Is Yu-Gi-Oh Worth The Money?

Yu-Gi-Oh Money

There are lots of answers for this question.  Before I get a stampede of angry armchair economists sending me emails mentioning “supply and demand” and “it’s worth whatever people are willing to pay”, yes that’s obvious.  I’ve taken a few Econ courses.  I’m not contesting that at all.  The question is: Is it worth it for you?

It’s Legitimate

There is nothing wrong with spending hundreds or thousands on Yugioh if you have the money to spend and enjoy it.  Many used to ask me how I could afford to justify spending $30+ on a piece of paper.  This is a really glib argument.  Anything can be broken down into basic elements if all context were removed.  Money is just piece of paper.  A laptop is just a hunk of metal.  A diamond is just a rock.

Lots of people blow money in much more socially acceptable ways: drinking, gambling, restaurants, designer clothes, vacations, flashy cars, home renovations which don’t raise the home value and electronic devices similar to ones they have.  There are a lot of expensive hobbies out there: golfing, wine-collecting, building computers and so on.  Truly, “Is Yugioh worth the money” can be replaced with “Is any expensive hobby that brings enjoyment worth it”?

It’s Relative

We all have different means, budgets and priorities.  Some players I’ve met make enough money to buy a lot of rare cards like it’s nothing.  The majority are regular people working regular jobs (cashiers, security guards, cooks, etc.), but they are passionate about Yugioh so they are willing to spend a large chunk of disposable income on the game.

Life Gets In The Way

Many players who are working on building up their career eventually reach the point where they are able to afford to spend much more on the game than before.  However, by then, their life has changed.  Work takes up a lot of their time.  They pick up a new social circle and new hobbies with it.  Marriage and children demand their focus; my duel with a good friend of mine who had a wife 8 months pregnant felt something like Yugi’s final duel with Atem.

Kids Have It Easy(ier)

Most players who afford rare cards with ease aren’t in the peak of their careers but rather children and teens with no basic living expenses to pay.  When I was 10, my parents bought my cards for me.  Throughout teenhood, I still got cards for christmas and birthdays, and I was able to supplement the rest through part-time jobs and small gigs.  Now that I work, I’m more careful in how i spend my money.  

Life Gets In The Way

Now I’m in my 20’s and I’m more practical.  Between college and living expenses, money that I do earn is spent very carefully.  I just bought a laptop (my old one died).  I’m saving up for a decent car and a studio mic right now.  At the moment, I see buying cards as just a distraction from my other goals.

Yugioh Has Become More Expensive

Konami has done some crazy price gouging in the past several years.  When I first started playing the game, the expensive cards were staples (Breaker, DDWL, Snatch Steal, etc.).  Some of these cards costed a whopping $20-30 each, but they lasted us for years, though.  Now, it’s become a regular thing to just spend $500+ on a deck (Qliphort, Nekroz, Dragon Ruler) before it becomes obsolete in 6-12 months.  Even close friends of mine who have always played competitively have taken a hiatus or two during expensive and degenerate formats.  I’ve reached the point where I lost interest in the cycle.

As An Investment?

With many of the rare cards purchased lasting only months before dropping in value, the concept of cards holding their value isn’t as true.  By increasing power creep and printing more holos per box than ever, Konami is sort of creating inflation.  If playing for the fun, don’t let that stop you.  The aspect of holding onto a collection (which once appealed to me) is not the same.  A consumer can get at least 5 years out of electronics, clothes, furniture and so on. 

Playing On A Budget

I wrote an article on profiting, which gives a lot of helpful tips in saving money while playing. Older cards are cheap so older formats are possible.  Goat format is a prime example.  Online play (DN is down but DevPro is still up).  I’ve dueled friends with only proxy index cards.  I miss holding and owning physical cards, but to be honest, I’ve grown fond of just being able to duel without spending time tracking down cards.