Hello, you may all know me as "stEEl_clAw" in the ladder. Anyway, this will be short and sweet to cover some things I figure may be important, and perhaps overlooked by others, but here we go anyways:
Well, the State of Harry Potter is not very good, admit it. The TCG is lacking in popularity, and perhaps the reason for this is three things: The lack of sales, the lack of "broken" cards, and the lack of major competitions.
The lack of sales is probably not hindered at all by the religious groups with their criticism of Harry Potter and its "occult" themes, however if they decide to boycott WotC for HP, WotC may not be harmed at all. Magic the Gathering, Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, and Pokémon are some of its biggest sellers (judging by the amount of face-time they get on Wizard's front page), all of which are also the subject of religious disdain. MLB Showdown, their baseball TCG may be hurt by it, however I have no knowledge of the game itself and for all I know may also be disliked by them.
Most likely the sales problem is because of what happened to pokémon, making parents scared of investing in another TCG (we must build back that investor confidence!).
As for the lack of "broken" cards in the game, this is yet another comparison to pokémon, where some of the most powerful cards were in the Base set such as Electabuzz, Oak, Pluspower, and the ever-lovable Charizard. Games were often fast and exciting back in the ‘day (first turn wins, oh yeah!). There are no "broken" cards in Harry Potter, and all the powerful cards in the game come at a very high cost. Obliviate, Philosopher's Stone and the like take a long time to get out, a lot more lesson playing, and a lot less action unless you wanted to play cheap and fast but relatively weak cards (except a few, read below). WotC seems to be getting the idea with the most recent set, Adventures at Hogwarts, when they came out with Gargoyles (they are very good, but easy to counter), but I have yet to see any cards besides those that are even close to "broken". Sometimes people do not appreciate that the power of the overpowered cards extends much farther than just the playing environment. It affects Single-card prices (if you check them, you'll see the best cards cost the most), booster pack prices (buy the set with the strongest cards of course), and popularity of the game in general. I doubt Pokémon would be as popular as it was during the Jungle set if the Base Set didn't have the Haymaker, Rain Dance, and Damage Swap decks, which are, incidentally full of "broken" cards and very fun to play. This is not to say I think the Harry Potter TCG is boring, but without a fast and powerful start to get the new players "hooked", it may have a lot of work to do.
As for the major competition issue, I have not heard of any major HP tournaments at GenCon, Origins, and the like. Of course there may be some leagues there, but there is no HP equivalent to MtG's Pro Tours or Pokémon's Tropical Mega Battle. In fact, I could not find anything about Harry Potter in the DCI's website. Assuming I searched thoroughly enough, that means no sanctioned tournaments. Which means no DCI rankings. Which means less competition. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only places I know of where to play the Harry Potter TCG is either the leagues (if you are near one), or online. After the 4th Harry Potter set, one could expect that they should set up something on a bigger scale than just the leagues.
However, we must all remember that WotC is a business, and they are out to make money, no matter what we think of it, because that's the whole concept of business. And the large-scale tournaments cost them a lot of money to sponsor the people, the prizes, the location, etc. They obviously don't think the sales and attendance will be high enough to make money off the event, so they won't hold it. And if they won't hold it, the sales may very well suffer. And if the sales suffer... well you get the idea. All in all I would encourage buying the cards so maybe us players can "bribe" WotC into caring about Harry Potter, and also because the holofoils and the art is good.
Hmm well it didn't turn out to be very short, or very sweet. I predict a bleak future for this good game if things keep going on like this.
For comments, disagreements or agreements, and the like
P.S. Yes I am one of the people who runs a league but the attendance is terrible-we're lucky to get 5 people on any given week.