This past weekend a Reddit user going by LATIN0 posted an image of what they estimated to be six pallets of Magic: The Gathering card (opens in new tab)s that had been dumped at their local landfill. What would be a treasure trove to a dedicated player was taken as a curiosity by LATIN0, who only knew the game existed from a decade of Reddit use. So they snapped a picture, dumped their trash, and moved on with their life. Later, they posted the quirky picture to Reddit alongside a few more pictures (opens in new tab) of opened sealed packs.
All without knowing that the retail value of those pallets and boxes was, at a conservative bent, something to the order of $100,000. Depending on contents, however, that could easily have been more than $250,000 worth of MTG cards, containing as it did a mix of Secret Lair, Modern Horizons 2, and Unfinity cards spanning 2019 through the end of 2022. That higher figure is if more of the valuable cards like Modern Horizons, which retail for near twice the price of a regular MTG pack, or the nicer Secret Lair cards were present. Either way, it doesn’t matter now—you can’t take stuff from a landfill, so almost all of the cards got left there by LATIN0 and their coworkers.
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Naturally people flipped out to a truly unreasonable degree, demanding more pictures, an explanation, and that the person they had never met return and grab all the cards they could. By LATIN0’s return the next day, spurred on by internet strangers’ estimations of the vast fortune at hand, the cards had been through what happens to everything at a landfill within 24 or so hours: Run over by a bunch of bulldozers, then buried in more trash, then run over a few more times for good measure. The results were absolute carnage (opens in new tab). (NSFW for Magic: The Gathering players.) LATIN0 later updated their story (opens in new tab) with answers to the common questions people were asking.
There was of course rampant speculation about where, or why, this small fortune in retail product had been trashed. The most likely answer is that it was a product a shipping company held because they were unpaid that was eventually disposed of—which happens all the time. That or a warehouse product that had been rejected by a large buyer like Target after someone had an accident with a forklift and/or a raccoon broke into a warehouse and peed on it or what have you. Also happens all the time, with workers utterly unaware of whatever it is they’re throwing away.
For others this was a sign that the rampant rumors around Magic: The Gathering in the past year or so have been true, and that Wizards of the Coast truly is overprinting cards to boost profits. That came to a head late last year among controversy over the $1,000, 60-card Anniversary Set and a major bank devaluing Hasbro stock while assessing that it was “killing its golden goose” (opens in new tab) with how Magic was being treated.
Anyway, no, this probably isn’t a sign that retailers don’t see the value in carrying an overstock of MTG cards and would rather just write them off and toss them in a dumpster. Our society is just monumentally wasteful in this exact way.
As someone who used to live near a landfill, no, there’s no chance you can go get these cards still. The landfill people will yell at you. You will probably get run over by a bulldozer. Even the better-preserved buried specimens are like as not thoroughly soaked with hot garbage juice. Especially in Texas, where it will already be reaching a balmy 80F/27C on the daily.
Given the relaxed nature of LATIN0’s attitude about this disaster, Redditors in the replies called for many unreasonable things, to which stolid LATIN0 responded: “Please don’t threaten me, this is Texas.” A sentence which makes me proud to be a fellow Southerner.
For their part, LATIN0 displayed superb wabi-sabi about the whole thing. “I’m not mad I didn’t take any boxes but I wish I knew what they were worth when I took a photo and seeing them on the ground. I only know of MTG because of Reddit posts I’ve seen over the years,” they said. What’s the next step, then? LATIN0 says “I’m going back to work like everyone else.”
Anyway, just a great reminder that none of the things we care about on this earth are eternal and we will all one day return to the constituent atoms of which we were made.