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The Monthly Snapshot is a regular publishing of information in regards to happenings within the NationStates Cards. It details overall market use (by players), the most notable cards, the most recognizable traders, card events, and more!
As to why it is advisable to read the Snapshot, it is due to the fact that NationStates Cards is a growing and expanding feature. It was supposed to have only been an April Fools event in 2018, but it was later kept due to a massive effort by players to keep the feature. Therefore, administrators and players have been tirelessly working to make cards more interesting, and the Monthly Snapshot serves to highlight ongoing things players might have skimmed past (due to the relatively new addition of cards as a whole).
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1. More Cards Players Continue to be Recognized by the World Assembly - During the month of June, two more cards players were recently commended by the Security Council. These came in the form of Security Council Resolution #311 - Commend 9003 by Noahs Second Country and Ransium, along with Security Council Resolution #313 - Commend The Salaxalans by Morover!
Though the latter resolution does not nearly touch upon the topic of cards in comparison to the former, said nominee (i.e. The Salaxalans) has been known to regularly collect potato-themed cards and is a current administrator of the Cards Discord.
For the former, though it does not completely discuss cards, this is due to the nominee has also been well-versed within the community of Gameplay before their entry into trading.
Overall, a successful month with regards to additional recognition for the cards community!
2. Koem Kab Was (Briefly) De-throned From Their #1 Spot in Deck Value - In the previous issue of the Snapshot, it was mentioned that Farrakhan was the sole user to have (briefly) overtaken Koem Kab in the #1 spot for deck value. However, though Koem Kab's deck value has exponentially risen since the time Farrakhan achieved this feat, the well-known trader Luna Amore has also managed to seize the top ranking!
Though the methods used (which were done in a similar matter to Farrakhan's) likely indicate that the trader's deck value won't sustain for long, it is still surprising as to how a single player can quickly gain so much of the aforementioned value within a short period of time. As a result, this might be not the last - though likely to be extremely rare - time in which achieving the #1 ranking in deck value becomes an actual occurrence!
3. Two More Regional Cards Organizations Have Been Created - Like The North Pacific Cards Guild, The East Pacific and 10000 Islands have introduced their own bodies aiming to promote cards - following the actions of The North Pacific.
The former's organization is henceforth to be known as "The Eastern Association of Pacifican Ornamentation Traders (TEAPOT)", and their current leader, Evrigenis is a highly experienced card trader within the international artwork community. Created on June 21, 2020, it is the second feeder to publicly establish a cards organization.
For the latter's organization, it is currently known as the "Cards Co-operative", with the organization currently being run by HumanSanity (who had previously been managing the region's card programs). Members are expected to manage a set number of card farming nations in order to contribute towards the organization. This makes 10000 Islands the first major user-created region to enter trading cards.
Now that not just one cards-based organization (especially an organization in a large region such as a feeder), but several of these now exist, many players will come to affirm the growing popularity that cards has now set in stone for other player-based communities (in this case, Gameplay).
As of now, The North Pacific, The East Pacific, and 10000 Islands possess cards organizations to help manage those programs in addition to the other regions with cards programs. With three of the biggest regions fully endorsing cards organizations, it only remains a matter of time before all of NationStates begins to incorporate the presence of cards into their own activities!
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Cards in the Security Council - it's about time!
Commendations and Condemnations in the Security Council are reserved for only the most notable NationStates players to exist, and the group of nations who have received them is small. In order to acquire this honor, one has to make significant contributions to the game over a long period of time. It requires time and effort to receive what is effectively the crowning achievement of NationStates. Your achievements (and your failures) will be laid out for all to see, and thousands of World Assembly (WA) members across the site will decide whether you are worthy of being permanently enshrined into NS history. I may just be an unpaid intern who works the printer, but I wanted to take a look at the entry of cards into the Security Council, especially since 3 of the last 6 resolutions passed mention cards in some form.
