Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University. This week, Thorne offered up some thoughts and reactions to the recent Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons releases.

We've had about week to see the customer response to Ravnica Remastered. The results are in from our store's customer base, and the reaction is a resounding “meh.” We ordered light for this new Magic: The Gathering reprint set, (only two boxes of Collector boosters and three of draft) as we had no preorders for it. After a week, we have sold through all of the Collector Boosters and about two-thirds of the draft boosters. Most of the other stores that I'd heard from have had similar sell-through rates or slower. There are several problems with this set as well as with Wizard of the Coast’s handling of it:

Lack of promotion. Normally, WotC blankets social media with information about new sets, and stores get numerous emails reminding us to set up events for Launch weekend or Store Championships. For Ravnica Remastered, there were no posters or other promotional items, save for the Niv Mizzet card (which is not a great draw), either as a Launch Party promotion or a Buy-a-Box card.

Pricing, Part Un. The pricing for the boxes is high. The packs are a good value, but at the prices stores have to charge in order to get a decent return on the money spent for a booster box, the packs have to sell for more than what they are reasonably worth. WotC released Timespiral Remastered with a similar lack of promotion but at a lower cost, and we could not keep it in stock.

Pricing, Part Deux. For whatever reason, online prices for Draft booster boxes are selling for barely above retailer cost, as are the Collector booster boxes. I'm not sure where some of the online retailers are getting their booster boxes from, but as near as I can figure, some of them are only making a buck gross profit per box (maybe it's a volume play). I'm sure most stores will be happy to sell out of them as soon as possible with online prices like these being offered.

Items. With most recent releases, WotC releases several products to tie into the set, such as Draft Boosters, Collector Boosters, Set Boosters, Bundles, and Commander Decks.  They did not do so with this set, which does little to bump up sales. Commander Decks are arguably the most popular add-on when a new set releases and stores had none to sell, which probably impacted the popularity of the set.

Limited appeal. Commander is arguably the most popular Magic format currently played and Standard is the format getting the strongest push from WotC currently (see "Revitalizing Standard Format"), but Ravnica Remastered doesn't seem to have much to appeal to players of either format as many of the cards in this set were printed in the last Ravnica set (see " 'Ravnica Allegiance' ") as well as part of The List or in recent Masters sets.

In last week’s list of predictions, I originally wrote that WotC would not release any more D&D books before August (see “Predictions for 2024”). However, before the column saw publication, I was reminded that WotC had announced a slate of D&D books for 2024 at Pax Unplugged (see “Lineup Revealed"), so quickly edited it. We still don't know any more about the books or when they will release. WotC just says “soon.” It makes me wonder if these books might be stopgap releases as D&D One, D&D 6E, D&D 5.5E or D&D 2024 proves more problematic to develop than expected. I still hope for more player-oriented material as these releases all target the DM, though I imagine folks who want to keep their D&D library complete will purchase them.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of