Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast Stepped Over the Line With Magic Card Dustup

Hasbro's overreaction is causing outcry among MtG fans

Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast Stepped Over the Line With Magic Card Dustup
Photo by Ryan Quintal / Unsplash

Sometimes you can't make these stories up. Hasbro sent the Pinkerton agency, historically known as mercenaries, to retrieve expansion packs of Magic: The Gathering cards. The cards in question were acquired, unwittingly, by all accounts, by YouTuber Dan Cannon.

Cannon made videos discussing the event after they happened, and per reporting by Polygon, and Gizmodo, Wizards of the Coast attempted to contact Cannon to retrieve the cards, but after failing to do so, sent the Pinkerton agency to do the job. The agent banged on Cannon's front door early in the morning, demanded entrance, and threatened him and his wife with fines and jail time if they did not comply. Cannon reports they made his wife cry and attempted to force their way inside the house. They confiscated the March of the Machine: The Aftermath, which apparently had been sold to another collector by mistake and then purchased by Cannon, two weeks before they should have hit the market.

During the visit in question, the agent presented Cannon with contact information for Wizards of the Coast, and when he called was offered free Magic: The Gathering cards to compensate for losing the other cards. It is unclear if the offered cards were equivalent to the value of the set that he had purchased, for which Cannon said he paid $4000. The emotional trauma, however, from such a rude wake-up call, how much is that worth? I simply can't see how a reasonable person or company would want to use the Pinkertons over a card game.

Source: MtG Wiki Fandom.

It's Just a Card Game!

First off, while some sets of Magic: The Gathering can be quite valuable, with some worth up to $800,000 in certain cases, this response seemed like overkill. To make matters worse, Gizmodo has reported that it's not the first time that Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast have sent the Pinkertons to retrieve expansion packs. In 2007, they did the same thing with the Ixalan pack, intimidating people who had received it early. While the sources for those accusations have elected to remain anonymous, Wizards of the Coast did respond to the controversy at the time.

Does all the hullaballoo feel silly and unnecessary? Yes. Magic: the Gathering is a card game that brings joy to so many players and collectors. Cannon was not selling the cards, and he reported he was not aware of any embargo.

Also, why the Pinkertons? Why would you hire an agency once used as strikebreakers and who are banned from public service by the US government? It just seems like bad optics to hire the bad guys from Red Dead Redemption 2. Would it have to do with the fact that Pinkerton has connections with upper management? Gizmodo has reported:

"Robin M. Klimek, who has been the Director Security Risk Management at Hasbro, Inc. for 12 years, was previously the Director of Supply Chain Security Practice at Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations. The current manager of Global Investigations is also a former Pinkerton agent."

Even if there is no correlation there, the potential conflict of interest is just another bad look for Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast.

Hasbro has messed up, and they have egg on their face. If the mistake was theirs on sending out the collection early – and Cannon proved it with literal receipts from his card dealer and video evidence – they could have been nicer about their own oversight or handled things in another way.

Hasbro seems to have left Wizards of the Coast to take the fall, without any statements confirming or denying these allegations. Wizards of the Coast asserts that Cannons' tale of the events is not true, and said they would not accuse a YouTuber of stealing these cards while using agents with a history of strikebreaking and intimidation.

One can hope we get answers from Hasbro about such a shortsighted action. They are going viral for the wrong reasons and attracting negative publicity. Someone played the wrong card, and it wasn’t Dan Cannon.


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