For more than a year after the initial introduction of trading cards, they might as well have been a taboo subject within the Security Council. Besides a few footnotes in short-lived resolution attempts, nobody even remotely attempted to work cards into a resolution, let alone give recognition to someone based purely on their trading tactics. Surely, with rule 4(c) in place, the task would be impossible. Cards is just an April Fool's minigame, right?
However, in early June of 2019 cards finally made their breakthrough into the Security Council with Bormiar's first draft of "Condemn Koem Kab". It seems quite obvious why Koem Kab was chosen as the subject of this proposal. To this day, they have been the most consistent, ruthless, and powerful member in cards, dominating the leaderboards. Combined with their isolation from the rest of the community, they make the perfect villain. If one single trader were to ever be condemned, it would be Koem Kab. Seeing that "cards" were illegal to mention, eventually Bormiar settled on referencing them as "international artwork," which has since become the standard for referencing cards from an in-character perspective. The proposal experienced little friction when it came up to vote, and passed with a 75% margin, marking the first-ever card resolution of the SC. Bormiar said this about the event: "The Condemn Koem Kab thing used to be a joke. While we still thought he deserved it, we didn't think the SC would accept it with such open arms. We're all surprised."
Despite the passage of SC#287, authors did not immediately integrate cards into resolutions, nor were any proposals targeted towards card players. Multiple repeal attempts were made, though none were seriously pursued. However, the efforts of 9003 and Praeceps were finally posted to the forums in early January 2020, nearly six months after "Condemn Koem Kab". The nominee, Destructive Government Economic System, holds a large influence in the cards community for their contributions to our very own Cards Guild, their impressive collection of twenty thousand ex-nations, and spearheading the most comprehensive cards guide ever written. After four months, the proposal was finally submitted, and passed with flying colors.
I have come to believe that this proposal was the true entry of cards into the Security Council. In fact, DGES was immediately cited in "Condemn Psychotic Dictatorships" for having too many cards. Then, Vilita and Turori was commended shortly afterwards, with their proposal briefly mentioning their early role in cards. Later, 9003 was commended by yours truly, with a primary focus on their work in fostering innovation within the cards community. Even more recently, The Salaxalans's commendation featured a nod to their potato-themed collection. Just browsing through active drafts, there are at least 3 viable proposals mentioning cards somewhere within their texts.
Many still remain opposed to the idea of card based Security Council proposals. After all, card players have their own leaderboards, and the game appears to be fairly straightforward. However, I believe that these arguments simply miss the point. Cards is probably the fastest growing community on NationStates, with new faces appearing nearly every day in organizations such as the The North Pacific Cards Guild. Regions are quickly developing their own card programs, taking advantage of cards being a tangible form of giftable currency in order to motivate region members.
Within any community of this size and complexity, there are players who will rise to the top, and players who will become very well regarded for their accomplishments and contributions. These members, such as 9003 and Destructive Government Economic System, deserve recognition for their community work, regardless of accomplishments beyond cards. They run unique programs, constantly innovate, and really care about other players of the game. They go above and beyond from simply making trades or collections. While there is only 1 card based condemnation, this badge in particular should be given to card players who actively strive to push the game, innovate, and ultimately dominate in whatever they attempt to do. Koem Kab is the best example of a player who does this. Maximizing profit or creating new techniques requires creativity, resources, and the willingness to experiment. Gathering a lot of cards, bank, and influence within the community is not easy, and the minority of card players who have done it stand out. Hence, success in cards is equivalent to success in any other field of NationStates, and deserves recognition.
