March 1, 1994"What the hey?" I hear you say, as you see the Antiquities fly. "Across the sea, but none for me?" as you turn with a gleam in your eye.
Um, yes, well
Our manufacturing facility is in Belgium, and we don't ship the cards to the U.S. and back, that would be silly. So, the European distributors are closer than the American ones to the point of shipping. Naturally, this would cause the cards to tend to be out a little earlier there than here.
"But I heard that the American distributors can't release their Antiquities until the 10th of March!!!"
The wonders of simultaneous release. Every US box is shipped from our warehouse in Seattle. If we just sent it all out the same day, the West Coast distributors would get theirs up to a week before the East Coast distributors. Retailers would naturally place huge orders with the West Coast ones, and the East Coast distributors would get, well, it's a naughty word so I won't repeat it. So what we do is send out the far-away stuff on one day, the slightly closer stuff the next, and the Seattle distributor material the last day. That way a retail store has no time-based reason to select one distributor over another, and Californians don't get their cards before Alabamans.
"Fine, so that's fair. But the United Kingdom already has theirs!"
American stores can't profitably use foreign distributors, so they're economically isolated. Yes, Europe got theirs early, but most of Canada and Australia will get the cards weeks after they've been released in the U.S. To time a global simultaneous release would require delaying release by a month or so, and cost us big bucks in warehousing fees.
"But, but, 12+ days early?"
Yes, we agree that almost two weeks delay is pretty agonizing. So few Arabian Nights cards were ordered by European distributors that it really wasn't an issue. We are already talking with our manufacturer about what we can do to cut down that delay.
In the meantime, Wizards of the Coast apologizes, and encourages you to put down the pointy objects.
Dave Howell, aka Snark firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyberspace Liaison, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.