I was very excited to receive the first of the Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures boosters I ordered! I was able to purchase 3 Aberrations boosters from Amazon at less than the current case price ($19.95 each). That is VERY rare in any kind of collectible hobby, as almost always the rule is that the more you buy, the less you pay. (And yes, that was all that was available, if there were more at that price, I would have bought them)
After I received them, I might be able to explain why they were so cheap. Two of the 3 boosters had the glue popped on the top and bottom. While this is not ultimately suspicious by itself, as I’ve had the same happen even pulling boosters from sealed cases, after examining the contents things do become a little clearer. My two rares of the two open packages are Ogre Zombie and Half-Elf Bow Initiate, the two least valuable rares in the set. While it is possible the seller had no idea and it is just bad luck on my part, I am inclined to think the seller ‘looted’ the good packs for himself, either to keep or to resell, and then put the junk up on Amazon. If my math is right (and I’m not a statistics major by any stretch of the imagination, so feel free to correct me), the odds of getting any 2 specific rares after opening two packs (assuming they are from the same case and that) is something like 1/576 (1/24 x 1/24). If I had received a Mind Flayer Telepath and a Wyvern, I would call that ‘luck’; however, I think I’ll call this ‘getting the Half-Elf Zombow’.
I considered complaining and returning the items, which would have been justifiable as they had been sold as ‘new’ (but were obviously opened)…however, as this hobby is supposed to be fun for me, I decided to use the two boosters as part of my first round of sealed skirmish. I make my living in e-commerce and have done very well for my family; however many aren’t so lucky. So I figure the guy who sold these needed the Mind Flayer more than me.
However, at this point I will warn folks that if you don’t know what you are doing, it is possible to be scammed a number of ways in collectible games (and I assume the same is true with any collectible with a random element). I remember being able to predict which booster in an Underdark case had a Balor in it. I heard stories of store owners using this technique in sets where the heaviest Rares were also the most valuable, Underdark being the most consistent. If I remember correctly, at one point WOTC talked about ‘weighting’ boosters to prevent this from occurring. Magic the Gathering had something similar occur (though it might have been another game), where because the packaging of the cards was at one point slightly translucent, folks were able to jiggle the cards around and see the rare. The best rares would either be kept for a personal collection or cracked and sold. Some might think this isn’t too egregious, but considering it leaves the scraps for the common folks, I think it is a heinous practice, and I would never play at a store where I suspected this happened.
In any case, I feel bad for the little Aberrations warband I’ve built and I am pretty sure it will be knocked out in the first skirmish by whatever arrives next (either Unhallowed or Night Below), but I’ll give it the old college try! I’ll let you know what I pulled from the two boosters and the warband I built next time here at Playing With Myself!