Force Tip of the Day: What are the Main Determining Factors of Card Value?

Let me start off by saying that value is a subjective situation, as intrinsically, it depends on the person to determine how much a card is worth to them. To one individual, a card may be worth very little, where to someone else, it may be worth exponentially more. Of course, certain value standards are applied to specific cards, which are universally accepted, but even that may fluctuate based on the person. That brings about the question of determining the different variables that contribute to a card’s BASE value.

Rarity/Card Count

With no gameplay element in the Star Wars app, the game becomes more about amassing the biggest collection. Rarity is almost the largest part of the value pie, solely because supply and demand will force collectors to have a more difficult time adding the card to the collection. That doesnt mean that its the ONLY factor, but a rare card has a much more likely chance to be higher in the value spectrum than one that is higher in count. That’s also not saying that a readily available card cant also be valuable, not in any way. That being said, in terms of the CHANCE that the card could reach the high side, a low count helps.

Universe

Right now, I would categorize the SW app into three universes, with each having its own point of contribution to a card’s value. The most valuable of the universes is the original trilogy, more specifically Episodes IV and V. Anything attributed directly to the original trilogy will LIKELY have more value potential than a card from the other two.

The second on the list is obviously the new trilogy of movies, followed by anything associated with any of the cartoons. Considering that there are certain users that wont go out of their way to obtain cards built around the cartoon universe, it should not be surprising that this presents the least chance of adding value to a card.

Character

This one should be a no brainer, as I have mentioned prior that using certain characters is automatically going to make things more attractive to collectors. Guys like Darth Vader (not Annakin), Maul, and Han Solo will always have more potential than someone like a random droid or a random soldier – even in spite of any of the other elements on this list. I would even go so far as saying that Han Solo is focused upon as much as he is due to the Vintage card that has taken over the game. Normally I would put him below some of the other characters in popularity, but he is the Clayton Kershaw/Mike Trout of this game.

Because Character is almost 100% in line with the universe the belong to, or are presented in, that can also be a big factor. A card of Darth Vader from the original trilogy is likely going to be less valuable than a Darth Vader cartoon card, all other things being equal.

Marathon Status / Awards

I could just talk about this element as the probability of getting awards adding to a card’s value, but its more than that with the marathons in place. If a card is designated as a weekly insert, the value will automatically be higher than if it is not. If an award is expired, like we have seen with Planets, the value will drop, regardless of the other factors in this post.

Marathon cards are a very unique situation, as everyone wants to complete their sets, as long as they have most of the set. The further away from the set a person is, the more likely that type of card will be worth less to them.

We all know that the community has put Vintage atop the mountain in terms of which marathon set is worth the most, yet Widevision, Topps Choice, and Connections all have very similar appeal as well. If the marathon was not in play, the cards would not be as sought after. There was no clearer example of this than what happened with Jek Porkins card value the second that marathon text was added to that article. It went from a trade compliment to a trade centerpiece overnight.

Let me put it this way – an extremely limited version of an active marathon card from the original trilogy that features a popular character will be the most valuable card in the game.

Availability / Pack Format / Age

Im going to close with this factor, because its the biggest wild card in my opinion. Cards that have odd pack formats can sometimes be more valuable than ones that just have a regular format. Same thing can be said about cards received through awards vs cards that are pulled from packs. Rare cards you pull will be likely more valuable than rare cards you get as an award. Im not sure why that is the case, but it seems to be true.

Similarly, if a card’s pack format limits the availability, the value can be severely increased or sometimes decreased. The weirder the way to obtain the card, the more the value will change. Its quite surprising.

More important than any of these factors is age. If a card is new or newer, it will automatically be more valuable than older cards of a similar construct, with few exceptions. I have seen new cards from a set go for double the value of older cards from the same set that have lower circulation. Crazy.

Bottom line, value as a whole is something that makes the game go ’round. Now, Im not saying that you should run out and find a price guide, or even use eBay as a marker. That will only serve to make this game less fun. There is nothing more satisfying that finding that certain trade partner that perfectly fits your needs, giving up something that perfectly fits their needs. Desire will trump value in most cases, as a user’s preference can be a powerful tool. Dont ever forget that.

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