One of the biggest problems with card based proposals is that there's no consistency or clear cut definitions of tactics that may be deserving of a commendation or a condemnation. While I laid out some general ideas above, current precedent is misleading. For example, take "Commend Destructive Government Economic System (DGES)", which cites "Tens of thousands of artifacts from a diverse range of nations and cultures, which have been carefully and indiscriminately displayed in DGES' museums" as a reason for commendation. Yet Condemn Koem Kab, with significantly fewer cards, mentions that Koem Kab's "museums have collections so large and high-valued that masterpieces are not recognized for their beauty, instead glanced at due to the sheer amount of them". There is no difference between the actions of the two traders, they just have a different twist applied to them. While one may argue that commends and condemns effectively serve the same purpose, it makes it more difficult to integrate these elements in future resolutions. In an even more egregious example, "Condemn Psychotic Dictatorships" came shortly after, yet cited DGES' collection as "kept hidden from the world by the tyrannical regime which runs it." It's not something so jarring that it detracts from the rest of these resolutions, but it is something that many have pointed out in the past.
Additionally, as shown by the recent failure of "Condemn Mikeswill", success in cards can still be overshadowed by other less appealing characteristics of a nominee. Mikeswill has arguably dominated the market in a similar fashion to Koem Kab, yet the proposal was largely unpopular due to reasons unrelated to the card game. Hence, a controversial player will remain controversial, despite a decent portion of the cards community being in favor of the proposal.
Lastly, it's tricky to ensure that WA members who aren't avid cards players still understand the author's intent when writing. Certain mechanics, such as dropping, transfers, or even printing, are very difficult to express under the context of international artwork. Unfortunately, that is not something easily worked around.
Cards are a permanent and noticeable feature within the game. Just like any other community, the number of card players will remain high with a steady stream of newcomers, especially with programs such as the Cards Guild recruiting them. Even as older nations leave, new ones will replace them, and they too may rise to prominence. What I truly think legitimizes cards as a valid community with a significant influence on the game is the resolutions that rely on a nation's achievements in cards rather than other fields. A great number of notable community members have made valid contributions in their own ways, and I wouldn't be surprised to see proposals bearing their names in the near future, especially if they stick to their current trends. Some examples of these may include Frisbeeteria for their absolute dominance over 2 markets for a long period of time, Racoda for the creation of numerous widely-used card tools, or even Giovanniland for their achievements in TWP and their pioneering of the large-scale regional collecting scene.
Additionally, cards function effectively as a supplement to resolutions focused on other significant achievements, in the same way that authorship may influence a resolution. They are something that can put a nominee over the top, and with this in mind, I would like to see cards mentioned wherever relevant in future Security Council resolutions.
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As of the beginning of 6/1/2020 to 6/30/2020, trading has seen a slight decrease in activity in comparison to the previous month (though nothing particularly significant to indicate a true lack of trading interest).
For auction activity, trades within this field began to slope downward from the start of June, leading the mean number of auctions to be an estimated 2500 for this month (in comparison to the 3000 that occurred in May).
As for gifting activity, it remains quite similar to that of last month, with an average of 1200 daily gifts as of the end of June.
And finally, regarding Seasonal trends, trading activity for Season 1 cards also remains similar to that of the previous month, with 500+ daily trades being conducted for this type of card (though there was a brief jump in activity during 6/7/2020). For Season 2 cards, a decrease has been made in comparison to May, in which the new estimated number of daily trades has shifted downwards to 2500-4000. This is due to several consecutive dips which the graph displays from 6/16/2020 onwards.
With all this being said, it is worth noting that, though the majority of total activity has been lower than that of May, a noticeable jump in trades did occur during June 29 + 30, which may indicate a better outcome for next month!
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Compared to May, trend shifts have generally been in the downward slope, with these negative trends typically displaying a 100-200 decrease in trades for all rarities (barring legendary rarity cards).
Unsurprisingly, legendary cards remain the most stable/unchanging trend due to the scarcity of this type of card. From the end of May to the 27th of June, trades for legendary cards began to slope downwards by a decrease of 40 average daily trades, until 6/29/2020 where trading began to resume by a minimum 100. Naturally, the current dominators of this market (i.e. Koem Kab, The Northern Light, Noahs Second Country, et cetera) are primarily responsible for its current average.
