In the past, I’ve given praise to Konami for releasing older cards, previously exclusive to the OCG in the Astral Packs (available only at Tournaments). While it’s the thought that counts, I’m going to be clear and say stop doing that.
To give you a sample, here’s some prices on eBay of cards:
Utter insanity. These were just released last year, printed as commons; why are we being dicked around here? Well to begin, Tournament Packs are not what they used to be. Even if you look at the very first Tournament Pack, you can still find commons for a few dollars, at most. The cards actually got a better release, despite the game being so new. What’s more, this was at a stage where the cards were still relevant during the early stages of the game in America. To elaborate, what purpose does serve to release a card like Gruesome Goo in 2014? In trying to bring the OCG exclusive cards to the TCG, it’s a very careless way of dumping the cards off in small quantities and saying “there, I did it.” Yes, some Tournament Pack cards were rare and expensive. But the difference is that it strictly applied to cards that were stronger and rarer, y’know, adding purpose to the rarity. These are outdated cards that are underproduced just to hose fans because they can.
Like I said before, people playing competitively (i.e. where these packs are given out) don’t care about these; it’s the old school enthusiasts and collectors. Meanwhile, while Konami’s alienating old and new players with drastically different gameplay changes, Astral Packs are getting less popular. So in the end, it’s the collector’s that have to pay $10 for a fucking Kamionwizard. To be honest here, my life is not consumed with Yu-Gi-Oh!; even a single card above $3 is enough to make me think before buying it. But with these basic common cards, it’s getting harder to rationalize that purchase. We’re all glad to see classic cards get released… but we’re not paying $10 or $15 for a card that should be no more than $1.
So to end this, I’d like to bring up instances where Konami properly handled the predicament of bringing unreleased cards, inapplicable to the current game, into the TCG. The best is through booster packs; look at Abyss Rising, Storm of Ragnarok, Absolute Powerforce, or Starstrike Blast. Konami put in a few old cards to the mix, and it worked great. Nothing that consumed the set, but definitely made the cards available to those who wanted it. In my mind, this adds more appeal to buying booster packs. Next, there’s various special editions. Number Hunters, Premium Packs, Premium Collection, Gold Collections, etc… These are more specialized bundles as opposed to booster packs, but are still widely available in stores where average fans can access them. The best example is Legendary Collection 3: Joey’s World. It’s an incredibly large set of older cards, many reprinted, and many available for the first time. Very effective way to release that large a set of cards.
So summarize, Astral Packs suck because they give weak cards to players who aren’t interested in them, and would force fans of the original game to participate in tournaments that are generally unappealing. Konami has many valid ways to release old cards – Astral Packs are not one of them.