Magic the Gathering: A Year to Forget
War of the Spark was released at the end of april of the 2019, and it was a huge success. The story of the Gatewatch and their rivality against Nicol Bolas culminated on Ravnica, in this epic battle between the Dragon God and more than 30 different Planeswalker. It was a huge set, fantastic both in story and gameplay. The trailer for the expansione was also the first video ever to reach the 10 millions views on YouTube, so it was overall a great expansion, loved by everyone. And this is where the praise end. From that expansion, Wizard has made one error after the other, in every possible way. Since the release of War of the Spark, a total of six expansions were made, five of which were made for standard. Apart from M21, released only two weeks ago, every other expansion have had some card banned. Every single expansion. That's insane.
Since May of 2019, every single format of Magic has been involved in some bans, all of them multiple times, even the format created that same years. Standard,Modern,Legacy,Vintage,Pauper,Pioneer,Historic. The last two format were created in 2019, but even they were touched by this bans. But apart from standars bannings, everything else could be normal. In order to mantain the game always fresh and diverse, bans are pretty common. Since 2000, the number of change in the banlist were made only three,maximum four time a year. Since 2019, these changes were made a total of fifteen times. Fifteen. In only one year of time.
A Spike in Power Level
The power of Magic cards is improving year after year, and this is a fact. In order to mantain fresh the game, this is the smartest choice. More exciting are the cards in an expansion, more people will buy the product. But the spike in the power level in those last expansions was insane. Almost every single expansion, various card printed for standard made their way in not only Modern, but even Legacy. And sometimes even in Vintage. And that's a big problem. Those are eternal format, were decks change one card a year, sometimes not even one. This year, some decks changed even more than ten. But let's talk about the two biggest offenders: Oko,Thief of Crowns and the Companion mechanic. And if you aren't into the game of Magic, you aren't reading wrong. An entire mechanic was at fault. Oko is the most broken planeswalker ever made, even more broken of Jace, the Mind Sculptor. If you don't believe me, watch some decklists of when he was still legal. Decklists of what format you ask me? Every format. And he was printed for green and blue, that are by far the most dominant colors in standard right now. Spoiler: they still are, even after the ban of Oko. But let's talk about the companion mechanic.
Companions: When Playtest is Done Wrong
The Companion mechanic is a keyword ability introduced in Ikoria, on April of 2020. As written on the Magic cards, "as each game begins,you can place one card with companion outside your hand if your starting deck meets its condition. You may cast it once from there." In simple words, if your deck meet the condition written in one of the ten companion cards, you could cast it from your sideboard. These means that each game your starting hand was increased by one, and that you had a free card avaible to cast at any moment, that your opponent couldn't in any way interact with in that zone. As with Oko, in every single format players started to change their decks in order to obtain the condition to play these cards. The companion mechanic was changed in less than two months, because of how broken it was. Only two months since it was released for the first time ever. The fault can only be attribuited to playtest, that has let this card be printed has they were. But if this was the only error done by them this would be forgivable. But this is not the first, not the second, not even the tenth. Something need to change, and quickly.
Secret Lairs and Deluxe Edition: when money is the only thing that matters
Unfortunately, Magic problems weren't only with bans, but with something much more problematic. On december of 2019, Secret Lair was announced to the world. They are small collectibles sets, all different from the other, in where you will find already existing cards but with new arts. The theme of these sets can be various, but they will always have cards that have something in common. Deluxe Edition, instead, were announced on the october of 2019, with the Throne of Eldrain expansions. Premium contents were already been made in the past, but this time it was different. In fact, this premium edition featured not anymore an always identical product like in the past, but were instead special booster packs, were you can find cards of the expansion they were made, but with some special arts. So what's the problem? Everyone love new arts, me included. But the problem is price, and more importantly greed. Secret Lair were said to be something special, made once in a while. Since they were announced, more then twenty different bundles were created, and the price for them keep on rising. Same thing for the Deluxe Edition: the prices are rising, and the quality of stuff you find in them is lowering. And with the next master expansion coming out in a month, the prices have raised to maximum ever seen for a booster:more than a hundred dollars. Pure insanity, a choice made only for greed.
Time to change, and quickly
As said in the title, things need to change quickly for Wizard, or players will not condone these errors in the future. Never as before fans of the game are openly against the choice made by Wizard in the last years, but it seems they have no intention of changing. Yes, people keep on buying whatever Wizard give them, but as time passes, the majority of players will show less and less excitiment for the game, and some of them will even stop playing the game. Let 2019-2020 be a lesson, learn from your errors and return to be the greatest card game ever made.
With love, an everlasting fan
© 2020 Lucio Pellegrino