Epic cards fluctuate in trades by an estimated 100-200, with the overall trading average being 350 epics per day (barring the 1464 jump on June the 2nd). Overall, this trend is also rather stable, with the chief maintainer being Frisbeeteria due to the player's firm grip on the epic market, along with Giovanniland and Noahs Second Country due to their participation in the Fifth Card Olympics.
Ultra rares had a similar trend stability as that of the epic market (i.e. 100-200 daily trade fluctuations), though the average trades seems to center at around 300 per day. The traders primarily responsible for this market seem to be All Wild Things, The Cosmic Mainframe, Riemstagrad and Honeydewistania, for similar reasons as Giovanniland and Noahs Second Country.
Rare cards follow a trend almost identical towards that of ultra rares, with 100-200 daily trade fluctuations and an average of 300 trades per day. S2 Rares Collector and Mara Jade-Skywalker, due to both focusing on collections centered around that rarity, seem to be taking the lead in trading these cards.
Uncommons remain the second most traded rarity as of this moment, with 100-200 daily trade fluctuations as of the previous three rarities, but a minimum of 600 daily trades (barring the 1018 trades on June 28th) overall. It is unknown as to which trader was primarily responsible for July's uncommon market, and it could very likely be the fact that cards of this rarity are much cheaper to obtain than those previously mentioned above.
And finally, for commons, this trend remains the largest in the game, with this market possessing an average of 2000 daily activities. It is also the least stable with regards to market regularity, with a typical fluctuation being at 200-300 trades along with multiple spikes and dips in activity during the month (including the sudden jump to 3753 commons traded during June 6th). 9003 remains the main purchaser of these cards, with contributions from Riemstagrad occurring as part of the aforementioned participation in the 5th Card Olympics.
Overall, commons still present themselves as the most traded rarity in the game, but also the most unstable trend due to its numerical quantity of trades per day. The exact opposite is the case for legendary cards, where they remain the least traded rarity but also the most unchanging trend in the market. Aside from these rarities, uncommons and epics seem to be doing better than ultra rares and rares with regards to market activity, though all of these four rarities' trends are similar in terms of trend stability (i.e. 100-200 trade fluctuations).
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Number of Owners: 29
Total Number of Trades (Including Gifts): 247
Number of Collections Season 1 Aki Zeta is Featured in: 13
Junk Value: 0.50
Market Value: 93.00
Highest Sale of Card: 6/11/2020 for 2700.00 bank
Most Recent Sale of Card: 7/05/2020 for 90.00 bank
Most Recent Gift of Card: 7/04/2020 by Card Farmer 1075
Season 1 Aki Zeta is the name of an epic-rarity card that was - along with Season 1 Misplaced States utilized to enhance Luna Amore's deck value to the top spot! Like Farrakhan, the aforementioned trader inflated a specific type of card in order to achieve the ranking, but unlike Farrakhan, Luna Amore had been saving their copies of Season 1 Aki Zeta in order to suddenly inflate them all with several quick transfers of 1000+ bank (in comparison to Farrakhan regularly purchasing copies of their own card from the open market for hundreds of bank).
Though the overall market value for this card later swiftly decreased to that of a more-understandable level, the card for Aki Zeta will likely be known as an example for how inflationary methods are a considerable force to be reckoned with in terms of reaching the deck value leaderboard!
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The Tampa Bay Rays is a high-ranking trader that currently is close to being ranked in the top 10 for deck value. They are one of the few users to currently possess a complete set of Season 1 legendary cards, and they are also the first trader of the month to have - despite being a successful player by themselves - joined The North Pacific Cards Guild!
When analyzing their trading methods, it seems that the primary method in which The Tampa Bay Rays achieves their deck value is via the gifting of high-value cards from their card farming nations. Naturally, the highest valued ones would be of the legendary rarity, but Tampa is also known to indiscriminately send over cards of lower rarities, so long as those cards happen to possess a high market value. As for their primary puppet series for card farming purposes, it currently appears to be the "Emergency Puppet [x]" set, which Tampa is known to possess at least 100 of (along with several baseball-themed nations such as The Atlanta Hawks). And additionally, due to Tampa being a member of The North Pacific Cards Guild, they are also entitled towards receiving valuable gifts from The Northern Light's "Card Farmer [x]" accounts, therefore giving Tampa an even bigger chance to readily enhance their collection.
