Edit: this is an April Fool’s joke.
If you have noted a bit less activity here on the blog lately, it might have to do with the fact that I’ve been spending a good amount of work on a very special project which I’m proud to introduce today: Premodern Premium.
In short, Premodern Premium is a paid subscription service for premium content. The idea is to go deeper on some themes that are typically not covered on this website, such as in-depth matchup and meta-game analyses, play-by-plays and sideboarding guides.
Moreover, a non-trivial share of the Premodern Premium articles will focus solely on the financial aspects of the format. “MTG finance” is, admittedly, a sensitive topic, and I have thus far avoided it altogether, on this website as well as on the official social media channels. The rationale for this, up to this point, has been three-fold. First, I naturally wanted to focus on the game-play aspects of the format, in order to establish it as a format in the first place. Second, touching on financial aspects always seems to spur infected discussions about buyouts, the Reserved List and the status of gold bordered cards, proxies etc. Such discussions are a turn-off for a lot of people, and they are not very constructive anyways (it’s not like anyone of us can reverse the Reserved List, right?). Third, when Premodern started it was truly a budget-friendly format, so financial aspects were not even that relevant. With the recent price surges, this is clearly not true anymore.
With the Premodern Premium format, however, I feel comfortable adding the topic of finance to the menu, as the readers will be interested and have a “non-offensive” approach to the matter, by means of self-selection.
Premodern Premium will be available as a subscription service at three different “tiers”, or different price points, if you will. (Strictly speaking, there will be four tiers, but we get at that towards the end.)
Let’s have a closer look at the different tiers. But before that, let me clarify that the underlying principle for having a tiered subscription in the first place is that you should only pay for the content that you’re interested in (mostly, anyways). Please note that the details are still to be ironed out, and the final form will depend on your feedback, and to a smaller extent on technical aspects. In fact, the main rationale for this teaser, rather than an outright release, is that I want to get your feedback on the tier system and the associated price-points before finalizing the details.
Bronze tier: Lurker
Suggested price: $1 per month or $10 per year.
The Bronze tier (“Lurker”) provides you with a login to the Premodern Premium part of the website, and allows you to navigate the interface and browse among all articles. However, “lurkers” can only access the title and the preamble (1–2 paragraphs) of each article! In case you find something that piques your interest, there will either be a possibility to pay for single articles, or to temporary upgrade your subscription to a higher tier. The Bronze tier is perfect for those of you who are very specific in your interests (sideboard guide for The Rock, eh?) or for those who just want to keep an ear to the ground, without wanting to commit too much time or money quite yet. After all, a year’s subscription costs significantly less than a Didgeridoo.
Silver tier: Archivist
Suggested price: $5 per month or $50 per year
Silver tier users (“Archivists”) can browse and properly access all premium articles. This includes access to a searchable archive of all previously published premium articles. The Silver tier is, I believe, the go-to choice for most Premodern Premium users. But if you want to take it to the next level, you should also consider…
Gold tier: Miner
Suggested price: $10 per month or $100 per year
Besides giving you access to all articles, the Gold tier (“Miner”) also gives you access to a unique database of tournament results, prices and playtest statistics. This database will be accessible through a separate user interface for making on-the-fly tables, diagrams and simple analyses, as well being available for download in a structured format (e.g. csv). The ambition is to provide daily updated price data and AI-generated trend analyses covering all of the Premodern card pool. Hence, the Gold tier is a must for those of you who are active on the cardboard market, and/or for those of you with a substantial Premodern collection. And I know for a fact that there a lot spreadsheet nerds, data scientists and proper statisticians in the Premodern community that would love to be “miners” too. 🙂
Buy, hold or sell?
I want to stress that most of the data available through this tier won’t be available elsewhere, or at the very least not in the same form. So don’t expect some lazily scraped “TCG median” price mess. The whole thing will be carefully curated and geared towards Premodern and towards making buy and sell decisions way ahead of the curve, not only based on mechanical price trends, but also by means of analyzing the popularity and performance of certain cards. E.g., do The Rock decks with Tainted Pact overperform, and to what extent is this already “priced in”, in the market price of said card?
At this point, you might already be scratching your head if it’s worth getting a subscription (and which one!). To make that decision a bit easier, there will be a no-questions-asked full refund policy within 30 days, if you’re not happy with what you get. Likewise you’ll be able to upgrade your subscription tier at any point in time, paying only the difference between the new and the old fee (the same principle applies if you decide to go from monthly to annual subscription).
If the info so far has been a bit too abstract, here are a few sample titles of articles that are already in the pipeline, or in some cases at the draft stage, for Premodern Premium:
- Undiscovered paradises? Investing in Premodern niche lands
- All that glitters is not gold bordered
- Chain of Smog, chain of fools? How other formats affect Premodern prices
- When to side out your Black Vises when playing Stasis — A game theoretic approach
- Survie du plus apte — A primer on foreign language cards arbitrage
- How many lands in Sligh? The limitations of Monte Carlo simulations
- How many Tormod’s Crypt should I own?
- I played a hundred Pink Prison mirror matches, so that you don’t have to
- Yawgmoth’s Bargain — five banned cards to buy
- Choosing the optimal split between Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast
- Short Squees — could we make money off goblins?
The above articles are by yours truly, but Premodern Premium will include articles by other prominent Premodern profiles as well—some of them are already signed up and will reveal themselves within the next few days. In any case, the aim is to provide high quality up-to-date Premodern content that you’ll not find elsewhere, and I’ll take on the role as editor to ensure that also when it comes to articles provided by other authors,
Keep calm and carry on
If the above didn’t tickle your fancy, don’t worry! The open part of the Premodern website will remain free, and you’ll still be able to enjoy “pauper” articles every now and then on the blog, e.g. tournament reports and normal deck techs. The idea with Premodern Premium is to add something new, not to take something away.
And as I already mentioned, the tiers and their pricing are still preliminary and I’d really appreciate if you reach out on social media, or directly to me, and provide your honest feedback! I still haven’t decided on a technical platform for managing payments and subscriptions. Patreon is a candidate, but it’s unclear whether it’s flexible enough for this purpose.
Oh, one more thing before I sign off, since I mentioned that there are actually four tiers…
Premodern Patron: Druid
Suggested price: disclosed/upon request, one-time payment
Premodern Patrons (“Druids”) enjoy all of the perks of Gold tier subscribers but will also play an active role in shaping the Premodern format, going forward. The influence of the Druids will be formalized by means of recurring meetings (“Councils”), where the general state and direction of the format is discussed, including ban list decisions. All Druids must take an oath not to disclose what is discussed at the Councils.
The number of Druids will at all times be limited to nine, and each Druid gets one vote at the Council (with my own vote being the tenth, and counting as tiebreaker). The Druid tier doesn’t require a subscription fee, but instead a (sizeable) one-time payment, associated with lifetime Druid status. However, this status can, at any point in the future, be sold at the seller’s own discretion and price (subject to a ten percent seller fee, so as to provide an incentive for stability). Hence, becoming a Druid doesn’t only provide a tool for leveraging one’s MTG investments by influencing the card pool and the ban list — the position is an investment in itself!
It goes without saying that this tier is only for a select few who are heavily interested and invested in the format. A couple of the seats are already filled, and at this point I don’t plan to open up the remaining positions publicly. But if I haven’t reached out to you already, and you’re seriously interested, you’re welcome to reach out to me in private, so that we can discuss the terms.
This was a lot to take in, yet it was only a teaser. Let me know what you think, and stay tuned for when we launch the new Premodern Premium part of the website towards the end of April.
Until next time!