It might not be obvious to some of our readers out there, but a few of us on the staff are Bronies (male adult fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic). I’m especially hyped to finally see Season 3 starting up on November 10th. There’s an unfinished, unpublished article right now explaining this little cartoon renaissance I went through last year that started with my watching of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and then spread into shows like Adventure Time, Gumball, Regular Show, Transformers Prime, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, and The Looney Toons show. When it came to the merch of My Little Pony, from the beginning I said I wouldn’t buy the toys. Yeaaah… But make no mistake, I loathe the brushables and much prefer the molded hair ponies. And I’m still not interested in buying those small blindbag ponies (even though I’m constantly tempted when they actually bother making a new mold instead of Mortal Kombat-ing the whole thing).
But one thing I wanted to avoid was the trading cards. My personal experience with trading cards is… somewhat turbulent early on and ended with a silent phase out at the conclusion of my highschool years. So what’s getting me back into trading cards again? What is it about this cross-eyed little wonder that’s enticing me into collecting these small pieces of printed paper. Hit the jump and find out.
I should probably start with why I left trading cards in the first place (though you can probably skip ahead to the pony part “And Now…“).
At a young age, I started collecting Pokemon cards. Yeah you probably see where this is going. I didn’t collect these cards to use in battle though. I collected them to collect them. More specifically, I wanted to get all 150 Pokemon. I saw that I could get a decent amount by getting those theme decks with the holofoil cards in the front. I didn’t care about getting two different Oddish cards from two different waves. If I got an Oddish from the Jungle series, I didn’t need another Oddish from the Rocket series. Once the theme decks were bought, I moved on to the booster packs. And sweet Jesus I fucking hated the haul in these cards. Nothing upset me more than getting a shitload of energy cards. Remember, I had no interest in using these for battles, so these cards were useless to me.
AND let’s not forget the inevitable theft of cards that often occurred back then to many kids in school. I was one such victim during my middle-school years from 1999-2002. I remember having a nice stack of cards ready for trading at any time. Then a certain “friend” of mine stole them from me. Thankfully not all the cards were taken since the rest were at home. THEN there was the one confiscation of my cards by the aptly named Ms. Dicks that required my mother to sign off on them. Soon enough, once I entered highschool, I slowly stopped collecting them. One part was probably social pressure. But primary reasons for my departure here stem from my larger view of where I felt the Pokemon franchise was going. I accepted that my goal to catch ’em all would be unattainable. Besides, there was challenger that appeared.
Yu-Gi-Oh cards would be the next craze I’d enter. But unlike Pokemon, there was no set number of monsters to collect. I mean, sure there was a finite number of monsters available initially. But there was no push to “Catch ’em all”. Deck building and battles were more of a focus with Yu-Gi-Oh than in Pokemon. My mindset was still set to “Catch ‘Em All” mode. But soon I adapted and reminded myself that battles are what this game is about. So I opted to attempt building a dragon deck similar to Seto Kaiba in the anime. I started with a balanced deck and slowly added more dragon friendly cards to the deck. I took my deck to battle with others in a highschool club called the Gamers Guild (which focused solely on non-console, non-pc gaming. Handhelds OK). At first I did well against others, though we still didn’t understand the rules. One Yu-Gi-Oh GBA game later, I better understood the flow of battle in the game. I continued to do well, taking some wins and some losses here and there.
Then came the freaks. These guys were serious about battling and practically wiped the floor with us. I wanted to get better and beat these guys. I took tips from some friends of mine (like Wesley) and tried building a better dragon deck. But to no avail. A serious challenge to these guys lasted 10 minutes. I would be pummeled in less than 3 minutes. Others at my level were intimidated and never challenged anyone again. I stuck around, but I would be one of only a few “scrubs” left. I gained a big boost in my card haul when a neighbor from across my building told me that I could have any card in his Yu-Gi-Oh collection. He never returned to claim the cards I never took. So I kept them all. I assembled what I thought was a mighty dragon deck. I challenged one of the freaks again. Lost. Challenged again later. Lost. Challenged the next day. Lost. Then came the closure of the Gamers Guild after the teacher that ran it went to work at another school. The Games Club would replace it (which included console gaming). But with no one to play against at my level anymore (especially with the elitism amongst the freaks), I soon stopped collecting Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Looking at where the series is now, I’m glad to have bowed out when I did.