The fact that Tampa prefers to be gifted cards (either from their aforementioned puppets or The Northern Light's ones), rather than buying cards from the market, is likely to be seen as a huge benefit for the trader, seeing that - barring the gifting fee to send cards - Tampa does not have to pay a single ounce of bank to obtain their desired cards. And with this in mind, due to their frugal methods, it is no surprise that their current stash of bank (as of now, it nears at 3000 for them) happens to be one of the largest balances NationStates has ever witnessed so far!
1. What made you consider joining The North Pacific Cards Guild?
The Tampa Bay Rays: There were 2 main incentives that made me want to join. Joining the cards guild gives the benefit of its members the ability to request non-legendary cards of their choosing, under certain conditions. In addition, I can vote on what cards are used for the pull event that occurs monthly.
2. How much time do you regularly devote to cards each day?
The Tampa Bay Rays: I do not play cards consistently from day to day. Some days I am not in the mood or don't have any time to play cards, so I won't do anything other than check the market occasionally just to see if anything interesting is happening. When I answer issues for farming it takes just over 20 minutes to do a full puppet chain (just over 100 puppets). Other than that, I haven't been doing much card activity.
3. Compared to other traders, you devote much more time to associating yourself with cards on-site (rather than utilizing off-site venues such as Discord). Is there a particular reason for why this is so?
The Tampa Bay Rays: There really isn't a reason other that I haven't thought or cared much about joining off site venues.
4. After viewing your trading history, it seems that you prefer to receive gifts from your card farming puppets rather than buy cards from the market. Has this worked well for you?
The Tampa Bay Rays: More recently I have not been active in the market at all which would make it appear that this is my playstyle. I used to buy more cards off the market throughout season 1. Over the past few months I haven't been as interested in the game and I haven't participated in the market other than the occasional bid I placed and hoped I wasn't outbidded.
5. Many of your alternate accounts seem to be named off famous athletes. Was this due to personal interest or a desire to see those accounts have sports-themed cards made out of them?
The Tampa Bay Rays: Both are reasons why I created nations based around this theme. I am a big sports fan, baseball in particular, so creating such nations was enjoyable and and I wanted to make such collection for season 2 with my cards, but I barely even started the collection due to laziness and I might not even get around to completing it. I would like to add that a few of the people I made nations based on are not famous at all.
6. Some known card traders believe that you are a puppet of Koem Kab - with one of the reasons being that both you and Koem Kab possess sports-themed nations to card farm with. How do you respond to these claims?
The Tampa Bay Rays: It's tempting to say this is correct just to mess with everyone that sees this, but in all seriousness, I do understand why this connection was made based on the reason above despite it only being just speculation.
7. Previously, you were once a collector of ex-nation cards - a specific type of card that may not be seen as valuable in comparison to cards such as legendaries. What drove you to collect them, and what made you lose interest?
The Tampa Bay Rays: When I first started playing cards, I collected ex-nation cards since not many players had a collection of this type. I mainly collected ones that were of epic rarity because many of them were on sale. I had set a goal to collect as many ex-epics considering some may be unobtainable. Collecting ex-nations led to me needing to consistently expand deck capacity which eventually proved to be too costly. My next upgrade costs way too much to be able to hold 50 more so I can continue to expand my deck while maintaining the ability receiving gifts. Being able to receive gifts is necessary to receive cards from TNP's card programs. In addition, collecting ex-nations didn't interest me anymore and rather wanted to collect for value.
8. What would you say was your biggest accomplishment with regards to cards, and do you still have any cards-based goals to complete?
