with them if your mind is oriented towards profit? Here are my hot takes and the logic that informs them, do with it as you will:

-Sell Go Bananas immediately. If people are willing to pay $200-250 on this card, you should take it and be happy. As I noted in Part 3, there is abundant evidence that more of them will be distributed in the future. These things were $20-30 before someone decided that they were rarities, and the market just went along with it.

These have since fallen significantly with ebay auctions for the Alpha Investments promo bundle (One of each cold foil Rare potion and a Go Bananas) selling between $100-150 total. If you can get $100 or close to it out of a Bananas, I think that’s a good deal. I would value them at $30-40 max as we know more are coming.

-Sell ARC young heroes – if the rarer adult ARC heroes can be distributed again, there is no reason to assume that the more plentiful young heroes won’t also be given out again.

I stand by this.

-Strongly consider selling WTR Young Heroes. The redistribution of the ARC young heroes should have substantially shaken your confidence in these. Maybe they don’t ever reprint these and the cards get staggeringly expensive. That could happen, but they could also reprint them (or distribute more, if they have them sitting around) and prices will absolutely nose dive. With people trying to sell these around $300-500, they feel way too risky to me.

Prices on these have slumped to the low end of this band with $300-350 being the biggest asks I see these days and generally with no bites. I think everyone is holding their breath on these, but with LSS releasing some promo print run numbers, these could potentially break hard one way or the other. I don’t like this sort of bet personally, as it’s quite risky.

-Consider buying CF ARC and WTR weapons. This sounds counter intuitive since I’ve been harping on how many times these have been reprinted, but I would be willing to take a bet that this current distribution is the last time we’ll see these handed out. If they get back down to $20 or so, that seems like a reasonable floor. Long term, these still have a lot of upside because until we see evidence to the contrary, cold foils hold value. Like WTR and ARC common CF’s, even if there are a fair amount relative to the current player base, the room for growth is significant, and it doesn’t take much to push demand over supply.

I’m still on this plan. If they get back to their old floor or there about, I’m a buyer because these are going to be desirable for years to come and those $20-25 prices aren’t a ton of money to put in from something to sit on

-If you don’t have an LGS, make your pre-orders with Team Covenant… just don’t assume you’ll ever see Scar for a Scar level returns again. Right now, the best Buy-a-Box promos belongs to Team Covenant as the only retailers with a competitive play-legal unique promo.  With the goal of these to be playable generics, they should always have solid value and be rarer than the generic Buy-a-Box promo.

I remain bullish on these, and it’s worth noting that TC will likely sell out of pre-order posts, which you might as well get in on now since they won’t charge you until right before release, and you’ll have an option to back out

-Don’t buy CF Adult Heroes for hundreds of dollars. Until we hear otherwise, assume these will be awarded for years to come at Premier OP events, and consider the potential number of such events the US could support once we have a COVID vaccine. These will likely never be harder to come by than they are now.

Still very much my thought. Though ebay prices remain high $450-500 copies often sit around in selling channels and FB. I still very much thing that over time prices on these will be driven back down

For now, that wraps up our long strange journey though the many initial promos available for FAB. Rest assured, I’ll be writing about the CF Crazy Brew soon.

*Header Image: Talishar, the Lost Prince by Carlos Chuchaga

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