I lived through college collecting no cards. While Yu-Gi-Oh was alive and well in the clubrooms, my experience with the freaks in highschool had me shying away from even bothering with them. Pokemon cards were nowhere to be found. And Magic The Gathering reminded me of Yu-Gi-Oh (WOAH guys, I know Magic came first!). I was more in favor of collecting cards than battling. But there was nothing of note worth collecting. And my mindset was leaning on trading cards being a waste of time and money.
Enter my Brony-dom (which started right after college graduation), and I still was not interested in collecting the cards of the show. Then this year’s New York Comic-Con happened. I wanted to get much pony this year. I was eying the WeLoveFine booth and was hoping to capitalize on the shirt deals. Thinking the deal from last year would be the same or close to the same, I would try getting one MLP and one Adventure Time and net me another big bag. I couldn’t find the booth for the life of me. So my spending was skimpy until I would find them. After going to the Doctor Who store, Anthony and I would start making headway into the Marvel Heroes panel. Along the way, we stumbled upon the Enterplay booth. They had some neat posters, but I was still holding my money for the WLF booth. But they had a really nice looking Derpy poster for $15 that came with a free Derpy card. I remember reading about this over on Equestria Daily. I didn’t care much for the card, but the poster looked mighty awesome. So I forked over the money got my poster and card, and off we went for the Marvel Heroes panel (the game looks awesome by the way). I also got the damned NYCC info book after the panel.
The next day I decided to bring my Derpy card with me. I guess it was to outwardly show some ounce of Brony pride at the Con–which was in full display there by many others (and one part as a good-luck charm that day). I finally went to the WeLoveFine booth that Sunday, and man what a disappointment that was. I was looking to see if I could get a pony hat from them. Nothing. Shirt deal was ass, and selection was ass-er. I jetted from there to see if anyone else was offering a hat. I stumbled upon a booth with a guy named Stewart Sargent from Breygent Marketing selling packs of Enterplay’s My Little Pony trading cards. He was explaining to someone there about the MLP cards being a surprise hit and that some cards were selling for high-prices online. He reffered to the cards by the number on the back of them. He mentioned two cards. But one number caught my attention. “F41 is going for a really high price online and is high in demand.” That sounded familiar. I checked my card and I asked him about that card number again. “F41” “Wait, that’s this one!” and I flashed the card to him. It was Derpy! In my mind, “Holy crap! That’s Derpy, the very card I got when I bought that poster!”
I explained to Mr. Sargent that they were giving these cards at the Enterplay booth the previous day to those who bought a Derpy poster. He told me that they were going fast and running low. I was congratulated by Sargent and the two con-goers he was talking to for nabbing a rare promo card. I stuck around to listen to what else he had to say about the cards. So with knowledge in mind, I resumed looking for a pony hat. Got a Fluttershy hat from the Athena’s Wink booth, then went back to Mr. Sargent’s booth and bought four packs of the Enterplay MLP cards. We exchanged business cards (told him I ran a gaming and geek culture blog) and off I went to look for Anthony and James for more gameplay vids.
So post convention, I was was quite satisfied with my acquisition of photos, gameplay vids, merch, and especially pony. But still, while it’s awesome I got an NYCC exclusive (for now) promo card, I wondered if I was being duped by this guy into entering another card craze. So off I went to eBay to see if the Derpy card was really fetching high prices as he said they were. And… woah. They are. The asking price for the Derpy card ranges from as low as $20 to as high as $200. The other cards in the set are rather nice too and informative as well. It’s also suprising to see what exactly they’ll make a card out of, like The Doozy and The Apple Family. I wonder what else is available in this card set. So in a matter of a day I went from getting a card I never cared for, to holding on tight to this grey little wonder. Now I know what it’s like to be that villain from Pokemon: Power of One… well, minus the catching of godly Pokemon and putting the world through a lot of crap for the sole purpose of collecting and forcing people to depend on Scrublord Ash Ketchum. But in the end, it feels good knowing that my newest collection started with a super rare promo card.