The Tampa Bay Rays: The biggest card related accomplishment was completing a complete collection of season 1 legendary cards. Unlike some other players that completed the same collection, Early on I did not have completing this collection as a goal. I did not have the opportunity to collect some legendary cards before their nations died, so my only hope was that people were to sell a legendary that was not being pulled anymore and luckily I was able to obtain all of them. One goal I have is to return and maintain a top 10 spot on the leaderboards after multiple cards I owned crashed in value in combination with an overall decrease in farming caused me to fall behind.
9. Are there any other card players who you possess respect for?
The Tampa Bay Rays: In general, I have respect for anyone that puts lots of effort into their deck day in and day out. One player in particular I have respect for is The Northern Light. They put a lot of dedication and effort into the game just so they can give all the cards that they give away, all while remaining 2nd/3rd in deck value. In addition, the creation of card queries and the card market watch are both very useful tools for the game as a whole.
10. Do you have any final advice to give to other players regarding trading cards?
The Tampa Bay Rays: My advice is to keep many packs unopened until a pull event occurs on a high value card because how OP it is. Doing this will make you gain value significantly faster than opening packs during other times.
[Note: due to recent changes regarding pull event mechanics before the interview's conclusion, the information above is outdated.]
In addition, there are many tools out there that will improve your overall card experience. Also you got to remember that it is a game, so if it reaches to a point where playing is not enjoyable, it is completely fine to take a break from playing. You don't have to overwork yourself managing hundreds of farming puppets a day.
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The "TMCCC" is the shortened term that stands for The Monthly Card Collection Competition. It was first started by The North Pacific Cards Guild on December 14, 2019 by order of the first Guildmaster Praeceps.
As to what the TMCCC does, it is (essentially) a contest between all traders within the cards community to see whose collection fits the month's theme (whatever theme it may be) the most! The month's theme (which is decided by Guild leadership) can be anything, ranging from cards that relate to comedy or collections that solely deal with the topic of love.
At the end of each month, two winners are decided (one by regular Guild members, and the other by Guild leadership), and each winner is awarded a legendary card for fitting that month's theme the best! With that in mind, it is highly encouraged to participate in the TMCCC, since you may find yourself a much-needed asset (should you win) in the form of highly valuable cards!
For June 2020, the theme chosen was Pride, to coincide with the LGBTQ Pride Month occurring in June. Yip Man's collection, featuring cards with rainbow colours and pro-LGBTQ mottos, won the Masters' Choice. On the other hand, Card Vault took a different approach to the theme, with a collection featuring cards that bore images of lions, since prides are a group of lions. Their collection won the Members' Choice.
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Pull events are auctions in which traders deliberately sell rare/valuable card(s) that they own to themselves (or other players, should they be trusted enough) in an attempt to have other nations pull those cards (from packs) during the auction's duration. Pull events usually have a set time and date as to when they occur (along with prior notice given before they actually start) in order to give the chance for players to prepare (whether by saving up card packs or doing other tasks that allow them to participate in the event), and these events typically yield a greater chance to pull rare nations' cards than when opening packs on a normal day (a.k.a. during a time when that card is not being auctioned).
The North Pacific hosts these pull events each month, with the card to be auctioned (and pulled) being chosen by a nomination + vote from players within and outside of The North Pacific Cards Guild. At times, should The Northern Light possess enough bank, multiple cards may even be selected for the monthly pull event!
Seeing that The North Pacific regularly hosts these pull events, we've decided to regularly update the card player base on what went down during these exciting times, including 1) what cards were chosen (by the Guild) to be pulled, 2) who contributed to the ability to even auction the chosen card(s) for the event, and 3) who were the ones lucky enough to pull those cards. See below for each month's pull event!
On June 23, 2020, the pull event vote for the aforementioned month went up, with the Guild members choosing Season 2 Ramaeus and Season 1 Flag Thief. Both cards would then be auctioned on June 28th at 6 pm E.T.
All in all, a very successful pull event due to the widespread amount of pulls for each card. Both cards were of very notable users, so congratulations to those who managed to obtain a copy for their collections!