Knock it off, Wizards!

Why is Wizards Pushing Formats You Don't Enjoy?

MTGA Formats we don't want Chulane Teller of Tales

Get the flip out, Chulane, nobody likes you! (Image credit: Wizard of the Coast)

Magic has so many boxed products, formats, ban lists, and options, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the ways to play. However, it is also easy to pick a format you really enjoy and go building decks and playing games to your heart’s content… in which case, why is Wizards pushing certain products so hard, even though players don’t really enjoy them? Can’t we skip Brawl and play Commander forever? Can we?

Wizards Want Money. End of Article.

Gee, you got us! What a revelation!

Of course, Wizards want money. They are a company selling products and they want you to buy said products. The more you buy, the better. So, it makes sense for them to keep inventing new exciting things and market them to the players. Tired of Draft - here, play Jumpstart. Legacy is too expensive? How about some Pauper! Commander is too… multiplayer? Then go play Brawl.

And yes, all of these get support in the form of fancy new boxes that you need to buy, buy, buy.

But Wizards also want you to play the game a long time and not quit in frustration. That’s why they can’t make a new set simply more powerful, or a new format that renders an older one useless. That means that they need to push whatever they have going on right now.

Wizards of the Coast is playing the long game if that wasn’t evident by the almost 30 years of making the MTG.

Wizards Like to Experiment.

One thing is certain - Wizards don’t shy away from innovation. They always play around with new card mechanics, graphic design, plane themes, and yes, even formats. Some things are a no-brainer - like the need for a cool casual format where your deck doesn’t cost as much as the house you keep it in, and that’s why we have things like Commander. But other times us players want something without even realizing it. Seriously, how many of us ever said the sentence “Man, I really with Wizards took that Smash-up game and make a Magic format out of it”. But they did it anyway and that’s why we have Jumpstart, which is freaking amazing. It makes sense for them to design crazy things and push them on us to see if they’ll stick or get rejected.

It’s okay for Wizards to roll the dice and hit us up with something crazy. It’s also okay for us to not like everything they put out and let them know. Tiny Leaders? Pass.

MTGA Godzilla

Sometimes experimenting goes too far (Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

Wizards is a Big and Slow-Moving Company.

It’s easy to see that Mutate is busted or playing Brawl once a week for a fee is stupid and go to Twitter and yell. And the guys at Wizards do hear us when we complain. So why don’t they immediately change things to please us?

Many players don’t realize exactly how big Magic is and how difficult it is for anything to happen in the game. First off, Wizards is owned by toy giant Hasbro and there are shareholders and evil guys in suits that they need to please - and trust us, fixing a busted mechanic is not on their priority list.

Second, Wizards usually has a two-year development cycle for everything they do. Zendikar Rising is about to hit the game very soon, but the next Standard sets are already in development. In fact, all of these sets are being worked on right now:

Code name "Equestrian" is set for January 2021, "Fencing" comes out in Spring 2021, "Golf" is planned for September 2021, "Hockey" hits shelves January 2022, "Ice Skating" is meant to be out in Spring 2022 (possibly containing Snow-covered lands?), "Judo" follows late 2022 (a Kaijudo crossover is unlikely), and "Kayaking" will drop January 2023.

That means that if we discover something that we don’t like, Wizards will be able to change it… after releasing all the stuff they’ve already been working on for the past year and a half. That’s the price we pay for getting so much support for the game - some may argue, too much support.

MTGA 2021 Standard rotation

A lot is being planned ahead (Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

So Why is Wizards Pushing Formats we Don’t Like?

For a multitude of reasons. They want to keep the game fresh, but also stable. They want the Johnnies to have new cards to play with, but the Spikes to have a predictable metagame, so they can prepare for the big esports games.

They want old cards to keep their value in collectors’ portfolios, but new cards toy want to sell you cardboard. That’s what they do.

Do we have to accept everything they shill? No. In fact, it’s important for us to resist. That’s how we get Jumpstarts instead of Brawls.

For more MTGA opinions, analysis, and wisdom, keep reading EarlyGame!

Nikola Petrov

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