EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Zack Chaffee locked in Wednesday for another battle at Eau Claire Games & Arcade – one, with a unique vocabulary.
"... and then, does 1 damage to this. I'm going to regenerate it."
"You've only lost two ... and then I'm going to use his Plus-2 to draw two."
This is the language of Magic – one of the first collectible trading card games.
“For me, there's a lot of strategy in it. So I have to think about what I'm doing,” Chaffee, a store clerk at Eau Claire Games & Arcade, said to WEAU 13 News on Wednesday. “Not only that, but the community of people that I play with, there's a strong bond with everybody that plays these type of games that you can't really find much where else.”
Some of these games date back to the early 1990s, including “Magic,” and they've grown in numbers. However, the cards in these games can have more value than even when they're just played during a friendly match.
"I think a lot of people are surprised by the actual value of some of these cards, because they're like 'It's just a piece of cardboard. How expensive can it be?'" Chaffee said.
The monetary value of cards can range from a few to several hundred dollars – and even more.
The most-expensive card ever printed for ‘Magic: The Gathering is Black Lotus. With only 1,100 ever printed, a single card can retail for as much as $100,000.
"It's almost like an investment. I call it a stock market, but it's an investment. It allows the player to play games and switch decks and actually hold value of what they have," Joe Lokrantz, the former owner of Legendary Table Top Games in Eau Claire, said to WEAU 13 News on Wednesday.
Lokrantz still dabbles in trading card games on occasion, but a burglary at his store in 2015 took a hit to that side passion.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Eau Claire County on Wednesday, 23-year-old Tyler Gehrmann from St. Cloud, Minn. was charged with one count of burglary tied to the incident.
The complaint accuses Gehrmann of taking specific high-dollar "Magic: The Gathering" cards, valued between $10,000- 15,000. It also links him to a 2016 break-in at Trucker's Union on Water St. in Eau Claire.
"I was knocked down but not knocked out. It did take out my business I did lose it at the end of the year,” Lokrantz said. “Wasn't able to really come back from it, but a few years later, I have not forgotten the game nor the community, which is an excellent community."
For those that play any of these games, the overall joy can be worth more than the value of a card.
"It can get pretty crazy. I'm not as competitive as I used to be, but I don't like losing either," Chaffee said.